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Sfstory Log 056

Date:         Sun, 8 Nov 1992 21:43:00 EST
From:         mostly harmless (SWEDE at DRYCAS.BITNET)
Subject:      SF: Renegade Anarchists episode twenty-four

Episode Twenty-Four: "Send in the Clones" by Gary W. Olson

     The Toaster shook mightily for several minutes after the ZAMBONI OF DOOM
impacted upon it while ascending from Earth.  When the shaking stopped, the
occupants of the Toaster noted a few things of great importance.
     "We're not dead!" Emma Goldman declared.  "Um...well, relatively speaking,
I mean..."
     "Praise Gham!" Ragnuruk announced.  "Her presence has saved us from total
utter annihilation."
     "Yeah, right," Tarrfel t'Krodkzik muttered.  Viol stuck a spear under her
chin.  "I mean, of course!  Yes!"
     "This is really depressing," Robert Smith whined.
     "Oh, hush, you big baby," Satan T. Lucifer Jones said, whapping him with a
     "Our structural integrity is okay," Time Agent 173 said.  "We appear to
be adhering through magnetic attraction to the ZAMBONI OF DOOM.  It's like
we're a refridgerator magnet."
     "Okay," Slithis said.  "Try to contact Shadebeam."
     "I'm getting through now," Jerriphrrt said.  "Shadebeam...are you there.
Shadebeam...?"  There was only crackling.  "Shadebeam!"
     "We're approaching a warship of Hell," Nat Rephue told them.  "It's...
uh...firing on us..."  The warship fired, and the ZAMBONI lurched, dodging the
fiery onslaught of Hellfire.  The warship fired again, and the ZAMBONI lurched
again, with the beams just grazing by.
     "The next shot will hit!" Emma announced.  "Brace yourselves!"  They
braced themselves.  Suddenly, there was a terrific explosion.  I mean, really,
really, fatally big huge and pyrotechnic explosion, like the MacGyver opening
sequence, only much, much bigger.  Fortunately, it was not the Toaster or
the ZAMBONI that underwent said explosion.
     "The warship has been utterly obliterated!" Gham announced, looking over
Nootgingitch's shoulder at a tracking scope.
     "Hey, guys," Benjen's voice crackled over the comm port.  "I keep telling
you to watch the company you keep..."  The Red Emma flew through the wreckage
of the warship which it had destroyed.
     "Good job, Benjen," Emma said.  "Are there any other warships after us?"
The scopes showed the Red Emma moving next to the ZAMBONI and matching speed.
     "Oddly enough, no," Katayin answered from the Red Emma.  "I'm getting
sporadic communications from the numerous battleships of Hell stationed in this
solar system - it seems like there's some sort of insurrection going on.  They
all seem to be talking about quayles storming this and that - they must be
having some bird problems."
     "Whatever," Time Agent 173 answered.  "It'll give us time to formulate our
plan of attack."
     " this thing on?" Shadebeam's voice cracked over the comm.
     "Shadebeam!" Slithis exclaimed.
     "Sorry about not calling earlier," Shadebeam said.  "Symon was too busy
teaching me how to steer to avoid the warships."
     "Symon?" Tarrfel asked.  "Don't tell me you've got a man in there with
     "Hmph, I wish," Shadebeam said.  " was a joke, Symon.  Really.  Um,
there's a pressure suit with magnetic boots in here.  I'll head over to join
you in a sec."
     "Viva la revolucion!" Che Guevara cried, firing his hellfire pistol into
a group of demon soldiers.
     "Down with the corporate capitalist swinedogs!" Mao Tse-Tung bellowed.
     "Um...away with boring cookwear!" the Grand High Spatula called.  Mao
looked at him.  "I'm *sorry* - I've never *been* in an insurrection before."
Nearby, the Omnipotent Eggbeater hit a soldier with an orange juice squeezer.
     "Send in the clones!" Omegas ordered.  A horde of Dan Quayles milled
forward.  The guards defending the administrative section of Hell did their
best to blast away at them, but for every Quayle that was blown to bits, five
climbed over the guards, asking them how to spell 'potato' and inquiring as
to which end of the gun did which, and so on.
     "Sir!" Bennett Quark declared.  "I'm getting reports from all over the
fleet.  The Quayles are clogging up every conceivable route of interior
traffic in the ships with themselves, asking idiotic questions and pushing
buttons they shouldn't have pushed.  One ship was apparantly destroyed, though,
by forces unknown."
     "They probably got it to self-destruct," Omegas said darkly.  "Whatever.
Prepare to advance to Machiavelli's office.  Is the power grid usurpation
device ready to go?"
     "I just finished perfecting it, sir," Quark said, handing it to him.
     "Good," Omegas said.  "I then shall succeed where Satan failed."
     In space, the Red Emma docked with the Toaster, and everyone came over
into the less cramped ship.
     "So, this Symon," Time Agent 173 said.  "He lives in this 'Z Medallion'
that is the key to the ZAMBONI and told you how to start it up?"
     "Yep," Shadebeam said.  "My dimensional counterpart Radian had it, and
she gave it to me.  Wish she had been able to come along, though.  I've got
so much I want to ask her..."
     "She's better off where she is," Emma said.  "Now, the Cosmic Cuisinart
is currently in orbit over Europe right now, with the main flagship of Hell
right close next to it.  It's going to be tricky to get in close.  We'll need
some heavy diversion."
     "You can count on the Toaster for that," Benchen said.  "It's directly
or indirectly caused the destruction of numerous space armadas."
     "The flagship of Hell has the power of any number of armadas," Emma
said.  "I'm not sure it can even be harmed, let alone destroyed.  Still, it's
our only chance.  The Red Emma will keep the ZAMBONI covered while it makes
it's run.  The only thing we need right now is a driver.  Needless to say,
the driver will go down in legend as a truly heroic figure, one who defeated
a truly evil tyrant and liberated the galaxy..."
     Lots of hands went up.
     "...although that person will not be able to enjoy the adulation as he or
she will certainly be destroyed into little tiny bits by the impact."
     Lots of hands went down, except one.
     "Satan?" Jerriphrrt asked, surprised.
     "Machiavelli defeated me," Satan said, his visage serious.  "I've never
