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Sfstory Log 119

Date:         Mon, 25 Jul 2016 17:22:07 -0400
From:         eaburns at (Eric Burns)
To:           superguy at
Subject:      SF/SG: Trail Boss #2 (1/2)

    Altiverse 666HELLSDRYDOCKANDFISHMONGERS, local 1994-01-11 19:21 UTC

January 11, 1994
3:21 AM UST (Underworld Standard Time)
Engineering Deck 6 Forecastle (Inlet Manifold Array)/Spinal Mount Barrel
Satanic Star Ship -Yesj-

     A full month before breaching the altiversal barriers at their weakest
point, destroying the Sage's Space Station and sweeping into Altiverse
000SUPERGUY with all the grace and delicacy of a tank being hurled through
Guernica, preparations were at a fever pitch on the SSS -Yesj._ Unlike the
rest of Satan's destructive fleet, which flew through 001SF and
666NASTYNASTYNASTY for the most part, the -Yesj- was being kept in an
Altiverse Satan and his minions had been grooming for aeons, shaping it from
the very Big Bang as it was expressed locally as a resupply and refit
drydock for the Hellsfleet. That it was also a Fishmonger's was perhaps
unexpected, but it made things easier at Fong's Happy Belly of Mongolian
Food Yurt. Some damned souls and demons were stupid enough to complain that
fish wasn't actually a staple of Mongolian cuisine. Those damned souls and
demons generally ended up on the next day's menu.
     Argthor the Reaver was not stupid, at least most of the time. He was
twelve feet tall, with long, almost oddly thin arms and legs over a barrel
like body, with pinkish red skin, razor sharp horns and teeth, fiery yellow
eyes (literally, at some times) and a surprisingly good baritone singing
voice. He was clever and savvy, and had made a reputation for himself in the
engineering division of the various warships and dreadnought's of Satan's
battlefleet. This had led him -- along with several million of his coworkers
-- to be assigned to the refitting of the -Yesj.-
     It had been more of a challenge than he had anticipated.
     Oh, sure. The -Yesj- was absolutely huge, with eighty-five mile thick
armor on the conning tower, with a bulge towards the broad middle of the
-Yesj- that made the profile look two thousand miles thick, and the whole
thing was six thousand miles long. It had a drive train in excellent
condition designed to interface with almost any drive effect one wanted. It
had tens upon tens of thousands of hardpoints lining every exterior surface,
and a spinal mount that could potentially fire a weapon of unimaginable
power. If this ship were compensating for someone's genital size, said
genitals had to have enough negative mass to reinforce a stable wormhole.
And the hundreds of decks inside were huge and open and ready for almost any
purpose they'd want to put it to -- the other, similar warships they'd
fought against -- the -Boj- and the -Noj- -- had been much more utilitarian.
This ship was meant for any mission you set for it, from military to
exploration to colonization to evacuating whole populations of future slaves
for the fiery pits and engine rooms of 666NASTYNASTYNASTY.
     Really, the only thing it had lacked was weapons of any kind, an actual
drive initiator to hook up to said drive train or any power systems beyond
simple systems reactors for internal electronics. Oh, and it lacked any
capacity to repair the blasted ship.
     Most of Argthor the Reaver's supervisors and peers figured the lack of
repair facilities was a function of the sheer impregnability of the ship's
armor. And, since it wasn't damaged, they figured it wasn't worth putting a
lot of thought into it. Better, they figured, to work on the weapons,
engines and power, since those were actual problems.
     Argthor the Reaver didn't buy it. Not for a second.
     For one thing, the ship had clearly been flown before. Tens of
thousands of years ago? Maybe. But it *had* been flown. Argthor the Reaver
had to imagine it had been in battle more than once -- and as thick and
durable as the armor was (they still couldn't even figure out what the armor
or interior decks were *made* of), it wasn't indestructible. There were
small scratches on the hull from where micrometeors had hit it over the
thousands of years it had stood empty, waiting. Negligible? Sure! But if a
tiny bit of rock could cause a scratch, there's no way this thing had never
taken fire.
     Argthor the Reaver hadn't exactly had time to investigate, however.
He'd been put on armament duty, and had been overseeing the installation of
literally tens of thousands of brimstone projectors, defensive batteries and
so many other weapons it made his oversized, brick shaped head spin. (Though
head spinning was just one of the many advantages his demonic form had over
mortals -- he used a good headspin to impress goth chicks at parties
throughout the eighties.)
     Still, he'd been put on the spinal mount team, and he'd found a strange
thing on the inside of the long barrel of the spinal mount. He had to work
hard on prepping the barrel to amplify and accelerate the expanding
brimstone payload -- compressed to eighteen miles in diameter as it was
fired but then bursting into a full sixty mile projectile going at a
shockingly high rate of speed after it left the barrel. The interior was
clearly designed for this sort of thing, but that didn't mean leaving things
to chance. Leaving things to chance led to mistakes, and mistakes led to
consequences -- which in this case involved flensing, soaking in lemon
afterward, being rolled in panko crumbs, and dropped into the rendered
boiling fat of fallen Priests until crispy, then being devoured by
Hellhounds. And Argthor the Reaver wasn't going through that again.
     As he worked on the barrel, he noticed a series of channels and baffles
like nothing he'd seen before. They looked like some kind of exhaust
manifold -- admittedly with each sealed channel moving forward down the
barrel to the end, but that was more than a little nuts. Oh, and they were
each six miles high and four miles wide with a two mile gap in between them,
but at this point "monstrously oversized" was so much a given that it barely
registered in Argthor the Reaver's brain at this point. What would a
distributed manifold like this even be used for? Was it some means of
venting exhaust from certain types of spinal mount from aft to the front?
     Using his long arms and legs like a spider's to cling and move, Argthor
the Reaver swept down to the end of the barrel, checking the channels as he
went. It was four hundred miles from his current position, but he was pretty
fast when he wanted to be. He could see ways in which the channels could be
pulled down flush with the barrel -- which made sense given some spinal
mount types the demon had seen before. Still, it was strange.
     It was at the two hundred fifteen mile mark that Argthor the Reaver saw
something truly unexpected.
     The channels at that point seemed to have a seam running around the
barrel, each along each channel. Shifting up into the depth of one of the
gaps between channels, Argthor the Reaver crawled up alongside, checking
both sides. The seams went along the six mile length of the sides, almost as
     Argthor the Reaver reached the edge of the barrel, with the wall of the
channel rising up in front of him, He examined the edge, and his eyes grew
wide. Looking down the barrel, he saw nothing blocking him from running full
bore down to the end, so he did this, head swiveling back to look up to the
top of the channel as he went, then back down. It seemed likely...
     Yes. Yes. The channels were sloping downward now. The angle was very
slight, from his point of view, but it was there. He sped up now, eyes still
wider as he ran. On either side, the channel walls grew shorter and shorter
-- clearly less than five miles... then less than four....
     By the time Argthor the Reaver had gotten within twenty miles of the
barrel's opening, the channels had reached the very bottom. Forward of this
the barrel was smooth right up to the lip.
     Argthor the Reaver walked in front of the channel. Looking back, it
resembled nothing more than a four mile wide onramp -- only he knew that it
was a manifold -- it should have an opening to vent. Did it somehow vent
internally? What insanity was this?
     He walked back, peering closely at the channel's slow rise. He leaned
down close, letting his fiery eyes illuminate -- he saved a fortune in
flashlights. It almost looked like...
     Like the manifold's channels were designed to lift out of the barrel --
like the entire barrel could, with some setting somewhere being thrown, have
hundreds of open exhaust ports open up to vent out....
     ...unless... this wasn't an exhaust manifold. But given both the size
of the -Yesj- and the fact that... well, it was a *space ship* in *space,*
what kind of *intake* manifold could it possibly be?
     Argthor the Reaver pulled out the hand computer he'd been issued. He
looked over the map on the puny display, looking for the nearest access
hatch. He needed to get inside, then take the nearest transmission station
to wherever these pipes led inside the -Yesj- engineering decks. Maybe no
one else cared about this, but whatever it was... it was something, it was
huge, and it was a mystery -- and those were three things that Argthor the
Reaver didn't like being in the dark over on a ship he'd be aboard in
     Argthor the Reaver also didn't like being in the dark about staff
birthday parties, since that meant he'd be caught without a present or card
and he'd just be standing in the corner, waiting, but that was less relevant
to his situation -- or so he thought until he arrived at aft engineering
transmission station 221b-eng-11c1 only to discover that Ioanthia, Balseraph
Demon of Bedwetting, was right in the middle of her two thousand, one
hundred and seventy-fourth birthday. That Ioanthia had nursed a barely
concealed crush on Argthor the Reaver didn't help matters. "Argie!" she
shouted, amidst the chaos, cake, and torment of thirty-four fallen souls
choir. "I knew you'd make it!"
     Argthor the Reaver smiled as convincingly as he could -- fooling
Iaonthia Demon of Bedwetting because she was inclined to be fooled so as to
confirm her internal narrative like a good Balseraph but otherwise not
fooling anyone -- and lifted the comparatively tiny demoness in a friendly
hug while cheers and mockery filled the room. The manifold and its secrets
would just have to wait.

