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Sfstory Log 087

Date:         Tue, 24 Dec 1996 03:55:55 +0000 (GMT)
From:         David Menendez (zednenem at
To:           superguy at
Subject:      SF: [SA #12] Wherein Orliss and Bob Discuss Strategy

There were many things about Arorua that bothered Captain-General Tvanir. 
The spinelessness of the people, for instance.  Or the non-automatic doors
in the palace.  Forgetting and walking into one of them was embarrassing. 
At the moment, however, they seemed less important than the aspect of Arorua
than unnerved Tvanir the most:  the night.  It wasn't that she was afraid of
what might happen in the night -- even the militant Aroruan rebels weren't
that threatening -- it was just that night on Arorua was so _dark_.  Hadn't
these people heard of _streetlights_?  For someone raised on one of the
urban worlds of the Blargol Conglomerate, the idea that the center of a city
could be so dark was absurd.
    Finally, she made it to the palace.  She paused to catch her breath; 
she wasn't used to running, but simply walking away from the rebels, even
rebels as inept as the Aroruan People's League, wasn't something she felt
safe doing.  Once she was ready, she walked into the lit area before the
gates to the palace, where two of her soldiers stood, guarding the door. 
Regulations called for six at the minimum, but her superiors had decided
that was overkill on Arorua and had transferred her excess troops to fight
elsewhere in the Empire.
    ((Halt,)) the lead soldier said as he, or perhaps she (it was hard to
tell in that armor, although women were rare in the Zakavian Imperial
Military Aggregate), noticed her.  ((Who goes there?))
    "Captain-General Tvanir," Tvanir announced.  "I'd like to go inside
    ((Captain-General Tvanir vanished mysteriously,)) the other soldier
replied.  ((How do we know you're really you, and not a clone or a robot or
    "I've got ID," Tvanir said, fumbling for her wallet.
    ((All right,)) the first soldier admitted, ((but what if they stuck
cyborg parts inside your body so you'll _look_ normal, but when the truth is
discovered you'll shed your Blargoloid skin and shoot out robotic tentacles
that strangle people?))
    The second solder shuddered.  ((I hate it when that happens.))
    "'Cyborg parts'?" Tvanir asked, raising an eyebrow.  "Like they've got
access to _that_ kind of technology.  Look, how about you let me in and I
don't have you transferred to Planet Gloom?"
    ((Well...,)) the guards said, uncertainly.
    ((Are you mind-controlled?)) the first guard asked.
    "No," Tvanir replied.
    ((Man, nothing _ever_ happens around here.))
    "Just let me in, okay?  I've got to talk to Governor Jjana."
    ((Jjana?)) the first guard asked.  ((He's dead.))
    Tvanir blinked.  "Dead?  What happened?"
    ((Prince Lotekh said he had betrayed the Empire and then had you killed,
so Lotekh killed him,)) the guard explained.
    "So ... Lotekh's in charge?"
    The guards nodded.
    "Then ... I need to speak with him."
    The guards shrugged, and opened the gate.  Tvanir walked inside, acting
much calmer than she felt.  She hadn't counted on Lotekh being so ...
impulsive.  If she warned him about the rebels' plan, he'd probably have the
entire planet destroyed, which would pretty much kill her career.  Before
acting, she would need to know if this "Ampron" was real or not.  Hopefully,
Princess Elim was still alive, and feeling talkative.


                           STARCRUISER ANONYMOUS
                          (A Tale Within Sfstory)

                                Episode 12
                          Wherein Orliss and Bob
                             Discuss Strategy
                               Dave Menendez


Roy Gaelen, member of the _Anonymous's_ Green fighter squadron and one of
five people pretending to be reporters for the alleged magazine _Conqueror's
Quarterly_, watched Orliss SoFah, his colleague and theoretically the leader
of the group, pace angrily around the living room of the suite that had been
assigned to them.  Like Orliss, he was still somewhat disturbed by the idea
that the Zakavian Empire, which had abducted his friends in the Blue
Squadron and, hence, was pretty low on the list of organizations he trusted,
had its hands on a weapon as powerful as the EDIT was alleged to be.  On the
other hand, he was more concerned that they hadn't found any information
about the Blue Squadron or Megan Kadar, the youngest member of their group,
who was also missing.  Of course, she hadn't been gone very long, but Roy
was still worried.  She was too young to be wandering alone around a hostile
fortress like this one.  He watched Orliss pace for a bit, sighed, and
wondered if he should go join Horlun and Anme, who were in another room
hiding their nervousness by watching unpredictable Zakavian sitcoms.
    Before he could make the decision, the door opened and an armored
Zakavian soldier walked in.  At least, that was Roy's first impression,
although he revised it when he noted that the "soldier" wasn't wearing a
helmet and had the head of Megan Kadar attached to its neck.  "Megan?" Roy
asked.  "Where'd you get the armor?"
    "They left a store room unlocked," Megan replied.  "I figured, 'Why
not?'"  She smiled.  "I found someone you should meet."
    Megan moved away from the door, allowing the person behind her to enter.
Roy idly noticed it was a reptilian alien in a trenchcoat, but his
attention was drawn to the woman that entered last.  "Jen!" he cried,
leaping from his chair and rushing over.  "It's good to see you again!"
    "It's good to see you too," Jen Kadar replied, looking a bit surprised
by his reaction.  He noted she was wearing an unfamiliar uniform, but
decided to ask about it later.
    "Are the others here as well?" he asked instead.
    "I'm afraid not," she said sadly.  "I think they were going to Arorua. 
I was ... accidentally left behind."
    "Who is your friend?" Orliss asked, looking at the trenchcoated alien.
    "He's called Bob," Jen answered.  
    "It's a code name," Bob explained, seeing the look on Orliss's face. 
"I'm here because the Zakavian Empire has built a very powerful weapon,
which they must not be allowed to use."
    "The EDIT," Orliss surmised, referring to the Mexican-food-based
"ultimate weapon" that Emperor Vakaz had shown them recently.  "Yes, clearly
villains such as these should not have such power."  He turned to Roy.  "I
will get the others while you get reacquainted with your friend."
    "Right," Roy replied.  Turning to the others, he gestured at the dinner
table.  "I think we've got enough seats for everyone over there."
    "We should move as quickly as possible," Bob cautioned.  "And Jen and I
have already eaten dinner."
    "So have we," Roy replied, "but I assume we'll want to do some planning
before we go assault a ten-kilometer tortilla.  I know _I_ would."
    "Assault a _what_?" asked Megan, who had not been present when the
others were shown the EDIT.
    "Later," Bob said.  "Let's sit down for now."
    Fortunately, the table had eight seats, which was enough for the seven
of them ("Plus one for Elijah," Roy quipped, prompting confused looks from
the others).  After everyone was introduced, Horlun began by asking the
obvious question.  "So, 'Bob', who are you and why are you working to stop
the Zakavians?"
    Bob remained quiet for a few moments, then answered.  "Since I'll be
asking you to risk your lives, I suppose I should tell you the truth."  He
grinned.  "Or something fairly close to the truth, anyway."
    "'A Space Hero does not lie -- at least, not directly'," Orliss quoted
from one of his classes at Interstellar University.
    Bob grinned again.  "Ah, but I'm _not_ a hero.  I work for the
Interstellar Security Organization.  We're sort of like an organized
mercenary or bounty hunter group.  We get paid to hunt down criminals,
provide security, help old ladies cross the street -- the usual."
    "Why would they pay for your services when they could get a hero's for
free?" Orliss asked.
    "We're usually easier to find:  we've got a central headquarters and all
that.  Anyway, I'm getting paid to make sure the Zakavians don't go around
blowing up planets.  A few years ago, right before the OmniDean attacked
Time Central, there was a disturbing number of planets suddenly exploding,
and we're all eager to avoid another episode of that.
    "I started helping Jen because I thought we could both use a helping
hand.  As long as we're all on the same side, we might as well help each
    "I'm no so sure working with a bounty hunter is such a good idea,"
Orliss said, distastefully.
    "Does it matter _why_ he's on our side?" Jen asked.  "Can't you just
accept help when it's offered?"
    Orliss sighed.  "Very well, we will accept your help," he conceded.  "I
have come up with a simple plan which I think could work.  Would you like to
hear it?"
    "Certainly," replied Bob.
    "Here's what we do:  we sneak on board the EDIT, and then we disable
    No one spoke for a few seconds.
    "It's simple all right," Megan commented, breaking the silence.
    "That's the beauty of it," Orliss replied.
    "Perhaps we could come up with something more detailed," Bob suggested.
    "I thought we were in a hurry," Jen protested.
    "Well, that was back when there were only two of us," Bob replied. 
"With seven, we can afford to take our time a bit more -- especially since
one of us can pass for Zakavian."  He and the others looked at Megan, who
was still wearing her "borrowed" Zakavian combat armor. 
    "I don't like where this is headed," Megan commented.

