This should probably be said here so as to not offend anyone. I have absolutely nothing against the Scottish or their accent, the main reason we included Mrs McLooney was to illustrate how hard an accent it is to write. What we came up with, I know, is not at all authentic and highly inaccurate, we're just a bit strange sometimes so please allow for our little experiments with the language.

Four Armadillos and a Jelly Mould
By Thorne & Co.
Part Two
(we're fairly sure this time)*

Back in the garage, half an hour previously. . .

"Where did they go? Why's it all gone dark? Who turned out the lights?"

"Calm down , Maggie," said Baby Mystique " It's just your helmet that's fallen down over your eyes again."

"Why on earth did you get such a big helmet, Buckethead?" asked Baby Sinister.

"I'm supposed to grow into it," Baby Magneto glowered, pushing it up so he could see.

"Let's see if we can find something to stuff in the top," suggested Baby Mystique, rummaging around in the debris of the garage.

"What about this?" offered Baby Sabretooth, holding up a crumpled newspaper.

"That might work, Kitten," said Baby Mystique, patting his head and fluttering her eyelashes.

Baby Sinister and Baby Juggernaut rolled about on the floor making gagging noises. Raven made a move for Baby Magneto's helmet.

"No-one touches my helmet," he scowled, holding firmly onto the sides.

Baby Mystique's eyes narrowed in concentration. Out of the corner of her eye she gave a sly look to little Victor who promptly jumped Baby Magneto with relish and a very fierce miaow.

"Eeep!" squeaked little Eric. While he was pinned to the floor, Baby Mystique scooted quickly round him and yanked off the oversized helmet.

"Hey!!" protested Baby Magneto as his most treasured possession was unceremoniously stuffed with old newspaper and plonked back on his head. Baby Sabretooth relinquished his grip and Baby Magneto gingerly got to his feet while the others stood back and admired their handiwork. It teetered there, admittedly no longer covering his eyes, but gently swaying from ear to ear.

"We should have done this a long time ago," announced Baby Mystique proudly.

"Yeah, it was really cramping our style, having a leader who didn't know where he was going half the time," agreed Baby Sabretooth.

"Excuse me! Who said he was leader?" protested Baby Sinister.

"Yeah," said Baby Mystique, drawing herself up to her full three foot three inches high. "I thought we agreed that I was leader seeing as I'm the brains of this outfit."

"I was referring to myself as a matter of fact," said Baby Sinister.

"Well whoever is leader, don't you fink we ought to be getting out uv 'ere," suggested Baby Juggernaut.

"Yes, Jugs, you have just suggested just what I was about to suggest," said Baby Magneto pompously.

"I don't like being called Jugs," pouted Baby Juggernaut. "Just because my ears stick out a bit."

"So that's why you're called Juggernaut! Where is your helmet anyway?" asked Baby Mystique.

"I thought this baseball cap looked cooler," said Baby Juggernaut.

" Isn't it the source of your invuleran .. invulenerab .. invuleranerability," said Baby Sinister, finishing with conviction.

"Oh, yeah! ..... Oops!"

"It's my job to say the big words!" protested Baby Magneto.

"So do we leave and get to have fun now?" asked Baby Sabretooth, hopefully.

"I suppose we have a few minutes before we implement my world wide campaign for equal rights for people under four feet high," said Baby Magneto.

"Which way?" asked Baby Juggernaut.

"This way!" said Baby Magneto, Baby Mystique and Baby Sinister simultaneously pointing in three different directions. The three walked off in the direction of their fingers. Across the lawn Baby Sinister spotted the X-Babies with Ororo and Remy in hot pursuit. He turned and was just about to alert the others when Baby Sabretooth spotted the most important aspect of any X-Baby's life and yelled "ICE CREAM !!!!!!!!" and set off at top speed down the road after an ice cream van, with Baby Juggernaut right on his heels. Baby Sinister followed, his adversaries immediately forgotten. The other two 'leaders' turned at the commotion and spotted the object of their desire speeding past the gates.

"Wait for me!" they shouted in unison, and galloped off in pursuit as fast as their little legs could carry them.

Meanwhile in the garage ...

The wreckage of the Virtual Reality machine began to glow for a third time that day.

"Are you sure this is the way they went?" asked Baby Phoenix, smouldering prettily.

"It is undoubetedly the gerneral direction in which our vanillourous brethren presided in pursuance of our comtrapriots," proclaimed Baby Hank.

"What?!" spluttered Baby Iceman.

"I think he means 'the bad guys came this way'," sighed little Jean.

"Why can't he speak English like everyone else?" growled Wolverine.

"OK, Wolvie, which way now? Where are our friends? Sniff, boy, sniff." She patted him on the head.

"Quit treating me like a puppy, Jeanie," grumbled Wolvie.

"But Wolvikins, you're so cute," simpered Baby Phoenix.

Wolvie slunk off, half smiling to himself.

"We must make haste and locate our brave comtrapriots before they are forever lost in some trans dinemsional or temporial rift," announced Baby Hank.

"But shouldn't we find the guys first before the vanilla breaths get them?" grinned Bobby.

The four set off after Baby Wolverine.

