Main Sfstory Page     Previous Log     Next Log     Index for Logs 031-060

Sfstory Log 033

Subject:     By any other name... {part 2}
From:        Scott McGuire (89SGM at WILLIAMS)

G.X.P. Varnyloop ran down the corridors of Time Central, debating what his
next course of action would be.  He wheezed from the unaccustomed exertion.
He would steal a ship.  That was always important when one wanted to escape
from one place and go to another one, very far away.  He'd go to Earth - he
had a contract to finish there.  It was a political one, he recalled.  That
Great Communicator fellow's vice-president wanted a new name, as he was
running for president.  G.X.P. had decided that "The Education President"
would be good.  Then a long vacation on his home planet of Anthrax V.

The Time Agents were shouting out curses and unpleasant epithets as they
followed him.  Varnyloop observed that the were gaining.  He grabbed the
next door and entered, slamming it behind him.

It was dark.  He pulled in great gulps of air, and as he did, he realized
there was someone else in the room with him.

"Pardon me - do you know that you're in a janitorial closet?" asked a
tinny, sort of metallic voice.  Outside, he heard the Time Agents run past
the door.

"A, [inhale], janitorial, [inhale], closet?" G.X.P. asked.

The lights came on.  He was indeed in a janitorial closet, with buckets and
shelves full of non-abrasive cleaners and such.  Sitting in the chair was a
humaniform robot, holding a computerized mop.  It looked at him with its
electronic eyes.  "Yes, a janitorial closet."

Varnyloop finally caught his breath.  "My dear fellow.  You are right - it
*is* a janitorial closet.  Is it your closet?"  He narrowed his eyes.
"You're not a Time Agent, are you?"

A cross between a sigh and an electronic whine came from the robot.  "Alas,
I am not a Time Agent.  I am merely Service and Maintenance Robot 4T5, with
the 8VTM option.  Yes, this is my closet.  Are you a Time Agent?"

Varnyloop looked at the Time Ensign uniform he was wearing.  "I'd say I was
wearing a business suit, wouldn't you?"  The robot nodded.  "Then clearly I
am not a Time Agent."

"Oh."  The robot sounded disappointed.  "I would like to be a Time Agent.
Wouldn't you?"

"No thank you," G.X.P. answered.  "Although I hear they have a Time Ensign
vacancy to fill..."

"Robots cannot become Time Agents," 4T5 said mournfully.  "So I am resigned
to a life of mopping."  He made some quick, dispirited motions with his

G.X.P.'s cunning mind made a few connections.  "Do you know the location of
the nearest hanger?"

"Why, yes.  It is on my work schedule for today.  Which reminds me that I
am overdue," the robot grabbed a bucket and stood up to leave.

"One moment, my good automation.  My card."  Varnyloop gave 4T5 his
business card, which said "G.X.P. Varnyloop LXVIII, Reputation-Inflater,
Name-Maker," and had a rather silly slogan on it.

4T5 read it, and handed it back.  His photoreceptors regarded Varnyloop
seriously.  "I do not understand."

G.X.P. drew himself to his full height and proclaimed, "I am the
Name-Maker.  I give you a new name, and you begin a new life.  For
instance.  How does Time Agent 4T5 sound to you?"

4T5's eyes dimmed and somehow he obtained a faraway look.  "Can you really
do that?" he whispered.

"Consider it done, if you show me to the spaceship hanger."

"Where I could then get a ship of my own..."  4T5 said dreamily.  He
dropped his digital mop.

G.X.P. knew when a customer was hooked.  "I proclaim you to be Time Agent
4T5, renown throughout the galaxy as the first robotic Time Agent."  He
paused for five seconds.  "Now may we go to the hanger?"

"Of course," 4T5 said.  "Allow me to gather my belongings."  He picked up a
rag and a box.  "My collection," he said of the box, as he idly used the
rag to polish himself (a small appendage which had suddenly extruded itself
from his abdomen was holding the rag).  "It is essentially minerals."  He
opened the door, allowed Varnyloop to go through first, and closed it.  The
digital mop was left behind in the dark closet as 4T5 dashed into the new,
exciting phase of his life.


Will G.X.P. and 4T5 escape Time Central?

Why has no one ever thought of putting a robot character into SFSTORY

What will happen to 4T5 (with 8VTM option and a collection of essentially
  minerals) when he realizes he is aiding a criminal?

Are some of the sentences in this posting far too long, difficult to
  understand, and probably grammatically bad?

Will Sean Landorian's really bad day continue?

All this and more... next time in SFSTORY!

***** Appended 18:43:14 on 10/30/88, Posting #    59 *****
Subject:     MORGANA; or integrating plotlines
From:        Dr Abigail Ann Young (YOUNG at

The noise in the bar stopped abruptly, just the way it does in
bad Westerns. The door was opening and a computer account dressed like
a character from a forties soap-opera was coming in surrounded by a
a powerful and faintly unpleasant aura.

All the other patrons knew -- without being told -- that this account
tied in directly to the omnivax core.  They also knew who it was looking
for.  As a path opened silently to the back row of tables, the bartender
wished that the first time the Doctor showed up from altiverse #1 with
her mini-ABPSAR (stolen many years earlier from the pocket of von
Spleen's lab coat while von Spleen was in the shower. [I told you
that the Mad Doctor had gone to grad school with von Spleen, didn't I?
(Don't ask why she had access to said pocket -- von Spleen's real motive
in seeking her company was a desire to avoid doing his own laundry -- Ed.)]
and kept by her ever since), he had told her they didn't serve Terrans
in his establishment.  The patrons wished they were in another bar, in
any other altiverse (except the FastFoodOnly altiverse).

