Destination: Reykjavik - An adventure in 13 line installments ----
I was sitting at my computer when a proximity alarm went off on my Hatrack-Utility belt, POV shifted and MaryRobinette looked up with some trepidation. What could have caused this latest shift? Even more troubling to her, was wondering what narrator had control of the thread of her life.
She glanced at the proximity alarm and saw her worst fears realized: ninjas were incoming at eleven oâ€™clock. This gave her little time, since it was already 10:59. There would not be enough time to summon The Penmanship, leaving her with only one option; she would have to open a portal through time and space with her mighty Blade of Words. Slicing through pages of narrative, MaryRobinette slid through milieu, hoping desperately that this was a character driven story and that she had not been caught in some nefarious plot.
With a final flurry of paper, MaryRobinette found herself standing on a bed of moss. A puffin hopped past her.She looked around for some sign of where she had landed. Under a street lamp, a sign shone in the twilight, â€śWelcome to Reykjavik.â€ť
MaryRobinette looked up from her brochure, and her own words sliced through her mind, a hysterical laugh rising to her lips. She tried to stifle it, but she knew she couldn't. Hoping she wasn't caught in some nefarious plot? Oh, foolish, foolish hope. She knew her fellow Hatrackers all too well, and she realised the horrible mistake she'd just made. Her life was in the hands of science-fiction writers and she was hoping not to be caught up in twisted plots? She couldn't hold the shrill laughter back any longer and threw her head back. What escaped her lips might have been called a laugh. None of the passerbys would have called it that. The puffin flew off in terror.
Then her watch ticked once, and it was eleven. That's when the ninjas struck.
[This message has been edited by babylonfreek (edited August 16, 2004).]
[This message has been edited by babylonfreek (edited August 16, 2004).]
Raising her blade of words, MaryRobinette fended off the first assault of the ninjas. Knowing that she was no match for a concentrated onslaught by these masters of stealth, MaryRobinette turned and to sprint away.
She ran headlong into a smooth white wall. The featureles wall stretched out as far as she could see. Writer's block. Spinning, MaryRobinette turned to see the ninja's gaining on her. The problem was simple, she just had to figure out what the conflict was, then the way out of the scene would be clear. But to do that, she would need to question a ninja.
"Stop right there, mister," MaryRobinette said as the first ninja approached her. "What's going on here? What did I do this time?"
The ninja was startled by Mary's direct question and stopped dead in his tracks. "This time? Oh, so you're the one who single-handedly destroyed the Portland offensive! You are a crafty one, we will have to use more stealth if we are to take you."
With that the ninja broke a glass vial and disappeared (along with the others) in a cloud of purple smoke.
The Portland offensive, mused MaryRobinette. Could it be that these ninjas were being sent in some bid to take over maritime property. First the northwest coast of the U.S., now Iceland!? What are the chances?
MaryRobinette glanced behind her, and noticed that the Writer's Block had disappeared along with the Ninjas. Hmm. Perhaps those Ninjas were a bad idea.
But then she wondered whether the Purple Smoke could have had any other effects. Quickly she checked the contents of her Hatrack Utility belt. Her heart sank. The SpellChecker was gon! Waht wuld shee do nwo?
...the spa began to grow drab. Before Mary's eyes the colors muted, the foliage withered, and the springs lost their luster. The great horror afoot floored her: adjectives were disappearing. Knowing that adverbs would not be far behind, Mary sprang to her *** feet, and ran for the locker room, but just as she approached the doorway, the *** room adjectives dissolved in a puff of *** smoke. Now she had no idea which locker was hers. How would she find her *** utility belt? What would she do when all the adjectives were gone? And if the adverbs disappeared, as surely they would if she didn't stop this *** literary catastrophe, her actions would be drastically curtailed. The *** dilemma would no longer be merely a descriptive matter.
Alas. This seemed too much for even Mary to handle.
[This message has been edited by Kolona (edited August 16, 2004).]
