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

Sfstory Log 043

Subject:     lost out space
From:        The Tennessee Cowboy (THC8650 at TNTECH)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

Diana Dark sat in the galley of the HMS As Yet Unnamed, which looked for all
the world like a well-decorated kitchen in any of the finer homes of Earth.
The only thing missing, thought Diana darkly, was Earth.  The HMS As Yet
Unnamed was in a totally separate reality than her beloved home in Chicago.
She cursed silently and tried another swallow of what the ship's computer
claimed was coffee.

Into the kitchen strode the owner of the ship, one Time Agent 386.  386 had
changed out of his uniform jumpsuit and into his usual rugged camo-outfit.
His manly greens, blacks, and browns clashed with the soft pastel hues of
the kitchen, a fact of which he was very proud.  He intended to redecorate
the entire ship as soon as he found enough paint and naugahyde.  "How are
you feeling, Miss Dark?" he asked.

Diana gave him her patented 'you've got to be kidding' look and said "Much
better, now that I've accepted that I may never see home again.  But I can't
stand this coffee."

386 dipped a hand into one of him voluminous pockets and pulled out an oddly
shaped flask.  "Here, try some of this if you need a pick-me-up."

Diana took the flask and poured a small amount of the liquid into a cup.  It
had a pleasant amber color and a heady, alcohol-filled bouquet.  She took a
tiny sip.  "AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!!!" she screamed.  Her eyes bugged out of her
head.  Her head bounced of the ceiling.  Her arms and legs went flying off
her body in opposite directions and she fell into a coma for a week.

Diana peeled open her eyes and realized only a few seconds had passed since
she drank the amber liquid.  "What is this shit?!?"

386 looked taken aback.  "Shit?  You obviously don't know good engine
coolant when you taste it.  But you must admit, you're alert and awake."

Diana had to admit that.

=386, Doctor Spleen is ready to begin,= came the voice of the ship's
computer from overhead.

"Gotcha.  I'll be on the bridge in a moment."  386 headed out the door, then
turned back to Diana.  "You'd better come along, too."  Still retching
slightly, Diana followed him.

Doctor Spleen was in the bridge, wiring a Rube Goldberg-type device to the
weapons console.  "How's that, Connie?"

=Fine.  I now have full control of the CWID.=

386 took his place in front of the navigation panel, and shoved Diana in the
general direction of the communications panel.  "What's the CWID?" he asked
Doctor Spleen.

Doctor Bing Von Spleen, the galaxy's foremost Spamologist, straightened his
labcoat before answering.  "It's my name for the Cheez Whiz Interdimensional
Drive.  I've now rigged the ship so that the CWID will cut in whenever
there's a drop in power from the ABPSAR (Automatic Beet Peeler and
Sub-Atomic Re-integrator).  This gives the ship full operating capacity in
almost all alterverses."

"Almost all?"

Spleen looked a tad embarrassed.  "Well, I can't do everything.  But I doubt
we'll need to go to the Mecca of the Albino Squirrels in the near future

Time Agent 386 considered this.  "But we will have power inside the Ziplock
Protective Shield of the Planet of the Supermarkets?"

"Of course," Spleen said, then headed off the the engine room.

"Why do we have to get to the Planet of the Supermarkets?" Diana ventured.

386 talked as he programmed the nav console.  "First of all, we're going to
start trying to put all the moons that have been stolen back in orbit around
their original planets.  This will require a lot of energy.  Since this ship
is run on Spam and (with the addition of this new device) Cheez Whiz, we'll
have to go to a supermarket to pick up some fuel."

"And second," Diana prompted.

"And second, in aisle #13 of the Dead Food store on the Planet of the
Supermarkets is one of those weekly tabloids, "The Galactic Inquisitor",
which features its weekly "Elvis Update", reporting the latest sighting of
the late King.  This week's column contains a typo, turning the fictional
location of Elvis into the real loaction."

Diana was confused.  "I'm confused.  Why do you need to find Elvis?"

"Because Elvis is the only person who knows the location of Omegas, the only
SfCharacter with power enough to oppose SAAL Dijon Mu'tard and his pet black
hole."  386 finished his programming and executed it.

=Now entering hyperspace,= reported Connie, the ship's Constance Series V
computer.  =We should reach the Planet of the Supermarkets in 2.3 hours.=

386 stood and walked off the bridge.  "C'mon, Miss Dark.  We've got to work
out a plan of attack before we get there."  They walked into the Captain's
Ready Room, styled very much like the average person's den except for the
orange sherbert-colored walls, and joined Doctor Bing Von Spleen and Ralph
the Giant Space Weasel of Anthrax V.

You can read us all day, you can read us all night,
You can read us any time that you please.
You can sit around and stare at the CRT
Until your brain turns into cottage cheese.

We've got it all in SFSTORY!

***** Received 19:09:13 on 04/05/90, Posting #    25 *****
Subject:     assualt on the Planet of the Supermarkets
From:        The Tennessee Cowboy (THC8650 at TNTECH)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

Diana Dark was outraged.  "I'm outraged!" she shouted at the top of her
lungs.  "Ever since I was brought into this story I've been told 'go there',
'follow me', and 'do this'.  It's almost as bad as being with my
ex-boyfriend!  I want to do something constructive in this story!"

Time Agent 386 glanced back at Diana, then entered the ship's armory, which
looked for all the world like a walkin closet.  He came out carrying an
energy rifle of some advanced design.  "Think you could figure out how to
use this?" he said as he handed it to her.

Diana took the rifle and slung it over her shoulder.  "I'm a young, innocent
girl from Chicago," she said sweetly.  "Which means I can strip, clean,
load, and fire with deadly efficiency any weapon ever made."

"Good.  I'm putting you in charge of Group A for our assault on the Planet
of the Supermarkets."

"Oh, goodie!  What am I in charge of?"

"That rifle and Ralph.  Doctor Spleen and I will be in Group B, and we'll be
doing the hard stuff.  But you and Ralph have to get that copy of the
Galactic Inquisitor, and that's VERY important.  Got it?"

