Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions Presents . . .

DEAD VI

OR

The Undiscovered Country

OR

How We Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Being Bombed!

Most definitely NOT a Green Hell Production.

INTRODUCTION:

The following is the text of a transcript from an official pre- story beer and pizza session of the Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions Staff. It was recorded by a special transcription machine that our heroes...liberated from somewhere. We feel it serves to set the tone quite aptly, thankyouverymuch.


Tempus:

- ...is this thing running?

Imaginos:

- Of *course* its running... I think. [thump]

Tempus:

- Oh, *good* one -- dump it on the floor while you're at it.

Imaginos:

- Sorry... my fingers are a bit slippery.

Tempus:

- Well, if you weren't holding it in the same hand with that slice of pizza...

Imaginos:

- Oh... [pause] ...where are the paper towels?

Tempus:

- Here, just *hand* the stupid thing over...

Imaginos:

- It is *not* stupid, and *I* bought it, so *I'll* clean it off.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Uh, dude... you didn't buy it; you *stole* it.

Imaginos:

- Same difference... *they're* not getting it back, *are* they?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Say, did they ever get that window fixed?

Tempus:

- Okay, *you* clean it off, but let me see if it's still working.

Imaginos:

- I *told* you; it's working already!

Tempus:

- Well, if it's working, why don't you let me look at it? I sense something strange going on here...

Jeff the Riffer:

- You can't look at it because it's covered with *opaque* pizza sauce and -- *hey!* -- who ordered the jalepenos?

Morgan Bluejeans:

- The idiots at the pizzeria screwed up our order again.

Tempus:

- Why don't we switch to another pizza joint?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Because they're the only ones we've been able to con into giving us free pizza in exchange for writing their philosophy terms for them.

Tempus:

- But the last one *you* wrote earned the kid a C minus!

Dedaparamaxx:

- Hey -- how can you expect a professor with a Bachelor's from Bum Fuck University to appreciate a paper of such quality?

Tempus:

- Look -- you didn't tip that delivery dude, did you?

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Certainly *not*... ...with *my* money.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Say, has anyone seen my wallet?

Morgan Bluejeans:

- [whistles tunelessly]

Tempus:

- Sheesh! All I want to know is if it's really taking down every word we're saying!

Imaginos:

- Why ask us? The manual's right on the table there...

Tempus:

- [shuffle] [flip] [flip] [flip] This manual's all Greek to me...

Jeff the Riffer:

- Here, give me that, you computer illiterate! [shuffle] [flip] [flip] [flip] Whoa...this really *is* in Greek, isn't it?

Tempus:

- Either that or APL...

Jeff the Riffer:

- Ah, here's a paragraph in English: "Voxilopopolos Industries would like to congratulate you on your purchase of the -- "

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Skip that -- cut to the chase.

Jeff the Riffer:

- [flip] "...unit will automatically transcribe all spoken language and simple sounds using an AI algorithm." *Cool*.

Imaginos:

- [belch] Let it chew on that one.

Tempus:

- So it will take down *every* word we say?

Jeff the Riffer:

- Yeah, that's what it says...

Tempus:

- *Every* word?

Jeff the Riffer:

- Yeah, I just *said* that...

Tempus:

- So if I say, [bleep], for instance?

Jeff the Riffer:

- Hey, who are you calling a [bleep], you [bleep] [bleep]?

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Gentlemen...

Jeff the Riffer:

- Hey, [bleep] you, [bleep]! You heard what he called me!

Dedaparamaxx:

- Would you guys watch your [bleep] language?

All:

- [bleep] you!

Imaginos:

- Man, take a look at the transcript.

Tempus:

- *Hold!* We're being censored!

Diskwiz:

- Dedaparmaxxaginos Productions being *censored*?!?!? Blasphemy in the First Church of Cyberspace! Gimme that. [shuffle] Hmm...paper towels.

Jeff the Riffer:

- [shuffle] Paper towels, check.

Diskwiz:

- [squeak] Well, it seems there *is* a vox transcriber under this pizza sauce after all. Uh, screwdriver...

Tempus:

- The Minute Maid's in the fridge...

Morgan Bluejeans:

- [managing to ignore Tempus, which is phenomenal under any circumstance (ed. note: According to Tempus)] Regular or Phillips?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Diesel or unleaded?

Diskwiz:

- Shut up and give me a Phillips. [shuffle] Thanks. [pause] [pop] Jesus, what is this thing filled with, *spaghetti*? Who designed this piece of [bleep]? Wait a sec while I find the [bleep] circuitboard. [pause] Okay, pass me a stylus.

Jeff the Riffer:

- [shuffle] Stylus, check.

Diskwiz:

- This is a pencil; I requested a stylus.

Jeff the Riffer:

- Well, we don't *have* a stylus; you're just going to have to make do.

Diskwiz:

- This is what I get for working with amateurs... okay, let's see what's the guilty party.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Persecute!

Tempus:

- Exterminate!

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Prosecute!

Jeff the Riffer:

- [pause] So *you* guys drank all the beer...

Diskwiz:

- Gentlemen, begin profanity testing... *now*. [click]

Tempus:

- [bleep]!

Dedaparamaxx:

- [bleep]!

Diskwiz:

- [click]

Morgan Bluejeans:

- [bleep]!

Jeff the Riffer:

- [bleep]!

Diskwiz:

- [click]

Tempus:

- Bloody hell!

Dedaparamaxx:

- Those black balling bastards!

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Nih! Nih! Nih!

Jeff the Riffer:

- Wait! Look at the transcript -- no more bleeps!

Imaginos:

- Well, fuck... if it'll let you say "Nih!", then we can say just about anything we fucking well please...

Tempus:

- Precisely. Diskie, you're a genius; you cured this miserable little sucker of its inclination towards compromising the First Amendment. Any other interesting tricks you can pull with this thing?

Diskwiz:

- [considering] Well... sec -- [crackling hiss] Nichts, vorausentlich. Scheisse!

Tempus:

- Halt an! Seh her... es ist auf Deutsch!

Dedaparamaxx:

- Das ist verruckt! Bitte...

Diskwiz:

- [crackling hiss number two] Enoughway ofway atthay itshay! [yet *another* crackling hiss] Mierda! [hiss] Merde! [hiss] Khuinyah! [hiss] Dupa! [hiss] Dreck! [hiss] Drokk it! Okay... I've got it back to English.

All (except Diskwiz):

- Fucking engineers!

Diskwiz:

- Electrician's tape...

Jeff the Riffer:

- Electrician's tape, check.

Diskwiz:

- What, do you just carry this roll around with you wherever you go?

Jeff the Riffer:

- I like to be prepared; you never know when you're going to need to do some electrical, er... *repair* work.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Say, did they ever get their alarm system back on-line?

Diskwiz:

- Okay, I've taped the wires in place. Now... what *were* we doing?

All:

- [lenghty, uncomfortable, extrememly pregnant pause]

Morgan Bluejeans:

- [offering] Bullshitting?

Tempus:

- Good, good... but more specifically, what were we bullshitting *about*?

Dedaparamaxx:

- [also offering] The future of humanity?

Jeff the Riffer:

- Humanity has no future.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Point taken. Well, were we making plans to hunt down the twit or twits who came up with Michelangelo?

Morgan Bluejeans:

- We decided the project wasn't worthy of our considerable talents. Besides, the little shit probably has no life anyway.

Tempus:

- Well, hell. Let's check the official Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions Quarterly Agenda and Fiscal Report... [shuffle] [flip] [flip] [flip] Hey -- why isn't profit listed in here?

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Sure it is. Just look under "Expenditures" and pop a minus sign in front of that figure.

Tempus:

- Oh... we're not doing bad this month.

Dedaparamaxx:

- You're looking at *next* month... hand it over.

Tempus:

- You can *have* it. [thump]

Dedaparamaxx:

- Hmm... says here that today we're supposed to be transcribing "Dead VI: And We Really Really Mean It This Time".

Tempus:

- Hey, *that's* right! Now I remember. Is the transcriber still running?

Jeff the Riffer:

- Yeah, it's on line 456.

Tempus:

- Spacetime! Someone remind me to edit this out of the final text file.

All (except Tempus):

- Tempus, don't forget to edit this out of the final text file!

Tempus:

- You're a real help, guys.

Jeff the Riffer:

- Just doing our jobs, man.

Tempus (slyly):

- ...and while we're on that subject, just what *is* your job, anyway?

Jeff the Riffer:

- [Shuffling of papers] "To provide critical feedback and prompt philosophical debate," according to my contract.

Tempus:

- Wait a damned minute! That's *my* job!

Jeff the Riffer:

- Job thief!

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Gentlemen, gentlemen, PUH-lease!

Jeff the Riffer:

- This is *your* fault, Ben! You drew up these fucking contracts!

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Well, the "Brand X Legal Forms Generator for the PC" isn't very precise, you know.

Tempus:

- Forgiven. Now let's get cracking on this folks. Pizza!

Imaginos:

- [Shuffle. Thump.] Pizza, *check*!

Tempus:

- Not the whole box, please. A slice will suffice.

Imaginos:

- [Shuffle.]

Tempus:

- If you would be so kind as to scrape off the jalapenos...*Wait!* Not with your--

Imaginos:

- [Slurp!]

Tempus:

- --tongue! Oh, dear. No thanks, Dave. You can keep *that* slice. I think I've lost my appetite.


Part I

Return of the Prodigal Son


The Scene

As always, the story begins at Sysop's house. The rubble has been cleared from the assault of the paratroopers in Dead V, and the blood and bone bits from Imaginos and Sysop's Brother has been scrubbed off the floor and walls with the last of the "Zambini Brothers Fruit Wine and Dessert Topping." While Diskwiz sits on a hammock outside, recuperating from the gut wound he took at the end of Dead V, Sysop and Dedaparamaxx crouch on the floor near the Not a Cray's huge terminal and watch in extreme amusement as a newbie file leech attempts to plunder the Adult Animation Section with no success.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Kill the leech! Kill the leech!

Admiral Asshole (stumbling in from the bathroom):

- Can I burn his--

Sysop:

- NO! I'll do this.

Sysop leans over and strikes a special key combination that simulates massive line noise, hangs up on the leech, deletes his account, and places a lock on his credit cards. Somewhere in Minnesota, a long deactivated KGB sleeper agent receives a telephone call with instructions to find and slay the leech.

Sysop:

- Dude, nice source mod.

Dedaparamaxx (blushing):

- Thank you.

Suddenly, one of the "special" comports flares on. A signal pipes through a UUCP mailer. Mail is unpacked to Sysop's account. He sighs, gets up, and logs on.

@FROM   : VISiTING.STUDENT.MSB@MENDELEEV.MOSC.DEMOS.SU
@TO     : MBJ@CRUX.UUCP
@SUBJECT: Guess who's coming for dinner!
@TEXT   :
@      Crack out the champagne and crackers.  I'll be
@ home in two days.  Moscow is the cow's tits, but I
@ actually miss Gainesville.
@                              Mooski,
@                           Tempus Fugit
@                ____
@               '(  )`
@                (__)
@                (oO) ---> "How much for de
@         /-------\/        babushkas?"
@        / ::CCCP :
@       V  ::@\--::
@          ^^    ^^
@

Dedaparamaxx (reading over Sysop's shoulder):

- Holy shit!