"Worry not my erstwhile comparisons. Reindorsements are on the way!"

Back with the vanillourous brethren.

Baby Sabretooth crawled along the dusty highway, breathing raggedly, tongue hanging out. "Ice cream," he moaned, "Must have ice cream .... "

"Oh get up and stop whining," said Baby Mystique, disdainfully. "We've only been running for two minutes."

"But we were so close," moaned Baby Sabretooth again.

"It wasn't my fault Maggie's bucket fell off," said Raven.

"And now it's all dented," sobbed Baby Magneto as he sat in the middle of the road, dejectedly clutching his helmet to his chest. He began feebly tapping a small dent with a pebble as tears streamed down his face.

"Pull yourself together and don't be such a crybaby," said Sinister harshly. "It's only an old bucket!"

"But it's my favourite bucket!" wailed Baby Magneto.

"This is getting us nowhere," said Baby Mystique. "We need a lift. I know how it's done. Give me a minute." She concentrated. A sweet little girl with freckles and pigtails gradually appeared where she had stood. "Now you four hide behind those bushes and come out when I've got us a lift"

"I'm not convinced that freckles go too well on a blue skin," suggested Baby Sinister.

"Oh well, if you want to be picky," said Baby Mystique and concentrated again. "Is that better? Right - go hide - yes that includes you, Maggie - and stop snivelling!"

They waited for only a few minutes before an old open-backed truck grumbled along the road, belching blue-black fumes from its exhaust. It slowed as it neared Baby Mystique. The side door opened and an old woman leaned out as it came to a shuddering halt. It gave one final cough of smoke.

"Och aye what're ye dooin oot here in the country, lassie?" asked the old woman in a completely obscure Scottish (or thereabouts) accent.

Raven's brow furrowed in puzzlement. "Pardon?" She asked.

"Ah sid are ye Ookay?"

"Er, I'm fine? I missed the bus and I need to get into town to meet my mummy." Baby Mystique put on her best sugar-sweety voice. "Can you take me pwease?"

Noises of vomiting could be heard from a nearby bush.

"Dinna ye worry, ya wee bairn. An' ye can tell yer wee frien's they can come too. If they're not too poorly the poor dears."

Mutters of " Do we really want a ride with that mad haggis?" and " Don't be Scottishist!" came from the bush before all four emerged trying to look cute.

They failed.

"Och, what lovely party costumes ye all have on. Ah hope ye won't be late. Dinna ye worry. Old Granny McLooney will git ye there on time."

Before they were properly aboard, she stepped hard on the gas and everyone was flung backwards. "Hold on ter yer hats, wee bairns," she yelled above the roar of the engine and the explosions of the backfiring. "I'll have ye there in a jiffy."

They quickly reached the town (the accent was completely unsustainable) and dazedly disembarked, thanking the old woman.

"Where's the ice cream?" asked Baby Sabretooth.

Baby Juggernaut was violently ill in the gutter.

Back with Jeanie's gang, approximately 20 minutes ago.

"Wolvie, we've been going round in circles for the last five minutes. Are you sure they came this way?" asked Baby Phoenix.

"Nope, I gave up on that trail when I caught the smell of cinnamon brownies. I think there's a kitchen around here someplace!"

They opened the door onto shiny linoleum, wall to ceiling cupboards but most of all freshly baked brownies.

"Ahhh," they sighed in perfect harmony and happiness. Hank, Bobby and Logan raced for the worktop where the delicious delicacies lay steaming.

Jean, however, was having a crisis of conscience. "Er, guys. Shouldn't we be ... oh, never mind - save some for me!"

"Mmmm What delictatious, scrumptious confictionary. Truly delightful ..."

"Aw Hank, shut up and eat!"

Quite a few minutes later.

"Ohhhhhhh, my tummy," groaned Bobby.

"I shouldn've eaten that third rack," moaned Wolvie.

"This uniform has shrunk," complained Jean.

"The lower reaches of my adbomen are exceedingly replete and I feel an increasing requirement to void my elementary carnival," said Baby Hank.

"What?" said Bobby.

"He's about to puke," supplied Jean.

(At this point a tactful withdrawal from the scene is probably our best course of action.)

As the X-Babies were clearing up the garage and the Baby Bad-Dudes recovered from their terrifying ride, Jeanie's gang staggered from the kitchen, hoping never to see a cinnamon brownie again (or at least not until their appetites returned).

Feedbaaaack! We love it. Please send it. We don't bite, maim or even rend, honest!

*This is part 2 even though there was a part 2 half way through the first chapter. We are still looking for the culprit who put it there and when we find him/her/it, we'll see if we can't get Scott to talk them to death!

In case anyone is confused (apart from me that is) Parts 1 and 2 take place at the same time. As the last paragraph says, the three story lines have now reached the same point in time and part 3 should carry on from there.

Last point before I/we stop babbling. I, Thorne (no I can't spell my name the same way twice) write the notes and disclaimers and my Co. writer(s) (and I) get to do the fun stuff. One of them is a school inspector (hope his mates never find out about this!), and so his computer writes headteacher when you put head. We think we've got it sorted now, it shouldn't happen again, sorry if it confused anyone.

To be continued
(the armadillos are coming!)

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