Diana snapped a sharp salute.  "Got it!  When do we leave?"

386 shrugged on his backpack.  "In about two minutes."

Diana and 386 hurried to the TTT room, where the Temporal Teleporter
Terminal was located.  Doctor Bing Von Spleen was working the controls.
Ralph the Giant Space Weasel of Anthrax V was standing on the platform.
With a precise shove, 386 pushed Diana over to join Ralph.  Before she could
protest, Doctor Spleen activated the TTT.

Diana and Ralph appeared in a swirl of colors in a deserted aisle of a
supermarket she could not remember the name of.  "Where's this tabloid we're
looking for?" she asked Ralph.

"Not so loud," Ralph shot back as he scurried past the canned beats.  "When
we entered this place with a functioning power source, we probably alerted
every guard on the planet.  We'll have to do this fast and quiet."

Diana thought for a moment.  "Oh, you mean that by bypassing the ZipLock
Protective Shield, the supermarket's only means of defense, we have
committed, in their eyes, an act of agression?"

Ralph sighed.  "No, I mean that by entering this place in a vehicle that
could leave under its own power, we've deprived them of their usual fee for
valet parking.  They're pissed 'cause they're losing money."

Diana was just catching up to Ralph when they rounded the corner and ran
headlong into a young boy dressed in white with a happy-face-hi-my-name-is
tag on his shirt.  "Ouch!," he said.  "Watch where you're going, sister!"

"You're not very friendly," Diana mumbled.

"I'm not in Customer Relations, babe.  I'm a stock boy.  And you're messing
up my shelves!"

Not wanting to cause a scene and draw attention to herself, Diana discretely
readied her rifle.  Setting it for low power, she fired a shot at the stock
boy, hoping to stun him.  The "low power" beam passed through the stock boy,
three stacks of breakfast cereal, and two cash registers.  Diana stared
numbly at the pile of gears and wires at her feet.  "Uh..."

Ralph brushed by her.  "All the employees here are mechanical," he said by
way of explanation as he scurried on.  Diana followed, now blasting stock
boys, security guards, and freeze-dried peaches with reckless abandon.  They
fought their way to the checkout line, where Ralph found the tabloid they
were looking for.  Just as they realized they were surrounded and about to
be killed by the massed lasers of twenty security robots, the TTT kicked in
and returned them to the HMS As Yet UnNamed.

Time Agent 386 and Doctor Bing Von Spleen were standing in the same place
they were just minutes before, except that now they were standing in front
of a mountain of Spam and Cheez Whiz.  "I trust your little shopping spree
was as easy as ours?" 386 asked.


In the deep dark depths of Hell, things were getting very hot for SAAL Zark
Flyby, previously Captian Zark Flyby of the Interstellar Time Police.

"I'm very disappointed in you, Zark," said Satan's silky smooth voice.  "All
I asked you to do was kill a few people.  Simple enough for you?"

"It wasn't that easy, boss," replied Zark, replete in his Satanically
altered battle armor.  "They warped out of the alterverse before I could get
to them.  By the time I found out they were heading for the Planet of the
Supermarkets, they had already left there as well."

"And where are they now?"

Zark gulped.  "I don't know."

Satan stood.  His office window, looking out over the fiery pits of Hell
where countless souls toiled in endless suffering,  framed his impressive
form.  "Well, I'm a nice guy at heart.  I'll give you one more chance.  I'm
sending you to Alterverse #1048.  Join up with Dijon Mu'tard and help him
shuffle some moons for a while."  Satan gestured and Zark disappeared.

Satan had just sat when the intercom buzzed.  "What now?" he asked as he
slapped at the console.

"There's a Miss Lisa Bonet here, sir.  Do you wish to see her now?"


"It's all very simple," Doctor Spleen said to Diana Dark.  "We're using the
ABPSAR and the CWID together to create a dimensional warp to put Jupiter's
moons back where they belong."  He pointed to the computer readouts,
indicating where Spamatic lines of force were interacting with Cheezite
radiation to produce said warp in Space, Time, The Universe, and Everything.

"Once the moons are back in the right alterverse, normality will be
restored," added Time Agent 386 as he manhandled the ship into close
proximity with Europa.  Diana marvelled at how the moon turned red, then
blue, then gree, then finally faded from sight with a buzz of static and the
scent of ozone.  This was remarkable on and of itself as the vacuum of space
wasn't supposed to transmit sounds or smells.

"It still sounds like a bunch of doubletalk to me," said Diana.

"That's the last one.  Connie, how's our energy reserve?" asked 386.

=Energy reserves down to 35%.  ABPSAR and CWID both working at full power.
We should be back at 100% within the hour.=

"Good.  Set course for Alterverse #1, planet Jupiter.  Let's check on our

=Course laid in.=



Next week, on an all new episode of SfStory: The Next Degredation...

Alien parasites invade Wesley Crusher's body, turning him into a chipmunk...

Orion pirates capture Councilor Troi and force her to dance nude in front of
the Vulcan Science Council...

Captain Picard shoots First Officer Riker for having more hair on his face
than Picard has on his whole head...

All this, and more!  So stay tuned!

***** Received 17:52:21 on 04/13/90, Posting #    26 *****
Subject:     From the mind of the Cowboy
From:        Scott McGuire (SMCGUIRE at WILLIAMS)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

[ The Cowboy is having trouble with his mailer.
SAAL (Satanic Agent At Large) Dijon Mu'tard was a medium-sized human-looking
male.  He was dressed in impossibly expensive clothing from the finest
tailors in the known omniverse.  Somehow, he managed to make them look
ill-fitting, un-color-coordinated, and definitely un-stylish.  Still, when
you have a small black hole at your disposal, you can dress pretty much as
you please.  A pet black hole also lets you hang around in outer space
without the aid of a spacesuit.