                          Sfstory Digest presents
                        Stetson Tyler: Space Cowboy
                                 Trail Boss
                                   Part 2

              Based on the work, attitude and sheer willpower
                             Frank Orzechowicz
                The Large Manly Nigel Savage in Wet Clothing

                              Written, sort of
                              Eric Burns-White
                                 Lord Sabre
            which is not actually a title I remember being given
          by any kind of title giving authority, now that I think
                                 about it.

             Altiverse 000SUPERGUY, local 1994­03­07 20:32 UTC

April 7, 1994
6:32 PM EDT
Conning Tower Level 958 (Launch Deck 4)
Pretty Damn Fine Ol' Hellacious Ship "Alamo's Revenge's Revenge"

     Linda Madison looked dubious. It wasn't a natural state for Linda
Madison. Her face was really better suited to looking friendly, or
compassionate, or happy. Dubious was something that took effort. Dubious was
a strain.
     Admittedly, Linda's last long term relationship had given her a *lot*
of opportunities to train those muscles up. "A job," she said.
     "Yup!" Stetson Tyler said -- well, shouted, but Linda could tell he was
the sort of person for whom 'said' and 'shout' were much closer together
than most people would normally consider them. "A job!"
     "You understand -- I literally had just landed my ship on Earth, with
no adventures or cosmic calamities or wars in Heaven or chicken kiev
processing garbage scows ahead of me. I was actually finally *going*
     "Yeah, I had a hunch that was the case," Stetson said, grinning.
     "And you kidnapped me. Across altiversal barriers, no less!"
     "How'd you know that was an altiversal transport?" Shauna Campbell
asked, stepping up to the side of Stetson Tyler, her own hand on her own
sidearm -- which made sense, since Brother Maegenhard still had his sacred
uru hammer Frank out and ready for mayhem, and Linda herself was still
pointing a Waldorf and Statler Model 19 Heavy Death Really Kill'em Personal
Nuker at Stetson and -- by the very nature of a personal nuker -- everyone
on that side of the room.
     "It's not my first rodeo," Linda said. "And also, I used my Space
Paladin healing abilities to keep Brother Maegenhard and I from being
incapacitated by uncontrollable vomiting." Which had largely drained them,
it was worth noting, but Linda saw absolutely no reason to mention that.
     "Damn right it's not," Stetson said, grinning broadly at the use of the
rodeo metaphor. "And there's no damn reason it should be your last! Why're
you goin' home, anyway?"
     "What do you mean?"
     "I mean why're you goin' back to Earth! I can't imagine it was to check
out the rebuilt Manchester, New Hampshire!" For, you see, the author had
managed to forget that Manchester, New Hampshire had -- like so much of New
England -- been blown up back in 1988.
     "Because it's been years! I just got out of a relationship! I need to
get my life back to... to..."
     "Normal?" Shauna asked.
     "Something like that."
     "So you were gonna go see family?" Stetson asked.
     "Actually, all my relatives are dead."
     "Oh," Shauna said. "I'm sorry."
     "Why?" Brother Maegenhard asked. "Did you kill them? Because if you
killed them I'm afraid I'll have to bring down the wrath of all the Star
Heavens upon thee!
     "She didn't kill my parents, Brother Maegenhard," Linda said with the
tired sound of long practice at explaining situations. "No one here killed
my parents."
     "Then... how did they die?"
     "They were visiting friends in Houston when some kind of giant starship
launched and destroyed the state."
     "Ah -- that will do it, yes," the Star Warpriest said, nodding
     Meanwhile, Shauna, Bill Tog, and Captain Majors all looked deeply
uncomfortable. The Sage didn't, but then the Sage knew everything. Zelda
looked like she didn't care about the subject.
     Stetson, of course, did not look uncomfortable in the least. "So what
you're sayin' is you're goin' back to Earth to... what? Report back to
     "...well, no. I'm pretty sure I'm out, there."
     "So what in Tarnation' and all the Tarnatites who live there did you
plan to do when you got there?!"
     "I... was going to live out of the -Unmitigated Trout- and find a job
     Stetson nodded. "And here you are. Here's the -Unmitigated Trout.- And
I'm offerin' you a job. So the only difference is you're here instead of on
     "Well... yes."
     "What if I told you that you could have it both ways?"
     Shauna blinked, looking at Stetson. "She can? What do you mean?"
     Linda blinked, looking at Stetson. "She can? What do you mean?"
     Bill Tog blinked, looking at Stetson. "She can? What do you mean?"
     Captain Majors blinked, looking at the Sage. "Why are they all saying
the same thing in the same tone of voice with the same inflection?"
     The Sage blinked, looking at Captain Majors. "It'll cost you twenty
bucks to find out."
     Captain Majors blinked, looking at the Sage. "Forget it.
     Far, far away, in a private bungalow nestled on planet Mitchell II in
Altiverse 223DON'TTRYITAUTHORSONLY, Sabre blinked as well. He then smacked
the side of the Automatic Story Transcriber, getting it out of the logical
loop it had found itself in. You try going decades without a service patch
and see how you do with it.


