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Sfstory Log 032

Subject:     The Toast of Alterverse 723
From:        Scott McGuire (89SGM at WILLIAMS)

SUMMARY:  In the beginning, there was Alterverse 723, the alterverse
populated solely by fast food restaurants.  Also in the beginning, there
was Satan.  Now, a long time since the multiverse began, Satan is stuck in
Alterverse 723.  Having sworn vengeance on all the beings who trapped him
there, he now thinks he has the means to escape - all he must do is win the
grand prize of the Vorturian Variety Lunches "Collect the Universe"
Sweepstakes, which is a free trip to Netherspace.  To do this he must
collect ALL the spiral galaxy game pieces.  He could settle for finding all
the Local Group pieces and winning a Polaroid camera, but he won't.
Needless to say, the Prince of Evil wouldn't even dream of cheating.


Satan huffed, and he puffed, and he belched smoke until all the waiters and
managers of the twelfth "Vorturian Variety Lunches" restaurant that he had
visited were dead from oxygen deprivation.  Then he scrambled over the
counter and raided the game piece box, eagerly ripping open each piece and
comparing it with his game card (which was actually a large bound catalog
as the number of game pieces was rather large).  At last, he'd gotten M81!
But the catalog was only half full, so he jumped back over the counter and
started to run out of the restaurant.  On second thought, he went back to
the counter, jimmied one of the registers, and stole the cash contents.
Stuffing the money into his red business suit's pockets, and clutching the
game catalog under his arm, he ran out and down the street.

He paused at an intersection about a mile away to consult the Variety Lunch
chain map that he'd found and stolen in the fifth store, and took a left.

Arriving, he smashed through the glass doors (immortality had several
advantages, two of which were extremely thick skin and the ability to run
forever without tiring), and started huffing smoke as fast as he could.  It
took a little more time than bolts of hellfire, but it was ultimately just
as effective.

The visibility in the restaurant had been reduced to inches when a voice
from behind the counter said, very politely, "May I help you?"

Satan choked on his own smoke.  "What?" he growled.

"May I help you?  Are you on fire?" asked the voice.

"No, I breath smoke," the Father of Lies explained.

"What a coincidence.  So do I.  What sort of lunch would you like?" asked
the voice.

Satan considered his predicament.  "What would you suggest?" he said,
stalling for time.  The restaurant's ventilation system was beginning to
clear the air.  Satan was puzzled to see what sort of being could survive,
and actually claim to breath, the most polluted, brimstone-filled, darkest,
smelliest, smoke that existed in the universe.  (Satan's smoke breath was
rated to be equivalent to approximately 10,000 cigars plus 25 diesel trucks
and one iron ore extracting plant.)

"Well, for those of delicate taste, I would suggest the Vorturian High
Society Picnic Lunch; I myself prefer the Vorturian Heavy-Duty Construction
Lunch in a Black Lunchbox #4."  Satan could begin to make out the outline
of a reptilian form.

"What do have for the more vile beings?" asked Satan.

The reptilian turned to consult the illuminated menu, found that he
couldn't see it, and moved further back into the smoke to peer at it.
Satan observed that it had a large tail.  "Ah... the Vorturian Asphalt
Sludge/Nuclear Waste Lunch with a side order of French Fried Leeches would
probably be appropriate."

It had been a long time, Satan thought, since he had had really good
Asphalt Sludge.  "I'll take it, but could you make that a side order of
Chicken Entrails instead?"

"Certainly," the being said.  The smoke cleared, and revealed the being to
be an electric blue upright reptile, with a huge tail, thick stocky legs,
small arms, and glistening white fangs.  A ridge of fins ran down its back.
The huge eyes had a malevolent glare.

A dragon!  Satan had wondered where that goody-two-shoes up in Heaven had
hidden them.  Dragons had been some of the nastiest, evil-tempered beings
ever to roam Alterverse #1, but in the great magic clean-up of the Middle
Ages, Heaven had decided that dragons had to go.  A good possibility for an
ally, or - Satan narrowed his eyes - a formidable foe.  The dragon produced
the lunch on a tray.  "That was for here, wasn't it?" the dragon asked.

"Fine," the Embodiment of Evil said.  "May I have a game piece?"  He paid
in gold coins from his stolen money.  "Keep the change," he offered in his
best insinuating voice.

The dragon took the coins.  "Really, sir?  This is quite a bit of money.
Nuclear waste is quite cheap these days - no one really seems to know what
to do with it."

"I insist," Satan said, his voice sliding over itself like a frictionless

"Thanks, pal!  Here, I'll join you for lunch."  The dragon turned to the
drink machine, and pushed for a large Asphalt Sludge.  Black goop issued
forth into a cup.  It put a straw in when the machine was done, and started
slurping.  Then it jumped over the counter, landing with a resounding thud.
Satan nibbled on his Chicken Entrails as they went to a booth.  Gold always
worked on dragons.

"So, you breath smoke, do you?" he asked.

"Oh, sure," the dragon answered, "and methane, or oxygen, hydrochloric
acid, hard vacuum, you name it, I can take it."

"Fire?" asked Satan.

"No problem -- FFFFFFWWWWWWOOOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHHHH!" the dragon said, as it
toasted the table, the tray, and singed Satan's red suit (made from
asbestos, of course - it flaked sometimes, but no matter, he wasn't
allergic by asbestos dust like some beings).  The Chicken Entrails were
black ash, but the Nuclear Waste glowed brighter than ever.  "Sorry," the
dragon said.

"It's nothing."  He did check inside his suit, however, to make sure the
game catalog hadn't been burned.  His game card, which was on the tray, was
charred beyond recognition, but it had been the 32nd Cygnus X-1 piece he'd
had already.  "Let me guess -- you're a dragon?"

The dragon suddenly looked uncomfortable.  "No," it said softly.

"Oh, come on, you breath smoke and fire, and you're a reptiloid.  You must
be dragon," said Satan.  "I have some opening for dragons in my business,
you know."