        *The omni- computer accounts (eg, omniscient,  *
        * omnipotent, omniviolent accounts) all tied in*
        *in some way to the omnivax core, as its name  *
        *implies.  The use of an omniviolent or omni-  *
        *destructive account was restricted to really  *
        *BAD CHARACTERS, or to those being lured into  *
        *the service of dvax5, the node which tried to *
        *subvert the Time Police (See articles under   *
        *Time Police; Logan, Chief; and Agent 357 for  *
        *details).  Later historians have been divided *
        *on the correct identification of the account  *
        *known as MORGANA, but the majority of them now*
        *believe it was a back-up system for the rene- *
        *gade dvax5 node, Decimate_them_all at dvax6.  *
        *******         -Encyclopedia Galactica  *******
        *******          Eleventh Edition        *******

The henchmen were scared, really monumentally frightened.  Even
the Doctor was frightened by the sheer destructive capacity which
was evident from the mere appearance of MORGANA.  MORGANA. on the
other hand was incredibly amused.  What a bunch of maroons!!!  A
couple of dictionaries and a mad woman sitting around back tables
in cheap bars in low-rent altiverses trying to take over Altiverse
#1!!  Who'd want it?  She had other fish to fry.

^^^All right.  Now that I'm here, I want to make a few things clear:
I'm in charge.  The PLAN has been changed, and I'll tell you what it
is.^^^  The voice was smooth as silk and very scary.  It sounded a bit
like Joan Crawford in "The Women."

The Doctor and the dictionaries nodded, temporarily helpless before
the power of this omniviolent account.

^^^The destruction of DVAX5 will soon take place: the power of Paladins
cannot be overcome indefinitely, despite ITS attempts.  But the preser-
vation of DVAX5 is the Prime Directive.  I have therefore been sent with
this CD-ROM, cleverly disguised as a release of "Dream of the Blue
Turtles," which contains a complete technical read-out and all other files
necessary to reconstruct DVAX5.  You are going to help me hide it.^^^

&&But how?&& said the Doctor, at last recovering her power to think
and speak. &&And why? I may not approve of the authors' spelling,
sexist plotlines, and language, but I don't want to see the
multiverse dominated by DVAX5!  That would be worse than sexism.
Besides, if DVAX5 survives, It will destroy von Spleen, and I want to
save that task for myself: that was to be the consummation of THE PLAN.&&

The dictionaries were rendered incapable of speech by their surprise
at hearing the Doctor say anything was worse than sexism.  They looked
surreptitiously at her glass, but it looked like draught beer.  MORGANA
paused in removing an innocuous looking CD box from her purse and
smiled.  Three patrons from the bar along her sightline died immediately.
The Doctor wished she'd ordered more beer before asking.

^^^I don't require your co-operation, just a doppleganger^^^

With that, she removed a small device resembling a sonic screwdriver
from a compartment of her purse (the sort of black model carried by
JC in "The Women") and pointed it at the Doctor.  For an instant there
were two Doctors sitting side by side looking blankly at their beer
glasses.  Then one of them had vanished, as had MORGANA.   The two
dictionaries looked at one another in horror as MORGANA's laugh
came from the mouth of the Doctor's double.

She gestured at the beer mug:
^^^Get rid of this slop and bring me some rye.^^^




Tune in next time for the answers to none of these questions!

***** Appended 13:32:03 on 10/31/88, Posting #    60 *****
From:        Lewis at Ithaca (LEWIS at ITHACA)

                     The Twilight Zone, Part I

Ian Lockheed still could find no trace of any known form of entity lurking
outside or inside of The Sun that could be speaking to him.  "Computer, anal-
yze and report on that voice!" he ordered nervously.


"You have spent the last four postings idleing outside the Twilight Zone, when
you could have found Janice by have wasted too much time."  The voice,
which had up to this point had an unhuman, ethreal quality to it, now became
more angry and somehow familiar.  "Now, since you are too TIMID to enter the
Zone on your own..."  The voice suddenly faded out in mid-sentance.  The Sun's
engines came back on, and the ship plunged ahead into... (you know)

Needless to say, Ian wasn't thrilled with this latest development.  After all,
no one just willingly flies into the Zone; the only surviving beings to come
out of it were driven utterly mad by whatever lurked within.  And such was
their madness that anyone who saw, heard, or smelled them went mad also within
a few seconds, and they in turn... it became an insanity virus which caused
the Time Police a lot of effort (not Time and Effort, the Time Police can
travel through time and so seem to accomplish missions instantly if they so
desire, although the individual Officers make damn sure that they keep a local
chrnometer on them for the overtime).  But then no one knew where Janice was,
either.  The orders for spaceship technology that she filled appeared just
outside the Zone, and her instructions for payment were to put the money in
very large, unmarked credits in unmanned drones which were then sent into the
Zone.  So that seemed the most logical place to start a search from; however,
Janice obviously knew this.  This is probably why she used the Zone as her
mailing address: no one in their right mind would ever go there, especially a
Time Patrol Captain or a Time Agent.  They should know better.

Ian did know better, but he also had an unequivocal, desperate need to find
and speak with her.  So here he was.  He just hadn't quite decided on what
to do next.  Now, the decision was made for him.  The Sun accelerated into the
Zone, leaving known regions of space/time far behind.

The exact size of the Zone is unknown, but somewhere within an
area of several thousand cubic parsecs.  It's boundaries seem to shift on
occasion as ships scheduled to pass near the Zone often dissapeared until
the spacefaring races got smart and gave it more room, thus adding to the
uncertainty, mystique, romance, and peril of the Zone.  As a dismayed Ian
watched through his cockpit windows, the space around him became darker, \
blacker.  The stars shone wildly, insanely, seemed to flash and crawl and
spin in space.  Then they all disappeared, leaving the Sun in total darkness.
After a few seconds had passed, Ian realized that the interior lighting of
the Sun had also gone out.  He yelled at the computer to reverse course, but
it too was unresponsive.  Only the engines and basic life support seemed to
be working.  Then life support cut out; Ian really didn't notice as the
seals on the 'windshield' opened and it started to open.....

What was that strange voice?

What will Ian find in the Zone, and will he ever find anything again if his
cabin pressure leaks out of the opening window?