Of course! MaryRobinette's session in the spa had relaxed her enough that her typing had become super-accurate. But now that was waering off, and the adjectives and some ohter wrods were so mytsiped that some were vanishing altogether. She had to find a wrokabel replacement for her HUB spell-checker!
[This message has been edited by rickfisher (edited August 17, 2004).]
It wasn't long before the problem at hand was presented with a solution, and it came in the form of a ***** man with **** eyes and ******** posture.
MaryRobinette regarded him with ******* curiosity. Who was this ***** man staring at her?
The ****** man spoke: "My name is Bondo. James Bondo."
"That's an *** name," said Mary. She wondered what her fellow Hatrackers were up to now.
"I see you're in need of assistance. No? I may be of **** help in this regard."
MaryRobinette wasn't sure if she should take Bondo up on his offer. Her ******* adjectives were troubling--no doubt about that. Could he help? Should she trust him? And if he was wearing a ****, ***** mask that he took off later in the story and became someone else, she wasn't going to be happy about it.
Better to find out more about him, she decided.
[author's note: these are the missing words respectively: small, blue, terrible, intense, strange, little, odd, some, missing, fake, latex]
[This message has been edited by HSO (edited August 17, 2004).]
"K.O. Bondo." Ugh! she thought, things are getting woser wthi *** sentence. "How could u holp me?"
Bondo pulled ouf a celephone and started *** buttons. (Oops, there go some verbs now!)
"What are doing with that thing?" MaryRobinette asked, in a surprising clear question. "Hey you fixed it! Sentences are returning to normal, words aren't misspelling either!"
"Of course, the BWSS, that's British WordSmith Society, has all kinds of gadgets available to its field agents. This Cellphone has a satelite connection and can download resources from anywhere in the world including a spellchecker, dictionary, thesaurus..."
"Does it have anything for run-on sentences?" she asked.
"As a matter of fact, yes. But enough of this. With the adjectives back in place you should be able to locate your locker and retrieve your Hatrack gear; you're going to need it."
Troubled that all she seemed to be doing was asking questions, Mary sighed as yet another came to mind. "Why?"
"Well, we have to track those pesky ninjas, don't we?" replied Bondo.
[This message has been edited by Robyn_Hood (edited August 17, 2004).]
MaryRobinette hesitated. For some reason, she couldn't remember what floor she was on. How far down was it?
"Don't just stand there," Bondo said. "Do what the, uh, lady," and he gave dakota's cigar an odd look, "says."
"Right." She noted with surprise that her Hatrack Utility belt was back in place. How the heck . . . ? Had she missed an episode? No time to worry about that now. She could turn on Rising Action before she jumped, but then she'd have to reach a safe place before she reached the top of the story arc, or she'd go crashing to the ground. Or she could turn on her Levity Belt. But that always made her laugh so hard, and this was a serious situation. What to do?
James Bondo snorted. "Too slow!" He picked her up and tossed her out the window.
She landed on top of a large, white, featurless surface just below the level of the window, that stretched out in all directions. Writer's Block again! Well . . . she'd never thought of Writer's Block as having a positive side before. Usually it just got in her way--and that's what it had done this time, too. But in this case, it had probably blocked her from making a big mistake.
And then another thought struck her. If the Writer's Block had reappeared, the Ninjas were probably nearby. . . .
Writer's Block? Ninjas? The sudden reappearance of her Hatrack Utility Belt?
As she stood on the blank wall, a cold wind whistling in her ears, she realized that her fears had been realized. This was no character story. Her life was in the wrong hands. Her throat tightened. Could it be her only chance was...
Deus Ex Machina?
The fear was so great she saw what she had to do. Knew what she had to do. She pulled her Super-Collapsible Laptop Computer out of her belt and opened it. She had to get control back. She couldn't let her fellow Hatrackers (no matter how much she loved them) take control of her life and throw her out of windows and into endless legions of ninjas.
She typed like she'd never typed before. The ninjas screamed in pain as she highlighted them and hit ctrl-X. Then, furiously, she wrote, and the Writer's Block vanished.
