601-09 (a7acc dist, 3.2 mean)
Selected-By: Mark McCafferty <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Usenet Oracle has pondered your question deeply.
Your question was:
And in response, thus spake the Oracle:
> A tiny rocketship is shown against a background of stars.
> The string that holds it up is faintly visible.
> The string breaks, the ship falls, and the scene fades.
> We see a barren desert on some godforsaken unnamed planet;
> the wind howls. The clean, flat floor is littered with paper-mache
> There is a crashing sound, and soon three figures in ill-fitting
> uniforms enter from the right.
> One, the captain, wears a large raygun strapped to his waist.
> Another is carrying a large superheterodyne receiver-transmitter,
> while the third staggers under the weight of a heavy battery-pack.
> The boulders rock back and forth as the figures brush against them.
> The crewmen assemble the radio and turn it on. As the filaments warm
> up, the captain raves,
> "Well, here we are, shipwrecked on this godforsaken unnamed planet,
> with only one charge in the raygun, and 'I, Tobor' loose somewhere
> on the planet and hunting for us. The only thing to do is --"
> One of the crewmen interjects, "It's ready, Captain!"
> "The only thing to do is to call for help!", says Captain Video. He
> takes the large microphone and begins speaking into it:
> "Hello! Hello, anyone! This is Captain Video, shipwrecked on some
> godforsaken unnamed planet with two crewmen, and we need help!
> Come in! Help!"
> There is a shimmering in the air, and a twenty-two meter tall Figure
> appears, dressed in a white robe. The Figure speaks,
> "Change the channel. You owe the Oracle a set of kinescopes of all
> your shows."
> With another shimmering, the Figure disappears. Captain Video says,
> "Good idea!", and reaches through the screen.
> We see some stock footage of the frozen North, and dissolve to a
> white set with cornflakes falling, and our party in the middle.
> A man and a dog enter left.
> The captain says, "Sergeant Preston! You must help us! We were
> shipwrecked on some godforsaken unnamed planet, and changed the
> channel to get off, but we're not dressed for this, and will surely
> Sergeant Preston replies, "I'll get a blanket from my sled, we'll
> huddle together for warmth, and I'll send my dog King for help!"
> The scene fades and we see an animated beaver singing "brusha brusha
> brusha"; we realize this is a commercial break, and go get a beer.
> After the commercial break, King returns, tugging on the hem of the
> robe of a twenty-two meter tall Figure. The Oracle says,
> "It ain't a fit night out for man nor beast!" as a puff of snow hits
> him in the face.
> "Change it again, dummy!" he says, and as he shimmers away, we hear
> "You owe the Oracle an electric fan."
> Captain Video says, "Good idea!", and reaches through the screen.
} The scene opens with a dolly shot following a young graduate student
} through the subterranean corridors of the engineering building of a
} major midwestern university. His shoes squeak harshly but rythmically
} on the hard floor - left foot about an A sharp, right shoe about an E
} flat. As he winds his way through the labyrinthine corridors the
} camera draws parallel and we see that his attention is focussed on a
} large ream of printout (recycled, of course) and he navigates the
} twists and turns only by experience and luck. His luck runs out as he
} comes up sharp against a faded wooden door with a crack frosted glass
} window. The door rattles as the student bangs his nose into it and
} another crack starts in the center of the window. Above the nascent
} crack is painted in fading and chipped green paint "S. Kinzler". Below
} the crack is taped the handwritten sign reading "Priests only, all
} others grovel at the registrars office". Looking up and about and
} realizing he has arrived, though not sure how, the student opens the
} door and enters without hesitating.
} Cut to...
} Wide angle shot of the office interior. If anything, it's even
} dingier than the corridor. A desk against one wall is filled to
} overflowing with unfilled forms, unanswered mail ("you may already have
} won" stands out prominently) and at least three empty Chicken McNuggets
} containers. A coffee machine is just visible behind a stack of Dr.
} Dobbs and it is apparent that the machine has seen far more use than
} the magazines. Lounging on a sprung couch against the opposite wall are
} three more young graduate students, virtually indistinguishable from
} the one entering, and straddling a typist's chair minus one wheel is a
} fourth, just slightly older. Leaning against the wall next to the door
} is yet another grad student - though she looks nothing like the pallid
} specimens on the couch. Tall and blonde, with tanned legs up to her
} armpits and a fine pair of..uh..um..glasses!, yeah, glasses, her
} posture makes it clear she is not pleased by the inactivity in the
} The entering student quickly closes the door and speaks.
} "Hey Steve I think you'd better have a look at - Oh, hi Lisa, sorry
} about my cousin - Steve the floor in the DEC room is covered with white
} painted cornflakes, like everywhere. And this latest supplicant lists
} is showing a whole lot of tellmes from some site called
} eniac.hollywood.com. I mean, ENIAC? It's a joke right?"
} The man straddling the chair holds up both palms reassuringly, though
} the visible sweat does nothing to calm anyone in the room.