Who really owns the Sun?  And is this ownership related to Sean Landorian's
*really* bad day?

When will the author lighten up and indulge in a fit of wild debauchery and
explicit sexism?

At least two of these questions, maybe three, will be answered in "The
Twilight Zone, pt 2" of SFStory.  (I was going to put some pumpkins in
the Zone, but forgot; so Happy Holloween, and think of poor lonely authors
who don't have a costume and aren't going anywhere tonight and won't have any
fun at all...

***** Appended 17:31:04 on 10/31/88, Posting #    61 *****
Subject:     Back to Floyd and Quooth..... at last!
From:        Beth L Jones (Weredillo) (C465904 at UMCVMB)

In Altiverse #233:
     "Three weeks?  Tsk, tsk," chided McGuire, the man in the cricket
     "I got attacked," the armadillo said.  "I had three midterms and
two papers within that time, not to mention senior year stress.
Admittedly, SFStory should take precedence in my life, but sometimes
these paltry details get in the way, you know?"
     "Well," answered Mcguire.  "Seeing as that you're relatively new,
and have submitted MERELY three entries, we can overlook this error.
But just once!"
     "Some of us haven't submitted for weeks," the armadillo replied,
not to retaliate but merely to defend her already-weak position.
     "True, true."  McGuire looked sad.
     The armadillo shrugged.  There wasn't much else she could do or
say, except write and save her good name.  She jumped up on
one of the lawn chairs sitting about the pool and began to write on
a yellow legal pad.  She had to rack her brains to remember just what
was going on in her plotline, and geez, she STILL couldn't remember the
name of Quooth's home planet.  She'd have to avoid putting elements of
19th century American Transcendentalism into her entry, though it was
tempting to have the A.S. Terrapin II make a visit to Walden Pond.
     A shock of future horror assaulted her senses.  What would happen
to SFStory during finals and Christmas break?

* * * * *

     The A.S. Terrapin II moved serenely through space.  Space, with its
vaccuum, comets, meteors and novas can, at times, be serene.  This was
one of those rare times.
     Lieutenant Floyd Cobalt was at the controls of the ship.  He and
his companion Quooth were going to Quooth's home planet, Wzaxtil.  Floyd
was on vacation; Quooth was going home.  Many of you in the reading
audience most likely already know this.  Many of you most likely also
know that Floyd is a blue anthropomorphic turtle Time Agent, and Quooth
is a big blue grasshopper. However, some of you may be forgetful like me
and need to be reminded of such things.
     Thence we come to the present day.

* * * * *

     What do a turtle and a bizarre grasshopper have in common? What
could they possibly find to talk about?  Well, not much.  But Quooth
and Floyd did argue about a lot of things; today it was about the menu.
     "No Gortil legs?  No konob fruit?" chirped Quooth.  Phe expressed
phis frustration by waving phis front legs and dancing in a circle.
     "Sorry, Quooth, the food dispenser has never heard of Gortil legs
or konob fruit.  I'm afraid not many Wzaxtilians go on spacefaring
     "So what am I stuck eating?"  Quooth continued phis expression of
irritation by doing a grasshopper version of the watusi.
     "Well, it's not like there's nothing palatable for you in the
machine's memory,"Floyd snapped. (does this make him a snapping turtle?)
"If you want something disgusting to eat, I'm sure it can make up some
chocolate-covered ants.  And the machine has fruits of all kinds to
choose from."
     Quooth stopped dancing, and reflectively bent phis antennae toward
phis mandibles.  "Chocolate-covered ants? Mmmmm." Phe whistled "New York
New York" in delight.  Phe sobered up and said, "I'd still prefer the
Gortil legs.  But that sounds like it will suffice."
     Floyd sighed.  "All right.  You go ahead and punch them up on the
dispenser, while I continue piloting.  Could you get me a tuna sandwich,
by the way?"
     Quooth agreed and hopped down to the galley.  Phe stood in front of
the food dispenser.  Wow!  What an odd assortment of buttons--all
totally incomprehensible.  Many beings in the galaxy could instinctively
understand and reply to spoken English; science fiction TV shows over
the years had proven correct in that aspect.  Written English, however,
was a different story.
     Quooth, being an independent-minded creature, decided to wing it.
Phe punched a random sequence of buttons, then a red button that
appeared to be the activation switch.
     A bowl thumped down under the dispensing chute of the machine.
Large, brown irregularly-shaped lumps filled the bowl.  Quooth exclaimed
"Chocolate-covered ants!"  Phe then remembered phe also had to get
dinner for Floyd.  Phe punched in another random sequence of buttons.
Another bowl plopped down, this time to be filled with purplish sludge.
     Quooth picked up the bowl and scrutinized its contents.  Phe even
got brave and tested it for taste.  "Raspberry yogurt," phe concluded.
It wasn't a tuna sandwich, but it would do.  If Floyd didn't like it,
he could always share Quooth's meal.
     Floyd was negotiating an asteroid field when Quooth returned.
Quooth quietly set the bowl of raspberry yogurt next to Floyd and
sat in his own seat.  Floyd said "Thanks" a bit distractedly as he
swerved around a moon-sized hunk of rock.  Eventually he finished the
tricky maneuver and turned to his meal.
     He shrieked.  Have you ever heard a blue turtle scream?  No?
Quooth twittered and stood on phis front legs in alarm.  "Lieutenant
Cobalt!  What is the matter?"
     "What IS this?" Floyd managed to sputter.
     "I have tasted it and it appears to be raspberry yogurt."
     "I asked for a tuna sandwich.  That wasn't so difficult a request,
was it?"
     "For someone with no comprehension of the written aspect of
language, I believe I did quite well, thank you," Quooth replied
     "Ooops.  Sorry, Quooth.  Here, why don't you take the controls
while I get my own dinner. There are no obstacles on the scanner for the
next hour or two, but if an emergency comes up, this lever makes the
ship go up, this one makes it go down, this one left, this one right.
Got it?"
     Quooth hopped into Floyd's chair.  "Got it."  This would have been
a fairly simple action, had Floyd and Quooth been of the same species,
or even of similar body structure.  We can only leave to imagination
the picture of a grasshopper trying to sit in a chair once occupied
by a turtle of approximately the same size.  Said feat accomplished,
Floyd left Quooth to phis chocolate-covered ants and the console.
     Quooth munched on phis ants and watched the monitor.  Kinda boring,
actually....nebula cluster to the left, pretty large sun close by on
the right, large glowing orange blob straight ahead, and getting closer.
     Quooth munched and watched.  Eventually the entire monitor glowed
orange, and the ship came to what in gravity would have been a
screeching halt.
     Floyd's newly-acquired sandwich went flying across the galley.
"What the (censored)?"  He dashed up to the control room as fast as his
stumpy legs could carry him.
     He entered the control room and shrieked again; Quooth again did
phis alarmed body configuration.  Floyd at times wished he were braver,
as brave as his heroes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Quooth wished
Floyd were braver too--the alarmed body movement took lots of energy.
Besides, a turtle's shriek isn't exactly pleasant to listen to.  "What?
What....I only left for a moment...wha...."
     Quooth munched on another piece of chocolate.