That's when she realized that the Writer's block had been the only thing between her and a thirty meter drop.
She stared in anguish at her screen. The instrument of her salvation had turned against her. Oh, well, she'd always said she'd rather fall than not be able to write...
"Oh, to heck with character stories," she snapped. "Get me the heck out of here!"
More than happy to comply a mysterious newcomer to Hatrack caught her in the DEM attachment of his Hatrack Utility Belt. Babylonfreek (for it was him) smiled.
"I finally got the Belt," he said, pocketing the Deus Ex Machina. "Told you it must have gotten lost in the mail. Welcome to Reykjavik." He eyed the area suspiciously. "We better get out of here. I think some of your 'friends' are out to get you."
There was a dry laugh behind them. MaryRobinette whirled around to face her nemesis and she saw...
[This message has been edited by babylonfreek (edited August 21, 2004).]
...a puppet lunging at her, dragging a mishappen puppeteer behind it. The battered human figure hung from the puppet's rear like a rotting leech. Its head bounced against the rocky terrain with each step that the grotesquely happy puppet took.
MaryRobinette and Babylonfreek backed away from the garish figure.
[This message has been edited by MaryRobinette (edited August 21, 2004).]
Just when things looked most dire, Mary Robinette spotted a little pink haired girl watching from a distance. Instantly, Mary mistrusted the girl, knowing she was the type of person who would claim to be eight years old, when she was really much older.
And, with that startling discovery and realization in mind, things still looked dire for our fearless herosâ€“ who now had begun to fear, if really only the just the eensiest, teensiest bit. Adrenaline flooding her veins and giving her lightening fast reflexes, Maryâ€™s hand darted quick like a bunny for the side pouch on her Utility belt.
Where she pulled out and instantly flung a perfect pair of Hatrack Furry Dice(1) to quickly land at the wooden feet of the grotesque puppet like texty caltrops. â€śTake that, you wooden headed, jerky limbed, anal retentive, happy faced marionette!â€ť, she cried!
And as the menacing marionette frustratingly stumbled over the HFD, MaryRobinette and BabylonFreek twistingly turned and rapidly fled due north, racing to get out of the blast radius of the HFD before it overwhelmed them.
Hatrack Utility Belt Manual - Historically Overused Devices Section
quote:They will begin a story with an excess of adjectives, such as, â€śRomar drew his long, silvery, glistening blade, and stared into the deep, black, devious eyes of his evil, wicked, cunning nemesis.â€ť Author Caro Clark nicknames this â€śFurry Diceâ€ť in her article, â€śBeginnerâ€™s Four Faults.â€ť She says, â€śAdjectives, adverbs and prepositions are furry dice hanging from a carâ€™s mirror. They donâ€™t do anything for the carâ€™s performance, they simply clutter the place.â€ť
"Are you all right?" Babylonfreek concernedly asked as he helped MaryRobinette to her feet.
"I think so," came her shakey reply. "I didn't realize how powerful those things were. Almost as strong a split infinative."
Just then a figure appeared, walking out of the cloud of dust created by the Furry Dice blast. As the figure came nearer, they could see that it was nothing but a young boy. He was dressed completely in black and carried a pouch. Every so often he reached in the pouch and pulled out a handful of dust which he would through into the air.
Babylonfreek and MarRobinette stared at each other, unsure of what to do. Where did this boy come from and how did he survive the Furry Dice?
MaryRobinette locked eyes with the boy and in that instant she knew the answer.
Quickly she said, "Babylonfreek, I think we need to get out of here, I think I may have created a monster!"
"What are you talking about?" Babylonfreek asked quizzically. "Who is that?"
"That," she said with a florish, "is the dreaded Tom Swifty*! Can't you hear the effects of his dust already? He's causing us to speak with those devilish said-bookisms and extraneous said adverbs."
quote:"Said" Bookism An artificial verb used to avoid the word "said." "Said" is one of the few invisible words in the English language and is almost impossible to overuse. It is much less distracting than "he retorted," "she inquired," "he ejaculated," and other oddities. The term "said-book" comes from certain pamphlets, containing hundreds of purple-prose synonyms for the word "said," which were sold to aspiring authors from tiny ads in American magazines of the pre-WWII era.
