Dedaparamaxxaginos productions PRESENTS . . .

DEAD III

The much-coveted finale to the DEAD?.DOC series!

Our Heroes enter Cyberspace

Or

Ghosts in the Machine

Or

The return of Joe Blow and George Tush

A NON-musical drama in five parts.
("And now here's something we hope you'll REALLY like!!")

INTRODUCTION

There are no songs in DEAD3.DOC. There is a reason for this. The band moved to California where they are broadcasting useful smells from Frank's anatomy (don't ask). For a copy of the original score for DEAD2.DOC, mail an EXCEEDINGLY funny joke to:

Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions, LTD, INC, PhD, BS, FTD.
c/o Doomed Puppy
8009 SW 55th PL
Gainesville, FL 32608

No CODs please. We don't like getting fish in the mail. That is a REAL address, and any correspondence sent there will be answered according to our moods. Letter bombs will be returned to sender, unopened. Drugs, money, complements, and general ramblings are accepted.

Mail may also be sent to mongo@maple.circa.ufl.edu.

We would like to thank the following people for not suing us, for whatever reason:

  • Cheech and Chong, for "Bailiff! Wack his pee pee!"
  • The Police, for one of the above titles.
  • Douglas Adams for, "There was a horrible, ghastly silence, etc."
  • Some comedian whose name I don't remember but who is VERY funny for "Snakes! Snakes!" and "Sorry about your family... tomorrow!"
  • Roger Zelazny, for the blatant thievery of Amber-like concepts concerning shadow shifting. But Roger knows where Imaginos lives, so I don't think we have to worry about a law suit.
  • Dennis Miller, for "existential melancholy."
  • William Shakespeare, just so we can SOUND impressively literate.
  • We would also like to thank the Federal Bird Inspector (FBI) for not arresting us even though we deserve it.

And a hearty FUCK OFF to Dragon Keep for deleting the files (DEAD1 and DEAD2) when we uploaded them. Your punishment will be SEVERE jokes made at your expense in this file.

PART I

Oh shit, they're baaaaaaaaaaack!

The scene

Sysop and Beopunk Cyberwulf are sitting at Sysop's machine. They are logged on to the University of Florida VAX and are exceeding their disk quotas. Bad. Naughty. Oh well.

All of a sudden, a terrible, ghastly light flashes on the screen (Sysop now has a brand new 486-10000MHz that he bought with the insurance money he collected, with an LGA [ludicrous graphics array] and a 115K baud modem).

After the light dies away a single, lone window appears on the screen.

  /--------------------------------------------\
  |                                            |
  |             We're Baaaaaaaaack!            |
  |                                            |
  \--------------------------------------------/

Sysop:

- It can't be!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Be what? It's just a window.

Sysop:

- You're right. I probably have some harmless virus.

Beopunk:

- Press a key and see what happens.

Sysop presses a key. The box is replaced with.

  /--------------------------------------------\ 
  |                                            |
  |              Nice hard drive.              |
  |                                            |
  |        Too bad it's being FORMATTED!       |
  |                                            |
  |                 Muahahahah.                |
  |                                            |
  \--------------------------------------------/

The light on Sysop's 10.2 Terabyte hard drive begins to flash. He reboots to try and save his data. This does not work. When the system reboots, he gets the message:

- Insert system disk in drive A:

Sysop:

- Fuck! Those little TURDS!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- We MUST do something.

Sysop:

- You're right. We must reassemble "The Assembly of Death!"

(Trumpets play in background)

Fade to Imaginos' bedroom. It's even more disgusting than his foot. There are socks everywhere, broadcasting unuseful smells. His phone rings. Imaginos (picking up the phone):

- WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTT?!?!?!?!

Sysop's voice (as if coming out of phone):

- Um, is Dave there?

Imaginos:

- WHO WANTS TO KNOW???!?!?!

Sysop:

- It's SysOp.

Imaginos (becoming bright and cheery):

- Oh!

Sysop:

- We have a problem. Joe Blow and George Tush are back, in the form of computer viruses. They formatted my hard drive and . . .

There is a kind of Speedy Gonzalez sound and Imaginos disappears, and the phone falls to the ground. He always moves fast when there's something to be killed.

Fade to Admiral Asshole's house. He is sitting in front of the TV watching professional wrestling and cheers as "The Undertaker" puts "Ivan Teartitsoff" into a coffin and sets it on fire.

Admiral Asshole:

- Yeah! Yeah! Burn the fucker's LEGS OFF!

Out front there is a SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEECHING of tires. There are several very LOUD footsteps coming closer and closer. Then: WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! as the door shakes in its frame.

Imaginos (from behind door):

- Wake up goddamit! We have to go and kill something.

Admiral Assholes' serious face changes into a smile of malicious glee. There is the Speedy Gonzalez sound again as he rushes off into his bedroom to get his AK-47 and some hand grenades. He opens the door and meets Imaginos. They get into Imaginos's Sherman Tank and speed off to Sysop's house.

Fade to Sysop's living room. It STILL has not been cleaned since the party at the beginning of DEAD2. Someone has, however, taken the time to cover the slime mold next to the TV with a poster of Guns -N- Roses.

The Assembly of Death is sitting down wherever they can, due to all the junk littering the real furniture. Sysop calls the meeting to order:

Sysop:

- Friends and goodly users. I would like to start out by stating that THIS SUCKS. We killed these bastards once, and now they're back, reincarnated as vicious computer viruses. Since I spoke to you all, they have infected the VAX, The Crucible, Gridworks Systems, and Helter Skelter. We don't care much about Helter Skelter. In fact, we think they're partially guilty, so we're not going to worry about them. Also, Draggin' Tail has become completely worthless, but we already knew that; its just more apparent now. To tell you the truth, I really don't know how to go about fixing this problem.Does anybody have any ideas?

Gelbarion:

- Can't we just crush them, like Arnold would?

Sysop:

- You know what happened last time, Gelb.

Admiral Asshole:

- Let's burn their dicks off.

Sysop:

- No good. You can't burn the dick off an electronic impulse.

Wostgheel:

- Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetttttttttt's Juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssssst Shoooooooooooooooooooooooootttttttttt Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemmmm!

Sysop:

- No singing! This is a NON-musical drama goddamit. And besides, they're too small to hit accurately. No, I think this is going to require DRASTIC measures. I think this is going to require... dare I say it?... a journey into ------ cyberspace.