The aforementioned black hole was currently in the process of eating a
rather large star for the purpose of refueling itself.  The star had four
planets, none of which had any lifeforms living on them.  Not that it would
have made much difference to Dijon if there were.  He was in a particularly
foul mood, having been informed by Satan that he would be paired with Zark
Flyby for a while.

Almost as if on cue, Zark Flyby appeared in space beside Dijon, replete in
his armored spacesuit.  Zark struck a heroic pose, arms akimbo and helmet
tilted back at a jaunty angle.  He ended his posing when he realized that he
was no longer a hero.  He also realized he wasn't wearing his helmet while
in a vacuum again.

"Hey, Dijon!" Zark said after he finished panting and wheezing.  "What's the
plan for today?"

Dijon looked pained.  "After Rick finishes with that star, he'll be
transporting the moons of that last planet over there.  Those other planets
are in way.  Take care of them."

Zark snapped a smart salute, impaling his hand on one of the horn-like
projections protruding from his scarlet battle armor.  While he spot weilded
the palm of his suit closed, allowing the built in medical facilities to
take care of the bleeding, he considered the task set before him.  To a
normal human, the job of moving planets would be impossible.  But Zark was
no longer human, and he was never normal.  He allowed his onboard computers
to calculate the proper vectors and trajectories for moving the planets.
After a few moments the results were in, and Zark didn't understand a single
equation.  So, setting his pulse cannon on "really bad day", he proceeded to
reduce the nearest planet to gravel-sized debris.


The HMS As Yet Unnamed pulled into orbit around Jupiter, shrugging off the
immense gravity as if it were a beckoning finger.  At her controls, Time
Agent 386 was pleased with himself.  "Yep, we've put the moons back right
where they belong.  Connie, check for gravitional stress-induced orbit
perturbations, will you?"

The ship's mainframe, the Constance Series V computer, hastened to comply.

Doctor Bing Von Spleen returned from the Engine Room, where he'd been
running tests, checking supplies, and drinking some Arcturan brandy he had
stashed in one of the air ducts.  "The ship is shipshape, 386."

"Good.  How are the ABPSAR and CWID getting along?"

Spleen sat at the science console.  "Well, I originally had qualms about
putting the Cheez Whiz Interdimensional Drive and the Automatic Beet Peeler
and SubAtomic Reintegrator on the same power grid, but so far there's been
no problem.  I keep the CWID on standby, though, as they have a habit of
blowing up if you leave them running too long."

Diana was in the dark again, as she always was when 386 and Spleen began
talking technical.  Normally, she would seek the company of Ralph, who was
equally technically disinclined.  But the Giant Space Weasel of Anthrax V
was off somewhere practicing his ukulele, which he'd found in one of the
store rooms.  Never mind that he didn't have it when he first came on board,
had never thought to go back to get it, and hadn't had one made.  It was
there and that was enough for him.

Diana decided to get into the conversation anyway.  "Where are you going
next, 386?"

386 leafed through the copy of Galactic Inquisitor, coming to the "Elvis
Update" section.  "I'm going to Hell."

"I gathered that," said Diana, "but where are we going next on our mission."

386 handed the tabloid to Diana.  "Hell.  The Netherworld.  Pluto's Realm.
The Downside.  That's where we'll find Elvis."

=Calculations complete.  Jupiter's moons are orbiting perfectly.=

"Great.  How long until we get to Hell?"

=I'd say about two seconds after you drop dead.=

386 took a deep breath.  "No, I mean how long to get this ship to Hell."

=Oh.  Just a few minutes.  We're very close to Earth, you see.=

"What does that have to do with it?"

=Well, Hell's just south of a little town called Orono, Maine...=


for the answers to none of these questions, tune in next week...

***** Received 09:22:34 on 05/04/90, Posting #    27 *****
Subject:     More from the Cowboy
From:        Scott McGuire (SMCGUIRE at WILLIAMS)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

[The Cowboy continues to encounter problems with interacting with UMNEWS.
So until he finds a way to e-mail essence of Spam to Maine, I continue to
forward his positings.]

The HMS As Yet Unnamed soared through the Spam-altered reality of the
multiverse, majestically skimming the surfaces of stars, gracefully gliding
through solar winds, and swerving abruptly to avoid potholes.  Time Agent
386, having his first moment alone in several weeks, decided on some quiet
meditation.  Aided, of course, by several pints of Arcturan brandy.

A soft _ping_ was the only indication that the ship's computer had just over-
ridden the privacy lock on the comm panel.  386 didn't notice, and so was
quite surprised when a feminine, nasal, and synthetic voice blared out of
the speaker.  =Time Agent 386 report to the bridge!  We have an emergency!=

Arcturan brandy was still running out his nose when he arrived at the
control room.  "What's the '#$%&'*'&$**# emergency!" he yelled.

=We've picked up an ultriwide-band distress call coming from warpspace.=
The ship was currently flying through Netherspace, but her instrumentation
was more than adequate for interdimensional scanning.

"A distress call?  On what frequency?"

=ALL the frequencies!  What do you think ultrawide-band means?=

386 gave an exasperated sigh.  "Oh.  Do you have any details?"

=No, it's just your usual SOS-type thing.  One minor detail:  the power of
the transmission beam is considerable.  A class seven, I believe.  You could
run a small planet off of whatever is powering the transmitter.=

"Hmmm.  How long to get there, should we decide to answer their distress
call."  He didn't really want to waste any time.  He'd finally gotten up the
nerve to make a raid on Hell, and didn't want to have time to change his
mind.  However, a class seven energy source was worth investigating.

=About three seconds.  Actually, since we're scheduled to cross through
warpspace in two seconds, we'd have to swerve to miss them anyway.=
Deciding that 386 would give in and answer the call anyway, Connie started
powering down the engines.

"Alright.  Power down the engines and we'll see what they need."  386
wondered why the ship's computer chuckled at this.  He punched a few buttons
on one of the consoles at random, which for some reason had the desired
effect of turning on the PA system.  "386 to all hands.  Meet in the TTT
room in one minute.  We're answering a distress call.  Bring a full medkit
and light weapons."

