February 2008 Archives

M.O.P.S. in Space

Chapter Six

By Douglas E. Gogerty

"Let us look at this logically," explained Kelly O'Kern. "Angus is pointing back at the restaurant we just came from."

"With Victor's sense of direction," added Tommy Templar "we can rule that way out too."

"Hey!" complained Victor Viking meekly after his insides finished chatting with his bucket.

"I just thought we could go in and ask," Angus MacScot said defending his position.

"We're going this way," insisted Tommy as he walked away.

"What should we do?" asked Victor in confusion.

"It is not that way," they all agreed.

"Just remember which way we go," insisted Kelly. "If we can make it back here, we can start again."

"Right," Angus and Victor replied as the three rushed off to follow Tommy.

After a short walk, it was clear that this was not the way. However, the hustle and bustle and all of the sights of the city drew them in. There was a sidewalk cafe´ type establishment where the quartet found themselves walking. Eventually, they found themselves sitting there.

They marveled at the wide array of fashions that individuals wore. Many had selected colors that complimented their skin tones, and others selected colors that clearly clashed. Angus pointed out an individual in something that could be called a mini-skirt with what appeared to be a very tight Hello Kitty™ t-shirt.

This individual was causing a stir with a particular set of other individuals. Many of the four-armed, two-legged creatures turned to look at this very attractive young individual in high-heeled-esque shoe like walking apparatuses. On a few occasions one member of a pair would turn and look, the remaining member of the pair accosted this individual.

After they had sat at the table for a while, a dark-skinned being with white clothes approached them. At least, they assumed it was clothes. "Eep Opp Ork Ah Ah," he or she or it stated plainly. 7

"Sorry," explained Tommy. "We are here for a convention, and we do not have any money."

"Noash ett," replied the waiter urging them to order. The only word the quartet understood was "okay."

With great resignation that the waiter would not leave without them ordering, Tommy and Angus ordered gin and tonics.

"Tonic with sucrose," ordered Kelly.

"Nothing for me," insisted Victor.

The waiter reflexively wrote down the orders, and then discovered what he, she or it wrote, did a double take, and gave Victor a strange stare. Looking as if impressed, the waiter entered the building.

The quartet returned to their watching. Occasionally a passerby would point at Tommy and say what sounded like "Larrimoe-Kerly." Further, they would often continue with "Cooklaa-Frannen-Olly."

Not understanding these strange phrases, the quartet just ignored them. Occasionally, they would wave, but that was a rare occurrence. They just sat there enjoying the hustle and bustle pass by.

After several minutes of sitting there, a very strong smell overcame them. It smelled like the breath of a raging alcoholic after the eighth bourbon -- only stronger. The quartet looked around to see where the smell was coming from, as it got more intense. The smell was nearly unbearable, when the waiter showed up with the drinks.

"Gin and tonic, gin and tonic," the waiter listed as he, she, or it placed the drinks in front of Victor and Angus.

"Thank you," responded Angus and Victor.

"Tonic with sucrose," the waiter continued while placing the glass in front of Kelly, and he gave a strange look to Victor.

"Thank..." Kelly started to reply when the alcohol smell over came him.

"Nuthin Form 'E'," stated the waiter placing a large smoldering glass in front of Victor with a wink.

A large group gathered around the door to get a look at the individual who ordered the Nuthin Form 'E'. They were shocked to discover the slight human with a slightly fizzing bucket was the one who ordered the drink.

The smell of the drink was so intense that the eight eyes of the quartet of MOPS members were gushing tears. None of them could enjoy the return of the individual with the Hello Kitty™ t-shirt with the drink there. Further, the pedestrians began giving them a wide birth as the smell filled the area. Occasionally, they would hear someone point and say Nuthin Form 'E', and look in shock at Victor.

"Do something with that drink," insisted Tommy.

Victor took the drink and poured it in his bucket. An eight-foot plume of flame erupted up from the bucket with a slight smell of peaches. Just as quickly as the flame started, it vanished. Victor's bucket was sparkling clean, and a pleasant smell of raspberry lingered.

With the stares and hushed whispers, the members of MOPS felt uncomfortable. Thus, they left their comfortable spot at the café. After a brief debate on which direction to head, they decided on a vote of 3 to 4 to follow their esthetic. That is, they followed the alien in the Hello Kitty™ t-shirt.

After a few blocks, this individual walked into a shop, so the quartet walked on by. They lingered on the corner for a bit, semi-waiting for the individual to walk out. However, a brightly lit complex attracted their attention. From their corner vantage point, it looked like a casino.

The enormous structure had flashing neon signs and many arrows pointing to the entrance. The building would give the flashiest, gaudiest, Las Vegas casinos a run for their money. The group could not help but be drawn towards it.

As they got closer, an enormous poster on the front became clear. From the corner, the bright lights reflected off the protective glass, so they could not get a clear view. It was only as the group got directly in front of the building could they make out the image.

They all stood there with their mouths open as they finally got a look at the poster. The fifteen-story image was the spitting image of Tommy. In smaller images around Tommy appeared to be Victor, Angus, and Kelly.