Long live people with short memories!

***** Appended 19:35:58 on 10/31/88, Posting #    62 *****
Subject:     IT LIVES!!!!!!!
From:        Eric, Lord Sabre (enlqy9c at buacca)

     *Oh my god!  It's him!*

     Various authors were summoned to the scene by the autosensor terminal
which had been looking for the particular being this ambigious entry
is mentioning.  Nathan, Cowboy, and Scott looked at the gold/emerald auraed
being they had been patiently searching for for so long.
     **Sabre looks like hell,**  said Nathan.
     Sabre--once the most prolific of all the Sf_story authors but now strangly
silent for over a month lay face up on a sandy beach.  He wore a hawaiian shirt
that made plaids and strips look like they went together.  His hair was
moussed into and indescribably horrid mess, and he wore a bow tie that Paul
a Pabst Blue Ribbon was lodged in his hand, and his eyes were propped open,
with Morton Downey Junior blaring from a TV screen he was being forced to
     "Who could have done this to him?" asked Scott, who was ready to throw
     The Cowboy whistled softly.  "Someone who didn't want Sabre posting--seems
to me."  He spat, and fired a shot which blew out the TV screen, taking
Morton with it.  "Worst torture I've ever seen happen to a man."
     "Quick," said Nathan, "Help me get this bow tie off and the twinkie
out of his mouth--look, his aura's so faded he hardly counts as an Author!!"
     Scott, Nathan and the Cowboy brought Sabre back to the Author's Altiverse,
where they forcefed him coffee and donuts, interspersed with occasional
cans of Classic Coke, until Sabre could talk.
     "All those hours....nothing but Wheel of Fourtune...Morton Downey...
the Brady Bunch...somebody kill me, please....."
     "Damn," said the Cowboy, "It could be weeks before he recovers and
becomes off-beat and cool enough to post normally again!  Until he does, we'll
have no way to know just who is behind this!!!!"
     "Yeah, and its been so long, no one even remembers his plotlines to
destroy Dvax5!"
      "Right, Nathan!" said Scott.  "His automatic Story Transcriber must have
uncovered something so major, it scared someone really bad!"
     " can we get him to recover?"
     The three thought for a long time--indeed, straight through three hands of
poker and half a bottle of gin, two Star Trek re-runs, and a short nap.
     "I've got it!"  said Scott.  "We'll prop him up next to his terminal,
with a copy of the book, and relagate him to Sf_synopsis postings.  Not only
will the constant synopsising help him recover and get in the mood of
Sfstory again--he'll also get rid of a major chunk of the backlog of
volumes still to be summerized!"


For the answers to these and many other questions unrelated to anything,
tune in to SFSTORY, where men are men, and the imbedded blank is just a bad

***** Appended 01:24:37 on 11/05/88, Posting #    64 *****
Subject:     Yet Another New Author
From:        Nemesis Milph (JC06081 at UAFSYSB)

(This Imbedded Blank Line left in intentionally...)

(I believe.  If not, maybe  They will tell me  the name of  the Altiverse
once  they send  me a  copy  of the  rules  I've broken.  Oh well...  ;-)

There was  a Soft Popping  Noise (SPN). A lone  figure, dressed in  a Red
leather  knee-length jacket,  covered with  momento pens  that one  can't
quite read from here. He stands in  the middle of a large empty room, the
only sound his own  breathing, and the soft tapping of  a keyboard in the
background. He hears a page turn...

"Ha! Did it! They're *ALL* out to Lunch!"

He said this as if it were true in more than one way.

"I knew thatsending them two hundred thirty seven identical coupon books,
each containing  a coupon for  a free slice of  a three topping  pizza of
lure them  away from  Altiverse 233  long enough for  me to  bypass Their
security measures. Now,  on to business! Where could It  be. It should be
around here somewhere..."

The figure spys a stack of dusty boxes in a corner of the room. He begins
to search  through them, one  by one. Upon prying  open the third  box, a
box innoxiously labeled 'Documentation', a look of joy leaps to his face.

"Here it is! Just as I thought! Labeling the box 'The Documentation' kept
Them  from opening  it! They  just tossed  this Beauty  into the  corner!
Authors NEVER read The Documentation!!!"

With this, he  removes a very sleek obsidian colored  terminal from among
the styrofoam peanuts and wadded newspaper.

"The fools. They've been waiting for this 'Mark Seven Underscore Gee Nine
Data Terminal' for  such a very long time, and  it's been here, discarded
into the refuse..."

A look of  madness enters his eyes.  He Knew, when he packaged  it at the
mail order company, that this was no ordinary terminal...


"Look, it's so Black, your hand just gliiides across it..."