been defeated before.  I don't really care for it much.  I owe him.  Besides,
even if I die, I'll wind up on the flagship of Hell, which is where I belong
     "Make sense to me," Slithis said.  Everyone nodded vigorously, except
Robert Smith, who sort of lolled his head in a depressed manner.
     "Okay, then, if everyone is ready," Emma said.  "Man or woman your ships,
as the case may be!"  There was much cheering.
     Machiavelli stared out the large picture window at the Cosmic Cuisinart,
which had taken to pulsing a violent green in the past few minutes, a pulsing
glow matched by Machiavelli's eyes.  Idly, as he watched the ZAMBONI pivoting
in space a ways beyond, he thought of the revenge he had planned for CHAOS
Engineer, and how he would be much too busy now to execute it.  He had left
the plans in his desk, though - perhaps his successor as Hell Inc.'s CEO would
be of a mind to follow through.
     The huge oaken doors opened behind him and Milagro Bekn'kse and Hourus
Jebillip rushed in, shutting the doors behind them.
     "Boss!  The mobs outside!  They're almost here!" Milagro shouted.
     "Let's get outta here!" Hourus added.  Machiavelli did not move.
     "Um...boss?" Milagro said.
     "You have been very loyal," Machiavelli said.  "I thank you.  But my time
is up here.  I have higher realms to move upon.  Soon, the key to all of time
shall be mine, much as the key to all of space is now.  The power of Hell will
be as naught, and is a bauble which I am no longer interested in.
     "In that case," Hourus said, "can I have a raise?"
     Suddenly and without warning, the huge oaken doors crashed down, and
Omegas strode into the room, glowing with reddish energy.
     "Machiavelli!" Omegas roared, his voice booming at the subsonic level.
"I've come to confront you for control of all of Hell!  As you can see, I have
taken the power of Hell from you, and added it to my own, incredible personal
powers!  Combined, they will defeat even your vaunted Cosmic Cuisinart!"
     "I yield," Machiavelli said, continuing to stare out the window.  "Hell,
Inc. is yours."
     "I'm going to destroy you utterly!" Omegas growled.  "I'm going to wipe
the floor with you!  I'm going to...beg your pardon?"
     "I've already transfered ownership to you in the ships computers,"
Machiavelli said, tossing his own power grid manipulator aside.  "Congratulat-
     "Um, thanks," Omegas said, looking very confused.  Bennett Quark picked
up Machiavelli's power grid manipulator and brought it to Omegas.  "If you
don't mind my asking..."
     "The ZAMBONI has arrived," Machiavelli said.  "Soon, my mastery will be
complete, and I will rule not only the galaxy at present, but the galaxy all
through time and space as well.  You may control Hell now, Omegas, but I
control the Hypernet.  My ascendence begins."
     Machiavelli's green eyes flared, and the transparisteel window shattered
into a billion tiny fragments, explosively decompressing the office.  Omegas
set up a force shield bubble to keep his followers from being drawn out into
space, and watched impassively as Machiavelli stepped through the shattered
bulkhead and into space, a powerful green glow around him.
     After Machiavelli was distant, Omegas gave a mental command through his
grid usurper, and the emergency transparisteel bulkhead thundered down, and
the office repressurized.
     "Whew," Hourus Jebillip said.  "That was odd."
     "I've got this thing going," Satan's voice came over the comm from the
ZAMBONI.  "Though Symon won't stop making fun of me."
     "Symon, be nice," Shadebeam said into the comm.
     *But, it's so easy*, Symon's voice said inside her mind.
     *I know,* Shadebeam replied.  *Just try.*
     Emma Goldman, Slithis, Benjen, Jerriphrrt, Tarrfel t'Krodkzik, Gham,
Shadebeam, Time Agent 173, and Robert Smith were aboard the Red Emma, flying
alongside the ZAMBONI OF DOOM as it built up speed for it's run on the
Cosmic Cuisinart.  Benchen, Katayin, Nootgingitch, Ragnuruk, Viol, and Nat
Rephue, along with the other natives of Karma Chameleon II, had gone aboard
the Toaster and were presently arcing towards the flagship of Hell, which
stragely was not firing upon it.  None of the warships they were streaking
by raised weapons to give them challenge.
     "Curiouser and curiouser," Emma muttered.  "Machiavelli, my dear prince,
what are you up to?"
     "Emma!" Tarrfel announced.  "I'm getting a large energy reading coming
from the flagship!"
     "They're getting ready to fire..." Jerriphrrt started.
     "No, it's concentrated..." Tarrfel said.  "I've got identificiation -
it's a humaniform object - glowing intensely green..."
     "He's coming out to meet us himself," Emma growled.  "Fine!  If he wants
a direct fight, we'll show him one."
     "He's firing on the Toaster..." Slithis said.  "Direct hit!"
     "Damages to the Toaster?" Gham asked.
     "None," Benjen replied.  "They've been blown far away, though - out to the
orbit of Mars.  It'll take them one hour to get back here."
     "Come on, Emma," Machiavelli's voice crackled over the speakers.  "Don't
send your underlings to do your own dirty work."
     "Something you'd know a lot about," Emma snarled back.  "I have no
underlings, remember?  I'm an anarchist?  We all are.  That's kind of the
point, or have you forgotten?"
     "Whatever," Machiavelli said.  "Come on, hit me with your best shot."
     "The ZAMBONI is about to impact in it's slot with the Cosmic Cuisinart!"
Shadebeam called out.  "Ten seconds!"
     "Set the energy weapon to it's highest setting - nine," Emma ordered.
     "But...setting two was enough to destroy a battleship of Hell," Slithis
said, alarmed. "And three enough for a solar system...what will nine do?"
     "We're about to find out," Jerriphrrt said.  "I'm angling timespace vector
to hit Machiavelli squarely in the chest - power and intensity to full."  The
engines started to throb like a demonically possessed choir being amplified
a thousand times.  "We have power!"
     "Impact in three seconds!" Shadebeam called.
     "Wait!" Time Agent 173 called.  "He *wants* us to do this..."
     "Fire!" roared Emma.  Jerriphrrt pushed the button.
     "Impact!" was the last thing they heard as the Red Emma fired, the ZAMBONI
hit, and space and time went mad...

