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Valentine's DayThat morning, when Ziggy Stardust saw the shimmering quilt being unpacked in the common room, all bets appeared to be off.
"This will look wonderful on my bed!" he cooed as he fingered the silver lame lace that edged the night-black satin quilt spangled with sequin stars, button moons, and velvet planets.
David heaved that particularly deep sigh that only Ziggy's antics brought out. "This isn't for you, Ziggy. The Astronettes may have sent it, but you're not the only one here with your eye on the stars."
"Well, whose is it then?" he asked with a pout.
"You'll see if you help us get it upstairs it's rather heavy."
Jealous but as ever unable to resist his curiosity, Ziggy helped David, Major Tom, and Pierrot carry it up to a particular bedroom...
"It's quite an accurate star chart," Major Tom whispered as they each took a corner of the quilt and slowly eased it onto the bed, not wanting to wake its weary occupant. "How long do you think it took the
The Obstacle CourseThe second big challenge of the competition was the obstacle course! Here's a recap of the action
The wall of stardom was an imposing first obstacle. Even without his magic, Jareth scaled it nimbly and took an early lead followed closely by Monte, who apparently is used to being on the run, and Glass Spider, who certainly takes after his namesake! As for the others, Newton and Pierrot's light, slender bodies gave them an advantage in this challenge, while Sir Roland Moorecock and Vendice Partners proved a little well, to be sensitive as possible, slower with regards to their physiques and came in last.
The moss garden leg literally kept the competitors on their toes. The Thin White Duke's anxiousness served him well, as he did not step on any of the mines. Lodger was nervy too, but though he did trigger a few mines he was not fazed by the explosions. As for Ziggy Stardust, who already had problems scali
Cooking with the DukeOne could almost see stink lines emanate from the Thin White Duke's creasing brow. He had so generously offered to make dinner for the other personae, had slaved all afternoon in the kitchen, and now here the personae sat, barely nibbling at the main course.
His eyes flashed when they caught sight of Major Celliers chewing on the petals of a rose he had plucked from the centerpiece. "Found something more palatable than my stuffed red peppers, Major?"
"Oh, I wouldn't say more palatable," Celliers replied with his own eyes twinkling and his lips half-smiling. "But you've offered us no traditional scoop of sherbet between courses, and I have to cleanse my palate somehow."
"He has a point," said fellow military man Lieutenant Paul Von Przygodsky. "There is a certain sameness to your cooking. I mean, a salad of red peppers drizzled with red pepper vinaigrette followed by roasted red pepper soup followed by stuffed red peppers, with cand
Jareth Gets MotivatedIn the dining room, Jareth was smiling and humming to himself as he slathered peach preserves on his toast.
Halloween Jack managed to catch his glance (with both eyes, having dressed in one of his American-style suits today rather than what the other personae called "that pirate getup") and asked, "So what has His Majesty in such a cheerful mood this morning?"
Jareth was startled by the question and could feel his cheeks burn to see Halloween Jack languidly leaning back in his chair, sipping his milk and expecting an answer. But there was no reason to keep things a secret, so
"If you must know, I seem to have found a means of winning my Sarah's heart at last."
"Which is?" Halloween Jack smirked.
"I will be working with an advisor to develop a strategy for my next encounter with her, let's say. All these years I lamented her turning down my offer of all her dreams come true. Well, my advisor has shown me the light, and I finally und
Meet the CompetitorsIt's a beautiful azure day on Knossos Island as our two teams arrive from New York City by yacht. From our candid interviews as they disembarked, it's clear all the contestants know what they think of each other and what they want.
First up, let's get to know the cool blue members of the Astronettes!
"I'm always up for exploring, as you know, so Pierrot and I are looking forward to the next few weeks. I can only hope the judges don't think my protein pills are an unfair advantage, or something "
"You know, I'm the one who came up with the name Astronettes for our team! Dave wanted to call it something bland like the Heathens or the Heroes, but I convinced the others to go with something more glamorous. Of course, I'm a born leader and if I can make it to the top of the pops I can certainly make it to the top here! I only wish that Scary Monster wasn't on our team! I don't trust him one bit
The Team Diamond Dogs CabinSir Roland Moorecock heaved a sigh at the sight of the cabin's weary wooden interior. "I'll bet those aren't even 500-count Egyptian cotton sheets," he said. "You'd think we were in a third-world country!"
"You're sheltered," Lodger said as he turned back the sheets on his bed. "You should have seen some of the youth hostels I knew in Berlin!"
"I don't care, this place is filthy!" Sir Roland said with a sneer, preparing to stomp on a stray spider crossing his path.
