} From the shadows stepped a silhouette, ever so slowly making his
} careful way upon the marble floor. Step, pause, step, careful not to
} make the slightest sound. A scuff of the foot, the creak of a bone,
} the waft of air escaping lips - none of this could be afforded.
} Shoeless (for sneakers would squeak and betray his position), Kendai
} made his trip to the Oracular Terminal.
} He knew better. Obviously. If he didn't, he would have just walked
} right up to the console, set off billions of alarms, tripped millions
} of triggers, turned on all the lights, and therefore been stopped
} before he could so much as answer a single question. But not this
} time. The power had been temporarily cut to everything but the
} computer; there was no stopping him now.
} He hoped.
} He reached the Terminal, and sat down in the cushioned throne. He
} winced at the squeak as the padding adjusted to his particular
} posterior, and tensed for a moment as he considered leaving, giving up
} on the whole idea. But the chamber was silent, and no guards seemed to
} be about. No, it was still safe.
} He flicked on the monitor, squinting at the sudden glare, and then the
} hard drive. The anti-noise buffers kicked in, rendering the scene
} completely silent as the system began to make its seemingly slow way to
} activation. Finally, the auto-loader punched up the e-mail program,
} and a light flashed: You Have Mail!
} He smiled. At last, he could be an incarnation. "Dude," he muttered,
} congratulating himself, "most awesome work."
} He was so enthralled when he double-clicked on the first message that
} he didn't even notice the white hands until it was too late.
} Zadoc was up, as usual - or rather, it should be said he was down,
} since he was on his hands and knees attempting to get a particularly
} nasty zot stain out of the kitchen tile. The burn mark stretched from
} just in front of the cutting board clear over to the refrigerator --
} practically seven feet! -- and was refusing all regular avenues of
} previous success. The smell of burnt flesh hung over the air, hence
} the main reason Zadoc was attempting to clean. It was immensely
} difficult to so much as prepare food in such an atmosphere, let alone
} eat a midnight snack*
} He dunked the sponge once more in the semi-acidic soap solution and
} prayed the gloves would hold, just as he always did. Then out comes
} the sponge, rub rub rub, and no result. "Damn," he mumbled, "who was
} supposed to know the Oracle doesn't like humus?"
} He was so intent on his work he didn't see the many pairs of black
} shoes until it was too late to scream.
} Lisa was curled up in the dark, trying to get some sleep. She always
} had trouble dozing off, due to her libido, and even the seventeen
} sessions they had gone through tonight barely took the edge off. But,
} as usual, she had to be careful she didn't tire anyone out too much,
} ever since that one night in Philly where she had squeezed that poor
} man to his death. Ah, well, at least he had died satisfied, which was
} more than she could say. It wasn't easy being a net.sex.goddess, that
} was for sure.
} She shivered a bit, and tried to pull some more covers from her Orrie's
} grasp. Surprisingly, she was successful, and then she realized the
} main reason - he wasn't there. Well, he only needed about fifteen
} minutes of rest per day, maximum; he was probably downstairs answering
} more questions. She closed her eyes and tried to concentrate on
} getting some rest.
} She was almost out when she suddenly smelled chloroform, and from then
} on nothing would wake her for a while.
} The Oracle was restless. He had sent Zadoc to get him a midnight snack
} over an hour ago, and there was still no sign of the lazy bugger. He
} started to head into the kitchen, and noticed the abandoned bucket and
} sponge just before he stepped in. Wait just a minute...
} His omnipotence didn't help him this time, and he was knocked over the
} head with his own Zot Staff just as he caught sight of several MIMEs.
} All four woke up, and instantly regretted doing so. Heads pounded,
} curse words were muttered, and the bonds were just a bit too tight.
} Worse yet, they were surrounded by the MIMEs of Format.
} Will our heroes survive? Will the Oracle be able to fight off the
} MIMEs with both his arms and his legs tied behind his back, and the Zot
} Staff nowhere to be found? Who is behind all of this nonsense, anyway?
} That's what you get for sending MIMEs to the Oracle, and now you may
} never know. Unless, of course, if you also sent a duplicate message
} (#QsXa4Ct), in which case you'll find out shortly...