Date:         Sun, 15 Nov 1992 22:49:00 EST
From:         mostly harmless (SWEDE at DRYCAS.BITNET)
Subject:      SF: Renegade Anarchists, episode twenty-five

Episode Twenty-Five: "All's Hell That Ends Well" by Gary W. Olson

     Violent spirals of light blasted from the Cosmic Cuisinart as the fabric
of space and time crinkled around Niccolo Machiavelli like Reynold's Wrap.
The Red Emma poured cosmic energies forth - it's full storehouse of byzantine
energies storming out and impacting him.  What the Anarchists didn't know was
that that was exactly what he had wanted.
     Satan T. Lucifer Jones had designed the Red Emma, that much was true.
He engineered the drive system, it's deck design, and drew up the specs for
the weapons capabilities.  He had wanted the prototype as a forerunner to a
line of specially advanced ships, which might eventually replace the bulky
battle crusiers of Hell's armadas without sacraficing killpower.  Because he
let Machiavelli design the weapon system itself, he got much, much more than
he wanted.
     The system was a micromodel of the cosmic cuisinart itself.  It had seemed
only natural to build a scale model, to observe what energies the design could
produce.  Putting the model in Satan's prototype ship was the final stroke of
genius, and would give him the opportunity to test it out in the open.  Now,
he was drinking in the cosmic energies, transcending the dimensions
     "Now," he thought, "it's all coming together.  The ZAMBONI OF DOOM is
locked inside the Cosmic Cuisinart.  Through the hypernet, I can see the
galaxy - the whole of the galaxy, from it's birth in the big bang to it's
eventual death when it accidentally gets immersed in a galaxy-sized custard
cream pie, in a few zillion years or so from now..."
     His musings were interrupted by what sounded to him like loud backfiring.
He pivoted in space to see the Cosmic Cuisinart shaking, cracking, splintering
apart.  The ZAMBONI OF DOOM was repeatedly ramming in and backing out,
backfiring in the process.  Obviously, whoever was piloting it could not drive
a stick.
     "Nooo!" Machiavelli yelled, the sound travelling across the cosmic aether
in direct violation of numerous laws regarding sound travelling in space.  The
Cosmic Cuisinart shuddered, and started to split apart.  Psychotic green
energies hissed out like jagged spires, curling around to ram Machiavelli
through the stomach.
     The CBS Eye appeared nearby, but it was fractured, it's ghostly form
coming apart.  "This...shish...C...B...Eeeeesssssss...sqsskkksshhhh...."  There
was a blaze of blinding green energy erupting from the center of the Eye,
pouring into the shattered Cuisinart.
     "The Hypernet," Machiavelli moaned.  "It's dissolving...shattering...!"
The Eiffel Thing exploded into dust in it's slot, and Machiavelli could
suddenly feel the pounding of cosmic energy from the Red Emma, piledriving him
into the Cuisinart wreckage.  He saw a figure getting out of the ZAMBONI,
pushing away in a space suit.  It was a face he recognized.
     "Hi, Nick," Satan T. Lucifer Jones said.  "Sorry things didn't work out.
See ya in Hell, maybe?  You can have the ZAMBONI.  The key's in the ignition.
Bye now.  Stay warm!  Bwah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah..."  Satan pushed away.  The
Red Emma had stopped pouring fourth cosmic energies, and Satan jetted towards
     The Cuisinart was almost completely dissolved now, and the green pulsing
energies were swirling around him, compacting down on him.  "I see it..."
Machiavelli whispered, knowing no one could hear but him.  "I see it all
now...the infinite void...the dancing electrons...what a fool I have been..."
The pieces of the Cuisinart and the ZAMBONI covered him, pushing inward
farther and farther, the energies compacting tighter and tighter, until there
was just a tiny green dot.  It held for five seconds, then quietly blinked and
was there no longer.
     "There are intruders in Hell!" Omegas roared.  "Get a move on!"
     "It's no use," Susan B. Anthony replied.  "Everything's still in disarray
after we immobilized the ship with all those damn Dan Quayle clones.  They'll
be on us in a few moments."
     "Um, would now be a good time to leave?" Milagro Bekn'kse asked.
     Just then, the huge oaken doors to Omegas' inner office swung violently
open, and the Renegade Anarchists stormed in.  Satan T. Lucifer Jones was at
the front.
     "Oh, hello, Omegas.  Nice to see you've been keeping my chair warm," he
said perfunctorily.  "Fortunately, I'm back now, to claim what is rightfully
mine.  So stand aside."
     "Yeah," Zen Navigator added.
     "Hey, where were you for the last two episodes, anyway?" Emma Goldman
     "Ummmm..." Zen said.  "I went back into the ship to look for some
'Chapstick'.  I just found it five minutes ago."  Emma sighed.
     "Nice place," Ragnuruk said, looking around.  "Must cost a lot to heat."
     "Enough!" Omegas rumbled.  "If you want your job back, Satan, you'll
just have to take it."
     "Fair enough," Satan replied, flipping on his power grid channeler.
Omegas tried to flip his on, and started banging on it when no juice came
through.  "Having problems, Omegas?  This is the prime model - your cheap toy
can't compete."
     "Cheap toy?" Bennett Quark asked, enraged.  "I built that, you..."
     "Would you like a job?" Satan asked in return.  "After I vanquish this
guy, I'll make you of Science.  Or something like that."
     "You would?" Bennett said, his eyes lighting up.  "Oh, boy!"
     "Hey, whatever happened to loyalty?" Omegas rumbled.  "Did I ever abandon
     "So are you going to abandon me?"
     "Damn."  As Omegas said that, the emergency bulkhead started opening
again, by Satan's silent command.  While a force bubble protected everyone
else, Omegas was swept into the depths of space by the expelled air.
     He had only travelled a few miles when he encountered a warped pocket
of space and time, still getting itself smoothed out after the Cosmic
Cuisinart had mucked it all up.  He hit the pocket just right, and in the
blink of an eye, warped billions of light years away.  He landed on his ass
on a marble porch.
     "Rmmmm," he said, holding his head.  "Where am I?"  He looked around.
There were a number of people playing chess, talking, and generally looking
bored.  Many of them he recognized.
     "Oh, no," he groaned.  "Not the SfStory Home for Forgotten Characters!"
     Days passed.  With the destruction of the Hypernet, Satan was forced to
call off the conquest of the galaxy, and orders most of the ships of the
fleet of Hell back to the flagship, which had relocated away from Earth to
the Spyro Gyra system.
     "Well, I must take my leave of you now," Zen Navigator said heroically.
"There are many others I must assist in locating that which needs to be
     "We' you..." Time Agent 173 said, as Zen Navigator
drove his psychadaelic VW minibus out of the hold of the Red Emma.  Everyone
waved as he drove out of the hangar and into the depths of space.  Soon, it
was gone from sight.
     "We had best be on our way, too," the Grand High Spatula and the
Omnipotent Eggbeater said.  "Thank you for bringing our Toaster back to us."
The two rulers of a formerly vast empire boarded the Toaster, which shot
out of the hangar and into hyperspace.
     " will we get home now?" Benchen asked.
     "Don't worry," Tarrfel answered.  "We'll drop ye off, laddie."
     "Not so fast," Satan said, striding forward.  "You still have something
that belongs to me."
     "We had a deal," Jerriphrrt reminded him.  "You foreswore all claim on
our souls, in exchange for our help in getting you back into the head honcho
job in Hell.  Well, here you are again..."
     "And so, I keep my deal," Satan said.  "I have abandoned all past,
present, or future claim on your souls, from any altiverse.  Probably some
other afterlife outfit will pick up your option.  It's out of my hands now.
However...I made no such deal regarding the Red Emma itself.  It is still my
     " will we get off the ship?" Shadebeam asked.
     "Beats me," Satan said, chuckling loudly.  "We don't get a lot of non-
Hell ships here.  You could be stuck here...for eternity..."  The hangar
echoed with his loud laughter.
     "Wow, now this is truly depressing," Robert Smith whined.
     "I think you're forgetting something," Emma Goldman said.  "We loaned
you a ten dollar bill back in episode seventeen so you could get an answer from
The Sage.  Now, at 2% interest compounded hourly, you owe us..."  Her hands
flashed over a pocket calculator.  "300 billion dollars, exactly."
     "Whaaaaaat?" Satan said, his jaw dropping.  "But...but..."
     "Not only did Zen Navigator's extremely roundabout search for the
ZAMBONI cost you a lot of time, but all the time/space distortions we
encountered really inflated the final total.  So, pay up."
     "But...but..." Satan stuttered.