Only Glass Spider's swift hands rescued the helpless arachnid. He carried it over to the corner of the cabin closest to the bed he had picked out. "There you go, small one. You'll be safer there..."
Jareth, meanwhile, had used his magic to turn his rusty-springed mattress into a huge puff of feather-filled, silk-topped comfort. As he curled up under newly-satin sheets, Sir Roland stalked over to his side.
"Oh, His Majesty makes sure HE'S
A Shocking TwistThe two teams were gathered at the tribal circle to await the results of the scavenger hunt. Ziggy looked quite smug as his fellow Astronettes laid out their finds on their stone "altar", and Sir Roland Moorecock (who, like Ziggy, had appointed himself a team leader) was gritting his teeth to see how much more was there compared to the finds of the Diamond Dogs.
The producers arrived as the sundial "struck" noon but there were two more people with them, concealed in capes and cowls.
One perky producer answered the resultant murmurs with, "Before we resolve this scavenger hunt challenge, we thought we'd surprise you. Each team will be getting a ninth member today!"
"Hopefully," Sir Roland said, "the Diamond Dogs will get someone competent for a change "
"New Astronette, reveal yourself!" the producer cried, and off came his cowl. For a moment the Astronettes thought Sers must have an evil twin, but then they recognized John Blaylock's cool, d
Bowies on the MoveThe race to the cabins is on! Let's see how the Diamond Dogs are doing in the woods
"Dory! Adler! This is no stroll through the park!"
"We're tryin' to keep up, Sir Roland, but the Duke here is comin' down with the tremors. I think the jungle heat is gettin' to him "
"Jungle heat, my foot! I suppose he could keep up if he had his, what do they call it -- Peruvian marching powder? Well, it's time he manned up. You and Dory don't need to help him walk. If he's ambushed by those jungle ninjas it's one less worry for the rest of us!"
"Watch out Sir Roland! Quicksand ahead!"
"Don't try to change the subject, Dory -"
"If anyone knows from quicksand it's me! Don't put your foot out - "
"Well, don't just stand there you ninnies, get me out of here! Throw me a vine, Spider!"
"Hmmm you're didn't say the magic word I think you can fend for yourse
Letter from the Third LoverSomewhere, a letter falls from a jacket pocket and drifts to the floor of a tiny café that is fraying at its edges.
The letter belongs to a regular here, but it served its purpose already and will not be missed. He was not in a hurry when he left but he did mention offhandedly to the familiar, patient waiter that he had an appointment to keep with a woman. The waiter vaguely recognized her name; perhaps the regular brought her here once or twice.
He is usually alone. He rarely talks to anyone beyond formalities, but he is always polite.
This regular, known only as "Mr. Newton", is the fabled talk of the café. They wonder who he is and what he does. They all agree that he is too elegant for this place. One old-timer vaguely remembers a photograph of him in the paper once, maybe his name, a bit of a scandal but his memory must be faulty, because that was years ago and this regular i
Crazy Boy"Where do you go at night, Alex?" Nick muttered, quite drunk and half asleep on Alex's shoulder.
The tour van shuddered, lurching along a patch of bare, rocky road. They'd been driving along an endless stretch of desert for hours now. They'd all watched the sun set on the Nevada skyline, and then disappeared into their bunks, trying to catch sleep. Alex had been sitting on a sofa and gazing out the window for almost all of the trip. He'd blanked out almost completely. The band knew Alex's glazed-over moods well. He went into his own world quite often. Who didn't?
And sometime in the middle of the night, as Alex was about to retreat into his bunk, a very wasted Nick crawled over to the sofa, lifted himself onto it, and drooped onto Alex's shoulder. Alex wasn't very surprised. Nick did this more often than one would imagine. It was like Nick came to Alex for comfort and reassurance on the road. Much to Alex's dismay, however, this was often when Nick was too drunk to care. With a quiet "
A Bedroom Farce"Well, I've had it!" Ziggy groused as he tossed away another lipstick that had been worn down to a sticky nub. "It's Scary Monster who's doing this, I just know it!"
"What makes you say that?" asked Sers, who had come into his room to borrow some hairspray.
"No one else here uses as much makeup as I do," Ziggy explained, "and I keep this room locked when I'm away. It would have to be someone with unnatural powers and a love of powders who'd manage to pinch my supplies!"
"Powers? Now, now, Ziggy, there's nothing that proves Scary Monster is an actual monster much less someone who can slip in and out of a room without being noticed. You're probably just so busy you're losing track of your supplies."
"I know I'm right! You can never trust a clown " They were still arguing as they left, Ziggy locking the door behind him.
From beneath Ziggy's bed, there could be heard the crinkling of delicate fabrics. Scary Monster care
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