All (except Sysop):

- Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Imaginos:

- Rick Wakeman would make a great soundtrack for this.

Wostgheel:

- You be cool.

Sysop:

- Wostgheel, you have the most experience with this sort of thing. Do you think you could take us into cyberspace?

Wostgheel:

- I don't know... that's pretty hard . . .

Sysop:

- Please! The Gainesville BBS network NEEDS you!

Wostgheel:

- . . . it's very difficult to accomplish properly. You have to take all kinds of factors into account . . .

Sysop:

- You can bring your napalm.

Wostgheel:

- . . . but you talked me into it. When do you want to leave?

Sysop:

- As soon as possible. Does everybody have enough weapons?

Everyone assembled pulls out some kind of deadly weapon of one sort or another. There is enough armament present to make Saddam Hussein drool with delight.

Sysop:

- Great! Wostgheel, do your stuff.

There is a ominous silence as all eyes turn to Wostgheel. Wostgheel closes his eyes and the room begins to change. Here and there, little things change shape: the slime mold turns into a fuzzy squirrel and runs away. The sofa turns into a giant lizard who scurries away with fear. In the center of the room, a slowly turning vortex takes shape. Looking into the vortex, one can see a deep blackness that is broken only by occasional pulses of light.

Wostgheel:

- Okay, everybody. Into the vortex!

Gelbarion:

- I don't know about this . . .

Sysop:

- Gelbarion! That is a very UN-Arnold like thing to say.

Gelbarion jumps into the vortex. Wostgheel goes in after him, followed by Imaginos, Admiral Asshole, and Sysop, who states "They're doomed," before jumping in.

PART II

Cyberspace

Our Heroes manifest inside Sysop's computer. It looks like they are floating above New York City at night. It's beautiful. There are uncountable lights, of all colors everywhere. Flashes of light, like photons of all colors of the spectrum, travel along great subways of circuitry. Our Heroes are awestruck.

Imaginos:

- Wow, man! That's cooooooooooooooooool!

Wostgheel:

- You'll get used to it. NOT!

Imaginos:

- I wanna STAY here.

Wostgheel:

- NOT!

Sysop:

- It's beautiful.

Gelbarion:

- Arnold would approve.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Yawn.

Admiral Asshole:

- Where's my AK-47??? My hand grenades?

Wostgheel:

- All your earthly possessions have been "translated" into a form that befits our environment. For instance, this is my napalm:

Wostgheel holds up about 20 hot pink cubes that say "Norton Disk Doctor" on them.

Admiral Asshole searches his pockets and comes up with some cubes, similarly colored that say "FORMAT.COM" He finds another cube, colored green, that says "VMS Operating System" on it.

Sysop:

- Jesus, Admiral A! That'll KILL them! VMS...scary.

Gelbarion pulls out a pink cube that says "FluShot+". Imaginos finds that his hand gun has turned into "REBOOT.COM" and that his Rambo Knife has turned into "QBBS.EXE".

Imaginos:

- Oh my GOD! If that doesn't kill them, I don't know what will! Ooooooooh! He puts it back in his pocket and wipes the slime off his hands.

Sysop:

- We'd better get going. The way my computer has been behaving after they were here, it's likely to power down any second.

As if on cue (in fact it IS on cue, this is a screenplay, remember?) the loud hum that has been in everyone's ears since they got here dies down and the lights begin to dim.

Sysop:

- Oh shit! That happened as if it was waiting for me to say that!

Imaginos:

- It was, didn't you read the script!

Sysop:

- Who had TIME man! I do have a *REAL* job, you know.

Wostgheel:

- Might I suggest that we get the hell out of here?

Our heroes move from drive A: into drive C:. Drive C is not nearly as pretty as drive A since George and Joe were here. Instead of light, there is darkness everywhere. The little bastards have written graffiti on the drive head: "You suck, we rule! Heheheheh! We'll teach you to kill US! Muahahahahah!"

Wostgheel:

- We have to get to the modem! It's our only hope!

Sysop:

- This way!!!

They follow Sysop into the serial port, where the lights are on again, but are dimming rapidly!

Sysop:

- Quick! We'll follow the parity bit to the modem!

They hop on the back of a green pulse of light and are whisked away into Sysop's modem.

Imaginos:

- Help us Obi-Wan-K-ZModem, you're our only hope!

Wostgheel:

- Stop being silly and dial the VAX!

Imaginos:

- Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep!

Sysop:

- We're doomed.

Imaginos:

- Don't start that shit again, or I'll start skipping!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Where's Rusty the Bailiff when you need him?

They enter the phone lines and are whisked away . . .

Part III

The VAX

They arrive in a place that looks similar to Sysop's computer but is a WHOLE lot bigger.

Imaginos:

- Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooooo!

Admiral Asshole:

- Shut up or they'll hear you!

Everyone else (in unison):

- NOT!

There are packets of information flying everywhere. Most of them are multi-colored, but a scary majority of them have become corrupted and are pitch black.

Wostgheel:

- Shit, if I had a shotgun, we could go skeet shooting!

Sysop:

- Guys! We're here for a PURPOSE! Remember, we're here to kill--

Imaginos:

- Killkillkillkillkillkillkill!

Sysop:

- --those two little pricks. I can see they've already been here.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- I don't mean to be the bringer of bad news, but those black packets are becoming more and more frequent. If they get to the Internet, I don't even want to THINK about the damage they could do.

Sysop:

- Can't we stop them? There has to be a way!

Wostgheel:

- We can't stop the individual packets, but we CAN find the source of them and destroy it. [ He turns to Beopunk ] If you were a virus, what would be the place you would infect!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- You're nuts!!! [ Pun intended, ed. ] There are HUNDREDS of possible places . . .

Wostgheel:

- But which would be the most likely?

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Ooooooooh! I don't KNOW! Why do *I* always get the hard questions . . .

Wostgheel:

- Beo . . .

Beopunk's face turns to a look of fear.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Oh shit. They've infected the FTP program!!!

Imaginos:

- We must find it!

Sysop:

- Lead the way, Beo.

Our Heroes go through innumerable subdirectories (which is scary, this is VMS, remember? MSDOS forever!). As they float about, the black packets become more and more abundant. They almost run into a couple of them. At last, they arrive at the proper directory.