    It may come as some surprise to long time readers that the wanton
destruction of so many places on planet Earth in 001SF have had
consequences. After all, there has been so much devestation with so little
mention over such a long time that it practically seems like Sfstory's theme
song should be "Consequence Free" by Great Big Sea.
    But then, everything's theme song should be "Consequence Free" by Great
Big Sea.
    Still, there have been many consequences resulting from the destruction
of so many places on Earth. For example, the destruction of the Greater
Metropolitan Boston Area meant that Licensed Space Paladin Matt DeForrest
had lost his position as President of Danielson Hall at Boston University,
causing him significant heartache. It also meant that both Matthew DeForrest
and Radar Vogel couldn't get their actual degrees from B.U. -- Matthew's
being a Bachelor of Arts and Radar's being a Masters of Science in
Spamology. It further meant that the Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Newbury
Street no longer sold those really good watercress and tuna bagel sandwiches
or indeed existed any more. And it meant that the MIT pranks levied against
Yale had become boring due to nonexistence.
    The destruction of Portland, Maine had led to a massive shift in the
lobster fisheries, greatly increasing the price of tortured sea bug
nationwide. The destruction of Freeport, Maine had led to the loss of L.L.
Beans, which meant expensive leather and rubber boots were suddenly much
harder to come by and flannel was suddenly considered vintage. The
destruction of the original Manchester, New Hampshire had led to a major
public works initiative to rebuild the city as a fortress of Living Free or
Dying, except of course that pot was still criminalized because of a reason.
    And of course, the destruction of Fort Kent, Maine...
    ...actually, the destruction of Fort Kent, Maine had no impact on
anything whatsoever. Only the residents of Clair, New Brunswick --
miraculously unharmed during the space invasion that had destroyed Fort
Kent, despite being on the other side of a river -- had even noticed it had
been destroyed, and that only because it meant they had to drive to
Edmundston and cross over into Madawaska if they wanted to buy American
snack foods. So I suppose that would count as a consequence, except of
course that the residents of Clair, New Brunswick, with a of population 857
hardy souls, pretty much acted as the dictionary definition of
inconsequential. In fact, the New Brunswick Premier's office in Fredericton
had taken a break from the staff screaming in existential despair at living
in Fredericton and demanding an accounting from an unfeeling universe to
archive and then shred all records relating to Clair under the excuse that
keeping them in the first place was stupid.
    Biathlon fans (there must be some) from Altiverse 000REALLIFE may
question the inconsequential nature of Fort Kent given that the 000REALLIFE
version is the home to the U.S. Olympic Biathlon training center.
Unfortunately, said center hadn't been constructed yet in 1988, when the
town was destroyed in 001SF. So, Fort Kent in that altiverse did not go on
to proudly train absolutely zero Olympic medalists from 1999 onwards, the
way it did in 000REALLIFE.
    In the summer, the training center offers rollerblading. Sorry, 001SF.
Sorry you didn't get to go rollerblading in Fort Kent, Maine.