Sysop:

- We're doom--sorry...force of habit.

Suddenly, the realization hits Sysop hard enough to knock him off his chair.

Sysop:

- SHIT! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?

Dedaparamaxx (gasping):

- You mean....?

Sysop:

- PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Beopunk Cyberwulf (wandering into the room with a volleyball):

- Party? Party, lord? Yes, lord. Right away, lord.

Dedaparamaxx:

- An offical Morgan Bluejeans Hell Party...Damn, we ain't had one of those since the days of the Draggin' Tail.

Sysop:

- Well, we HAVE been very awfully busy.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Two days? That doesn't give us much time to get ready.

Sysop:

- I know. WE RIDE!

He marches out the door, holding his right index finger aloft in a gesture of extreme readiness. The others follow him, for when it comes to planning and throwing a party, Sysop is a man with a mission.


AUTHORS BICKERING AT EACH OTHER -- A BRIEF INTERRUPTION IN THE WEIRDNESS STREAM


Tempus (taking a sip of champagne and speaking in an outrageous French accent):

- Ah, this is most excellent champagne.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Well, it certainly beats the bottles at Pic -n- Slave.

Jeff the Riffer:

- Dude, I don't even *drink*, and I know you can't trust champagne that you buy for a buck-fifty.

Dedaparamaxx:

- [Belch]

Diskwiz (in an outrageous French accent):

- Well said, mon ami.

Tempus (also in an O.F.A.):

- Your French accent could use a leetle work, mon frere.

Diskwiz:

- Says you, mon comrade.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Folks, folks, folks. Please, we're trying to write a story here.

Tempus:

- Mange-moi!

Diskwiz growls.

Dedaparamaxx:

- I sense hostility building here.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- That's why you're our Imperious Leader, Bryan. You're SO fucking astute.


Two days later, there is a knock at the door.

Tempus:

- Anybody home?

Sysop's Brother (on the couch, watching "The Real Ghostbusters"):

- No. Go away.

Sysop (from upstairs):

- Answer the fucking door, putz!

Sysop's Brother (shouting upstairs):

- No!

Beopunk Cyberwulf (from upstairs):

- Can I shoot him NOW?

Sysop's Brother (grumbling):

- I'll get the door.

Tempus (stepping inside):

- Thanks.

Sysop's Brother:

- Hi. Good to see you. [He doesn't mean it.]

Tempus:

- Everyone else upstairs?

Sysop's Brother:

- Of course. Where the fuck would they be?

Tempus:

- Thank you. You've been most helpful. [He doesn't mean it.]

Tempus wanders upstairs. Once arriving at Sysop's bedroom (and for the first time seeing the Not-A-Cray BBS and immediately thinking that Beopunk Cyberwulf must have had something to do with obtaining the large super-computer) -- and wondering why Jeff The Riffer is writing this run-on sentence -- the Prodigal Son looks around in puzzlement, for there appears to be no one to greet him.

Tempus:

- Those bloody bastards!

There is snickering from the window-sill, and then a soft slapping sound (with just the faintest echo of "Owwwww!")

Sysop [hissing like some species of deranged duck]:

- Shut up shut up shut UP!

There is the sort of awful silence that usually occurs when someone forces Beopunk Cyberwulf to be quiet and he has something he most urgently wants to say, generally a quote from heavy metal lyrics involving censorship or mutilating Tipper Gore or even a run-on sentence (such as this one).

Tempus:

- Hmmm...

He pauses for a moment.

Tempus:

- Well there's... *obviously*... nobody here.

He turns to leave. Suddenly, a shadow the size of God's Phallus blocks the window and Diskwiz slams into Tempus at about .5 Warp.

Diskwiz [in a phony British accent, making manly-man backslapping sounds]:

- STEVE! I haven't seen you in ages!

Tempus [in an even phonier British accent]:

- Audrey! My God, Switzerland agreed with you! The sex-change operation was a marvelous success! [He doesn't mean it.]

At this point, their cover blown, the rest of the Assembly Of Death Partiers climbs in the window.

Wostgheel:

- WEEEEEEELLLLLLCCCCOOOOOOOOMEEE BAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCKKKK!

Beopunk Cyberwulf [hisses to Sysop]:

- Can I say it *now*?

Sysop:

- Yes, *now*!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- I... I... I forgot.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Dude! We missed you!

Imaginos:

- Er, hey! Did you bring any Russian beer?

Sysop [while slapping Imaginos]:

- TEMPUS!

Tempus:

- Sysop!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- I... I... oh Damn!

Tempus [while giving manly-man backslaps to Sysop]:

- As always, eloquent to the last.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Fuck you, Mister Why-Not-Use-Obfuscation!

Tempus:

- Hey, and concise too!

Sysop [finally ceasing manly hugging]:

- Admit it, you've missed that.

Tempus:

- Well, actually...

Wostgheel [sounding like Jack Palance]:

- Say you missed Us or We'll kill you.

Tempus:

- ... upon reflection, the pain of our long separation has brought me many a sleepless night.

He wanders over to the window and sees the bikini-clad sorority girls outside frolicking in the afternoon sun.

Tempus:

- I see the view hasn't changed.

Sysop [joins him at the window]:

- Well actually... [he points] Those two guys have never been here before.

Sure enough, standing in the shade of a palm tree, are two short middle-aged men in open trenchoats, sunglasses, and European-cut business suits.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Yeah, I wonder what they're doing there?

Ominous theme music plays.


AUTHORS NOTE: THIS IS FORESHADOWING, AN IMPORTANT LITERARY DEVICE. YOU MAY RECALL WE USED SOME OF IT IN DEAD III. WE HOPE THAT THE TIME SPAN BETWEEN USES OF THIS TECHNIQUE WILL IN NO WAY DIMINISH YOUR APPRECIATION OF IT. THANK YOU.

LOVE AND KISSES,
US


The Assembly Of Death Partiers, now complete with the inclusion of the Tempus unit, storm Sysop's living room and begin the party.

The party, as is the habit of most parties, becomes very loud very quickly; and the participants become extremely obnoxious even more quickly. Beopunk Cyberwulf, Esquire, wearing a black steeplechase riding helmet, promptly places a Motorhead CD in the stereo. Even though Lemmy can't sing, Our Heroes still enjoy it, especially the awfully silly Pythonesque bit at the end. As the album ends, all but Dedaparamaxx pin Beo to the ground while Dedaparamaxx replaces it with a *much* mellower (read: it does not contain the word "fuck," mention decapitation, promote the wholesale slaughtering of puppies, or contain a single electric guitar solo of longer than ten seconds) album. Our Heroes would dance, but there are no women present, so they merely pounce about loudly, acting as heterosexual as men can who are thrusting their loins at an innocent cat named Inky.

AUTHORS BICKERING AT EACH OTHER -- A BRIEF INTERRUPTION IN THE WEIRDNESS STREAM"

Diskwiz:

- Hey, now...

Imaginos:

- What? There's nothing wrong with that. What are you, some kind of little girly man?! (Throws his hands to his mouth) Shit! I'm waxing Gelbarion! Help me!

Diskwiz (ignoring his outburst):

- There is *everything* wrong with that. I am the sort of manly- man who approaches a strange woman on the street and says, in an outrageous French accent, "Wrap your creamy thighs around my eyes and let me eat my way to your heart."

Tempus (in an outrageous French accent):

- You have violated the truce, pig! I unclog my nasal passages at you, you son of a diseased dung-beetle!

Diskwiz (following suit):

- You fiend! I wave my private parts at your aunties!

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Shit! Dave, separate them!

Dedaparamaxx:

- NOT GENTLY! Besides, its too late anyway, listen...

Tempus (in an increasingly outrageous French accent):

- ...and I will separate your liver from your putrescent inner parts and feed it to my rabid weasel!

Jeff the Riffer (who until that moment had been in the corner watching a Guns -N- Roses video and fantasizing about Milla Jovovich and three puppies with spiked collars):

- Someone mention weasels?!?

Diskwiz:

- You odoriferous swine! I will feast upon your entrails with my escargot!

Imaginos (who until that moment been sitting in another corner watching Showtime After Hours and fantasizing about beating Jeff over the head with Axl Rose, Milla Jovovich and three puppies with spiked collars):

- Someone mentioned odoriferous? (Begins to remove his shoe, but is immediately tackled by a faster than light Dedaparamaxx).


As is the way of all parties it generally degenerates over a period of no less than 7 hours, leaving Our Heroes completely exhausted.


PART II

Kidnapped! No...abducted...no...ummm...fuck!


The Scene

Sysop's living room, trashed from the party. Our Heroes are lying about in a random pattern [logic error] breathing heavily. Dedaparamaxx lies beneath the ceiling fan, watching the blades turn round and round whilst attempting to count the revolutions and failing miserably. Imaginos is passed out in a corner, desperately clutching to the near-dead-from-suffocation cat named Inky (you will recall). Tempus, Diskwiz, and Beopunk Cyberwulf are tangled together in a hopeless mess, collapsed upon a soiled Twister mat bearing the logo of "Suzi's House of Bondage." Sysop is washing the dishes and is, in fact, the only member of the team actually contributing to entropy at that moment in time.

Imaginos:

- STOP BREATHING SO LOUD!

Dedaparamaxx (groaning):

- Ack! My hair hurts!

Sysop (singing):

- Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Weiner! Oh that is what I'd truly like to be! 'Cuz if I was an Oscar Meyer Weeeeeeiiiinnerr, everyone would be in love with me.

The cat, hurled by Imaginos (but truly glad to be breathing again) lands very close to Sysop's gloved hands and is very nearly stuffed into the garbage disposal.

Sysop:

- Weenie. [Throws Inky to the floor where the poor beast quickly recovers its senses and promptly runs, at a high rate of speed, right over Tempus's face, causing him to wake violently]

Tempus:

- What the...what is this? The planet Furball?

Sysop:

- Yes. That was our supreme leader.

Diskwiz:

- Kill the fucking cat.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Let me eat it!

Diskwiz:

- Be my guest. Can you, perchance, remove your leg from my anus?

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- YOU were the one who spun "Left foot brown."

Diskwiz:

- I think they were referring to the gravy stain on the carpet over there.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Hmmm, I may need some help here.

Imaginos (attempting to stand, failing, and falling to the ground again):

- I'm going back to sleep. Wake me when the walls stop bleeding.

Sysop (cheerfully):

- That's not the walls, man, it's your eyes.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Why are YOU feeling so chipper?

Tempus:

- Yeah, man, which amphetamine are YOU shotgunning? [ pauses ] Fuck that, just tell me where can I get some.

Sysop:

- Actually, I'm exhausted, probably moreso than all of you; I'm probably going to collapse in a moment, but GOD its worth it to annoy you.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- I will HARM you.

At just that moment (God, isn't this series just FULL of nasty coincidences? We're jinxes, I know it) the two KGB-esque (-esque, by the way, is now the OFFICIAL suffix of the 1992 Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions Olympic Rock Fund-Raising Relief Tour) spy looking types from the pool area foreshadowing scene just a little bit ago, walk in through the door.

Thug #1 (looking outside, seeing the sun coming up over the horizon):

- My, what a lovely day, wouldn't you agree?

Thug #2:

- Indeed. Lovely day for a kidnapping.

Thug #1:

- I was just thinking that myself. Shall we bind them?

