October 2007 Archives

The Scout

Chapter 13

By Dwayne MacInnes

"So what brings you guys to Sturgis?" Wade inquired.

"The boy and I were put out of business working for the Reavers in Kansas when the scouts established the route to St. Louis," Scott replied as he sped the buggy down the old highway. Scott lashed Wade's bike to the back of the buggy. Sam sat in the small compartment between the seats and the roll bars that were perched in front of the rear mounted engine.

"Yeah, things aren't going to be the same. Scouts have been establishing routes all over the country. Soon it'll be like it was in the old days," Wade sighed. "There won't be any room for people like us anymore."

Scott just grunted noncommittally.

"You know, the old days weren't so bad. I miss watching TV or just having a Big Mac whenever I wanted," Wade continued to muse aloud.

"Do you know what I was before the Big Bang?"

Scott shook his head. The question was rhetorical for Wade soon provided the answer himself.

"I was freaking unemployed. Sure, I had the occasional odd job. But I never found something I really liked.

"Then one day the world explodes, it seems like everyone was dying off except for me. After the long winter and the initial chaos, I found my niche. I was good at surviving."

Wade suddenly broke into a long laugh, "Not like this is really surviving. I mean we are parasites living off the labors of the oppressed. But it is better than being one of the oppressed, right bro?"

Scott sat in silence for a couple of seconds as the rubble-strewn road passed under the buggy.

"Why don't you go to the other side?" Scott finally asked.

"I hear they put you in a work camp for a year somewhere on the coast before you can become a citizen. How is that better than being one of those slaves I was talking about?"

"You eventually get your freedom," Scott replied.

Wade nodded his head in silence.

"You know it is going to take more than rescuing me to get into the ranks of the Anarchists," Wade changed conversation tracks.

Scott stared out on the highway occasionally twisting the buggy around some large debris or rock that jutted from the surface of the crumbled concrete.

"Well, I guess I'll just have to present my references. I really haven't had time to get my resume in order."

Wade broke out in a genuine laugh that rocked his stocky frame. "Well, you can count me in for one of those references. Not that it'll do you any good. I have a tendency to spout my mouth off, voicing my opinions when I should keep my trap shut. You may have noticed that. I can't say I'm the most popular man in the group. But I'm still useful otherwise I'd have been a slave or dead long ago."

The sun was nearing its zenith when Scott noticed small-inhabited communities dotting amongst the hills. Men, women, and children worked in the fields wearing nothing more than rags and hacking at the ground with crude farm implements. Occasionally, a lone man with a rifle stood by overseeing the farming. As the buggy passed, everyone would momentarily stop and watch it as it sped down crumbled road.

Wade muttered under his breath. His face darkened as he looked upon the fields. "Still better than being one of those poor bastards," Scott barely heard Wade mutter over the hum of the engine.

"Up ahead is Fort Meade, just drive casually and don't get itchy. There'll send out a couple of escorts," Wade warned.

Soon a couple of motorcycles pulled up beside the buggy as they drove past the old Fort Meade Veterans Hospital. Wade quickly broke into a smile and waved at the men in hopes that they would decide not to open fire.

"You'd do well to let these men escort us to the gate. Sturgis should be only a few miles up the road," Wade offered.

The motorcyclists broke up their formation letting one lead in front of the buggy and the other trailing behind. Wade was good to his word for soon the small party approached a battered town. There were guards standing in front of a chain-linked gate that separated the town from the grasslands without.

The motorcyclists pulled behind the buggy as Scott brought the small vehicle to a stop in front of the gate. One of the guards dressed in a mishmash of clothing approached with an M-16 on his shoulder.

"Wade, good to see you," the guard said. "I see you brought some friends."

"Well, my bike broke down some ways back and these gents were kind enough to save me from some muties as well as give me a lift home."

"Where do you hail from?" the guard asked Scott.

"We used to belong to the Reavers down in Kansas until our operation was ended by those damned scouts. I heard there was some work for my type up here so I grabbed the boy and headed north."

"Hmmm," the guard nodded. "Not many Reavers survived that I hear. You're the first I've seen. But we have strict rules. I can't let you in. You'll have to work the fields for a time."

"Oh, come on Joe," Wade smiled, "the man's good. I swear by it. I've seen him take out five muties in rapid secession. We could really use him."

The guard stroked his stubbled chin. "I'm sorry Wade, you know the boss. I need more proof than his and your word."

Scott's stomach started to churn. Things could not get much worse he figured.

"If you need proof," Sam shot up from the back of the buggy. "How about this?"

The guard's jaw dropped and his eyes nearly popped out of his head. Wade muttered a small curse and Scott's stomach churned even worse as Sam presented in his outstretched hand, Scott's Scout badge to the guard. Scott was wrong -- things could get worse.

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Deus Ex Aleatorium

Meet Ashley Sky

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Ashley Sky was like any other freshman at the University of Minnesota Morris -- except for the killing -- and the fact that she was almost a hundred years older than most of them. Other than those minor details, she blended in fine with the blond haired, blue-eyed freshman that is all too common in Minnesota.

The fact that her name had been Anglicanized from Aaeschleigh Przchsckieia to Ashley Sky indicates that she was not from the same Nordic decent as the others. In fact, she was born in 1896 in the town of Sibenik in what is now Croatia. When she was born, it was under the rule of the Habsburg Monarchy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

On her 19th birthday, the Italians decided to enter the First World War with a bang. They had declared war just 3 days prior, and they sent a dirigible laden with bombs across the Adriatic Sea. Thus, Ashley's first "death" came when this Italian dirigible dropped bombs on her home on May 26, 1915. This raid cemented her age at 19. Her kind does not age after their first encounter with massive bodily damage. Thus, she would be eternally 19 -- both a curse and a blessing.

When the end of times had begun, it was her job to battle the lesser members of the illuminati. She had a reasonable amount of success. It is hard to have people simply vanish without notice, but she covered her tracks well. Fortunately, zombie corpses decompose faster and cleaner than human corpses. Thus, headless bodies of her victims had never been discovered.

Further, both sides of this "battle" understood the rules. Hence, when a member of their faction vanishes, it is never reported to authorities. Nevertheless, it will be secretly investigated, and if possible, avenged. Not to mention, they can assign that name to another individual for continuing the cover.