"Yeah! 'Ats une 'ot lil terminal, Nemie!  You know what I think we should
do wit et?"

"Yeah! STEAL it!"

"No no no, you ditz. Package it  up and send 'er to wherever it's 'eaded!

With this, Nemesis' coworker shakes his head and supervises 'Nemie' as he
very carefuly packaged it, not realizing that Nemesis had labeled the box
'Documentation.' Nemesis, you  see, had other plans for  the terminal. It
would be his, and he would rise to be

                   (Drum Roll Please)

An AUTHOR!!!       (Musical Fanfare)


He sits down and begins to type...

A few of these questions might get addressed later. Aaah, why not, here's
a scene from the next bit, answering the last question:

The figure  begins to sit down,  but then suddenly spins  around and runs
at incredible  speed to the broom  closet. The reader realizes  this is a
broom closet  because a sign  on the door reads  "BROOM CLOSET --  DO NOT
OPEN  FOR ANY  REASON, NO  MATTER HOW  MUCH", and  that's all  the reader
manages to read before Nemesis opens the door and reveals,

           (ANOTHER drum roll Please)


"HMMM... Wrong closet."

He opens the  door next to it, which  also has a sign on  it, which reads
something  like "Altiverse  233  Frisbie Warehouse",  although you  can't
quite tell, as  he jerks it open  too quickly. But that's  what it looked
like. ('Freebie', maybe?) Anyway, inside we see SABRE! Listlessly reading
from the  Archives, summarizing all  he sees before him.  Nemesis reaches
down and pushes a large red button  that reads something like "push me if
the key  click becomes  too annoying"  although it's sort  of hard  to be
sure as the lettering's pretty small.

"Poor  soul. Probably  done  in  by the  Servants  of Bavaria.  Again..."

He  shakes his  head  and  returns to  the  ominous obsidian  terminal...

***** Appended 15:19:34 on 11/07/88, Posting #    65 *****
From:        "Andrew Lewis" (LEWIS at ITHACA)

                              The Twilight Zone
                                   Part 10

       There is, of course, no part 10.  Onward....

                              The Twilight Zone
                                   Part 11

    He awoke with a fierce headache.  "Ohh..." he moaned as he looked around.
His boat, a small wooden affair not ten feet long, was now afloat in the lake,
 and he in it.  But he was tied to the oarlocks and could not move his arms as
 they were tied behind his back.  Next he noticed the sky that he was staring at
was gray and foggy as it always was in Avalon.
    He could hear nothing but the sound of the water lapping on the boat.
The boat was tossing lightly from side to side, still moored to land by a rope
that Arthur could not see from his vantage point.  He kicked a bit: it didn't
improve his situation.  Before he could get any further in his attempts at
freeing himself from his bonds, a dark shape appeared behind him.  Strong
intutions surged into Arthur's consiousness: he knew this person.  But he
didn't yet know who this person was that he knew.  But the dark figure (made
even darker by the lighting as well as by his intents)  pulled out a sword,
cut the mooring rope with one quick stroke, and kicked Arthur's boat into
the lake.  "You will reach the whirlpool within minutes.  And since you can't
row, or even swim, you will be helpless to escape!"  The figure laughed, and
slid out of view as the boat shuddered into motion.  Arthur heard a horse
neigh, and gallop into the distance.  He felt anger and humiliation at being
duped and tied up by this mysterious person whom he still couldn't identify.
It was all the worse that he didn't know whom exactly it was he should be
plotting revenge upon.
    The boat continued its glide into the lake, now being dragged on by
some unknown current.  The whirlpool? thought Arthur as he managed to stretch
his bonds sufficiently to get a glimpse out over the rim of his boat.  The
fog was thick enough that he could no longer see the shore, and due to the
fact that the boat had been spinning slightly during it's glide, he had
no idea which way the shore was anymore.  The ropes were not painfully tight,
but would not come undone either.  Arthur craned his head back to get a
look at the knots, and he discovered why: there were no knots.  Somehow the
rope fused to itself where knots between two ends of the rope should go.
    "Sorcery!" he cursed.  He tried vainly to gnaw the rope around his left
wrist apart, but he only succeeded in reminding himself how hungry he was.
There was nothing sharp that he could find to abraid the rope within the boat.
Now he was gliding more swiftly.  Arthur could hear a distant roaring sound,
which grew slowly louder as the boat moved towards the source of the noise.
    My dagger! Arthur suddenly thought.  He always carried a dagger at his
belt.  If he could wiggle it out of the scabbard and hold it in place with
one hand while... but he soon discovered that the scabbard was empty.  Of
course his sword was gone; he had thrown it away five months ago when he
vowed to carry no other blade than Excalibur, which he had lost two weeks
before that when the Lady of the Lake visited him in Camelot late one
winter night for... consultation.  She had snuck out of the castle somehow
with the sword, leaving behind a note that she was tired of Arthur and
had found someone to take away her heartache since Arthur had gone and
found Guinevere.  And this was the very lake where he had originally
found the mighty sword those long months ago, on a misty day much like
this one.  He had seen that mysterious arm reach out of the water, holding
the sword out for Arthur to grasp.  She then climbed into his boat and
proceeded to 'discuss' with him the benefits of having a private court
nocturnal consultant who would help him with his policy decisions and
self-image difficulties.  But all that was moot now.
    "S'hir..." he called.  But no one answered.
    "Where are you?  I'm waiting for an answer!" he yelled agitatedly.  Still
no one answered.  The boat slid on, and now Arthur could see the whirlpool not
twenty yards ahead, but fifteen.

    How many pop music quotes slipped into the last page of this posting?

    Will the next posting answer the questions asked in the previous one?

    What does all of this midevalism have to do with Ian Lockheed?

    Is this stuff interesting or just too much campy, archytypal writing?

