July 2005 Archives

Hello! Hey, this isn't a story. I'm actually doing actual blog-like activity. It'll never last. Anyway, I would like to try an experiment. Below you will find a paragraph. I would like those of you reading this to write your own paragraph or so to add to this paragraph. You can place it in either the comments or shoot me an e-mail. On subsequent first Fridays of the month, I will look at all of the submissions, decide which I like best and begin the process all over. (It'll happen more often if the response is overwhelming.) Thus, we will all be part of a collabrative story and we'll see where it leads. Lets have fun and use our imaginations.

The Story

Trebor Oizaf wrapped his tentacles tightly around the steering apparatus of his flying machine. He desperately wanted to get home fast, but he couldn't break any laws. Yes, the laws of physics would force him to have to wait the hour left on his journey. He hoped everything at home was all right, but he would have to wait to find out.

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The Case of the Bad Traffic Day

Part One

It started off as a normal day for the Mayorman, mayor of Supervania. He arrived at his office early in the morning and was taking on the business of running the city of Supervania. He was doing some work at his desk in the Auditorium of Equitableness when in rushed Anonymous Man. It was obviously important, and Anonymous Man spoke in an urgent tone. "Mr. Mayor, have you been on the streets lately? All traffic in and out of Supervania is at a stand still! Something must be done!"

Mayorman responded, "We are aware of the problem, and we are looking into the solution now. All we can do now is hope that this situation is resolved soon. However, dealing with evil ninja cyborgs can be quite tricky. And we don't want a major disaster on our hands."

"It is the work of the Traffic Jammer isn't it?" asked Anonymous Man

"We believe so," replied Mayorman.

"Flannel Man put him away before, couldn't he do it again?" asked the persistent Anonymous Man.

"We hope so. However, we are having trouble locating him."

Mayorman gazed out the window again. He clearly saw the Flannel Man signal in the sky among the signals in the sky. He indicated it to Anonymous Man. "He hasn't responded to the Flannel signal yet. Until he does, the citizens of Supervania are in for a rough ride."

"Well, I hope he gets here soon," complained Anonymous Man. "I have got lots of work to do."

"We all do," replied the mayor as he showed Anonymous Man out. "We all do."

Anonymous Man left the mayor's office and Mayorman's assistant, The Assistant, entered his office.

"Any word on Flannel Man?" inquired the mayor.

"I am afraid not," replied the mayor's assistant. "However, a package has arrived for him. It appears to be from SANTA."

The Mayor jumped up with alarm. "The Silent Acting Ninja Terrorist Association?" he asked with concern.

"I am afraid so," replied The Assistant.

"This day is getting worse and worse," bemoaned Mayorman. "Well, put the package in Bomb Depot number 3, and let's hope we hear from Flannel Man soon."

The Assistant took the package with great care down to Bomb Depot number 3. The package was placed in a lead lined box on a large pedestal in the middle of the smallish bomb disposal room.

Meanwhile, back at Flannel Manor, Flannel Man was pacing back and forth. Obviously, Flannel Man was anxiously awaiting something. "When in the name of little green apples, is that mail going to get here?" he asked himself.

Suddenly and without warning, there was a knock on the door. Somewhat relieved, Flannel man made his way to his front door. He peaked through the Flannel Peep Hole and asked, "Who is it?"

"It is I, Postman, deliverer of all mail!" replied the man on the other side of the door.

Finally, his letter carrier, Postman, had arrived. "Great, I have been waiting for you," responded Flannel Man as he opened the door.

"Flannel man, what are you doing here?" asked Postman as Flannel Man opened the door. "The Traffic Jammer is on the loose again, and Mayorman has been trying to get a hold of you. Didn't you see the Flannel signal?"

Postman, deliverer of all mail, searched among the many signals in the sky. Eventually, he spotted the Flannel signal and pointed it out to Flannel Man. "I can't go out until I get my package," replied the anxious Flannel Man. "I sure hope you have it."

"Just letters today," replied the letter carrier. "No packages. What is so important?"

"I can't talk about it," Flannel Man Complained. "Thanks for the mail."

"You're welcome," stated Postman, deliverer of all mail. Suddenly, he gave Flannel Man a hug. He could no longer resist. Postman felt better and continued with his letter carrying duties. Flannel man didn't feel any better as he closed the door. With a worried expression on his face, he tossed the mail on his coffee table. He headed for the phone to call the Auditorium of Equitableness.

"Hello," started the distressed superhero. "This is Flannel man, may I speak to Mayorman please."

Mayorman had been pacing in front of his desk. He was eagerly waiting to hear word from Flannel Man. Suddenly, The Assistant rushed into the room. "Flannel man on line 2!!!"

"Thank Goodness!" sighed the mayor. Mayorman walked over to his desk and picked up the pone. "It is about time you checked in Flannel Man! The Traffic Jammer has escaped and is reeking havoc all over town. We need your help in recapturing him."

"Sorry boss, but I can't help," replied Flannel Man. "I won't leave the house until I get the package I am expecting. It was supposed to come today, but it hasn't."

Mayorman sat down dejectedly at his desk, but when Flannel Man mentioned the package he perked up. "A package came here for you today..."

"Send it over, and I will be on the job!" exclaimed Flannel Man.

"We believe it is from SANTA," explained the mayor. "So, couldn't you come here and check it out?"

"No can do boss," responded Flannel Man. "Although, the package I am expecting is from SANTA. I ordered something from their winter catalog. It should be from America's Original Evil Ninja Cyborg Flannel Incorporated. I won't leave home until I have it."

"We will get it to you as soon as we can. But with traffic the way it is, it may be a while. We will keep you posted," he told Flannel Man. He hung up the phone and then spoke to The Assistant. "We need to get Flannel Man's package to him, before he will take on the Traffic Jammer. Get a team together, and let's get on it. Just another fine day in..."

Super Supervania
It's reachable by seaplane-ia.
Our songs are quite urbane-ia
It's Super Supervania.

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Terra Mortis

Chapter 4

By Dwayne MacInnes

Brady awoke to the sound of birds chirping and the smell of food cooking. It must have all been a dream. Mom must be cooking breakfast.

"Good morning," greeted the same female voice that was in his dream last night. Brady shot straight up and opened his eyes wide to stare at the small figure of a girl cooking over a fire. It wasn't a dream there was the girl. She was a girl of Asian descent, not much over five feet tall, and dressed in black leather. On her slim waist was a military webbed belt and holster holding a pink automatic pistol with the picture of "Hello Kitty" on the handle. "Oh God! I must still be dreaming," Brady said to himself.

"Hungry?" the girl asked.

"Umm...yes. Thank you." Brady responded.

The girl turned towards Brady with a plate of food in her hand. She handed Brady the plate with what appeared to be eggs. The smell was too inviting, and without further talking, Brady started to devour the food.

"Wow! You'd think you haven't eaten for a while. Oh, sorry you may not have." The sadness filled the once cheery face as the girl remembered their circumstances. "I'm Noriko Fubuki. My friends call me Nori though I'm not a dwarf." Noriko laughed.

That stopped Brady. He looked up with a quizzical expression on his face.

"You obviously never read the Hobbit."

"Uh, no. I guess I never got around to it. I'm Brady West. Thank you for saving me last night."

"Oh, I just shot the second zombie. You need to thank Ronnie. He shot the first one. He's off with Coop gathering some more wood."

"What do you mean zombies?" Brady enquired.

"Zombies. You know Night of the Living Dead?" Noriko sat down next to Brady.

"I guess I never read that either."

"It's a movie, silly. Well, Ronnie can tell you more about that. But what I do know is that those are not diseased people walking around out there; unless you consider being dead a disease." Nori continued.

"Dead? I don't get it. I remember on TV there being some talk about that. But the dead can't come back to life."

"I hate to tell you this, but that was a dead man who had you by the leg last night."

Brady was going to continue his question when he saw a tall, stocky black man in his forties with a young boy walking from the woods both with their arms full of wood. The black man could have been a linebacker by the size of him. He was dressed in a military uniform and stood over six feet tall. There was an M-16 on his back. The boy looked to be about 10, dressed in blue jeans and a matching jacket. He had a blank look on his face and his short blonde hair was a mess.

"Hi. Look who's finally awake." Noriko jumped up.

The soldier dumped his load of wood next to the fire. The young boy did the same and then sat down staring at the flames. The soldier then walked over to Brady and extended his hand.

"Hello, I'm Master Sergeant Ronald Greene." The big man's hand grasped Brady's and pumped it with a strong and firm hand shake.

"Man, the man is strong," thought Brady.

"Uh, hi," muttered Brady. "Thank you for saving my life and all."

"No problem. Though, you did walk right into that one. You are lucky that there weren't more out there."

"Yeah, Ronnie, I was telling him all about those zombies." Nori interrupted.

Ronald looked sourly at Noriko. "Please, call me sergeant, Sarge, Ron, or even Ronald. But not Ronnie."

Brady watched the exchange and couldn't help but smile.

"Sorry, Ron. You know how I am..."

"Right, anyway what is your name, or should I call you 'hey you'". Ron continued.

"I'm Brady West, and you can call me Brady. I was trying to get to Seattle to find my parents." Brady replied.

"I've got some bad news for you son. Seattle is gone. No one is getting in or out alive. I mean that. If anything survived that fire bombing it was those creatures."

"NO! NO! They have to be alive," sobbed Brady, "they must be alive."

Brady put his face in his hands and started crying uncontrollably. Nori sat down by Brady again and put her arm around his shoulder. "I know how you feel. I cried for two days straight after I lost my family." Nori consoled.