Some of the undead members of society take a hard road, they become well known. This affords them the comfort of a more invulnerable life. After all, you cannot walk up to the Vice President of the United States and cut his head off. People will notice that sort of thing. However, they often have to fake aging and eventually arrange some sort of death. In this day and age, people would notice someone who lived for more than 100 years, but looked 19.

In addition, if you are an extremely wealthy proprietor of an international hotel chain, you cannot go around lopping people's heads off willy-nilly. However, your children might be able to get away with it. Furthermore, these heirs to hotel fortunes can get close to famous members of the alternative faction and potentially drag them out of the spotlight.

These fallen celebrities sometimes decide to attend a college in some out of the way location. This is the realm of Ashley Sky. Under multiple aliases, she has attended dozens of universities worldwide. She was currently assigned a target at the University of Minnesota Morris. Her target had emerged from rehab a year earlier and enrolled in classes at this small liberal arts college.

Since her major was of little importance, she decided to study biology under the widely known Professor Paul Z. Myers. His internet presence influenced both sides of this secret war. His understanding of the universe's rules towards biology, won him a great following among the zombies in the know. The god of light would be pleased.

However, his knowledge of evolution and his unspoken nature, caused the ire of many followers of the religions established by the illuminati. This fact led the likes of Ashley to admire him. He was on neither side of the conflict, and admired by both. He was a rare human indeed.

His introduction to biology class was challenging, but Ashley had taken several like it before. Her goal was to do well, but not exceedingly so. She did not wish to stand out, so she could sneak out quietly.

In her line, she could not stay in one place for too long. She would have to move on at the end of the semester. Perhaps she would have to fake a problem with her visa and return to Croatia. She did not know what her next assignment would be, so she could enjoy Morris Minnesota for a while.

Her target was a former member of a famous "boy band" who had run into trouble with drugs and alcohol. Like so many members of the rules and regulation illuminati, he found the restrictions to great. Hence, once shown the joy of a life without rules, he was unable to stop himself. Thus, he tumbled from grace and found himself studying Speech Communications in an isolated town in Minnesota.

His superiors hoped the isolation would settle him down and give him a break from the pressures of large city life. However, their plan played directly into Ashley's hands. The isolation allowed her a certain amount of cover. In addition, she find it easier to gain his attention in such a small population.

After researching his movements for several weeks, she ran into him at a campus event. With her full report of him, she could speak of similar interests and the like. She had become a very skillful stalker.

When they met, he introduced his girlfriend. Did the illuminati arrange a chaperone for him? For some, it would be trouble; but for Ashley, it was going to be a bonus -- two for one. After all, it was war.

With this turn of events, she turned her attention to the female. It would be easier to befriend his girlfriend than to tear him away from her. She also wished to determine that she was indeed a member of the illuminati and not an innocent bystander.

As the semester pressed on, her friendship with the female had grown. Ashley's superiors had positively identified the woman as a member of the enemy faction. Thus, Ashley Sky could put her plan into action. These two undead monsters would die.

She had met a man who was graduating at the Semester break. The senior was looking for transport back to his home in Las Vegas. She informed him that she needed to return her uncle's car back to him. If he could drive it, she would greatly appreciate it. She arranged a pickup location, so he could leave at his leisure after the semester ended.

With that taken care of, she began seeing a mortal. This tag along mortal was her escort for double dates. This allowed her more free access to the pair as a couple. They went to a couple university concerts and recitals as a foursome. The semester break was approaching, and it would be the perfect cover to have the couple drop out of school and elope. Well, at least that is how it would appear.

After finals had ended, Professor Myers threw an end of the semester party at his house for his students. The plan was for the two couples to get together at this party. It was a major happening in Morris, and practically everyone would be there.

Early in the evening, Ashley fainted in front of a large contingent there. She was awakened by smelling salts and asked to be taken home. Her escort complied. With an alibi established, she was free to complete her mission.

The zombie couple left the party early as to not induce his established weakness. With the smallness of the town, they did not have to drive as they could easily walk to the house they were renting. Inside waited Ashley.

Both sides of this conflict used bladed weapons. They were silent and in the proper hands could easily decapitate the opponent. As everyone knows, decapitation was the only way to kill these undead monsters. While a shotgun blast to the face could be effective, there was no way to be sure it would work. Also, it is difficult to explain something like that away to authorities unless you are in a position of great power.

They never suspected their friend Ashley of actually being one of their nemeses. With a few swipes of her sword, the pair was easily dispatched. They had little time to cry out or contemplate their fate. They fell with a couple of thuds, and their heads rolled a short distance away from their bodies' resting place.

With the disposal of the car already arranged, she put the bodies in the trunk of the car and cleaned up their house. She parked the car at the arranged spot, and early in the morning, she returned to her apartment. She was careful to make her way there without anyone seeing her.

Several weeks later the car was found in Las Vegas and thoroughly searched. No one knew where the occupants were, but the car turned up clean. Everyone in Morris assumed the pair dropped out of school and eloped. Thus, Ashley's job was finished, and she transferred to the Twin Cities campus for her next assignment.

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The Scout

Chapter 14

By Dwayne MacInnes

Scott watched as if in slow motion the guard start to bring his assault rifle to bear on the scout. He knew he could not hope to pull his .357 Magnum from his holster in time. Not to mention killing the two guards, Wade, and the motorcyclists. They were in dire straits.

"My dad shot one of those bastards down in Wichita. He gave me this as a souvenir," Sam said to the guard.

Scott now noticed that his once shiny steel badge was now worn and dirty. He realized now what it was the boy had been working on when they first set out in the buggy.

The guard's face nearly split as he whispered, "Holy sh..."

"Damn, you are one useful S.O.B." Wade laughed.

"Now Joe you have to let him in," Wade continued. "Good against muties and U.S. Scouts that is something you don't find everyday."

The guard caught in a moment of indecision blurted, "How do we know he's not a scout?"

Wade broke into his infectious laugh again, "Are you kidding? It would be suicide for a scout to march in here. Plus, a scout would have no reason to save my sorry butt."

"I suppose you are right. OK, you may enter, but he's your responsibility Wade. Anything, and I mean *anything funny* happens and it is on your head.

"You better to take him to Taylor. He'll decide whether to sign him up or not."