Thug #2:

- Oh, let's!

Sysop (ignoring their marvelous display of witty repartee):

- I'm going to collapse now. Someone feed Inky. [Pauses] Wait a minute! The door was fucking locked! How'd you get in?

Thug #1:

- We have...methods.

Thug #2:

- Indeed...there are...procedures...for that kind of thing.

Thug #1:

- METHODIC procedures.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Mike Wright didn't send you, did he?

Thug #2 (ignoring him):

- Let's get on with the binding.

Thug #1:

- Chipper idea!

Sysop:

- Someone kill them.

Imaginos:

- I can't move.

Diskwiz:

- Your leg, man...it kind of hurts.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Where's my gun?

Wostgheel:

- We're doomed. Literally.

Thug #1 (binding Imaginos with a terribly tough looking cord):

- No. In fact you're doing rather well despite that really rather impressive display of controlled substance consumption.

Thug #2:

- Indeed! Never seen anything like it in my life.

Thug #1:

- In fact, we've merely been sent here to take you on a...trip.

Thug #2:

- Oh yes, a...trip.

Imaginos:

- Can we quit the dramatic pauses for effect, denoted by rather poorly typed ellipsiseseseses?

Sysop (collapsing):

- Oh to Be a Platypus.

Imaginos:

- He's turning into Bullwinkle J. Moose.

Thug #1:

- All will be well soon.

The thugs move over to the living mass that is Tempus, Beopunk Cyberwulf, and Diskwiz and decide to simply bind them as one, tight, heterosexual unit.

They eventually bind all the rest of the heroes, pick them up (they're really fucking strong...actually, we don't have enough space in the editor to introduce lugging thugs into the plot...so the 2 thugs did it...really...honest injun), and load them into a Mercedes limousine conveniently waiting outside while attracting no attention to itself at all. It is, in fact, the dreaded Stealth Limo. It pulls away, into the rising sun.


Part III

Those Awfully Nifty Gnomes


The scene

Sysop's bedroom...nah...boring...

The scene

A small Lear jet over the North Atlantic. Our Heroes are bound and gagged in individual seats. Sometime between the last paragraph and the last one, Beopunk Cyberwulf, Diskwiz, and Tempus have been separated from their unholy union. Imaginos keeps making passes at the passing stewardess (oops, flight attendendant), who gives him dirty, yet sensual looks. She is, after all, Swedish.

Imaginos:

- Hey, bitch! Got any beer?

The awfully hot-looking flight attendant leans over Imaginos and her breasts nearly pop out of her very tight blouse.


AUTHORS BICKERING AT EACH OTHER -- A BRIEF INTERRUPTION IN THE WEIRDNESS STREAM


Morgan Bluejeans:

- Diskwiz! Get away from that keyboard!

Diskwiz:

- Well, I just wanted to spice things up a little.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- I feel like I'm watching the Playboy Channel Christmas Movie, "Hot-buttered Elves." Give Bryan back the keyboard...now!

Diskwiz:

- But...but...

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Have a Fig Newton and shut up.


The flight attendant hands Imaginos the first real alcoholic beer he's had since Dead V. He drains it in one mighty gulp.

Dedaparamaxx (waking up groggily):

- Where in the hell are we?

Tempus (waking from a drugged stupor):

- In an airplane? Oh, God...someone make it stop those barrel rolls!

All of Our Heroes wake up and are equally confused about their surroundings. Quickly do they ascertain that they are no longer on the ground and, almost as quickly, figure out that they're definitely NOT in a helicopter.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Fucked...definitely...fucked is DEFINITELY the way to describe our current situation.

Sysop:

- Oh, PLEASE can I say it? Please PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE **PLEASE**!?!?

Wostgheel (from the seat next to Sysop):

- Sigh. Go ahead.

Sysop:

- Oh, we are ******SOOOOOOOO****** fucking doomed!

Sysop's body shivers a little.

Wostgheel:

- Feel better now?

Sysop:

- Oh, MUCH, thanks. Got a cigarette?

The flight attendant hands Sysop a Pall Mall and lights it. Sysop, who has never smoked a puff in his life, quickly throws up in the "discomfort bag."

Imaginos:

- I wonder what that stuff they used to drug us was...I wonder if they have any more of it.

All (except Imaginos):

- For you...THORAZINE!!!

From the "flight deck" (aka COCKpit) comes a trench-coat clad figure. He wears a classic gangster hat and has a Bogartish unfiltered cigarette in his mouth.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Don't you know that the FAA has BANNED smoking on airplanes.

Bogartish Figure:

- I *OWN* the FAA.

Admiral Asshole:

- Then give me a fucking cigarette.

The figure glares at him.

Figure:

- My name, for our...purposes...Sigismundo. But you may call me...Ziggy. Everyone else does. Pisser, that.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Oh, great. I have to look you in the eye and try not to imagine that you're a little bald fuck with a dog that has a bad haircut. Thank you soooooooo much, ZIGGY.

Ziggy:

- You're very welcome. I suppose you're all wondering just why I've called this little...meeting.

Imaginos:

- I want a Happy Meal (tm)!

Ziggy:

- In good time.

Imaginos:

- I want it NOW! And a large orange drink!

Ziggy (to the rest):

- Is he ALWAYS this difficult?

Admiral Asshole:

- Actually, the prick is normally much worse. It's the beer that's mellowing him. Or maybe it's the drugs...

Ziggy:

- Ah hah.

Imaginos:

- DRUGS?!? DUST!!!!! DUST!!!!! DUST!!!!!!

Ziggy:

- Dust (he says it very softly). You'll find out about THAT in time.


AUTHORS' NOTE: This, ONCE AGAIN, is foreshadowing. For a detailed definition, see above, DEAD III, and a good dictionary.


Imaginos:

- I will wait.


Somewhere, several thousand miles away, and several thousand feet below, Gelbarion thrusts.


Ziggy:

- Whatever. I am prominent member of a powerful...organization. We have been watching you very closely. I must say that we have been...impressed with what we've seen.

Sysop:

- What exactly have you...seen?

Ziggy:

- Death, destruction, cunning...in short, you're a bunch of assholes, but you're smarter than say, the average U.S. President.

Imaginos:

- Jesus, I hope so!

Ziggy (ignoring him):

- My organization has decided that you are the type of people we want working for us.

Sysop:

- Pardon me, but I have to ask...what if we don't WANT to work for you?

Ziggy:

- It is very simple. We gut you like pigs and throw your entrails to a pack of hungry German shepherds.

There is an uncomfortable pregnant pause.

Ziggy:

- Well?

Sysop:

- Thinking! Thinking!

Imaginos:

- I thought I smelled something burning.

There is another pause.

Sysop:

- If we agree to work for you, will you throw HIM to the German shepherds?

Ziggy:

- Alas, not. We want his foot. But it was a good idea, though, and I must give you credit for a proper sense of visciousness. Here's a Scooby Snack.

Sysop:

- Thank you! MUNCH!

Imaginos:

- Where's my cattle prod?

Ziggy:

- All of your belongings will be returned to you in good time...and then some. Working for us is not without its...rewards.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Can we QUIT with the dramatic pauses? PLEASE?!?!

Sysop:

- Yeah, and uh, let's cut through the bullshit. I presume that more than 50% of you are attorneys.

Ziggy:

- Actually, bankers, but essentially the same concept.

Sysop:

- Point taken. We want a contract.

Ziggy:

- You jest.

Wostgheel:

- Actually, he has a point there. We'd like to know also.

Ziggy:

- Out of the question. Not once in the history of this world has someone made such an abhorrent request.

Sysop:

- So we're unique. That's why you want us, after all.

Ziggy:

- True. I'll have one of my...people draw one up.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Make him put a "no dramatic pause" clause in it, if you would.

Ziggy:

- You drive a hard...bargain. I will consider it...but no guarantees.

AUTHORS BICKERING AT EACH OTHER -- A BRIEF INTERRUPTION IN THE WEIRDNESS STREAM* Diskwiz (in an outrageous French accent):

- You snivelling piece of non-French swine! I will feed your penis to my kennel of cocker spaniels!

Tempus (in an outrageous French accent):

- Non! I will violate your sister repeatedly with a...herring!

Dedaparamaxx:

- They're at it again...

Imaginos:

- Can I kill them?

Jeff the Riffer:

- Oh, PLEASE do.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- We can't! They have contracts! Besides, I want to see who wins.

Diskwiz (in an outrageous French accent):

- Your mother blows bison and lets them shoot in her hair!

Tempus (in an outrageous French accent):

- Your father makes sheep nervous!

Diskwiz:

- Aiee! You glob of festering British donkey dung! I will shove John Cleese up your puckered anus!

Tempus:

- Non, monsieur, it is I will shove the entire continent up your nostrils!

Jeff The Riffer:

- How do I get out of this chicken shit outfit?


SEVERAL HOURS LATER


The plane touches down at a small private airfield somewhere in Central Europe. At least we presume it is Central Europe; the cows are wearing lederhosen.

Sysop (getting off the plane):

- You know, it's almost a shame Gelb isn't here.

They all wait for the not.

Ziggy:

- NOT! [ pauses and looks at Our Heroes ] Sorry, I felt the...need.

Imaginos:

- I feel the need...the need for...

Admiral Asshole:

- DON'T say it.

Imaginos:

- ...an Egg McMuffin (tm).

Admiral Asshole:

- AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

Ziggy:

- Follow me, please.

Sysop:

- I feel this mysterious need to yodel.

Nearby, two rabbits cease fornicating and scamper into the bushes. A third rabbit, which is pregnant, goes into labor. Farther off, four frogs on lily pads are suddenly sterilized.

Imaginos:

- Is there a McDonalds (tm) around here?

Ziggy:

- No. Follow.

Ziggy leads them to a large building near the runway. Two huge, steel, automatic doors slide open before them revealing a huge foyer with expensive-looking mosaics on the wall. This leads into a narrow hallway with dooring lining the walls.

Imaginos:

- Are there any consumable poisons here?

Ziggy:

- Yes, but most would make you sit up and bark like a dog right before your heart shot out of your arse. Any other questions?

Imaginos:

- Cool!


AUTHORS BICKERING AT EACH OTHER -- A BRIEF INTERRUPTION IN THE WEIRDNESS STREAM


Morgan Bluejeans:

- What's up, Bryan?

Dedaparamaxx (sitting at his keyboard):

- I've changed, Ben.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- In what way?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Look at the screen.

Morgan Bluejeans (looking at Dedaparamaxx's computer screen):

- Why it's...it's OS/2!!

Dedaparamaxx:

- It's so BIG!

Morgan Bluejeans:

- 30 megs. Yup.

Dedaparamaxx:

- So POWERFUL!

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Wait a second here...you, the MS-DOS freak from HELL, have actually switched to OS/2?

Dedaparamaxx (sobbing uncontrollably):

- Yes.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- You must really like it.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Oh, GOD, yes. It runs DOS applications faster than DOS does. Jesus.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Pretty slick, huh?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Ben, if this operating system had a dick, I would suck it. [He means it]

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Stay away from me, man.


The Assembly Of Not-So-Sure-Why-They're-Here Death Maniacs examine their surroundings with awe.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- My... My... My God!

Sysop:

- Your *what*?

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- It's a figure of speech, man.