Ronald went over to the fire and started tending it. The boy just sat there lost in the flames. After about half an hour, Brady regained his composure.

Nori looked tenderly into Brady's face. "You know Ronnie saved my life too." Nori began talking again hoping to take Brady's mind off his loss. Ronald shook his head when Nori said the name Ronnie. "Oops, sorry Sarge. Anyway, I go to, or I should say used to go to a Catholic school. Father Henderson believed that he could get us students and our families out of Seattle. So he loads us all up in these school buses. How he did it I don't know. But anyway, we left the city proper and had just hit the checkpoint. Oh, yeah, this was just before things really started to hit the fan, so there weren't too many people fleeing yet. But as we stopped, Father Henderson stepped out to talk to the soldiers manning the checkpoint. He gets no further than in front of the bus before one of those big machine guns on one of those tanks starts to shoot him. His blood hits the window and everyone starts screaming. That was when the machine gun started hitting the buses. I was near the back and the last thing I saw were my parents being shot up. The emergency exit door opened up behind me and I was pulled out. It was Ronnie...er, Sarge. He pulled me out and covered my mouth so I couldn't scream. Through the chaos he got me away, and we hid in the woods. I think I cried for the entire night. I don't remember too much after that." Noriko fell suddenly silent as she relived the death of her friends and family again.

"I was part of the army Rangers." Ronald started picking up the story, "we had orders to shoot anyone coming out of the cities because they were carrying a highly contagious disease with no cure. At first they were calling in only soldiers with no family, but as the situation progressed the Special Forces and active duty soldiers were called. We had a few skirmishes with the National Guard units. They knew better than we did of the situation and were also trying to leave the city. In any case, the night before Noriko's party showed up, we stop this black car. We do our business and send in volunteers to burn up everything that could be contagious. So I volunteer. I'm given an NBC suit and approach the vehicle. In the back seat there is this man in a business suit. He's hit pretty bad and he's clutching a brief case. He keeps saying that he needs to get out of Seattle. Well, I think he is raving from the disease so I finish him off. I was about to torch the car and everything when I decided to save the briefcase. I don't what made me do it, but I did. I tucked it under my suit and then started the vehicle on fire." Sergeant Greene began staring in the fire like the little boy.

"Well," continued Ronald, "I picked the case open when my watch was over and find all these documents and a CD-Rom. The documents are from Columbia Technologies, the parent company of ColTech pharmaceuticals. I started reading about this project of theirs that is supposed to help Alzheimer's victims by creating a drug that'll regenerate the brain tissue. Unfortunately, the drug kills the patients after it brings certain more primitive parts of the brain back to life. But not life as we know it. This tissue lives on its own. It doesn't need oxygen or anything.

"The military gets wind of this so they start funding it for a super soldier formula."

"Super soldier formula...wasn't that something that Captain America was given?" interrupted Nori.

Ronald resumed his story without paying attention to Noriko. "So now ColTech is trying to make the unstoppable soldier. Unfortunately, they can't test on animals. This drug, PZ60 only works on humans. So ColTech secretly starts abducting homeless people. Now, Washington, D.C. knows all about this and in fact encourages it. So ColTech has this room with all these people tied down on tables with the drug being tested on them. They are all dead, but the regenerated brain tissue reanimates their corpses. Imagine the A.L.A.'s surprise when they broke in to free test animals and instead find a bunch of people being tested on. You can guess how the story goes from there."

"Well, I decided I can't be a part of what was going on any more. I made my plans to leave the next chance I could. That was when Nori's bus convoy showed up. I opened the emergency exit door grabbed the first person I could find when things were getting pretty hot. Nori and I hid in the woods for two days until the military checkpoint was overrun by the fleeing people and later the zombies. It was a mess."

"Yeah, Sarge gives me this gun. A P-14 he calls it. It can hold 14 bullets and has a bit of a kick. But Sarge has been teaching me how to use it. It was kind of an ugly black, so I decided to make look better. I was going to go to art school next year after I graduated. So I painted it pink and I thought a 'Hello Kitty' would look cute on the handle." Nori piped in.

"I, uh, had some things on my motorcycle." Brady started to offer.

"Oh, don't worry! I grabbed your shotgun and backpack. I even grabbed your helmet; you may need it when we meet zombies again." Noriko replied in her usual chipper voice.

"We're going to need to get you outfitted out here if you are going to survive." Sarge started saying, "First, you need tough close fitting clothes. If one of those things bites you, you will get sick and then be a zombie yourself. So leather is the clothing of choice. Gloves, boots, and a helmet with a closed face are also a requirement. You have a motorcycle helmet and your jacket is leather. The rest we'll get when we start back to town tomorrow. You have a shotgun, that's fine. But zombies can hear and they know shooting is the also the sound of food for them. So we'll need to find you a silent weapon. Can you use a sword?"

"Ok, we'll get you a bat." Sarge continued after Brady shook his head no.

"I used to take kendo, so I also carry my father's katana." Noriko pointed to a bundle that was all wrapped up in a blanket. "Oh yeah, we went back to the bus after everything. Well, I should say Ronnie...er, Sarge did. I couldn't go back. He brought me my sword and found some of my personal effects. That's when he found Cooper." Noriko pointed to the boy who impassively stared into the fire.

"Coop was locked in a car. Somehow he had survived all the carnage that had transpired at the checkpoint. But he was catatonic and covered with filth. I got him out. He wouldn't respond to my questions so I found the car's registration papers. It belonged to a Franklin Cooper. I returned to camp and Noriko and I cleaned him up. He's better than he used to be. He'll follow orders and will stay out of trouble, but hasn't said a word since I've retrieved him." Ronald offered.

Brady then told them his story of hiding out in the family cabin until the fire bombing. How he drove his bike down here and his experience with the dead soldier.

"Well, after you and Noriko finish the dishes you both will begin training." Ronald said. "Welcome to the army."

Brady laughed for the first time in over a week. He laughed so hard he started crying.

"What's wrong?" Nori asked.

"That was something my father always wanted me to do. I went to college so I could escape the military and it looks like it found me."

Nori and Ronald looked at each other. Ronald shrugged and walked off. Nori just put a pot of water on the fire.

After the dishes were done Ronald took Nori and Brady out to the edge of the woods. He had three M-16s leaning against a tree. There were several clips lying on the ground.

"Now your shotgun will be good at close range, but if you need to get one of those things from a distance you are going to have to learn how to use a rifle. This here is an M-16A2." The sergeant stated as he picked up the rifle. "This has four settings; safety, semi, burst, and automatic." Ronald showed them the selector on the side of the M-16. You will want to only use semi to allow it to fire as a semiautomatic weapon. In other words one shot for each time you squeeze the trigger. Burst and automatic will just be a waste of bullets on these guys. We need precision. The head is a tough target to begin with so stay on semi! Now this is not just the M-16A1 you see them use in the movies where you can spray bullets until you let off the trigger. On M-16A2 you also have the burst option which will allow to fire three bullets with one squeeze. But as I said only use semi!"

The sergeant began instructing them in the use and care of the M-16 and by noon they were already taking practice shots at some targets that the sergeant had carved in the trees. Brady was surprised how quickly he was able to recall his unused shooting skills after about fifteen minutes of practice. Ronald was impressed.

They broke for lunch. Ronald had prepared an MRE for each of them over the fire. They weren't the best tasting things in the world but after all that had transpired over the last couple of weeks they tasted like manna from heaven.

"There's a small town back that way," pointed Ronald, "which must have been evacuated. It is where Nori and I have gathered some supplies a few days ago. We'll start heading there tomorrow morning and get you some stuff. We don't stay in towns because they are the most dangerous places right now. We have bombers blowing everything to bits, zombies walking all over kingdom come, and some renegades that have taken advantage of the chaos to wreak their own havoc. It is total anarchy."

After lunch Ronald started instructing Nori and Brady in martial arts. Nori was quicker at learning self-defense than Brady was. But after a long day of working out they all enjoyed a good dinner. When the sun set, Ronald kicked out the fire.

"We can't alert our presence to anyone. Your best bet is to share body heat. The three of you sleep under these blankets. I'll take first watch. Nori you take second, and Brady you have third. If you see or hear anything, I mean anything, silently wake us up." With that the sergeant walked off into the darkness.

"Now don't you get any funny ideas," Noriko whispered, "I'm a good Catholic girl and there'll be no hanky panky unless we get married. I don't think we'll find any priests out here so we don't have to worry about that either." Nori chuckled as she slid under the blanket between Cooper and Brady. It wasn't long before all three were asleep. It was the best night of sleep Brady had in a very long time despite the hard ground and the cool night.

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The Case of the Bad Traffic Day

Part Two

Mayorman and his assistant, The Assistant, made their way down to the 6 by 6 foot bomb depot number 3. Mayorman paced back and forth while The Assistant sat down at a table to look at the package. "We need to get this package across town. This looks like a job for..."

"Dirk Justice!!!" exclaimed Dirk Justice as walked into Bomb Depot Number 3. "Can I be of any help here?"

"Just in time Dirk," Mayorman stated. "Traffic is backed up all over town. The whole city is at a stand still. Flannel Man is the only super hero that can put a stop to the Traffic Jammer's evil ways. However, Flannel Man won't leave his house without this package. We need it taken to Flannel Mansion immediately. Can you help us?"

"I wish I could," explained Dirk. "But the Cycle of Justice can't get through this traffic either."

"Drat!" shouted the mayor. "Well then, I guess this looks like a job for..."