386 met with Doctor Bing Von Spleen, Ralph the Giant Space Weasel of Anthrax
V, and Diana Dark in the room containing the Temporal Teleporter Console.
Ralph and Doctor Spleen were unarmed, being respectively a pacifist and a
coward.  Diana was carrying a Edgar IV energy rifle capable of destroying a
small planet.  Being from Chicago, she apparently couldn't grasp the meaning
of "light weapon".

The ship slowed to a halt less than a kilometer from the distress call.  =My
scanners don't detect anything,= Connie relayed to the TTT room.

"Could this alien ship be too small for your sensors?" 386 asked.

=I should be able to detect any vessel, down to 3 meters.  Let me
recalibrate.=  Hums, clicks, and whistles echoed through the ship.  =I've
recalibrated.  Scanners now detect a single humanoid form.=

386 was concerned.  "TTT it aboard immediately!"  386 knew that the average
humanoid couldn't survive more than a few minutes in the mind-wrenching
continuum known as warpspace.

A soft chime signalled the transport complete.  A tall, well-tanned man
stood on the TTT platform, brushing the ice from his very loud Hawain
flowery shirt.  He tossed aside the Sony Warpman he had been using to send
his distress call, now just a worthless lump of melted plastic from all the
power he had sent coursing through it.  He adjusted his Ray-bans and smiled
at the group.

"Thanks for stopping for me," he said in a rumbling bass voice.  "I would
have been out there forever.  My powers do not include direct control over
warpspace.  I'll have to rectify that sometime."

386 noticed that Doctor Spleen had gone very pale.  He was about to say
something about it when the stranger spoke again.  "But right now I have
more pressing matters.  So just step outside for a moment."

"If you want to be alone," Diana ventured, "we have some spare rooms down
the hall."

The large man smiled, then suddenly conjured a large powerpistol out of the
air with a wave of his hand.  "Not outside of the room, human.  I meant
outside the ship.  I have important business, and I don't have time to deal
with you.  So just march out that hatch over there."  He fired a few shots
to emphasize his words.

Doctor Spleen finally found his voice.  "Omegas!" he squeaked.

386 was incredulous.  "This is Omegas?"

"Yes, I am Omegas," said Omegas.  "And I've been out of this story for too
long.  Now I'm back and I'm taking over!"


SAALs Zark Flyby and Dijon Mu'tard finished their task of shuffling the
latest batch of moons, throwing interdimensional commerce into shambles,
disruptig communication, and delaying a superbowl game.  Is nothing sacred?

Dijon was suddenly distracted.  "Damn," he muttered as he listened to voices
that only he could hear.

"Huh?" said Zark.  That being about the limit of his attention span, he went
back to blasting asteroids.

"A staus report from one of my pet projects," Dijon said.  "Omegas has
escaped the trap I set for him.  He blasted his way out of the starship I
tricked him into and landed in warpspace.  Then he flagged a ride with a
passing timeship."

"Wait a minute!  Did you say Omegas?"  Zark's eyes were alight.  "I've been
waiting for a long time to teach him a thing or two."  He raised his
gauntletted hands before him, thanking Satan once again for the power his
infinite evilness had bestowed upon him.

Dijon called Rick, his famous pet black hole, over to join them.  "I didn't
realize you knew Omegas.  May I invite you to his funeral?"

"Funeral?  When did he die?"

Dijon chuckled as Rick teleported them away.  "Oh, here in about two


for the answers to these, and others, tune in next week!

***** Received 16:11:29 on 05/05/90, Posting #    29 *****
Subject:     Episode 1
From:        (FSILK at ALASKA)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

Well, folks, here's another edition of the life and times.
It's being put out mainly because I'm sitting at work, completely confused
by the computers I'm supposed to be working on, and so I don't really
know what to do.
Of course, I can't just leave the office; SOMEBODY's got to be here.
Enny,.....I was walking down the road one day, when this alien flew by
and asked me for a lift.  Confused, I pondered as to his meaning,
and finally asked, "What kind of lift?"  He replied, in chagrin,
"Oh, I thought this was a Wrigley's Spearmint Gum commercial,"
and flew off.  I'm sorry to say, I never did find out what exactly he was
doing.  IF my prose has gotten more boring lately, I apologize.
But, anyway, I was walking down the road one day, when up walks this moose
and asks me if I have a copy of The Wall Street Journal.  I was wondering what
he was talking about, when up came this car with a person in a cowboy hat with
a belt buckle that reached almost up to his chin, and spat out something brown
and said, "Howdy, boys, can I interest one of you gennleman (this is not a
misspelling, I assume he created the word.  Goodness knows what it's supposed
to mean.) in a Kirby vacuum cleaner?"  After this I was wondering if there
was some correlation between these bizarre occurences, when a plane flew
by with a voice crying "It lasts a long, LONG time," from it.  I'd begun
to realize that my life had a lot more commercials, lately, and wondered at
the cause.  Thinking quickly (while the Kirby salesman was trying to talk
the moose into buying a DELUXE model) I took out a piece of scratch paper
and a pencil stub, hurriedly sharpened the pencil with my thumbnail, and
HERE?" on it.  Holding up this message (on the rumpled sheet of paper),
I turned slowly in place, finally resting at my starting position (while
while the salesman was discussing a payment plan with the moose) when,
lo, and behold, there was a man standing in front of me in slit glasses,
a green mohawk, a denim suit (done tastefully in green and yellow checks)
and tennies with the face of a carnivorous animal painted on them.
"I caught your message, and decided you needed some explanation," he said.
"You see, we the programmers have been having trouble marketing your life,
so we decided to stick in some commercials to, well, spruce things up a bit."
        I tried to think of something intelligent to say, finally settling
on, "huh?" for the lack of anything else.
        "You see, you're just not selling, you are, after all, kind of a boring
person," he explained, awkwardly.  "If we don't find some way of selling you,
you may be......discontinued."
        I immediately felt an unexplained feeling of dread, and wondered if
the sinister music was in my imagination or not.  The little man in the green
hair, in an effort to improve my concentration, took out a small rectangular
box with buttons on it, pointed it at the moose (who was now trying to unload
a Kirby from the back of the truck using its horns, forehooves, and mouth) and
salesman, pressed a button,  and the whole backdrop, including a scene from
interior Alaska, disappeared.
        This effort on my behalf failed utterly, shattering my already unsteady
concentration.  I gawked in terror at the stark white background where, only
seconds before, there had been my world.