The guard returned to the gate and pulled it open. Scott restarted the buggy and pulled it into the battered town.

Wade acted as navigator as Scott attempted to negotiate the broken roads. The town that once housed over 6,000 people before the Big Bang now was a former shadow of itself. Since that fateful day over a decade ago, it had fallen into decay. Several wooden structures had burned down, and some brick buildings had collapsed. However, it was evident that some urban renewal was taking place. The roads were clear and those buildings that had withstood the test of time were in good repair.

After a few minutes of driving, Wade had Scott pull the buggy into a parking lot on the north side of town. The lot belonged to an old warehouse that sported several rough looking guards. Scott noticed many motorcycles, buggies, and various automobiles parked in the lot.

Wade climbed out of the buggy after the engine died and stretched his thick limbs. Sam scampered out of his cramped area and seemed no worse for wear as he scanned the surrounding area in awe. Scott walked over to Wade patting some of the road dust off his faded denim jacket and leather pants.

Wade smiled as Scott neared, "This is where Taylor will be found. I have to warn you of a couple of things first. One is that Taylor is second in command; Moose Van Dyke is the real leader here. But Taylor is in charge of recruiting so try not to ruffle his feathers. Secondly, you may want to leave the boy near the buggy. This building is a slave pen. I don't think your son will want to see what happens inside.'

Scott thought about it for a second, "No, Sam comes along. I want him with me until...I'm more comfortable with our situation."

Wade chuckled, "Fair enough."

The trio walked across the broken asphalt toward the large building. There were loading docks off to one side and a doublewide door off to the other. Two burley guards, who resembled Hells Angels, stood in front of them with their M-16s at the ready.

"What's up Wade?" one of the large men grunted.

"I've brought a recruit for Taylor," Wade smiled.

"It may be a little while before you can see him. The auction is about to begin."

"That's fine, maybe I'll find something I like," Wade laughed.

"Yeah right," sneered the other guard. "You never bid on anything. Some folks say you don't like slaves."

"Well, that's my problem," Wade said instantly going from jovial to gruff. "Nothing says I have to like it and nothing says I have to own any."

"As long as it remains nothing," warned the first guard. "You and your friends may enter."

The interior was dank and dusty. The only light came from torches and lanterns situated inside. There were some pens made of chain link fencing at the back of the warehouse. In front of the pens was a large stage where a man stood describing the bidding rules in a loud voice to the audience of over hundred people between Scott and the stage.

Scott sucked inwardly as he noticed the people in the pens. The pens appeared to separate the slaves by age and sex. All wore only a sheet or robe. The gaunt faces looked forlornly out from behind the metal barrier.

"Today we have three beauties up for bid," the auctioneer bellowed from the stage. Scott was not paying too close attention he was busy scanning the cage containing a small group of girls running in ages from about five to eighteen. He was about to nudge Sam if to see if he recognized any of them when he felt a tug on his arm.

Scott looked around and noticed Sam. His face was red with rage and he was staring at the stage. "It's Mary," he hissed between clenched teeth.

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Nothing Doing

By Dwayne MacInnes

Dayton, Ohio. October 23, 1954, 2:53 PM. Ranson Research Labs

Dr. Reeve rapped his knuckles lightly on the closed door. The plain white door in the plain white wall was similar to the one belonging to Dr. Reeve's laboratory except this one had "Dr. David Poole" stenciled in black on the opaque window.

"Enter, enter," an excited voice answered from the other side.

Dr. Reeve swung the door open and entered the sterile room. The lab also resembled Reeve's lab. Worktables cluttered with a medley of apparatus pertaining to whatever the researcher was currently working on. On the walls were attached various charts and clipboards holding sheets of data.

Like Reeve, Dr. Poole was wearing the ubiquitous lab coat covering a white dress shirt, black tie and black slacks. The coat's pockets stuffed with pens, markers, slide-rule and a sundry of various small implements made Dr. Poole look like a walking advertisement for an office supply store.

"Dave, I came as soon as I could break away," Dr. Reeve said. "By your message I assume it is something important."

"Yes! Yes, very important, Frank," Dr. Poole replied. "Here take a seat."

Dr. Reeve sat down on the metal folding chair that Dr. Poole offered. The excited Poole then walked to the wall and flipped the light switch. Darkness completely enveloped the room.

"What do you see?" Poole asked his excitement barely contained.

"I can't see anything, Dave" Reeve responded.

"Of course not!" snapped Dr. Poole. "That is what Jenkins is working on next door."

"OH!" exclaimed Reeve. "I see it now. You did it! I see nothing."

Dr. Poole flipped the lights back on. Then he snatched a clipboard off the wall.

"Look at these figures," Poole gave the clipboard to Dr. Reeve.

Dr. Reeve pulled his black framed glasses out of his shirt pocket unfolded them and placed them on his face. He then meticulously flipped through the white sheets one after another. Not a page had anything written on it.

"Nothing. Absolutely nothing," Reeve responded.

"Years of research and thousands in grant moneys well spent," beamed Dr. Poole. "You know it was Arthur Jenkins who put me on the right path."

"What's he working on again?" asked Dr. Reeve.

Poole snorted, "He's working on anything and everything. Of course he hasn't found anything yet."

"Well, I'm afraid I'm still searching for something. Looks like you've got us beat Dave."

Dr. Poole again started to get excited, "Just think of it. The blind can see it. The deaf can hear it and the dumb can speak it! It's truly an amazing breakthrough."

"Are there any negative effects?" probed Dr. Poole.

Dr. Poole took on a downcast look, "Well, Frank. It is stronger than God."

Dr. Reeve sternly looked over at Poole. "We better be careful to whom we give it to."

"Quite, quite," Poole said thoughtfully.

Dr. Reeve stood up and shook Poole's hand. "Congratulations, Dave. I assume you'll be a very wealthy man now."

Poole looked down at the floor, "Yeah, there' been a snag in that."

"Oh, I can't believe that. You know the lab allows you to patent any discoveries from your research as long as it gets exclusive distribution rights," Reeve consoled Poole.

"Yes, I've already looked into that," Poole said somberly. "That's why I've asked you over today."

"I'm afraid I don't quite follow." Reeve said scratching his head, "You've already found nothing. I'm still working on something and Jenkins is still looking for anything and everything."