     "You're not going to break your vow, are you?" Gham asked.  "You said
'cross my heart and hope to die/stick a needle in my eye' - a vow that even
Satan cannot break."
     "Susan!" Satan called.  "How much money do I have?"
     "Let's see...after buying up the rest of the unsold stock in Hell, Inc,
making you the biggest shareholder at 66.6%, Hell has exactly zero dollars in
it's coffers to spare, after operating expenses."
     "We lost lots of money when we aborted the effort to take over the
galaxy," Susan said.  "Plus, the administrative costs of all the paperwork
that wasn't done while Machiavelli was in office."
     "How much stock can I sell?" Satan asked, panicing.
     "To raise $300 billion, you'd have to sell every share you own, five times
over," Susan told him.  "Hell Inc.'s stock has crashed since they learned of
Machiavelli's departure as C.E.O.  Seems he had a lot of fans on Wall Street."
     "Or," Emma said.  "You could sell off some assets.  For instance...I'd
say your prototype ship was worth about $300 billion..."
     Satan's face twisted, contorted, and spasmed into a number of comical
pictures of rage.  "Okay, damn it all!" he exploded (not literally) (hi bill!).
"You've got a deal!  Now get out of here, all of you!"  The Anarchists didn't
need to be told twice.  Waving and blowing kisses, they all got back into the
Red Emma, which blasted out of the hangar and into the void of space, where
it quickly disappeared into hyperspace.
     The Grand High Spatula strode out of the Toaster and kissed the Heavenly
Display of Mashed Potatoes.
     "Finally, we're home again!" the Omnipotent Eggbeater chorused.
     "Yay!" the Spatula added.
     "Now, gentlemen, I'm sure you've wondered why I've called you here,"
Satan T. Lucifer Jones said.  Milagro Bekn'kse, Hourus Jebillip, Bennett
Quark, Karl Marx, Mao Tse-Tung, Trotsky, and Vladimir Lenin looked at him
uncertainly.  "The answer is that I would like all of you to be on the new
board of directors for Hell, Inc."
     "You mean, you're keeping Hell, Inc. corporate?" Trotsky asked, stunned.
"You're not going to take it back to the way it was?"
     "I can't afford to!" Satan replied.  "I have no money!  Hell, Inc.'s
stock is crashing through the floor of stock exchanges galaxywide!  But, I
trust with you gentlemen directing my evil schemes, we'll get those prices
back up in no time, and we'll *all* be swimming in money."
     "Right on!" Mao shouted.  Everyone looked at him.  "Heh."
     "Can I keep my position as director of marketing?" Hourus asked.  "I
was kind of getting to like it."
     "Yes, yes," Satan said.  "And Milagro can continue to be the Director
of Finance, too.  Lenin, Marx, Trotsky, and Mao here will be in charge of
interior matters, and Bennett Quark will be our Science Director."
     "Thanks," Bennett Quark said.  "I've already fixed the compiler
mechanism, and techs are sweeping through the ships, killing off all the
Dan Quayles.  We should have just one Dan Quayle within the hour.  That is,
except for Hemingway's ship.  He', since he says he's going
to make them into real men."
     "I see," Satan said.  "Well, I'm in a good mood, so we'll just humor
Mr. Hemingway for now, and wait for him to find and kill Time Agent 357,
before we punish him for disobeying orders.  Any other business?"
     "You wanted to talk to our new commercial spokesman," Susan reminded him.
     "Ah, yes, Mr. Paul," Satan said.  "Schedule an appointment soon.  You're
dismissed, gentlemen."  Everyone save Satan and Susan filed from the room.
"I'll need a new Chief of Coversion, Susan.  See if J. Edgar Hoover has
recovered from serving as the practice dummy for the Quayles that Machiavelli
had trained to serve with Hemingway.  And get Poe another ship."
     "Anything else?" Susan asked.
     "Um...I'd like a ham on rye, extra swiss," Satan said.  Susan disappeared
through the door, and re-entered seconds later, bringing the sandwich and
a wheelbarrow filled with paperwork.  "Eh?"  Satan asked.  "What's all this?"
     "All the paperwork Machiavelli didn't do while you were gone," Susan
said.  "It's got to be done, so just warm up your signing hand."
     "Great," Satan sighed as he picked up a quill and dipped it in blood.
"I had to come back, didn't I?"
     "So, this is goodbye, isn't it?" Gham asked.  The wild blue skies of
Planet Karma Chameleon II expanded over the Anarchists, with the surrounding
jungle growth encroaching the landing site.
     "'Fraid so," Jerriphrrt replied.  "This is your world, not mine."
     "Well, then, at least say goodbye properly," Gham said, stepping forward
and giving Jerriphrrt a truly sensational kiss.  There were various catcalls
(no pun intended) and whistles from the assembled natives.
     "Ahem," Gham said, looking at the natives.  Collectively, they gulped,
and looked back towards the ground, their bodies bowing to the ground in
supplication towards their three new gods, Gham, Benchen, and Katayin.  "Okay,
you can rise."
     "We wish you well, Renegade Anarchists," Ragnuruk said, rising.  Beside
him, Nat Rephue, Nootgingitch, and Viol nodded vigorously.
     "Well, looks like there's nothing more to say," Emma said.  "Goodbye,
everyone.  We'll try to visit now and then."
     "I do have something I would like to know before you leave," Katayin
said.  She stepped forward and gave Benjen an equally spectacular kiss, much
like Gham's spectacular kiss, yet completely different, though not really,
but kind of.  Whatever.  When she was done, Benjen's eyes had glazed over.
Katayin walked back over to her fiance, Benchen.
     "I thought so," she said, smiling mysteriously.
     "What?" Benchen asked.  "Thought what?  Hey, Katayin!  Wait up!"  The
Anarchists took that moment to get back into the ship and take off.
     The Red Emma had just lifted off from Karma Chameleon II when it received
a surprise: a hailing message from a ship belonging to a Time Agent.  Time
Agent 173 told them to let him dock with the Red Emma.
     "But surely he's here to arrest you," Slithis protested.  "Stay with us!"
     "No," Time Agent 173 said.  "I stayed a renegade long enough to make sure
that the Eiffel Thing was destroyed and that the Cosmic Cuisinart is no more.
Now, it's time for me to turn myself in."
     At that moment, the Time Agent from the other ship entered the room.
     "Ohmigod!" Shadebeam exclaimed.  "It's Luke Perry!  Gasp!"
     "Hmmm?" the Time Agent said.  "Oh!  My appearance!  Sorry about that.  A
lot of people make that mistake.  My real name is Lark Purree, but you can
call me Time Agent 90210.  I've been sent by Time Central to bring Time Agent
173 back for..."
     "I'm ready to go," Time Agent 173 said sullenly.  "Let's get this court
martial over with."
     "...a commendation for her splendid handling of the Eiffel Thing matter."
     Time Agent 173 blinked.
     "We knew the message from the William Buckley AI was a forgery the moment
we received it," Time Agent 90210 went on.  "We tried to contact you to tell
you so, but your ship had been dismantled by that time (episode 11).   Your
subsequent ploy of pretending to be a rogue Time Agent to deceive Machiavelli
was truly brilliant, and worthy of recognition."
     "Um, okay," Time Agent 173 said, a bit confused but nevertheless relieved.
"Well, goodbye, everyone.  It's been"
     "Take care, Miss Marbles," Emma said, using Time Agent 173's real name.
Soon, the Time Agents had crossed over to Time Agent 90210's ship, and the
two ships unlinked.  Time Agent 90210's ship pulled away moments later, and
disappeared into hyperspace.
     "Well, I guess that just leaves us, then," Tarrfel t'Krodkzik said.
     "I'm marginally less depressed than I was before," Robert Smith offered.
     "There's just one thing that wasn't wrapped up," Jerriphrrt said.  "What
was James Dean, the one that was killed in episode fourteen, and what did
the Sage mean when he said that he was the James Dean that was killed on
Earth?  Are there others?"
     "I don't know if I'm really all that interested in finding out," Emma
said.  "Me, I'd rather visit Barbados, Planet of Physical Delights."
     "Sounds good," Shadebeam said.  "I have to get some new materials for
rolling my cigarettes, since I gave my last ones to Radian."
     "Yeah," Benjen replied.  "Say, whatever happened to Symon?"
     "I don't know," Shadebeam said.  "I haven't had any mental contact with
him since the ZAMBONI crashed into the Cosmic Cuisinart.  I hope he's okay,
wherever he is."
     "Aye," Tarrfel said.  "Well, I've got the course laid in for Barbados,
everyone.  Ye all ready to go?"  The Anarchists made various sounds of assent
and/or depression.  "Then we're off!"  And so, the Red Emma, containing the
Renegade Anarchists (Emma Goldman, Jerriphrrt, Slithis, Benjen, Shadebeam,
Tarrfel t'Krodkzik, and Robert Smith), lumbered forth and blasted into
hyperspace, towards Barbados.