***** Received 10:26:47 on 05/14/90, Posting #    30 *****
Subject:     Episode 1.1
From:        (FSILK at ALASKA)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

Here I sit, I should be at work, but they have nothing for me to do!!!
I'm so bored.
I'm reading a copy of H. Beam Piper's "Little Fuzzy".  It's very good.
And now, enough of the pleasantries.
On with my book.
As the background behind me vanished, I knew I was in trouble.  This man
obviously meant me no good, with his talk of commercials and (horror of
horrors!) laughtracks; so I dived at him with a rather awkward body block
with which I succeeded in stubbing my head on the ground.  My feet, in falling,
succeeded in knocking the small rectangular device from his hands and onto
the ground, where it exploded in a shower of static and technicolor, giving
a bit of color to the now drab scenery.  Ground?  What ground?
        I looked down, noticing the new ground.  I recognized none of the plants
as Alaskan, they seemed more temperate than subarctic.  The ratings expert
was looking at me, mouth sagging, as if I'd just grown horns.
        "What have you done?" he cried.  "You've destroyed my sub-ether
balancer, transmogrifier, planar traveller and channel changer!  How am I
going to get back to the office?"
        "I'd rather you worried about what scene we're in now," I said.
"What can I expect from this new environment?"
        He looked around, up at the electric blue sky, out at the lush foliage
on decidedly deciduous trees, the burgeoning plantlife, and the teeming
        "It looks like the medieval earth-fantasy/science fiction section,
but I can't be sure," he replied, bemused.  "One way to find out."
        He took out what looked like a small egg from his bizarre suit, which
clashed even worse (if possible) against the background of a temperate forest.
Throwing the egg to the ground, he stepped back as an explosion rocked the
locale.  The various birds stopped their chirping, and all other activity
ceased for a moment.  Normal sounds returned as the puff of orangish,
sulfuric-smelling smoke cleared.  What remained was a small, froggish creature
with clawed hands appeared.
        "I am Thrond," it stated, in a sort of throaty imitation of a muppet.
"What is your wish?"
        At about this time, a small chihuahua-like dog was getting up its
courage and advanced upon the froggy thing, barking threateningly, but
        Thrond immediately expanded to about double human size, made a roar
at the pooch, and made a move as if to swallow it.  It immediately yipped
astonished, and retreated as fast as it could throw itself into a bush.
The creature then retracted to its normal size (about half the size of the
dog), and began cackling to itself.
        My companion said, "Well that's for the fantasy aspect; now, let me see,
do I have something scientific here...."
        "Hey," I said, elbowing him in the ribs, at which time he dropped
what looked like a baseball attached to a pin, which immediately took off
into orbit, (how's that for a runon sentence?) "What am I supposed to call you?"
        He pondered momentarily, and said, "George.  Yes, George will do."
        "Well, George, what are we going to do?"
        "Patience," he replied.  "I have just ascertained that we are indeed
in the Fantasy/Sci Fi scene, so I HAVE been doing something."
        "Well, that's all very fine and good," I countered, unruffled.  "But
how are we going to get out of here?"
       "Get out of here?" he asked.  "Why, we don't.  Not unless some programmer
happens to be watching at precisely at the right time; and I calculate the odds
of that to be,...." he took out his calculator, which I promptly chucked into
a nearby bush.
        "Well, we'd better find a way of attracting the attention of the
programmer.  Now, I don't know about your station, but in Hollywood, the best
way of getting the director's attention is to interfere on the set.  So,
if we somehow changed things, we might get out of here!"
        "Hmm, that is possible," he said, absently.  "Now if I could find
my calculator to figure out the odds of getting noticed..."
        I stopped him from finding his calculator, which was in danger
of becoming his idee fixee, and said, "What's the matter?  Can't you
keep your mind on what I'm talking about?  We've got a problem here!"
        "As a point in fact, no I can't," he replied, abashed.  "I'm
notoriously absent-minded, which is why I never made it farther than
Junior Programmer.  Now, if I could just find my calculator..."

                DO WE CARE?

***** Received 10:31:25 on 05/14/90, Posting #    31 *****
Subject:     Episode 1.2
From:        (FSILK at ALASKA)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

I interrupted George again (it looked like it was going to have to be
a habit), and asked, "HOW IN THE HECK ARE WE GOING TO GET BACK HOME???"
        George blinked and said, "You can't get home.  Your home doesn't
exist anymore."
        "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, DOESN'T EXIST ANYMORE????" I shouted.
        "George grimaced, asking, "Is all that noise really necessary?
You're giving me a headache."
        I calmed myself slowly, as George walked off into the brush, mutter-
ing, "There must be a town around here, somewhere."
        I followed George as he stooped to pick up his calculator from under
a bush, and said, "What did you mean by that crack about my home not existing
        "Well," George said, continuing to walk in some direction (I think
it was East), "When you destroyed my channel changer, the resultant
explosion must have destroyed that whole channel.  Not only your life,
but the lives and worlds of several thousand programs were destroyed at
the same time.  I figure it was only luck that we're here, lucky that we
were in a small protective sub-program I created to give you some thinking
space while you tried to assimilate the possibilities of a laugh-track
in your future."
        "Uh," I grunted, thinking quickly.  "I'll have to think about that
one.  Meanwhile, where are we going?"  I was having trouble assimilating
the idea of my world destroyed, and wanted to get my mind onto something
        "I'm going to try to find a town, to get some information, and maybe
some protective gear.  The Sci-Fi Fantasy realm isn't exactly one you want
to be wandering around in with only street clothes and no survival gear."
        "I have a pocket-knife," I offered.
        "I don't think we can survive in the forest with just a pocket-knife,
" he replied, sarcastically.
        "Actually, you can," I stated, thinking.  "Only, it won't be much
        "You're right," I decided.  "We need to find a town."
        I started trekking beside him, but was finally forced to follow him,
as the undergrowth didn't allow for side-to-side marching.  He seemed to
be quite effective, once he got his mind on something.