Tom Swifty An unseemly compulsion to follow the word "said" with a colorful adverb, as in "'We'd better hurry,' Tom said swiftly." This was a standard mannerism of the old Tom Swift adventure dime-novels. Good dialogue can stand on its own without a clutter of adverbial props.
[This message has been edited by Robyn_Hood (edited August 24, 2004).]
But the horrors only deepened. Out of the blast cloud another figure appeared--a woman this time, her hair perfectly coifed, her mint-green sweater filled by the most perfect set of breasts Babylonfreak had ever seen, her khaki slacks perfectly creased down the front of each long perfect leg, her feets shod in comfortable pumps. And hung from her faux leather belt a panoply of weapons.
"Oh, no!" Babylonfreak wailed lustily.
"Wh--what is it?" MaryRobinette breathlessly gasped.
"It's...it's a MARY SUE!" Babylonfreak shrieked. "We can't defeat a Mary Sue. She's always too perfect. We--we can't even mess up her hair and sh--she ALWAYS has the answers!"
"Sure we can," MaryRobinette exclaimed. Fumbling with her Hatrack Utility Belt she pulled out her hyphenator ray-gun and fired a round at Mary Sue.
Her aim was impecable. Mary-Sue was knocked off her feet and as she scrambled to get up Babylonfreek and MaryRobinette noticed a change. Instead of perfectly pressed khakis, she now wore hill-billy overalls and instead of her perfect coif she had frizzy pig-tails.
"Come on, let's get out of here while the getting is good!" MaryRobinette exclaimed again.
[This message has been edited by Robyn_Hood (edited August 24, 2004).]
Babylon-Freek stared at Mary-Robinette and tried to shake off the ringing in his head.
"Are you nuts?" he questioned, fearfully inquiring. "You fired a ray-gun set on hyphenator in the middle of a said-bookism cloud!" he snapped angrily. "You know that it would back-fire on us and amplify the effects! Under this particular combination our dialogue will become completely unreadable. Worse, it could trigger an information-dump which would make us speak on forever in exposition mode, where we stop the fast-paced action to calmly explain to the reader things we both know." he explained needlessly.
"Listen to your-self Babylon-Freek," Mary-Robinette sighed quietly. "All of this is mumbo-jumbo techno-babble. The effects of our utility-belt attachments, as every Hatrackers know..." she paused haltingly and re-read her last sentence. "Oh, my." she gasped panickingly.
Mary-Sue brushed the said-bookism dust off her over-alls and smiled. "Now you've gone and dog-gone done it." She stopped in mid-sentence. "Well gosh-darn, look at what you've made me say. And stop pointing that thrice-darned thang in mah face. Now Ah'm talki' in bad dialect too."
Before Mary-Robinette could retort bitingly a voice-over coming from nowhere annouced officially: "How are our heroes going to get themselves out of THIS situation? Find out in the next installment of: Destination Reykjavik: An Adventure in Thirteen lines Installments"
MaryRobinette glanced toward the horizon. Survivor had found a way to get to her in Portland, but maybe they were too far inland. With the blast from the Furry Dice they were now closer to Geysir* than Reykjavik. They needed to get out of there, Tom Swifty was growing quickly and she still wasn't sure which feature to use on her Hatrack Utility Belt. As her head began to swim she heard Babylonfreek call to her.
"Mary, someone's coming!" he said anxiously.
Babylon was right. A sports car was racing towards them at break-neck speed. As it neared them MaryRobinette noticed that it wasn't just any sports car. It was a Lotus Esprit with the words The Plot stenciled above the front, left-hand wheel.
MaryRobinette and Babylonfreek had to dive out of the way to avoid being run over. The crazy man behind the wheel made a sharp turn and skidded to a stop next to our stunned heros. The door opened and there was Doc Brown, sitting behind the wheel and ready to drive The Plot back towards the coast.