The FTP program image lies before them. It's a scary-looking structure, that is emanating black packet upon black packet.

Admiral Asshole:

- Stand back! I'm going to nuke it with my VMS cube!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Noooo! It's immune to that! Besides we will need it for [ominous pause] the FINAL BATTLE. Imaginos! Reboot it! Quick!

Imaginos (blushing slightly while putting one finger in his mouth):

- Ummmmmmm. I can't.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- WHY THE HELL NOT?!?!?!

Imaginos (still blushing):

- I already used it . . .

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- On what?

Imaginos (STILL blushing, eyes cast downward):

- Ummmm. On myself. It's better than valium . . .

Sysop:

- We're doomed.

Admiral Asshole:

- STOP THAT!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Well, I have this cube here that says ProDOS on it, but it may not be powerful enough . . .

Wostgheel:

- Don't talk! USE IT!!

Beopunk throws the shit-brown cube labeled ProDOS into the image. Almost immediately, the black packets stop. The remaining black packets get sucked into a void of nothingness that manifests within the image. Our Heroes notice that they, too, are being sucked into it.

Sysop:

- Shit! We're being sucked in with the black packets!

Imaginos:

- It just goes to show you that ProDOS is too horrible to contemplate.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- SHUT UP!

Wostgheel:

- Ummm, guys, we need to get out of here before we all become files marked for deletion . . .

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- To the modems!

Imaginos:

- Yahoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Admiral Asshole:

- When do we get to kill something??!?!!

Imaginos:

- Just be quiet and fasten your seatbelt.

Beopunk Cyberwulf leads the way to the modems. When they arrive, they notice that the black packets are almost gone.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- I hope we get the right one.

Wostgheel:

- What happens if we don't?

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- We'll end up on the Internet.

Sysop:

- Oh shit.

They pick one of the modems and fly into it.

Part IV

The Internet


ALERT

At his point, our intrepid staff of authors has been increased. As you know Marimaxx and Imaginos usually write these little gems, but we here are Dedaparamaxxaginos productions are proud to announce the arrival of Morgan Bluejeans and Tempus (as in Fugit [pronounced fuhg- it]). From here on out, parody fans, it can only get stranger. Do not attempt to adjust your monitor/terminal/DECWriter, we are in control.

We control the horizontal.

-<->-+-!!!.bork.bork.bork

We control the vertical.

        ||               \
        <>                \
        <>  ( o )          \
        ++             ^    |
        <>  ( o )          /
        <>               /
        ||             /

We control the cows.

           (__)
           (oO)
    /-------\/  ---("How much for de wimmen?")
   / ::     :
  *  ::@\--::
     ^^    ^^

THE SCENE

Our intrepid (read: DRUNK) heroes now stand in the Main Stream of the Internet [**NOTE: This is probably the first, last, and only time that Beopunk Cyberwulf will be referred to as "mainstream" in ANY Dedaparamaxxaginos Production. So if you are going to capture ANY of this story, or echo it to your printer, NOW is a good time.***]

The vastness of the Network links overwhelms Admiral Asshole, who is used to lording over tiny little systems like the "Please Don't Bubble Sort BBS", run on a Timex Sinclair with 2K of RAM and ASCII- only transfer protocol. He begins to sob uncontrollably.

Admiral Asshole:

- It... It... It's so big!

Imaginos:

- Yeah, that's what your mother said.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- It's big, alright. But don't let it intimidate you. Most of it is just wasted space.....like HIM! (he points to Gelbarion)

Gelbarion:

- Huh? (He strikes and Arnold-ish thinking pose)

[***NOTE: "Arnold-ish thinking pose" is actually the grand prize winner of the Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions in-house Oxymoron Contest. Shortly after coining the phrase, Morgan Bluejeans was awarded his prize: a beer. There were hearty handshakes all around, and much rejoicing. Then Imaginos came along, slammed a surplus WYSE terminal into the side of Bluejeans's head, and stole the prize.***]

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Exactly.

Sysop:

- Well, let's see now. Hmmmmm. (He pulls from his pocket a faded copy of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the InterNet." The torn cover is illustrated: a blindfolded smileyface with a cigarette in its mouth and a single, bloody bullet hole in its forehead. Underneath is the guidebook motto "We're doomed.")

Wostgheel (looking over his shoulder):

- YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUU KNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW, (sees the others stare at him in annoyance, with more weaponry that he has) er...You know, We always DID wonder where you came up with that phrase.

Sysop:

- It's on my family coat of arms.

Wostgheel:

- We believe it.

Sysop (quickly scanning the book):

- Well, it's to assume that they're going to AVOID the MODERATED newsgroups.

Imaginos:

- So are we. (loud belch)

Wostgheel:

- Well said. We agree.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Howzabout we just head 'em off at alt.sex? Little weenies like that always head there eventually.

Imaginos:

- So are we.

Wostgheel:

- Well said. We agree.

Imaginos:

- You know, we seem to be skipping here--

Sysop (turning in mild annoyance):

- "PKUNZIP Imaginos."

Imaginos:

- OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- It seems we don't NEED Rusty here.

Sysop:

- Nah. I know a FEW tricks, 'Punk.

Gelbarion:

- Punks? Where?
(he turns in an Arnold-ish pose of vigilance.)

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Oh, shut up. He meant me. "'Punk" equals "Beopunk Cyberwulf". Get it? (he rolls his eyes.) There are NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO punks here.

Disembodied Voices (off-stage):

- Speak for yourself.

Sysop:

- We're doomed.

Disembodied Voices (STILL off-stage):

- Nice motto.

Admiral Asshole:

- Shut up!! (He wheels around looking for the voices, FORMAT.COM cubes in hand. Strapped to his belt, the VMS bomb makes small but menacing noises).

Disembodied Voices:

- Over here, Asshole.

Admiral Asshole (through clenched teeth):

- That's my name. (He fires off a few FORMAT.COM cubes. Somewhere in Ohio, a small semi-public access UNIX system dies messily, its spectacular sparking affects accompanied by a loud whine akin to that of a Jewish-American-Princess Convention on a humid day in Miami Beach.)

[***NOTE: Before anti-Semitic accusations are hurled willy-nilly against the staff of Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions, it should be noted that Morgan Bluejeans, who conceived and typed that last metaphor, is in fact Jewish, and lacks the foreskin to prove it.***]

Disembodied Voices:

- You missed.