"Well, I'm afraid I got so wrapped in the research of nothing I neglected to check out certain patent rules," Poole said forlornly. "I went down to the office to patent my discovery and the clerk asked me if I hand anything to patent. I snorted at that because he must have thought I was Jenkins. Anyway, I replied I had nothing. He then said I must at least have something."

"Hmmm...that is a setback," Reeve said.

"Yeah, I have nothing to patent and it cannot be patented. So I was wondering if maybe..." Dr. Reeve looked down at the floor.


"This is a bit embarrassing, and I rather ask you than Jenkins -- but -- would you -- um -- like some -- er -- help looking for something?"

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Deus Ex Aleatorium

Equalizing the Rule Breach

By Douglas E. Gogerty

With what the god of light felt was an impending loss of a wager, it was determined to change the criteria. According to its interpretation, it was not cheating to influence the living beings in a certain regard. Thus, a human female was impregnated.

The female was a slave, living under the rule of a great monarch. She did not wish her offspring to live in these conditions. Further, she could not afford to raise the child herself. She was lamenting her fate and bemoaning what she would have to do. When the child was still a babe of three months, she could wait no longer. She placed the young boy in a small vessel made from bulrushes and placed it in the river to sail away.

Further down the river, the daughter of the reigning monarch retrieved the child. She hired a wet nurse for the child and raised him as her own. The baby grew into adulthood in the monarch's palace.

After an incident, the young adult left the palace and began a life as a normal human of that time. He wed and tended the flocks of his father-in-law. However, he always felt he should do something about the suffering people of the kingdom where he was raised.

One day he observed a bright light emanating from something that appeared to be a shrub. The god of light came to speak with him. It gave the man instructions on freeing the suffering people of the kingdom.

After several plagues on the kingdom, the chosen people of the lord of light made an exodus of the monarchy. Running away from the pursuing army, the chosen people made it through a revealed path in a large body of water. The army did not make it through before the water returned, and the son of the lord of light led his people into the desert.

No longer enslaved by the monarch, the people still suffered greatly. However, they believed in their leader. They wandered looking for a land that was flowing with dairy products and had an abundance of apiaries. With regular conferences with the lord of light, the man wrote several scrolls containing the rules and regulations for the people to follow. This made the god of light very happy.

For nearly a hundred years, the man led his people. While they tried to follow all of the rules written, they were not completely successful. However, they were the chosen people of the lawgiver. Thus, they felt blessed.

However, at the age of 120, the man left his people to their own ways. It was time to let these people live without direct influence from the lord of light. For several years, he watched and wrote about those chosen people. Eventually, he gave the scrolls to his people. In that way, they could read the laws in effort to follow them more closely.

The man wandered off and lived a quiet solitary life. He spoke often with his father, the god of light, but he did not want to interfere with the people any longer. Both of them let them grow.

For 1500 years, the god of the darkness was unaware of the intervention of the god of light. The people given the laws had flourished. They had their difficulties and triumphs. They had their powerful times and their times of great despair. While they were a stronghold of the god of light; nonetheless, the god of darkness was still prevailing.

After that time, the tribes lived under Roman rule. These Romans were not followers of the god of light. They had erected their gods out of the chaos. Hence, the civilized pagans of the Roman Empire were ruling over the chosen people. The god of light did not wish this to stand.

The god of light spoke to his son made flesh, it asked the ancient man to return to his people. He had dabbled as a prophet, so he was not completely without contact with his people. This time, he came to them as their new ruler. The Roman Emperor also recognized him as such.

He rebuilt their great temple, and stabilized the chaos that had ruled them under Roman occupation. He performed great works for the chosen people.

The problem was that the god of light was not as careful as he had been previously. The god of darkness observed the interference. After a brief contemplation, the god decided not to press the issue. Instead, the lord of darkness would even out the situation by conceiving a son of his own with a mortal.

When the god of light discovered the equalization of representation, it did not wish the child to reach maturity. The god of light used its power to shine a star in the sky above the locale where the child was born. Its son sent several of his most important and wise lieges to the child to do great harm to him. However, none of the sent assassins could bring themselves to kill the innocent babe. Instead, they showered the child with gifts.

This son, enraged by the actions of his people, ordered the death of every son under the age of two in the area to be killed. However, the new immortal boy escaped the slaughter. He searched for the child, whose name was Judas for nearly a year but was unsuccessful.

The king realized he lost that battle, and he should take a new identity to compete with an equal footing of the newborn. Thus, he would need to fake his own death like he had done so many times before.

He quite enjoyed the tale of the virgin birth and the star. Thus, he co-opted it for his next identity. He would change the name of the babe from Judas to Jesus, and take on that role. It would be several years before they would be able to compete directly. Thus, little is spoken of this period.

Nonetheless, the two men did meet and became fast friends. They both became teachers. Together, they would wander the area speaking their good words. Each would influence the other's speeches. They greatly admired each other, and garnered a great following.

In the end, they both betrayed the other. They both got in trouble with the authorities, and on one day they both would be executed.

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The Scout

Chapter 15

By Dwayne MacInnes

Scott followed Sam's gaze up to the platform where the auctioneer was standing. The man was holding the sheet that once covered the young woman who stood next to him. She had to be in her early twenties, but the resemblance to Sam was almost uncanny. The beautiful nude woman stood there in front of the crowd shivering in shame and fright.

"This lady here will make a good maid," the auctioneer bellowed. "She is young, strong and healthy."

The auctioneer forced Mary to turn completely around for the audience. Her long black hair swirled in the air as she turned. "I am sure I do not need to describe her other qualifications," the auctioneer laughed. "I shall now begin the bidding at five rounds or one can."

Wade leaned over to Scott and whispered lowly in his ear, "Money's no good now days, so everything's price is determined by bullets or food. Rifle cartridges and human canned goods are the highest form of currency. Pistol rounds and pet food are lower. One can of human food equal five rounds of rifle ammunition."

"I bid five rounds," one man yelled.

"I have five rounds here," hollered the auctioneer.

"Two cans and five rounds," another countered.

"Those better be two cans of human not pet like you did last time, Burke," warned the auctioneer.

"Two cans human, and five rounds rifle," the man named Burke clarified.

"Twenty rounds," a third man offered.