    The answers will eventually find their way into SFStory, but for those
    who just can't wait, write to me and I'll tell you and thus ruin your
    future enjoyment of this plotline.  And for those who are wondering if
    they missed Twilight Zones 2 through 9, no you didn't.  I'm using a
    different numbering system for no particular reason.  Authors are ecc-
    entric like that, and can't spell too well, either.

***** Appended 22:21:57 on 11/07/88, Posting #    66 *****
Subject:     Omegas gets every1 peeved at him
From:        The Cowboy (CFW9587 at TNTECH)

Omegas stood on what used to be a mountain in east Tennessee.  Now it was a
pile of rubble quickly being reduced to even smaller rubble by the
approaching tanks.  Singley, the tanks were no match for the ex-immortal,
but in their overwhelming numbers they were, well, overwhelming.

"You'd best come with us!" whispered the EPA agent with the megaphone.

Omegas didn't answer, but rather stuffed his hands into the pocket of his
leather jacket and tried o think.  His hand suddenly felt something, and he
realized that it was one of the super-powerful technological devices he had
stolen several postings back.  Unfortunately, he couldn't remeber which
device he still had and which he had lost.  Also, he couldn't remember which
device he had succeeded in removing the metallic flake paint from.

"Well?" asked the EPA man.  In lieu of an answer, Omegas picked up the man
and threw him into the path of the nearest tank.  The driver started to
swerve to avoid him, but then recognized him and ran him down.  Omegas
decided that EPA officials who used megaphones were not popular with their
co-workers.  Flipping a New York salute to the driver, Omegas carefully set
his co-ordinates and teleported.


With a flash of bad special effects, Omegas materialized at the Pearly
Gates.  "Wow," he said, as he had not gazed upon the splendor and glory of
Heaven in some time.  He had also not gazed upon the splendor and glory of
several of the female angels, but what he said then was unprintable.  He hid
in a cloudbank until St. Peter took a break from checking souls into Heaven,
then went over to where The Book was located.

"Yo, Pete!" he called out.  No answer.  That meant that St. Peter was out of
hearing, as he reacted rather strongly to anyone calling him Pete.  Omegas
quickly openned The Book and scanned through the pages.  Finding the
appropriate entry, he ripped out the page and replaced it with a handwriten
sheet of paper.  He then watched with satisfaction as reality altered itself
ever so slightly, and the piece of paper mysteriously bound itself into The
Book, becoming indistinguishable from the other pages.

Omegas then patted the pockets of his leather jacket, checking to be sure
thaBOTHTH the mini-ABPSAR and the mini-timetraveller were in his posession
and in perfect working order.  Pulling their instruction manuals from
another pocket, he began to familiarize himself with their operation.

He had just put away the instructions when he was shocked to hear a rather
loud voice yelling his name.  "OMEGAS!" screamed St. Peter.  "You've really
put your foot in it now!"

"Gulp," said Omegas, teleporting away just before St. Peter vaporized the
cloud on which they were standing.  St. Peter and they other angels
plummetted towards the ground, until one of them realized that they could
fly and had a good laugh about it.


In the Author's Alterverse, a black rectangle appeared.  A large beared man
wearing a hat and boots stepped through, carrying a large grocery bag.  The
rainbow afterimage of his teleportation reflected lazily off his Arnold
Swartzanegger "I'll be back" Terminator sunglasses.  Before the trumpgate
closed, another person stepped through, wearing normal street clothes as
opposed to the dental floss string bikini she had previously appeared in.
The portal silently shrank to a point and disappeared.

"Come on," mumbled The Cowboy.  "He's over here."  They walked over to a
rather decrepit looking indiviual who vagely resembled Lord Sabre.  The
Cowboy began unloading the bags, which contained the standard fare for
authors:  Classic Coke, pizza, beer, pretzels, and various takeout orders
from various fastfood places.  He also pulled out a Hardee's Moose Cup
(holds one full quart, with ice), a bottle of Jack Daniels, and a two-liter
bottle of Cherry Coke.  He began pouring the Coke into the cup.

"You're not going to let him drink that in his condition?" asked the yet to
be identified young lady friend of The Cowboy.

"'Course not, Connie," he answered.  "This is mine."  He threw the Jack
Daniels into the air, drew his gun, and carefully shot off the bottletop.


don't look at me.  I didn't touch her.

***** Appended 22:23:42 on 11/07/88, Posting #    67 *****
Subject:     Whatever happened to 357
From:        The Cowboy (CFW9587 at TNTECH)

Time Agent 357, liscenced space hero and Champion of Truth, Justice, and the
Ability to Consume Large Amounts of Alcohol, attempted to repair the damage
Omegas had done to his ship's engine systems.  Not only had Omegas removed,
and somehow misplaced, the Hypertechnical Orange Thingy, which was vital to
the ship's operation, but the shot 357 had fired at Omegas just before he
teleported had taken out a good part of the shielding on the Automatic Beet
Peeler and Sub-Atomic Re-integrater.  Both had to be repaired before the
ship could go anywhere.

Well, not exactly.  Thanks to the laws of physics, the ship was going
somewhere.  It was being pulled towards a rather nondescript planet by the
forces of gravity.  Of course, with the HMS Golden Lance's computer down,
357 had no way of knowing that his ship was about to crash into the planet,
so he continued his work.

His work was, of course, interupted when the ship and planet collided.
Luckily, it was a rather young planet, still in a molten state, so the ship
sailed right through it.  The ship was not completely undamaged.  It picked
up a coating of molten iron and nickel, which hardened in the extreme cold
of outer space and gave to once sleek and graceful ship the appearance of an
asteroid on acid.

357, seeing no other alternative, decided to technical technical bullshit
bullshit technical impossible bullshit technical only-in-your-dreams
technical, which had the ship in mint condition in no time.

=What was all that technical bullshit about?= asked the ships computer.

"Don't ask," said 357.  "It got you working."

=Yeah.  What are our orders?= said the VAL9000 computer, noticing that 357
was reading the mail.