(They step into the light provided by a passing Elf Sternberg posting, and are revealed as ghostly Net simulacrums of Joe Blow and George Tush, as anyone with the brain of a trout would have deduced a full page ago. Our heroes, however, sharing a full brain between them as the result of overconsumption of fermented grains, gawk and gape.)

Joe Blow Virus:

- And you won't get a second chance. Nyah!

(He throws a bag into the air. It bursts, spraying a fine dust into the air.)

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Aw, shit, man! A virus! Duck!

(At this point, all the heroes except for Gelbarion duck. Ducking is a very UN-Arnold-ish thing to do, you see, and Gelbarion would rather have his testicles removed with an acetylene blowtorch than duck and hide from a cloud of glowing motes, even glowing motes that give off a sinister, keening wail)

Gelbarion:

- Saint Arnold, protect me!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Get down, you macho idiot!

(He grabs the black-clad Arnold-clone and drags him face-down into the "ground".)

Sysop:

- We're doo--

Wostgheel (holding an "NDD" cube to Sysop's head):

- We would suggest you refrain from saying that again.

(All this ducking, chattering, and macho posing is to no avail. Our heroes, one and all, are covered in "The Dust." MUAAAAHAHAHAHAH! [***NOTE: At this point, it would perhaps be a good idea to have The Alan Parsons' Project "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" CD running in the background. Trust us.***])

Imaginos (sniffing at the dust):

- Anybody got a little spoon?

(It is then that our heroes notice that ---DUM DUM DA DUM!-- nothing has happened...)

Blow-Virus and Tush-Virus:

- HAHAHAHAH! You fell for it! You idiots!

Tush-Virus (nudging Blow-Virus):

- Hey! This is better than a Tesla Coil!

Blow-Virus:

- Huh?

Tush-Virus:

- Never mind. You had to be there.

[***NOTE: There was a brief pause here as Morgan Bluejeans and Tempus Fugit, two Latin scholars, almost came to blows over whether the correct plural of "virus" should be spelled "viri" or "virii". Wisely, Dedaparamaxx suggested consulting a nearby medical dictionary, which, being many years old, prompted our authors to use "viruses." After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, MBJ and Tempus sat down and settled for glaring at each other and occasionally muttering "Gluba me" in each other's general direction. From there out it was decided that all occurrences of the word "viruses" would be immediately followed by the token "(dammit)." Imaginos and Dedaparamaxx settled for drinking another beer apiece to the tune of "Piranha", and after several moments, all four authors continued to create their High Weirdness...***]

(The VIRUSES (dammit) dance around for several moments laughing at and taunting the Assembly of Alcohol-Enhanced Cyberspace Warriors, before skipping off in a random direction.)

VIRUSES (dammit):

- Yoooooooou can't caaaaaaatch ussssssssss! Yoooooooou can't caaaaaaatch ussssssssss!

Wostgheel (sniffing):

- They can sing but We can't?

Sysop:

- Shut up. We have to catch them before they wreck telecommunications all over the world!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Or, at the very least, generate nonsense newsgroups like "alt.romper.room" or "alt.we.dont.need.no.steenkeen.moderators"

Sysop:

- Yeah.

Wostgheel:

- LEEEEEEEEEEEEET'S JUUUUUUUUUUSSST FRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGMEEEEEEEEEEEEENTT---

Admiral Asshole (clutching the VMS Bomb menacingly):

- Shut up, man, or I'll set this thing off!

Wostgheel (under his breath):

- AAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSHOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEE!

Gelbarion:

- It's hard to be sinister and Arnold-like when your black motorcycle jacket is covered in this glowing purple dust.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- I grieve for you. Now let's go.

(They all scramble to their feet, except for Imaginos who is busy scraping up dust into his palm and shoving it into his pocket for later consumption. Finally, though, Sysop grabs Imaginos by the shoulders).

Sysop:

- Remember, Imaginos: THEY have the dust.

(There is a Speedy Gonzalez sound and Imaginos tears off after the viruses(dammit). With Road Runner puff-clouds trailing behind, the rest of the Assembly ofPickled Purple People Peelers chases after him. The chase ensues, carrying our heroes down a side trail off the InterNet main feed. Around them, the environment shifts from "pure" cyberspace to a vaguely familiar starfield.)

Overvoice:

- Space... the final frontier--

Imaginos:

- Shit! I HATE Star Trek!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Not so loud, man.

Admiral Asshole:

- Yeah! Jesus! You want to get our DICKS burned off or something?!?

Imaginos:

- Well, actually---

Sysop:

- We're doomed.

Wostgheel:

- Where are We anyway?

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- (Opens his mouth to answer, then pauses in thought.) Do you mean US "we" or YOU "we"?

Wostgheel:

- Not quite sure. Sometimes, We have trouble distinguishing.

Sysop:

- (Starts to make a comment, thinks better of it, and closes his mouth).

[***NOTE: This is FORESHADOWING. Remember it.***]

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Well, anyway, it's gotta be part of the rec.arts.sf hierarchy. Let's just pass through the newsgroup wall and find out.

(Our Heroes just now notice the softly glowing wall in front of them.)

Imaginos:

- Is there a door?
(He holds out his foot.)

Sysop:

- "PKUNZIP Imaginos"

Imaginos:

- OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

Sysop:

- No. There's no door.

Gelbarion:

- Good. Arnold would not need a door, and we do not either.

Admiral Asshole:

- I could BLOW it open.
He holds out the VMS bomb)

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Dude, if you do that, you will TRASH rec.arts.sf and all the weaponry in the world won't save you from "Dead IV: The Wrath of Trekkies."
(He turns to Sysop)
You wanna do this or should I?

Sysop (nodding):

- Allow me.
(He turns back to the wall).
"SUBSCRIBE"

(There is a small humming noise and part of the wall becomes transparent.Following an article, our heroes enter the starfield. As they pass through the barrier, however, each of them feels a tingling sensation.)

Sysop:

- Wow! That was strange.

Imaginos:

- Yeah.

(The others turn around and see that he is not moving; simply standing on the threshold, smiling).

Admiral Asshole:

- OK. Let's get our bearings. Anybody wanna volunteer to recon?