Date:         Sun, 15 Nov 1992 23:04:37 EST
From:         "(Solipsist at Large)" (IK20001 at MAINE.BITNET)
Subject:      AA/SF:  InterPlanet #0 (Prologue)

     Sabre dozed in his chair, waiting for the next shipment of
inspiration dust, to cause him to complete Mighty Guy and
Dashing Superguy and his Pac-Shmoo Kirby.  It was *not* forthcoming.

     However, something else was.  Something...old.

     The mysterious figure slipped into La Casa Violente.  She slipped
over to a closet, and opened it.  She drew out a case, and opened it.
Her silence was incredible.

     Inside was a small unit.  It was years old -- obsolete by
Authorial standards (which made it mind-boggling advanced by our
standards).  Embossed on one side were the words VM/CMS 999.9943
Automatic Story Transcriber, from the days before OmniVAXs.  It had
been designed by Duplissie, the master programmer of the Omnicomp
clusters.  He who designed the intricate web of computers that
masintained the integrity of the space the Multiverse stood in.  He
who was all-seeing and all-knowing.  He who corrected the Sage's
mistakes before the Sage finally passed into Omniscience.  He, who
was head Roadie for Elvis's Apotheosis Tour.

     She couldn't dare pray that it would work.  She *couldn't*.  But
Duplissie's mastery of Omnicybernetics *had* to allow it to interface
with the OmniVAX.  It *had* to.  Everyone was depending on her.

     Swiftly, she connected it to Sabre's OmniVAX terminal.  She couldn't
afford to wake the Author.  It had to be up and running before he awoke.
She *knew* her abilities, strong as they were, wouldn't affect him.

     She got it connected and flipped it on.  An LED redout appeared.

    [[Connecting to SFSTORY Altiverse 000]]

    She waited, her breath bated.

    [[Bollocks.  Altiverse 000 coded SUPERGUY.  Searching for SFSTORY.]]

    She had no idea what it was talking about, having missed the
recreation of the universe.

    [[Connecting to SFSTORY Altiverse 001SF.  Connected.  Autostory
being initiated -- suitable characters being identified and


     The home for Forgotten Sfstory characters was quiet, as usual.  357
was gone, Mark Hyperthrust was packing, as was Trudy Tetwaters (the
younger).  Everything was pretty dull, it seemed.

     Matt Deforrest and Linda Madison, Paladins both, were playing
Super MarioWorld.  Linda was winning.


     They were gone in a golden flicker -- the last six years completely
rewritten, as Matt and Linda were set up for a plotline.

     "What's this?"  asked the Timelord known as the Intern, with his
eternal fiance Radar Vogel.


     They then asked nothing more, as they too were retconned into position.

     Nearby, Muck-Luck, ex-most Enlightened and Omniscient Guy in the
Altiverse, was busy insulting the Sage over the phone.  The Sage, who
had taken over Muck-Luck's job after Muck-Luck had lost his Omniscience,
was answering each insult, predictably, with "Heard it.  Heard it.  Know
that one too.  I knew you'd say that.  Time to go, now."


     Muck-Luck too, was gone.


     The figure finished camoflaging the active Automatic Story
Transcriber.  It was hidden under Sabre's complete notes for the
WarHammer Metaworld story, insuring Sabre would never notice the
transcriber was perking away, writing new adventures under his name
without his permission.  Smiling, the figure slipped out of the
room.  Her work was well done.


The answers can be found on Sfstory.  You know, it feels good to say that.
Date:         Mon, 16 Nov 1992 22:18:36 EST
From:         "(Solipsist at Large)" (IK20001 at MAINE.BITNET)
Subject:      SF:  InterPlanet #0.5 (a quick synopsis)

           InterPlanet #0.5 -- Initial Character Backgrounds

***  Notes from the Automatic Story Transcriber  ***

     There are several characters with histories, in this little tete-
     a-tete.  Here is a list of the ones already identified in
     InterPlanet #0.

DEFORREST, MATTHEW:  A young man, formerly President of Danielsen Hall
     at Boston University (before Boston was obliterated accidentally,
     along with much of New England).  Matt was a shy lad, capable of
     nova intensity blushes whenever *any* potentially scandalous
     subject was mentioned within a mile and a half of him.  God
     recruited him as a Paladin, and Patron Saint of Hot Chocolate and
     Other Warm, Tasty Drinks.  His Paladin abilities seem to include
     his innocent nature, his bomber jacket (which looks really neat,
     never seems to run out of room and has neat stuff in it), and a
     mental tie to SUPERBRAIN (c.f.).  Matt doesn't get along with
     computers very well, is in no way truly heroic (save his
     irrepressible nature), and is in fact the antithesis of heroism
     in our society.  As a result, he usually wins.  Matt has light
     brown hair, is five foot six and quite thin, though he is
     handsome.  No woman other than Linda Madison (c.f.) would *ever*
     give him the time of day in a romantic sense, but he has a puppy-
     dog quality that reminds you of your brother.  He is hopelessly
     in love with Linda Madison.

MADISON, LINDA:  Formerly Lieutenant Linda Madison of NASA.  Linda was
     the Computer Operator on the Challenger II, in the very first
     episode of Sfstory.  She has light brown hair, and is very
     beautiful.  She is a sweet person who honestly cares about others
     -- these qualities, combined with a certain gullibility lead to
     her exploitation by any number of people, creatures, and others.
     However, with her becoming a Paladin (and Patron Saint of Lacy
     Underwear and Warm Fuzzy Blankets), she also seemed to connect
     her brain with the real world.  Her other major Paladinish power
     is one of Deus Ex Machina.  Whenever she gets in danger, the gods
     pull her out of it.  However, it isn't always in a comfortable

     computer account is fully sentient, being run on the powerful
     ORACLE2 supermainframe.  These Omnimachines are literally all-
     powerful in their field.  SUPERBRAIN, being an omniscience
     account, can discover any information not blocked to him.
     However, unlike the Sage, it takes a little processing time,
     sometimes.  Omniaccounts are encoded into their users' brainwave
     patterns, so contact is instantaneous.  SUPERBRAIN *was* Muck-
     Luck's Class I Omniscience account, but after an accident (which
     also killed Lisa Bonet off, so no complaining) it was reassigned
     to Matt Deforrest.  Note that SUPERBRAIN, the *original* bad
     attitude computer account, doesn't care a whit for Matt, but has
     to work for him.

INTERN:  A timelord from Gallifrey.  Yes, it's a bad Dr. Who pun.
     However, the Intern isn't like *any* of the Doctors, so the
     similarity ends there.  The Intern is a licensed Space Hero, like
     Time Agent 357 (whom he attended Interstellar University with,
     majoring in High Space Adventure, Space Heroism emphasis.)  The
     Intern later got a Masters degree in Space Heroism, Timelord
     concentration.  He is cool headed, very intelligent, and a master
     of the somewhat suspect art of Hyper-Belcho.  He possesses a
     TARDIS (Model 69) which has the appearance of a Brador Malt
     Liquor beer keg.

VOGEL, RADAR:  The sister of Captain Steve Vogel, the commander of the
     ill-fated mission of the Challenger II.  Radar Vogel is one of
     the foremost Spamologists in the universe.  She is also gorgeous,
     and was terribly petty -- almost evil.  Until God, who was in the
     shape of a dog named Trundle the Wonder Dog, caused her to fall
     in sappy love with the Intern, who is now her fiance.  I swear
     I'm not making this up.  Anyhow, Radar's the Engineer type *and*
     the sex appeal, thus at once being Politically Correct *and*
     Incorrect.  Go figure.