"Survivor couldn't get close enough, so he sent me to get you and take you back to the Penmanship. Hop in!" said Doc invitingly.
Babylonfreek looked at MaryRobinette with concern in his eyes and fear in his heart, "Do we dare?"
"I don't know. I thought Doc Brown drove a Deloreon." MaryRobinette whispered anxiously, she ran quickly to the shiny new car. Babylonfreek hurried speedily beside her and they both piled in.
Doc Brown looked hastily over his shoulder and slapped a button. "Hang on, it's going to be a bumpy ride!"
A red light on the dashboard gleamed, and a voice announced gently, "Flux Capacitor, engaged." The car sped away, leaving Tom Swifty and Mary Sue behind it. In the distance a voice over cursed heartily, "I was just getting warmed up."
Doc Brown laughed and ran his hand through his white hair, as the unnecessary adjectives and dialogue tags fell behind them. "Now, we'll take a spin through the future so you can get a quick foreshadow of things to come." The horizon coruscated with light and a literary boom reverberated through the car.
They will speed across the rocks scattering lava bunnies out of their path. Doc Brown will toss Babylonfreek a folded piece of paper with thousands of multicolored sticky notes attached to it. "Don't tell anyone I will show you this, but here will be an outline."
Outside the car, the horizon will dance with a light show of present tense as future scenes will play out. Sadly, none of our heroes will realize until too late that an omniscent narrator will be watching them.
Unbeknownst to all of them (even the voice-over), the entire team of ninjas had performed the Kage-kawarimi no-jitsu and hidden in her shadow when she attempted to delete them (Mary's unfortunate real shadow had been deleted in their place).
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999
Meanwhile, several hundred miles away, yet another character, in a story with far too many, emerges under the hazy skies of London.
HSO laughs wickedly as he devises a cunning plan to thwart our heroes' plans. This evil atagonist is armed with self-righteous edicts that burst from his fingertips and set fire to keyboards, melting them into a heap of smoldering plastic.
But the plan must wait until Monday evening. His wife has booked a holiday away to Dorset County and packed his case sans PC. HSO doesn't own a laptop; he doesn't have a wireless internet connection for his Bluetooth-enabled Palm Pilot and this means he's screwed. HSO is mightily teed off, but he knows he has time and there is no rush.
He has to hurry. The train leaves at 11:48am and it's now 11:38. Will he make it to the train station on time?
Punahougirl84 was behind on her reading. She hoped HSO made his train.
Oh no, she thought while catching up, Mary Robinette, a fellow Pun by marriage is in trouble - somehow the 4.625 ninjas residing in Reykjavik were cloned while helpless Hatrackers typed away. Her SpamKiller icon flashed - she had e-mail. Someone named Sportacus wanted Puna to jump up, leap over, and save MR. Puna thought heâ€™d been watching too much of the gymnastics during the Olympics, but she was game.
Ever resourceful, Puna whipped out her Universal Travel Guide. She grabbed her towel, left a note for her husband, dropped the twins with her mother-in-law, and hopped an Icelandair flight at BWI. Six hours later she bounced out at Keflavik Airport. She hoped her fellow hatrackers would ooh and aah over her deliberate use of research as a legitimate procrastination from revising her current short story.
Now how would she overtake MR, Babylonfreek, and Doc Brown in that flashy sports car headed for Geysir? The e-mail had said something about â€śtransport by airship and Skutlaâ€ť but she couldnâ€™t even see a sign with her difficult-to-spell name on it.
Then, through a crowd speaking no English at all, walked a tall man with black hair, a blue long-sleeved shirt, and an odd matching vest and pants of pink and purple stripes. Before she could screw her eyes to overcome the optical illusion, he was in front of her.
â€śPunahougirl84? My name is Rob, uh, Stefan Karl. Magnus Scheving sent me to get you. Snickers?â€ť
Puna accepted the candy, assuming it was some odd Icelandic greeting. She wondered why Scheving, the athlete-entrepreneur whose work got MR into this trouble in the first place, would be sending for her.