"No, I'm not a dragon," the reptile insisted, a little louder.

"Are you sure?" asked the Duke of Hell.

"Yes, I'm sure!" it suddenly shouted.  "I'm sick and tired of all you
people coming in and saying, oh look, it breathes fire so it must be a
dragon!  I'm not a dragon!"  It stood up.

"What the hell do you think you are, then?"

"I'm a Genetically-Engineered Giant Gila Monster," it said.  "I have a
nice, pleasant disposition, UNLIKE DRAGONS, and I enjoy basking in the

"Oh please," Satan said sarcastically.  "Basking in the sun is *so*

"Well, TOAST YOU!" the Giant Gila Monster said, and belched smoke.  Fire.
Methane.  Vacuum.  More fire.  The Nuclear Waste on the tray melted, and
even Satan could begin to feel the heat.

"Turn your thermostat down," Lucifer suggested.

"MELT down," the reptile suggested, adjusting its flame to a nice, hot,

"I can see I'll have to do it for you," Satan sighed.  He reached out to
the creature's neck and started to squeeze.  The Giant Gila Monster's
Genetic Engineering was top quality, Satan had to admit; the neck was
particularly resilient.

The not-dragon turned his flame directly into Satan's face.  Satan noticed
his nose drooping past his mouth.  Apparently Hell had no fury like an
insulted Genetically Engineered Giant Gila Monster.  But Satan kept at it.

"You'll regret this!" the monster said, squeaking a little.

"I've never regretted anything I've done so far... and this is just a
little warm up for what I'll do when I get ahold of that accursed Agent
357!"  He willed his hands to go through the reptile's neck.

"I swear, you'll re-"  The neck snapped.  The flame stopped.  Satan
straightened up, and shoved his nose back where is belonged.  This part of
the restaurant - the "non-smoking" area, Satan saw - was a slag heap of
melted plastic (he savored the smell), glass, and metal.  He checked to
make sure the "Collect the Universe" game catalog was still unsinged, and
then went to the restaurant's counter.  He stole all the game pieces,
stuffed them into his pockets, hastily consulted his map, and ran off to
pillage the next Vorturian Variety Lunch restaurant.


How long will it take Satan to get all the game pieces?
How is it that the flame of a Genetically Engineered Gila Monster is hotter
  than hell?
Do they really have "nice, pleasant dispositions, UNLIKE DRAGONS"?
Am I getting silly beyond the bounds of SFSTORY?

No, that would be impossible.  But tune in to SFSTORY again... because
  I'm going to try anyway!

***** Appended 20:45:41 on 10/21/88, Posting #    44 *****
Subject:     Debut
From:        Scott McGuire (89SGM at WILLIAMS)

It was another time, and another place.  Even another Universe.

Once again, a black rectangle appeared in the middle of an otherwise
typically dull scene.  A psychedelic splash of color radiated from the
flat-seeming shape, and it made a series of bizarre sounds which could
easily be taken for an excellent 20th Century European Art Music example to
the slightly educated ear of most slightly educated Terrans.  The noise
died away as a Terran emerged from the rectangle.  It then disappeared.

He looked around.  He saw a swimming pool (still filled with leaves and
alligators), some chairs, textbooks, bronze and stone statues, trees, and
(as he looked up to find the source of the surreal light illuminating it
all) a very... confused stellar neighborhood.  That is how he described it
at that very moment:  due to the unusual workings of cause and effect in
this particular alterverse, what this person thought became this very prose
you are now reading.  This situation could of course be modified, but it
took time and experience as an "Author" to accomplish that.

Which brings us back to Andrew.  He turned back to where the odd
rectangle had been seconds before and yelled, "You could have at least
given me some help?  An instruction guide, perhaps?"  With this, a huge
pile of paper materialized a few feet above a hitherto unnoticed and thus
unplanned-until-necessary-to-the-plot table, and fell with a hefty thump.
Andrew walked over to the pile, and picked up the first sheet.

"SFSTORY: The Complete Works Thereof."  Oh no: would he have to read
all of this just to get started?  He asked this question aloud.

"No," said Scott, who hitherto had also gone unnoticed as he was
sitting behind Andy's back, immersed in Chaotic Dynamical Systems again.
"It's really not necessary:  you have your characters, so just read the
last few entries and you'll get the hang of it."

"Oh."  A typically profound statement from Andy when he was confused,
which occurred too often for his comfort.

"A few quick notes:  you can accomplish almost anything here in this
alterverse by your thoughts.  Experiment with that a bit, but don't go

"Oh, like that?"  Andy pointed at the perverted day/night?? sky.

"Uh, yes.  Sound, real objects, whatever.  You can do your posting from
here of course:  just don't get involved directly in the other alterverses,
particularly those you or another active author is working on. It can
have... unpleasant consequences.  Any questions?"

"Well, not really..."

"Good.  See you later."  With that, Scott stretched out a hand, and
another of the rectangles appeared over him.  With a hum and hand gestures
reminiscent of the wizard in Dark Castle, Scott motioned the rectangle over
himself, and zapped out of Alterverse 233.  Andy was alone.

He picked up one of the last sheets in the pile, and began reading.
Within 15 minutes he had an idea of what he was going to do.  This could be
a lot of fun, and could also be very embarrassing.  Well, first I'll try
out the place here before I start writing.  He formed a distinct concept in
his mind, concentrated (being a beginner this was harder for him than most
of the other authors) and voila!  Mozart's Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K183
started ringing through the air.  Too soft, he thought, "turning" up the
volume.  Neat!  He then conjured up some spheres made of pure silver and
set them spinning around one of the statues which suddenly resembled some
archetypical Deity-sort of figure.  Then laser beams of varying colors shot
out from around the pool, converging on the head of the statue, which was
surrounded with a dry-ice sort of fog.  The beams occasionally reflected
off of the orbiting spheres, sending the beams out in all directions.
Suddenly, most of the brighter stars disappeared, leaving a few dim but
colorful stars to shine with a clarity that would have made most
astronomers weep. (Naturally this meant that the light had dropped to a
nighttime level.)  A perfect copy of Terra's full moon appeared above,
Somehow, without Andy's noticing, the music had changed to some tune that
he was sure that he had never heard before.  But it was so captivating that
he could not take his attention away from it for several minutes.
Obviously his subconscious desires were also being read into this strange
"background music."  Andy suddenly noticed a staircase in the ground next
to the pool that seemed to go into the ground and disappear below.  He
started to investigate it, but then realized that he had a job to do.  So,
he found a good chair and brushed the debris off of it, sat down, conjured
a pen and legal pad (his preferred medium next to... oops.)  Andy threw the
newly acquired items into the air; they vanished, to be replaced by a
terminal which landed heavily in his lap.  Andy picked it up, set it down
of a table, and started typing.