OMEGAS:  You already know about him, from the Renegade Anarchists
     series.  So go reread it.  You will be tested.

MUCK-LUCK:  An ancient man who looks like the offspring of Gene
     Roddenberry mated with Gandhi.  Yup, pretty ugly.  He's an ex-
     enlightenment master who's got himself the attitude of Charles
     Manson in heat.  Not a pleasant fellow.  He used to be all right,
     until he lost his base Satellite and his Omniscience to Matt
     Deforrest in an improbable set of circumstances.  He was also
     Omnidestructive, with an Omniaccount on the deadly
     Destructionvax5 Supermainframe.  However, in the unrevealed
     conclusion to my last Sfstory plotline, the Dvax5 was blown up
     *real* good, so now he's a bitter immortal shmuck with a lot of
     time on his hands.

SATAN T. LUCIFER JONES:  Him you also know about.  The Duke of Smelly
     Feet himself.  CEO of Hell, Inc.  With luck, he won't even be in
     this story.

The Automatic Story Transcriber will add more information as events in
the story warrant.

***  End Automatic Story Transcriber Transmission  ***
Date:         Tue, 17 Nov 1992 17:02:59 EST
From:         "Solipsist at Large" (IK20001 at MAINE.BITNET)
Subject:      SF: InterPlanet #1 (Wherein we get started)

                            InterPlanet #1
                       "Wherein we get started"
                writ by the Automatic Story Transcriber
                       and passed off as Sabre's

     The space station was huge.  I mean, immense.  We're talking big,
here.  Jupiter was kind of puny, in comparison.  This is some
happening Space Station we're dealing with.  It was really, really,
*really* big.
     The small WarpShuttle, in comparison, was almost insignificant.
     The single occupant of the WarpShuttle stared at the station with
awe.  He wasn't predisposed to Awe, but there it was, anyway.  Here
was the center of one of the most powerful consciousness in all of
space.  The ORACLE2 Station, the greatest cybernetic support and
information processing equipment in this or any universe, triggered at
least a "Wow" from all but the most jaded viewers.
     The occupant, while impressed, did not say "Wow."

     ***  Notes from the Automatic Story Transcriber  ***

     There are terribly few sights, no matter how impressive or
     astounding, which trigger a response from every viewer
     equally.  It just doesn't happen.  The Chrysalis Falls of
     Anteres III are beautiful, with shimmering, ethereal
     energies which delight and edify, as they reflect of the
     crystalline waters (which are green, on this world).
     However, not a single Hampotant of Commode IV has ever
     desired to do more than urinate in it.  Sad but true.  Radar
     Vogel, of Planet Earth, is often described as being the most
     mind-bogglingly sensual sentient ever developed by
     evolution.  However, the NKDBOTIV as a race, when confronted
     with one of her popular "De-Lite Suntan Oil ads," sort of
     sniffed and said, "Yup.  Seen better."  The only known
     phenomenon which *always* causes *any* sentient to say "Wow"
     in awe is the Pearly Gates Effect, and then, of course, it's
     too late to tell your friends.

     ***  End Automatic Story Transcriber Transmission  ***

     The WarpShuttle approached the Station with preprogrammed
deference.  Glistening weapons capable of ruining *any* person's day
tracked the ship -- Omnicomputer Sysadmins having been shaken up by
the obliteration of the Destructionvax5 Satellite just a few years
before.  The occupant of the WarpShuttle had been involved with that,
albeit in trying to prevent it.  If you were a Sysadmin, you'd keep
him covered with ion cannons, too.
     "WarpShuttle 81124443222243256578-Alpha, you are cleared to land
in Docking Bay Nine Million, Thirty-Four Thousand, One Hundred and
Sixteen B."
     "Thank you," the occupant said, pushing the `dock the Shuttle
where we were told" button.
     The ship glided carefully into dock.  The occupant picked up his
travel bag (as he had rented the shuttle, and therefore needed to
collect his personal belongings before he left.  Unfortunately for
him, that meant picking up a single ditto bag with a book and a spare
pair of underwear in it.  Life had not been good to him for three and
a half years.
     But now, that would change.
     ))Thank you for flying InterPlanet,(( the Shuttle's computer
account, Perky at said over the speaker.
     "Up yours," the occupant said, snarling.
     ))No need to be snooty,(( Perky replied, opening the main door.
     The Occupant strode out.  Down below, there were six guards, all
at parade rest, holding Megalotsodeath Blaster Rifles at Parade Rest.
In the center of them stood a man in flowing robes.
     "Demark," the Occupant said.  "Good to see you."
     "Is it really, Muck-Luck?  You don't seem pleased."
     "I'm pleased enough for government work.  Shut up and take me to
your Grievance department."
     "Actually, I *am* the Grievance Department."
     "Oh yes.  A Promotion, they call it.  Kicked out of Systems
Administration after years of pouring my soul into this place."
     "You poor bastard."
     "At a raise of two million galactibucks a year, an encoded
Omniscience Account, and two weeks a year on Barbados, the Planet of
Physical and Earthly Delights.  Don't bleed too much for me."
     "Agreed.  Shall we go to my office?"

     ***  Notes from the Automatic Story Transcriber  ***

     Being in the Omniscience business, the heads of the `not-
     for-profit' ORACLE2 Station/Mainframe have long been just
     rolling in cash.  More accessible than the Sage, with better
     dispositions and the reliability of Computer Science (which
     means people are more likely to blame bad predictions on
     `Computer Error,' whereas with the Sage they have to claim
     `he's just saying that because he doesn't like me') to back
     up its advertising claims, ORACLE2 has long been the choice
     of snoopy governments and terribly important corporations,
     with a few non-profit prophets on the Public Tele-
     communications Stations to keep the press happy.  Since
     ORACLE2 is both rich and enlightened beyond compare, they
     have one of the best personnel offices in known space.  Not
     only can applicants be checked out through Omniscient
     accounts, but any misbehavior or incompetence is *instantly*
     detected and the best solution worked out.  The best
     solution, typically, is to pay their undesirable employees
     more to do nothing, with better benefits.  They tailor these
     pseudo-positions to the user, so that an honest layabout
     will be paid as `Designated Lazy Bum Class II,' while those
     employees who believe (incorrectly) that they are worth
     something get jobs that seem important, but aren't, like
     Vice President in charge of Marketing, Liaison to Planetary
     Governments (non-Omniscient), or Director of the Complaint
     Department.  The last is particularly effective as a non-
     effective position, given that *serious* complaints will be
     known about and dealt with before the complaint is even made
     -- omniscience being what it is.

