9.The Wicked Witch of the West’s Castle.
“Wow,” Cordelia said quietly, “you really don’t like her do you? I mean, ‘Glinda the Terrible’…?”
“It’s not a matter of likes or dislikes,” replied the Witch, “in fact once upon a time we were close friends until…” the Witch turned her face away from Cordy and appeared to be dabbing at her eyes with a black lace hankie; when she turned back to face Cordelia she seemed to have regained control of her emotions. “…it’s to do with what’s best for Oz, my pretties.”
“Uh-huh,” Faith nodded her head slowly, “an’ you of course know what’s best for Oz.”
“I know that this inter-factional fighting has to stop,” the Witch explained, “and now I have the Ruby Slippers in my hands…”
“Yeah, what are ya gonna do with those?” Faith wanted to know.
“At the moment they are safely under lock and key,” explained the witch, “while I make arrangements for their destruction.”
“Oh, I can see how you’d want to get rid of them,” Cordy agreed, “I mean I bet you’ve got nothing to go with them and hey,” Cordy pulled a face that fully expressed her feelings of contempt for the shoes, “sparkly shoes? That’s so disco!”
“Whatever,” Faith glanced at Cordy in disapproval, “so, look; we were told that this Wizard guy could send us home, so can you help us get to this Emerald City.”
“Well,” the Witch started to move slowly back towards her throne, “yes and no…”
“What’d ya mean, ‘yes and no’?” Faith asked with just a hint of menace.
“Well,” the Witch was by now sitting back on her throne, “you see the truth is that the Wizard could indeed send you home,” the Witch paused to let that sink in, “but…”
“But?” Faith and Cordelia replied in unison.
“But he won’t,” the Witch sighed sadly.
“Say what?” Faith demanded.
“What do you mean he won’t?” Cordelia added.
“He just won’t,” the Witch continued, “he’s an unpleasant little man who rules over the Emerald City with a fist of iron, mercilessly stamping out any opposition to his reign and sending hundreds to the emerald mines every year.”
“Emerald mines?” Cordelia’s eyes lit up at the idea of emerald mines.
“So ya saying that that this wizard guy is some sorta dictator?” Faith asked.
“Yes,” the Witch nodded, “and what’s worse he’s preventing me from sending you home.”
“You can send us home?” Cordy forgot about the emerald mines for a moment.
“Yes, of course,” the Witch nodded, “if the Wizard wasn’t blocking my power.”
“Okay,” Faith frowned, she didn’t know much about magic but she’d once heard Willow say it was possible to block or deflect magic, “so how does he do this and how do we stop it from happening?”
“Well, you see,” the Witch leaned towards Faith and Cordy, “he has an Orgone Accumulator buried under the city, not only is it the source of all his power but he also uses it to limit the power of other magic users thus preventing them from attacking the city with magic.”
“So, what does this ‘Orgone Accumulator’ do, exactly?” Cordy wanted to do.
“It accumulates Orgones,” replied the Witch slightly puzzled by Cordy’s question, “I thought that was obvious by its name.”
“No,” Faith interrupted, “what the L-t means is; what’s an ‘Orgone’ and what does he use them for?”
“An Orgone,” began the Witch as she rested back in her throne, “is a particle of free floating magic, the accumulator collects these particles and stores them. Then he uses them to boost his own natural power, you see it makes him feel greater.” The witch continued, before standing up again as the house lights started to dim. From somewhere behind the Witch’s throne a base guitar started to play as a microphone appeared in her hand and she started to sing…He’s got an Orgone accumulator
It makes him feel greater
He'll see you sometime later
When he’s through with his accumulator
It's no social integrator
It's a one man isolator
It's a back brain stimulator
It's a cerebral vibrator…
“I bet he gets through a lot of batteries,” Cordy quipped.
“A cerebral vibrator?” quieried Faith, “That can’t be good for ya.”
Her Wickedness continued after a short pause.…of Orgones!
Just turn your eyeballs into craters
But an Orgone accumulator
Is a superman creator
It's no social integrator
It's a one man isolator
It's a back brain stimulator
It's a cerebral vibrator
As soon as the Witch stopped singing and sat down again everything went back to normal like it had never changed.
“Oh I get it,” Cordy nudged Faith, “he’s one of those power mad, crazed dictators out for world domination unless a couple of plucky hero types can bring him down!” Cordy smiled up at the Witch before adding, “Now I wonder where you’re going to find a couple of heroes around here?”
“Weeell…” the Witch began but was interrupted by Cordy.
“Okay sister,” Cordelia crossed her arms over her chest, “we get the picture you want us to go in there, take out this Orgone thing and then as a reward you’ll send us home right?”