â€śMahalo,â€ť Puna said, as she mentally practiced her Hula Fu forms.
(edit for math)
[This message has been edited by punahougirl84 (edited August 26, 2004).]
Djvdakota, suddenly unable to directly influence the story but unwilling to give up her part as Mysterious but Knowlegeable Guide, tosses up a road sign to warn our heroes of an impending Plot Twist. This convolution in an otherwise straight plot line often comes after the gentle downward slope of Falling Action, and has derailed many a great train of thought! Dakota's warning is especially fortunate, since Doc Brown has spotted the Penmanship in the distance and has taken his eyes off the road, sure that he has already succeeded in guiding his charges to safety.
As a result of a bout of (rather wise) cross-referencing, MaryRobinette discovers that Babylonfreek has been unmasked as an impostor! (See "Midlife Crisis Help?" in Open Discussions) She turns to Doc Brown to warn him, but before she can say anything...
[This message has been edited by Jeraliey (edited August 28, 2004).]
[This message has been edited by Jeraliey (edited August 28, 2004).]
Babylonfreek laughed hysterically and stripped his skin off his face. MaryRobinette gasped, then realized it was nothing but a latex mask. And behind that mask, was babylonfreek's real personality.
"Damn you, I almost had it! I was almost the main protagonist of this farce! You meddling kid!"
He laughed again and drew his ray-gun, pointing it at the back of Doc Brown's head.
"You will never bring me back. Never!"
Setting the weapon on maximum Incredible Coincidence, babylonfreek shot Doc Brown. His own disguise fell, for Doc Brown was also (gasp!) an imposter. HSO, for it was him, chuckled.
"Babylon, you are SUCH an amateur," he snorted. "THIS is how things are done." And he threw the DeLorean in a tail spin in the middle of the plot twist. It flew off the road and flipped over, and flipped again, shedding scraps of aluminum, and came to a smoking rest, steam billowing out of the pierced radiator. MaryRobinette crawled out from the wreckage, muttering "Welcome to Iceland" over and over. "And what was the point of that, anyway?" She bent to look into the wreckage... but the car was empty. She straightened and cast a worried glance around her.
She had a bad feeling about this.
[This message has been edited by babylonfreek (edited August 29, 2004).]
MaryRobinette has become quite uneasy about the situation in which she finds herself. Despite his protestations, in becoming an antagonist Babylonfreek has just gained the potential to be a more intriguing character than our hero. After all, who's more interesting, Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader?
Good guys can be good just because that's what they do, but bad guys need solid motivation! This development could give our hero problems in the long run. MaryRobinette thus resolves to round out her character, so when she again runs into Babylonfreek and Doc Brown/HSO, she will be able to retain the readers' sympathies!
"Do you still have that outline?" HSO asked.
"You mean the one with thousands of multi-colored sticky notes attached?" asked Babylonfreek.
"That's right. Hand it over."
Babylonfreek shook his head. "I don't have it."
"You haven't given it to me yet. Remember? We were in future tense then."
HSO pondered a moment. "Did that last sentence make any sense?"
"Well." Babylonfreek considered. "If it didn't, it will. Or will have, maybe."
"Whatever. If I didn't give it to you yet, I must still have it." But search as he might, HSO could not find the outline.
"It looks," said Babylonfreek, "as if it doesn't exist yet. No wonder that voice-over thought this was a weak story."
"Yeah." HSO thought. He could only come up with one solution. "We're going to have to return to the place where I will give it to you. Maybe then we can get some order to this story."
Having heard enough, the voice-over silently drifted away. Using a scene-break--
--he quickly reached MaryRobinette's side.
"Psst!" he voiced.
MaryRobinette looked up.
"My dear Mrs. Kowal," the voice-over said. "I am delighted to see you in such good health, and beg leave to inform you of what I know of the plans of HSO and the evil Babylonfreek."
"Mr. Fisher!" she exclaimed. "How pleasant to see you! Um, that is. . . ."