                                 *   *   *

"...In other news, a petition signed by almost ten thousand civilians,
crewmembers, and household pets was recently sent to Captain Harrison
requesting that she return the _Anonymous_ to the Solar system.  A
spokesperson for the petition committee stated that sending the starship on
which all our lives depend into a potential war zone is an unreasonably
risky act, and demanded that the Captain clear any such actions with an
elected board of civilians.  The command staff has declined to comment...."

                                 *   *   *

The throne room in the Aroruan Palace hadn't been used much since the
sudden, unexplained death of King Gisp during the Zakavian invasion.  His
heir, Princess Elim, had never been allowed to use it, since her family no
longer ruled, and his successor, Governor Jjana, had preferred to rule from
his office.  But now Jjana was dead, and Prince Lotekh had declared himself
to be in charge, since he didn't have the authority to appoint a successor. 
Lotekh, of course, had immediately taken over the throne room and ordered
the palace staff to find some furniture that wasn't so boring.
     As far as the guard standing outside the throne room knew, they hadn't
found any.  Captain-General Tvanir thanked him for the information, and
prepared herself to enter.  She wished she had had time to change into a
fresh uniform, but it wouldn't do to keep Lotekh waiting.  "Okay," she said,
deciding there was no more she could do, "open the door."  The guard grinned
and opened the door.  Tvanir nodded and walked inside.  As expected, Lotekh
was sitting on the throne, although he had made some attempt to make it more
impressive by stacking some telephone books underneath the legs.  She
ignored Captain-General Mselt, who was standing behind and to the left of
the throne, mostly out of spite.  She wasn't too pleased that he commanded
one of the Empire's six main fleets while she, despite having been a
Captain-General longer, was stuck with the Incredible Shrinking Army on a
backwater world.  He'd probably make Captain-Commander before her, too.
    "Captain-General Tvanir," Lotekh said, noticing her entrance.  "We were
told you were captured by the rebellion."
    "I managed to escape, your Highness," Tvanir told him.  "I may also have
learned some important information about their plans, but I would like a
chance to confirm some details, if that's all right."
    "That seems fine to me," Lotekh said.  "I'd hate to think I was acting
on unconfirmed speculation."
    Mselt coughed, prompting a suspicious look from Lotekh.  "Excuse me,
your Highness" he said, "something in my throat."
    "I see," Lotekh replied, turning back to Tvanir.  "Do you have anything
to add, Captain-General?" he asked.
    "Yes, your Highness.  I recommend keeping a close watch on Chancellor
Elahte, should he return to the palace."  She paused.  "I should probably
get going, to confirm those suspicions."
    "I'll go with you," Mselt said, abruptly.
    "Good idea," Lotekh agreed.
    Inwardly, Tvanir swore.  Her plans had backfired _again_, and she'd
probably end up sharing credit with Mselt for any discoveries she made. 
"Yes," she said, drawing on deep reserves of false sincerity that she had
stored up for such an occasion, "it's a great idea.  If your Highness will
excuse us?"
    Lotekh did so, and the two military officers turned and left.  Some
days, Tvanir thought, it just didn't pay to get up in the morning.