                        DOES GEORGE KNOW WHERE HE'S GOING?
                        WHEN DOES THE SEX AND VIOLENCE START?
                        DOES OKRA PUDDING CAUSE CANCER?

***** Received 10:43:17 on 05/14/90, Posting #    33 *****
Subject:     Episode 1.3
From:        (FSILK at ALASKA)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

        We walked through the brush, George and I, a regular Tonto and
Lone Ranger; I brought up this parallel to George, and we immediately
began arguing about who was the Lone Ranger.  We both wanted to be
        Our voices were reaching incredible heights of volubility, when,
with a roar, a tiger leaped into our path, roaring ferociously.
        I let out a shout, all I heard from George was,  "Eep!"  We both
jumped for the nearest tree (of course, tigers can't climb trees, every-
body knows that.  I never said we were smart.), and were both doing our
best imitations of baboons scrambling upward in terror, when we heard a
low chuckle behind us.  Pausing, we turned around to see if we were imme-
diately going to be eaten.  We saw a tall, refined gentleman dressed in
tastefully expensive clothing.
        There was no sign of the tiger.

                                THIS ISSUE IS BEING CUT IN THE MIDDLE

***** Received 10:41:05 on 05/14/90, Posting #    32 *****
Subject:     Episode 1.4
From:        (FSILK at ALASKA)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

I'm not sure just where the submissions fell off, so some of you might
be getting more than one copy of more than one submission.

Also, while I was waiting to find out how to subit these things, I wrote
about 15 of them...sorry for the crowding.

        "If you're quite through making utter fools of yourselves, you
can climb down from that tree.  If not, I don't mind.  You're both
quite comic."
        Utterly chagrined that another human being had seen us at our
clumsiest (and stupidest), George and I descended from our tree to
stand in front of the well-dressed gentleman, completely breathless.
        "Where's the tiger," I asked, and George said, at almost the same
time, "Can you get us to a place of civilization?"
        "There was no tiger," said the gentleman, "or at least there's no
less tiger here now than there was before.  As for getting to a nearby
town (which is what I assume what you mean by 'civilization')," he grimaced
in distaste, "that's no problem at all!"
        He snapped his fingers, and we were in the middle of a rather squalid
thoroughfare.  Walking past us was a man holding a chicken by the feet, and
he was by no means alone.  There were various barmaids carrying sloshing
pitchers of brownish liquid to persons seated outside an establishment with
a swinging green sign depicting a boar rather obscenely astride another boar.
Even I recognized the barmaids as such, despite my modern background (this
scene was in no way modern, there wasn't a horseless carriage in sight),
as I had watched plenty of television.  The scene was filled out by men hawking
wares in booths on opposite sides of the street, anything from fresh (or semi-
fresh) produce to iron and leatherware, and various barking dogs and shouting
children, equally dishabille (actually, the dogs were wearing rather more, due
to their fur coats, but I discount that).
        A woman wearing what looked to be leather armor with studs (soft
leather, from the way it moved) and a rather large greatsword sidled up to me.
        "Hello, sweetcheeks," she said in a humor-laden soprano voice.
        Now, I have never in my life been called "sweetcheeks", so as she
continued speaking, I looked around to figure out who she could be talking to.
I looked at George; no help there.  He seemed just as mystified as I, and had
obviously not been called sweetcheeks before, either.  Our well-dressed new
acquaintance was presently disappearing down the street, and there was noone
standing still enough for her to be talking to him.  Looking back at her, I
really couldn't see how anyone could NOT stand still while she was talking to
him.  She had the most beautiful green eyes, which matched her dyed green
leather perfectly, and her brown hair with green highlights......
        It occured to me that she had quit speaking some time ago, and was
looking at me questioningly.
        "Are you alright?" she asked concernedly.
        "Uh," I said, in my natural suave manner, trying to think of something
to say.
        I couldn't stop staring at her, and I couldn't help thinking that I was
staring, which was unconscionably rude.  She had these big green eyes, and they
seemed to be getting bigger all the time....
        I chose this time to pass out.

                Will he ever wake up?
                What's with this guy, anyway?  Is he some kind of geek?
                When are we going to get some violence?

***** Received 10:50:55 on 05/14/90, Posting #    34 *****
Subject:     EPISODE 1.5
From:        (FSILK at ALASKA)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

                        THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PHILIP MORAULT

        I awoke to find myself staring at an unfamiliar ceiling.  It seemed
to be done all in dark wood, with leather wall-hangings.  I most DEFINITELY
never slept in this room, in fact, I couldn't even recall ever SEEING this
room, not even in pictures.
        "Where am I," I inquired, bewildered.
        "You're in my bedroom, sweetcheeks," came a voice from my right.
        Needless to say, I spun my head in the direction of the voice (almost
giving myself whiplash in the process), and discovered her in the corner,
along with a worried George.  Needless to say, I nearly fainted again (I
always was a bit of a fainter; not at the sight of blood, but at the sight
[or sound, or smell, or thought] of women).  She got a stern look on her face.
        "None of that," she remonstrated.

                Why in the heck does he faint so easily?
                What happened while he was unconscious?
                Why are half of these submissions so short?
                What kind of geek is this guy, anyway?

        Actually, if you're lucky, one of these questions might be answered
        in the next's up to you to guess which.