"I have twenty rounds for this beauty. Are there any other takers?" the auctioneer worked the crowd.

"Four cans and five rounds," the first man shouted to regain the bid.

"Six cans," a big man sitting at a table near the stage bellowed before the auctioneer could acknowledge the previous bid. The crowd hushed. Scott figured that this was a rather large bid.

"I have six cans, do I have any other offers?" the auctioneer asked. The crowd remained mute.

"Will anyone give me six cans, five rounds?" the auctioneer queried the crowd.

"It is too early in the auction for me to blow money like that," a man yelled to the auctioneer. Many of his fellows nodded their heads in agreement.

"Very well, six cans going once...going twice...sold for six cans," the auctioneer concluded by draping the sheet back onto Mary's shoulders before she was escorted off the stage.

Scott marked the man who had purchased Mary before giving Sam a reassuring squeeze. Wade stared ahead towards the stage. Scott thought he heard a low throaty groan come from the stocky man.

After two and half hours of bidding, the auctioneer sold the myriad of slaves. Many of the young strong men were to be field workers, as were some of the more stout females. Most of the women however were termed 'maids' and were sold obviously to add to one's harem or as breeding stock.

What sickened Scott the most was that some of the young boys were sold to become eunuchs to serve as personal guards as they matured. He did not want to dwell on what would happen to the young girls. Scott felt an unbridled rage building in his gut. It took all of his effort to force it back down deep inside of him.

"I guess it is time to introduce you to Taylor," Wade said with a little remorse in his voice.

Scott nodded and gripped Sam's hand tightly as Wade led them forward. Scott did not want to risk losing his grip on the boy for the fear of becoming separated from him. If that happened, one of these people could mistake him for a slave.

The crowd of bidders stood around talking to each other in small groups as Wade made his way through the throng. Finally, the three made their way to the base of the raised stage where there was the table Scott noticed earlier. A small lamp burned on its surface giving off scant light. A group of four men was in deep conversation on the other side of the table when Wade approached.

Wade cleared his voice and the four men turned towards him.

"Mr. Taylor I have found a man interested in becoming one of the Anarchists," Wade continued.

Scott stepped forward and tried to make out the faces of the men in the dim light. It was difficult to see in the deep shadows.

"Very well," one of the men replied as he stepped closer to the table. "What are his qualifications?"

"He's a former member of the Reavers down in Kansas, he saved my life last night when my bike broke down on patrol, and he has personally killed a United States Scout," Wade replied.

"Wade, I need more proof than that. I am sure he saved your life, but how do I know he isn't lying about the other two?" the shadowed man named Taylor asked.

"I figure lying is a quality you would appreciate," Scott interrupted Wade. The once boisterous crowd silenced and turned their attention to the exchange between Scott and Taylor. Taylor took a step back, obvious surprised by Scott's response. Before Wade could remind Scott not to ruffle Taylor's feathers Scott added, "I cannot prove my first claim however I can the last." Scott tossed the worn steel badge at Taylor.

The dark man grabbed the badge in midair and studied it. Everyone was now paying attention to the two men. Low whispers broke out from the crowd as Taylor weighed the evidence presented to him.

"Son, I like the way you do business. Welcome aboard," Taylor said as he shot his hand out. Scott grabbed his hand and pumped it in a firm handshake.

Taylor bent forward and the light from the table revealed his broad grinning face, "I think we are going to get along just fine."

Scott hid his surprise as he stared into the smiling face of the man who had just purchased Sam's older sister.

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Deus Ex Aleatorium

Meet Tyler Vencedor

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Tyler Vencedor was the top hunter-killer the illuminati had. He was the only son of Antonio Canovas del Castillo, and was in Santa Agueda when Michele Angiolillo shot his father.

The bullet in his father's head was not going to kill the immortal member of the illuminati; however, it was going to be debilitating. Thus, he watched in horror as his uncle decapitated the 69 year-old Spanish statesman.

The story was that Angiolillo was an anarchist, but everyone in the family knew he was a vampire. Tyler watched the death sentence carried out on Angiolillo by garotte. While this device does not normally decapitate, it did in this instance, and Spain banned public executions from this point on.

With Tyler's first experience in the conflict between the illuminati and the vampires, Tyler had proclaimed vengeance upon all vampires. Thus, he trained hard to be the best fighter. His first death came at 21 in combat training.

He was born Teodora Canovas Del Castillo in Madrid Spain in 1886. Nine months earlier, his father had resigned as Prime Minister. In his first few years, he saw a great deal of his father. However, his father was a politician and was elected Prime Minister again.

With this great pride of his heritage, he hated to give up his name. However, to perform his job, he needed to be discrete. Thus, like many of his kind, he constantly changed his name, but some Spanish influence often remained in the names he took.

When the end of times finally arrived, he was in the Pakistan. He used the troubled times there to great effect. Practically anonymous, he presided over a number of beheadings. Under his watch, all the known vampires in Pakistan were eliminated. He was even involved in a few high profile incidents, but no one implicated him in any of them.

With his successes in the Middle East, the important individuals in the illuminati sent him to the United States. They hoped that he could do the same there; however, the foe's numbers were far greater in the US.

With his age permanently affixed at 21, his options were great. He could pass in any large number of situations. He was often mistaken for a professional athlete. However, he did not get involved in sports in order to avoid the notoriety. He had tried out for the University of Nebraska football team, and he made the grade as a walk-on. However, when he finished his assignment there before football season started, he moved on.

He eventually ended up in New York City. He avoided the famous members of the vampire set, but he managed a series of decapitations. He became slightly cavalier about the task, and the police found one of his victims.

He was at Madison Square Garden and took care of one of his vampire nemeses in the parking garage. Fortunately, he hid his sword in the garage rather than have it on his person. Before he could exit the garage, a New York police officer took him into custody.

Without a murder weapon, they did not have enough evidence against him, and had no choice but to release him. For some reason, they did not believe his theory that it was a suicide. His superiors wanted to move him to a different venue, but the police would not let him leave town.

He managed to retrieve his sword without incident, but the police dogged him continuously. He had other vampires on his list, but he dared not visit them. Nonetheless, someone killed a few of these vampires while Tyler was under investigation.

The evidence was mounting against Tyler, and it was beginning to look bad for him. Being constantly under surveillance should have exonerated him, but for some reason, it was not the case.

