NASA Meets Net.Cop

Scott sat at his desk, idly shorting the three-phase power bus with lengths of Ethernet coax, smiling as he imagined the effect on the NFS transfers attempting to take place.

Growing bored with this, and tired of the smell of burnt insulation, he turned back to his screen. Impressed with the awesome, virile postings in t.b of someone's Dec3100, he switched his Auspex into hyperdrive, just to be sure.

"Time for the backups," he thought. Slapping another DAT into the drive, he initiated the transfer of several more filesystems and twelve old Beatle songs. He was interrupted by the buzz of the intercom.

"A man is here to see you, Scott."

"I'm busy. Dozens of new termcap entries to integrate. Ask what he wants, and give him an appointment if he's not with the net." He hit the switch, and turned back to his Sun screen.

A few seconds later, he was distracted by the fact that a large portion of his office wall glowed violet for a few seconds, and then melted. A black figure with a small, glowing white spot like a star on its breast sauntered into the room.

"I am my own appointment, Mr. Dorsey."

"Who are you?" Scott asked casually, sliding a high-voltage coax towards the visitor with his boot.

For an answer, the visitor pulled a flourescent orange-pink rod from a holster, and applied it to the coax. It hissed, sparked, popped, and disappeared, along with the three-phase outlet. The room went dark - the remaining light was from the small fires now burning in the computers, and from the fiery badge the visitor wore.

"Okay, so what's the deal?"

In reply, the rod came towards his face. Before it connected, though, the air nearby began to glow. Scott stared, wide-eyed but close-mouthed, at the shapes appearing. The dark figure stood impassively; Scott could not tell whether the two were connected or not.

Mobius strips, klein bottles, and rips in the universe. All these things flashed quickly through his mind, but none of them really matched what he saw. The insanity finally coalesced into a reasonable facsimile of Brooke Shields, albeit with blue fur, Kirk Douglas' chin, and dozens of tentacles.

Scott groaned. "Lemme guess. You want our leader, right?"

The air shimmered, and words formed in his nasal passages. Communication by scent. "No, we want Cave Newts."

The dark figure's face was split by a huge smile. "I can offer you this fine specimen here," he politely pointed at Scott with the rod, to remind him to keep his mouth shut. "First sample is, of course, on the house."

Before Scott could protest, he disappeared. A fine patina of carbon ash settled into his chair.

"We thank you. We will analyze this one, and if it meets our needs, we will pay well for more, If not, we will return it essentially unharmed." A warm, incense sort of smell filled the room.


"Perhaps some slight digit loss..."

"No, no, if the brain is untouched, you might as well just toss it in the matter converters. .. You do have those?"

"Of course," the alien responded, smelling a bit miffed. "Now, if we wish a second sample, where shall we meet you?"

"Oh, no need for that. Just go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and ask for Danny. That one's on the house, too."

The alien beamed rose garden scents at him. "Sir! You honor us too much! We will deal exclusively with you. Is this satisfactory?"

"Great. Here's my card. Call that number and..."

"No need. We will find you. Soon!"

The alien disappeared.

"Too easy!" he thought wryly.

The Net.Cop strode through the wreckage, through the wall, and on towards his next task.

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Last updated: 30 Mar 1994

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