***** Received 10:52:32 on 05/14/90, Posting #    35 *****
From:        (FSILK at ALASKA)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

        Abashed, I tried to stop fainting.
        When I woke up later, I was quite dizzy.  Constant fainting takes
a lot out of a guy.
        "Where's the lady?" I said.
        There was a murmur from beside me.  I looked over, and there I saw
the woman I had met earlier today lying on the bed near me.  I noticed that
the room was dark, having seen it without realizing it.  Strangely enough,
I didn't faint, though there was a gorgeous woman lying next to me.  I
seemed to have lost my chronic problem (which had been the main reason I
had been walking along the road in Alaska in the first place); the shock
must have done it.  Which shock, I wasn't sure; there had been a lot of them.
The gorgeous woman (I didn't even know her name) opened her eyes and smiled
at me, which was almost (but not quite) enough to send me over the edge
into a dead faint again.
        "Um, I don't know how to ask you this, but what happened when I was
unconscious?" I asked, hesitantly.
        She replied, "
                      Well, I decided to help out a stranger and take you
inside; I thought the heat must have been too much for you.  We got you
there, and you woke up about 5 minutes later.  You know the rest."  She
        "Actually, I don't," I sighed.  "I don't know how I got here, and
I don't know what I'm doing lying next to a beautiful woman I don't even
        She looked troubled for a moment, then smiled.  "Well, at least
I don't have to worry about you telling tales on me.  I wasn't aware that
you blacked out.  Well, when you woke up, you said one sentence, then fell
back.  I came over to the bed, and you kind of threw yourself all over me.
I'd had something similar in mind; though I hadn't thought it'd happen quite
so quickly; so I told your two friends to leave the room.  You didn't seem
to be in a talking mood."
        I lay still, trying to assimilate these ideas, and figure out where
to go from here...

                      Will he figure out?
                        Was that some kind of excuse for sex?
                        Where's the graphic detail?
                        Where's the violence?

        Answers to probably none of these questions in the next posting
        of   "THE LIFE AND TIMES"

***** Received 23:40:54 on 05/15/90, Posting #    36 *****
From:        (FSILK at ALASKA)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

        After five minutes of trying to figure out what to do, I decided to
put on my pants and go find George.  I was sitting on the side of the bed
pulling them on when the room started to shimmer.  One wall in particular was
increasing in wave-action dramatically, when a man stepped through.
        "Philip Morault?" he queried.
        "Yes?" I said, for that was my name.
        "Media Police," he answered, pompously.  "You are found in violation
of Media Police Code 3.14.159, section 26, paragraph 54; interfering with
Police approved programming.  You are to come with me immediately."
        I was still sitting there, gazing perplexedly at him, when a blur
hurtled past me at the man in front of the shimmering wall.  It was the
lady (dare I say lady?) who had been lying next to me a moment before.
In shock, I watched her and the officer begin to fight.
        Actually, I didn't see much of their fight.  It seemed to be all
blurs from where I was sitting, and when I noticed that she was more than
holding her own, and that the fight was far to quick for me to contribute
to, I finished putting on my pants and shirt.  I was putting on my shoes,
looking up and watching her naked body as she beat the stuffing out of
that poor officer (now, don't get me wrong, he was good, too.  I couldn't
follow either of their movements as they fought.  However, the officer seemed
to be slowly backing away toward the wall), when another officer stepped out
of the wall, clad in the same blue and silver uniform.  He proceeded to
join the fight, as I waited for my heroine to be defeated.
        I was quite surprised, then, to find her still holding her own against
the two of them, thirty seconds later.  The two officers in blue and silver
were joined by a third, then a fourth.  She was still holding her own against
the four, though sweat poured down her body, giving her muscles a glow that
I quite admired.  I started thinking about how I could enter the fight,
and with what (I wasn't stupid enough to think I could hold my own against
that kind of speed).  I was glancing at the bed, to see if I could possibly
throw it, when I heard my protector's voice shout, "That's enough!" followed
by four rapid cracking sounds.  I looked up, and the four officers lay
bleeding on the ground, either unconscious or dead.  My lady friend stood
there panting for a moment, then rushed past me toward the head of the bed.
She picked up the pile of clothes that had lain out of my sight (along with
her two-handed broadsword), and shouted, "Follow me, quick!  That portal's
only going to stay open for a minute!"
        "Wait a minute!" I yelled.  "I don't even know your name!"
        She flashed a grin at me.  "That didn't stop you before, sweetcheeks,
she said.  "I'm Sheila Ryan, Time Police Special Agent.  Now hurry up!"
        I hurried up, hotfooting it toward the far wall through which the
officers had come through, in front of which Sheila stood pulling her shirt
on, standing over the officers's bleeding bodies.  Together, we dived through
the wall, Sheila still holding the rest of her clothes, her hair still
rumpled from being in bed (Gosh, I wish I could remember that).  As we
entered into an area that was all pipes, grating, terminals, and office-
workers,  I heard a feminine voice shout, "*$%*!  She got through!  Kill
her!" and I reflected about how little I really knew about this place at all.

                Why does the unknown person want to kill
                Will she get out of this alive?

                What really DID happen during that supposed
                dead faint of Philip's?

                The answers to some of these questions and even more
                useless ones, in the next episode...

***** Received 23:46:18 on 05/15/90, Posting #    38 *****
From:        (FSILK at ALASKA)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