Dedaparamaxx:

- You know, this is an *awful* lot of doors, guys.

Ziggy:

- Yes, it is. We're the regional hub. Ah, here we are.

A door just to Ziggy's right slides open. Inside, an old man with frizzy hair is slumped over a workbench, tinkering with a watch.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Oh, fucking wonderful. You brought us all this way to view KGB watchmaking techniques.

Ziggy:

- KGB? What makes you think we are the KGB?

Sysop:

- European suits and bad haircuts. You mean you AREN'T?

Tempus:

- No. They aren't. I met a KGB man in Moscow and he was MUCH louder and ruder than these guys.

Ziggy:

- Thank you. We try. (To SysOp) He's right. We are much, much, MUCH older and more civilized than the KGB....

Imaginos:

- Civilized, shmivilized. I'm hungry. Where's my Happy Meal (tm)?

Wostgheel:

- Shut up. We're starting to see what this is all about.

Ziggy:

- Yes, you would, wouldn't you. You and him (pointing to Sysop), you're the most...attuned--

Sysop:

- --You hear that, Wost? We're attuned. Can I have another cigarette?

Ziggy:

- You're also an incontrovertible wiseass....As I was saying, you two are the most attuned to our...message.

Wostgheel:

- The GNOMES!

Ziggy:

- Precisely.

Sysop:

- Eat me!

Imaginos:

- Are YOU my Happy Meal (tm)?

Admiral Asshole:

- Let me get this straight. We're being kidnapped by the little fucker in the tree who makes fudge-covered graham crackers?

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- And they probably listen to country music, too. I'm in fucking hell.

Wostgheel:

- Not THOSE gnomes, you idiots.

Sysop:

- The Aluminum Bavariati! Whoa, momma!

The Rest of the Assembly, except for Wostgheel:

- WHO?!?!?!?!?!?

Sysop (calmly and mechanically):

- The Aluminum Bavariati. Founded in 1010 by the Frankish Lord, Pepin the Illuminated. Under many names, ranging from "the Templars" to "the Masons" to "The Esoteric Order of the Crunchy Frog," they have been responsible for much of the scheming, planning, and political intrigue in the world. (He pauses and looks at Ziggy) I could go on, you know.

Ziggy:

- Yes, I'm aware of your talents. As I said, you ARE attuned to the message.

Sysop:

- Indeed I am, Sigismun---Holy SHIT!! (He looks somewhat more reverently at Ziggy) Sigismundo Balsamo Celine?

Ziggy:

- Yes.

Wostgheel:

- But you'd have to be--

Ziggy:

- Two hundred and forty years old, I know.

Sysop:

- Two hundred and forty-two.

Ziggy turns to look at him.

Sysop:

- Sigismundo Balsamo Celine. Born 1750 in Naples, Italy--

Tempus (smacking him on the head):

- "That will be enough, Mr. Data."

Sysop:

- Sorry. I get carried away.

Ziggy:

- Understandable. The Thorazine has worn off.

Sysop:

- This doesn't change anything, Mr. Celine. We want contracts.

Ziggy:

- I'll see what I can do. Now please, all of you, step inside.

Imaginos hums select theme music from The Empire Strikes Back.

Ziggy:

- This industrious fellow is "Le Q." He's our "gadget man." He invents the little gadgets that enable us to rule the world efficiently.

He picks up a nearby object. It is a small pocketwatch. He flicks it open and presses a button.

Ziggy:

- Hold on a moment...let me...tune this.

Suddenly the room is filled with Garth Brooks. Beopunk Cyberwulf clutches his ears and falls to his knees.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Make him stop, Ben! Make him stop!

Sysop:

- Ziggy! Stop! You're hurting him!

Ziggy:

- Muahahahaha!

Sysop:

- Imaginos! Do something!

Imaginos lifts his shoe to waist level and moves his fingers over the laces menacingly.

Ziggy:

- Okay! Okay! [ he presses the button and the music stops ] It's stopped.

Beopunk Cyberwulf lays on the floor, whimpering.

Sysop:

- He needs a medic, man.

Ziggy:

- One moment [he snaps his fingers].

Within seconds a full paramedic team equipped with stretchers, cattle prods, and lederhosen run in to the room. They pick Beopunk up and throw him on a stretcher. Then, as quickly as they entered, they have left.

Sysop:

- Where are they taking him?

Ziggy:

- Our...hospital. He will receive the greatest...care...available.

Dedaparamaxx:

- NO MORE PAUSES!!! PLEASE!!! NO MORE!!!!

Ziggy:

- I don't have to. Remember, the greatest thing about masturbation is its availability.

Sysop:

- Boys! Boys! I believe we were discussing the matter of a contract?

Tempus:

- Indeed!

Ziggy:

- You guys aren't going to quit, are you?

Sysop:

- Nope!

Admiral Asshole:

- FUCK NO!

Imaginos:

- I want a McLean Deluxe (tm).

Ziggy (to Imaginos):

- You want an entire restaurant. I will...take care of...that. Can we be...serious, now?

Imaginos:

- Oh, goody!

Sysop:

- Umm, I don't think you should talk that way to him.

Imaginos:

- A whole restaurant! Goody! Caloo, Callay!

Ziggy:

- This is where you will be equipped. Here you will receive personal weapons and gadgets. You will also put in a request for all the equipment that you will need in order to serve us most efficiently!

Admiral Asshole:

- HAND GRENADES! AK-47's!!!! M1 Tanks! Stingray missles! F-16s! Stealth Bombers--one's that I can see, dammit!--and armor piercing bullets and...

Imaginos sits on Admiral Asshole, until all that can be heard is the muffled wish list. Occasionally, we hear the word "explosion" come forth and then, even more seldom, the words "fucking boom."

Tempus:

- Thank you SO much.

Sysop:

- Boys! Boys!

Dedaparamaxx:

- Hmmm. A copy of "The Tao of Programming." A C++ compiler for a Cray. Ummmm...and a concubine.

Ziggy (writing this down):

- Okay, okay...go on.

Imaginos:

- A Quarter Pounder with Cheese (tm), a large order of fries, and a chocolate shake!

Ziggy:

- QUIET, insolent fool...we have little time.

Imaginos:

- A Big Breakfast (tm), Hotcakes and Sausage (tm).

Ziggy:

- SILENCE!

Imaginos:

- And two thousand grenades shaped like Chicken McNuggets (tm).

Ziggy:

- Quiet...please?

Le Q:

- Chicken McNuggets?!?!

Ziggy:

- Please, be quiet. I...implore you.

Imaginos:

- Surely you've seen them at the McDonalds on the Swiss Railway!

Le Q:

- You mean ze leetle things with bread on ze outzide and cheeken on ze inzide?

Imaginos:

- Yes, you have it exactly!

Le Q (writing zis, er, this down):

- Okay. MeekNoogets. Got it.

Wostgheel:

- Cybercubes?

Le Q:

- Vat are "Zybercubez?"

Wostgheel:

- You mean...you don't know?

Le Q:

- Nein.

Wostgheel:

- Well...do you have duct tape?

Le Q:

- Ja! We have duct tape!

Wostgheel:

- Essentially the same thing. Give me four hundred rolls. And one of those nifty knives with the million and then some blades.

Le Q (writing):

- Got it!

Tempus:

- Hmmmmmmm. Two Schrodinger's cats, one male, one female, in separate boxes. The first box must contain a nuclear clock in a lead box of its own. The second box should could contain a magnetic monopole in a box with a third level AI.

Imaginos:

- And a partridge in a pear tree!

Le Q:

- What on EARTH are you going to do with that menagerie?

Tempus:

- Exactly nothing...on earth.

Le Q:

- Ah ha! Ve haf comprehension.

Sysop:

- Well, since Beopunk isn't here...I think I'll have to answer for him: Beo will want the biggest, most awful sounding heavy metal album you can find. The more species made extinct by it's playing, the better.

Le Q:

- Got it!

Sysop:

- In addition, he'll want the biggest, baddest radio on the planet to play it on...include headphones...

Tempus:

- For OUR sake.

Dedaparamaxx:

- God, yes.

Le Q:

- Got it!

Diskwiz:

- Can I have a M1 tank?

Le Q:

- Done!

Diskwiz:

- Some Patriot missles?

Le Q:

- Done!

Diskwiz:

- The head of Saddam Hussein on a silver platter?

Le Q:

- Ummm...later.

Diskwiz:

- And...and...a bass guitar with strings of pure plastique! And...and...an amplifier that can liquify steel from 2000 miles away!

Le Q:

- Tall order...but done!

Sysop:

- As for myself, I'll tell you what I want when the contracts are signed.

Le Q:

- You are sure, mein freund?

Sysop:

- Ja.


AUTHORS BICKERING AT EACH OTHER -- A BRIEF INTERRUPTION IN THE WEIRDNESS STREAM


Tempus (in the fucking most outrageous French accent you have EVER heard):

- You piggy doggy! I will urinate upon your eye sockets after the crows have pluck-ed your eyeballs from your skull!

Diskwiz (in a wavering accent):

- You...you...grrr...you...you...wafer thin mint!

Tempus (continuing unabated):

- You will go straight to hell and help criminals blow your father on the river Styx!

Diskwiz (slumping to the ground):

- ENOUGH! ENOUGH! I can't take any more! ACK!

Tempus (shining his nails on his Russian (former Soviet Union) chainmail):

- Do you yield, monsieur?

Diskwiz:

- Yes! I relent!

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Holy shit! That was painful.

Dedaparamaxx (groggily rising from the floor):

- You gotta admire his stamina.

Imaginos:

- Fuckin' A!

Jeff the Riffer:

- Can I kill them BOTH now?!?!?!?!

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Patience, Jeff.


PART IV

The Workin' Man's Life


The scene

Sysop's bedroom.

No, still boring.

The scene

An old renovated movie theater. Since their trip to Switzerland, they have purchased Gainesville's old run down "Center Theater" and converted it into a high-tech base of operations. Computer and radar screens line the walls and several terminals lie scattered about the floor. Imaginos has installed a firehouse pole from the second floor down to the ground floor. It is at this time that he gives it the first test.

Imaginos (sliding down the pole):

- WHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Suddenly, and without warning, the pole breaks, leaving Imaginos, a broken pole, and lots of plaster splayed upon the floor.

Sysop:

- I told you. DO NOT USE WOOD SCREWS ON A PLASTER CEILING.

Imaginos:

- Fuck you. I think I broke something.

Sysop:

- I hope it was your BRAIN...maybe it'll function properly, now.

Imaginos:

- What do you expect from someone who's risen from the grave?

Sysop:

- Sigh...A slightly lower metabolism than the one YOU'VE got.

Dedaparamaxx (from one of the terminals):

- Hey! Sysop! Get over here! I've found...THEM!

Sysop:

- I thought you were the one who wanted the no dramatic pause clause.

Dedaparamaxx:

- I've discovered that I...like them. They are...useful.

Tempus:

- Cut...it out! This...is fucking...ANNOYING! Christ! [shakes his head] I'm beginning to sound like Captain Kirk!

Sysop:

- I'm in hell. But I knew this! I've always known it! It's just APPARENT now.

Dedaparamaxx:

- That group of rogue Bohemian nuns that's been terrorizing Luxembourg have just made a purchase on those stolen credit cards from the White House! They've bought tickets to...East LA.