                          *** END TRANSMISSION ***

April 7, 1994
6:32 PM EDT
DefenseCo Headquarters
New York City

     The twin trails of Xolchipaliax radiation burned the sky red as the two
officers flew through the atmosphere towards the target their Xolchaholo
displays were routing them towards. As with all officers of the Xolchipalian
Defense Forces the two wore oddly stylish red and silver uniforms and
carried one of the most powerful standardized weapons and multitools ever
created -- the Tihorn.
     The Tihorn was the pinnacle of Xolchipalian engineering -- which, given
that the Xolchipalians were the oldest and most advanced civilization in the
entirety of Altiverse 000SUPERGUY and very possibly the oldest and most
advanced civilization anywhere in the multiverse was saying something.
Compact and nearly indestructible, the Tihorn was a rod-like device made of
red metal with small silver receptors placed along its body. It was
pentagonal along the main shaft which itself was somewhat less than an inch
in diameter. The metal was smooth and straight until approximately three and
a half inches from the end, whereupon it bent smoothly to a 20 degree angle,
forming a hooklike end, while the shaft itself flattened and widened, with
an emitter notch opening partway down and creating a split effect at the
very end. The other end of the twenty four inch shaft flattened into a very
slight angle, forming more of a broad wedge. From the crook a variety of
advanced Xolchipaliax radiation effects could be generated, from tractor and
pressor beams to Xolchaprobes to extremely powerful and focused Xolchipaliax
lasers burning from the notch. The other end was more utilitarian, able to
focus the power of the Tihorn out into potent Xolchapulses and Xolchipaliax
concussion bursts, as well as projecting Xolchipaliax shields of various
forms. Officers of the Xolchipalian Defense Forces could use their Tihorns
in innovative and broad ways, and the Tihorn had become recognized as one of
the most powerful weapons and tools in the galaxy.
     Unfortunately, the thing looked *exactly* like a red crowbar with some
silver bits of paint and a few flashing lights. And, as every culture that
had evolved opposable digits had also developed crowbars at some point in
their history -- more often, oddly enough, than the wheel or the harnessing
of fire, which makes one wonder how they forged those crowbars in the first
place -- absolutely no one ever looked at a Tihorn and thought
'sophisticated weapon of power' so much as 'I bet I could get a crate open
with that.'
     The flight mode of the Xolchipalian Defense Forces came from a blending
of the Tihorn's abilities and the uniform's defensive properties. Officers
could fly through space for days without discomfort (and the uniforms were
much better at hygienic than, say, Brother Maegenhard's scale maile),
survive in climates ranging from 'hot enough to melt lead' to 'cold enough
to make you want to pour hot lead on your body,' and move with speed and
precision to their destinations.
     Of course, Officers of the Xolchipalian Defense Forces, though
ostensibly military, were effectively cops on the beat most of the time, so
it comes as no surprise that their attitude reflects this.
     "I hate these stupid make-work missions," Officer Jerry Doyle
(coincidence) groused.
     "Hey, it's flight time, which means flight pay," Officer Claudia
Christian (coincidence) said. "And besides, I kind of like Earth. It reminds
me of my home province."
     "Really?" Doyle (coincidence) asked.
     "Yeah. My home province is depressing, too."
     The pair landed in a plaza before the towering world headquarters of
DefenseCo, the international corporation that had been formed by the heroic
Defense Squad when they suddenly and without warning went ultra-corporate,
with their leader Smartman devoting all his energies to building his
corporate portfolio and providing excellent quality and corporate synergy
across multiple boundaries with a global perspective and innovative
infrastructure -- a mission which neither XDF Officer's Xolchatranslation
Matrix could derive any actual meaning from whatsoever.
     "This? This is the place where we're going to pick up the package?"
     "The package is a sentient being, Doyle (coincidence). And yes. Yes it
is. Yes... it certainly is."
     Doyle (coincidence) rolled his eyes. "Why are we even doing fetch and
carry work for Stetson Tyler and his little band of primates, anyway?"
     "Because Captain Vaughn (coincidence) and Field Commander O'Hare
(Coincidence) both want to stay on the good side of the owner of a ship that
killed thousands of Xolchipalians?"
     "Couldn't we do that by throwing the -Yesj---"
     "-Alamo's Revenge's Revenge,-" Christian (coincidence) corrected.
     "--whatever into the sun? Hell(tm), it was almost there in the first
place before it pulled out at the last second -- burned off a huge amount of
its outer armor and hull, so we know that would destroy it."
     "We can't. Apparently there'd be some problems with the Xolchipalian
Steller Protection Agency if we did. We have to research safe disposal
methods before we can throw it into a star."
     "Of course we do. Because the piddling G type star this planet orbits
matters in the long run and because six thousand miles of *anything* will
make a difference."
     "All things are connected, Officer. And all actions make a difference.
The world is best served by prudence, and the universe is an extension of
the world, is it not?"
     The questions were being asked by a six foot tall golden scaled
fish-man wearing a cape and rather elaborate clothing. He had a sense of
inner peace and nobility few could ignore, and almost anyone who saw him
instantly felt respect for this being, who was so integral to the natural
order of the universe.
     Officer Doyle (coincidence) happened to be one of those rare exceptions
in both cases. "What world?" he asked, skeptically.
     "Any world. Your world. My world. Glum's world. Loko's world. All
worlds are the world."
     Officer Doyle (coincidence) snorted. "Riiiiight."
     "Are you... Wonder Grunion?" Officer Christian (coincidence) asked,
with a hint of the reverence and respect Doyle (coincidence) completely
     "I am he. Wonder Grunion. Scaly Sorcerer Supreme. And I understand I am
needed on the -Yesj.-"
     "-Alamo's Revenge's Revenge-," Doyle (coincidence) muttered, almost
     "Whatever." The fish smiled, which was disturbing as fuck.
     "That's right, sir," Officer Christian (coincidence) said.
     "Very well. Where is your ship."
     The officers looked at each other. "We don't... actually have one,"
Christian (coincidence) said.
     "Yeah -- we're running at a deficit after a few thousand scouts and
gunboats and ships of the line got obliterated saving your planet." Officer
Doyle (coincidence) may have been the slightest bit bitter.
     "Dangerousman saved our planet. You merely made it possible for him to
do so, at a horrible cost of life and resources."
     "We were told you had a vehicle--" Officer Christian (coincidence)
     "We do. But the Squad Car is in use and we do not have any other
vehicles currently available which can bring us to an Earth-Sun Trojan
Point," Wonder Grunion answered. "And due to the nature of the -Yesj---"
     "-Alamo's Revenge's Revenge.-" the two officers said in unison.
     "--whatever, teleportation spells cannot effectively be used. This is
something of a quandary."
     Christian (coincidence) and Doyle (coincidence) looked at each other.
"Well... there is another alternative," Christian (coincidence) said.
     "Yeah," Doyle (coincidence) said. "But given we don't have a spare
uniform with us, you may want to... you know... hit the latrine before we
     Wonder Grunion paused. "There is wisdom in your words, officer. I shall
be right back." The fish that walked like a man turned and headed back into
the lobby of DefenseCo.
     "So," Doyle (coincidence) said, idly. "Let's do our best to not think
about the logistics and visuals of a six foot tall anthropomorphic fish
using a bathroom."
     There was a pause.
     "Damn you to Hell(tm)," Christian (coincidence) said.
     Doyle merely smirked.

(This is the end of Side One. Please turn the tape over and listen to Side

Eric Burns-White
Provider of Ridiculous Online Prose
for No Discernable Reason
Since 1986.
Date:         Mon, 25 Jul 2016 17:23:53 -0400
From:         eaburns at (Eric Burns)
To:           superguy at
Subject:      SF/SG: Trail Boss #2 (2/2)

(This is Side Two. If you have not listened to Side One, you are doing this


    The logistics of a fish-man pooping aside, it is worth making note of
Wonder Grunion. He was and is the original hero of Superguy -- first to have
his story told, and universally regarded as the first hero of all heroes,
despite the fact that later retconning put heroes of different sorts all
throughout history. But then, incongruities were used as a power source in
Altiverse 223DON'TTRYITAUTHORSONLY, so it was likely this was just a way to
mine out some rich incongruous anthracite.
    As with most superheroic characters created in the mid-to-late 1980s,
Wonder Grunion's story is a simple one. Once a normal grunion until medical
waste dumped into the ocean by Special Special Agent Richard Less of the
Mega-Intelligence Bureau (working in his cover identity as Secret Secret
Agent Richard Less of the National Intelligence Bureau, naturally) mutated
him into a fish-man hybrid, Wonder Grunion crawled up on land and made
friends. He was then stolen away by the Scots God Neptune -- have you ever
heard him speak? Then how do you know what his accent is? -- who informed
our hero that he was actually mutated by said Neptune. Neptune finished the
job, and returned Wonder Grunion in time to fight the MIB and FlatPhoot, the
archless wonder, he who was the arch-nemesis of all heroes. Winning that,
Wonder Grunion learned he was a locus for magic which ultimately led to his
being named the Scaly Sorcerer Supreme -- one of the rare and potent
Accreditation Level Magical Positions the universe parceled out now and
again. As such, he became a symbol for all that was right and good in the
world and in magic, embodying the mystic spirit of the Earth itself.
    Unfortunately, all that was right and good in the world and in magic was
overshadowed by all that was horrible and evil in the world and magic when
Akane Moroboshi, the hero Radian who was a radiation spewing mutant who was
werealso a daywalking living vampire, sort of, also became the Sorceress
Superlative -- a dark and evil Accreditation -- because there were boxes on
her character sheet that hadn't been checked off. Though she fought a good
fight, she succumbed to the corruptive magic's nature after some time,
consuming the blood of yet another Accredited being called the Bone Child
while communing with anthropomorphic and non-anthropomorphic cats and her
001SF counterpart (named Shadebeam because of course she was) and turning
into a Dark Goddess and preparing to change the world into magical energy
and consume it to transcend all mortality and even immortality at the cost
of the very Earth itself, opposed by Wonder Grunion -- whose story it is
we're telling -- and other people and finally stopped when she was shot in
the head by her future boyfriend. The term 'paso doble of death' was used.
    Despite the world having been saved and good magi opposing the evil
forces, naturally most people blamed magi and the entire world of heroes
aligned into pro- and anti-magi, which threw the entirety of Superguy into a
vast... what's the term... Civil War, I'd guess where both sides had some
validity to their position but the pro-magic side was the obvious 'right'
side while the anti-magic side was a series of strawmen to prop up
metaphoric racism or homophobia or anti-semitism or something. Anyway, it
was called the Industrial Revolution and they did it more than a decade
before Marvel's "Civil War" came out and quite a few years before DC's
"Kingdom Come" came out. Do they get credit? Don't be silly. Anyway -- that
made Wonder Grunion's life hard since he was an icon of good who helped save
the world dozens of times and was literally the first superhero but he was a
mage so fuck him. No, fuck *him.* And a lot of people died and hundreds were
traumatized but there was a post-Revolution pizza party in prison and
everyone was pardoned by the President so eh, whatever.
    And that's about where Wonder Grunion is now. First of all heroes,
recently despised and conflated with the being he literally was instrumental
in defeating, and now working for a soulless corporation owned and operated
by Dan Quayle.
    Wow. I'm a machine and I managed to depress myself.