Imaginos:

- Yeah. Let's go find the little fuckers. (His voice cracks on the last word. The others resist laughing. They all walk together. A large Galaxy-class starship passes overhead.)

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Well, that confirms it. We're in--

Imaginos (His voice is VERY nasally and squeaky now):

- HELP ME!

(The others turn. Wearing Imaginos' clothes is an Imaginos-sized Wil Wheaton. He clutches at his throat in surprise.)

Sysop:

- Holy shit! He's turning into Wesley Crusher!

Imaginos:

- My pubic hair is falling out!

(Suddenly, all background noise in the immediate vicinity STOPS!)

Off-stage voice:

- DID YOU SAY WEASELEY?!?

(There is a sound of phaser fire)

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Ah, shit!
(at this, his voice, too, begins to shift up a few octaves)

Sysop:

- rec.arts.sf, my ass! We're in alt.ensign.wesley.die.die.die!

Off-stage voice:

- THAT'S RIGHT, YOU LITTLE DWEEB!

(the phaser fire draws closer)

Sysop:

- RUN!!!

Wostgheel:

- RUN?!? (his voice actually cracks) Not until we save the ship!
(his hands fly to his mouth with a gasp of horror)

Admiral Asshole (now looking like Wil Wheaton in plaid workshirt, ragged jeans,and a Dick Tracy baseball cap):

- Motherfuckers! They led us into a trap!

Gelbarion (now looking like Wil Wheaton in black fatigue pants and "US ARMY RANGERS" T-shirt):

- Arnold would not run!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- You ain't Arnold, you twit. You're Wesley-Fucking-Crusher, and you'd better get used to the idea and fucking RUN, OK??!!??

(A phaser blast set on "puree" liquifies a stray bit near Gelbarion's head.)

Gelbarion:

- Well, maybe just this once.

(The heroes run.)

Wostgheel:

- How's about We just shift the shadows? (He leaps high into the air. A well-aimed phaser blast set on "Vienna Choir Boy" barely misses his genitalia).

Admiral Asshole:

- Sounds like a plan. (He dodges a phaser blast set on "Really Messy Death". Then he turns to Wostgheel) WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?!?!?!?!?

Sysop:

- (He ducks a phaser blast set on "existential melancholy") NOOOO!

(This is in a very high pitch. In fact, by now all of our heroes have been transformed into WEASELY, errr, WESLEY CRUSHER like parodies of themselves).

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- ACK! (he does a double somersault and escapes a bout with a phaser blast set on "OH, WOW") That would be a BAAAAAAAD idea!

Wostgheel:

- (He does a triple back flip, landing on Gelbarion's shoulders, to avoid a dangerously well-aimed phaser blast set on "occasional irregularity") Why not? That's what GOT us here!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- You've been contaminated, man! Who knows what the effect of this virus will be in the real world! What if we don't change back...or worse yet, what if we translate into 'Noles!??!?!?

Sysop:

- EEEEEEEEEK! Anything but 'Noles!

Gelbarion:

- FSU... Thhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb!

Wostgheel:

- We see your point.

Offstage voice which comes, oddly enough, from off stage:

- This is better than the death scene in Toy Soldiers!!

Another offstage voice:

- Nah! The leeches in Stand By Me were better!

First Offstage voice:

- NOT!

Third offstage voice:

- You know guys, maybe Weasely isn't so bad after all.

First and second offstage voices in unison:

- WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!

(There is the sound of offstage phaser fire. You don't even wanna KNOW what these are set to!)

Third offstage voice:

- Joke! Joke!

Fourth offstage voice:

- Set phasers to "maximum flame!"

Fifth offstage voice:

- NOT! Set phasers to "very painful disembowelment"

First, second, fourth, and fifth offstage voices:

- (They fire in unison and shout) ASSHOLE!!!

Admiral Asshole:

- (Stepping out from behind a DMA chip) What?!?!? (He is nearly pulverized by a phaser blast set to "Roseanne Barr in a tub of lime jello", but is pulled out of the way in the nick of time [not the Randy or the Fred of time] by an offstage HAND)

Sysop:

- Asshole! Are you okay!??!

Admiral Asshole (panting):

- No you idiot, I'm fucking Wesley Crusher! But other than that I'm in one piece.

Imaginos:

- You're fucking Wesley Crusher!?!? Stay away from me...

Voice attached to offstage hand:

- Could you all PLEASE just shut up? I'm trying to save you.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- We're in alt.ensign.wesley.die.die.die, we look like Wil Wheaton, and you're trying to save us?!? You must be a cabbage or something. Either that or . . .

Sysop:

- No, it can't be . . .

Wostgheel:

- He's . . .

All (in unison):

- AN EXPENDABLE CREWMAN!!!!!

Voice steps into the light:

- Yes (he hangs his head in shame). So far this season, I've died twelve times...I'm actually a production assistant on the show, but I read this newsgroup.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Sad.

Wostgheel:

- Indeed.

Expendable Crewman:

- Anyway, I've tossed in my jibe here and there, but I never thought they would take things THIS far. So let's go.

All (in unison):

- But where shall we go?!?!

Sysop:

- 'Punk, you know this place better than any of us. Where would you go?

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- I don't know...

Sysop:

- Come on, dude, we're counting on you.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- I just don't know...

Sysop:

- Stop saying you don't know!!!

Beopunk Cyberwulf (a little light bulb appears above his head):

- That's it!!! (He turns to Sysop) Where would you go if you had a question you needed answered?

Imaginos:

- Miss Manners?

Wostgheel:

- William Safire?

Admiral Asshole:

- Dr. Ruth?

Gelbarion:

- ARNOLD!!!!

Sysop (slapping head in frustration):

- SHIT! If it were a cow it would have bitten me! The USENET ORACLE!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Exactly.

All (except Beo and Sysop):

- OF COURSE!

Beopunk Cyberwulf (turning to Expendable Crewman):

- Plot a course for alt.humor.oracle. Make it so.

Expendable Crewman:

- Course plotted, sir!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Engage!

Our Heroes suddenly find themselves being whisked away through a gate of light on a carpet of digital signals. They are bounced off several satellite relays, in and out of many UNIX systems, and eventually are deposited at the foot of a great, golden altar.

Imaginos:

- Wow! What a rush.

Admiral Asshole:

- Someone stop the floor from moving, please.

Sysop:

- Would anyone hold it against me if I said, "We're doomed."