Sysop:

- You can't be serious.

Dedaparamaxx:

- No, but it sounded good.

Sysop:

- So where DID they go and what DID they buy?

Dedaparamaxx:

- You won't believe me.

Sysop:

- Try me.

Dedaparamaxx:

- I swear, you won't.

Sysop:

- Come on. Spit it out.

Dedaparamaxx:

- They're at Goering's book store. They just purchased four hundred back issues of Batman, a new biography of Sylvia Plath, a few Bibles, and a hundred issues of "Studs With Big Spuds."

Sysop:

- That I can believe.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Let's get 'em, boys!


TIME PASSES


Admiral Asshole (walking through the theater door, his baseball cap still smoldering):

- Who would have thought that those nuns would have had habits made out of plastique?

Tempus (attemping to revive one of the Schrodinger's cats with CPR):

- Indeed, who? [ He turns and spits up a furball. ]

Dedaparamaxx (with a few missing teeth):

- I could have told you that if you'd have let me get a decent tricorder reading!

Sysop:

- There wasn't time. They were going to shuffle together the Bella Abzug and Harry Crews books. Talk about matter and anti-matter. If it wasn't for Imaginos's sock, we might not have made it.

Imaginos:

- Can I have it back now?

Sysop:

- What, you don't remember? Admiral Asshole detonated the lead nun's habit with your sock's fumes. The sock, I'm sad to say...went with it.

Imaginos (sniffling):

- That was one of my favorites.

Admiral Asshole:

- Dude, it was made in 1970 by two old ladies with Alzheimer's and crochet hooks.

Imaginos (sniffling):

- But STILL!

Sysop:

- I'll buy you a new one, Dave. You could use a few new pairs, you know.

Imaginos:

- All of my socks are antiques, thank you!

Sysop:

- Yes, but a woolen stocking made from goat hair during the American Revolution and worn by a soldier at Valley Forge is nothing to be keeping on your feet, man.

Imaginos:

- Hey! They buried him in these socks!

Sysop:

- That's the problem.

Tempus:

- Precisely. What about that pair of Emily Dickinson's pantyhose that he stole from her corpse?

Imaginos:

- Hey! She GAVE me those.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Enough! Enough! I see on the screen that we have a message from...Ziggy!

Tempus:

- Stop.

Dedaparamaxx:

- ...why?

Tempus:

- Stop.

Dedaparamaxx:

- ...why?

Wostgheel:

- I'll eat your...liver. That's...why...got...it...asshole?

Tempus:

- Stop.

Wostgheel:

- ...why?

Tempus:

- I'm going to bed now.

Dedaparamaxx:

- ...why?

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- DIE...HERETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Beopunk runs across the room and tackles Dedaparamaxx, sliding both of them across the floor into a very expensive looking piece of equipment labeled "IBM internal personnel use only. If you have this and don't work for us, please call the Federal Bureau of Investigation, give them your name, address, say the word 'snookums,' and wait for up to three hours. Please."

Sysop walks over to the message terminal and presses an ominous looking button labeled "The History Eraser Button...please don't press me." One of the screens on the wall lights up, revealing the smiling happy face of Ziggy.

Ziggy:

- Ah, you're back! Very...good.

Dedaparamaxx (looking at the screen):

- You!...You did this...to me.

Imaginos:

- Mission completed, sir! [Belch]

Ziggy (to Tempus):

- What have you been putting in his Happy Meals (tm)?

Tempus:

- Not I!

Imaginos:

- Not a thing has he placed into my Happy Meals (tm) which I have eaten and put into my stomach, and possibly digested.

Sysop whistles tunelessly.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Ben?!?!??!?!?!

Sysop (eyes downcast, finger in mouth):

- Mumble mumble mumble.


AUTHORS BICKERING AT EACH OTHER -- A BRIEF INTERRUPTION IN THE WEIRDNESS STREAM


Tempus:

- We sure are getting our mileage out of that one.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- That's right, and we will continue to do so! And those gullible dupes out there will CONTINUE to laugh at it as long as we keep writing it! Hey...is this thing on?

Dedaparamaxx whistles tunelessly.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- FUCK!

[ Static, then dead air ]


All others:

- What!?!?!??!

Sysop (eyes STILL downcast [note: LAUGH], finger STILL in mouth [note: LAUGH]):

- I've been, uh, slipping NyQuil (tm) into his Grape Nehi (tm).

Ziggy (pulls out a notebook):

- In what quantity?

Sysop:

- A bottle every, oh, 10 minutes.

There is silence for a few moments.

Ziggy:

- Well, that...explains it.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Explains what?

Ziggy:

- This expense voucher from Eckerd Drugs (tm) for seventeen thousand dollars.

Sysop whistles tunelessly.

Ziggy:

- By the way...

Sysop:

- Yes?????????

Ziggy:

- ...you might want to consider increasing the dosage. Our expense department will back you up to a quarter of a million per week.

There is general laughter (tm) all around at Imaginos's expense. This is, of course, a case of Art Imitating Life.

Ziggy (wiping the tears from his eyes):

- All frivolity aside---

Tempus immediately throws one of the Schrodinger's cat boxes over his shoulder.

Ziggy:

- ---there is another assigment for you.

Admiral Asshole:

- Please tell me that this one doesn't involve rogue waterbuffalo and transsexual walruses?

Diskwiz:

- Wait a minute, that walrus was a GUY??

Diskwiz begins spitting.

Sysop:

- We tried to tell you, dude, but you were way too drunk.

Diskwiz:

- AAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [ He runs, screaming, from the room ]

Sysop (sotto voce):

- I almost haven't the heart to tell him that the walrus called looking for him last night.

Diskwiz (from outside):

- AAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ziggy:

- Seriously, though...we've been having some...difficulties...in purchasing a small plot of land...necessary for...our purposes.

Tempus (in a deliberately obscure tone of voice):

- And we are...to remove those...difficulties?

Ziggy:

- Ex...actly.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- NO! NOT! ANOTHER! SPEECH! WAR! [ He grabs Tempus and shakes him violently ]

Wostgheel grabs the monitor and begins to shake it. Ziggy, humoring him, starts to tilt back and forth like the crew of the original Enterprise.

Sysop:

- Err, pardon me for asking this.

Ziggy:

- I always...do.

Sysop:

- But what kind of difficulties are we talking about here? What kind of barrier are we talking about?

Ziggy:

- The individual who owns the land refuses to...sell it.

Our Heroes laugh.

Wostgheel:

- No, seriously...

Ziggy:

- I am extremely serious. [ He looks at the screen with an expression so deadpan that, somewhere in Boston, comedian Steven Wright explodes with envy. Emo Phillips is none too pleased either. ]

There is an uncomfortable silence. In the distance, a wolf howls. Really.

Admiral Asshole:

- I say we blow the fucker up!

Ziggy and Dedaparamaxx (in perfect synchronicity):

- Yes...you would.

Without saying a word, Wostgheel pulls a handgun and places it against Dedaparamaxx's temple. He turns back to the monitor.

Wostgheel:

- Now, you were saying?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Chill...man.

Wostgheel's finger slowly tightens on the trigger.

Dedaparamaxx:

- POINT TAKEN!

Wostgheel:

- We are well pleased. [ He puts the gun away ]

Imaginos:

- I could eat him!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- He could, too, you know.

Before Ziggy can answer with a deprecating comment, Sysop interjects...

Sysop (interjecting):

- Who is this person? And why are you having so much trouble with him?

Ziggy:

- Ross Perot...he has nine billion dollars, which is FAR less than we have, granted, but MORE than enough for any one person. And it would be bad form for us to directly waste a viable non-presidential presidential candidate...such as he is.


AUTHORS BICKERING AT EACH OTHER -- A BRIEF INTERRUPTION IN THE WEIRDNESS STREAM


Dedaparamaxx:

- Ben, man! What are you DOING?!

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Chill, Bryan...I know EXACTLY what I'm doing.

Tempus (walking in):

- What the hell?!?! Ross Perot?!?! That guy gets his name EVERYWHERE!!!

Dedaparamaxx:

- But...but...

Morgan Bluejeans (turning from his seat and speaking very patiently, as if to a small child):

- Bryan, if you were ordered to go kill Ross Perot, would you do it?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Of course not! He's my candidate!

Suddenly a light bulb flares over Dedaparamaxx's head.

Tempus:

- Ah ha! Ve haf comprehension.

Diskwiz (still lying in a defeated heap on the floor):

- Du bist auf gefikkt.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Ben, stop them NOW.

Diskwiz (from the floor, in an outrageous GERMAN accent):

- Rematch! I demand a rematch!

Tempus:

- Spielen Sie mit meinem langen Schlanger, du Scheisshund!

There was a horrible, ghastly silence.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- And the winner, by a first round knockout---


Dedaparamaxx gasps for breath.

Imaginos:

- What?!?!?!? Kill the McCandidate (tm pending)!??!?!

Dedaparamaxx:

- No! No! No! A THOUSAND times, NO!

Wostgheel (as the living incarnation of Mister Spock):

- Interesting. Not "A...thousand...times, NO!"

Sysop (ignoring all three of them):

- Look, Ziggy, I'm not a fan of the guy. I'm liberal and I consider putting Ross Perot in the White House the final prophecy in the Book of Revelations....but even *I* have doubts about this one.

Admiral Asshole (digging in a knapsack):

- Lessee...napalm, grenades, plastique... [ He looks up, with an air of culture. ] I say, Wostgheel, what *is* the preferred explosive for blowing up presidential canditates nowadays?

Wostgheel (after a moment's consideration):

- Hydrogen. [ He pauses for a moment to let that sink in. ]

Sysop:

- If you're waiting for the rimshot, it will be a long time in coming.

Wostgheel, muttering, wanders out of the room.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Ross Perot?

Sysop (ignoring him):

- Ziggy, I'm serious here. I don't think we can do this.

Ziggy:

- You have no choice. You *did* sign a contract.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Ross Perot?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Contract, schmontract.

Tempus:

- No, wait a second. [ He turns to Sysop. ] Ben, what was *in* that contract anyway?

Imaginos:

- DUST! AND HAPPY MEALS! [ He dances around the room for a bit. ]

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Yeah, Mister-Sysop-Who-Is-Also-Our-Business-Manager-And-The-Only- One-Of-Us-Who-Got-To-Read-The-Fucking-Contract, what *did* you promise the Bavariati?

Sysop:

- Later, guys.

Dedaparamaxx:

- No, *now*, dammit!

Sysop:

- Et tu, Twin?

Imaginos (singing VERY loudly, and VERY off-key):

- YOOOOOOOOOOU DESERVE A BREAK TODAY!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Ben, I'm going to shoot him *NOW*!

Sysop:

- Don't bother.

Before any of the others can react, Sysop pulls a small handgun from his pocket, and fires a rather large dart at Imaginos, who giggles for about five seconds before falling in a heap.

Tempus (whistling):

- Tranquilizer?

Ziggy:

- Nyquil (tm)?

Dedaparamaxx:

- St. Pauli Girl's N.A.?

Sysop:

- Essence of C-SPAN (VERY BIG tm).

Ziggy:

- Nature's God!....And he's still ALIVE?

Sure enough, Imaginos, though ALMOST comatose, wiggles his hand a little.