     As we turned toward this new voice, we saw a woman standing behind
three workers at their terminals.  She was holding a clipboard and glaring
at us.
     "Alexa, I might have known," Sheila said.  "In fact, I did know.  And
I'm going to take the fact that you've hindered us out on your office."
     So saying, she turned and began chucking display screens at the officers
who were now swarming up the gratings.  The technicians nearest her began
fleeing past me toward a locale of greater safety.  This done, I found myself
in an area of quiet amidst the havoc Sheila was now making of the work area.
Finding nothing better to do, I sauntered over to the person she had referred
to as Alexa.
     "Do you two do this often?" I queried.
     "Oh, this has been going on for some time," she replied.  "Every few
years or so, we find each other, and then do our best to do each other in.  I
don't mind, really, it's good training for my officers."
     "It looks to be quite fatal training," I replied, taken aback.
     "Appearances can be quite deceiving," she countered, grinning.  "I can't
lose my officers every time they get into a fistfight, now can I?  One good
trip to the SPAM-powered medivac, and these men will be good as new."
     With this new perspective on the increasingly violent combat, I turned to
watch it continuing.
     Sheila ripped a power cable as big around as my arm from the corner where
it was attached, and was now using it as a whip amid flashes of light from
the officers' laser pistols.  In one final sweep, she flung the whip over the
last squad of troopers, knocking them unconscious and destroying several
computer terminals at the same time.  This done, she walked towards us
with an ear-to-ear grin.
     "Having fun?" Alexa inquired, handing Sheila a towel she had picked up
     "Oh, yes, quite a bit, thank you," Sheila answered, drily, toweling the
sweat out of her hair.  I continued listening as I watched the way the shirt
clung to her body in her sweaty condition.  I guess I'm a bit of a voyeur.
"I haven't had this kind of workout in years," she continued.  "Those
medieval swordsmen, with very few exceptions, just aren't up to snuff."
     Alexa opened the door in the wall behind her, motioning us to follow.

                  What (if anything) happens next?

                  Do we care?

                  Are Don Pardo's teeth really made of petrified tofu?

                  The answers to these questions (not really) in the next
                  episode of THE LIFE AND TIMES.

***** Received 23:44:39 on 05/15/90, Posting #    37 *****
From:        (FSILK at ALASKA)
Origin:      University of Maine BBS Processor (UMNEWS at MAINE)

As we followed Alexa down a brightly lit corridor, we left behind the
constant groans, intermittent fizzing sounds and bursts of light in the
now destroyed working area.  Alexa continued down the corridor, ignoring
doors until she opened one apparently at random.  Inside was a small room
with a cot and a side door opening onto a bathroom.
        "Well, here are your quarters.  Sorry they're so austere, but it's
the best I could do on such short notice," she said, gesturing expansively.
"I'll leave you two to freshen up."
        She left, closing the door behind her.  Sheila took off her
sweat-stained shirt, stretching and yawning.
        "I need a shower," she said.  She looked up at me.  "What's the matter?"
she asked.
        I had been watching her.  My jaw felt like it was hanging somewhere
near my ankles, swaying pendulously.  As she continued talking, looking
concerned, all I heard was a buzzing sound.  The room began to blacken,
and I passed out.
        When I came to, I heard sounds of showering from the bathroom.  I
was lying in bed, naked, sweat drying on my body.  I considered what I had
been doing while unconscious.  Probably more sex.
        As I came to a sitting position, the shower stopped, and a few
minutes later, Sheila came out of the bathroom in a blue fuzzy bathrobe,
toweling her hair.  She stopped to give me a peck on the cheek.
The room darkened dangerously.
        "Hello, sweetcheeks," she greeted me, grinning.  "You keep this up
and I may have to take sick leave due to exhaustion."
        "Sheila, I blacked out during the whole thing." I cried, frustrated.
        "Really?" she replied, taken aback.  "We've got to fix that.  A girl
likes to know she's doing well, and I refuse to let my man remain unable to
remember if I'm any good or not."  She furrowed her brows, thinking.
        "I think I'll take you to Intergalactic U.  They'll probably know what
to do," she rhymed.  "Let me see, we'll have to appropriate a spaceship
        As she said this the room rocked, and there were sounds of an explosion
that seemed to come from almost outside the door to our new quarters.  Sheila
rushed to the door, still holding her towel.  I stood behind her as she opened
the door, so I saw an elderly looking gentleman dressed entirely in black,
walking in front of three columns of rifle-carrying persons dressed in black
armor which covered them head to toe, and appeared to be made out of plastic.
        "Who are you, and what do you think you're doing?" Sheila asked,
sounding angry.
        "Carl Vilifis, Evil Genius, at your service." he answered, coureously.
"As for what I am doing, what I am doing is taking over this Media Police
installation.  If you would please get out of the way?"  So saying he pointed
what seemed to be a can of spam with a barrel at Sheila, at which I blacked
out again.
        When I came to, it felt like no time had passed.  I was standing in
the middle of a corridor surrounded by black-clad bodies, which seemed to
have fallen haphazardly on the floor.  Sheila was walking toward me with
a look of amaze on her face.
        "That was incredible!" she exclaimed.  "I've never seen anyone move
like that.  How did you do it?"
        "Well, I...don't...remember anything," I replied, hesitantly.  "I
think I passed out again."
        Sheila's amazement turned to consternation.  "I've got to get you
to a Cerebro-pathologist," she stated, "this is more serious than I thought."
        After that, things moved rather quickly.  Sheila called Alexa on
a wall communicator farther down the hall (I would have mistaken in for a
ventilator) and the black uniformed man along with his robots (which is what
I found out that the armored persons were) to a holding cell elsewhere in the
complex.  Sheila arranged with Alexa to get the two of us to Intergalactic U.
It wasn't really hard, Alexa was quite grateful for our help in protecting
the Media Police's headquarters (which, I found out, was where we were).
We were in a place called Stores, and Sheila was picking out some nice
clothes, travel supplies, and weaponry to bring with us, when Alexa rushed
in with a concerned look on her face.
        "Carl Vilifis has escaped!" she cried, obviously quite upset.  "He
stole a spaceship and his weapons and disappeared!"
        "That's terrible!"  Sheila exclaimed, obviously shocked.
        "It's worse than you think,"  Alexa answered.  "One of the greatest
defenses of Media Police headquarters is that no one knows where it is.
Carl somehow got here without knowing where we were.  Now he knows, and can
launch another assault anytime he wants to!  Oh, and one more thing," she
hesitated, then turned to me.  "Vilifis has decided that before he takes us
over, he's going to kill you for stopping his first takeover.  He's decided
that it's important enough for him that he wants to take some extra time out
for the pleasure."
        This time, I really did pass out.

                        Whatever will Philip do?

***** Received 23:48:28 on 05/15/90, Posting #    39 *****
Main Sfstory Page     Previous Log     Next Log     Index for Logs 031-060