                          *** END TRANSMISSION ***

                Altiverse 001SF, local 1204-08-18 14:21 UTC

August 18, 1204
2:21 PM CEST
Le Village de Cloches et Les Excréments de Porcs
Planet Earth

    "...I led them on in this distracted fear, and left sweet Pyramus
translated there: When in that moment, so it came to pass, Titania waked and
straightway loved an ass!" Radar waited for the laugh, and the audience
didn't disappoint.
    She then continued. "Oberon laughs and says 'This falls out better than
I could devise. But hast thou yet latch'd the Athenian's eyes with the
love-juice, as I did bid thee do?"
    She paused again, listening to the French peasants, farmers, priests,
monks, malcontents and others howl with laughter yet again, because their
minds were in the gutter. Which, now that Radar thought about it, was
probably the opposite of what she actually wanted -- but she was committed
now, dagnabbit. She just had to keep going until the Intern managed to show
    Granted, they'd taken her for three bathroom breaks during the
Shakespearian recitals of 'last words,' and each time she'd beaten six or
seven of them within an inch of their lives and attempted to flee, but they
were unfortunately not quite as stupid as they looked and had kept too many
people on hand for even a trained fighter like Radar to handle on her own
without so much as a guitar to smash over their heads. 'Note to self,' she
thought to herself. 'Never leave the TARDIS without carrying six or seven
concealed weapons again.' A single DIESCUM pistol would have made this less
a capture and more a pleasant afternoon's slaughter.
    It is worth noting Radar was *not* feeling charitably towards the
villagers. Or, for that matter, the Intern. Or anyone. And she'd already
decided that if she ever managed to meet Shakespeare, she'd kiss him for
giving her the distraction fodder and then injure him for being a part of
this mess, fair or not.
    "Puck grinned wildly," she continued, "saying 'I took him
sleeping,--that is finish'd too,--and the Athenian woman by his side: That,
when he waked, of force she must be eyed...."

             Altiverse 000SUPERGUY, local 1994­03­07 21:11 UTC

April 7, 1994
7:11 PM EDT
Conning Tower Level 1217 (Galley Deck 2, Mess Room 14)
Pretty Damn Fine Ol' Hellacious Ship "Alamo's Revenge's Revenge"