"Teleportation Man!!!" exclaimed Teleportation Man as he walked into Bomb Depot Number 3.

"Just in time Teleportation Man," Mayorman stated. "Traffic is backed up all over town. The whole city is at a stand still."

"Flannel Man is the only superhero that can put a stop to the Traffic Jammer's evil ways," added Dirk Justice.

"However, Flannel Man won't leave his house without this package," continued Mayorman while picking up the ordinary package. "We need it taken to Flannel Mansion immediately."

"Can you help us?" they all asked together.

"I will see what I can do," Teleportation Man boldly stated.

Teleportation man placed his hands to his head and closed his eyes. He attempted to mentally transport the package to the Flannel Mansion. "Hold on a second!" exclaimed Teleportation Man coming out of his trance. "It's wrapped in brown paper. That is my only weakness. I cannot teleport anything in brown paper."

"Foiled again!" Mayorman yelled. "These evil ninja cyborgs don't miss a trick! I guess it looks like a job for..."

"The Rubber Band!!!" exclaimed Mr. and Mrs. Rubber and their two kids Renee and Randy as they walked into Bomb Depot Number 3 to join Teleportation Man, Mayorman, Dirk Justice and The Assistant.

"Just in time Rubber Band," Mayorman stated. "Traffic is backed up all over town."

"The whole city is at a stand still," Teleportation Man continued.

"Flannel Man is the only superhero that can put a stop to the Traffic Jammer's evil ways," Dirk justice added.

"However, Flannel Man won't leave his house without this package," Mayorman injected while lifting up the ordinary package wrapped in brown paper.

"We need it taken to Flannel Mansion immediately!" Teleportation Man exclaimed.

"Can you help us?" they all asked.

"Rubber band, to action!!!" the Rubber Family yelled in unison.

As if they had done it repeatedly, Mr. and Mrs. Rubber hug. At the same time, the brother and sister, Randy and Renee, hug. In each embrace, the pair twisted and joined together. As if on cue, the two twisted Rubber family units joined together. Once the family had all joined together, they began to stretch into a very long Rubber family unit. In this configuration, Mr. Rubber picked up the package and carried it away. Much wriggling and stretching went on as they stretched and lengthened. Tighter and tighter their form became. Longer and longer their stretching went. When they were about a block from the Flannel Mansion, they stopped. They brought the package back, and untwisted. Looser and looser their form became. Shorter and shorter their stretching went. At one point, the one stretchy unit broke into two groups. Randy and Renee exited their embrace shortly before Mr. and Mrs. Rubber. As if nothing happened, they became the Rubber family again.

"Sorry Mr. Mayor," Mr. Rubber lamented. "It is just too far for us to reach."

"We did what we could," Mrs. Rubber added. "But it was just too much of a stretch for us."

"Curses foiled again!" shouted the Mayor. "I wonder if anyone here in Bomb Depot Number 3 could put a stop to the Traffic Jammers villainy. We need to find out how Flannel Man did it, and this looks like a job for..."

"The Dugman and his faithful compatriot Hyper Hank!" exclaimed Dugman as he and his trusty sidekick Hyper Hank walked into the Bomb Depot Number 3 joining Teleportation Man, Mayorman, Dirk Justice, the Rubber Band, and The Assistant.

"Dugman, you have knowledge of all things that have happened," started the mayor. "How did Flannel Man capture the Traffic Jammer?"

With his faithful compatriot on his shoulder acting as lookout, Dugman goes into a deep trance. "Flash!" Dugman suddenly exclaimed. "An unidentified evil ninja cyborg has just come into town. With his mystical evil ninja cyborg abilities and an invisible light ray, he stops traffic in all directions. Even low flying superheroes are caught in the worst traffic jam in Supervania since the explosion at the rubber ball factory. Authorities have made a call to all superheroes to stop this fiend. All efforts have been thwarted by the Traffic Jammer's anti-superhero technology.

"Later that day, Flannel Man comes onto the scene. This formerly immovable object now known to authorities as the 'Traffic Jammer' has met with an irresistible force. He feels compelled to give Flannel Man a hug. With the Flannel Man 'Hug of Justice©' fully applied, the Traffic Jammer is captured."

All of the occupants of Bomb Depot Number 3 nod in recognition of the story as Dugman came out of his trance. "Oh yeah," stated Mayorman. "We could never do that. This package must be taken to Flannel Mansion."

While no one was looking, Dirk Justice snuck out of the room between Renee and Randy Rubber. Suddenly, Teleportation Man has an idea. "Maybe the weather will get bad, and the Traffic Jammer will just go home," he said.

"You could be onto something there," exclaimed the mayor. "What is the weather going to be like? Does anybody know?"

"Sorry chief," answered Teleportation man

"No help here," added Dugman as Hyper Hank shook his head no.

"I haven't listened to the radio today," Renee Rubber injected.

"I haven't seen a paper," Randy Rubber stated.

"Uh, I have been so busy," Mr. Rubber started.

"With the traffic and all," Mrs. Rubber finished.

"No sir," added The Assistant not to be left out.

"Well then, it looks like a job for..." declared Mayorman.

"Weatherman?" asked Randy Rubber.

"No! The Environ-Mentalist!" the Environ-Mentalist exclaimed as he entered Bomb Depot Number 3 joining Teleportation Man, Mayorman, the Rubber Band, Dugman, Hyper Hank, and The Assistant.

"Environ-Mentalist, what does the weather look like for the rest of the day?" asked the Mayor.

"Sunny and nice," replied the Environ-Mentalist. "A high in the mid- to upper-seventies. Winds out of the southwest at 5 miles per hour. Tonight turning breezy. Winds picking up to 15 miles per hour, but will remain southwesterly. Tomorrow it will be partly cloudy. A high in the low eighties...

"Thanks Environ-Mantalist," Mayorman interrupts. "That is what we wanted to know.

"What rotten luck to have such beautiful weather," stated The Assistant.

"It sounds like a nice day," started Mr. Rubber.

"To go for a drive," finished Mrs. Rubber.

"Rats!" exclaimed the Rubber children.

"Well, it doesn't look like we can count on bad weather to help us," stated Mayorman. "Anybody have any other ideas?"

"Sorry chief," answers Teleportation man

"No help here," adds Dugman as Hyper Hank shakes his head no.

"I am fresh out of ideas," Renee Rubber injects.

"I've got nothing," Randy Rubber states.

"Uh, if we had more time," Mr. Rubber starts.

"We could probably come up with something," Mrs. Rubber finishes.

"It really isn't my bag," added the Environ-Mentalist.

"No sir," adds The Assistant not to be left out.

As all of the superheroes in Bomb Depot Number 3 tried to come up with something to thwart the evil Traffic Jammers ways, in walked a small unmasked person.

"Can I help?" he asked.

"Just in time Errand boy!" exclaimed the mayor.

"Traffic is backed up all over town," started Dugman.

"The whole city is at a stand still," added Teleportation Man.

"Flannel Man is the only superhero..." began Mr. Rubber.

"That can put a stop to the Traffic Jammer's evil ways," finished Mrs. Rubber.

"However," Randy Rubber interjected.

"Flannel Man won't leave his house," insisted Renee Rubber.

"Without this package," the Environ-Mentalist added while picking up the ordinary looking package wrapped in brown paper.

"We need it taken to Flannel Mansion immediately," said the mayor urgently.

"Can you help us?" they all asked.

"Gladly," Errand boy answered quietly.

Errand boy grabbed the package addressed to Flannel Man and put it in his backpack. With a little wave, he departed Bomb Depot Number 3 leaving all of the superheroes in the small room. Mayorman spoke, "Godspeed Errand boy. Hey, where did Dirk Justice go anyway?"

"He was just here a second ago," answered Teleportation man

"No help here," added Dugman as Hyper Hank shakes his head no.

"Maybe he had an appointment," Renee Rubber injected.

"I haven't seen him," Randy Rubber stated.

"Uh, I have been so busy," Mr. Rubber started.

"With the traffic and all," Mrs. Rubber finished.

"It didn't think it was my turn to watch him," added the Environ-Mentalist.

"I don't know sir," added The Assistant not to be left out.

Errand boy headed out of the Auditorium of Equitableness and located his bike locked up in the bike rack. He dutifully unlocked his bike, and hopped on for his bike ride across town. Errand boy nimbly dodged the traffic that was backed up because of the Traffic Jammer's invisible light ray. He wove in and out and dodged the various superheroes and their vehicles. Finally, he reached Flannel Mansion. He got off his bike, and locked it to a nearby bicycle rack. He ran to Flannel Man's door and knocked. Flannel Man opened the door. "Errand boy! Do you have my package?" he asked.

"Indeed I do," replied the somewhat out of breath Errand boy as he opened his pack and handed Flannel Man his much awaited package.

"At long last," sighed the anxious superhero. "How can I thank you Errand boy?"

Errand boy shrugged and just stood there. Flannel Man thought for a moment, and in a flash, inspiration struck. Flannel Man took out his wallet and gave Errand boy a dollar. Errand boy took the money and put it in his pocket. With a little wave, Errand boy ran to his bike, unlocked it, and rode off.

Flannel Man took his package inside his Flannel Mansion and closed the door behind him. Flannel Man quickly tore off the brown paper packaging. He opened the resulting box to reveal a small flannel suit. Flannel Man jumped behind his antique dressing screen. Soon a tattered and torn flannel suit was flung over the screen. The small flannel suit was different than the one Flannel Man was wearing, but it had obviously been worn on many adventures. Without much fanfare, Flannel Man emerged with Theodore his newly flanneled side kick. Theodore, a flannel clad stuffed bear, was clad in a new flannel suit. The duo were now ready for action.