WILL this new author preface all of his entries with scenes from
  Alterverse #233 (donttryitauthorsonly: thatmeansyou)?

WHY is this posting coming from 89SGM at Williams when the author is
  LEWIS at Ithaca?

JUST how is Andy going to pervert Ian Lockheed's character to his
  own twisted and devious ends?

YOU will find out... you can find out... but do you DARE...

***** Appended 21:55:44 on 10/21/88, Posting #    45 *****
Subject:     A brief explanation
From:        Scott McGuire (89SGM at WILLIAMS)

To avoid confusion, it should be noted that the last entry, "Debut," was
written by Andy Lewis (LEWIS at ITHACA), who is staying with me for a few
days.  He was so eager to start his new life as an SFSTORY author that
he just had to post from here!
                                                --Scott McGuire
(Who wrote the one two entries ago about Satan.)

***** Appended 16:13:48 on 10/22/88, Posting #    46 *****
Subject:     Enter/exit Lockheed
From:        Scott McGuire (89SGM at WILLIAMS)

(from Andy Lewis, LEWIS at ITHACA, really)

Time Patrol Captain Ian Lockheed, temporary Chief of Time Central and owner
of the same exact appearance as that of Sting, circa 1986, was pacing up
and down the halls of Time Central.  He had just dispatched another ream of
paperwork from "his" desk only to find three more appear from various
departments within the complex.  This was a fairly daunting setback in and
of itself, but it had happened at least twice daily for the last five days.
Ian was simply depressed; he had recently spent a lot of time and effort
(and risk of life and/or limbs) attacking Time Central simply to remove
Logan, and that sort of situation wasn't supposed to happen.  The HMS
Synchronicity III was not nearly on schedule due to, among other things,
misread service requests leading to the shipment of 100 tons of Spam
instead of what Time Central usually used.  Finally, Sean Landorian wasn't
talking to him.  Well, at least the last of these gripes could be dealt
with, possibly without undue grief.  Ian returned to Logan's old office and
found Sean now up to his eyebrows in reports instead of in over his head.

"How's the flood?" he asked, stepping over a box of LD's (Large Disks) with
more data that needed processing and more damage reports to the entered
into Time Central's computers.  (This could not, of course, be done since
the central computer was still at about 18% operational speed and not
talking to anybody just yet, thanks very much (it seems that the foremost
programmers around seem to endow their creations with stereotypical "female
snit" personalities; who knows why)).

"Mmmmm..." Sean muttered, looking up briefly to glare at Ian and then
return to the reports.

"Hey, it won't last forever.  Next week they're shipping in a few dozen
temporaries from IU who will help sort the mess out."

"Well, if you're the *&#(*&!  ^&*(!^)*  Acting Chief of Time Central, why
don't you do some of this ?[!* instead of just me!" Sean exploded.

Ian was surprised, as he had been wrapped up in his own problems of late.
"...I have been..."

"You've been pacing around here for the last week acting like a
self-pitying stuck-up twit with no regard for his fellow officers!  Since
when are you so *&$!*)= important that you can't condescend to help out!?"

"...Well, I... hey look!  I've spent the last few weeks busting MY rear and
risking MY life just to kick Logan off of this heap.  Now I'm expected to
clean up the mess while the likes of 357 gets to go on holiday.  At least
HE has a real job to do before that in catching Omegas!"  Ian paced some
more, running his hands through his hair and shaking his head.  "I can't
put up with this drivel anymore.  I've got to get out of this scene for a

"Well, how do you think that I feel, Mr. Goody Two Shoes!?!?"

"I don't care anymore.  I've got to get a break.  OK Landorian, now YOU'RE
temporary temporary head of Time Central until I get back." With that, Ian
walked out the door.

"Hey wait! Where the hell are you going?"

Ian didn't answer, and was into the hyperelevator before Sean could catch
up with him.

Where is Ian headed, and why is he suddenly being such a stuck-up, selfish
  and generally undesirable Captain?

How will he get there with HMS Synchronicity III still unfinished?

How will Sean react when he realizes that many of the female incoming IU
  temporaries work summer vacations at Club Nympho?

Will he then think that Ian was doing him a favor (even though he wasn't
  really even thinking of that)?

How long will it take for this Sting-loving author to start having Ian
  quoting his look-alike (unbeknownst or not)?

You will find out if you've got the guts and the brains to digest another
  unhistorically-based, truth-twisting posting of SFSTORY from this author
  (who is still posting from Scott's account, so don't blame him).

***** Appended 13:00:08 on 10/23/88, Posting #    47 *****
From:        (AMBERGE at RPICICGE)

Goldy, who was quite confused, (and also quite sick) was pissed off
at the world.  Actually, he was pissed off more at one particular
part of the world.  Narrowing it down even further, he was explicitly
pissed off at the *#$#**^$ humanoid who got him into this mess.
There he was working his normal hourly shift at the Vorturian Variety
Lunches restaurant, with his little buddy Gil (the Genetically-
Engineered Giant Gila Monster, who Goldy sort of started looking
after, as Gil has a pleasant disposition and likes basking in the
sun; you see, Gil doesn't much care for people mistaking him for a
dragon, but because he has a pleasant disposition, he tends to not
stick up for himself:  hence, the need for Goldy, who likes eating
Nuclear Waste and Fudge Ripple Shakes....)