“That’s about the size of it,” the Witch smiled.
“What I don’t understand,” Faith added slowly, “is why you can’t send some of your own people in?”
“Oh it’s quite simple, my pretties,” cackled the Witch.
“It is?” Cordy and Faith chorused once again.
“Of course,” agreed the Witch, “its all a matter of colour.”
“Colour?” Faith and Cordy continued in harmony.
“You see,” the Witch stood up and headed towards a table loaded down with coffee and doughnuts, “instead of being a sensible shade of green like my people, or indeed,” the Witch gestured to the high ranking flying monkey who’d been hovering nearby, “furry like one of my brave flying monkey soldiers. The wizard and the inhabitants of the Emerald City are a sort of pinky-white colour rather like your good selves.”
“Okay,” Cordy glanced at Faith and got an almost imperceptible nod in answer to her unspoken question, “what’s the plan, assuming that we agree to go in there and take down this accumulator machine.”
“My staff will go over the details with you later,” the Witch licked sugar from her fingers as she ate a jelly doughnut, “but basically you’ll be flown to the City by some of my Special Flying Monkey Service troopers. You’ll infiltrate into the city, and plant explosives in and around the accumulator before escaping the city and being picked up by more of my SFMS troopers and flown back here so I can send you home.” The Witch wiped her hands on a paper serviette, “We’ll supply you with clothes and papers to help you pass as residents of the Emerald City, plus all the explosives and weapons you’ll need…” the Witch smiled wickedly, “…so what do you say?”0=0=0=0Faith and Cordy’s rooms, some time later.
“Ya think we’re doin’ the right thing?” Faith asked as she slipped into the long emerald green dress she’d been given to wear.
“What do you mean?” Cordy admired herself in a full length mirror before glancing over her shoulder at Faith, “Do you think this shade of green goes with my eyes?”
“Ya look stunning…” Faith replied.
“Well duh!” giggled Cordy, “Don’t I always?”
“Clothes horse,” Faith muttered under her breath before saying in a louder voice, “Look what I’m saying is, are you sure we’re doing the right thing here? After all you’re the officer so if it all turns to crap its you that gets drummed outta the Marines. All I say was you told me to do it and get let off…zip me up would ya?”
“Sure,” Cordy crossed the room and zipped up Faith’s dress, “lets look at this logically,” Cordy helped Faith straighten her dress while she spoke, “this wizard seems like a typical dictator type, right?”
“Yeah,” Faith nodded her agreement as she looked at herself in the mirror, “but we only have her Wickedness’ word for that.”
“Well, we can check things out when we get to the city,” Cordy pointed out reasonably.
“True,” Faith twisted left and right making her long dress sweep across the floor, “what’s with the long dresses? They’re gonna make running difficult.”
“You mean you never ran for your life in your prom dress!” Cordy asked in surprise as she remembered struggling through the woods near Sunnydale with Buffy as they were being chased by a bunch of crazed hunters.
“Say what?” Faith looked at Cordy in confusion.
“No,” Cordy shook her head, “I don’t suppose you have,” she added wistfully, “just be thankful these things aren’t tight fitting…say,” Cordy glanced at Faith, “what did you wear to your prom?”
“Didn’t go,” Faith lied, having no memory of High School Proms or even very much about High School, “but I had some nice outfits for when I used to go dancin’ with Willow.”
“I bet you did,” Cordy said quietly as she fixed her hair into what she’d been told was fashionable in the Emerald City, “But anyway the big deciding factor in whether we go through with this is who can get us home,” Cordelia pointed out, “If we get to the City and find out this wizard isn’t as bad as her Wickedness has told us then we ask him to send us home, otherwise we go through with the Witch’s plan, okay?”
“Yeah,” Faith replied uncertainly then with a little more conviction, “sure, why not? Cordy,” Faith began hesitantly.
“Yeah?” Cordy was sitting at a dressing table checking her make up while Faith fiddled with a knife.
“The other night,” Faith slipped the knife into a concealed sheath up the sleeve of her dress, “y’know after we’d gone to bed, did something…y’know weird happen?”
“What!” Cordy’s hand froze half way to her face, “No! Nothing!” Actually something weird had happened and it still made her smile as she remembered the green guy’s hands on her body and his…, “No why’d you ask?”
“Oh nothin’,” Faith shrugged and decided that this wasn’t the time or the place, “nothin’ important.”0=0=0=0The Witch’s Audience Chamber at about the same time.
Standing at the window the Wicked Witch stared out over Oz and smiled, suppressing a cackle of glee she turned and gestured for her flying monkey general to join her.
“General,” the Witch’s eyes drifted towards the horizon and the Emerald City, “as soon as the human women are in the air I want you to move your division into position just this side of Poppy Fields.”