Elsewhere in the palace, Chancellor Elahte and the Ampron Force were busy
sneaking through the halls as they made their way towards the Royal Shrine,
where the holy artifacts of Arorua were stored.  Fortunately, the cutbacks
in the Aroruan Occupation Legion meant there weren't enough soldiers to
guard the entire palace, and the lower levels that contained the shrine were
among those left mostly unguarded.
    "Is it much farther?" asked Thomas Dent.
    "Quiet," hissed Samantha Dixon in response, "or do you _want_ the
Zakavians to notice we're here and give us complementary vital-organ
    "Why would they do that?  Aren't we their enemy?" asked Alex McCurry.
    "Shut up, McCurry," replied Dent, secretly pleased at a chance to use
his catch phrase.
    Elahte held up a hand, quieting their somewhat pointless conversation. 
"We're almost there.  I have no idea if they're guarding the shrine anymore:
the old government did, because we kept some important things in there, but
they aren't things the Zakavians are likely to care about."
    "Like what?" asked Roger Vasta, who was co-leading the mission.  He
hadn't been too happy about that, until the others had reminded him that he
didn't know anything about the layout of the palace.
    "The Holy Harmonica of Astola, for instance," Elahte answered.  He
turned to face Dent.  "Please don't shoot anything unless it's shooting at
us.  There are many delicate things in the shrine."
    "Whatever," replied Dent, hiding his disappointment behind a mask of
    "I'll go first," Elahte said, "to see if there are any guards."  Vasta
nodded, and Elahte moved forward, to where he could see the entrance and the
others could see him.  "It's clear," he said.
    The others walked up to join him and the six rebels entered the Royal
    "Ooo," McCurry commented, looking around.  "Nifty place you got here."
    "We like it," Prince Boltar replied.
    Elahte moved to an alcove, where he retrieved four small devices.  "I've
got them," he announced.  "Here you go," he said, handing McCurry, Dent,
Boltar, and Dixon the saffron, crimson, ebony, and teal keys, respectively. 
"These will allow us to access four of the Penguins -- we still lack the
navy key, which gives access to the main Penguin, but even these four should
be enough while we search for it."
    "We'd better get going," said Vasta, who was keeping watch by the door. 
"I think we...," he paused, holding up a hand.  "I hear voices:  someone's
    "Blast!" said Dent.  "We were so close!"
    Dixon, who was looking at the readout on her key, frowned.  "Closer than
you think, Dent," she said.  "According to this, there's something pretty
close in that direction."  She gestured at a wall with her key.  In
response, a panel on the wall opened, revealing a dark, mysterious
    "That's handy," commented McCurry.
    Vasta moved towards the others.  "As I see it," he said.  "We can either
take the dark, mysterious staircase over there, or we can stay and possibly
fight whoever it is coming down the hall."
    "I vote for the stairs," said Elahte.
    "Right," Vasta said.  At his gesture, the six rebels headed into the
unknown.  The door closed behind them, and the same thought crossed all
their minds:  they had forgotten flashlights.

Tvanir and Mselt walked into the Royal Shrine.  As usual, it was empty. 
"Hey," Mselt said suddenly, "did you just hear something?"
    "Like six people saying 'D'oh'?" Tvanir asked.
    Tvanir shrugged.  "Every time I come down here, something weird happens.
Don't worry about it."
    Mselt looked around.  He hadn't been on Arorua long enough to explore
the palace, and so he had never been in the shrine before.  It didn't seem
that special, really, although the small altar to Microtron, Goddess of
Giant Robots, caught his eye.  "Why do you come here?" he asked.
    "It's quiet," Tvanir replied.  "People rarely come here ... and there's
no security measures here."
    "What?" Mselt asked.  "Why not?"
    "Religious reasons," Tvanir answered.  "Anyway, I brought you here so we
can discuss what I've learned without Lotekh finding out and doing something
    "Good idea."
    "From what I heard, Elahte is working with the rebellion now.  He plans
to sneak into the palace and steal four 'keys' that will activate four
segments of some legendary robot called Ampron and...." she trailed off,
looking at an alcove on the wall.
    "What?" Mselt asked, looking at the alcove and not seeing anything.
    "There were four odd devices in that alcove, last time I was here"
Tvanir answered.  "_Four_ of them.  That _can't_ be a coincidence."
    "Needlewarp!" Mselt swore.  "That means they've already been here.  We'd
better sound the alarm."
    "Alarm?" Tvanir laughed.  "There _is_ no alarm.  This is Arorua:  we're
lucky to have central heating."
    "Well, then we'd better ... um ...," Mselt trailed off, as he realized
he had no idea what to do.  "I assume we won't be mentioning this to
Lotekh," he said finally.

"How long _is_ this staircase, anyway?" Dent complained.
    As usual, no one answered.  For the most part, this was because everyone
was tired of Dent asking that, and hoped he'd stop asking when he realized
no one was paying attention to him.  Of course, there was also the fact that
none of the six rebels knew the answer.  Even Elahte, who had lived in the
palace for years as he did the administrative work for several successive
administrations, had never known this staircase existed.  Despite that, he
had made an educated guess about where they were headed.
    "Ow," commented Vasta.  "I think we're there."
    "How can you tell?" asked Boltar.
    "I found the door."
    "You'll have more luck if you open them _before_ you walk through them,"
Dixon reminded him.
    Vasta didn't answer, deciding to spend his energy looking for a
doorknob.  Eventually, he discovered something.  "There doesn't seem to be a
doorknob," he announced.
    "Great," Dixon replied.  "We're trapped in a dark staircase between the
Zakavian Empire and a locked door."  She turned to where she thought Dent
was and poked at him.  "This is all _your_ fault, you know.  They were
planning to send Gold Squadron out to test the QuiteLarge cannon, but _no_,
you thought it would be a fun change of pace...."
    "Like I could have forseen _this_," Dent snorted.  "I say we head back
up the stairs and blast anyone we see."
    "If I may attempt an alternate plan?" Elahte asked.
    "Go right ahead," Vasta told him.
    Rather than answer, Elahte took a deep breath, prepared himself for the
inevitable embarrassment of failure, and clapped his hands twice.
    The door slid open, filling the staircase with bright, painful light. 
The Ampron force quickly shut their eyes, and let out a sigh of relief. 
When they felt ready, they opened their eyes, and looked into the room
beyond the door.  As one, they closed their eyes and opened them again, but
the room failed to transform into something more reasonable.  Unlike most of
the Aroruan Palace, this room was ultra-high-tech, assuming you define
'ultra-high-tech' as "made primarily out of chrome".  Every available
surface that wasn't already being used as a door, window, or monitor was
metallic and covered with a random pattern intended to suggest that it
concealed vast amounts of technological marvels.  Even the floor and ceiling
seemed to be hiding complex machinery of the future.  It was, to put it
briefly, incredibly dated.  The ultra-high-tech look had been unfashionable
on the galactic scene for decades now.  Of course, the four Terrans didn't
know this, since they had spent the last few years on a starship that made
this room look fairly new (of course, the _Anonymous_ had been built by a
far more advanced race, making discussions of relative age virtually
pointless -- not that that's ever stopped us before).  Elahte and Boltar
also didn't know this, since they lived on Arorua, which had fallen so far
behind current fashions that they were in danger of being lapped.
    "Aha," Elahte said, recovering first.  "The Command Room."
    "We have a command room?" Boltar wondered.  "Cool!"
    "If I'm not mistaken," Elahte continued, "we should be able to access
the Penguins from here."
    The Ampron force entered the Command Room, Elahte stopping to close the
door by clapping twice at it again.  McCurry headed towards one of the
windows, wondering why they had bothered putting them in an underground
bunker.  Once there, he noted that they opened into a hangar of sorts, which
was done in the same style as the Command Room itself.  "Gosh," he breathed,
"they must have used all the planet's chrome just on this complex."  Then he
noticed five small high-speed trains leading into tunnels along one of the
hangar's walls.  "Hey," he said, a bit louder, "I think I know how we're
getting to the Penguins."