They moved around a little bit to determine if it was just a trick of the light. They wanted to determine if it was an image from a camera or a reflection. However, the image stayed exactly as it was. Clearly, it was someone or something that looked exactly like Tommy.

As they were attempting to get their minds around it, the front doors of the structure opened and a huge wave of people streamed out. They spotted the group and in a great reverent tone, they began chanting "Larrimoe-Kerly" with a "Cooklaa-Frannen-Olly" occasionally thrown in.

Soon, the crowd surrounded the members of MOPS. They pressed closely into them so they could not move.

To Kelly Angus said, "This is another fine mess you've gotten us into Ollie!"

Kelly replied, "It wasn't a Stan Laurel line it was an Oliver Hardy line. Furthermore, it was actually -- another nice mess -- ugh -- said Mr. Film Historian."


NOTES:

7: Ibid Jetson's

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The Scout

Chapter 30

By Dwayne MacInnes

When the first semis entered the town of Valley City, they were surprised to be fired upon by wasters. The small arms fire did nothing to the big rigs other than scratching some paint. The return fire from the trailers and the escorts was devastating. Before Bumblebee had destroyed its first tank, the convoy secured Valley City. Many wasters simply surrendered when they saw wave after wave of vehicles drive into town.

The town also housed many citizens who farmed along the local river. The same river Scott prayed would offer the convoy some defense as the convoy prepared for a siege. As the sun finally vanished behind the western horizon the last of the escorts were rumbling into town.

Two loud explosions to the east told Scott that the Anarchist's heavy vehicles found the landmines Wrangler had set down. The armored car still carried a sizable load of mines that Scott would need for the defense of the town.

Scott pulled his Charger into the middle of a large parking lot. Nine wasters stood in the same parking lot with their hands on their heads. Guards from the convoy with readied weapons stood over their prisoners.

"Get those trailers set up in a circle," Scott ordered as he stepped out of the muscle car. "You get some of those prisoners to unload those trailers into that warehouse," the scout pointed to one of the guards.

After a brief period, the Armadillo drove up and parked next to Scott. Julia jumped out of the cab. For a large woman she could move rather gracefully.

"Looks like they still have two good tanks and maybe three APCs," the large woman stated as she approached Scott. "They did us a favor by running two more APCs over those landmines. They should keep their distance tonight."

"Good. That's good," Scott replied. "We need to get our defenses up as quickly as possible. See if any of the locals will help. Our people are dead on their feet. Offer the locals anything you think may help. I'm sure none of them have had much food in a long time."

"This is a good place to hole up. We'll need to destroy as many bridges as we can tonight. Plus, those back roads will need to be mined as well," Julia offered.

"Ok, let's get some work details going. We'll do this in shifts so we can grant everyone a little shuteye," Scott shouted.

All through the night, the convoy with the assistance of many of the local people began setting up defenses. The lighter vehicles like the buggies and motorcycles had their weapons stripped and were dispersed throughout the pocket of the town they were defending. Many of the buildings and houses now boasted a recoilless rifle or a machinegun.

The deadly truck trailers formed a steel wall across bridges the convoy did not destroy and many back roads. Placed in front of the trailers were rifle pits manned by the seventy-four available personnel from the convoy.

Scott was dozing behind the wheel of his Charger when Mad Momma approached the open car door.

"We are one waster short after head count," Julia said as Scott shot awake mildly cursing himself for dozing off.

"Relax," Julia said. "You've been busy for the last twenty-four hours. Anyway, it is as you thought, one would try and make a break for it"

"Fine," Scott said with a parched voice. "Get the remaining eight locked up in one of the trailers. Then let's get the contents of the convoy hidden inside that bank over there." Scott pointed to the old Wells Fargo building a few blocks down from the parking lot.

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M.O.P.S. in Space

Chapter Seven

By Douglas E. Gogerty

"Jesus! Say something!" exclaimed Angus as the crowd pushed tighter and tighter around them.

"I'm a Kern," responded Kelly. "I'm dressed as a Sixteenth Century Irish foot soldier."

"Right," apologized Angus. "That is why you have that fake Irish accent."

"Guys," whimpered Victor.

"Anyway, I was talking about the Jesus Tommy," explained Angus. "He should say something to his flock."

"What should I say?" asked Tommy.

"What difference does it make?" replied Angus. "It isn't like they understand English."

Tommy thought for a few moments. He struggled with what he was going to say, and then he began, "Yub nub, eee chop yub nub ah toe meet toe peechee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah."

"Oh! We're dead," exclaimed Kelly.

"Yahwah, eee chop yahwah ah toe meet toe peechee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah," continued Tommy gesticulating to the crowd like a master thespian.

"What?" asked Angus.

"Coatee chah tu yub nub -- coatee chah tu yahwah -- coatee chah tu glowah. Allay loo ta nuv," Tommy continued, ignoring the other MOPS member's conversation.

With a deep sigh Kelly responded, "He's speaking in Ewok..."