All (in unison):

- YES!

Great Booming Offstage Voice:

- GODDAMIT!

(The altar trembles)

Sysop (whispering):

- Oh, we are SO fucking doomed.

GBOV:

- Could you guys KEEP IT DOWN!?!?!? Lisa and I are BUSY!

Imaginos:

- Lisa?

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- The net.sex.goddess...also the USENET Oracle's steady squeeze.

(there is offstage giggling)

Offstage Feminine Voice:

- Gee, Orie, THAT's never happened before. But don't worry, I'm sure it's only temporary.

GBOV:

- It had BETTER BE!

Beopunk Cyberwulf (shouting toward the offstage fornicators):

- Oh, Great Oracle...

Sysop:

- You, who are so very big...

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- You, who are so absolutely HUGE...

Sysop:

- Gosh, we're all really impressed down here...

[***NOTE: This is obviously a BLATANT plug for Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life." In fact, get thee immediately hence to rent that wonderful film; it is only wafer thin. We will wait.***]

Gelbarion:

- He doesn't look so tough to me.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Shut up!

Sysop:

- We're doomed.

GBOV:

- What's that you say?!

Gelbarion (as Sysop and BPCW frantically try to shush him):

- I said "You don't look so tough to me!"

GBOV:

- Who the hell do you think you are?? You're supposed to be grovelling.

Wostgheel:

- Indeed, even WE can see that grovelling is in order.

Gelbarion:

- I am a graduate of the Arnold Schwarzenegger School of Looking German and Being Tough, and I do NOT grovel.

Sysop:

- Oh great Oracle, whose nipples I am not fit to pinch, we have become infected with a horrible, ghastly, completely yucky virus that makes us look and talk like Wil Wheaton. Oh, great Oracle, whose zipper I am unfit to zip, canst thou cure us of this wretched illness?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

- I'm not sure whether you are grovelling or insulting, but the Oracle, taking pity on thee in this, thy hour of need, shall cure you of this virus.

There is a blinding light that leaves Our Heroes, well, blind. As their vision clears, they see that they have been transformed from the Assembly of Annoying Adolescent Nerds into the Assembly of Heavily Armed Vigilante Sub-Processes.

Oracle:

- Is there anything else? (He turns to BPCW and Sysop). You two. You grovel rather well. I like you, even though you interrupted my...

Offstage Feminine Voice:

- Oh, Orie!

Oracle:

- ...well, you get the idea. Anyway, we have time for one last grovel.

Gelbarion:

- I will NOT grovel. Nay, for the Great Saint Arnold would not Grovel.

Sysop:

- Well maybe HE can't grovel, but I can! Oh, great Oracle, whose nose hairs I would gladly trim with mine own teeth. Oh, great Oracle, whose earwax I am not worthy to sniff. Oh, great Oracle, I beseech thee...[remember the foreshadowing???]...I beseech thee...[he turns rapidly to Wostgheel and trumpets blare in fanfare in the background]...WHY THE FUCK DOES HE ALWAYS TALK IN FIRST PERSON PLURAL?!?!

Wostgheel (shocked, and in a heavy French accent):

- Nous? [French for the plural of "moi?"]

Imaginos:

- No, you mean MOO!

Oracle:

- The Oracle has considered your question. Your question was "Why the fuck does he always talk in first person plural?" And the answer is: "He multitasks." Pause. "You owe the Oracle...a one year membership in the 'Sub-Process of the Month Club!'"

Sysop:

- No way!

Wostgheel:

- Indeed. You could have just asked Us, We would have told you.

Sysop:

- Do you use DesqView?

Wostgheel:

- Windows.

Sysop:

- You're doomed.

Wostgheel:

- So We are told.

Admiral Asshole:

- All the time!

Imaginos:

- Without pause!

Gelbarion:

- There will be no grovelling as long as *I* am around.

Sysop:

- Shut UP Gelb!

Gelbarion:

- Arnold does not grovel for ANYONE.

Oracle (turning to Gelbarion):

- You. I do not like you. You are beginning to piss me off.

Gelbarion:

- I will CRUSH you.

Sysop:

- Shut UP, Gelb!

Gelbarion:

- Hasta la vista, baby.

Oracle:

- You are so fucked. I hereby banish you to the most intolerable newsgroup on the InterNet. I hereby banish thee to...

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- No! Anything but...

Sysop:

- No please! I'll grovel some more!

Imaginos:

- As long it's not alt.sex.bestiality.hamsters.ducttape.

Oracle:

- No...even worse. I hereby banish thee to...

(trumpets blare)

alt.swedish.chef.bork.bork.bork!

All except Oracle (in unison):

- NOOOOOOOOO!!!

And Our Heroes are whisked away into the void of alt.swedish.chef.bork.bork.bork. The scene shifts to:
Our Heroes walk out of a large glowing gate. They are frazzled. Their hair looks funny. Admiral Asshole's beard has turned white. Sysop looks like his tongue has gone several rounds with an electric handshake buzzer.

Imaginos:

- Jesus Christ, that was awful.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Gelb, you are a DEAD MAN.

Gelbarion:

- Arnold...

Admiral Asshole:

- Shut the fuck up!

Gelbarion:

- ...still would not...

Sysop:

- BE QUIET!!!!!!

Gelbarion:

- ...GROVEL!

Sysop:

- AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- All right! All right! Where do we go from here?

Sysop:

- Thanks to Gelb we STILL don't know where they are.

Blow-Virus (stepping in from offstage):

- Hee hee hee hee hee! We're right here!!!!

Imaginos:

- They've got more of that dust! Cool.

Sysop:

- Duck!

Imaginos:

- But they've got the DUST!

Sysop does a flying tackle and wrestles Imaginos to the ground as several bags of dust go whizzing overhead.

Imaginos:

- I want DUST!

Sysop:

- Stay DOWN!

Imaginos:

- MORE DUST!!!

Tush-Virus:

- You can not escape!

Blow-Virus:

- Hee hee hee hee hee! Cackle!

Imaginos:

- DUST! DUST! DUST!!!!

Admiral Asshole stands back and throws a FORMAT.COM cube at the viruses (dammit). The viruses (dammit) manage to get out of the way and the cube flies into the void where it immediately erases the makeup on Tammy Bakker's face.

Viruses (dammit), in unison:

- You can't catch us!