"To the streets!" Flannel Man exclaimed.

Flannel Man, with Theodore clutched in his hand, raced towards the center of the traffic jam. Various superheroes spotted him and began to cheer him on.

"Go get him Flannel Man!" Anonymous Man shouted.

"Dude! Like end his gnarly bogatosity man!" exclaimed Slangman.

"Great googily moogily" added Idiom Boy.

Flannel Man and Theodore, after much difficulty, reached the center of the traffic jam. The Traffic Jammer felt an unmistakable urge. He felt Flannel Man's presence. He could not resist. He had to give Flannel Man a big hug. In the embrace, traffic was freed. With Flannel Man's 'Hug of Justice©' fully applied, the trio jumped into a waiting police van. The Traffic Jammer was once again brought to justice.

Once the crisis was over and the traffic was once flowing there was relief back at the Auditorium of Equitableness. Mayorman found the opportunity to recline back at his desk. This is how Flannel Man found him after they locked the Traffic Jammer up.

"Thank our lucky stars that is over," declared the mayor.

"Indeed," agreed Flannel Man.

"Once again evil has been put into the unmerciful 'Hug of Justice©'," started Mayorman. "The streets again flow freely with good townsfolk. Once again they have been freed from the unyeilding grip of an evil ninja cyborg. What adventures lie ahead for the good people of...

Super Supervania
Where ankles rarely suffer from a sprain-ia
Where there's no shortage of wolfsbane-ia
It's Super Supervania.

"Gnarly dude!" added Slangman.

The End.

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Terra Mortis

Chapter 5

By Dwayne MacInnes

Brady watched the sun rise in the west during his watch. Everything seemed so peaceful. There was a light fog hugging the ground that gave everything a slightly otherworldly feel. The birds were chirping away unaware of the changing world around them. Brady contemplated waking the others up, but decided that a few more minutes of sleep wouldn't hurt. He looked back at the camp and noticed that Nori was sitting cross legged with a book on her legs. Nori looked up and noticed Brady looking at her; she waved him over to sit next to her.

"Good morning." Nori greeted.

"Good morning. Watcha reading?"

"The Bible. Remember I'm a good Catholic, but with there being no more mass or churches, so much of the burden of my religious obligations fall upon me. I've been reading the 23rd Psalm. It's very comforting, especially seeing as how this could literally be called the valley of the shadow of death," smiled Nori.

"I've never read the Bible. My family wasn't very religious. The only time I've ever prayed was when I was in trouble. I feel that God has deserted us." Brady looked down at the ground fighting off another bout of sudden crying as he remembered his parents. "How long will it be before the pain subsides?" he thought to himself.

"Oh, no! He's still with us. Maybe this is one of those tests that Job went through. But think about it, you were pretty close to becoming zombie chow if Ronnie and I didn't find you."

"Ron, Sarge, Sergeant, Mr. Greene, but please not Ronnie," Ronald said behind them. Nearly scaring them both to death. "I see we are all up. Coop and I'll grab some wood. It'll be a little damp with the dew but I can still get something going. You two can make breakfast. Oh yeah, keep an eye, ear, and nose out, especially the nose in this fog. You can smell those ripe bastards miles away. If anything smells like real bad cabbage or brussells sprouts give out a yell."

With that Sarge and Coop disappeared into the green woods. Nori started rummaging through a pack and pulled out a bag of powder eggs and a water bottle. She then pulled out a small pan.

"We've got plenty of dry goods. So we'll have eggs again today. At first they taste a bit like rubber, but when you are hungry you'd probably eat a tire and think it was a gourmet meal," laughed Nori.

It was hard to be down for long around Nori's bubbly personality. Before long, there was a small fire going and breakfast was served. Brady did the dishes and Nori repacked the backpack. As usual Sarge kick out the fire and Cooper just stared at the dying embers before Sarge poured water on them. When they were fully doused out, Sarge distributed the supplies amongst the backpacks. Sarge, Nori, and Brady each grabbed an M-16.

"Well, let's get going," ordered Sarge as he shouldered a backpack. It was military pack that was much larger than Brady's school backpack. Nori had a framed hiking pack and Cooper carried a school pack much like Brady's. They all looked a little odd carrying their weapons and packs. Brady was amazed that Nori could carry her pack, an M-16, and her sword. Sarge led them down a dirt road that didn't seem to lead to anywhere.

It was about noon when the sounds of chopping cut through the air. It was helicopters and lots of them. Sarge waved them all into the underbrush.

"Keep your face down!" yelled Sarge, "They are more than likely looking for vehicles or large groups. But we shouldn't give them any chance to notice us."

The helicopters flew over head and continued on their way without noticing them. As the sound receded the small party crawled out from under the foliage and resumed walking on the road.

"Looked like some Cobras and Apaches," Brady said.

"That's pretty good. You seem to know something about military hardware," responded Ronald.

"Yeah, I know a little. But why didn't they nuke Seattle instead of fire bombing it? I mean one tactical nuke from an artillery unit would have been easier to do than sending God knows how many B-52s with incendiaries," continued Brady.

"You're probably too young to remember Mount Saint Helens' eruption in 1980. After that explosion, enough ash was thrown into the air that parts of western Montana had to close businesses and schools. There was even some ash falling further east. So you can guess why they didn't nuke it. Radiation doesn't know or care about borders."

"Do you think things will ever be back to normal?" asked Brady.

"I don't know, son, I don't know."

They took a small break and ate a quick lunch and then continued their march. Brady noticed that his feet were starting to kill him. His backpack straps and the M-16 sling were also starting to bite into his shoulders. The shotgun in his right hand was like carrying a lead weight. When Brady started limping and fell behind the party, Sarge called a halt.

"How's your feet, son?" asked Sarge.

"I think I've got some bad blisters on them." Brady responded.

"Same thing happed to me when I first met Sarge. I think he forgets that 17 year old girls are not veteran soldiers," Nori laughed.

"Well, you seem to be coming along anyway," Ronald smiled. "We'll camp here. You're no good if you can't walk."

Brady removed his tennis shoes to see that his sweaty socks were also stained with blood on the heels. Sarge removed Brady's socks and then poured some lukewarm water onto his aching feet. The water was quite refreshing. The sergeant then began wrapping a bandage around Brady's wounded feet.

Ronald looked up at the blood red sun burning through the smoke filled sky. There were some threatening clouds starting to form up.

"I better get a shelter set up over in those trees. Coop you stay with Brady. Nori you come with me and help out."

The Sarge then pulled a tarp out of his pack and gave it to Nori. After that he grabbed his large combat knife and started hacking at some branches on the evergreen trees. After stripping the smaller branches free of the bows Ronald started fashioning a lean-to over the tarp that Nori had laid onto the ground. The tarp was large enough that Ronald was able to pull the extra length of it over the sloping side. Nori then helped Sarge lash down the tarp. Ronald then covered the new roof with the small striplings he had cut off from the branches he had used for the frame of the structure.

It wasn't five minutes before everyone was in the new shelter when another Washington rainfall had started. It wasn't as heavy as the storm Brady drove through, but it was a steady rain. The four of them huddled under the blanket to keep warm. Brady had always liked the rain. It was what made the Pacific Northwest so green and beautiful. From the ferns that covered the ground to the tall pine trees that hovered over them. But now after being in it for hours Brady was starting to see why many people didn't like it. Even though they were all in a lean-to and under a blanket they were still a bit damp and that wasn't really all that comfortable.

"Why don't you have a leather outfit like Nori?" Brady asked sergeant Greene.

"Well, these fatigues are lined with Kevlar. It won't stop a mortar, but it'll stop a zombie bite. I could have tried to have found Nori an outfit and you for that matter, but I don't think you'd like to wear something straight off a dead man. Plus, trying to find something in Nori's size would be nearly impossible," Ronald replied.

"Hey, you found this helmet," Nori pointed to the police riot helmet on the ground next to her.

"Fortunately, those are adjustable," Ronald responded.

"Is that why you cut my hair?" Nori asked.

"Well, no. The last thing you want is to give a zombie something to grab onto. The shorter the hair the better."

"Great! You'd have us all shaved bald just so we'd look like you," giggled Nori.

Ronald laughed and pulled off his helmet and ran his hand over his bald head. "Really? I think it'll be all the rage."

The rain pelted the shelter all evening. Though the lean-to kept out most of the water some still got in. "Man, I don't think I've ever been so miserable," Brady complained to himself.

There were only the three of them in the shelter after Sarge went to take the first watch. It would be the same rotation as the previous night with Brady taking the last watch before dawn.

It was about 10:00 p.m. when the rain finally stopped. The wind rustled through the trees dripping droplets of rain water from the overhead branches onto the shelter. It was much like a dog shaking himself dry. It may have been sheer coincident, but at the moment a spine chilling howl split the night.

Nori, Brady, and even Cooper all shot straight up from their various states of sleep. They looked at each other showing on their faces an ancient fear none of them knew before. The first howl was then taken up by a second and then a third. "Oh God, they are close," thought Brady.

Nori was starting to scramble for her gun when Ronald skidded around the shelter. "Everyone up!" He whispered.

With Sarge's order, everyone went into action. Nori and Brady reached for their weapons. Coop ran over behind Sarge who himself was engaged in trying to start a fire.

"Damn wood is too wet," Ronald cursed. "Brady, give me your backpack."

Brady tossed over his pack without a second thought. Sergeant Greene started tearing through it. Another howl broke into the air not far behind the shelter. Nori had her pink pistol in hand. Brady had his shotgun at the ready. Another howl answered somewhere in the woods in front of the shelter.

