As the sun sets on the Brutish Empire, a number of brave young fiegs stand around with pencils, pens and Crayolas (TM), attempting to draw straws on the wet tarmac. The first person to do so gets to unload a tactical nuclear warhead onto noted net.persona, K*nt Paul Dolan. A lone shadow detaches itself quietly from the crowd and steals stealthily towards a waiting jet. One of the figures (and one having a particularly difficult time with the drawing, I might add) notices his shadow is gone, and sprints across the runway after it. He catches it just as it climbs into the cockpit of the F-18. Diving in, he pins it to the floor and whispers,
"Just what do you think you're doing??!!"
"Well, I've never been any good at art, so I figured I'd just do this thing and get it over with!"
"That's not fair! Besides, dipstick, nobody's loaded the sidewinder onto the plane, yet! Now don't try to cross me again!"
(a sudden motion from the #2 seat)
"Well, actually, I figured something like this was gonna happen, so I loaded everything. The warhead's armed, the sidewinder's in the #2 slot, and everything's ready to go!"
As gypsy jumped over the side and faded back into the shadows around the hanger, Miles noticed a mild hubbub under the streetlight. Looked like Stormwind had finally drawn a straw on a dry side of the hanger. Time to go. Mumbling under his breath a thanks to gypsy, Miles threw on his helmet, stuffed his shadow into a glove compartment, and dropped the canopy. He fired the engines and headed towards the runway. Muffled cries from the glove compartment got no attention at all.
Meanwhile, back by the hanger, disorder (chaos being away for the summer) broke out. While the cabal of Daves took off after disorder (who was holding the wagers), several people started yelling at once. Stormwind raised a gloved hand, and silence split the air immediately. As the two halves fell at her feet, Stormwind smirked and spoke.
"We had an idea that new clone still had a few bugs..."
"How could you know?", queried a lurker, sudenly blushing when she realized she had spoken aloud.
"These!" Stormwind and gypsy each held up large, many-legged, slimy creatures. "These kept falling out of his sleeves and pants legs." With a flick of her wrists, Stormwind chucked the bugs into a nearby pool of methane kept just for debugging the pilots after dealing with rec.arts.startrek folk who occasionally drifted through, inevitably swearing they had been let in legally.
"We faked him out, though. We've been watching that shadow, and knew it would get him into something. Oleg & Clay made up a fake sidewinder that just squirts water. The *real* sidewinder is over there on the stand, waiting to be loaded onto whichever..."
"Hey!", Stormwind cried, and grabbed Dfan, who looked as if he was about to faint. "What's the matter? You OK?"
Shaking uncontrollably, Dfan replied, "I thought *he* was supposed to get the *real* one..."
As they all stared at each other in horror, a dejected group of Daves straggled back.
"No go", spoke Dave # 317 disgustedly; then brightening, "but we did find THIS!"
Everyone stared in fascination at what lay before them.
Nearing the drop point, Miles finally tired of the banging on the glove door and opened it. His shadow, a few gloves, and a stranger all jumped out at once. The gloves ran off into crevices, and did whatever gloves do when nobody is watching. His shadow leapt to the top of the cockpit and hung there, an unwitting sunscreen. The stranger stretched out in the #2 seat, and breathed deeply for a moment.
"Who are YOU?", demanded an amazed Miles, "and what are you doing in my plane?"
The stranger grinned. "I'm K*nt. I'm staying alive. See, Elvis and Carasso started this whole thing, and it got dumped in our laps when LAPD failed to catch a time traveler from Mars... the pan-dimensional fruit harvest failed from a space-time continuum anomoly, the bat population fell..."
"WHO???", yelled Miles, himself from Mars. "Who was the time traveller???"
"Don't know the name. Some guy out of bellcore. Posts good stuff, too."
"Mike Harvey", whistled the shadow.
Miles stared at his instruments. "Fnord." He reached for the upright tab labelled "close cover before striking".
Go to next chapter.
Last updated: 29 Jun 1994
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