Eventually, someone contacted him to meet him in a warehouse. He made sure his police escort followed him, but went unarmed. Inside was a large vampire who had Tyler on *his* list. Tyler knew it was inevitable, but he was surprised at the size of his foe.


The large man was slow and clumsy, but he wielded a hefty Scottish Claymore. Tyler ducked and ran to avoid the large man's sword. The enormous man swung the sword wildly in the hope to catch the wily young man.

Tyler found a pipe on the ground to help protect himself. However, when the sword hit the pipe, he fell to the ground trying to absorb the contact. The sword packed a mighty blow, and it took chunks out of the pipe with each successful hit.

The scene was looking bleak as Tyler was beginning to tire. The dodging and ducking could not go on forever. Luckily, the mighty vampire was also beginning to wear out. It was time for Tyler to take a chance.

He rushed the giant to get too close for the vampire to swing his sword effectively. The man attempted to push Tyler away. This effort allowed Tyler to put the pipe against the claymore and between his hands. In this configuration, he jumped behind the vampire. Thus, the large man had the long sword handle with both of his hands. The sword sat diagonally across his chest with the pipe holding it above his right shoulder.

The enormous vampire pulled and pulled, but the chink in the pipe held the sword in place. Tyler was practically hanging on his back. Slowly, the sword reached the shoulder of Tyler's foe. He continued to pull and pull with his opponent attempting to wrest his sword free.

Tyler had the advantage of leverage and the sword began to cut the vampire's neck. Eventually, the huge man could no longer hold on and let go. The mighty sword lodged in his spine. Tyler kicked the legs out from under him, and down he went. By a fortunate set of circumstances, the sword caught on a box and managed to decapitate his foe.

With his aching muscles, Tyler collapsed on the floor. His police escort waited for backup before entering the warehouse. Thus, the fight was over before the police entered. Fortunately for Tyler, the entire fight was caught on the security cameras and his tail had viewed the entire thing.

Much of the physical evidence on the bodies had miraculously disappeared. The bodies had decomposed at an unexpected rate. Thus, the police assumed that the large man was responsible for the decapitations. Tyler was exonerated and free to leave.

The illuminati wanted him to have a low profile, so they sent him to Minnesota to lay low for a while. They suggested that he take some classes at the University of Minnesota for fun. The important people in the illuminati ordered him to rest. They would take some time to determine his next course of action. Thus, he took the name of Tyler Vencedor and moved to Saint Paul.

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The Scout

Chapter 16

By Dwayne MacInnes

"Wade, I need to talk to..." Taylor paused.

"Scott Duncan" Scott replied.

"Yes, thank you Mr. Duncan. Wade I need to check Mr. Duncan's credentials myself. You may want to show the man's son where they will be bunking and give him a tour of the town while we consult on some business."

Sam shot a frightened look up to Scott. "Don't worry son, I'll take good care of you," Wade reassured the boy.

Scott looked into Wade's eyes and then he looked down at Sam, "It'll be OK, Sam." Scott looked back into Wade's eyes sternly warning him that it better be OK.

"Nothing to worry about, I owe you my life," Wade laughed.

Scott watched as Sam and Wade disappeared in the crowd as Taylor relayed some last minute instructions to a subordinate.

"Take my acquisition to my chambers; I'll be there later tonight." The subordinate bowed and left the two men alone.

"Well, Mr. Duncan I need to see if you are indeed Anarchist material," Taylor finally said as the two men started to exit the warehouse. He led Scott a few blocks past the warehouse to an old abandoned strip mall. In the parking lot, in front of a brick wall -- riveted with bullet holes -- stood some woodened cutouts in the shape of people. There were various lines painted on the concrete at regular intervals from the targets.

Taylor stopped Scott a few yards from the farthest line before the target and motioned towards the shooting range. "You may show me your stuff."

"Will this be on your dime or mine?" Scott asked the recruiter as he hefted his .357.

"Well, I don't expect you to come loaded for bear, especially if you just made your way north through the Wastes. Here take mine," Taylor said holding out a black Colt M1911-A1.

Colt M1911-A1

Scott smiled and took the automatic pistol, he ejected and checked the clip and when satisfied slapped it back into the handle. Scott pulled back the slide chambering a round.

Taylor stepped back and waved a hand towards the wooden targets. "You can fire from any one of those lines..."

Before Taylor could finish speaking Scott fired off the entire seven round magazine in quick succession at the targets from where he originally stopped. The gunfire ripped through the air with a deafening blast. Smoke and the smell of exhausted gunpowder emanated from the spent pistol. The brass shells fell to the ground with a light tinking noise.

Scott looked over at Taylor. The big man smiled smugly back. "You know you may have wanted to get a little closer. You are about 75 yards from the targets. I doubt you could have hit anything from there."

Scott just shrugged his shoulders and returned the pistol to Taylor handle first. Taylor accepted the automatic and then marched up to the targets as Scott started collecting the spent shells. It was common practice to pick up any loose brass shells. Finding bullets and reloading rounds were two different things. After the Big Bang, almost everyone knew how to reload rounds because the likelihood of one finding the right caliber round for one's weapon was remote at best.

After Scott finished he walked up to Taylor who was standing in front of the targets. He was shaking his head and speaking to himself in a low voice.

"Impossible," was all Scott heard as he stood next to Taylor.

"Well, did I pass?" Scott asked.

Taylor shook his head to bring himself back to the present. He looked a Scott in amazement and then pointed towards the targets. "You hit every one of them."

Scott smiled and looked at the seven targets he shot at. Just as he knew, every target had a bullet hole where their hearts would have been if they were living human beings. Scott shoved the casings into Taylor's hand.

"I think it is about time you meet Moose," Taylor said with obvious awe in his voice.

Taylor then led Scott to an old retail building that belonged to the vacant mall. The door swung open with ease and Scott was ushered into the middle of the store. What little light penetrated the interior issued from the glass doors they had just entered. Scott peered around the old store. Old mannequins were scattered about the store casting eerie shadows. Empty clothing racks and boxes littered the interior.

"You stay here, I will get Moose," Taylor said before he marched away into the darkness. Scott heard him open a door and then close it behind him.