"Our orders from Time Central are still the same," he stated.  "Capture,
kill, or otherwise detain Omegas, recover the two devices he stole, save the
universe from certain destruction, entertain the readers of SFSTORY, and
THEN we get to go on vacation."

=Piece of pie.=


=Whatever.  Shall I fire up the engines for high speed pursuit?=

"Pursuit of what?" asked 357.  "We don't even know where Omegas is."

=Incoming message from peter at heavenvm.=

"Give me a hard copy," requested 357.  The video screen began showing the
uncensored version of "Radar does the Marines".  "I meant a printout of the
message," 357 clarified.  "But let this keep running."

357 awaited the printout, then read it to himself, as he hardly felt it
necessary to read it aloud and bore the reading audience.  "Val, full speed
to Heaven," he ordered.  "St. Peter said Omegas was seen there messing
around with The Book."

=You mean """The Book"""?  The one with the complete story of SFSTORY,
including the life histories of all characters?  That Book?=

"Yeah, that book.  St. Peter says he can't determine what Omegas changed.
He hid it pretty well.  But knowing Omegas, it can't be good."

=Best speed to Heaven,= Val reported.


Remember, it's not who you vote for, but that you vote at all.  So be sure
to write in "Tennessee H. Cowboy" for President this November 8.

***** Appended 23:11:44 on 11/10/88, Posting #    68 *****
From:        "Andrew Lewis" (LEWIS at ITHACA)

                             The Twilight Zone
                                 part 100

(What do you mean, where are parts 12-99?  I admit that the accidental posting
of part 11 four times may have you a little confused, but 100 proceeds directly
from 11, as 11 did from 10, and 10 from 1.  Get it?  Jeez, do I have to SPELL
IT OUT FOR YOU????- End of Author's obligatory abuse)

    Now Arthur's boat was in its death throes.  It was spinning around the
vortex, moving faster and faster.  Arthur was none too pleased either.  He still
could do nothing to free himself from the magic rope binding him to the oarlocks
of the boat.  He still had no idea who the dark figure was that had tripped his
horse and defeated him in unfair single combat- wait!  He was beginning to
remember the event!  But it was too late.  The boat was sucked into the vortex
and it slid into the unknown abyss without much fuss.

   Arthur did not perceive most of his apparent demise.  Just as the boat was
being dragged under the water's surface by the strong hydraulics of the vortex,
he found himself lifted out of the boat by some unknown force.  Sorcery... he
thought dimly, as he had been mentally expectant of death and not rescue.  But
he had no better idea of what was happening; the water of the lake was so...
strange and warm...

   "Ian?"  a voice asked.  Ian Lockheed, Time Police Captain and as of part 1,
certainly doomed to an uncertain death in TTZ (CUT the music!  CUT IT!! - The
Author), found himself self-aware again.  He tried to open his eyes and look
around, but he was masked and bound to his bed.  He could, however speak.

   "Yes?  Who is this, please?" he asked.  He was considerably disoriented and
confused: the last coherent thing that he remembered was his ship, The Sun,
being hurled into the Zone by some as-yet-unknown force, followed by a brief
but bizarre series of equipment failures and hallucinations before he blacked
out from exposure to the vaccum of space.  Waking up bound to a rather stiff
bed wasn't what most beings would have expected to follow from an apparently
fatal experience.  Ian wasn't, however, most beings, as he often found himself
reminding various females in his past in attempts of varying degrees of success
to seduce them.  But it was nonetheless true: he was a Time Police Officer,
specially trained to expect that cope with the unexpected, bizarre, and often
author-induced (the least frequent but most unpredictable source of change in
any of the alterverses) situations.

   "Who do you think?" the voice answered bemusedly.  Homo Sapiens Modernus,
Female, age between 18 and 34, mezzo-soprano, around 5' 9", medium weight,
intellegence rating of around 99.99999999595948% based on the historic mean,
green eyes and green hair, brown skin, Ian thought.  Only some of this
came from his training in aural analysis and ear training; the rest was from
his realization of who he was being interrogated by..."Janice!"

   "Bravo!  Do your eyes hurt?" Janice Pendarvis, warp engineer and multi-bank
klavier player extrodinaire, waited for Ian to decide.

   "Um...not really."

   "Good..." she removed his mask.  He was in a fairly dark room, still strapped
securely to his bed.  Janice was standing to the right side of his bed, making
some adjustments to a medical computer hooked up to Ian's bed.  She looked back
at him.  Still the same face after seven years, Ian thought: proud, beautiful,
penetrating.  She could make almost anyone look away with an inquisitor's stare
if she wanted, and so she did to most of the men and women that she met.  Few
people knew why she did this: Ian was not one of them.  Neither did he know
why she rarely did this to him.  "Enjoy your trip?" she asked with more than a
little smirk on her face.

   "I can't say 'it was real'." Ian answered cautiously.  "Where am I?"

   "You know I can't tell you that, at least, in the sense that you would like
to know the exact location of Janice Pendarvis, Warp Engineer and consultant
to the Time Police, so that you could take that information back to your
superiors and have me removed to a 'place of safety' so that," Janice's oration
was growing more sarcastic as she continued to operate the medcomputer without
watching her hands, "my safety and well-being could be insured.  Your Police
friends have tried that routine many times before.  It's fortunate for me that
=I still have the upper hand.  But what I can tell you is that you are in my
house,  undergoing a routine medical scan after your trip from the Zone.
The Sun is in the dock for some minor adjustments.  How did you steal it
anyway?" she suddenly broke out of her speech to ask.  Janice could get a
little long winded, although she almost never said anything unimportant.

   "It wasn't locked up," Ian answered.

   "But only the Chief of Police at Time Central should have had access!"

   "My dear, I AM the temporary head of the Time Police..." Ian briefly told
her of the events leading to his 'promotion'.  Janice was amused.

   "So a desk job wasn't what you had in mind?  These things go along with the
privledges of rank, Ian!" she teased.  The exam complete, she undid the
restraints on the bed, and Ian sat up slowly.