The viruses (dammit) fly in circles around the heads of Our Heroes.

Admiral Asshole:

- Can I use the VMS cube now!?!?

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- No!!! Save it for later!

Admiral Asshole:

- But I wanna!!!!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- NONNONONONONONONO!

Tush-Virus:

- You can't catch us. Thhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhbbbbbbbbb!

Blow-Virus:

- Follow us, if you dare!

The viruses (dammit) fly off into the void.

Sysop:

- Well, are we going to follow them?

Wostgheel:

- We may very well have to. After listening to that Swedish Meatball, I don't think I can safely shift the shadows.

Sysop:

- We're...

Wostgheel:

- Don't say it or We'll eat your liver.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- I vote we go after them. I'm getting tired of this shit.

Admiral Asshole:

- THEN can I use my VMS cube?

All in unison (except AA):

- ALRIGHT! NO PROBLEM! YOU CAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNN!

Admiral Asshole:

- Goody!

They follow the viruses, jumping into the void...

Part V

The Final Battle at: The Draggin' Tail BBS

The scene

Our Heroes Manifest inside the Draggin' Tail BBS (which, as you will recall, has become completely worthless. Even if Our Heroes manage to disinfect it, it will STILL be completely worthless. Some things never change). It is a barren void, much like it used to be. There are dead messages everywhere, many of them Private Messages left by horny Siberian Dwarf Teenage Mutant Ninja Samurai BBS Girls from Hell with Hormones that Go BUMP (or BANG, if you prefer) in the Night. These messages are a chronological history of puberty, detailing love affairs and virginity lost. Many of them are from a Siberian Dwarf Teenage Mutant Ninja Samurai BBS Girl from Hell with Hormones that Go BUMP in the Night named Persephone.

Imaginos:

- Oh, great.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Are you SURE we have to save this place?

Imaginos:

- The only interest I have in saving this place is so that I can have the pleasure of trashing it myself.

Cut to a row of terminals. Many students are hastily finishing FORTRAN projects that are due in 27.93487598 seconds. Dedaparamaxx and Tempus Fugit (who, as you will have noticed, are the ONLY two Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions staff writers who do NOT have a part in this intense drama [Astute readers may or may not have noticed that the part of Sysop is in fact played by Morgan Bluejeans]. Well, this is their bit-part. They demanded it. We are sorry for the inconvenience) are sitting at a terminal.

Dedaparamaxx:

- You know, Tempus, do you ever get the feeling that we're just a story being written?

Tempus:

- Shut up and finish your homework.

Cut back to the Draggin' Tail BBS.

Sysop:

- I wonder what the Tyrant of the Tail thinks about this.

Admiral Asshole:

- Who cares. Lets burn his dick off.

Imaginos:

- If we can find it. Let's just shove all 60,000 of his modems up his ass!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Wait! Then people might get busy signals.

All (in unison):

- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

Sysop:

- Seriously though, we need to find those little...

Imaginos:

- YEAH!??!!?

Sysop (looking at Imaginos in an annoyed way):

- ...twits before...

Imaginos:

- UH HUH?!!??!

Sysop (looking at Imaginos with unadulterated disgust):

- ...they do any more damage.

Imaginos:

- THAT'S A GOOD ONE!

Sysop:

- "PKUNZIP Imaginos"

Imaginos:

- OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

Wostgheel:

- You and your dust.

Imaginos:

- I don't have any dust! I took a shower in the modem.

Wostgheel:

- Oh, hell.

(Imaginos simply smiles)

Suddenly, and without warning, and without any hint of its happening before it happened, without ONE SINGLE clue as to the events about to occur, without even GOD knowing that it was about to take place, without ANY FORETHOUGHT WHATSOEVER, sans any immediate intelligent guessing on the part of Our Heroes, the viruses (dammit) swoop in from offstage and dive bomb Our Heroes. Our Heroes duck.

Sysop:

- DAMMIT!!! There they go!

Wostgheel:

- Let me handle 'em, boys!!

Wostgheel bravely stands up and fires off five NDD cubes. They bounce off the tough hides of the viruses (dammit) and go sputtering off into the darkness. Where they land, the previously blackened portions of the drive head take on a healthy pink glow.

Imaginos:

- Oh, how cute. Reminds me of a vagina. I mean, Virginia! I mean, oh hell, forget it.

Imaginos stands up and throws his QBBS.EXE cube high into the air. When it reaches apogee, it bursts into a gigantic ball of slime that splatters on the ground and begins spreading toward the viruses (dammit).

Blow-Virus:

- OUCH!

Tush-Virus:

- Goddamit! They've turned my favorite BBS into a QBBS system! Now how can I keep four, pubescent, message threads going simultaneously?

Imaginos:

- HAHAHAHHA! Take that you heartless scum! Ding Dong, the Tail is dead! Yeah!

Sysop:

- We've hurt them, guys! Let me give it a try.

He discloses his heretofore undisclosed weapon that had not yet been seen by a single one of Our Heroes except Sysop himself: a corrupted copy of McAfee and Associates' SCANV90. He hurls it in the general direction of the viruses (dammit). It makes small, farting noises. It strikes the Tush-virus on the tush.

Tush-Virus:

- OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

The Blow-virus circles around and begins throwing bags of the purple dust at the group. Imaginos steps forward and inhales all of it.

Imaginos:

- YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Wostgheel:

- Awww, Jesus Christ! Dress him up, but you can't take him anywhere.

Imaginos (his eyes are WIDE OPEN and his expression would make Jack Nicholson gape in awe):

- DUST! DUST! DUST!

Sysop:

- Somebody tie him up!

Wostgheel:

- He'd like it too much.

Imaginos:

- DUST! DUST! DUST!

Obi-Wan-K-ZModem (from offstage):

- Use the VMS bomb, Asshole!

Bill Gates (from offstage):

- NO! It's not a Microsoft Product, and it doesn't run well under Windows!

Imaginos:

- DUST! DUST! DUST! I *LIKE* looking through windows!

Sysop:

- "PKUNZIP Imaginos"

Maybe it's the dust, maybe Imaginos is just too weird, but something happens when Sysop PKUNZIP's him.

Imaginos begins to uncompress.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- I think I'm going to be sick.

Sysop:

- Point him the OTHER way!!!