Scott stood where he was for a few minutes. The naked mannequins were his only companions. The store was silent and still. Scott did not know how long he was supposed to wait there in the middle of the store alone. He was about to go and try to find Taylor when he thought he heard a noise.

At first Scott thought, maybe it was Taylor returning. However, the big man did not materialize. Then Scott thought he noticed movement. Maybe it was the trick the light, for he was sure he saw one of the mannequins move. Then he felt a presence approaching behind him.

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Deus Ex Aleatorium

The Last Reconfiguration

By Douglas E. Gogerty

With the god of light being caught bending the rules yet again, a new set of rules were going to be applied to the situation. Since both gods had created an immortal, both sides could start out equally.

The first change made was that some of the offspring of the immortal children would inherit their parent's immortality. However, these children would be sterile. Only the mortal offspring could have children of their own. Some of these children would be mortal and some would be immortal.

In this way, two groups were created. The children of the god of light called themselves the illuminati, but the history books -- when noted -- called them zombies. This is because they would always arise from the dead. Further, they would remain the age of their first "death."

The children of the god of darkness did not name themselves. Labels were for rule-makers and followers. However, the history books called them vampires for their lawlessness and their appreciation of the darkness.

Another rule change was the creation of minions. These groups always would have followers and hangers-on, but any immortal member of the group could create an official minion.

A bite from one of the immortals was all that was required to create a minion. These minions would also be sterile, but would be long lived. Thus, they would have many of the powers of their masters; however, they would be much easier to kill.

The only way to kill one of the immortals was to separate the brain from the rest of the body. That is, to decapitate him or her. However, with the destruction of one of the major organ systems, a minion would die. I wound to the heart or the destruction of both lungs is the type of injury that would kill a minion.

One of these types of wounds would only immobilize an immortal until he or she could repair the wound. Thus, a wooden stake through the heart of a vampire would continuously immobilize an immortal until someone removed the stake and the injury repaired.

Another rule was for the gods. Either god could interfere with the workings of the world; however, someone would have to ask for the change. Further, the gods would be a long distance away. Hence, these "prayers" would take six trips of the moon around the planet before fulfillment. The gods could not answer any smiting of enemies requests or negative prayers of any kind.

With the propensity of the god of light bending the rules, the wager would be completely forfeit if any impropriety was detected. Both gods would watch each other very closely.

However, they established a time limit. With each generation of children born from each of the immortals, a few would be mortal. When the 666th mortal was born, this brought about the end of times. Or, was it the 616th? Neither god could recall the correct number. They thought they wrote it down somewhere, but they were not sure which copy was the correct one.

Nevertheless, whatever the number, this child would be the last mortal. He or she would bare the mark of the beast. Since only the mortals born of either group could have children, ultimately, only immortals would be left. It would be up to the remaining immortals what would transpire at this time.

They could play last one standing. They could decapitate every member of the opposition, and the remaining individuals would win the wager for his or her god. In this way, there would be only one winner, and it would definitely be determined.

If they did not wish to eliminate each other, they could call it a game. The gods could count the followers of each group, and the one with the most would be the winner. Minions and immortals would not count.

When the last mortal was born, the ancestors of the gods determined which course to take. However, the message of the god of darkness had infiltrated one group. The god of light was all about following rules. Its followers would have to follow a large number of rules written for them in a religious text.

The message of Judas was that only one rule was important. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This was his "golden rule". In a sneaky maneuver, he laced Christianity with this single rule. Thus, the god of light could not count all Christians in its number.

Those individuals that lived by the one rule would count towards the god of darkness because they were just dealing with the chaos of the universe. They would build their societies based on equality for all. They would not consider anyone as outside their group -- even non-believers. This caused contention within the faith. Hence, not all members of that faith could be counted for the god of light.

The god of light had established several rule-laced religions in many parts of the world. In fact, some of them did not get along with the other ones; however, they would all count in its count. That is, as long as the followers believed that following the rules was a big part of their belief system.

They did not have to follow the rules at all times; they just had to believe that it was important. After all, this is exactly how the god of light behaved. The god of darkness let the god of light set the rules, and then reacted when the rules were broken. The rules simply did not apply in certain circumstances, was the attitude of most of the followers of the god of light.

With this uncertainty in mind, the god of light's immortal ancestors believed that they had lost. Their only hope for victory for their patron god was to eliminate all of the vampires. Hence, it was vampires against zombies for the remainder of their time on earth. The last one standing would win the prize, and there could be only one.

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By Dwayne MacInnes

T'mai felt the shudder as the propulsion unit's fuel-line ruptured. Alarms and lights flashed inside the cabin alerting T'mai that he would need to take immediate action to shut down the main engines before the saucer-shaped spacecraft exploded into a small nova. Almost unconsciously, the space traveler flipped switches, pushed buttons, and visually scanned dials.

T'mai whistled in dismay. The damage could have been a lot worse and the back-up batteries were unharmed and fully charged. However, the location for such a breakdown could not have happened in a more unsatisfactory area of space.

This part of the galaxy was in the fringe area and hospitable planets were far and few between. Most of the habitable world's populations comprised of wild and dangerous life forms. Rumors of survey parties visiting such worlds and never returning were standard warnings against traveling through such remote and perilous areas.

Nonetheless, T'mai felt the risks were worth the gains if he could take the shortcut through the fringe and reach the Consortium's semi-rotational speculation meeting early. Unfortunately, the equivalent to a tire blowout left him stranded in the cold remorseless vastness of space.

Sure, the saucer could limp to a planet, but the chances of finding any help were remote and fraught with danger. Few of the worlds in the sector had reached sufficient technical skills to offer the rudimentary materials T'mai would need to repair his ship. None would be forthcoming with help to launch his damaged craft back into space. The curious inhabitants tended to kill those they did not understand or worse yet kept their forlorn captives caged up like a wild zoological specimen for their own primitive studies.

T'mai scanned the dials and digital scanners again. The fuel-line's rupture had damaged the food stores. The lack of rations would further limit his options of possible planets on which to land. The readout from the navigational computer listing those worlds only made T'mai's situation worse. The only possible candidate for T'mai to limp his crippled craft to was the worse of the lot. A place the primitives of the planet called Earth.