Well, Goldy was right in the middle of cooking up a few dozen giant
Rocs eggs and homemade Carbon-14 strips for his buddy Gil, as it's his
"birthday", when *shwissh*, some *****le conjured him away.  Needless
to say, he was not happy to be teleported away, let alone having his
friends favorite food burnt.  So when he landed to wherever the hell he
was going, he was a slightly perturbed.

Now, here's this little jerk sitting here looking like just the type of
idiot who would conjure up a dragon while he was still on the clock, and
expect him to do him a "favor."  Well, he'll get a real favor alright.

^I wonder how tasty an idiot is?^ wondered Goldy as he began to chomp
down on the Idiot.

A couple of chomps later, Goldy recognized a slight taste in his mouth.
He dropped the idiot, and took a look around.

^FUDGE RIPPLE!!!!!^ he bellowed, and dove in.  ^Too bad I didn't bring
any Nuclear Waste...^
Now Goldy had a really nasty stomach ache, and his head ached too.  (One
of those headaches you get from eating Fudge Ripple too fast...)
He was sitting on top of a mound of Cookies -n- Cream, and slowly

^Damn...  I don't know where I am, I burnt Gil's food, the Idiot's gone
away in some damn ship, I can't move, and I forgot my "Better Desserts
with Cranberry Sherbert" recipe book!^  said Gil.  ^I guess I'd better
go back to work and see if Gil's mad at me for burning his Bacon&Eggs.
I'll take care of that idiot humanoid later...^

Goldy then concentrated on teleporting back to Vorturian Variety

Unfortunately for him, Omegas had succeeded in brushing off a FEW flakes
of paint, which had then combined with the Fudge Ripple (having no
choice), and were now inside Goldy's aching tummy.  (But, as there
were only a FEW flakes, he could still teleport, cause Goldy's a BIG guy
ya know....)
Goldy -n Gil, Goldy -n Gil, I'm gonna get me some more Goldy -n Gil...

Why is the Dragon's name Goldy???  What's he gonna do to Omegas???
What the hell difference does it make?!?

And why are all these new authors posting all of a sudden?!?!

***** Appended 16:39:31 on 10/24/88, Posting #    48 *****
From:        Lewis at Ithaca (LEWIS at ITHACA)


      Ian Lockheed opened the control panel of the hyperelevator and punched
in codes ensureing that neither Sean Landorian nor anyone else short of
another author could deduce his location or presence.  Then he entered his
PIN, withdrew a few thousand in small, unmarked bills, and then proceeded to
enter his desired destination: The Hangar.  A sudden loud burst of music
accompanied this last action of his, causing him to look around the small
chamber in confusion until he realized that this was just the first of many
such intrusions likely to be perpetrated by one of the authors. He sighed,
resigned himself to his fate under the errant hands of a new author, and
waited until he reached: The Hangar.  (more music)

As he left the hyperelevator, he first saw the HMS Synchronicity III across
the huge bay: half built as yet and thoroughtly unspaceworthy, but containing
several new and improved features:  An advanced Marsalis generator, a Kirkland
2 fusion battery, and even a HAKIM (Highly Advanced Kill-It Machine) attack
system.  Too bad that he wouldn't be able to wait for the ship to be completed.
That would take another three weeks: he had about seven minutes until Sean
caught up with him and escorted him back to his desk and his paperwork.  He
walked away from the hyperelevator shaft, away from the Synchronicity III, and
towards a small, sleek two-being scoutship, The HMS Sun.  Faster than almost
any other ship either built or dreamed of- it alone could take him where he
was going before anyone could catch him.  He got into the cockpit, acitvated
the appropriated controls, and was off and warping out of the hangar airlock and
the appropriated controls, and was off and warping out of the hangar airlock and
into space long before the first klaxons were sounding.  Several seconds and
dozens of light-years later, Ian laughed outloud.  True, the Synchronicity III
was a great ship.  But there was nothing like The Sun.....

Where is Ian going, and why is he in such a hurry to get there?

How long will it take before this new author inadventantly intrudes on someone
else's plotline?

The answers are coming as soon as the author decides exactly what Ian is up to.

***** Appended 01:04:17 on 10/25/88, Posting #    49 *****
Subject:     Wherein Nathan Finally posts again!
From:        Nathan Irwin (UD140680 at NDSUVM1)

     At Time Police Central, Temporary Time Chief Sean Landorian was in a
foul mood.  Former Temporary Time Chief Ian Lockheed had just been
snatched away by another one of those of those annoying authors, and God
only knew WHAT misadventures Lockheed was going to get into.  (Actually,
due to Clause 16 of the now-famous Jeff Smith accords, even God had
absolutely no idea as to what Andy had in mind for Ian, but Landorian, of
course, could not have been aware of that)

     In any event, the Billy Dee Williams lookalike was hard at work,
trying to reduce the huge pile of paperwork that filled his office, as
well as seven more offices down the hall.  What with Ian, and Floyd
Cobalt, and Agent 357 all off on adventures, it was beginning to seem
that Captain Landorian would never catch up on all this paperwork.

     Suddenly, in a fit of rage, Sean screamed at the top of his lungs.
He pulled out his standard-issue Auto-Nuker, and was preparing to blast
a rather large stack of papers totally out of existence, when the top
paper in the stack caught his eye.  Landorian sheathed his weapon, and
grabbed the aforementioned piece of paper.

     "Orders for First Lieutenant Zark Flyby:" the paper read.

     "Proceed immediately to the Destructionvax satellite and, using
omniviolent account, destroy same.  Return then to Time Central and
await orders from myself."

                                   "Time Chief Logan"

     "Ensign Malone," yelled Sean, "Get in here.  NOW!"

     Ensign Malone, a tall, red-headed, pleasant-looking chap rushed into
the office.  "Yes, sir?" he asked, "What's the problem, sir?"