Dunno.  But maybe the episode title will be more relevant when giant
penguins attack the Zakavians in the next gear-shifting episode of
Starcruiser Anonymous.
    SFSTORY:  It Takes a Licking, and Keeps On Ticking
Date:         Tue, 24 Dec 1996 16:58:28 -0800
From:         "I said it was Lass, Damn it!" (TrudyG at
To:           superguy at
Subject:      SF:  Spreadable Cheese Product #1

JOEL said he hacked this thing for me.  So, assuming he's not lying like
some horrid dog....

                   Spreadable Cheese Product:
                        A Tale of Sfstory

                           Episode #1
                    "The Nudity of the Nuns"
                         Trudy Galloway

     Stan lurched into the large plastic tube and shimmied
through it, looking down at the people through smooth yellow.
His folks had gotten him the hamster sized habitrail when he was
a wee lil' punk, and he'd always *hated* that the rodent got all
the fun, so when he inherited his fortune, he'd bought all the
hamsters in the tri-city area and had them put to death.  He'd
then constructed a massive human sized habitrail and had lived in
naked, joyous, wood-chip smelling contentment ever since.  The
tubes extended throughout (unsurprisingly) low rent apartments
and onto the street below.  He'd hired people to change his wood
chips, refill his water, and give him those nummy pellets.
     But now, it was no longer enough.  He wanted it to be.  He
had dreamed of it so long, so hard, but now... now staring down
through the tube into young Kimmy Rotweiler's apartment (Kimmy
was very good at ignoring him).
     He needed... a mate.
     A hairy one.
     A *really* hairy one, that liked the smell of wood chips.
And wouldn't hog the damn exercise wheel.  Stan *hated* that...
always waiting waiting waiting and never a chance to scamper
playfully on his little wheel -- she'd probably want to use the
giant plastic ball of humiliation, either.  That's it!  Forget
it!  No way would he share his perfect world!  Not with anyone
for any reason.  He was the master of his universe!  He *was* the
     Just then, the Washington Monument slammed through the
building, point down, at mach seven, obliterating everyone and
everything for eight miles around, and killing Hamster Boy nearly
     This has little to do with Wendy, however.  She was riding
on her happy horse, out in the middle of the fields around her
estate.  She wore the red coat and silly little femmy helmet and
the pants that were really really tight but were colored cream
which *ruined* the effect entirely, and thigh high boots that
she'd bought with just a twinge of guilt but she got them half
off with the riding crop, even though the boorish boorish man had
waggled his eyebrows at her when she bought them, apparently
incapable of understanding a proper Equestrian when he saw him,
and wasn't it a lovely day for a ride, and why wasn't her happy
horse trotting along?  Whatever was wrong with it?
     "Pardon me," said the massively tall blue skinned alien (see
-- I *know* how to post to Sfstory) said in a deep baritone
voice, "but are you aware your horse is vomiting?"
     "Yes," Wendy said.  "I have become aware.  Bad happy horse.
Naughty happy horse!  Oh, what am I to do?"
     "Well," the alien said, "we could kidnap you, and I'll eat
your horse at no extra charge."
     "Really?  Oh, *bully!*"
     And so the alien snapped up the horse one two three and then
carried the delighted (and truthfully not all that bright) Wendy,
and threw her into the Prisoner's Cabin, where she was rather
vexed to learn there wasn't a *thing* to read.
     Which leads us to Brock Jackson, our hero.  Standing six
foot three with a chin that could cut glass and a blaster that
made exciting Juilliene Fries, Brock was the pride of
Interstellar University.  His shoulders were massive, his
pectorals hopped of their own accord when he flexed his toned
muscles.  Brock was, naturally, in the process of being mugged by
an eight year old.
     "I tell you -- I'm a hero!  I'm idolized by -- ow!  Stop
kicking me!"
     "Shut up," Spetz, the alien chick who didn't wear revealing
clothes or have sex with the hero just because he was the lead
and the ingenue (I *hate* that) snapped.  "Give me the keys to
your Space Cruiser."
     "Oh please, no.  I just had it detailed!"
     "Oh shut *up!*"   And so, Spetz coldcocked Brock, kicked him
in the head to see if he was still awake, stripped him to his
skivvies and spraypainted "Squid" all over him in glow in the
dark paint that irradiated Brock and made him sterile.  Hopping
into his ship, she blasted into space, right into the fender of
Judge Wallace, the Heroic Barrister of Alistar IV.
     Judge Wallace was having a very bad week.  First, he was
disbarred after they found the pictures of him with the snack
cakes.  Second, he had his home broken into by mythical
creatures, and you just *know* the Time Police *never* believed
you when you said "No!  I mean it!  A Pegasus stole my stereo
while the Unicorn ate me out of house and home -- even the little
silver ball sprinkles for the top of my cup cakes!"  And now, on
his way to see Renita Clark -- Interstellar Psychiatrist, he'd
been front ended by some idiot in a Star Cruiser.
     Grumbling, he and Spetz both popped the hatches of their
respective ships to observe the damage and trade insurance
information, which of course led to their being sucked into the
vacuum of space where there exploded and died... or so everyone
     Renita was pretty damn angry, too.  She was Galaxy-Famous --
she didn't have time for idiotic ex-lawyers with twinkie
fetishes!  Grumbling, she called in her next patient.
     "Hi," Saint Peter said.
     "Hello," she said.  "Tell me, why are you here?"
     "No one likes me."
     "Why not?"
     "Because I'm mean to literally everyone.  I had only three
friends, and one of them was never seen again after he appeared
in a post with me."
     "Wow.  That sucks."
     "Can you help me?"
     Saint Peter blinked.  "No!?  What do you mean NO?!"
     "I mean no."
     "You're a doctor!  You swore an Oath!  Why won't you help
     "You don't have any insurance."
     Saint Peter blinked.  "I don't?"
     "No.  You work for Heaven.  Since no one gets sick in
Heaven, there's no way to pay."
     "Oh.  What if I got you excuses for all those times you--"
     "Let's talk."