With the lack of the navigational shields, the saucer-shaped craft would be visible to the various RADAR units. These units the locals used to keep an ever present vigilance against each other. This sad and inhospitable world had not even evolved to the point where they were not a danger to themselves. T'mai shuddered to think of the approaching day when these primitives ventured beyond their own solar system.

As the shiny saucer fluttered out of the sky in a barely controlled descent, T'mai recalled the story of the survey vessel crippled by a similar incident as his. As the survey vessel descended during one of the planet's electrical storms, a primitive's aircraft fired its rockets and shot the vessel down near a habitation they called Roswellnewmexico. No one ever heard from the craft or crew after its hasty mayday and warning.

Saucer Ship

T'mai noted with some satisfaction that though he was on the same continental mass he was far from the reported location of the lost survey vessel. With careful skill, the saucer landed behind two wooden structures on the outskirts of a local habitation center.

T'mai exited the craft and visually scanned the damage. The local star by now had descended below the horizon .T'mai used a small light to illuminate the damaged area. Fortunately, if T'mai could obtain the correct material and food stores he could easily repair the fuel-line. It would take only a few moments to patch the rupture and have his craft safely spaceward.

The main concern was; could T'mai finish his work before the locals located his craft and made him one of their specimens. T'mai stifled a shudder, he had work to do and such thoughts would not assist in his need to find the materials he required.

T'mai grabbed his dimensional carrying case and donned his standard exploratory kit. He quickly scanned the structures for some forms of life. It appeared no locals resided in the domiciles. A quick survey around the perimeter, T'mai figured would be all he needed before he began his exploration of the interiors.

The small spaceman was halfway through his circuit when he heard a small party behind him call out to him. T'mai froze as his translator crackled in his hearing orifice the word "Hey!" being shouted from a local behind him.

T'mai slowly turned around. More than likely the Earthlings would have their primitive, yet lethal weaponry trained on him. T'mai knew that he did not stand a chance for survival on such a remote and dangerous world.

"No one lives there kid," the translator crackled again. T'mai turned to see that one of the Earthlings was addressing him. The primitive was a third again taller than T'mai though most in his group were about the same size as the space traveler. What astounded T'mai the most was that all the smaller Earthlings wore various disguises. Was this a ritual for greeting strangers?

"That's a neat costume you have there," the taller Earthling continued. "I'm surprised your parents are letting you out alone. You should join us."

T'mai stood there silently as he slowly tried to digest all that was happening. Apparently, the tall Earthling, the leader, must have figured T'mai as another disguised smaller Earthling. Some sort of child.

"I'm sorry kid, what is your name?"

"My name is T'mai," the translator responded from his chest.

"Man that is a cool costume. Voice box and everything" the Earthling sounded astounded. "Timmy, I am Dave and you really should join up with us for safety."

"Yes, Dave, you have made a good point. There is safety in numbers and I shall be happy to join your party," T'mai responded.

"Wow you really know how to play the part," Dave said as he herded the crowd down the street towards a structure with the lights on.

T'mai noticed one of the Earthlings donning a bed sheet kept up a constant wail. The concerned alien tugged on Dave's jacket.

"Pardon me, Dave but it appears one of our party members is in some pain."

Dave gave off a bark of laughter, "That's good. It is just Simon he is pretending to be a ghost."

T'mai continued walking with the group towards the house as he momentarily thought about the strange belief system where one becomes linen in the afterlife. Surely, these Earthlings must hold their bedding in high esteem.

As they reached the domicile, one of the smaller Earthlings approached the door and pushed a button. The ring of the summoning bell chimed through the house and as the door opened, the entire group as one recited a greeting, "Trick or treat."


The elderly Earthling at the door held a bowl brimming with what appeared to be different kinds of sweet snacks in colorful wrappers. "My, what a wonderful group of spooks we have here," the old female responded as she parceled out some snacks to each costumed Earthling. Even a few snacks found their way into T'mai's carrying case.

After each received their gift, Dave herded the Earthlings towards the next domicile. Again, some one depressed the summoning bell and again the same ritual greeting, "Trick or treat" recited. This time it was a man a little older than Dave who answered the door and he handed out little copper discs. T'mai looked at some closely. On one side, there was the profile of an Earthling's face and on the other a building of some sort. Before depositing them into his carrying case, T'mai scanned them with his composition matrix scanner on his hand.

"A few of these discs are composed of 95 % copper and 5 % zinc. However most are 97.5 % zinc and 2.5 % copper," T'mai said aloud.

Dave again broke into his barking laugh, "Or as we Earthlings call them 'pennies'."

"Pennies," T'mai replied. "Interesting things. What do you use them for?"

"Well, E.T. these are the smallest unit of money used in this country," Dave replied with a smirk.

"Ah, I see a monetary unit," T'mai said before dropping the last disc in his case. He did not know what eetee meant, but perhaps it was a term of endearment. Regardless, his foraging was proceeding along well. Before long, he would have enough snacks and discs to repair his ship sufficiently for its continued trip through space.

It indeed was not very long after that the group was returning down the street where they met up with T'mai. The night's foraging was most lucrative. The smaller Earthlings' bags were full of sugary foodstuff and some metal discs. T'mai puzzled over the ritualistic greeting "Trick or Treat" but he could not make any sense of it. However, the greeting apparently compels the occupant of a residence to offer gifts of either food or money. Because of this adventure, T'mai would recommend that there be further studies of the planet. Though such work was perilous it was worth noting that the inhabitants were interesting and not as deadly as T'mai believed.

As the group walked past the buildings that T'mai had landed his craft behind, the spaceman pulled away from the group and made his way to his stricken craft. As he figured, it did not take long before he repaired the fuel-line and replenished the food stores. The small saucer shaped spacecraft once again resumed its interstellar trek as it shot into space with a flash.

T'mai never realized that only moments after he vacated the planet, police cars and FBI vehicles descended upon the scene of his landing. The next morning as Dave read about the reported UFO sighting in the morning paper he scratched his head wondering about that strange kid he took 'Trick or treating' the previous night.

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Recent Comments

  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks for the kind words Kerry. I too am very read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Christian! I too had a DOS computer. read more
  • Christian: A great story, i remember my first computer with DOS read more
  • Kerry Glasscock: Good story. I love that Dwayne. nice work! read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Susanne. You are correct, the OS of computers has read more
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