Imaginos begins to grow. And grow. And grow! Soon he is towering over the rest of Our Heroes. The Blow- and Tush-viruses (dammit) simply gape.

Imaginos:

- Ahhhhhh! G'day mates! Now you get to know what it's like when I chase cockroaches. You get to know, know VERY WELL, the fear; the fear of being chased.Being chased by: A TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY TON FOOT.

Imaginos removes his right shoe.

Everyone (except Imaginos) in unison:

- HOLY SHIT!!! RUN!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Imaginos:

- See! It even scares the good ones! And they didn't even do anything...

Imaginos begins running in the general direction of the viruses (dammit). BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! With every POUNDING footstep, the circuits in the Draggin' Tail shake (of course they ALWAYS do that...especially if the lines are full).

Blow- and Tush-viruses (dammit):

- NO! NO! ANYTHING BUT THAT!

Imaginos continues running toward the viruses (dammit), wiggling his toes menacingly.

Imaginos:

- You can not escape! Resistance is useless! Exterminate! Exterminate!

Blow- and Tush-viruses (dammit):

- We're doomed!

Sysop:

- YES! Finally, someone other than ME says it and means it!

Wostgheel:

- We're happy for you. Now cover your eyes before the blast blinds you.

Imaginos gets closer and closer to the viruses (dammit). The viruses (dammit) are running for their lives, casting quick glances over their shoulders every now and then where they see the ominous figure of Imaginos's foot coming ever closer:

Imaginos:

- Your master has a labor at the instruments of time!

Finally, Imaginos catches up with the Blow-virus. He catches Blow between the toes on his un-shoed foot. Blow begins screaming.

Blow-virus:

- NO! NO! STOP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!

Imaginos:

- You should have thought of that BEFORE you made my favorite BBS go supernova, you little shit!

Imaginos crushes the Blow-virus between his toes and lets it fall to the ground, where it is still alive, and writhing in pain. Then, Imaginos resumes the chase after the Tush-virus.

Imaginos catches up with Tush and stomps him into oblivion. The Tush-virus is overwhelmed by the unuseful smells being broadcasted from Imaginos's foot.

Sysop:

- It's almost too horrible for even THEM.

Wostgheel:

- Well, after that, we can be CERTAIN they won't be back.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Let's hope so.

Admiral Asshole (weeping uncontrollably):

- I didn't even get a CHANCE to burn off their dicks! Not even a LITTLE bit of their dicks!

Sysop:

- Your chance with come Admiral A. Just wait.

Imaginos puts back on his shoe and comes trotting back up to the Group.

Sysop:

- Good work, dude! It's about time someone put that thing to a good use.

Imaginos (sobbing):

- No more dust. Sigh.

Sysop:

- "PKZIP Imaginos"

As suddenly as he grew, Imaginos is restored to his normal size.

Imaginos:

- Well, I guess that wraps up THOSE guys!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- NOT QUITE! Look! They're still moving.

Our Heroes turn and stare at the viruses (dammit), refusing to believe that ANYONE could have survived such an ordeal as being THAT CLOSE to Imaginos's foot.

Imaginos:

- Give me a can of RAID! I'll fix that!

Sysop (putting a restraining hand on Imaginos's shoulder):

- No, dude. This one belongs to Admiral A.

Admiral Asshole smiles gleefully and unclasps the VMS cube that is attached to his belt. He looks at it for a minute, and then throws it high into the air. When it reaches the apex of its trajectory, it bursts into THOUSANDS of multi-colored sparks that float slowly downward.

Sysop:

- Wostgheel! Get us out of here quickly!

Wostgheel closes his eyes and the shadows begin to shift. Within moments, Our Heroes find themselves standing in front of the Draggin' Tail BBS's main terminal: a TRS-80 Model I.

Sysop:

- Oh, shit! Get it out of my sight!

Imaginos:

- Can I ring the electric piezzo buzzer?

Sysop:

- NO!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- GADS! Look at the screen!

Our Heroes turn to look at the screen. The TRS-80 is listing sub-processes on the screen!

Sysop:

- Oh my God! The Draggin' Tail has been formatted with VMS!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Not only that, but the viruses [dammit] have been turned into tiny little sub-processes!

Sysop:

- It can't BE! It thought they were dead.

Beopunk Cyberwulf examines the screen more closely.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- They might as well be. Look, they don't have any privileges!

Everyone looks at the screen and sees that this is so.

Sysop:

- Well, guys! I guess that just about wraps this one up!

Gelbarion:

- Yeah! Let's all go home and watch Terminator II.

Sysop:

- Please, Gelb, I was thinking more of some SLEEP!

Imaginos:

- DUST! DUST! DUST!

EPILOGUE

Our Heroes all returned to their respective domiciles where they consumed much beer and many many drugs, and slept for a very long time.

Imaginos went to Kash and Karry and raided the meat department. All that compress/decompress stuff had made him VERY VERY HUNGRY.

The Draggin' Tail BBS is still draggin' its tail. It went up again after it was formatted with VMS. Strangely enough, no one ever noticed it was down, and no one noticed the change in the operating environment. Just goes to show you that shit is shit, no matter how it smells. A rose by any other name and all that.

The Gainesville BBS network went back to its day-to-day routine, minus a few, still-infected systems that nobody ever cared about anyway.

THE END

Coming soon from Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions:

Dead IV

REVENGE OF THE SIBERIAN DWARF TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA SAMURAI BBS GIRLS FROM HELL WITH HORMONES THAT GO BUMP (OR BANG, IF YOU PREFER) IN THE NIGHT

           (__)
           (oO)
    /-------\/  ---> "23 SkiDoo!"
   / ::     :
  *  ::----::
     ^^    ^^

CREDITS

Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions (lack-of-good) Management Staff
Dedaparamaxx: Head writer, head dum kopf, head head.
Imaginos: Master of cows and demented thoughts.
Morgan Bluejeans: Cyberspace expert, maker of "big funnies."
Tempus Fugit: Latin scholar, possessor of "outrageous French Accent."
Sometimes, but not all times, staff writers
Jeff the Riffer: Evil! Evil! Evil!
Diskwiz: Cyberspace engineer, editor-in-sleep.

© 1991, 1992 Bryan E. Slatner. All Rights Reserved.

Unlimited distribution of this file is allowed as long as it remains unchanged. Otherwise, we'll stuff you in Imaginos's sock drawer.