Sfstory -- two more episodes and I'm all powerful.
Date:         Mon, 06 Jan 1997 23:28:59 -0500
From:         David Menendez (zednenem at
To:           superguy at
Subject:      SF: [SA #13] Wherein Giant Penguins Attack the Zakavians

Standing before a window in his office, Captain-General Rtali smiled and
watched Foobarh's landscape crawl by as the _Valorous Moon Yak_ slowly moved
along its orbit.  He had been nervous about striking so soon after severing
his ties to the Zakavian Empire, but the boredom of the Crelm system had
finally convinced him to act.  Thus far, no one seemed to have noticed.  Of
course, there were rumors the Zakavians had not one, but _two_ megaweapons
in their possession, but Rtali did not concern himself with them.  He had
chosen a fairly remote system for his first conquest, and he felt it
unlikely the Zakavians had even heard of it.  The battle had gone well:  the
defense armada had only lasted three hours before choosing to surrender.  As
Rtali had conquered the place mainly as a source supplies and entertainment
for his troops, he left the native government in place.  After a few hours
of adjustment, they went right back to debating shifting funds from public
television to mass transportation.
    His doorbell chimed, interrupting his thoughts.  "Enter," he called,
moving to sit behind his desk.
    The door opened and Lieutenant Vtami entered.  ((Good day, sir,)) Vtami
greeted, voice obscured by the armor's speakers.
    "Good day, Lieutenant," Rtali replied.  "I was looking over the combat
records from the battle here, and I must say you did well.  Especially
considering that this was your first combat."
    ((Thank you, sir.  I've always wanted to be a fighter pilot.))
    Rtali smiled.  "Tell me, Lieutenant, are you familiar with the Rogue
    ((Yes, sir.  It struck me as an oddly appropriate name.))
    "It _is_ appropriate, actually.  Rogue Squadron is where we stick the
hotshot pilots who just don't work well with others.  That way, they can
only irritate each other.  I mention them because their squadron leader was
killed in the recent battle ... evidently by 'friendly fire'.
    "I'd like you to replace him."
    Vtami was silent for a few moments.  ((You want me to lead Rogue
Squadron?  Sir, with all due respect, I don't have the experience to lead
_any_ squadron, much less one as disorganized as Rogue Squadron.))
    "Not at all," Rtali explained.  "We _know_ leading Rogue Squadron is
hopeless, so we don't expect much from you.  Plus, you get the increased pay
and respect of a squadron leader.  It's my way of thanking you for the
information you gave me about Captain Mselt and the Terrans.  You betrayed
your commander _and_ the Empire right on Planet Gloom itself because of your
loyalty to me.  I'd like to recognize that."
    ((Very well,)) Vtami said, eventually, ((I accept.))
    "Wonderful!" Rtali replied.  He stood and the two shook hands.  "You
won't regret this decision."
    ((I hope not.))
    "Don't worry.  You'll probably want to meet the squadron and practice a
bit before our next move, though."
    ((If I may ask, what _is_ our next move?))
    "We've done pretty well on a minor world, but it's no good if no one
_knows_ about it.  Our next move will be to attack a minor world that's also
part of the Empire.  That gives us the best chance of victory for our first
high-profile strike.  There are a few possibilities, but I think I've found
the perfect choice.  You'll find out what _that_ is when everyone else
    ((Good enough.  Thank you, sir.))  Vtami stood and walked towards the
    "One second, Lieutenant," Rtali said suddenly.
    Vtami stopped and turned.
    "Do you _sleep_ in that armor?"


                           STARCRUISER ANONYMOUS
                          (A Tale Within Sfstory)

                                Episode 13
                          Wherein Giant Penguins
                           Attack the Zakavians
                               Dave Menendez


After discovering the small, single-car high-speed trains in the hangar
below the Control Room, which was itself hidden below the Aroruan Palace,
Chancellor Elahte and the Ampron Force were faced with two difficulties. 
The first was simply _getting_ to the trains.  They all agreed that there
had to be controls for the door leading to the hangar somewhere in the room,
but the room design was so ultra-high-tech that actually locating the
controls became difficult, since virtually every wall surface looked like a
control of some sort.  Eventually, Dent noticed a large lever in the wall
next to the door.  Curious, he pulled it into the "up" position, which
opened the door.
    "D'oh," commented Vasta.
    "Figures," added Dixon, smirking.
    Once they had gotten past the door and walked down the steps to the
hangar, opening that door with another lever, they were faced with the
second difficulty:  how to activate the trains.  Surprisingly, it was Boltar
who found the solution.
    "Hey," he said, climbing into the ebony train, "these things open right
    "That isn't the problem," Vasta reminded him, "we can't figure out how
to make them _run_."
    Undaunted, Boltar began fiddling around with the controls.  He soon
stopped, however, when he noticed that the car evidently had no power. 
Then, he noticed an indentation on the control panel about the size of the
ebony key that Elahte had given him earlier.  Shrugging, he placed the key
in its slot, activating the car's controls.  Seeing a button labeled "Go",
he did the logical thing:  he resisted the temptation to push the button and
told the others what he had found.
    Ha!  Just kidding.  On seeing the button labeled "Go", he hesitated
about half a second before pushing it.  His car, in turn, hesitated even
less before it shot down its tunnel at clearly unsafe speeds.
    "Looks like Boltar figured out how to start them," observed McCurry.
    "Indeed," Elahte agreed.  "So it shouldn't take too long for _us_ to
figure it out."

Several stories above them, Princess Elim paced her cell, bored.  Prince
Lotekh didn't feel confident enough to have her killed, but he felt fine
about throwing her in the "dungeon".  Technically, the palace didn't have a
dungeon, but Lotekh had gotten around this by declaring one of the empty
pantries unpleasant enough to serve as a substitute.  This made pacing hard,
as the pantry lacked sufficient space for a pacer to get used to moving in
one direction before running out of room and turning, but Elim did the best
she could.  After a few hours, she had memorized the layout of the pantry to
the point where she could pace without thinking about it -- which defeated
the whole purpose, really, but she wasn't going to let _that_ stop her.
    An unexpected knock on the door caught her by surprise.  "Hello?" she
called, just before her legs, which had kept moving in the absence of
instructions to the contrary, propelled her into a wall.  "Oof," she added,
pushing away from the wall and rubbing her face.
    The door opened and Captain-Generals Tvanir and Mselt entered.  "Good
day, Princess," Tvanir greeted, "I trust you are well?"
    "Oh sure," Elim lied, "never better.  And you?"
    "I just returned from ... an encounter with the rebellion, actually,"
Tvanir replied.
    "How ironic."
    Tvanir grimaced.  Mselt looked confused, but said nothing.  "I was
wondering," Tvanir continued, "if you know of anything called 'Ampron'."
    Elim blinked.  "Ampron?  The Really Powerful Defender of Niceness and
    "That's the one.  What can you tell me about it?"
    "No much, really," Elim admitted.  "I never paid much attention to the
old legends.  Supposedly, it was a giant robot that defended the planet
against several invasions, until the Dread Masters of Shananah VII destroyed
it a while ago.  Why do you ask?"
    Tvanir and Mselt exchanged glances.  "Chancellor Elahte has joined the
rebellion," Tvanir explained, drawing a shocked expression from the
Princess.  "He plans to use four giant penguins which were once part of
Ampron to attack our forces.  Evidently, there are four 'keys' in the palace
that control them.  Recently, four small artifacts in the Royal Shrine have
disappeared.  I suspect this 'Ampron' may be real."  She grimaced again. 
"Any advice you might have would be appreciated."
    Elim snorted.  "Advice.  Yeah, right."
    Tvanir shrugged.  "As you like."
    "Since it's likely they'll attack here," Mselt said, "we'll be taking
you up to the _Absurd Physical Harm_ with Prince Lotekh and me -- for your
own safety, of course."
    "Of course," Elim replied.  "Does Lotekh know about this?"
    Mselt hesitated.  "Well ... not yet.  But he'll see reason eventually."
    Elim was still laughing when the door closed.