Beopunk Cyberwulf (approaching Imaginos' twitching form):

- Dave, you really *are* a fucking human cockroach, you know?

Imaginos:

- .........

Dedaparamaxx:

- I shudder to think what would happen if we ZIPped him now. [ He shakes his head to clear it. ] No! Absolutely not, Ziggy! We will NOT kill H. Ross Perot on YOUR orders!

Ziggy:

- You don't seem to understand. You have no choice.

Sysop:

- This, coming from someone who spent his lifetime preaching free will, is absurd. [ He reaches for the console and breaks the connection, then turns to the others. ] Okay guys, lets have a council of war.

He marches from the room, index finger held high in that perfect posture of readiness (tm pending on this, too).

Several hours later, Our Heroes bed down for the night. Imaginos has been dragged, drooling, to his bed. There is a moment of almost comical danger wherein he mistakes Beopunk Cyberwulf for his mother and attempts to kiss him goodnight. This is swiftly defused by a taser zap. Our Heroes laugh--"Same ol' Dave"--before turning in themselves.

Sysop:

- Goodnight, guys. [ He clicks off his light. ]

Dedaparamaxx:

- Goodnight, Ben. Goodnight, Wostgheel. [ Click. ]

Wostgheel:

- Goodnight, Bryan. Goodnight, Admiral A. [ Click. ]

Admiral Asshole:

- Goodnight, Wost. Goodnight, Diskwiz. [ Click. ]

Diskwiz:

- Goodnight, Admiral. Goodnight, 'Punk. [ Click. ]

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- 'night, Diskie. 'night, Tempus. [ Fucking CLICK. ]

Tempus:

- Spokoinii nochi, 'Punk. Goodnight, Dave. [ Click. "MEOW!" ***KABOOOM!!!***] Fuck, wrong switch! Oh, well. Goodnight, Dave.

Imaginos:

- ..........

Sysop:

- WILL YOU ALL FUCKING GO TO SLEEP ALREADY?!?!?!?!?!??!

Dedaparamaxx:

- Hey, you started it.

Sysop:

- You want a dart?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Sysop:

- Good. [ He rolls over and goes to bed. ]

But before he can actually reach a deep state of slumber, there is a very loud screaming sound...the sound a jet makes JUST BEFORE breaking the sound barrier. The actual BOOM moments later throws Our Heroes out of bed, except for Imaginos, who probably will not wake up before the Presidential Election for anything less than a McRib (tm) sandwich.

Tempus:

- What--I say, WHAT--was THAT?!?

There is a very LOUD crash. Soldiers wearing the Nose-In-The- Trapezoid symbol of the Aluminum Bavariati (as found on the back of the Canadian $1 bill) stream through the windows.

Major Tom:

- Kill! Kill! Kill! [ He fires his handgun repeatedly at Admiral Asshole, who dodges the bullets and hits the Bavariati officer with his anvil-weighted pillow. ]

Admiral Asshole:

- I'll take that, thanks. [ He grabs the fallen Major's gun. ]

Admiral Asshole's Shiny New Handgun:

- BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- I never get to shoot fascists...never...(sniff)...Not even now that I am one...(sniff)...

Sysop:

- DUCK!

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Why a duck? Why not a chicken?

Wostgheel throws himself across the room and tackles Beopunk Cyberwulf before Our Metalheaded Meathead gets himself nailed by a TOW missle. Said missle flies through the airspace vacated by 'Punk, slams into Imaginos' bed, and, being the sort of missle smart enough to know upon which side its bread is buttered, promptly refuses to go off.

Sysop (ducking under a Bavariati knife thrust):

- Wow, there are smart missles, and there are SMART missles.

He executes the ancient Japanese combat technique known as the Kick in the Formal Dances. Clutching his groin, the Bavariati soldier drops to the ground. Sysop takes his knife.

Diskiz (amidst the sound of gunfire):

- My calculator! Where's my fucking calculator?!?

Wostgheel (ditto):

- Duct Tape! I need DUCT TAPE!

Dedaparamaxx (yeah):

- Diet COKE, DAMMIT!

Beopunk Cyberwulf (still lying under Wostgheel):

- ...medic!...

Tempus:

- Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! What am I supposed to do with ONE magnetic monopole and ONE female Schrodinger's Cat?!?

Sysop:

- Make dinner for ONE family of Vietnamese quantum physics majors?

Tempus:

- Ben, if we survive, I'm going to kill you.

Sysop:

- I'll hold you to that.

But, sure enough, Our Heroes DO survive. The outcome is never really in doubt. Sure, the attackers have the advantages of greater numbers, better equipment, and surprise...but the Assembly of Death is...well, US...And we're WRITING this...so we win. In fact, we also marry the Swedish Bikini Team, and ... and ...


AUTHORS BICKERING AT EACH OTHER -- A BRIEF INTERRUPTION IN THE WEIRDNESS STREAM


Everyone:

- DISKWIZ, GET AWAY FROM THE GODDAMN KEYBOARD!

Diskwiz:

- Grumble grumble grumble bitch.


Sysop (examining the rubble):

- Guys, we've got a lot of work ahead of us.

Admiral Asshole:

- We *are* going to go burn that Ziggy fucker's dick off, eh?

Wostgheel:

- May We?

Sysop:

- Go ahead.

Wostgheel (climbing to the highest peak of the rubble, wearing a hat vaguely like Elmer Fudd's in the infamous Viking sketch):

- LEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTTTTTT'SSSSSSSSSSS JUUUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT HIIIIIIIIIIIIIMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Lightning flares, illuminating (no pun intended) the scene. Wostgheel shudders. Without saying a word, Sysop passes him a cigarette.

Dedaparamaxx:

- It's settled then. Let's sift through the rubble, gather whatever we can salvage...and then---

Sysop:

- ---and then, WE RIDE!

Finger aloft, he strides away. The others follow, picking up various objects and weapons as they go. Tempus looks around for his Schrodinger's Cat, only to discover that the stress of the Bavariati raid has placed the cat deep in the throes of labor.


Part V

Admiral Asshole's Midsummer Night's Wet Dream


The Scene

The Training Sauna of the Swedish Bikini Team (THAT got your attention, DIDN'T it?)

The Scene

The Concorde has just taken off; Our Heroes are in it. It is about two miles from the Atlantic. They are - as ever - HEAVILY armed.

Wostgheel:

- Er...Ben-unit? Don't think We're not *extremely* grateful, but just how did you manage to get us and all our weapons past security?

SysOp:

- Promise you won't laugh?

Wostgheel:

- Indeed.

Sysop pulls his American Express Corporate Uranium Card, registered to the Aluminum Bavariati, from his pocket.

Sysop:

- I bribed them. I *like* having an expense account, don't you?

Wostgheel:

- You mean to tell Us that you used our employer's funds to fund our retribution against our employers themselves?

Sysop:

- Well...yeah, actually.

Wostgheel:

- Oh. Well done. We approve.

Sysop:

- Thanks.

Dedaparamaxx walks down the aisle with a beer in his hand.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Where the Hell is Diskwiz?

Wostgheel points out the window. Attached by magnetic clamps to the wing, Diskwiz is modifying the Concorde's engines, one at a time. Diskie turns and waves at the others. They wave back.

Tempus (turning to the others):

- Oh, now you've GOTTA be shitting me!

Sysop:

- Diskwiz can fix ANYTHING. He's a big, mutant MacGyver.

Tempus (looking back to Diskwiz):

- Crazy bastard.

Moments later, Diskwiz is inside again. He strides swiftly up the aisle, to the cockpit, where Admiral Asshole is having a rather subdued conversation with the pilot and co-pilot, which is quite surprising considering the fact that he is holding an AK-47 on them.

Diskwiz:

- "Admiral, we have full power." [ He quickly takes a seat. ]

Admiral Asshole:

- Fucking droll. [ Turning to the cockpit crew. ] Let 'er rip!

There is a *VERY* loud boom. The Concorde suddenly jumps from Mach 2 to Mach Pi-R-squared.

Tempus (in his seat, in the First Class cabin):

- Holleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Shit!

A starfield forms around the Concorde. For a brief moment, Tempus fears that his Cat will go into labor AGAIN. But she doesn't.

Wostgheel (singing):

- I am the master, of going faaaaaaaaaaster.

Sysop (ditto):

- Boooooorn tooooooooo beeeeeeeeeee wiiiiiiiiiiiiiild!

Imaginos (leaning against the window and watching the starfield):

- Look at the pretty colors.

Beopunk Cyberwulf (turning green):

- I think I'm going to spew.

Dedaparamaxx and Sysop (chanting):

- Hurl! Hurl! Hurl!

And he does.

Imaginos (turning to Beopunk Cyberwulf):

- Look at the pretty colors.

Sysop:

- Dave, hush. Okay, everyone---weapons check!

Wostgheel:

- Duct tape and an Uzi. Check.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Laptop computer and an Uzi. Check.

Imaginos:

- My Nikes (tm) and an Ouzo. Check.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Portable Stereo, two Slayer tapes, three Aerosmith tapes, and a spoon. Check.

Admiral Asshole (from the cockpit):

- Agnes. Check.

Diskwiz (ditto):

- HP-100000A Scientific Calculator, Swiss Army Knife, Butane Torch, and a wad of gum. Check.

Tempus:

- Sigh. Only one way to find out. [ He opens the lead box in his lap. ] One...two...Christ!...Three...Four...FUCK!...Five...are these cats or fucking RABBITS? FIVE goddamn Schrodinger's Cats! And one magnetic monopole. Oh, and a Slingshot. Check.

Sysop:

- Credit cards, Bowie knife, Stopwatch, Four tear gas grenades, Taser, and a dart gun. Check.

Imaginos:

- A McTaser (tm not even REMOTELY needed)?

Sysop:

- Not NOW, Dave.

Moments later, the plane touches down. Our Heroes disembark. Soon, they will also disorient, dismember, and disembowel any dysentric dystopians they should encounter, but that's an alliteration of another color.


AUTHORS BICKERING AT EACH OTHER -- A BRIEF INTERRUPTION IN THE WEIRDNESS STREAM


Tempus:

- Ben, they're gonna know that it's just you and I writing at this point. Bryan would NEVER say anything like that.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Yeah, so?

Tempus:

- Er. Well. Uh.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Exactly. Marcus, it's two o'clock in the morning and we're about a month and a half behind schedule on this. I've got to be at work at 8 a.m., and I'd like to get some sleep before I do. So if Bryan is going to be wasting time in the other room, we are fucking well going to finish without him.

Tempus:

- You mean a coup? We had one while I was in Russia, you know.

Morgan Bluejeans:

- Yes, I read all about it. Especially the part where you wrestled with that Spetznatz unit and the trained dancing bear on Lenin's tomb. Good job. Anyway, let's get back to work.

Tempus (buffing fingernails on shirt):

- Roit!


Our Heroes make their way to the airfield where they first were hired by the Bavariati.

Sysop:

- Okay, guys. Look sharp. It took me a *lot* of money to find this place.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Whom did you bribe?

Sysop:

- A Swiss Cabinet member or three.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Um, Ben...How much of a credit line do we *have*, anyway?

Sysop whistles tunelessly.

Dedaparamaxx:

- No, really...

Sysop:

- Remember the Cray II?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Yeah.

Sysop:

- "I liked it so much, I bought the company."