     "These orders to Lieutenant Flyby.  Why weren't they cancelled?"

     "It would seem, sir, that these orders were somehow accidentally
overlooked.  Are they important?"

     "Bloody Hell." muttered Sean, "If Flyby were to accomplish that
mission, we'd all be atmoized, before you could say 'formaldahyde.'"
He marched over to a communications console.  "Get me Zark Flyby," he
ordered, "NOW!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     "I'm sorry, sir," said Jay to the armor-clad stranger, "but
Disneyland is CLOSED for the season.  I CAN'T let you ride the Matterhorn

     The armor-clad stranger displayed a particularly deadly-looking
rifle, and waved it under Jay's nose.  "Bang." he said, "Pow.  Zap."

     "I'm afraid I don't understand what you're...."

     "If you don't let me ride the Matterhorn one more time," the
stranger screached suddenly, "I'm going to atomize your zit-infested

     This was simply too much for the poor lad.  After quivering in fear
for a few moments, he began to speak.

     "O...Oh....Okay.  Um...How about....I let you ride ONCE more, okay?
And you let me LIVE.  PLEASE?"

     "Deal." said the stranger, sheathing his weapon.

     Suddenly, another stranger came racing towards them.  "Zark," he
shouted, "Come QUICK.  We've got a message from Time Central!"

     The first stranger merely grunted, and began to follow the second
stranger to the parking lot.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Out in the parking lot, Zark found his ship, the WarpShip Edwin
Meese III.  He stomped up the gangplank, and stomped into the bridge,
where he found his shipmates, Louie Stevens, Bubba Wojohowitz, and Billy
Guardian - Stu the Ghost, as usual, was nowhere to be found.  On the
communications screen, Zark saw the image of Time Captain Sean Landorian.
"That little Internal Investigations wimp boot-licker." thought Zark to

     "Whaddya want?" Zark asked the screen.

     "Lieutenant FLyby.  This is Time Chief Landorian.  Your mission to
destroy the Destructionvax satellite has been cancelled.  Return
immediately to Time Central and report to me."

     "No go." said Zark, "You're not Time Chief.  Logan is."

     "Logan turned out to be a Destructionvax PLANT, Flyby, and I'M
in charge for the time being.  Now get your butt BACK here, or I'll
send you back to the Academy!  Time Central out."  With that, the
communications screen went blank.

     Zark proceeded to curse for several minutes, but eventually, he
told Bubba to plot a course for Time Central.

     "Hi-ho." said Louie, because the author wanted him to have at least
one line in this posting.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Within an hour, the Meese III had docked at Time Central and its
crew was meeting with Chief Landorian in the Central Conference Room.

     "So, as I was saying, Flyby," Landorian intoned, "with Logan out
of the picture, there'll have to be a major shake-up here at Time
Central.  And frankly, I want an officer with your, umm......presence
here at headquarters, rather than out pounding a beat."

     "But what'll I DO?" asked Zark

     "From now on, YOU are the Time Police Public Relations Head and
our official media spokesman.  Judging by your records, you should be
able to handle a few JOURNALISTS, right?"

     "Yes, SIR!" Zark bellowed.

     "Good.  Report for duty tomorrow morning, CAPTAIN Flyby."

     "Yes, SIR!"

     "But what about US?" asked Bubba, "WE aren't Time Cops."

     "You three are free to go," Landorian said, indicating Bubba, Louie,
and Billy, "and I will have a ship outfitted for you tomorrow.  And I
have a proposition for YOU, Stu."


     "It has come to my attention that you are an extra-corporeal entity;
in the vernacular: a GHOST.  Am I right?"


     "In that case, I would like to offer you a position in the newly-
created Time Police Supernatural Investigations Department.  Of course,
you'd have to go through the Academy, but if Flyby got through, you
should have no trouble.  Are you interested?"

     "Sure."  Stu isn't a very talkative ghost, ya know.

     "Fine," announced Sean, "I'll see you all tomorrow morning.  Now,
if you'll excuse me, I have some paperwork to catch up on."

***** Appended 06:03:37 on 10/27/88, Posting #    52 *****
Subject:     Escape of Omegas
From:        The Cowboy (CFW9587 at TNTECH)

In the brig of the HMS Golden Lance, Omegas brooded.  Thanks to the metallic
flake paint that covered him, he was unable to teleport away, summon help,
or even blast his way out.  What really irked him was that the hypertechnical
orange thingy he needed to remove the paint was just on the other side of the
wall to his left.

But then, he got an idea...

Waiting until the ship's computer, a sophisticated piece of technology in
the form of a VAL9000, was occupied with course corrections, he threw a
punch towards the nearest wall.  The wall was teleport-shielded, heat-shielded,
ray-shielded, and even microwave shielded, but it was former immortal-strength-
shielded.  Omegas quickly stepped out of his cell and into the engine room,
where he proceeded to remove the HOT (Hypertechnical Orange Thingy) from the
mega-gauss inducer.

Forward in the control room, Time Agent 357 first noticed that something was
wrong when the streamers of light that the special effects people had been
generating suddenly changed to corkscrews of rainbow colors, indicating that
the F/X crew was going on strike or the ship was spiraling out of control.
As his breakfast came rushing up from his stomach, 357 concluded it must be
the latter.

In the engine room, Omegas was using the HOT much like an electric razor,
except instead of plugging it into a wall socket he had instead hooked it
directly into the HMS Golden Lance's ABPSAR-powered engines, to remove the
metal flake paint.  Soon he was completely rid of it and, for that matter,
his clothes.  No matter, he thought as he summoned up a new outfit.  Placing
his ray-bans in his leather jacket's pocket, he turned his attention to the
mini-ABPSAR and the mini-timetraveller he had stolen not so long ago.  They
were still covered with the metal paint-like stuff.

Omegas had just cleaned off the mini-ABPSAR when 357 burst into the room.
He leveled his telechronal displacement pistol at Omegas and prepared to
fire.  Omegas casually flipped him a bird and teleported away.  357 cursed,
but then realized that Omegas had left behind the mini-ABPSAR....