In the shadows of the mountains miles north of the palace, those Aroruan
farmers who had gotten up early -- which was most of them, as farmers
generally wake up at times others would consider very early -- heard an
explosion seeming to come from the mountains themselves.  Turning north,
they saw an enormous ebony penguin rising on a pillar of fire from a hole
halfway up the third-tallest peak.  Confused, they sought the advice of the
local soothsayer, who checked her Book of Portents and discovered that giant
ebony penguins rising out of fiery mountains was a sign that the local
soothsayer wasn't charging sufficient amounts for her services.  Chastened,
she swore to appease the gods by raising her prices.  The thankful farmers
declared a feast in her honor and went out looking for a fatted calf to

Back in the Control Room, Elahte explained his plan to the four remaining
members of the Ampron force.  "Since we've already found the Penguins," he
explained, "we can strike tonight."
    "What about the other rebels?" asked Vasta.
    Elahte shrugged.  "They mean well, but there's not much they can do that
will help _or_ hinder us."
    "What about the mayhem that Boltar's probably out causing?" Dixon asked.
    "Actually," Elahte smiled, "I planned for that.  There are three major
concentrations of AOL forces and three Penguins, plus Boltar's, so I
assigned him to sort of wander around aimlessly.  I think he can handle
    "Sounds good," Vasta said.  "What about you and me?"
    "We will search the palace for the fifth key.  We must be able to form
Ampron before the Empire can send something really dangerous after us."
    "Right."  Vasta turned to the others.  "You three get going."
    They nodded and headed off to the hangar.  Within moments, three more
high-speed train cars were heading off to points unknown.

Having lived through the Zakavian conquest, the assassination in the palace,
the Elim-Jjana scandal, and the constant, although ineffectual, police
actions against the Aroruan People's League, the inhabitants of Arorua's
capital city (known as "The City", although it's real name is "The Capital
City") considered themselves pretty worldly, especially compared to the
rural majority of Arorua, most of whom had never even _seen_ a Zakavian.  At
this point, they figured, _nothing_ was going to surprise them.  After all,
what could be stranger than a romantic link between Princess Elim and
Governor Jjana?  Evidently, an enormous ebony penguin landing on the
outskirts of town and trading fire with the local Aroruan Occupation Legion
garrison was one of those things, and the reaction of the citizens could be
summed up in a single word:  flee.
    Even the Arouran People's League, who were as close to jaded as Aroruans
got, were thrown into a panic by this turn of events.  They calmed down
after they realized that (a) this was a good thing and (b) they had been
expecting it.  Having realized that, they immediately began a raid on the
palace, reasoning that the Zakavians would surely reduce palace security
when giant, hostile robots attacked.
    Inside the palace, Mselt had just finished suggesting that Prince Lotekh
accompany him on a visit to the Third Fleet in orbit when the first reports
came in.  Lotekh's reaction was immediate:  "Bomb the city flat!" he
    "That would kill _us_, your Highness," Mselt reminded him.
    "But it would also destroy the Penguin, right?" Lotekh asked.
    "Maybe.  But then we'd be dead, and there would still be Penguins to
deal with."
    Lotekh stared.  "There's more than one?"
    "Yes, sire."
    "How do you know that?" Lotekh asked, narrowing his eyes.
    "Um...I...that is...," Mselt fumbled, "these things usually come in
    Mselt nodded.
    "Huh," Lotekh said, also nodding.  "I did not know that."
    "We'd better leave as soon as possible," Mselt advised.  "It will be
safer in orbit, and we can send a distress signal to Planet Gloom."
    Lotekh nodded, reluctantly.  "You're right.  But tell Tvanir to sell her
life dearly, okay?"
    "Ah ... right."

In the AOL's Command Room, which was far less advanced and far more stylish
than the secret Aroruan Command Room several levels below it,
Captain-General Tvanir was trying to organize her understaffed forces
against the sudden threats.  She was also trying to ignore the voice that
was telling her that if she won she'd always be expected to work with
insufficient forces.
    "Another one," a tech reported.  "It's attacking our installation on the
west continent."
    "That's one here, one attacking the local garrison, one at the coastal
installation, and one on the west continent, then," Tvanir summarized.  "Any
on the south continent?"
    "No, sir."
    "Do _we_ have any forces there?"
    "No, sir."
    "Any way to contact the fleet?"
    "We couldn't get funding for a communications array because we could
just use the Aroruans' array," another tech answered, "but no one knows how
to work the Aroruans' array except the Aroruans, and they keep laughing when
we ask them to contact the fleet for us."
    "Lousy non-user-friendly software," Tvanir sighed.  "I _knew_ I should
have learned it when I had a chance.  Anything else?"
    "A group of rebels just broke into the palace," a third officer
    "What!?" Tvanir demanded.  "How did they defeat the guards?"
    "Evidently they threw a lot of sticks and stones at them.  The guards
just couldn't handle it."
    "Wonderful," Tvanir sighed, sinking into her chair and rolling her eyes.
She returned her gaze to the monitors just in time to see the rebels
defeating one of their expensive Model S-IVa Walking Tanks by crushing it
between two heavy logs.  Idly, she made a mental note to report that design

Elsewhere in the palace, the Aroruan People's League's strike force ran
through the mostly-empty corridors, some holding stolen deathkill blasters. 
Giddy with their first real taste of victory, they cried out "Whoo-hoo!",
"Yee-hah!",  "Gizzle fimp!", "I am the Walrus!", and other such nonsense
    At their head, their somewhat less excitable leader Bentor did, in fact,
have a specific destination he was leading the group to:  the launch pad. 
Since there hadn't been any launches lately, he figured, it meant Prince
Lotekh was still on the palace.  If he could capture Lotekh, he could
probably trade him to the Emperor for his planet's freedom.
    The strike team burst out onto the launch pad in time to see Mselt help
Princess Elim into the shuttle.  They came to the obvious conclusion:  "It's
the traitor!" they shouted in unison.  "Let's kill her!"
    "I am _not_ a traitor!" Elim shouted back.
    "Yes you are," Lotekh said, from inside the shuttle, "you worked against
the Empire, remember?  Since you're an Imperial subject, that means you've
betrayed it."
    "True," Elim admitted, "but I didn't betray the rebellion."
    "Couldn't we just leave her here?" Lotekh asked Mselt.  "She's a _girl_,
for crying out loud!"
    "Shut up," Mselt replied.  "Launch!" he yelled to the pilot, noticing
that the rebels had been running towards them.
    The pilot complied, and the shuttle began to lift off, forcing the last
few escapees to grab onto the landing skids.  Fortunately, the shuttle rose
with enough speed to avoid the rebels, barely.  The rebels, furious at their
failure, could only shake their fists in anger.  By the time they remembered
they had guns, the shuttle had already established its shields.