     ***  End Automatic Story Transcriber Transmission  ***

     Camelot Command was *not* as impressive a space station as
ORACLE2.  We're talking orders of magnitude, here.  Sad, really, as
anyone who *hadn't* seen ORACLE2 would think the artificial satellite
was pretty darn spiffy.  It was circular, with three rings (one around
the middle, and one halfway between the equator and the pole, on
either side) and antennae coming out of the top and bottom.  It was
also pretty big, being the size of Rhode island, before Rhode Island
was destroyed accidentally by the Terrorist Ship that had landed there
millennia before, which launched and obliterated it, crushing Syracuse
and Newburg, NY with the rubble.
     But I digress.
     Within Camelot Command sat a man.  When I say he was a Man, I am
telling the truth in a chronological sense, the lad being twenty-four.
However, to look at him was to assume he was in his teens.
     His name was Matthew, and this is his story.
     Not exclusively, you understand.
     Matt was sitting in the Command Chair of Camelot Command.  This
chair looked identical to Captain Kirk's chair on the original Star
Trek.  It was similarly designed, as well, since the multi-colored
buttons on the armrest were designed to be pushed at random, and the
machine would automatically figure out what you wanted to do.  Matt
had been limiting himself to the green button for two weeks, now.
     He pushed said green button.
     "Commander's Log, Stardate 9211.16," he said, trying to assume a
voice of command.  Despite terrible amounts of practice, he had yet to
     "The refitting of Camelot Command has been nearly completed, with
little hardship.  Our mission will be easier to accomplish with the
new improvements."  This much was pretty accurate, as their `mission'
was to remain more or less relaxed and enjoy themselves, and the
`refit' was limited to recarpeting the Master Bedroom.  Truth be told,
Camelot Command was an extremely boring place.
     "Matt?" a lovely contralto called up from the corridor.
     Matt *almost* grumbled, but he was far too swell a guy to
complain.  Besides, the voice was special to him, as was the woman it
was attached to.
     Matt pushed the same green button, pausing the report, he then
pushed it a third time to erase his girlfriend's voice from the tape.
"Yeah, Linda?" he shouted back.
     "We mismeasured the carpet near my nightstand!  Where's the
     "I haven't seen it!"
     "Well, find it!"
     "How?"  Matt had noticed the two got into lots of petty arguments
over the last eight months -- like they were the only two organic
beings on the station or something.
     "You're OMNISCIENT!  Remember?"
     "Oh, right.  Sorry.  Superbrain?"
     The voice telepathically encoded into Matt's brain was less than
polite.  (((((What do you *want?*)))))  SUPERBRAIN at ORACLE2, Matt's
Omniscient account, had passed beyond his petty dislike of Master
Deforrest and into full fledged hatred, mostly due to boredom.
     "Oh, hush.  Question:  Where's the carpet cutter."
     (((((Hm.  Lemme ponder that one.  That could take a while.  Gee,
I don't recall the last time I had to process so much time on the
mainframe.  Wow oh wow.)))))
     "Just answer the question."
     (((((Do I *offend?*  Right.  It's in Linda's back pocket.  What
     "Don't say it.  You're free to go MUDding again."
     (((((Well bless your pores.)))))  SUPERBRAIN shut up.
     "Linda!  Your back pocket."
     "What do you me-oh.  Right.  Thanks!"
     Matt drummed his fingers on the armrest.  He pushed the green
button again, trying to find something on ESPN (the Extra-Sensory
Perception Network) to watch.
     Nothing.  Oh, a half-hour Hell, Inc. Infomercial, but as Matt was
a Paladin, it didn't really apply to him.
     What did?
     There had been a time when Matt had striven to save the universe.
He and Linda, together, fighting demons, avoiding certain death,
living in constant danger and *enjoying* it!  Life was safe, now.  It
had been ever since the Destructionvax5 satellite had been destroyed.
Safe and dull.  He and Linda were still together, but even that was
pretty old.  Matt knew he should end it or ask her to marry him, but
either took energy he didn't really have.  Besides, if he ended it, he
might hurt her...or she might not care and that would hurt *him.*  If
they got married, things might not improve...or she might say `no.'
     Pushing the green button, he summoned a bottle of Irish Whiskey.
Maybe a little alcohol and a lot of Yeats would be good, about now.

     ***  Notes from the Automatic Story Transcriber  ***

     Paladins, as a rule, don't retire well.  In fact, most don't
     retire.  These beings (defined as goody-goody people who are
     driven to do the right thing in any circumstance, regardless
     of religious background, are too heroic to take long-term
     inactivity well.  They also make bad employees (as they tend
     to rebel against any petty injustice they might find) and
     *worse* managers.  All that remains to them is writing their
     memoirs, going on talk shows, and staring at the wall.  As a
     result, many *never* retire, eventually dying a horrid death
     as a martyr, and enjoying every second.

     ***  End Automatic Story Transcriber Transmission  ***


The answers will be found on the all new, all fine Sfstory discussion!
Ask for it by name!
Date:         Wed, 18 Nov 1992 15:24:08 EST
From:         Solipsist at Large (IK20001 at MAINE.BITNET)
Subject:      SF:  InterPlanet #2 (Wherein Fates are bitterly fought against)

                            InterPlanet #2
              "Wherein fates are bitterly fought against"
                writ by the Automatic Story Transcriber
                       and passed off as Sabre's

     Demark sat behind his Pretentious Trendy Desk.  It was a desk
designed to send a message -- that message being "I feel pretty damn
good about myself, you can bet that!"  Muck-Luck sat on the other
     "Muck-Luck, you don't look well," Demark said, showing that even
an Omniscience Account didn't improve one's sense of tact.
     "Bright boy."
     "Hostility won't get you anywhere."
     "Tell that to Carthage.  Look, I had to scrape together the money
to charter an InterPlanet shuttle to get here because you people don't
accept E-Mail.  Can we get on with this."
     "Sure -- let me get you some coffee."
     "No bother."  Demark got up and stepped out of the office.
     "TC1," he said to his roboreceptionist, "Get some coffee."
     "You didn't say please," the robot said, getting up and heading
to the pot."
     Demark grinned.  Now for the *real* reason he had left.
"Brightgal, up and at `em."
     (((((Your wish is my command, sugar-pie.)))))
     "Cut that out, you're not fooling anyone."
     (((((Depends on who's asking, doesn't it?)))))
     "Anyhow -- question: What the Hell happened to Muck-Luck -- he
used to be our best customer!"
     (((((Muck-Luck got dragged into an adventure as the Companion of
a Timelord.  During that adventure, an electrochemical accident
transferred SUPERBRAIN, his ORACLE2 account, to one Matthew Deforrest.
Muck-Luck started chasing after Matt, to kill him and get his account
back.  He ended up allying himself with Satan in a bid to rule the
universe, and failing.  He then allied himself with the
DESTRUCTIONVAX5 Omnicore -- the purveyors of his Omnidestructive
account ANNIHILATION.  Deforrest and some others got together and blew
up the Dvax5 Satellite.  After that, Muck-Luck was left without
resources.  He ended up on Anthrax IV as a waiter.  He's been
collecting tips for four years, waiting until he could get here.)))))
     "Huh.  Question:  what's the deal with SUPERBRAIN?  Why didn't we
nolog it?"
     (((((Deforrest took over Muck-Luck's satellite -- a registered
coup of power, so it's legitimate.  The satellite's computers have
kept the payments up.)))))
     "I see."
     (((((Not that they're big.  For a Class Alpha account, it's used
for pretty petty stuff.)))))
     "Thanks."  Taking the coffee tray from TC1, Demark entered the
     "So," said Muck-Luck, "did your Omniscient account tell you all
about me?"
     "Huh?  How did you--"
     "I used to be the most enlightened man in the cosmos.  Give me
*some* credit."
     "Well," Demark said, setting the coffee down, "what can I do for
     "Simple.  I want to register a complaint."
     "Deforrest is legally the head of Camelot Command, now."
     Muck-Luck's eyes flashed with rage.  "You mean Enlightenment
Command, don't you?  Never mind.  It doesn't matter -- I'm not
contesting my Satellite...yet.
     "But I was a Gold Rated customer for eighty years.  I deserve
that account.  Deforrest's just a shmuck who uses the thing for
kitchen math."
     "Hmm.  I see.  So you want an account--"
     "And I want Deforrest's Illegal usage of ORACLE2 nologged once
and for all."
     "All right.  I'll have to see what I can do.  In the meantime,
would you like a room?  On the house."
     "Whatever."  TC1 came in and escorted Muck-Luck off.
     Demark sat in the chair, drumming his hands on the solid platinum
surface (hologrammed to look like formica -- it was the latest in
ostentatious desk design).  He pressed the intercom.
     "Hello Demark," his deputy said.  "I looked into the matter.
Muck-Luck's more or less in the right -- but we can't give him a new
account -- all prognostications indicate he'd never pay his bill.
We're going to renumerate him and issue a one-month warning for
SUPERBRAIN, then Nolog it, unless Deforrest applies for an account and
is accepted."
     "Would you just *once* let me ask the damn question before you
answer it?"
     "Sorry.  We'll look into that."
     "I'm sure you will.  Out."