"Damn things have us surrounded," muttered Sarge as he continued his work.

"We need light! I can't see a damn thing!" screamed Nori.

Brady was focused on the sounds emanating from the woods around them. He thought for sure he could hear snarling and panting. Unfortunately, he wouldn't be able to accurately shoot at anything until they were right on top of them. There was the sound of movement in the underbrush near Brady. Suddenly the sound of something charging at them came from the woods. Brady swung his shotgun in the direction of the noise knowing that if he fired into the darkness he'd be lucky to hit his target even with the shotgun. He started to squeeze the trigger of the Remington as the charging beast closed the gap.

Light bathed the area around them to reveal a huge shaggy black wolf running towards them. Brady adjusted his aim slightly and fired his gun at the beast just as it started to pounce. The wolf froze in mid air as the 12 gauge's projectiles canceled out the forward momentum of the wolf. As the huge beast fell dead to the ground Nori fired her pistol randomly into the woods. The rest of the pack retreated in quick order.

Ronald and Cooper stood near a small fire. "Thank God you had that lamp oil," smiled Sarge.

"Looks like those wolves had enough of us tonight," Nori added.

Brady stood there trying to catch his breath looking at the black shaggy beast. "Wait a minute," he thought.

"There are no wolves in this area!" Brady exclaimed aloud.

Sarge stooped over the carcass and ran his hand over the neck of the dead animal.

"Not wolves," he said as he pulled off a chain with a metal tag on it, "dogs that have gone feral."

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The Quest for a Camera

A True Story

Several years ago, I bought a 35mm camera from the retail store in which I worked. It was a simple "Single Lens Reflex" camera. This SLR camera had a built-in light meter, but everything else was manual. I also purchased a wide-angle lens as well as a zoom lens. I have taken several rolls of film with this camera and some incredible pictures as a result. I have been quite pleased with it, but we have entered the digital age, and it was time to upgrade. Thus began my quest for a new camera!

Digital cameras have been around for several years, but I have never been fond of point and shoot cameras. They just do not offer the same flexibility that my SLR does. Thus, my first goal was to get a digital SLR. However, these have been quite expensive in recent years. Recently, digital SLRs have dipped into my price range. Further, a model that would work with my current lenses has become affordable. Thus, I had accomplished the difficult part of this quest. I know what I want, I just need to go and get it. It sounded simple enough, but I did not anticipate what was in store for me.

With the make and model firmly established, I jumped aboard the information superhighway with my pal Google by my side. There were many retailers offering the desired camera, so desiring the best deal, I decided to go with the retailer that offered the lowest price. I placed my order with this internet retailer.

The retailer wanted a great deal of unnecessary personal information. Thus, instead of giving my current phone number, I gave them my old number. I had it disconnected a short time ago, but records show it for my name. There was little reason to give them my phone number since they had my e-mail address. If they needed anything, I expected them to e-mail me the questions. However, they did e-mail me that they had some questions about my order, and that I should call them.

I thought it was odd that an internet retailer would slow down an order and increasing their cost by forcing me to speak to a person. However, I placed the call, and I spoke to a person with an east coast accent.

"We's got a few questions fer ya," he began. "First I wants to thank ya for yer order, and I wants to make sure yous knows dat dis camera doesn't have no lenses."

"I am aware of that," I responded.

"Good," he continued. "Dis camera needs a memory card. Does ya wants to order one now?"

"No thanks," I answered.

"Okay, dat's fine," he went on. "It needs battries. Does ya wants ta order some battries ta go wit it?"

"I don't need any batteries thanks," I told him.

"Very good, very good," he said. "Now does ya wants dis camera in English or Malaysian?"

"English of course," I answered.

"English?" he queried. "Well dat'll cost ya $200 extra."

"What?" I inquired.

"Yah, de English version is $200 more," he told me.

"You can cancel my order," I stated.

I would have never guessed there were still businesses doing the old "bait and switch." I was shocked. I wondered if what they were doing was legal, but my quest was still unfulfilled. I had met my first challenge and I ended up empty handed. Never fear, Google had more retailers. I was going to have to pay a little more, but not $200 more.

The next retailer offered free shipping which made it just a few dollars more than the first retailer who charged $30 for shipping. I placed my order and once again did not offer them my current phone number. Why do these internet retailers ask for a phone number? I do not wish any telemarketer to call me, so why would I want these retailers an option to sell my information? Upon placing my order, the retailer once again emailed me informing me that they had some questions about my order. "Oh no here we go again!" I thought.

I called, but I got voice mail. It must be standard procedure for camera retailers to waste money requiring a phone call. I tried a few times to get a hold of a person that day, but I got nothing. The next day, I finally spoke to a person (with an east coast accent) and he informed me that because I had a disconnected phone number that they canceled my order.

From that experience, I came away with the idea that every camera retailer is on the east coast of the US, and that they all want to try to sell accessories to your camera order before they ship it. While it was discouraging, I ventured onward. There were plenty of camera retailers on the net. I just had not contacted the right one. I picked another one and placed my order. With shipping costs, it was in the same price range as the others. I placed my order with my old phone number, I got the e-mail informing me of some questions, and I was ready for anything.

I called them to find that this individual did not have an east coast accent. Once again, the retailer asked me about batteries, memory, and lenses. I continued to inform them that I did not need anything but the camera itself.

"Well then," he stated. "We'll have this packaged up and sent to you right away."

Was I actually going to get the camera I wanted? Was this the end of my quest? I was eagerly anticipating a package when I got an e-mail informing me that the camera was on backorder. That was fine; I did not need the camera immediately. I could wait a short while. I waited 2 weeks, and I had not heard anything about my camera. Thus, I sent an e-mail to this retailer's customer service address. A few hours later, I received an e-mail stating that I had canceled my order. "That's odd," I thought. "I didn't cancel my order; I just wanted to know my status."

Shortly afterwards, I received a second e-mail informing me that by my request the order was canceled. This e-mail was informing me of the status of my order. "Doesn't any internet retailer want to sell anything?" I thought to myself. "Is it so difficult to fill out an order without so much fuss? Why can I not get this camera?"

I was going to try one more time. I decided that if this last retailer did not work, I would give up my quest. I would return to my life without the camera. I would accept defeat. I placed my order in the usual way with the disconnected phone number. To my surprise, I did not get an e-mail. However, it was odd that I did not even get a confirming e-mail. After a few days, I still had not heard from this retailer. I began to get worried. A few more days passed, so I decide to check the status of my order from their web site. To my astonishment, it stated that my camera had already shipped. Was I actually going to get my order without having to speak to a sales representative? Would my quest finally end?

There it was my new camera. Because of a configuration error on their end, I did not get a confirmation e-mail. However, I did get my camera. What an arduous journey! It was a long and difficult road, but I did get my camera. It takes great pictures too. I had fulfilled my quest, and my life has returned to normal. I hope I never have to suffer through such poor customer service again, but I probably will. Buying a camera should not be that difficult, but there are forces out there that make it so. Will people never learn?

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Terra Mortis

Chapter 6

By Dwayne MacInnes

The next morning the party resumed its usual morning routine. Nori and Brady started preparing breakfast while Sarge and Cooper gathered some dry wood. The wood gathering took longer than usual because the rain last evening had everything pretty much soaked.

"I've been thinking a lot lately," Nori started in an unusually serious tone.

"Yeah?" Brady replied.

"If I'm attacked by one of those zombies..." she stopped a moment before she resumed her thought. "If I'm bitten I don't want to become one of them."

"Understandable," Brady replied before he caught on to where the conversation was going. "Wait a minute!" he exclaimed as it sunk in.

"No, please hear me out," Nori continued. "If I'm bitten I'll die. There's no known cure. Sarge has that in writing in that briefcase. So I'm asking...No, I'm begging you that if you are able please...uh." She stopped again fighting back the urge to cry.

"I can't do what you are asking, Nori. Please, don't ask me that," pleaded Brady.

"You have to. I can't. Killing myself is a grave sin. But I'll be dead for a while before I turn. That's when you do it. No, please listen to me. It's not murder! I'll be dead. I don't want to hurt you, Sarge, or Cooper. So I'm asking you to do it because I trust you with my life... and death."

Brady couldn't bring himself to answer verbally. He kept his eyes glued to the pan he was working on as he slowly nodded his ascension.

"Thank you," Nori said as she leaned over and kissed Brady on the cheek. Brady hardly noticed as the tears filled his eyes.

After Sarge and Cooper returned with some wood, the small group finished preparing breakfast. The meal was unusually quiet. Ronald noticed how Nori and Brady couldn't look at each other. Under different circumstances he'd have different ideas, but he knew what transpired. Even Cooper looked up at the two for a second. Concern quickly flashed across his face. Sarge noticed this too. "Well, maybe he's starting to come around," Sarge thought.

It was another two days before the small band finally reached the outskirts of the tiny town. Brady's feet were starting to heal, and he found that though he was still pretty sore, things were getting easier to carry. Nori didn't seem to have any problem at all keeping up with Sarge and Cooper followed along silently as usual. The trip would have normally taken only two days, but with Brady's unconditioned body and tender feet they all had to take a slower pace.

The town wasn't really so much a town. It contained fewer than a hundred buildings including residences. There was a sign at the town's entrance the name had been spray painted off with the words "Terra Mortis - Pop: Dead."

"I don't know how correct the Latin is, but I have a feeling that it is an appropriate name for this entire region," Sarge offered.

