THE CAST (char *) General ???, The Colonel, Major Devno, Captain Hook, Private Data, and various bit players;LOCATION: A top secret DOD base whose name we are never told
Major Devno: The machine's out of root beer, and I'm out of change.
General ???: Here's 50 cents. Try a Jolt. The MIS types at the Pentagon turned me on to them.
Major Devno: Thanks. <clink> <clink> <click> <press> <THUNK> <schlitz> <phoosh> <glug> Wow! What a kick!
General ???: Good stuff, huh?
Major Devno: You bet. But now that you loaned me your quarters, where will you stay tonight?
General ???: I'll just have to dress warmly. (dons parka, crawls into money slot) [splat] [BRRRZT] [THUNK] (falls from change slot) Hmmm. Guess it thought I was a slug.
Major Devno: Hardly, sir. You don't look a bit like a politician.
General ???: (pulls handle on side of machine. Drink selection buttons start to spin. When they stop, all show DR. Pepper) [clink] [clink clink] [CRASH] [tinkle] [clink] Jackpot! Drinks are on me, fellas!
As the thirsty officers gather round, two MPs force their way through the crowd, decking officers with their nightsticks, saluting each one as s/he falls.
1st MP: You'll have to come with us, sir.
General ???: Whatever for, Sergeant?
2nd MP: (pointing at pile of quarters in front of machine) No gambling on base, sir.
General walks outside with MPs. A shot is heard. Sound of jeep driving off, then silence. The curtains close.
Captain Hook: The Chaplain said I need to see Private Data, but I can't find him.
The Colonel: You mean them.
Captain Hook: Them?
The Colonel: Unless you mean private Datum.
Captain Hook: Very well, sir, them.
The Colonel: They're in the room marked Group 30, SWDEVL.
Captain Hook: That room is locked, sir.
The Colonel: It's only an advisory lock, Captain. And since it's a flock, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Chaplain, as do you, and hence you may ignore it.
Captain Hook: Thanks very much, Colonel. (Ignoring lock, she enters room, begins rummaging through the privates, finds the two she needs, leaves, locking door again.) Got them, sir. Thanks again.
Suddenly, The Colonel panics! The scene freezes, as pictures of everything in the scene are placed in a round photo album off to the side. After a moment, a large boot comes out of nowhere, and hits The Colonel in the rear. The Colonel jumps up, begins checking everything onstage. Finally, satisfied, he returns to his desk. Captain Hook, who had disappeared when the boot appeared, reappears without the Privates.
Captain Hook: Excuse me, sir, I seem to have forgotten where I was.
The Colonel: I believe you were after some Private Data for the Chaplain. Check with Lost and Found.
Captain Hook: Thank you, sir. (Exits).
A large volume of mail is dumped suddenly upon the Colonel's desk, by a mailman who appears suspiciously daemonic. The lights fade.
A large, mauve worm slithers out of the mail pile, unobserved by The Colonel. It lays an egg in an open file, and crawls out into the night. The Colonel, after finishing with the mail, realizes the file is open, closes it, and places it in the safe, which he proceeds to lock with a combination of 0 0.
Late that night, when noone is around, the safe bursts open, and hundreds of mauve worms, bearing a brand on their forehead that reads r.m.j., spread across the base. Soon all work is at a standstill.
As morning dawns, the officers gather in the mess.
General ???: Gads. Even the bacon has worms. My command has been brought to its knees!
Major Devno: SIR! We thought you were dead! The MPs...
General ???: HA! Got both the blighters with one shot. Now, where'd these blasted worms come from?
The Colonel: Seems they came in the mail. The postmaster's in bad shape - a real zombie. Left several orphans. Meanwhile, we can't get a thing done.
Captain Hook: Sir, the comm net is down. I can't raise anybody. We're completely cut off.
There is a roar of jets. The officers rush to the windows.
Major Devno: Look! It's some of our spooks! Perhaps they have a wormicide for us!
The Colonel: (starting to panic again) DUCK!
A large, chartreuse bolt of lightning bearing the official NSA logo hits the camp dead center. The surge takes out the power plant, and everything inside the fence is destroyed. The worm is stopped, at the cost of another UNIX installation. Where will the carnage end? Will the Justice Department drop the charges in time? Or will the vicious Free Robert Morris Brigade strike again?
Copyright 1989, 1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.
This article may be freely distributed via computer network or other electronic media, or printed out from such media, for personal use only. Any non-personal (ie, commercial) use of this article voids the warranty which prevents my wasting hundreds, if not thousands, of yours and my dollars in lawsuits. Commercial copy permission may be granted if, in the author's sole opinion, other usage of this article is for purposes the author holds near and dear to his heart and/or wallet. For such permission, contact the author via email at roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] or via mail at the address below. Appearing in person at the author's residence during daylight hours for a personal audience is also permitted, provided no weapons are brought along. This notice contains no MSG, sugar, artificial sweeteners, sunlight, air, or other known carcinogenic substances or energy forms.1705 Oak Forest / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514 / USA
This copyright may be freely used, distributed and modified subject to the conditions noted above in the preceeding paragraph. Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514