} "We know, we know, and we've got it under control" Against the wall
} Lisa snorts derisively but says nothing. "We think it really is an
} ENIAC, but how they got the connection I haven't a clue. Anyway, it's
} apparently still loaded with a bunch of period games - loaded, hell,
} it's apparently still 'wired' to play old 50's Late Late shows. My
} guess is that it's an old Nielsen machine and it still wants to update
} the ratings."
} "Yeah, but the cornflakes?"
} "Yeah, well, you know the 'personality' routine that the three stooges
} here built into the last version? They slipped a couple of decimal
} points on the ego parameter. No problem really, until we start
} communicating with an antique like this with all the power of a trash
} 80 with bad electrical supply. Durned program started believing it
} really could do all these things."
} "Comeon, of course it can't."
} "No one told it that. And the ant's moving the rubber tree plant."
} "And so were bringing it down to size. We reloaded the Oracle in a
} slightly more modest machine."
} "How much more modest? geez, it doesn't take much to out process an
} Kinzler looks at the three stooges squirming on the couch. Larry and
} Curly on the ends gesture vaguely at the Blonde against the wall, half
} expecting her to bite their fingers off. Moe, in the center answers
} hesitantly "uh, we're playing it right now on Lisa's Gameboy."
} "On Lisa's G-...no."
} "Yes, on my Gameboy! 34 levels into Donkey Kong and no end in sight
} and it all of a sudden becomes necessary to appropriate my Gameboy to
} save the Universe!?"
} Stooge Larry attempts a defense. "Well, not just the Universe,
} Captain Video too."
} "Shut up greaseball. Sure. So they load it and run it, and now they
} just sit there and wait for it to beep! For this they interrupt the
} greatest game of Donkey Kong ever to be played on Campus Bus Route 29."
} Everyone in the room scrambles toward the Gameboy, now lying next to
} and plugged into the phone on Kinzler's overloaded desk. Two years
} worth of Administrative Usage Reports spill to the floor. Moe trips on
} a discarded Diet Coke bottle and joins the Usage Reports. Larry
} suddenly finds the wheel missing from Kinzler's chair and joins Moe.
} Curly rises from the couch only to find that a sprung spring has hooked
} his beltloop and is bungeed back in a cloud of dust. The new student,
} let's call him PeeWee, turns looking for his alarm clock, thinking if
} he could just hit the snooze bar the beep would go away. Kinzler sighs
} and pours another cup of coffee.
} Lisa gracefully lifts her tanned legs over the various piles in the
} office and takes the Gameboy in her two immaculately manicured hands.
} "Showtime" she whispers softly as she presses the cursor keys to move
} the three characters towards their tv set. Elsewhere in the
} Engineering Building on the large midwestern university a Janitor plugs
} his industrial floor waxer into an underengineered and overloaded
} outlet. Fade to black.
} Open black. Nothing is seen but the mike picks up various and sundry
} unimaginative imprecations in the voices of the three stooges, We hear
} PeeWee calling "Just ten more minutes Ma, I'll skip breakfast this
} morning." Lisa's lovely voice is heard clarion-like throug the din "24
} billion! Hot Patootey!" In the background we hear the distinctive
} sound of someone pullstarting a lawn mower.
} Lights flicker on, revealing the cast as before with two exceptions.
} Kinzler is still by the coffee pot but is now adjusting controls on a
} Yamaha 110v portable generator which had previously served only to
} support the coffe machine. And three stereotypical Matinee astronauts
} are standing in the center of the room, groveling before a 1 meter tall
} cartoon plumber named Mario. Mario is wearing a white robe.
} Kinzler steps between Captain Video and the slightly confused Mario
} Brother. "Take a break Big O, I'll cover this one." Mario wanders into
} the hall way in search of donuts. Kinzler turns to Captain Video.
} "Nice Zotter you got there, Mattel?"
} Captain Video draws his shoulder back, puffs out his chest, raises one
} booted foot to the soiled armrest of the couch. "I want to talk to my
} agent right now."
} Kinzler: "uh huh."
} "I've got a new DeSoto, a house on the beach, and Annette Funicello's
} private phone number. Low budget movies are just not worth the pay. I
} want to take a vacation and sit by the beach."
} Kinzler glances at a forty year old copy of Variety lying under a
} moldy McNugget on his desk. "No problem, your show gets cancelled
} after this episode anyway. Now if we can just get you back to the ENIAC
} "Got a lock on it Steve, two more moves and they're outta here."
} Lisa taps the up arrow once daintily and once more with authority and
} then looks up smugly.
} The now thoroughly cracked door swings open with a groan and in flies
} a large Zaxxon Ground Attack Ship. Zapping Captain Video and his
} speechless lackeys with a stun ray, the Zaxx grapples them with a
} tractor beam and disappears into the gameboy screen. The phone line
} pulses and glows briefly as Kinzler firmly hangs up the handset.
} Shoulders slump all around and Curly, finally disengaged from the
} couch, starts hunting for a beer.
} Nobody notices as a short plumber named Mario with a handlebar
} mustache and wearing a white robe ducks his head back in the door.
} "Hey! Where's a guy getta pizza 'round here?"