"Ah! My apologies." With that, rickfisher pulled off his invisible latex mask. "There. The HUB invisibility booster is great for short periods, but for an extended haul, these masks are much more effective. Kind of hot, though." He set the mask down to wipe his face, and immediately lost it.
Frantically, the voice-over began to search for the missing mask. This new twist terrified him, though not nearly as much as his sudden lack of physical form.
"Mr. Voice-over," Mary interrupted with a yawn, "I'm very sorry you've lost your mask, but I'm tired of this plotless tale. I would just like to be left alone."
"But that's what I've come to warn you about!" The voice-over stopped looking for the mask and explained HSO's latest evil plan.
Mary woke up quickly and began pacing back and forth inside her hotel room, trembling with the possibilities. "No more murderous puppets," she whispered. "No more attacking ninjas, no more Tom Swifty."
Mary strapped on her Hatrack Utility Belt. She had to get that outline first. It was her only hope.
[Apparently, the reader set this story down somewhere and lost it! This resulted in the characters being stranded for nearly a week. Fortunately, however, someone else has at last found the story and picked it up. And--best of all--for some reason this person has started reading at the bookmarked page. Of course, this means that the new reader, whoever it may be, has no idea of what's going on.
Welcome to the club.] --the voiceover
"Who was that?" asked MaryRobinette. Something about this made no sense at all.
"That was the voiceover," rickfisher replied, still looking for his invisible latex mask.
"But I thought you were the voiceover!"
rickfisher looked up in surprise. "You're right, I was. Hey! You! You give me my job back!"
[Sorry, buster. It's my job now. And my mask too. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!]
MaryRobinette noticed that the insane, evil laughter grew distant as it faded off. "I think he's gone," she said. "We didn't need him, anyway. And I'll bet you didn't really need that job, either."
rickfisher shrugged, then laughed. "You're right. They weren't paying me anything, anyway. Why don't you and me go looking for that outline?"
"It should be 'you and I,' Mr. Fisher."
rickfisher straightened up. "My apologies, Mrs. Kowal. I forgot to whom I was speaking. Shall we be off?"
"This whole story's off, if you ask me," she replied. "But listen. We're writers. Why doesn't one of us just write in some ridiculous freak of luck that will let us get that outline without searching?"
"Great idea, Mrs. Kowal." A sudden gust of wind carried a piece of paper through the hotel window. "What a stroke of luck!" rickfisher said with a wink.
[This message has been edited by rickfisher (edited September 06, 2004).]
rickfisher and MaryRobinette both looked at the paper covered with multi-colored sticky notes. The sticky-notes were all blank, but they were arranged in such a way as to form a mosaic that said: "Anything that happens, happens."
Posts: 30 | Registered: Aug 2004
"Yeah, that's right," MaryRobinette said in response to the disembodied thought that had caused her and rickfisher to glance at their HUBs. "And flying saucers are pretty rare. I don't know that we'll be able to flag one down very easily."
"Quite right," rickfisher said. "In that case, I suppose our best bet is to destroy this outline, before HSO and Babylonfreek get their nefarious hands on it."
"Excellent thinking, Mr. Fisher! Have you a plan?"
"Let me think." MaryRobinette watched in awe at the turning wheels inside rickfisher's head. At last he shouted:
"I have it!" He took the outline, crumpled it, and threw it in the trashcan. "Now, my dear Mrs. Kowal, what shall we do next?"
"Well, Mr. Fisher, I believe I'm getting hungry. Where shall we have lunch?"
Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .
Uh, hey guys, let me get this italics out of my voice. There, that's better," said the voice-over. "Hey! HSO! Babylonfreek! wake up! I can't believe you're sleeping."
"Well, I can't believe you left us here for three weeks," muttered a sleepy HSO. "What's so all-fired important that you had to bother us?"
"I've found out where the outline is," said the voice-over. "I watched MaryRobinette and rickfisher--"
"Who?" interrupted Babylonfreek. "That guy from Hatrack? When did he get into this story."