Dedaparamaxx:

- Christ.

Admiral Asshole:

- Money, schmoney. I wanna kill someone.

Imaginos:

- I want some dust...and a Filet O'Fish (tm).

Wostgheel:

- We, too, are feeling a bit peckish.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Peckish?!?

Tempus:

- Hungry-like.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Lord? Food, Lord? Yes, Lord! Right away, Lord!

Sysop:

- We will eat *after* we find Ziggy.

Imaginos and Admiral Asshole (in stereo):

- Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww....

They work their way through the catacombs, until they come upon Le Q, Ziggy, and a small squadron of elite Bavariati mercenaries.

Sysop:

- The jig is up, Ziggy.

Ziggy:

- Jig?

Sysop:

- I've always wanted to say that.

Ziggy:

- Ah...and, assuming you defeat my soldiers, what do you plan to do with me?

Admiral Asshole:

- Burn your---

Wostgheel:

- SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT---

Sysop (interrupting them both):

- Get some answers out of you.

Our Heroes, except for Sysop (in unison):

- Awwwwwwwwwwww....

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Ben, man, you really need to learn how to loosen up and have some fun.

Ziggy:

- Answers? Answers about what?

Sysop:

- The whys and wherefores of our employment. Why us? If you could afford to waste an entire squadron of Bavariati against us, why not send THEM against Perot? If you have enough money to buy the world ten times over, why use US as tools?

Imaginos:

- And where the fuck is all the dust you promised me?

Sysop (nodding):

- Yeah, and that, too...

Ziggy:

- The dust. It all comes down to that, doesn't it?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Yes. No. Maybe. Explain.

Ziggy:

- Well, quite simply, Joe Blow and George Tush...the two idiot youths responsible for your...incorporation...were transformed into viruses, as you'll recall...

Sysop:

- Recall? How the fuck could we FORGET?

Admiral Asshole:

- Yeah. I *still* have the scars.

Wostgheel:

- Indeed, the trip into Cyberspace left its mark on all of us.

Ziggy:

- Yes...well...that was us, actually.

The Entire Assembly:

- WHAT?!?!?!?!?

Ziggy:

- We were...testing you.

Imaginos:

- You MADE the dust?!?

Ziggy:

- Yes.

Dedaparamaxx:

- YOU turned the Blow virus and the Tush virus loose on the world?

Ziggy:

- Yes.

Sysop:

- YOU'RE responsible for the infection and destruction of The Draggin' Tail?!?

Ziggy:

- Yes.

Tempus:

- You can't be ALL bad, then. [ He is smacked by Dedaparamaxx.] Ouch!

Sysop:

- Shit. Ziggy, don't get me wrong. I hate what I'm about to do... But you leave me no choice.

He pulls out his official card and diploma from the "William Shatner School of Method Melodrama," and continues.

Sysop (speaking in halting, Ziggy-esque sentences, while gesticulating wildly):

- Ziggy, we're men....human beings...Not animals, but people... People with feelings...responsible for the lives of 600 crewmen...The human race is young, yes, but it's idealistic, and has much...potential for good. Potential that might nev--

Wostgheel's Uzi (pointed straight up in the air):

- BUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDA!!

Sysop:

- Er, sorry. But, anyway, you get the idea. What gives you the right to fuck about with our lives like that?

Ziggy:

- Basically? The golden rule. We have the gold. We make the rules.

Sysop:

- Then maybe it's time we took that gold.

Ziggy:

- I don't think so. [ He holds out a 3 1/2" floppy disk. ] This disk contains the sole existing copies of both the Blow-Virus and the Tush-Virus. It also contains our backup plan, in the event that we couldn't recruit you.

Admiral Asshole:

- So?

Ziggy:

- You may consider this my payment to you, if you agree to resume your services for us, or my weapon if you don't.

Sysop:

- Weapon? Right.

Ziggy:

- I assure you that I'm very serious. Hidden on this disk is a very potent formula which assures instant Illumination, and all the mental powers that go with it....powers like THIS!

A rock next to Sysop's feet explodes.

Ziggy:

- And this!

Admiral Asshole drops his AK-47, which is glowing red hot.

Admiral Asshole:

- Agnes! Agnes! Speak to me!

Ziggy:

- And this!

Imaginos drops to the ground, laughing hysterically.

Sysop (stepping over Imaginos):

- Big deal. I can do the same with a feather. [ He lobs a tear gas grenade.] Let's GET 'em, guys!

[NOTE TO EDITOR: INSERT STOCK BATTLE SCENE HERE. THE DUMMIES WILL NEVER NOT---OH, SHIT! IS THIS ON?!? FUCK! FUCK! (STATIC...DEAD AIR)]

The battle ended quickly. The outcome was only in doubt for a brief moment when Ziggy turned his Bavariated psychokinetic abilities on Sysop and Dedaparamaxx. But Our Fearless Leader, and Our Even MORE Fearless Business Manager are saved when, in a fit of desparation, Tempus grabs the lead box at his side.

Tempus:

- Let them go, Ziggy, or....

Ziggy:

- Or what?

Tempus:

- Or...

Ziggy:

- Well?!?

Tempus:

- Do you have any idea what happens when you open up a box that has two male and three female Schrodinger's Cats, a magnetic monopole, and a nuclear clock in it?

Ziggy:

- No.

Tempus:

- Are you willing to *stand* there while we find out?

A standoff of traditional Spaghetti Western magnitude ensues, the seconds ticking uncomfortably off as Tempus and Ziggy stand facing one another, eyes locked in a battle of wills...a stare-down of truly epic proportions. Nearly a minute later, Ziggy averts his gaze in despair, and Tempus grins maniacally for a moment.

Ziggy (despondently):

- What *does* happen?

Tempus:

- Nothing until you look *into* the box...I'm afraid it's a TRICK QUESTION.

Ziggy:

- Kill! [ He trains his powers on Tempus and the box. ]

Sysop's Dart Gun:

- Pffffffffffffft! Pffffffffft!

Ziggy drops to his knees with two "essence of C-SPAN" darts lodged deep in his chest.

Ziggy (mumbling):

- If the esteemed Senator from Massachusetts will yield the floor.... [ He then collapses in a heap. ]

Tempus (to Sysop):

- Oh, good SHOT, lad.

Sysop:

- Yeah. [ He hands Tempus the dart pistol. ]

There is the kind of silence normally associated with the anti- climactic post-battle scenes of any major militaresque motion picture, such as the recent Dolph Lundgren/Jean-Claude Van Damme magnum opus, "Universal Soldier." Any *one* of our heroes, of course, with the possible exception of Imaginos, has more brainpower than Jean-Claude. Diskwiz, however, idolizes Dolph Lundgren, who has a degree from M.I.T. in addition to his black belts in karate and tae kwon do, and who will never otherwise be made fun of in a Dedaparamaxxaginos Production. Dolph, if you're reading this, Diskie would LOVE to have his picture taken with you, discussing weighty matters of mechanical engineering whilst backfisting Nazi Frogmen over a pit of hot oil.

Eventually, though, it is Sysop (predictably) who breaks the silence...

Sysop:

- So, where you guys wanna eat on the way home? I hear Paris has some pretty decent crepes this time of year, and I wouldn't mind buzzing the Eiffel Tower in the Concorde.

Dedaparmaxx:

- Munich. Definitely Munich. I could use a bratwurst and a beer.

Tempus:

- Ja! Munchen, meine Herren!

Imaginos:

- Sniff. Sniff.

Sysop:

- What is it *NOW*, Dave?

Imaginos:

- Berlin.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Why Berlin?

Sysop:

- There's a McDonalds there, I guess.

Imaginos nods very, *VERY* quickly.

Sysop:

- Sigh. Berlin it is. We'll just have to be very, VERY careful where we park. I don't want the Concorde stolen while we eat.

They begin the long walk back through the corridors of Bavariati Central. It is Beopunk Cyberwulf (predictably), who raises his voice in complaint.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Who the fuck designed this place?

Sysop:

- Dunno.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- And why the fuck didn't you put a "no walking" clause in our contract?

Suddenly, the entire group slams to a halt.

Wostgheel:

- Thanks for reminding Us--

Sysop:

- Oh, shit.

Wostgheel:

- We think the time has come for you to explain to Us what exactly was in Our contract, Ben-unit.

Others (except Sysop):

- Yeah.

Sysop:

- Well, first, let me say in my own defense that I *refused* to toss your wife and kids into the deal....

Wostgheel:

- We are well relieved. Though Our journeys of late have caused much separation from Our family, We still hold them dear in Our hearts. [ He taps the center of his chest and his left knee. ]

Sysop:

- ...and thanks to a little loophole, we get to keep the Dead Cave ...what's left of it.

All:

- Good.

Sysop:

- But...well...I did swear unconditional loyalty to the Bavariati. A case can be made that *they* broke the contract *first*, in sending that hit team before we actually did anything other than refuse the Perot hit. But, let's face it, if any of Ziggy's pals come out of the woodwork and haul us before a sympathetic judge....

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- After all we've been through in the legal system, what judge would take the case?

Dedaparamaxx:

- Good point. He's right, Ben. We don't have much to worry about on that score. Any other surprises?

Sysop:

- They get Inky, your dog, Dave's sock drawer, and Beopunk's first- born child.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- WHAT!?!?!?

Sysop:

- Well, you didn't have a girlfriend when I wrote the contract up. At that point, the odds on you actually being *able* to reproduce were about a zillion-to-one. In fact, I'm not so sure you didn't GET yourself a girlfriend just to spite me on this one...

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Fuck you. Why the Hell couldn't you ask for golf carts or something?

Sysop (after a moment's thought):

- That reminds me. Go head back to the Concorde. I'll meet you there. [ He turns around a corner and is gone. ]

Dedaparamaxx:

- Wait a second! They get my DOG?!? Ben, get back here, NOW!

But it's too late. Dragging an upset Dedaparamaxx behind them, the Assembly returns to the Concorde. As they board, a strange roaring sound is heard, and a big black car crashes through one of the outer walls of Bavariati Central. It is sleek--the bastard cross- breed of a limo and the Batmobile--and very, *VERY* fast-looking.

Le Q (behind the wheel):

- Le Beep! Le Beep!

Sysop (in the back seat):

- Hush, Le Q. Hello, guys.

The others are stunned into silence. It is Diskwiz (predictably), who comments on the machine.

Diskwiz:

- Nice wheels, man. Where'dja get 'em?

Sysop:

- Remember when I didn't want to tell you guys what I wanted from Le Q as my part of the contract?

Diskwiz:

- Yeah.

Sysop:

- You're looking at it.

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- A fucking LIMO?

Sysop:

- Not just *A* limo, Jeff. *THE* limo. An F-14 Tomcat engine, moly-titanium frame, *TWO* satellite dishes--one for television broadcasts as one as the uplink for my desktop Cray--recessed into the roof, maximum window tinting, anti-surveillance-and-radar countermeasures, a Dr. Emilio Lizardo model 8th Dimensional Overthruster, and THIS---

Sysop reaches downward and pushes a button. The entire European continent shakes, from a noise so loud that the Assembly reels. The sound is, after a moment, recognizable as that of the Steve Miller Band's "Big Ol' Jet Airliner" played at decibel levels about which Beopunk Cyberwulf can only have wet dreams.