As Omegas prepared to materialize, he realized that once again he had
teleported without setting his co-ordinates.  Deciding that anything was
better than wandering the multiverse as an energy pattern, he decided to
materialize anyway and take his chances....

***** Appended 12:54:24 on 10/27/88, Posting #    53 *****
From:        Lewis at Ithaca (LEWIS at ITHACA)

The HMS Sun consinued on its merry course away from Time Central at record and
even CD-breaking speeds.  Ian Lockheed was coolly instructing the onboard
computer to excecute the usual electronic countermeasures used to evade
detection and just wing it instead.

"I wonder if Janice will be there," he mused as the Sun continued on its speedy
journey to parts unknown (to the readers as yet and also to the author who is
writing to try to evade writer's block on that point).

Needless to say, all hell was breaking loose at Time Central.  The paperwork
was still growing at an exponential rate, the temporary help und.  Sean Landor
arrived, and Ian couldn't be
found. Sean Landorian was beginning to get really annoyed with the situation.

"Still no word on his location?" he asked one of the technicians in one of
Time Central's many and advanced Spatio-Temporary Tracking Rooms (SPAM's).

"No sir! And neither is there any information currently available on his
location either, sir!" the technician barked.

Sean was caught offguard by the unwanted wit of the tech's answer.  He was
about to give her a sharp reprimand and order her to hull-scraping duty
with it for two workshifts without dinner when he remembered.  "These SPAM
rooms are not subject to the normal laws of cause and effect.  Slapstick
humor of unusually high levels was imparted to those regions directly from
alterverse 233, resulting in situations often frustrating to those of a
literal minded nature who might enter them.  So I must act with extreme
caution and bravado, much like the character Gamez T. Kyrk or alterverse

"What was that, sir?" the tech asked innocently.  Sean was shocked to find
that his unspoken silloquy had become a spoken silly-speech of the sort often
found in alterverse 438, Doonland.

"Nothing of any consequence, ensign. Now, I, want, you, to... try, your
VERY , hardest, to find that ship, and reportbacktomewhenyoudo, Kirk out."
With that, Sean left the SPAM and returned to normal space/time inside
Time Central.

Will they be able to find Ian, much less catch him?

Why is Ian behaving so irresponsibly?

Why was the bulk of this posting so silly?

When does the next pun come?  (in a few lines...)

Ian Lockheed suddenly was interrupted from his musings by a buzz from the
computer.  "Yes?" he asked in some irritation.

"There is a small deposit of oxydized SPAM on the left dorsal spoiler.  It
should be removed immeadiately," the computer said.

Drat, Ian thought.  "So what you're saying is that there's a little black spot
on the Sun today?" he asked.

***** Appended 21:01:08 on 10/27/88, Posting #    54 *****
Subject:     357 gets peeved
From:        The Cowboy (CFW9587 at TNTECH)

Time Agent 357 stood and allowed his jaw to do pushups.  He stared at the
bit of empty space that had previously contained Omegas.  "Needlewarp," he
muttered beneath his breath.  "Val, where'd he go?"

=Unknown,= replied the voice of the VAL9000 computer.  =He didn't set his
co-ordinates, so he could be anywhere.=

357 was peeved.  He couldn't go on vacation until he brought in Omegas.  But
capturing the former immortal was a little more dificult than he had
figured.  The ex-retired Time Agent considered his options.  "Val, set
course for netherspace.  We're going to need help."


Omegas travelled through the nonexistance of teleporter travel without the
slightest idea where he would materialize.  He materialized anyway, deciding
that it was the best thing to do.



In the hills of east Tennessee, a very happy man stood.  He had been
bragging to his friends about his prowess with his rifle, and had just
proved it by firing a two-hundred foot shot directly into the eye of a
rampaging bear, dropping it in its tracks.  Grinning maniacally, he turned
to his slack-faced friends and held out his hand for the $250 apiece they
owed him.  "Pay up, pork face."

"That's impossible," muttered one of his friends.  "You can't kill a black
bear with a .22."

"I had a tailwind," explained the man.  "Now pay up."

The man was still counting his money when suddenly he, his friends, the
bear, and a large part of the mountain itself suddenly disappeared, only to
be replaced by the form of Omegas.

"Safe at last!" screamed Omegas, who was not at all sure of his surviving
materialization after the author's quiptic comment earlier.

"Not yet!" came the answer from a small man carrying a large megaphone.

"Really?" asked Omegas.  "Do you think you are of any danger to me, human?"

"No, but they are," he said as he pointed to the far ridge.  Over it poured
tanks as thick as ants, and as big as small office buildings, crushing the
forest beneath their monstrous treads and belching foul fumes into the
previously clean air.  Mortars and artillery pounded around them, flattening
what remained of the mountain and totally surrounding Omegas.

"Who are you guys, anyway?" asked Omegas, beginning to be concerned.

The small man swelled with importance.  "We're the EPA."

Omegas looked about at the damage they were doing to the surrounding hills.
"The Enviromental Protection Agency?!?!?"

"Precisely.  Your materialization here threatened the sole remaining natural
habitat of the East Tennessee ground finch."


because you've seen where teleporting gets him

***** Appended 20:27:28 on 10/28/88, Posting #    55 *****
From:        Lewis at Ithaca (LEWIS at ITHACA)

      The Sun:  A small, thin spacecraft with some decorative spoilers and the
most advanced, compact drive system known to man (but not to women: Janice
Pendarvis, the designer of the Sun's drive systems has even hotter ideas for
propulsion, but is saving them for her own personal uses).  Only forty feet
long, yet faster than battlecruisers over 50,000 times it's size with engines
over 7000 times larger and over 17.4 * 10E89 credits more expensive.  How so?
Magic, that's how.  (Yes, this is a SF story, I meant Magic when I said Magic,
so just cool it)

     Janice Pendarvis:  One of the most talented propulsion engineers ever to
exist.  Also for reasons unknown to all but a handful of the Time Police, one
of the least recognized people in proportion to her talents in existance.  Her
exact whereabouts are not known to any living Time Police Officers as a matter
of internal policy: if the Time Patrol knew where to find her, so would anyone
else that TP didn't trust.  Needless to say, business arrangements are conducted
with the utmost discretion and only when Janice damn well feels like it.  The
reasons for her isolation are unknown to anyone but Janice.  She may just like
the peace and quiet (but probably not).