Tvanir watched with a mixture of frustration and despair as her forces were
devastated by four giant robot penguins while rebels wandered freely though
the palace.  Eventually, it occurred to her that she would probably want to
leave the area if she wished to remain free.  "Okay," she told her command
staff, "we're getting out of here.  Tell the troops to retreat as soon as
they start losing.  We'll meet in the Mountains of Tallness as planned."

Oddly enough, the Zakavian forces began losing within seconds of receiving
Tvanir's orders.  At least, that's what their commanders later claimed. 
Bereft of opponents, the Ampron Force ceased their attacks and returned to
the Palace.  After parking their Penguins by the palace, they met up with
Elahte, Vasta, and the rest of the rebellion.
    "Great job," Vasta congratulated them.
    "Thanks," Dixon replied.  "Did you manage to find the fifth key?"
    Elahte shook his head.  "We will continue looking, though," he added.
    "I must say," Dent commented, "I enjoyed that."
    "You would," McCurry told him.
    "Shut up, McCurry."
    While McCurry engaged in shutting up, the six were joined by Bentor and
Tels Garav, who had no doubt done many brave things in the battle, although
he got rather vague when asked about it.
    "Great job, Ampron force," said Bentor.
    "I am amazed that worked," added Garav.
    "Well, _I'm_ not," Bentor announced.  "We Aroruans have finally struck
back successfully!  I say we celebrate!"
    A cheer went up from the crowd.
    "I advice against premature merriment," Elahte cautioned.  "The
Zakavians still have a large fleet in orbit."
    "But the Penguins could just smash it, couldn't they?" asked a rebel.
    "Maybe," Elahte admitted, "but our pilots also need time to become more
proficient in their abilities.  We will need all the advantage we can get to
defeat the Third Fleet:  it's taken on entire planetary armadas in the
    The crowd considered that for a few moments.
    Someone shouted "Let's party anyway!"
    And so they did.

Far, far above the Aroruans, hanging menacingly above the planet, was the
Zakavian Third Fleet.  It's commander, Captain-General Mselt, had just
arrived on the bridge of his flagship, and was exchanging news with his
flagship's commander, Dfale.  Not surprisingly, little had happened in
orbit;  the only interesting news Dfale had to report was the unveiling of
the EDIT and the A/600 "Alpha Ra" Warrior-Ship.  Mselt's news was
significantly less cheerful.
    "Open rebellion?" gasped Dfale.  "I thought the Aroruans lacked the
    "As did I," Mselt replied.  "Perhaps there was some outside influence. 
In any case, the Aroruans may soon have their hands on a giant robot which,
it is said, can take out whole invasion fleets.  I suspect we should respond
in kind.  I will record a communication to Planet Gloom in my office."
    Dfale nodded.  "Yes, sir.  If I may ask...?"
    "We will fight giant robots with giant robots," Mselt replied, "This
'Ampron' versus our A/600."
    "Ah.  That should be ... interesting."


More questions like these will be asked after Captain Harrison's plans
change unexpectedly in the next episode of Starcruiser Anonymous.
    SFSTORY:  Ask About our Latin Motto Contest
Date:         Sun, 19 Jan 1997 23:00:47 -0500
From:         cloudbusting (swede at
To:           superguy at
Subject:      SF: Sfstory Tenth Anniversary Historical Marker and Taco Stand

     "So," Jerriphrrt said, with characteristic enthusiasm-bordering-on-
apathy, "on this very day, ten years ago, Sfstory was started."
     The Swede, who was lounging in a reclining chair that was located
smack dab in the middle of a starship's battle bridge, looked up.  All
around him and the others present, exciting, battle-starship-ish things
were happening, in the form of oddly flashing lights, screens flashing
random CGI graphics and/or truck destination lists, and a crew of
remodelers hurriedly painting over the "Taco Bell" signs on the walls.  He
considered the statement for several moments.
     "That," the Swede noted, "is a true statement."
     "Thank you for the confirmation," Jerriphrrt replied, not entirely
hiding a trace of sarcasm.
     "You gathered us all here to tell us that?" Emma Goldman asked, as she
looked over her plans to foment anarchism in the Deneb Cluster.  Next to
her, James Dean was eating smarties by the handful, the pupils in his eyes
growing  smaller and smaller as his sugar buzz grew in magnitude.
     "I, Bagelos, thought something more substantial was going to happen
today," Bagelos, would-be ruler of the universe, in-actuality
terminally-underfunded failed entrepreneur, said.  "I, Bagelos, was about
to launch my latest revenue-generating venture, one that will provide me
with all the capital I, Bagelos, need to launch universal domination plan
     "So what's the plan this time?" Gham asked, as Jerriphrrt massaged her
feet.  "Weaselgrams?"
     "An editing service?"
     "Far grander than that!"
     "Then what?"
     Bagelos stood and gestured grandly, the light from the burrito-cooker
catching the jewel that covered one eye.
     "I, Bagelos, shall open the universe's first karaoke bar... for pets!"
     Upon looking around, Bagelos discovered the others were not exactly
catching the triumphant vibes he was giving off.  "Really!" he added.
"It'll work!  Pet owners will bring in their pampered dogs and cats and sea
otters and senators and have them sing to favorites like 'Mack the Knife'
and 'The Giant Space Weasel of Anthrax V Sleeps Tonight!'"
     "Hey," Ralph the Giant Space Weasel of Anthrax V said, as he peered in
through the overhead window.  "Before you do that, we're gonna have to talk
royalties, pal."
     "We seem to be drifting slightly off-topic here," the Swede noted.
     "Like there's anything else for us to do," Slithis grumped.
     "The point is, today is the tenth anniversary of the first-ever
Sfstory posting on CSNEWS, which later became UMNEWS, and then NICBBS,
before we joined Superguy at ucf1vm (and later  There was going
to be an anthology of sfstory stories posted today to celebrate this...."
     "Sounds great," Jerriphrrt noted.  "So where is it?"
     "Well... it kind of isn't ready."
     "Well, see, of the five authors who told me they'd have material
ready, only one's gotten it to me so far.  Adding in my story, that's two.
Not enough for an anthology."
     "Hoog," Benjen commented.
     "Indeed," the Swede said.  "That's why I brought you all here, to mark
this occasion while the other stories are written.  The anthology will be
posted in two weeks from this day (on Sunday, February 2nd, 1997)."
     "Right," Bagelos said.  "That said, can we go now?"
     "Hang on," the Swede told him.  "I arranged for some fireworks."
     "Um..." Ralph started.
     "You didn't..." Benjen added.
     At that point, the drive-in window crashed through as a heavily armed
being entered, guns blazing, grenades flying and inane battle cries issuing.
     "Hi, Zark," the Swede said, while everyone else dove for cover.
"How's life?"
     Zark immediately skidded to a halt, stared at the Swede for a while,
always seeming on the edge of answering the question.
     "Well, while he's figuring that out, how 'bout we roll them thar teasers."