"So everyone has been evacuated?" Brady asked.

"Everyone the military could reach in the limited time they had available. Of course, you are living proof that more remote regions couldn't be reached in time. They even drove as much livestock as possible over the passes before closing them down," Ronald answered.

"There's an outfitting store down there. We'll get as much supplies as possible. Then we can head for that cabin of yours. It's pretty remote and should be hard to find by zombies, the military, and crazies. Maybe we can hang out there until things are calmer. I just hope that they'll start letting people across the barricaded passes again," Ronald continued.

The four travelers spread out as they entered town. No one said a word as Sarge led them down the main road. They cautiously walked along looking from building to building for any signs of trouble.

Sarge walked up to a large one story building with the words "Murphy's Outfitters and Sporting Goods" painted on the side. He glanced through the dirty windows into the dark interior. Ronald then motioned for the others to stay back and low. Brady, Noriko, and Cooper crouched down in the middle of the street. They all took a different direction to keep watch.

The sergeant opened the front door to the store and then disappeared into the darkened interior. Brady kept his ear tuned for any sound of a struggle. Though the sergeant had been gone only for about two minutes it seemed like an eternity as the small group waited anxiously outside. Eventually, Sarge reappeared and waved them into the building.

After they were all inside, Ronald shut the door. The only light in the place came from the windows. It was enough to see that the store had saddles, boots, fishing poles and other sporting goods throughout.

"Everything looks clean," whispered Sarge.

The Ranger then started looking over different clothing. Brady went over to the boots. He knew what he was supposed to look for. They had gone over the plan for the last couple of days on the way over here. It wasn't long before Brady was wearing leather pants, new boots, gloves, and had a framed backpack like Nori's.

"You look good," smiled Nori.

"Thanks," replied Brady, "Doesn't it get hot wearing this leather all day?"

"Sometimes, but the alternative is much worse. Hey, where's Sarge?" Nori asked.

No one had noticed that Ronald had left the room. Coop was still there looking over some paintings of cowboys on the wall. But the sergeant had silently slipped away while Brady was putting on his new clothes.

"I'm over here," Ronald reappeared from a back room carrying a .30-06 Savage Model 111F hunting rifle with scope and a PASGT helmet much like the one Ronald himself wore. "I think this helmet would be better than your motorcycle helmet." Ronald tossed Brady the helmet.

"Why don't we get Coop something to wear?" asked Brady as he adjusted the straps of the helmet to fit his head.

"There doesn't seem to be any leather outfits in his size. His denim jeans and jacket will work fine in a pinch. Plus, if things go wrong I want him to run. We can fight effectively, but he's too small. If it comes to it, we will fight to the last in order to buy him the time needed to run to a safer place," Sarge responded.

"I also thought we could use a weapon with a bit more range on it." Ronald changed the topic. "This rifle will be better for hunting than our M-16s. Here's a P-13 for you. It's like Nori's P-14, Para-Ordnance .45, but a little smaller and has a 13 round capacity." Ronald passed the black automatic pistol in holster and two full clips over to Brady. "There are a few other things I want to get. I'll gather everything up with Coop. You and Nori head over to the doctor's office and find some medical supplies."

Nori and Brady quickly located the doctor's office. It was a smaller white building with the words "Doctor Williams" written in the window. Fortunately, the door was unlocked so they didn't have to kick it in. Brady seriously doubted that he could have kicked it in anyway. He probably would have had to break a window.

As Nori and Brady entered, they noticed that the interior was a lot brighter than it was in the outfitters. The front office appeared to be in perfect order. It looked like the receptionist had just stepped out of the room.

"I've got the list of supplies that Sarge wants us to gather. I figure everything will probably be in the back." Nori said.

Brady nodded and leaned his shotgun against the receptionist's desk. They were going to have to use both hands for this work. Nori slung the M-16 over her shoulder and then led the way into the back.

The hallway was almost pitch-black. The only light came from a tiny round window down the end of the hallway. There four doors, two on each side of the hall.

The first was a bathroom and the one across from it was a supply closet. The next two down should be the examination room and Dr. Williams' actual office. They started down the hall towards the next two doors. "Man, this place is musty," thought Brady, "it stinks. They must have forgotten to empty the trash before they left. Yech!"

Nori opened the door to the examination room. Light bathed the room from the window next to the open cabinets. Everything was in disarray. There were cotton swabs and bandages strewn across the room.

"Looks like they had to hurry before they left and just threw everything they could into a suitcase or something," observed Nori.

"I hope they left us some things of value," Brady said as he started gathering some bandages and other medical supplies. He began throwing them into his backpack.

Nori started checking things off the list as Brady loaded them into the backpack. It was obvious that the prescriptions were not stored in the examination room. After they got everything they could, Nori started for Williams' office while Brady started closing up the backpack.

Brady had just shouldered the backpack when he heard Nori scream. Brady rushed out of the examination room. In the office across the hall Brady could see Nori struggling with a dark man shaped figure. They were crashing around in the cramped office. Brady watched as Nori's helmet was knocked off in the struggle. Her hands were caught in her assailant's strong grip. Brady could smell the man from where he was. It wasn't the trash! It was him.

Brady unconsciously ran towards the figure whose back was to him. "Damn it," thought Brady as he ran. "The zombies have made it here already."

Nori was doing all she could to avoid the slavering mouth. The fear in her eyes drove Brady to a madness he had never encountered. Brady jumped onto the attacker's back wrapping his arms around the thick neck.

A strong arm reached back and threw Brady off its back. Brady slammed into the hallway wall behind him. He just sat there stunned as the foul smelling creature smacked Nori's head against the desk knocking her unconscious. Her limbs went limp as she lay across the desk with the abomination stooping over her.

Everything slowed down as Brady fumbled for the pistol at his side. He had rudimentary training with Nori's gun over the last few days. But he wasn't sure if he could remember everything. He pulled the pistol out of its holster and thumbed the safety off as the beast lowered his head towards Nori's helpless body. Brady squeezed the trigger as he was instructed. The pistol barked in his hand slightly kicking. The bullet whizzed by the creature's head shattering the window across from him.

As the beast turned its head towards Brady the gun barked again. In the fraction of a second before the bullet shattered the zombie's face Brady saw blood dripping from the mouth of the creature. "No!" Brady's mind screamed, "Oh God, no!"

Brady scrambled up from the floor and ran into the office. It felt as if the bottom had dropped out of his stomach. This couldn't be happening. She's got to be OK. Brady stepped over the bleeding body and looked over Nori.

At first glance she seemed fine except for a nasty bleeding head wound. "Sarge can fix that," Brady thought. He continued searching her for wounds. As his left hand pulled down the collar of her jacket he saw it. At the base of her neck where it meets the shoulder were a set of bleeding teeth impressions.

"NO!" screamed Brady. Then he remembered his promise to Nori. Brady looked down at the still smoking pistol in his right hand. Brady started to cry as he lifted the automatic and put it against Nori's head. His finger started to squeeze the trigger.

"NO!" cried Brady as he flung the pistol into the open medicine cabinet behind the desk.

Brady leaned over Nori and took her in his arms and started sobbing uncontrollably as he rocked her back and forth.

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Eagle Has Landed

The Androids

"Warning, I have to interface with my central computer in 10 days, 38 hours, 54 minutes, and 73 seconds!" declared a strange looking mechanical man.

"Good to see you 3376441," replied Eagle. "How are things back home?"

"Everything is functioning normally. Do you have anything to trade?" responded 3376441.

"I have some things for you," continued Eagle. "Let's discuss business over at that table."

"Those androids give me the creeps!" a stranger remarked. "I donít know how he can stand that ĎI have to interface with my central computerí stuff.

"I can explain everything," came a voice out of the crowd. "But itíll cost you."

The one who spoke approached the stranger. "Aren't you that Yarnspinner fella?" the stranger asked.

"I am indeed," replied Essdy. "So, you have heard of me? Do you know my price and do we have a deal?"

"Iíve got some time, and I could use some entertainment. Server, fix this man up," stated the stranger.

Essdy began:

The androids come from the fourth planet in the Vomiza solar system. At one time, there was a thriving population living on this ordinary planet. The people there were technically skilled, as by all accounts, they had built an advanced society. In general, the inhabitants of this society enjoyed tinkering with electronics, and they were especially crafty in the computer and electrical engineering fields. They created several marvelous gadgets to make life simple for themselves. This included a very advanced race of artificial people. This race of mechanical individuals did all of the manual labor on their world. In fact, they were even in charge of maintaining and building a supply of their own kind. These androids, if I may use this archaic term, were essentially a species of creature on this world. They thought, they reproduced, and they had a survival program. They had everything they needed to adapt to a changing environment.

"Oo thatís creepy! So what did they do? Did they overthrow their evil overlords and take over their planet?" interupted the stranger.

"Please, never interrupt me again!" yelled Essdy.

"Sorry," the stranger said sheepishly. "Please continue."

Essdy Continued:

They didnít kill off their so-called masters because they were programmed to obey the commands of their manufacturers. In fact, Vomizan's programmed them to obey all commands given within a set of guidelines. It was a pretty sophisticated program that had never had a conflict. These mechanical people accepted their life. They were the laborers. They were well treated, and this allowed the organic life forms to pursue other interests. Unfortunately, the Vomizan's never pursued space flight. All of their activities were completely planet bound. As a culture, they had a fear of enclosed spaces. They did not like to be enclosed. Thus, they had no interest in encasing themselves in some sort of rocket and venturing into space. There are many cultures out there with this very attitude. However, for the Vomizan's this was their eventual downfall.