     Ian Lockheed:  Looks like, sounds like, (the other 3 senses we won't go
into here), acts like Sting.  He just isn't.  A Time Police Captain, he's
been a little annoyed with his job of late (so he says) and has run off with
The Sun even whilst the HMS Synchronicity III was under construction.  Why?
Job disatisfaction, he says.  Most of the readers will soon be saying "bull-
**********" (whatever that means) to that.  TP's just don't do that sort of
thing.  Usually.  At any rate, Ian is going to be in hot SPAM once he is
caught.  But at any rate, Ian has no knowledge of his look-alike, and thus no
conception of the possibilites this likeness could have for him were he to go
to Terra and attempt to pass himself off as the real Gordon Matthew Sumner.

     The Twilight Zone:  Not quite what Rod Sterling had in mind, but still a
very real danger to anyone who is stupid to attempt to fly through it.  It lies
'thataway' 'a good piece' from Time Central in the direction of 'parts unknown',
which is where Ian is currently headed.

     Snarks:  Lewis Carroll would have given up mushrooms forever if he had
any idea of what these really are.  They can be found most often in.....
The Twilight Zone... (de-de-da-da, de-de-da-da, de-de-da-da)

     [These comments are all pertinent my first four entries.  Other lists
pertinent to the characters/plotlines of the other authors have been done
in the past, and may be done in the future.  It may be premature to do this
sort of explenation this early in my plotline, but knowing the basics never
hurts: Andy Lewis "but when you call me you can call me AL"]

Ian Lockheed brought The Sun, his stolen ultra-mega fast and also very small
spaceship, to a halt.  This involved changing his velocity from many factors
over the speed of light to a speed of "less than zero" meters/sec in only
four seconds.  The resulting deceleration would have crushed almost any object
preforming such a manouver; most spaceships of comparable but lesser speeds
had ways of getting around this.  It is usually 'explained' by some sort
of bafflegab regarding the space-time continum; however, often times those
who take this tack have no conception of what they're on about.  The smart
ones take space and/or time travel (both are the same if you are up on Einstein)
for granted, or get smart like certain authors and say it's MAGIC...

Once the Sun was parked in interstellar space, Ian activated his flight suit
to EVA mode.  This gave him the same protection that NASA strives for with
it's spacesuits but with half the bulk and ten times the sex appeal.  He put
on his helmet, opened up the cockpit window, and jetted over to the spoiler
where the SPAM had affixed itself to the ship.  Just a small blob, but if
not removed, it could wreck severe damage to the ship. (SPAM undergoes sub-
atomic reorginazation when bombarded by sufficiently high levels of EM
radiation (in this case cosmic rays and X-rays do it nicely) and explodes
with nearly all of it's putrifying mass converted to energy.  SPAM is much
more effective than plastic explosives in equal amounts, a fact that would
delight certain terrorists if they knew.)  Ian took a sonic disintegrator
from his utility belt and carefully vibrated the SPAM off of the spoiler.  This
done, he carefully examined the reexposed surface area, deemed it undamaged,
and returned to the cockpit.

"OK computer," he said after resealing the 'windshield' and repressurizing
the cockpit, "resume flight plan.  And give me the ETA to Janice."

"Flight resumed."  The Sun was underway, going from less than zero to supra-
light in 3.2 seconds.  "ETA to Janice: unknown. Trajectory: 45 mark 267 factor
6 gamma z to The Twilight Zone".  The Sun's computer wasn't particularly
talkative and seemed to enjoy giving it's information in a quasi-military
fashion which wasn't really vogue in the Time Police anymore.  Ian wasn't
too concerned with that at the moment.  "If there's anywhere that she's
hiding that can't be found easily, it's the Twilight Zone," he thought aloud.
The computer, in a rare display of wit, played the familiar theme to Rod
Sterling's version thereof.  Ian hit the computer console impatiently, and
it eventually shut up.

OK, how can The Sun have a fixed destination if they don't know where to
find Janice?

Why does Ian want to find Janice?  Sex?  Politics?  Or just a social call?

When will we find out what these Snarks do?

Will this plotline ever again have any connection to the rest of SFStory?

Well, I've been through every single book I know, to try to soothe these
thoughts that plague me so...

***** Appended 12:28:26 on 10/29/88, Posting #    56 *****
From:        Lewis at Ithaca (LEWIS at ITHACA)

"Ian..." a disembodied voice murmured.  Ian looked around, with a stunned
(OHMIGODAMIGOINGNUTS) expression on his face.

"Yes?" he finally said.  He could see nothing but interstellar space outside
the 'windshield' of The Sun.

"Stop stalling.  Go find Janice..."

***** Appended 15:43:56 on 10/30/88, Posting #    57 *****
Subject:     By any other name... {part 1}
From:        Scott McGuire (89SGM at WILLIAMS)

SUMMARY:  G. X. P. Varnyloop, the blue-skinned self-proclaimed Name-Maker,
has awoken in Time Central Headquarters finding himself accused of two
things: (a) being a Time Ensign and (b) a traitorous one at that.  He
remembers nothing, and is attempting to escape, but has come face to face
with five angry Time Agents.


Varnyloop looked at their determined faces, their determined Telechronal
Blaster barrels.  He raised his hands into the air.  "So, gentlemen, what
are your names?" he stalled.

"I'm 6502!" the most junior agent exclaimed.

"Shut up," suggested the agent next to him.