"Shame on you," said the voice-over. "You haven't been reading all the posts. Just because he wasn't in any of your scenes--"
"Oh, all right, give it up. What did you learn?"
"I watched them without saying anything--which is pretty difficult for me--and saw what they did with the outline. They put it in the trash before they went to lunch."
"Great job, voice-over! Did you fetch it out of the trash can for us?" Babylonfreek asked.
"Puh-lease. I'm a voice-over. I do not fetch."
"Touchy, touchy," said HSO. "All right, if I know that rickfisher, he's the sort who spends an hour and a half just looking at the menu. We can still get to the hotel room before they come back."
"Ah." The voice-over cleared his throat. "I'm afraid that won't work. The maids have already emptied the trash. The outline must be in the city dump by now."
"Great. Well, they don't call me the evil HSO for nothing," said Babylonfreek.
"Huh?" asked HSO.
"Oh, sorry. I guess that was your line."
"Yeah, but I don't want to say it now. It wouldn't have the same effect."
"Oh, for pete's sake," said the voice-over. "Just go on to the next one."
"Okay. Hmm, let's see . . . ah, here we are." HSO cleared his throat importantly. "I'll search the entire dump if that's what it takes. Babylonfreek, you too."
"Yeah, I figured that was coming."
In moments our two villains were out on the street. They realized that they had neglected to bring a map.
"Excuse me," Babylonfreek said to a passer-by. "Could you direct us to the dump?"
With a glance at their HUBs, the Nordic native pointed along the street. He also said something in Icelandic, which, alas, neither HSO nor Babylonfreek could understand.
"Hey, voice-over, do you--"
"Nope. I don't do subtitles."
"Man, this guy's annoying," muttered HSO.
The two (three?) hurried along the street until they came to a large area filled with garbage. It looked as if had been in use for hundreds of years. It had, in fact, been started in the late fourth century, by order of King Arglebargle IV (or somebody else), upon finding that the North tower of Castle Reykjavik was completely full of garbage. Since then, it had been used as a collecting place, not only of the city's garbage, but also of--
"Wait a minute!" shouted Babylonfreek. "This isn't the city dump. It's the info-dump!"
[This message has been edited by rickfisher (edited September 22, 2004).]
As MaryRobinette and rickfisher strolled down Laugevegur on their way to Te & Kaffi, MaryRobinette was struck by a sudden nagging sense of unease. She glanced over her shoulder stiffening slightly as a ninja ducked behind one of the trees lining the street.
"Mr. Fisher?" She adjusted her HUB feeling discretely for her ray gun. "There's a ninja behind us."
"Hmm..." He frowned. "Shall I do the old shoe-tying ruse?"
"Perfect." MaryRobinette stopped to admire a felted hat in the window, using the plate glass as a mirror to watch the ninja. "When I shift my weight to my left foot, let's do it."
The ninja was doing an admirable job of blending with the crowd on the street, but his Japanese features stood out in the Nordic crowd like a puffin in the dessert. Beside her, rickfisher knelt on the pavement, pretending to tie his shoes; the ninja took the opportunity to edge closer to them. The other pedestrians parted around them, as the ninja slunk closer.
MaryRobinette shifted her weight to her left foot. On that signal, rickfisher flung himself into a backwards roll, coming up with his raygun blasting on highlight. Bright yellow flashes stained the ninja to a neon glow. At the same moment, MaryRobinette threw a web of intrigue over her shoulders and vanished into a plot too thick to penetrate.
As the ninja fled from the scene, she swept rickfisher under the web and they followed the ninja's bright yellow trail.
MaryRobinette and rickfisher sprinted across the changing landscape of narrative in pursuit of the ninja ahead until a faint cry of distress pierced their web of intrigue. Glancing down at her HUB, MaryRobinette saw the glowing distress beacon. She turned to rickfisher, grimacing, "Punahougirl is in trouble."
His face was already dark with anger. "Forget the ninjas. Let's go get her luggage."
[This message has been edited by MaryRobinette (edited December 28, 2004).]