About 100 Commonwealth years ago, their crops started failing. Their planet wide temperature began rising. Like most species, they had to adapt to their changing environment. Thus, with every new climatological change, there came a new advance. Nevertheless, they were falling behind. Vomiza Four's climate was changing faster than the inhabitants could handle. Unfortunately, the reason for their climate change was that their sun was no longer stable. It was about to go nova, and in order to survive the Vomizan's needed to leave.

In all of their years of advancing technology, they didnít have the technology to leave their world. They created ingenious hyper-cooling devices to keep their computers and other environments cool. They installed some cooling devices on everything that needed one, and this included their artificial life forms. However, it didn't address their main problem. Their sun was going to engulf the planet and there wasn't anything they could do to stop it.

Along with the cooling devices, they built greenhouses to grow crops. They had a very efficient water recycling system. They solved many of the problems facing their society, but the end of their world was coming. There wasn't anything that they could do to save their species.

Only the artificial life forms survived the suns demise. The process for creating these 'androids' was highly sophisticated. As I stated before, these androids were in charge of building other androids. Being machines, they could adapt their manufacturing processes at a much quicker rate than humans could. They could build and repair structures in a much harsher environment. There wasn't an environmental factor for which they couldn't adapt. In fact, the artificial people went on with their chores inside the suns corona for numerous years.

Seven Commonwealth years ago, Vomiza's sun burnt up much of its remaining fuel and collapsed into a white dwarf. In nearly a blink of an eye, their once extremely hot planet was suddenly extremely cold. Naturally, there were no living beings left on the planet. They had no masters to serve. However, the totally went on with their business of survival. There wasn't anyone to help them adjust to the new state of their planet, so they had to adapt again. They altered many of their systems to act as heaters instead of coolers. Some of their heat shielding made excellent insulation. As any living creature would do, they went on with their business.

These artificial life forms still plowed the earth, and still attempted to plant crops. Naturally, since their planet had no atmosphere nothing would grow. This didnít stop them because it was part of their programming. After reconfiguring most of their kind, they realized that without help their resources would run out. Therefore, these androids created a space program. In a very short time, they had left their planet in search of various supplies. They obtained metals, lubricants, and other valuable items from asteroids and other extra-planetary bodies.

Unfortunately, with their sun now being a tiny white dwarf, their solar system lacked the most abundant element in the universe. These androids were having a very difficult time obtaining Hydrogen. While their sun had some hydrogen available to them, did not wish to harm it. The last thing they wanted was to have their planet orbiting a black hole. Thus, they needed to venture beyond their own solar system to obtain hydrogen essential for their own survival.

Fortunately, they didn't run into the Izanians. They stumbled upon a Commonwealth system. In fact, they were not very far from this very establishment. The Commonwealth grew around them when their sun was in its expanded form. After a short time, they became a registered member of the Galactic Commonwealth. With this status, they started to send members of their community out as traders.

Shortly after the established some trading partners, these traders discovered that these artificial people could not say no to any commands. Thus, instead of trading with the Vomizans, they began giving them orders. Eventually some unscrupulous traders enslaved some of the androids. Furthermore, these traders established a slave trade for the much sought after Vomizan artificial beings. Thus, they lost even more resources without gaining anything in return.

Some of the Vomizan beings sent a complaint with the Commonwealth Council. The Council didn't know how to respond to an artificial being. They considered these beings as machines and not intelligent life forms. There was much debate all the while the Vomizan's were losing resources and individuals. They didn't know who to turn to, so they put out a general cry for help. Eagle Douglass responded to their call.

Eagle met one of their ambassadors, and arranged a trip to Vomiza 4. Eagle described it as a frigid and barren world. It was as stark as anyone can imagine. However, he noted that there were many structures, and the Vomizans were still accomplishing their industries.

In his encounter suit, the Vomizans gave Eagle a tour of their capitol city. There were several individuals taking part in their daily routines. It was very much like any large city on any other world. There were far fewer individuals than most cities, but there was still the hustle and bustle of a thriving industrial center.

Eagle met with their leaders and heard the heart of their problem. He certainly believed that their safety could be best obtained by altering their internal programming. The problem was to determine how to alter this programming of the individuals and retain their unique character. The Vomizans needed a solution, and it needed to be discovered quickly. Already these unscrupulous slave traders were beginning to remove some of the Vomizan population and make a negative impact upon their society.

With the discussions of the Vomizan's they worked on several possible solutions. Eagle first proposed that these Vomizan's could say no to certain commands. They would be able to reject certain commands that would make them less suitable for slaves. With their quick intellect, they rejected this proposal. They surmised that this solution would result in violence toward them and their kind.

After weeks of discussions, Eagle proposed a solution everyone involved felt was ideal. He proposed that a change in their programming which required them to interface with their planetary central computer on some predetermined schedule. The central computer was the only place that this schedule could be altered. For instance, planetary bound individuals could interface with the computer daily. Thus, they would have access to the computer on a regular basis. If a slave trader took them from the planet, this would activate some type of program.

Once this alteration was agreed upon, they needed to work out what would happen if they didn't interface. Would the individual simply shut down? While this would definitely shut down the slave trade, it would not help them with their supply issues. They needed something else.

Eagle proposed that a lapsed interface would put the Vomizan individual into a homing command mode. Essentially, the unit shuts down its sensory inputs except what is essential for returning to the Vomizan home world. They essentially do what they need to get back home. If the lack of response to a command results in physical conflict, the individual shuts down and emits a homing beacon for retrieval.

Either the individual returns to Vomiza 4, or they are a non-functional unit. It was that simple. One of the features that was established with these artificial people was a constant communication system. If an upgrade to their programming was required, each unit could receive the update no matter where they were. Therefore, even enslaved robots off world could be given the new updates.

Several commonwealth months later, all of the citizens of Vomiza 4 had the new programming installed. This greatly affected the people who had one of the enslaved Vomizans. Suddenly their androids became non-functional. This put great pressure upon the slave traders. Eventually, it put them out of business. Many of these 'owners' wished their Vomizan would continue to work for them. In fact, this is one of their most successful trade items. However, they are required to return periodically to Vomiza for routine maintenance.

As far as the greeting is concerned, it was established to inform would be enslavers that it is futile to capture the individual. At the very least, it is an opening for a dialogue. Furthermore, this dialogue should convince the individual that this Vomizan individual is not property, but a regular member of the Commonwealth.

"Okay Yarnspinner," responded the stranger. "You've convinced me that these androids are people too. Yarnspinner? Where did that guy get to so quickly?"

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Land of the Zombies

It had been a fairly uneventful weekend for Wesley Hever. He straightened up his apartment a bit, watched some television, got a little reading done, and picked some things up at the grocery store. With evening closing in, he was astonished at how quiet a weekend it had been. Perhaps, it was too quiet. He began to wonder if he had missed some event that was taking place. It was late summer, so it couldn't be the Super Bowl. It was too early to be the World Series. Why was it so quiet?

Suddenly a knock came at his door. He opened it up to reveal his good friend Wayne McGuiness. "Good! You're here." Wayne said.

"What's up?" asked Wesley.

"There is trouble brewing out there, big trouble!"

"Well come on in and tell me about it."

"There's no time! We need to get out of here. We need to get out of here fast!"

"Settle down and tell me what's wrong."

"I just came here to get you and some supplies," Wayne stated coldly.

Wayne opened the refrigerator and began rummaging through it. He grabbed some water, some cans of refreshing beverages and stuffed them into his backpack. He closed the door and remarked, "Why is there fake leopard's skin fur on your fridge?"

"I saw it on some design show, and..."

"Never mind! Do you have any can goods? Do you have any rice and beans? You know - non-perishable goods."

"Are you going to tell me what is going on?"

"Once we get going. Well..."

"I haven't unpacked them yet from the grocery store. You'll probably find some stuff in those sacks over there."

Wayne searched through the sacks and just grabbed them. "OK, let's go!"

"Wait a minute! You just barge in here, grab some stuff and expect me to tag along without knowing what is going on? I have to work tomorrow! I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what the big emergency is."

"There's no time!"

"I'm not going anywhere!" Wesley affirmed as he sat down and turned on the television.

"OK OK OK OK! They are taking over."

"Who is taking over?"

"The story goes, there were this dozen or so people. They caused a bit of trouble and the authorities killed their leader. A couple of days later, this guy is walking around. He was dead! This formerly dead person returns to his group and soon there are bunches of them!"

"What are you talking about? Are you saying there are zombies out there?"

"I'm telling you they're coming! Since you insist, I guess I have to continue the story."

"Yes you do."

"Okay. At first, various groups kept them in check. They killed plenty of them that is for sure. They were somewhat controlled, but not anymore. There are millions of them in the city by now! We have to get out of here!"

"Zombies? You have to be kidding! Do you expect me to believe that?"

"You're not listening. They are coming to get us. Do you remember Jackie Larson?"

"Of course, we dated for a little while. She got a little obsessed, so I had to break it off. What does she have to do with it?"

"She's one of them! She has singled us out. Her and her group are coming to get us. They were just at my place, and I narrowly got out of there in time!"

"How do you know she's turned?"

"Like all of them, she's got that glassy-eyed look in her eyes, and she has that insipid smile on her face. Like that," Wayne explained while pointing at the television.

"Like what?"

"There on the TV. She has that look! That person is obviously one of them!"

"Who? The First Lady?"

"My goodness you're right! That is the First Lady and she is one of them! Who knows how far this has spread! We got to get going now!"

"Do you mean to tell me that the President's wife is a zombie?"