But Varnyloop was already at work.  "6502?  My dear chap, what a dull
number.  What an even worse name.  Is that really your real name?"

"Real names of Time Agents are classified!" shouted Sean Landorian, now
Temporary Temporary Chief of the Time Police, running onto the scene with
his blaster drawn as well.  "Now what is going on here?"

"Request permission to execute one G.X.P. Varnyloop, former Time Ensign,"
said one of the agents.

"Denied," the Billy Dee Williams look-alike commanded.  "And he's not a
former Time Ensign until his trial is finished."

"I resign," G.X.P. said simply.

"There, you see?" the agent said.  "Now may I have permission?"

"Be quiet, agent 978," said Sean, walking up to Varnyloop and giving the
blue-skinned being his best stern look.

"Say, didn't we call for Lockheed?" asked Agent 978.

"Left, unauthorized, in a tiff," the Temporary Chief replied.  "Varnyloop -
get back into your hospital room.  You haven't recovered from your wounds

Varnyloop, still holding his hands in the air, looked himself over.  "I
would say that I am."

"I say that you're not!" insisted Landorian, glad to have something to vent
his frustration on.

"Who is the Name-Maker here, me or you?" asked G.X.P.  Sean didn't answer,
he merely waved his telechronal blaster.  The other agents eagerly moved in
too.  "Obviously me.  And I would like to take this opportunity to award
you with the name of..."

"Shut up!"  Landorian stuck the blaster in Varnyloop's open mouth.
G.X.P.'s eyes widened in surprise, and his mouth would have fallen open,
but it was otherwise occupied.  "Do you know what this is?"  He pointed at
his blaster with the hand that wasn't holding it.  Varnyloop nodded, making
the blaster wobble dangerously.

"Murglfwip," the blue-skinned Name-Maker said.

"What?"  Sean ripped the blaster out of Varnyloop's mouth.

"It's a telechronal blaster," G.X.P. began.  "Not to be confused with a
telechronal displacement blaster, which sends objects through time, this
blaster has advanced time circuitry which allows it to send its plasma
blast back in time so that the blast arrives at the target in the gun sight
at exactly the same time the trigger is pulled.  So there is absolutely no
way for a target, say for instance me, to dodge because the gun has really
already fired in the past to arrive at my present location precisely.

"The rub is that this is a Time Police secret and only Time Agents are
supposed to know about it," he finished.

"Exactly right," Sean said with some admiration.  In the seconds that it
took Landorian's brain to realize that the part about it being secret and
no one else knowing its function contradicted the fact that Varnyloop, not
a Time Agent, had explained it, Varnyloop spoke again.

"However, I'd call them... malfunctioning telechronal blasters."  He shoved
his way through the crowd of agents, who all immediately tried to terminate
him.  (Section 4967.323 of Time Police Prisoner Conduct:  a suspected felon
who tries to escape lawful detention, as defined in section 393.14, may be
terminated in any legal manner, as defined in section 1592, even if a
superior officer has clearly stated that said suspected felon may not be

They all failed because due to a malfunction, their telechronal blasters
sent the plasma blasts aimed for Varnyloop's present location backwards in
time a week, resulting in some chars on the walls which had baffled the
service and maintenance staff six days ago.

Varnyloop ran away.


He sat in the dark janitor's closet, ignoring the digital mop which was
beeping for his attention.  He pretended the beeping was from the
communications panel of his very own spacecraft, and it was an incoming

"Time Agent 4T5, this is the Chief.  Please proceed immediately to Sector
G391 to apprehend Emperor Q-tyr-q of the planet Trarg, and overthrow his
empire.  It's a big job, and we'll need our best agent."

"Yes, sir, I'm on it."  He programmed the ship's computer, and in seconds
he was there...

...the Emperor Q-tyr-q was a large and imposing, if fat, man, who was
wearing a crown encrusted with gems, a gold thread robe, and a gaudy mirror
fabric suit.  4T5 could see his distorted reflected in the suit as he
raised his dual telechronal blasters at the evil overlord, who was
guffawing evilly.  "So the pathetic Time Agents think they can depose me?
Free the righteous?  Well, even their best man can't stop me.  And I
believe that's you, Time Agent 4T5."

"Die, evil scum!" 4T5 shouted, and fired both his blasters.  The shots
ricocheted off the mirror suit harmlessly.

"Ha!  And you probably thought that I wore this just because it was gaudy!"
the Emperor blustered.  "Now... die!"  He pointed up, where a fully armed
planetary assault tank was lowering itself on cable from the ceiling.
"Pretty chandeliers aren't the only thing I decorate my ceiling with..."

4T5 was staring up at the tank.  All of its weapons were aimed at him.  His
only hope was to make it fall from its great height, and have it smash to
pieces on the ground - but the cord it was lowering itself on was made from
three-feet thick Ultralloy.  The valiant Time Agent's only chance would be
to shoot up into the hole from which the cord was being lowered, and
destroy the winch machinery.  He stepped back, the tank's weapons following
him, and fired.  There was a flash and a bang.  The Emperor Q-tyr-q ran
forward to see what 4T5 had done, and the tank fell on him, bringing his
evil reign to an end.  It had gone exactly as 4T5 had planned.

"Good work, 4T5, I knew we could count on you," the Chief said when he
sendtin his report.  "For you next assignment, we want you to-"


The mop was shouting at 4T5.  4T5 hit its off switch, and sighed.  There
was no way he knew of that a janitorial robot could enroll in the Time
Police Academy.  He'd even risked illegally accessing the main computer to
make sure there were no loopholes in the admissions policy.  The only one
he'd found was that he could get in if his father had been a member of the
Time Police.  Which was difficult, as robots didn't have fathers...

He picked up the mop, and prepared to leave, when the door opened and his
photoreceptors overloaded with the unexpected input of light.  The door
slammed shut again, and a heavily breathing humanoid leaned against it,
attempting to catch its breath.


* Continued in part 2 *

***** Appended 17:12:53 on 10/30/88, Posting #    58 *****
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