The UCPO Spoon of Glory

Chapter 2: Meeting evil in battle

After weeks of intense activity and discussions, they were ready to implement this plan, on a morning that dawned bright and clear. The massive gates of the UCPO capital city swung slowly open on creaky hinges, and out poured an impossibly huge army. Row upon row of UCPOites appeared, all brandishing flutes that glinted in the sun. The other UCPOites could not believe how many there were, or understand from whence they came. They each carried an arsenal of plastic cutlery, also eager to contribute to Daniel's downfall. Behind the ranks of flute players were the UCPOites with specialist skills that would be put to use at different points of the conflict. The army also carried enough of the traditional UCPOite fuels of curry and beer to last them for a long journey.

For a day and a night they marched across the land towards Daniel's palace. The following morning, they received news that Daniel was anticipating their arrival: an advance party had discovered an opposing army in their path. So the UCPOites moved to the mouth of a wide valley, and prepared for battle.

The sea of flute players formed curved ranks, donned their armour, and waited fearfully for the appearance of the enemy. They knew not what weapons would be employed against them or how they would fare. They were not to be kept waiting for long.

The other army appeared on the opposite side of the valley, and a hush descended. The UCPOites tried to see what horrors awaited them, but the distance was too great. Tentatively, they shuffled down a little way into the valley. Daniel's army did the same. The UCPOites shuffled again. Daniel's army shuffled again. At this distance, the UCPOites could see that the only weapons that the other army held were bows (of the kind that shoot arrows, rather than the kind used for playing stringed instruments), but there didn't seem to be any arrows. They carried bags, though, and as the UCPOites watched, they reached into their bags and each took something out and fitted it to their bow. One of the UCPOites giggled - at this range, without arrows, they were perfectly safe. The giggle spread until the whole army was laughing loudly. The other army resolutely raised their bows to fire, and the laughter continued until the first plastic knives and forks whizzed at great speed straight at the first ranks of UCPOites. There was shocked silence. How on earth had they travelled that far? They had no time to ponder this, as more sharpened plastic rained down on them. The armour was mostly effective, but there were some alarming injuries. The UCPO archers drew their bows, and fired their own cutlery back across the valley. It landed harmlessly less than halfway across. What they discovered, though, was that firing their own cutlery at the incoming missiles was surprisingly easy and very effective at stopping their trajectories. They could also reuse the incoming ammunition. So both sides continued in this manner until Daniel's army ran out of cutlery.

Silence fell again, as the UCPOites wondered what would happen next. The other army put their bows away and advanced decidedly down the hill. The UCPOites ran purposefully to meet them. As they got closer, they saw that their enemies appeared to be skipping gleefully. The UCPOites kept running uncertainly, but began to really falter when they saw that not only were the opposing army grinning widely, they also looked exactly like Daniel himself. Without time to even contemplate the full horror of such a diabolical cloning programme, they stopped running and began to back away slowly. Terror set in when the thousands of skipping Daniels opened their arms wide, and the UCPOites, screaming as one, retreated en masse. They couldn't all retreat fast enough, however, and hundreds of unfortunates were smothered by stifling hugs, the like of which have not been seen. The hug victims magically turned into Daniel clones themselves, and turned on their fellow UCPOites in a truly unnerving fashion.

Those flute-playing UCPOites lucky enough to have escaped re-formed their ranks, and drove a column through the oncoming army, dividing halfway through to form two additional columns out to the sides. This split the enemy in four, and the flute players enclosed the Daniels in four impenetrable circles. They ruthlessly raised their flutes to their lips, as one would aim a rifle, and began to play. The effect on the grinning, hugging Daniels was immediate. They all clapped their hands over their ears, and writhed in agony. A hideous and unpleasant-smelling green smoke appeared, hovering above the defeated army, as they shrank to the ground, screaming 'melting, melting!' before evaporating completely.

The UCPOites cheered in response, but did not hug each other. For they had had quite enough hugging that day. They held a small but moving burial service for the brave cutlery that had died for the cause, and for their fallen, hugged friends, and vowed to continue the fight until they could fight no longer.

After such a decisive win, the UCPOites celebrated in style that night, with much beer, wine, unhealthy snack foods, and at least one broken door. The next morning, after their hangovers had worn off, they packed up camp and continued on their way to the unholy Daniel's palace.

Chapter 3

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