     Linda put a forkful of griddled, mashed-together potato, butter,
cayenne, paprika and salt into her mouth, then closed her eyes, letting the
potato burn the roof of her mouth and the grease from the griddle settle on
her tongue. If she weren't a Space Paladin and therefore self-healing, she
would undoubtedly lose a decade off her lifespan just by swallowing this one
     And, she decided, she would have been okay with that. She swallowed,
and took a sip of strong coffee. "Okay," she said. "This is better than the
Red Arrow Diner. How'd you manage that?"
     "Brought mah damn ranch staff with me, includin' all the cooks,"
Stetson Tyler said. "Best damn cooks in'alla Texas! And you know that if
flapjacks and homefries, hash browns or whateverthedamnHell(tm) you want in
your damn mouth are on the menu, they're gonna crush it!"
     "Good to know. All right. So that's one advantage to taking your job --
the food's great." Linda smiled.
     "And turns out I pay pretty good, too. Take Julio over there -- he's
the one what griddled your flapjacks."
     "Yeah -- when we landed on this Earth's Texas, he took his back wages
and bought somethin' he always wanted."
     "What's that?"
     "São Paulo."
     Linda blinked.
     "See, his grandmomma came from down there and since he's finishing up
his Masters in Climatology, he's always been interested in São Paulo both
from a personal and scientific standpoint. Did you know they've never been
hit by a Hurricane s'long as we've been tracking these things, even though
they're right in God Damned Pacific Hurricane Alley?"
     "More than Hurricane -- any tropical cyclone, boss!" Julio shouted from
the grill. "And they have almost no tornado activity too, even though
they're on the East Coast and there's plenty not far inland!"
     "So anyhow, he thought -- hey. I'll buy the damn place and set up
weather monitoring and see what all I can figure out and Science shit! And I
was excited to hear it 'cause that's a BIG project! And I *like* big!"
     "I'm gathering." Linda sucked thick milkshake through a straw, the
milkshake being the cold drink to go with her coffee. "The money's not
really the thing. I mean, money's cool and all, but I owned half a space
station and never really wanted to buy anything. So long as I have a place
to live and a comfortable lifestyle--"
     Stetson made a rude noise. "We'll cure y'a those silly thoughts, ma'am
-- just you wait and see!"
     "*If* I take the job. So. Security. Money. Good food. What would I be
     "Lotsa stuff, in the long term. In the short term -- you're a
     "Space Paladin."
     "Yeah -- hey, what *is* the difference?"
     "You can track Higgs Boson particle effects when I use my abilities. If
you have sensitive enough equipment."
     "What difference does that make?"
     "It means there's a scientific basis to the holy powers I was granted
by Trundle the Wonder Dog while he was in the form of Optimus Prime, which
means my holy powers granted by Trundle the Wonder Dog while he was in the
form of Optimus Prime have some kind of scientific basis which means I'm not
a walking violation of the Jeff Smith Accords."
     "Oh. Y'know... they don't apply to this here 000SUPERGUY universe."
     "Yeah, but I am who I am."
     "I like that sentiment." Stetson drained another piping hot cup of
black coffee down his throat. "You are who you are. And that's all that you
     "I'm Linda the Licensed Space Paladin. Toot toot."
     Stetson looked blank.
     "You know? Popeye? I yam what I yam?"
     Stetson cocked his head. "You sayin' you're somehow related to Popeye
Doyle from the French Connection?"
     "What -- no! Popeye the Sail--"
     "'Cause I'm sorry, but Popeye Doyle ain't real, honey. He was just a
character played to perfection in an Academy Award winnin' performance by
Gene Everlovin' Hackman!"
     "Only half true, Boss," the bus-girl said as she cleaned up the table
next to Linda and Stetson's table. "Popeye Doyle was a fictionalized version
of NYPD Detective Eddie Egan and the French Connection was a fictionalized
retelling of Egan's record setting and remarkable heroin seizure in 1961.
Egan actually had a part in the movie. *And* some folks really did call him
     "Really, Sonia?" Stetson asked. "Don't that beat all."
     "What's more, Popeye Doyle was the character that Popeye's Chicken and
Biscuits founder Al Copeland claimed his restaurant was named after."
     "Sonia here's workin' on her Post-Doc in Film History, Cultural Studies
an' Film Criticism," Stetson said. "And... didn't you buy a Film Production
company with your back pay?"
     "*Founded* one, Boss. I wanted it run my way, not inherit a bunch of
crap from a ton of other studios."
     "Right, right. Could you ask the waitress to bring me another cuppa
     "Sure, boss." Sonia turned to leave.
     "Wait -- Sonia?"
     "Yeah?" She turned back.
     Linda smiled. "Hi -- I'm Linda Madison. I've been kidnapped for a job
interview. I have to ask... if you had all that money... enough to buy São
     "Hey -- I didn't have that kind of money. Julio had three years
seniority on me."
     "...yeah. If you could do that... why come back out here and wait
     "I don't wait tables. I'm a busser. I clean and wipe down tables." She
pauses. "And hello -- I'm in fucking *Space.*"
     Linda blinked. "Oh, right."
     Sonia nodded, and walked back towards the kitchen.
     "She's a good kid. Gonna make something of herself."
     "How are they pursuing their studies up here?"
     "Huh? Oh, I brought the whole damn faculty of Texas A&M with me when we
left. Go Aggies."
     " did?"
     "Technically, they're on a sabbatical."
     "...of course they are."
     "They've been havin' trouble setting up. The Conning Tower's pretty
much a military joint -- not really suited to academics. When we get a
better handle on the Primary Hull we can do better with them. Which is where
you *start* to come in."
     "How so?"
     "There's several billion demons down there, and they're pissed as Hell.
Seems prudent to have a Space Paladin on staff."
     Linda blinked. "There are... several billion demons on this ship, and
you didn't think it worth mentioning until after we ate hash browns and
     "Not a lot of things in this universe worth delaying hash browns and
     "Still. I'd think 'Billions of demons' would be the lede in almost any
circumstance. By now aren't they trying to storm the bridge, or whatever
this ship has?"
     "Prob'ly -- but it ain't quite that simple. Remember, the decks are all
six thousand miles long down there -- it's not like they're all in easily
organized rooms." Stetson slipped a box out of his shirt pocket and set it
on the table, pushing a red button on the top. "GATES -- 'splain the demon
situation to the Space Paladin, if you'd be so kind."
     ((Like I have anything better to do with my day,)) a slightly nasal,
slightly reptilian voice came from the unit. ((Hello, Ms. Madison. I'm GATES
-- the digital demonic intelligent assistant for the -Yesj.-))
     "-Alamo's Revenge's Revenge!-" Stetson shouted.
     ((Whatever. Travel on the ship would take far longer than is practical,
so there are a series of transmission stations throughout the ship and
conning tower. When Stetson Tyler claimed the ship and offered me gainful
employment, one of the first things we did was shut down the transmission
stations in the primary hull, and lock off and change the access codes for
the transmission stations in the conning tower. It's not particularly
convenient, since it means Zelda can't get down to engineering to try and
fix the damaged engine -- not that anyone has any idea how to do that, just
yet -- without potentially getting swarmed by legions of the fallen.))
     "And... you want me to clear literally billions of demons on hundreds
of decks, each of which has the surface area of a small planet and each of
which is familiar territory to the demons but not us? You understand at
least a significant portion of my abilities have to do with warm, fuzzy
blankets, don't you?"
     "What? Oh good Christ NO!" Stetson roared, laughing. "One Space Paladin
'gainst the horde? If it were that easy I'da gone down there with Shauna,
Majors and Zelda and we'da made a weekend of it. No, we've got an expert
coming -- but that expert'll need protection and bolstering and direction
and *that* is something you can do better'n most."
     "And in exchange you'll give me a job, pay me astronomical amounts of
money, and let me see the universe in style?"
     "And be part'a something HUGE! Something TEXAS BIG times FOURTEEN
THOUSAND! But that's puttin' the cart before the horse!"
     "I'll bet. So. Okay. You're making a case for the advantages of taking
the position. Question -- what are the *disadvantages* for taking this job
in particular and working for Stetson Tyler in general?"
     Stetson Tyler laughed. "Ain't that my question to you -- something
silly about 'what's your greatest weakness' and you talk about how you love
to work too much or crap like that?"
     Linda shrugged, grinning and sipping her milkshake.
     "Well, I ain't never thought about it much. Workin' for me's pretty
sweet. Though I am a bit firm in my ways."
     "And delusional," Julio called from the grill.
     "Not to mention incapable of grasping the difference between good and
bad ideas," Sonia said cheerfully, passing by.
     ((And you tend to recruit the best and brightest, then steamroll over
them while you do what you wanted to do in the first place,)) Gates said.
     "Yeah -- what they said." Stetson paused. "Ms. Madison? You listening?"
     Linda had been looking off to the side. She grinned winningly.
"Absolutely, Mister Tyler. I've heard everything I need to hear. You've got
yourself a Space Paladin."
     "Yee-HAW! Another step in the plan's a go!"
     ((I can't wait to hear what the rest of this plan is,)) GATES said.
((Since so far you and the Sage are the only ones who know it.))
     "Loose lips sink ships, son!" Stetson got up. "Meet us on the control
deck when you finish up -- they'll put the meal on my tab!"
     "It's a crew mess," Julio said. "No one gets charged."
     "That can't be right -- otherwise I wouldn't be tipping." He dropped a
bankroll on the table and picked up the speaker box, tucking it back in his
pocket and walking away.
     "Seriously," Julio said, as Stetson Tyler left. "Delusional."
     Linda smiled a bit more. "I've known crazier," she said. "Hey, can I
get some waffles?"

