Tales of Brave Ulysses

Dreams of Atlantis

Chapter 7

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As the krill herd sped towards Japan, humming the national anthem of Zimbabwe and bent on creating an international incident, a sudden patch of light a few thousand fathoms below their path grabbed their attention, ripping it from their collective mind.

After a few seconds of mindless wandering, the krill grew a new attention and returned to investigate. It took a few moments for the turbid water to calm down, but at last the krill had a clear view of the bottom. When they finally realized what they saw, they fainted.

Somewhere in an alternate universe, various people were once more on the surface of a green plastic pyramid in the O'Neals' waterbed. Nary a word was spoken, as a nefarious, silvery voice in the dark tended to mock any phrase or sentence with horrible, rhyming, nonsense syllables that turned one's mind into soggy Special K.

Dave #37 carefully pulled his last newt from his pocket to eat. Everyone seemed to be asleep. He buttered it, petted it, and opened his mouth. Everyone had been playing possum. In the resultant melee, the newt was dropped; it scampered to the edge of the water. It started to dive in, and suddenly halted. It spun around to signal that if everyone would be quiet, there was a way out.

Before it could speak, they dove. Wave after wave after wave of Daves thundered upon the beach, the foam flying furiously from their mouths as they screamed in raw, animal, food lust. The newt was utterly destroyed, becoming indelibly integrated with the polystyrene jello on the beach.

"Hey! I forgot!", called out Talmadge. "This stuff tastes like lime jello!" True to his piggy self, he began rooting around in it, snorting happily.

The nefarious voice started to answer, but one of the daves had managed to slip up behind it, and slit its throat in the darkness. It lay gurgling parodied nursery rhymes to itself in the darkness, content.

Dave #37, realizing he had sacrificed his best newt for nothing, howled in despair and hunger.

At the edge of the island, in the shallow water, the Newt Ferry squid, disgusted with the violence, slid silently back into the depths without notifying anyone of the dimensional gap a few hundred meters away, much less offering to take them as she had originally planned. She hummed a bass concerto to mourn the newt, the vibrations of which set the pyramid bobbing about at about 8 on the Richter scale. The castaways were too busy singing the theme from Gilligan's Island at the top of their lungs to notice.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, mr x was hard at work on the drastic reconstruction of miles. For the twelth time he flipped the switch to energize the communications paths and subsystems. For the twelth time, Miles spoke.

"Well, I suppose I would like to know how things are progressing this time with the revitalization of the damaged neurosylogic circuits. And how might you be doing? I would assume all is well except for the pained expression so pitifully unconcealed upon your usually poker face. Th..."

With more than a hint of aggravation, mr x slammed the power off. STILL too verbose. He looked glumly back and forth between the pile of ICs, the pile of neural matter, the other junk he pulled from that brain cavity, and then to the head itself, shaking his own head in disgust. That anything could be THAT much larger inside than out, and THAT full of useless junk, was almost too much. He might be disproving the Woman's Pocketbook Theory of Special Relativity that was so popular just now, but he would have preferred another time and better circumstances.

With a mental sigh that created a new fault near San Luis Obispo, he took a laser and melted the verbose-switching circuitry into slag. As yet another three pounds of gray yech was removed from the skull, spass (still comatose) began humming an old Donny and Marie tune.

This was too much for mr. x. Not only was his professional capability being maligned, but at this rate he would soon die of boredom.

Casting a judicious eye about the room, it finally came to rest on a certain communications console. He snatched up the eye and returned it to its orbit. Diving into the console, he traced a certain series of impulses through the main ESS in Honolulu, raced across the ocean floor to San Francisco (amazed at having managed to bypass the satellite links), screamed through the desert to Houston, rerouted through Omaha, Casper (?!) and DC, and at last headed into Atlanta. Chasing the warbling into the countryside near Marietta (a noxious Atlanta suburb), he finally paused at a service entrance. He watched the bits intently. 7 bits, ASCII. "mr x", "BoB" and "pyramid" caught his attention. A few more key words and the correlation was 100%. Here he was again, but this time not with a waterbed repairman. He slipped quietly into the Hayes- compatible modem and watched for a few seconds. Very erratic typing. But this would be easy - it was an HP vt100 clone.

Siezing the moment, he promptly let it go, as it was underage.

As the Author sat typing away, a hand slowly materialized from his screen, with a large, mutant haddock held firmly by the dorsal fin. The fish whacked him up side the head a few times, then fell to the floor. A head materialized in front of the screen. The eyes glowed a furious red. The hand grabbed the Author's throat, and tightened until his eyes began to bulge out of his head.

"No more. NO MORE of this garbage. I won't tolerate it. Do you understand?", the terminal head hissed. No words could squeeze past the constricted windpipe, but mr x saw in the Author's eyes he understood. He let go, and dropped back to his lab, his ire blowing the modem's line interface chip as he went.

It was dark and quiet for a few minutes. When the lab reanimated, the excess brains, ICs, and other junk were gone. Spass was snoring quietly and healing nicely. mr x flipped the verbose switch to OFF, and reanimated miles.

"Hey. Work OK?"

mr x's eyes sparkled with joy. "Like a champ. Let's get this show on the road."

A monitor slithered into the room, the toe polish still damp on its feet. "BoB's back", it croaked. "Alone."

BoB walked dejectedly into the room. He walked over to the ice bucket and took a bite from the ice scoop. "Gone. Missed her by minutes." There was little else to say, so he headed for the shower and some much needed rest. mr. x turned back to the workbench. miles was gone.

The krill awoke, dehydrated, atop calm seas in the mourning light. Their mind hurt. It hurt more when they tried to remember why. They gave up, and scooted for Japan. In a matter of moments, they had ridden the storm sewers into Tokyo, found Sho fast asleep, and were surfing him towards South Korea. Sho muttered softly in his sleep, something about a walrus' carress. A sea gull took aim from high overhead and fired, but missed the open mouth with a good three inches to spare.

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Last updated: 29 Jun 1994

Copyright 1989, 1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.

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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