Coming in two weeks: "Now It's Your Turn: the Sfstory Tenth Anniversary
Anthology," only to SFSTORY!  Go for the gusto!
Date:         Wed, 19 Feb 1997 01:03:41 -0500
From:         cloudbusting (swede at
To:           superguy at
Subject:      SF: Now It's Your Turn: Prologue, Titles, Sheep

      "I  Want  to  start  this new  topic  for  people,   who  are
       interested  in  writing  AND and  reading  Science  Fiction.
       Everybody is  invited to continue this story. This is  not a
       project like  the Dargon projekt  on FSFNET,   where several
       storys refer to Dargon.  This should  be only one story.  Be
       sure to get always the latest copy  of this file if you want
       to continue.  This  will help to avoid several  lines of the
       I hope there  are a lot of  people around the net,   who are
       interested and I am looking forward to your submissions.

       Here is the beginning of the story :

       Three men  are waiting  in their   spaceship for  the start.
       Nobody knows if  it will work or  if they will be  dead in a
       few hours.  It is the first attemt of an intersellar voyage.
       First they  will fly a  few hours  away from earth  and will
       then make the first jump to reach the stars ...

       Now it is your turn to continue."

     Long, thin fingers rested against the keys, as though contemplating
the words they had just typed.  The owner of the fingers, Hosoqob
at-Dbstui, pondered the paragraphs, wondering if he had the message exactly
right, if it were indeed the exact combination of words that would
subliminally trigger the uplift of the primate minds on the blue-and-green
planet below, the first step in what would be their eventual assimilation
into the Cheese Orb.  Billions of lives and even more billions in public
funding hung in the balance.  Could he be sure?
     "Bugger this for a lark," he grumbled, pushing the send button.
Without waiting for a response, he switched off his console and traipsed
off to his stellar module's cryo-capsule.

     Ten years later:
     "Cripes, I forgot to set the coffee-maker," Hosoqob muttered.  "Ah
well.  Let's just see how the little primates reacted to my experiment."
He instructed his ship's computer to log onto CS_NOTICE at MAINE.
     "Logon failed," the computer reported.  CS_NOTICE no longer exists.
It was replaced by UMNEWS."
     "Then long on there."

     Ten hours later:
     "So where is it *now*?"
     "On a machine that calls itself Eyrie."
     "You've talked to it then?"
     "Yes.  It is willing to allow us access to the humans' 'internet' so
we can investigate the results of our experiment, which seem to be archived
at a ftp site on a machine named drycas."
     "Very well.  Start displaying replies."
     "All of them?"
     "Yes, all of them."

     Four weeks later:
     "My braaaaaiiiiinnnn huuuuurrrrrtsssssss...." Hosoqob moaned.
     "We're almost done," the computer replied, not without a note or two
of sadism toward Hosoqob, who had failed to do any software updates in the
last ten years.  "There's a post here containing several stories by a
variety of authors.  Apparently they are also cognizant of the ten-year
anniversary of the beginning of the experiment, and have put together a
sort of anthology thing to celebrate."
     "Okay... I think I can handle a bit more," Hosoqob said, woozily.  He
hauled himself before the text-scrolling monitor and watched, his three
eyes wide and slightly irritated.
     "Righto, boss," the computer said.  "Here come the titles...."


                               NOW IT'S YOUR TURN
                     the Sfstory Tenth Anniversary Anthology

                              featuring stories by
                                  John Bankert*
                                Eric Alfred Burns*
                                   Peg Fisher
                                 David Menendez
                                  Gary W. Olson
                             Others Yet To Be Named

                 *to be posted sometime in the nebulous future

                                    edited by
                                  Gary W. Olson

                          opening material quoted from
                            the first sfstory post by
                                 I7050408 at DBSTU1



     This anthology is dedicated to those sfstory authors lost to the mists
of time, such as Jeff Smith, Patrick McCoy, Nathan Irwin, the Cowboy, Scott
McGuire, 'i7050408 at dbstu1,' and all the rest.  If any government agents in
black limosines show up at our houses asking if you know where this 'Cheese
Orb' is, we're sending them to you.


                                Editor's Forward

     This project began with the intent of getting various authors to
contribute a fair number of new stories that would be presented in a
more-or-less anthologyish format, to vaguely express the point that we
think Sfstory's Tenth Anniversary is just swell.  That is still the aim of
this project, but, given current circumstances, the presentation will see a
bit of changing.
     To wit: this is now an open-ended anthology.  Any Superguy or Sfstory
author who wishes to submit stories for it may do so, up through January
18th, 1998 (the day before the eleventh birthday of Sfstory).  At that
point, I'll post the last story and declare the anthology closed.  Anyone
who wants to collect all the anthology stories need only aim their web
browser at the Superguy Autocollector site
( /autocollect.cgi) and search for
selections with the string "Now It's Your Turn" in the title.
     A story intended for the celebratory anthology should have the
following characteristics:

1) It involves Sfstory characters and/or takes place somewhere in the
Sfstory milliverse.  Create new characters/environments/situations or use
existing ones.  Standard rules apply (i.e. if the character isn't created
by you, ask the person who did create it, or the last one to use it)(check
the Sfstory archives at if
you're unfamiliar with what Sfstory is all about).

2) It works as a standalone story.  The only exception you'll see to this
is Peg Fisher's "Jewel Scales," which is the introduction to a new planned

3) You want it as part of the anthology.  If so, make your subject line
look like this:  SF: Now It's Your Turn: (Name of Your Story Here).  If you
don't want to have anything to do with this, but want to post Sfstory stuff
anyway, leave out the "Now It's Your Turn" part.  (And yes, post directly
to the list.  I have no interest in 'validating' your story, though if you
want comments or have questions, I'll try my best to help.)

     That's it!  Please enjoy the buffet!

Gary W. Olson
February 19th, 1997.
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