                                *** *** ***

April 7, 1994
8:37 PM EDT
Conning Tower Level 117 (Tertiary Control Deck)
Pretty Damn Fine Ol' Hellacious Ship -Alamo's Revenge's Revenge-

    Shauna Campbell was getting used to the new uniform. It was much darker
grey, and the Texas patch on its shoulder was now an outline with the
-Alamo's Revenge's Revenge- behind it. Beyond that, they were unusually
comfortable -- a gift from the Ottsamattawidu Empire, who knew a thing or
three about clothes.
    Her mother looked good in her uniform, too. It was weird -- in one
sense, Esmerelda Montgomery O'Scott "Zelda" Campbell had always seemed
larger than life to Shauna. In another sense, she had always seemed... well,
    Now? Signing onto yet another ship with her after fighting a battle
against Satan's forces, winning, and claiming Satan's warship as their prize
had changed Shauna's perspective, at least somewhat. It was easier to
realize that her mother was a full foot shorter than Campbell, and though
heavy-set it was mostly curves. And her ancient weathered face didn't look
ancient or weathered any more -- which made some sense, given that she was
in her early fifties.
    It was discomforting to see her mother as a peer. Fortunately, there was
no chance that would last. "So when is this clambake getting started?" she
    "I don't even know what the clambake's about," Shauna said.
    "Fft -- and you an officer. With new fancy bars at that." Which was
true. Shauna Campbell was now wearing Lieutenant Commander's insignia. "Like
you need all that to steer a ship."
    "I'm not steering a ship any more. I'm Tactical Officer."
    "Officer. Jesus and Mary Chain, where did I go wrong?"
    "Never actually being around me until we signed onto the -Alamo's
    "No one likes the truth, Shauna." She half-smiled. "Here comes our
latest crewmember. Think she'll fold with a punch?"
    "She apparently fought a war in Heaven, met God, and once kneed Omegas
in the groin. She can probably take a punch." She paused. "Why is she
wearing a cable knit sweater over her uniform?"
    "Because cable knit sweaters are warm and comfortable," Linda Madison
said, walking over to the pair. "And I may have signed on but I'm not
exactly going to be answering to a rank any time soon." She looked at Zelda.
"And it looks like I'm not the only one."
    "What's that supposed to mean?"
    "You're not wearing rank insignia, Mom," Shauna said.
    "Of course I am!" She tapped her ops insignia over her heart.
    "That's your specialty qualification insignia," Linda said.
    "Exactly. Chief Engineer. That's all the rank I'll be needin' on a boat
like this."
    "Is... that sufficient?" Linda asked.
    "No, but 'All Powerful and All Knowing Goddess of Lightning, Atom,
Pseudospace and Oxygen' takes too long and acronyms are for chumps, so Chief
Engineer'll do me fine. Assume I outrank everyone on the ship when talkin'
about engineering and don't give two fucks when I'm not."
    "This is... an interesting ship," Linda said, grinning again.
    "We're interesting people," Captain Majors said, walking up. He looked
good in his new uniform.
    "You can say that again," Shauna said. "Why are you wearing Commodore's
    "I thought that was a Rear Admiral, Lower Half star," Linda said.
    "I always hated that rank," Captain Majors said, rolling his eyes. "Gosh
-- how can we make 'butt admiral' sound more like a butt? Make it the lower
half of the butt!" He grinned. "Shauna was right -- it's a commodore's rank
even though I'm still called Captain and to my knowledge there aren't any
other captains aboard. I have no Earthly idea why, yet."
    "Stetson always has a reason. God help us."
    "Yeah, I know what you mean." Bill Tog walked up to join the group,
followed by Brother Maegenhard. Bill Tog's uniform was a bit ill-fitting.
Shauna had never seen Bill Tog wear anything that wasn't somehow 'ill
fitting.' Brother Maegenhard wasn't wearing a ship's uniform. Instead, he
wore his usual scale mail of the mighty star winds, hoisting his Sacred Uru
Hammer Frank as he went.
    "Brother Maegenhard," Linda said, clearly pleased to see the mighty Star
Warpriest. "I didn't know you'd signed on!"
    "Only in a spiritual capacity!" Brother Maegenhard shouted. "I had no
interest in serving aboard a vessel, but Lord Tyler did speak unto me and
ask for my assistance as Chaplain, and how could I possibly resist?"
    "How indeed," Captain Majors said. "Though if you're on my ship--"
    "Worry not, Captain! Honor demands that those who follow Star Thor
respect the rank and position of a ship's captain, at least until such time
as they prove unworthy and must be obliterated and shot out an airlock into
the hateful depths of space!"
    "So. I asked before and I'll ask again. When are we gettin' this damn
clambake started?" Zelda demanded.
    "Right now!" So shouted Stetson Tyler as he and the Sage emerged from
the Deck Transmission station and joined the others. The Sage was, of
course, in his filthy bathrobe. Stetson Tyler wore flannel and jeans.
    "...wait, why isn't he in a uniform?" Linda asked.
    "He's not officially part of the crew," Captain Majors said. "It's
complicated." He looked perhaps a hair perturbed.
    "Damn right it is! So! We need to set up a couple'a teams -- one to head
down to Earth and pick up supplies we'll need, and the other to prepare to
receive the magic fish."
    "Magic fish?" Bill Tog asked.
    "I'd be glad to explain," the Sage said. "You got twenty bucks on you?"
    "For those of you who may have followed the 'heroic' exploits of the
people of this Earth while we were here," Captain Majors said, "you may have
heard of Wonder Grunion. He's apparently going to help us with our demon
problem. At least, when he gets here."
    "Well, t'ain't that just a relief," Zelda said. "So we'll deal with our
demons in a literal sense, leaving us with just the simple questions of a
power source capable of making this damn kazoo go, a drive train beyond
sublight, and repairing a ship with no supplies to speak of."
    "Damn right! Nicely put, Zelda," Stetson shouted, grinning.
    "So, here's how this's going to work," Captain Majors said. "Zelda, Bill
and I are going to be going to Earth in the -Unmitigated Trout- to procure
supplies, which the Adjusted League Unimpeachable has agreed to help tote up
here to us. Stetson's coming along to sign checks and generally make a
nuisance of himself."
    "I consider myself a damn particular nuisance, thank you very much,
    "Meanwhile, Shauna will take command here, and she, Madison, GATES, and
Brother Maegenhard will work with Wonder Grunion to deal with the demonic
    "Wait a minute," Linda said. "The -Unmitigated Trout- is my ship, not
community property."
    "Damn right it is," Stetson said. He paused. "Hey Ms. Madison? Can we
borrow your ship?"
    Linda smirked. "Yes you may. But I want it back in one piece."
    "If it's not, I'll get Bill t'build you a new one, and it'll be way
better than that thing."
    Bill Tog laughed. "Hey, at least I'll have *something* to do."
    "So what supplies are we gettin', then?" Zelda asked.
    "This and that. I'm gonna go check on a few things. Sage -- come with
me, son! GATES -- put a list of parts up on the screen!"
    Zelda and the others watched as a list of various supplies and parts
appeared. Zelda looked them up and down.
    "Blades?" Bill asked. "Tongs? Accelerometers? What the Hell do you do
with these?"
    "...oh Bloody Hell," Zelda murmured.
    "Mother?" Shauna asked, eyebrows arched.
    "I know a few things about a few things. The blades peel beets.
Theoretically. The rest...."
    "The rest... what?"
    "The rest is designed to exploit Spam's fourth dimensional properties.
These are damn ABPSARI parts -- for dozens or hundreds of ABPSARIs! And I
don't even *know* what those parts are for!"
    "They're the components for Systemic Spam Reintegrators," Linda said,
softly. "I've seen them before. I know the inventor, even."
    "Is Stetson insane?" Captain Majors asked. "Trying to exploit even small
amounts of Spam is incredibly dangerous. Zelda -- can you even work with
this stuff?"
    "I'm the best damn engineer in space, but you don't need an engineer for
this shit," Zelda said. "I can put it together, no doubt -- but who's to say
I'd get it right? I'm no Spamologist. We need an expert!"
    "I... seriously doubt Doctor Bing Von Spleen's going to be available,"
Linda said. "If he's even available. That would leave..."
    "Leave?" Shauna was frowning, slightly.
    "Like I said -- I know the inventor of the SSR. Captain Majors...
Lieutenant Commander Campbell... you were both in NASA. Do you remember
Captain Steve Vogel?"
    "Of course," Captain Majors said. "Bravest man I've ever known. Kind of
a weak chin. Your C.O. on the -Challenger II-, right?"
    "Long, long ago." Linda took a deep breath. "What do you know about his
twin sister Radar?"