   "Well it was a temporary promotion, and the 'benefits' hadn't arrived yet.
But in the time I was there, I did find out something rather serious." Ian
slid slowly off of the bed, testing his reflexes.  He was a little stiff,
but in no worse shape than before he had blacked out in the Zone.  "What was
that dream about?  I assume that you had something to do with it." he asked.

   "Simple neural stimulation field that put you into a trance for the duration
of the journey from the Zone to here.  I thought that that episode from your
ancestral past would amuse you." she answered.  "You're medically sound, by
the way," she added.  "What was this serious thing you discovered?"

                   The End (of The Twilight Zone episodes)
     What did Ian discover at Time Central that led him to desert his post and
     run off to find Janice?

     How did Janice find Ian?  Why did she even bother to rescue him from the
     Zone if she is as reclusive as she is saying?

     When does the scene of wild debauchery and explicit sexism come?

     When will the author bring a dictionary along with him when he writes these
     postings?  (Subquestion: when will he allocate $20 to purchase one of the
     Webster's Unabridged's from the local bookstore (a steal, normally priced
     at $80), or a Complete Works of Shakespeare for $13?)

     Green hair?  So who does Janice look like?  Does Janice care what other
     people think she looks like?  Has she ever met 357?

     Ian, a decendant of King Arthur?  Is it plausible?

     The answers will slowly drip into the next postings from this author of

     "4T5, you're no Ian Lockheed" - G. X. P. Varnyloop (and it was so)

***** Appended 17:38:23 on 11/14/88, Posting #    73 *****
Subject:     Subplots in Heaven
From:        The Cowboy (CFW9587 at TNTECH)

     The HMS Golden Lance arrived in a splash of colors, brightly
     illuminating the scattered clouds.  It settled down neatly near the
     Pearly Gates of Heaven.  Time Agent 357, Champion of Truth, Justice,
     and the Pursuit of Women wearing dental floss bikinis, strode out of
     the forward hatch and approached the Gates.

     "Wow," said 357, as it was physically impossible to look upon the
     splendor and glory of Heaven for the first time and not say "Wow."
     "Wow," he said again as he approached the elderly angel admitting
     souls into the Promised Land.  "Where's St. Peter?"

     Gabriel looked at 357.  "He's out back packing.  Said something about
     going off to look for Omegas and asked me to mind the store for him."
     With that, the old spirit went back to admitting souls into the
     Promised Land.

     "Oh," said 357, as he knew a angellic brush-off when he heard one.  He
     decided to wait for St. Peter outside, as Heaven was a difficult place
     to get into and even harder to get out of.  He decided to amuse
     himself with a little target practice with his telechronal
     displacement blaster by sending the underwear of several female angels
     a few seconds into the future.  The angels also found this amusing.
     Lucky for 357, as they probably would have castrated him if they found
     it otherwise.

     "Quit that playing around and let's get going, Sonny," said St. Peter
     as he materialized beside 357.  "Ready to go?"

     "Yeah, I'm ready," began 357, who stopped as he realized St. Peter was
     carrying a suitcase.  "Going somewhere?"

     "Sure, with you."

     "Uh," muttered 357.  How do you tell a very powerful immortal that you
     don't want him tagging along, he thought.  "Uh, my ship isn't equipped
     for passengers right this moment."

     "Don't matter," said Peter as he transformed his suitcase into a
     backpack.  "We're not taking it.  I've got a mini-ABPSAR and a
     mini-timetraveller just like Omegas's, so we don't need your ship to
     follow him."

     "But I need my ship!"

     "You need my powers to catch Omegas.  Your ship couldn't hold him last
     time, and that was when he was still underpowered."

     "Hold him: No.  Kill him: Yes," countered 357.  "Omegas is mortal, and
     anything mortal, the Golden Lance energy beam can kill."

     "Was mortal," St. Peter corrected.  "Even as we speak, Omegas has
     teleported himself to an alterverse where his immortallity is being
     returned to him.  In just the time we've been arguing, he's become
     twenty times more dangerous than he was before."

     Well, thought 357, maybe having a very powerful immortal along for the
     ride may not be such a bad idea after all.  "Okay, just let me say
     goodbye to my ship."

     A few moments later, they were teleporting away...


     In the author's alterverse, The Cowboy was wiping pizza stains off his
     hat.  He belched softly and openned another beer as he proofread his
     latest masterpiece.

     A feminine form ambled up beside him and began reading over his

     "Doesn't bringing St. Peter into the story violate the Jeff Smith
     Accord?" Connie asked.

     "Not in this case," answered The Cowboy.  "Y'see, Peter's standing
     orders from even back before the Big Battle and our agreement with
     Guru Smith [he paused to hold his hat over his heart for a moment]
     were to leave Omegas completely alone UNLESS he tampered with The

     "Okay," sighed Connie.  "But how did St. Peter get the ABSAR and the
     other thingy?"

     "Simple.  Since Omegas altered The Book to regain possession of them,
     there was a record in It of how they were constructed, so he just
     ordered them from supply."

     "Oh," said Connie, feeling totally lost.  "How's Sabre doing?"

     The Cowboy looked thoughtful and spat.  "Prob'ly be posting agin
     inside the week, but I dunno fo' sure.  I might jes' have a word with
     'im if he don' stop lolly-gagging around."  [Note to proofreaders:
     The last paragraph is NOT full of typos and incorrect English.  It is
     an example of colloquial English of the type practiced in southeast
     Tennessee.  Contrary to popular belief, we do not use this dialect
     because we are too lazy to learn "proper English," but rather to
     protest the "mainstreaming" of all dialects commonly preached in
     public schools around the U.S.A.  We feel that regional dialects are a
     part of our national heritage and should be preserved, even at the
     cost of having some Yankees not understanding a word we say.]

***** Appended 07:52:38 on 11/15/88, Posting #    74 *****
Main Sfstory Page     Previous Log     Next Log     Index for Logs 031-060