     ***  Notes from the Automatic Story Transcriber  ***

     Heroism is not an automatic thing, in most cases.  Where
     once `Hero' was a title bestowed on random, often
     unqualified people, it currently requires certain coursework
     and life experience, for Certification.  A few special
     interest groups -- such as Paladins, the Immortal
     Cyberknights of Brentano XX, and Inner City Reference
     Librarians are Grandfathered into it, with proof of their
     nature.  However, those so-called `natural' heroes have a
     distressing tendency to get involved with situations any
     rational human being would avoid like the plague.

     ***  End Automatic Story Transcriber Transmission  ***

     Linda Madison boldly swept her arm out.  With one hand, the
interstellerly famous heroine struck--
     And splattered the paint.
     "Linda -- watch what you're doing."
     "Jesus, Matt.  It doesn't matter."
     "Of *course* it matters!  What will people think?"
     "What people?  Should I call someone in from the hall?"
     "It's the principle--"
     "It always is."
     "Oh don't *Honey* me!" Linda shouted, slamming her hand against
the wall (and painting it light blue, in the process).  "I'm so sick
of being *Honeyed!*"
     "Linda," Matt said, reaching out for the woman he lo--um, really
liked.  I mean, *really* liked.  Incredibly.  "Linda, I--"
     "Damn it, Matt!  I used to have a *life*!  I was an Astronaut!  A
computer programmer!  A God Damn Paladin!  What am I now -- a
     "The only reason we're redoing the bedroom is because we're
bored!  In fact, we could have had the robots do it, but we needed
*something* to do!  Matt, I'm sick to death of this...."
     Matt, perhaps tired of being interrupted, said nothing.  Linda
was also tired -- her outburst had taken all the steam out of her,
leaving her empty.  Matt slipped an arm around her shoulders.
     Half-crying, Linda spoke.  "Geez, Matt...what's happened to us?
I mean...Satan a businessman?  No one knows where 357 or the Intern
are?   Even Trudy's out of touch."
     "I know...I feel so...obsolete."
     "Hey," she said, almost laughing -- a pathetic sight.  "Do you
remember, when we were in Netherspace, trying to get the Subatomic
Spam Reintegrator.  We had to distract Off-Color Demons and Mark
Hyperthrust started shooting at them?"
     "Heh heh...yeah.  We ended up using SUPERBRAIN's emergency
Recall.  God, that was the worst trip."
     "We ended up here.  That was...Geez, you and me, Mark,
Toni...whatever happened to Toni?"
     "I heard she got over being a Succubus, and became a psychic
assassin, attending Interstellar University.  She hung out with Space
Commander Buzz Williams a lot."
     "That's right."  The two of them stopped talking.
     "Do you miss it?" she asked.
     "What, being shot at?  Having computers abuse me and everybody
and their dog make fun of me, even *after* I saved their lives?"
     "Constantly."  Matt stroked her arm.  "It's like...I don't know."


     Omegas was *not* happy.  He was hanging out in the Home for
Forgotten Sfstory Characters, in the low rent section of Netherspace
(more than walking distance away from the Netherspace Beach and St.
Pete and Bubba's Casino and house of Heavenly Immorality.  After a
successful run in Renegade Anarchists, he had been dropped.  Again.
And right this moment, he was being beaten in chess by a Weasel.
     "Check," Ralph said, before he went back to strumming his
     "Listen, Ferret.  Unless you want to wear that thing as a nose
ring, you better drop the music like RIGHT NOW."
     "Everybody else likes it," Ralph said, petulantly.
     "The Hell we do!" Bubba shouted from across the room.
     "All right, old characters," the In-Care specialist said.  "Who
wants some nice Tang?"
     Omegas stood, pointed an obscene finger at the specialist, and
obliterated him utterly, leaving six ounces of ash and a nametag.  The
effort gave him a headache -- having been dropped from the story,
Omegas' powers were again fading.
     "Was that wise, uncouth and silly companion," said Quooth, who
had started to play his harmonica along with the ukelele.
     "Who cares.  You drones can hang out and wait to be retconned
into a story, if *you* want.  I'm going to jumpstart myself into a
*real* plotline.  Hell, maybe it'll even star *me* this time."  So
saying, Omegas strode out the door and headed out to the infinite
plains of grey.
     Once he had walked far enough so he could no longer see the
Netherspace Home for Forgotten Sfstory Character, he concentrated on
teleporting to Altiverse 001SF.
     Nothing.  His power to shift between Altiverses was gone.  Again.
There was a refrain involved her, he was just sure.
     "Well, at least I'm not a '78 Pinto this time," Omegas said, and
kept walking.

     ***  Notes from the Automatic Story Transcriber  ***

     Heaven is an interesting place.  The main bouncer, Saint
     Peter (Pete to his friends, of whom he has three) is one of
     the bitterest, surliest, most unpleasant Saints to ever
     choke a man to death with his halo.  Gabriel, the Archangel,
     is never quite happy, given that Heaven, despite being the
     technical definition of perfect, never quite fits *his*
     definition of perfect.  God, the head honcho, has the
     distressing habit of changing form to suit his will.
     However, since he is for all intents and purposes all-
     powerful, people allow him his little quirks.  Heaven is
     also the location of The Book -- an artifact of tremendous
     power.  The Book consists of everything that is, was, and
     shall be.  To change the book is to change all of history,
     forever.  However, only God and Saint Peter can change it --
     Omegas could, but only when he's a maximum power level.

     ***  End Automatic Story Transcriber Transmission  ***

     "What do you mean **GONE?**"
     Gabriel rarely looked happy.  In fact, one could say the
Archangel was Verily Pisseth most of the time.  However, every once
and again Gabriel would fall into a rage so horrific one would suspect
the big guy had cast the wrong Archangel out.
     This, as you might have surmised, was one of those times.
     "Look," said Saint Peter, "If you had shown up at the Pearly
Gates for *your* shift, it would never have disappeared."
     "If you had waited thirty seconds, instead marching off leaving a
`Closed for Lunch' sign on the Gates, I *would* have been here!  I was
talking to Mister Three-in-One."
     "You're the one who came up with the Damn schedule."
     "Watch your language!"
     Saint Peter shook his head and started to walk away.
     "Where the Hell are you going?"
     Saint Peter looked over his shoulder.  "Watch your language," he
said, smirking.  "I'm going to get a little help to find it.  Don't
worry -- it can't be changed, so we'll work it out."
     "Don't worry?  Don't *worry*???"
     "Right.  We're in the land of Bliss, remember?"  Saint Peter
flitted away, to Afterlife Telepathy and Telecommunications.
     "May I help you?" asked Bee, the Angel-on-Duty.
     "Yes.  Angel-to-Mortal call to Linda Madison, please."


Yeesh.  That's a lot of characters.  Maybe you'll just have to read
Sfstory to find out.
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