    For those who aren't familiar, the Automatic Beet Peeler and Sub-Atomic
Re-Integrator was the invention of Doctor Bing Von Spleen -- the galaxy's
foremost Spamologist (because he had killed the other threemost). Von Spleen
had developed the device to exploit the innate properties of Spam to provide
power and transport. Spam, for those unfamiliar, is a pink gristly substance
that often comes in tins. It looks rather disingenuously like meat, but in
actuality it is a three dimensional representation of a fourth dimensional
vector -- not a representation of space, like a tesseract, but actual
movement *through* fourth dimensional space, like your memory after twelve
kamikazes and a mimosa.
    Because it is a physical, three dimensional substance which is also a
fourth dimensional movement, Spam is actually possessed of rather remarkable
properties. It can be used to bridge the altiverses, time and space
trivially, for example. It can manipulate not only probabilities but past
and future probabilities, to the point where transmutation is possible.
Exploited as a power source it can use the energetic thermal gradient
between altiverses and netherspace to create desperately inexpensive power.
Honestly, about the only thing no sane *or* insane Spamologist would ever
consider doing with Spam is eat it.
    Yes. We know. Your Nana has a recipe for fried spam and toast with eggs
that's tasty and delicious. She was either fooled into making that for you
or had nefarious intent of her own. Regardless, it's too late for you now.
    The biggest problem with such an amazingly versatile and potent
substance like Spam is that it's very, very difficult to predictably use it.
When Doctor Bing Von Spleen first used his ABPSARI, between non-spam
contamination and early misunderstandings several terrible things happened
to the universe, including Jaden Smith. In an effort to contain those early
destructive experiments, graduate student Radar Vogel -- fifthmost in the
traditional list of Spamologists, secondmost following Von Spleen's
destructive spree -- developed the Systemic Spam Re-integrator, designed to
put the genie back into the bottle after she's gotten out, gotten drunk, and
set fire to dozens.
    Unfortunately, when the ABPSARI the SSR was balancing was deactivated,
the SSR suddenly had nothing to counteract, and ended up creating a more
dangerous situation than the one it had tried to balance in the first place.
This should come as a surprise to nobody.
    ABPSARIs and Spam, it is worth noting, are very dangerous. They should
be left to professionals. Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to
manipulate space/time without years of training and experience in both
theoretical and practical Spamology. Remember -- destroying the universe may
*seem* cool, but it can't get you chicks if all the chicks have been turned
into formica countertops and Shedd's Spread. Be smart, and keep the Spam tin

                          *** END TRANSMISSION ***

                Altiverse 001SF, local 1204-08-18 17:34 UTC

August 18, 1204
5:34 PM CEST
Main Control Chamber
The TARDIS of the Intern

    After many hours and many fine adult beverages, the mysterious blond
Timelord known only as the Intern had begun to suspect that perhaps -- just
perhaps -- his fiancee and life's love Radar Vogel might be in some measure
of difficulty, since she had been out in 12th Century France without so much
as a knife or wallet while the Intern had effected repairs to his TARDIS's
Time Rotor.
    He had considered all the ramifications of all the possibilities in a
way that only a Timelord could, and had come to the decision that something
must be done. Therefore, he had taken his hand crafted lightsabre-shaped
flashlight and the various alternate modules he could add to it that enabled
him to scan things, see distant objects, and of course activate his powerful
and versatile Sonic Crowbar when he needed to break apart a crate or
something and slipped them into his blue jumpsuit's clever pockets. He'd
selected a jaunty ascot and a good pair of hiking boots and he'd brushed his
golden locks out. He was fully ready to be the Licensed Space Hero and
Graduate Student in Space Heroics he was.
    He strode to the door, reaching for the lever to pop the top on the
TARDIS -- which due to unfortunate planning had burnt out its Chameleon
Circuit in the shape and appearance of a rather large beer keg -- when there
was a bleeping sound on the TARDIS console.
    The Intern paused.
    The bleeping sound happened again.
    The Intern walked back over to the console.
    The bleeping sound happened a third time.
    The Intern picked up a crappy 1984 Realistic brand wired handset from
Radio Shack, resplendent in overly yellowed beige. "Hello?"
    He blinked, and smiled. "Yes, I *would* like to discuss my Transtemporal
Communications Service. No, this is a perfect time. Hang on -- let me grab a
pad and paper and take a seat."


For the answers to some of these questions, tune into the next installment
of Sfstory Digest! For the answers to some of the other questions, consider
your place in the universe.


Eric Burns-White
Provider of Ridiculous Online Prose
for No Discernable Reason
Since 1986.
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