“Of course your Wickedness,” the General nodded, “I’ve already had my staff prepare the movement orders.”
“Good,” the Witch smiled, “as soon as the humans have completed their mission and been extracted, you’ll start to move forward and surround the city. Immediately the Accumulator has been destroyed you’ll move in with your troops and take control of the city before they know what’s happening.”
“The Wizard?” asked the General.
“Died in a cowardly attempt to escape his fate while leaving his people to theirs?” the Witch suggested.
“I think I can arrange something along those lines, your Wickedness,” the General nodded in agreement, “and the human women?”
“Oh!” the Witch gasped, “Nothing is to happen to them! They are to be brought to my headquarters and I’ll try and send them home, I don’t want them in Oz any longer than they need to be.”
“Couldn’t we just…?” the General left the rest of his question unsaid.
“What, kill them?” the Witch shook her head, “Don’t you see it? They’re heroes their sort always survive and come back to seek vengeance.” The Witch shook her head, “No, best that I keep my bargain with them and send them home before they realise what they’ve helped me to do.”
“Indeed, your Wickedness,” the General wasn’t so sure about this but he was loyal and would obey the Witch’s orders whatever his personal reservations.
“That’s understood then, the human women are not to be harmed,” the Witch gazed down at her monkey general.
“Yes, Ma’am,” nodded the General, “Of course.”
“Good, then fly my pretty and set the final stages of ‘The Plan’ into motion,” the Witch cackled loudly, “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer!”
Turning away from her general the Wicked Witch looked out over Oz once more and smiled. After so many years in the making her plan was coming to fruition. Glinda the Witch of the North was safely contained in her fairy castle in her frozen northern wastelands, her power broken for the moment. The self styled Wizard of Oz would soon meet his downfall and no doubt a grubby undignified death in some dark, back alley somewhere. Then once all the peoples of Oz where under her enlightened rule she could deal with that traitorous bitch Glinda once and for all. The Wicked Witch smiled to herself, perhaps she’d have Glinda put in an iron cage and exhibited throughout Oz as a warning. A warning of what happened to people who betrayed young, naïve, green girls and made them believe that they were her friend only to betray her and steal away her one true love.
Yes Glinda would pay, stripped of her powers and pretty dresses and stupid pink sparkly crown, she’d be held up to ridicule and public humiliation. Then, just as people started to feel sorry for her the Wicked Witch would become magnanimous and take her from her prison and set her up in some nice, candy cottage in a forest somewhere. Of course Glinda would be powerless and forced to spend her days telling fortunes for tourists and cackling insanely at small children. But the people would all say that the Wicked Witch was kind and generous even to such spiteful, deceitful bitches like Glinda.0=0=0=0The highest tower in the Witch’s castle.
Staggering slightly as the wind hit her, Cordelia looked out at Oz as the sun sank in the east. Turning she held her hand out to Faith, not that Faith needed the help climbing out onto the tower, but because Cordy felt a sudden need for human contact. The realisation that she was going to be strapped between a couple of flying monkeys and flown to the Emerald City in the dark didn’t exactly fill her with joy.
“Right then,” one of the Witch’s staff officers joined them on top of the tower, “these are the chaps who’re going to fly you to the City.”
Turning to look at the big tough flying monkeys, Cordy gulped; she had no problem with flying…in an aircraft and specifically if she was at the controls, but the idea of hanging between two flying monkeys just didn’t feel right.
“Two of these chaps will carry each of you,” the staff officer explained, “while two more will carry your kit. You’ll also have another half dozen chaps to act as an escort but we’re not expecting any trouble on the way out.”
“Yeah, right,” Cordy agreed uncertainly.
“Once you’re in the City,” continued the officer going over the main points of the mission one last time, “you complete your mission and escape and make your way to the extraction point where some of these chap’s friends will be waiting for you. Then its home in time for tea and buns.”
Looking at the officer’s smiling face, Cordy couldn’t help thinking that it was alright for him to smile and look all confident; he wasn’t going to be dangling by some leather straps over the countryside. Before Cordelia could think of a good reason that she should maybe walk to the Emerald City she found the monkey’s helping her into the harness. Once safely strapped in they climbed up onto the battlements. The sun had nearly gone down now, but it was still light enough for her to see how far it was to the rocks below.
“Ready?” asked the flying monkey to her right.
“Would it make any difference if I said no?” Cordelia had a real urgent need to pee just at that moment.
“No!” Laughed the monkey before he and his partner stepped out into nothingness.0=0=0=0
*: The original version of 'Orgone Accumulator' was written and performed by 'Hawkwind'.