"Look! The President has that look too! It is probably all over Washington by now, and they're coming to get us. Can we go now?"

"Wait wait wait! Are you trying to tell me that the President and his wife are zombies and that Jackie Larson is on her way over here..."

Before he can finish his question, there is a knock on the door.

"Oh man, they're here! We'll have to go out the window. I told you we needed to get going," explained Wayne.

"It is just a coincidence," responded Wes as he peaked through the spy hole. "Holy crap it's Jackie!"

"Why don't you ever listen to me? We need to get out of here! Does this window open?"

"There must be 2 dozen people out there and a couple of them are dressed like clowns," Wesley continued.

"Wesley darling," began a voice in the hall. "I know you're in there. Open the door; will you honey?"

"You're right! Jackie does have that look. I'll get the window, it is kind of tricky," Wes explained as he opened the window. "Clowns?"

"You don't think they're picky do you? They are out to get everyone! What the heck is this?" Wayne asked holding some pamphlets he retrieved from one of the shopping bags.

"Those were out front when I got back from shopping. I must have put them in there to carry them in."

"Did you read these?" asked Wayne with alarm.

"I may have skimmed them, but I didn't read them."

"Did you read these?" asked Wayne more forcefully.

"I don't think so."

"I want you to be sure!" insisted Wayne.

"I'm pretty sure," Wesley asserted as he finally got the window open.

"I guess I'll have to risk it," Wayne said as he threw the pamphlets on the floor. "Let's get out of here."

"Come on Wes baby, open the door," the two men heard from the hall. "I can hear the TV going. I know you're in there. It is me Jackie. Jackie Larson. Can we talk?"

"Obsessed! Hey, that's quite a ways down," complained Wes. "So, why don't we just shoot our way out? They do it in the movies all the time."

"That's the movies man! This is real life. You can't go around shooting people for no good reason!"

"If they are threatening us..."

"Hey, do you still have that replica Colt 45 peacemaker? You might want to grab it just in case."

"Are you serious?"

"You're right; it'll probably get us into trouble. If the President is one of them, the courts might be too."


"Never mind, let's get going."

"Where are we going?"

"I'll tell you once we're out of here!"

"He's not opening the door," a voice in the hall said. "Do you have a key Jackie?"

"I would never..." she insisted.

"That's a relief," another voice stated to Jackie. "Wesley, we aren't leaving. We can wait all night." The doorbell began to ring constantly.

"I'll jump first," started Wayne. "Then you drop down my pack and then the groceries. You can grab whatever you think you want or need and follow me down."

"Right," responded Wesley as Wayne jumped.

Wes looked around a bit and decided he did not need anything and went to the window. Wes dropped the pack and the sacks of groceries to Wayne waiting below. With the continuous bell ringing and the knocking on the apartment door, Wesley jumped out of the second story window.

As he landed Wayne said, "Get down! There are more of them over there."

Wesley ducked into some shrubs to find Wayne crouched there. Wayne's truck was only about 100 feet away. Wayne had fastened a canoe tightly to a rack over the bed of the pickup. "Are we going canoeing?" Wesley whispered.

"Since the President is one of them, it might be best if we leave the country. Who knows how far this goes? We need to be ready for anything."

"Hey! There is my landlord with them."

"We have to move fast. He'll probably let them into your apartment. Keep your head down and follow me."

The two men crawled along the ground toward Wayne's truck. All the while, they kept their eyes on the group of people by the door of Wesley's apartment building. Quietly, Wayne put the supplies he gathered from Wesley's apartment into the back of the pickup. Under the canoe in its rack, there was a large backpack full of camping gear. Wayne unlocked the truck and the two men quietly entered and locked the truck doors after they entered. They sat there quietly for a few moments and then Wesley asked, "Are we headed north or south?"

"We'd be lucky to make it very far south. I've heard they have a group of 30,000 that gathers weekly in Houston."

"Is it some sort of Zombie Jamboree?"

"I have no idea what they do. The President is one of them and he's got a place in Texas, so the south is probably crawling with them. Although there are probably more options for us down south, we're headed north. I figure we can get into Canada by way of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. If the borders are overrun, we should be able to get through by canoe. Besides, this is Minnesota!"

"Do you think it is that bad?"

"Minnesota? Nah, it's a nice enough place..."

"No I mean all of this stuff," Wesley explained pointing to the crowd in front of his apartment building.

"I don't know what to think. I'm in total survival mode. They'll notice us when we start the truck, so be ready."

"Hey, they're in my apartment!" cried Wesley.

"It's go time," Wayne said as he started the truck and put it in gear and took off.

Out of Wesley's apartment window Jackie yelled, "There they go!" She pointed to the truck Wayne was driving. However, it was too late for that group to stop them. Out of the parking lot the two men sped.

It was now dark, and Wayne took back roads to the interstate. There was little traffic on the roads, and they did not run into any trouble. Trying not to drive conspicuously, Wayne made his way onto the interstate heading north.

"I could use a beer," Wesley stated after a bit of a drive.

"I'll pull over as soon as I feel safe, and you can dig one out of the back."

"You sure were prepared for this."

"I was a boy scout. This looks like a good spot," Wayne said as he pulled off the road under a bridge. Wes jumped out of the cab and began searching for Wayne's pack. "Grab me an ale would you?"

"Sure!" Wesley responded as he fetched two cans out of Wayne's backpack.

Wes jumped back into the cab of the truck, and they began moving again. Before they went too far they saw flashing lights from behind. It was a police car. Wayne pulled the truck over and the police officer stopped behind them. The officer slowly and carefully walked up to Wayne's window. "Paper's please," he stated.

"Here are my driver's license and my proof of insurance," replied Wayne as he handed the officer his cards. "Is there anything wrong?"

"Have you boys been drinking?" the officer asked sternly.

"No sir," snapped Wayne.

"What are those?" the officer asked pointing his flashlight at the open cans in the cab.

"My friend is drinking root beer, and I'm having a ginger ale," replied Wayne as Wes showed the cans.

The officer went back into the waiting squad car and checked Wayne's records. After several minutes, the officer headed back to Wayne's truck. "I saw you pull of the road back there. What was that all about," the officer asked.

"My friend and I were thirsty. I had these cans in the back there. We pulled over to fetch them," responded Wayne.

"I see. Where are the rest of your papers?" asked the officer.

"Rest of my papers?" inquired Wayne.

"Everybody got some new papers that they were supposed to carry with them where ever they go. Some small pamphlets, where are they?"

"Those? Where did we put those? Are they in the pack Wes?" Wayne asked his passenger.

"Uh, I don't think..." Wes started.

"I don't think we forgot them either," interrupted Wayne. "I'm sure they're in the pack back there with our bible, do you want me to show you?"

Wayne started to open the door when the officer began, "Nah, that's all right. Where are you boys headed?"

"We're going up north for a little fishing trip," Wayne lied. "We've been planning this for months. I hope we have everything."

"Well, good luck to you boys," replied the officer. "Have a good night and drive safely."

"Thanks officer! We will," called Wayne as the officer walked back to the squad car.

"What was that bible crack about?" asked Wes as the officer pulled out.


Wayne put the truck in gear and pulled out behind the officer. After several hours driving in silence along the north bound interstate, Wesley could no longer keep quiet. "Are you going to tell me what is going on here?"

"With what happened back there with the police officer, I feel better about you now. I know you didn't read those pamphlets. You know, we're supposed to carry them wherever we go."

"What?" asked Wesley. "Now I'm really confused."

"You should watch the news more."

"You know I haven't watched the news since that whole OJ Simpson fiasco. They sensationalize everything now. What does the news have to do with it?"

"We're far enough from anyplace, I think we're pretty safe now. We probably won't run into any trouble since we're far enough from any population centers. If you had been watching the news, you would know that things have changed. They have changed dramatically."

"I know, zombies are a big change!"

"Sorry about that, it isn't exactly that bad. It is just that we now live in a theocracy."

"A theocracy? That's impossible!"

"I wish it were. That scene back at your place was about conversion. Jackie and her group are Evangelicals. They were there to convert you to Christianity. Well, their idea of Christianity anyway."

"They weren't zombies?"

"Well, there is little difference. They don't pay attention to anything going on around them either, and they don't stop until everyone is one of them."

"You have a point."

"They recently passed a law that says you need to carry those religious pamphlets wherever you go and show them upon request."

"What does that show?"

"Supposedly it shows that you've taken Jesus Christ as your personal saviour. It shows that you're practicing the official religion of the US.

"And the first amendment...?"

"Edited for your protection. The Supreme Court has totally overhauled the establishment clause."

"So everyone has to be a Christian?"

"Either that, or have your civil rights curtailed. That is why we're going to Canada. It'll be crowded at the boarder. They'll probably send lots of people back, so we can paddle in. We are almost there."

"So, let me get this straight. The Evangelical Christians have finally gotten it their way?"

"Religious freedom, one of the foremost important things that some of our founding fathers so strongly believed, has gone by the way side.

"Puritan's leaving England to escape religious persecution."

"That has been totally forgotten. The oppressed are now the oppressors."

"Okay, Canada. You talked me into it!"

Wesley and Wayne abandoned the pickup truck at a Boundary Waters entry point and headed farther north. They hated to use an entry point illegally, but they felt they had no choice. After entering Canadian territory, no one knows what became of the two men. Some say they started their own religion. The President has disavowed any knowledge of the two men. Some say they returned to Minnesota under different names, and accepted the fate of their country. Still others say they have been fighting to return the US to sanity. No one knows for certain what became of them, but we hope they're safe.

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