Sysop (turning the radio off, and watching Our Heroes sigh in relief):

- A bitchin' stereo system.

Dedaparamaxx:

- Ben, don't get me wrong. It's a cherry vehicle, but...WHY?

Sysop:

- I need a new image.

Dedaparamaxx:

- WHY?

Sysop:

- This jaunt with the Bavariati has given me the political bug.

Wostgheel:

- Please tell Us you're joking.

Tempus:

- Sysop, a political hack? NEVER! Death first!

The others grumble in unison, but Sysop holds up his hand.

Sysop:

- It's not my idea. It's my destiny. [ He pulls out a sheet of old parchment. ] This is the Apocryphal "Book of the Computer Wars". Listen: "And a benevolent madman with a sexually ambivalent first name and the surname of a piece of leisure apparel, shall be elected to rule in the place where the alligators dwell." Since there are no "Sydney Seersuckers" in Gainesville, and I'm the only Morgan Bluejeans around, I figure that's gotta be me. So I'm running for the city commission. I figure Gainesville could do worse. Who knows? I may end up as mayor someday. If Jeff can get laid regularly, anything is possible---

Beopunk Cyberwulf:

- Hey!

Sysop whistles tunelessly for a moment.

Sysop:

- Anyway, I'm off. Le Q needed a job, so I hired him as my chauffeur. We're gonna test the Overthruster now. Don't wait for us.

Dedaparamaxx:

- If you run into any Red Lectroids, save me a drumstick.

Sysop:

- Gotcha. See you in Berlin, kiddies.

He wiggles his eyebrows, reaches down to turn the stereo back on, and waves. As Steve Miller Band's "Fly Like An Eagle" rips through the Swiss countryside, Sysop is suddenly gone...

Dedaparamaxx:

- Onto the plane, guys.

Tempus:

- Indeed. McDonaldstein's awaits!

Imaginos:

- Dust! We didn't get any dust!

But when they get to the first class cabin, there is a small note waiting for them:

- "Dear Assembly of Death:

Since you have destroyed the entire Bavariati power structure, we have decided to throw our lots with you. Even as you read this, we are at your destroyed domicile with several sacks of the Purple Dust, and some of the Bavariati gold reserves. You *do* need two extra button men, right?

Thug 1 and Thug 2"

Imaginos:

- Yowza! DUST! Micky-D's, then HOME!

Dedaparamaxx:

- Yeah. Let's go. [ He turns and sees Diskwiz scribbling something on a piece of paper. ] What are you doing, Diskie?

Diskwiz (Holding up a "Sysop for Mayor" sign):

- Getting in on the ground floor. Maybe if he runs for president, I can be Secretary of Defense...or, at the very least, Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Horny Women.

Dedaparamaxx:

- I'm in Hell. Shoot me.

The Dart Gun (in Tempus' hand):

- Pffffffft!

Dedaparamaxx (mumbling, as he collapses):

- Mr. Speaker, I move to adjourn...


THE END


The Generic Afterword (as opposed to the geriatric afterword, which has since expired due to extreme age and the fact that it was butchered by a large group of enraged poodles with steak knives chanting "Kibbles 'N Bits! Kibbles 'N Bits..."):

Well, this I suppose is very entertaining. At least I have been informed by the script police that this *should* be very entertaining, and since the last time I fucked with those guys I had my character relegated to the rather demoralizing role of a French waiter in a Greek restaurant specializing in Indian dishes located in the Netherlands (YOU try saying "God save Queen Beatrix" in an outrageous French accent while slamming down shots of curried ouzo!), I won't dispute the supposition.

Anyhow, this is Tempus Fugit, and I have the rare honor of writing the infamous and diabolical Afterword that is the trademark of Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions (to be honest, we stole it from Disney, but they'll never notice...after all, they're too busy working on the animated movie version of the Dead series to really care...).

No, no, no! Stop it; this is all wrong. It's a falsehood, a fabrication, a misrepresentation, a deception ("Thank you, Mr. Data...") - in short, a *lie*. No, gentle reader, I dare not lie to you. I must honestly admit that there is a certain amount of untruth in the above text: the poodles were actually armed with AK-47's. Ah, I feel much better for coming clean with you on that. Now, on to the Afterword...

[Warning: The person writing this is a fugitive from the London Correctional Facility for the Utterly Insane and Patently Silly. A reward of a really incredibly *huge* sum of money is offered for his safe return to our custody. This has been a public service message, so those of you in the private sector please disregard it. Thank you.]

Well, tonight when we gathered to complete DEAD6.DOC, Morgan Bluejeans was kind enough to buy chicken legs for a barbeque. This, in and of itself, is a good idea (he's been known to come up with a few in his time). And Imaginos offered his services at the charcoal grill, which was set up in the backyard. Well, all was going fine until it came time to remove the finished legs from the grill. At this point the laws of physics, which usually do not apply to us at Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions, decided they had been ignored and ostracized long enough, and launched an all-out attack.

Imaginos brought over a metal tray, and having only two hands (this being a Saturday), propped the side of the tray against the grill while holding it with one hand, serving with the other. Well, it is a little known fact that metal conducts heat, and so about the moment he finished transferring the chicken to the tray, the tray was hot enough to vaporize his fingers. As is the ancient ritual on the planet he comes from, Imaginos released his end of the tray with celerity (as opposed to celery, which is something altogether different). It fell to the ground, and entropy got in a cheap shot here by scattering *all* of the chicken in the twigs and grass at the base of the grill. Imaginos was *not* a merry man.

He came in with the tray of "chicken with selected herbs", went to the kitchen, carefully washed all the chicken clean once more, and returned to the grill to start over. When it actually came time to eat the chicken, we prevaricated and procrastinated, but - being men of incredible intestinal fortitude - we finally consumed it, merrily crunching on the pieces of gravel embedded in the BBQ sauce and complimenting Imaginos on his creative cooking techniques. [MBJ's Note: I didn't. I had steak. I bought the shit, after all. Why eat with the peon---er, Bryan, put down that AK-47. The poodle wants it back.] He growled and kept repeating, "Fucking shit, goddamn shit..." and so forth, not at all pleased with his performance this evening.

Eventually we felt so bad about ribbing him for the accident (and, to be honest, our stomachs didn't feel so great either), that I suggested we all take a quick trip to Chicago and order a *real* stuffed pizza (though Imaginos voiced his desire for an Italian meat sub). Everyone agreed, so we departed at once.

Now, Chicago isn't as far from Gainesville, Florida as you might think. At least not for men of our redoubtable resources. You see, last time Einstein was over, he trundled into the kitchen for a brewski, and noting the extra door next to the fridge, inquired, "Warum ist diese Tur hier?" We promptly beat him over the head with a physics text, and he was kind enough to translate his question into English.

"Who knows why they put a door there?" answered Dedaparamaxx. "Fucking architects were tripping when they designed this place in the sixties..."

"Chicago," I told them, and received various looks of incomprehension.

"Chicago? You mean...the rock group?" Einstein wanted to know.

"No, stupid. Chicago, the Windy City...in Illinois," I replied.

Einstein whipped out a notepad and pencil, and scribbled all over the next hundred pages or so. At the end of it, he looked up and nodded at me in respect. "I think you are right; this door does go to Chicago. Well, this saves me the cost of a train ticket home..." And with that, he opened the door, stepped out, and vanished from Gainesville. Strangely, he never came back for another visit.

So tonight Chicago seemed the obvious alternative. We opened the kitchen door and stepped out into a back alley somewhere near Avalon Park. We ended up following Stony Island Avenue north past I-90, up to Marquette Road, and almost decided to drop by UC, but we finally found a small pizza place run by a guy who spoke nothing but Italian. This didn't pose any problem, as we just uttered the universal "Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions" and were given wonderful service (try it...works every time). After the pizza and sub, we wandered up around the college campus, hoping to get mugged, but to no avail. (Only the Aluminum Bavariati are crazy enough to mess with us nowadays.)

Getting kind of tired at this point, we took a taxi back to the alley, through trial and error found the right door, and returned to Gainesville. So I sit here writing this Afterword to conclude our fine work today. What a story, eh? (And if you gullible bastards are now convinced that I've been to Chicago through my in-depth knowledge of the city layout, you probably should know that I got all my information from the 1989 McNally Road Atlas.)


Greetings, fellow mutants. Dedaparamaxx here. It is my most humble honor to welcome you to yet another Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions afterword.

I would like to take this time to thank Tempus Fugit for the most humorous non-me afterword that we've had yet.

I would also like to take a moment to apologize for the intensely late release of this fine document. I would like to tell you that we were unable to complete this on time due to numerous interruptions in the creative process. That is, however, a lie. The truth of the matter is simply that we type REALLY REALLY slow. In fact, we've been typing this particular document since the day I was born (God bless ya, Einstein, for making such a thing possible).

The remainder of this afterword, I'm afraid, is going to be...serious. If you can't handle it, please stop reading NOW. It won't do you ANY GOOD to read the following SERIOUS INFORMATION if you DON'T want to read it.

The staff here at Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions would like to thank all of the wonderful people who contributed to the "Save the Loreli BBS" fund. For those of you who don't know, the Loreli BBS is a FINE online community seated firmly in South Florida (home of the killer Stealth Mosquito that will As Soon Bite Your Leg off As Give You the Time Of Day). It is on this particular system where we find our greatest fan base and many good friends.

Loreli recently lost its hard drive. It wasn't misplaced, per se, but we're pretty sure that it's somewhere in Dimension-X propositioning Jehova-1. In any event, it is, in fact, GONE. As in, kaput. In order to rectify this abhorent situation, many conscienscious members of Loreli donated hard earned money for a new hard drive. As an extra incentive, we here at Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions are going to print and autograph a special-edition copy of DEAD 6 to give to each of these wonderful wonderful folks. They are (in no particular order...well, it IS a particular order, but is only particular to me, who am no one in particular):

Galador,
Xanadan,
Vampire,
Ebbz,
Phantom,
Hunter,
Baradus,
Ghost & Cavalier (the Death Brothers),
Roo,
Artagel,
Mike,
Metalj,
Kittie, and
Con

Deep thanks and hearty moos are extended to all fifteen of your.

As this is the time for doling out thanks and apologies, I would like to apologize PROFUSELY to George Evans and Greg Boehnlein who sent us quarters wrapped in duct tape a LONG time ago but have not yet received their group photos. To make up for our intense tardiness in this matter, we will be mailing, in addition to the photos, two more autographed copies of DEAD 6 to these fellas. Sorry about the wait, guys.

Also, there is a really nice guy named Reverend down at New College in Sarasota, Florida. We promised him that he would be in DEAD 6, but it didn't work out that way. Sorry, Mitch. We'll get you in next time, we promise. Praise Bob, brother!


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.

IF YOU'RE CRAZY ENOUGH TO WANT TO CONTACT US

Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions, LTD, INC, PhD, BS, FTD.
1800 NW 4th Street, Apartment D-32
Gainesville, FL 32609

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, but it WILL be answered. Letter bombs will be returned to sender, unopened. Drugs, money, complements, and general ramblings are accepted.

To receive a group photo of the Dedaparamaxxaginos Productions staff, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a quarter wrapped in duct tape to the above address.

Mail may also be sent to:
Internet : mongo@ufcc.edu
CompuServe: 71175,3534

© 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.