"Glowah, eee chop glowah ya glowah pee chu nee foam, ah toot dee awe goon daa," Tommy continued with great expression coming from years as an over-actor.

"Ewok?"

"It's from Return of the Jedi," explained Kelly. "It's Ewok Celebration -- we did it in high school."

"Coatee cha tu goo..." stated Tommy assertively

"Yub nub!" replied the crowd to everyone's surprise

"Coatee cha tu doo..." replied Tommy

"Yahwah!" returned the crowd.

"Coatee cha tu too..." added Tommy

"Ya chaa!" chanted the crowd and continued, "Allay loo ta nuv, allay loo ta nuv, allay loo ta nuv!"8

"I guess we should be glad he didn't break into Pinball Wizard or something," whispered Angus.9

The crowd began chanting "Larrimoe-Kerly" and "Cooklaa-Frannen-Olly" loudly. They closed in tightly upon the quartet and raised them into the air. With the loud chants, they carried the four men into the brightly lit building.

Tommy's church, as the MOPS members called it, had a giant alter on the far end. There were several steps leading up to the altar. Thus, all of the seats could get a good view of what was happening on it. Further, there were several monitors throughout the room to make sure no one missed any of the action.

Higher still, and behind the altar was a large glass window. On the other side of the window was a very white room. Even with the lights out in the room, it had a bright white glow to it. You could not get a whiter white than this room.

The crowd carrying the MOPS members went around to the side and dropped them into this extremely white room, and closed the door behind them. They continued their chant of "Larrimoe-Kerly" and "Cooklaa-Frannen-Olly," and left the men in the room alone.

"Ewok Celebration?" asked Kelly.

"I couldn't think of anything else," complained Tommy.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want," began Angus. "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. That would have been good." 10

"What would have been wrong with," began Victor "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. What? I had to memorize it for English class."11

"At the very least you could have said," complained Angus. "Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes."12

"But you doom us all by that -- toe peachy-keen gnip gnop sis boom bah -- Ewok Celebration stuff," Kelly said. "You could have at least told them in Ewok if they didn't do as you wish, you'd become angry and use your magic."

"It's against my programming to impersonate a deity," joked Tommy.13

"Sure!" replied Kelly. "You can remember that line!"

"Well there is no pressure now," retorted Tommy.

"Anyway," interrupted Angus. "There are some couches in here, and it is getting late. I suggest we try to get some sleep."

"Sleep?" asked Victor. "Who can sleep?"

Victor sacked out on a couch with his bucket by his side, and was almost out before he finished that sentence. The rest followed his lead, and chose a couch to bed down for the night. Unfortunately for Kelly, the couches were too short for him to get comfortable, so he ended up sleeping on the floor.

Several hours later, Tommy woke up. "Is anyone else awake?" he whispered.

"No," replied Kelly in a whisper.

"We're all still sound asleep," added Angus.

Victor remained silent when Tommy added, "I have to -- er -- um -- see a man about a horse."

"But we're locked in," insisted Angus.

"I would hate to turn their nice white room -- uh -- less white," Tommy muttered.

"Has anyone *tried* the door?" asked Kelly.

"No," replied Tommy. "But if I don't go soon, I will have break it down."

Tommy got up and opened the door. It was not locked. There were two other closed doors in the connecting room. Tommy opened one, and it was a closet sized room with a hole in one corner. There was a ringed stand over the hole. Tommy took this for a primitive toilet and took care of his urgent business. All but Victor took turns using these primitive facilities.

The other door in this entryway was locked. Thus, they only had access to the two rooms. Thus, the MOPS members sat around in their semi-dark white room for several minutes wondering what was going to happen. They thought they heard someone or something enter the outer hall, but they ignored it. Whoever or whatever it was left shortly afterwards.

Eventually, the dark white room became a very light white room. The light seared through Victor's brain and he sat up screaming.

"It was bad enough that you guys have been screaming at each other for the last hour," complained Victor. "But now you turn on that ghastly bright light."

"Um," muttered Tommy. "We didn't turn on the lights."

"They did," admitted Kelly as he pointed to the large crowd gathering out in the main area.

"I need to," began Victor. "You know..."

"The -- restroom -- is out the door and too the right," asserted Tommy.

Victor stumbled out of the room and then stumbled back. "Where's the restroom?" he asked.

"It is right there," insisted Tommy as he pointed to the door.

"That is just a small room with a tree in the corner," remarked Victor.

"What?" the three members asked in unison.

They all peered into the room, and in the stand now stood a large tree. Its roots were in the hole, and the stand held up the trunk.

"It's a good thing no one went number 2," remarked Kelly.

"Um er," muttered Tommy.

"You didn't?" asked Angus.

"There is no holding back nature," replied Tommy.

"Speaking of which," whimpered Victor. "If you are through yelling at each other, what am I supposed to do?"

"It is a tree..." insisted Tommy.

"He's right," added Angus with a shrug.

The three members gave Victor some alone time with the tree and watched as the pews began to fill with all shapes and sizes of individuals. Many of them pointed with great excitement at the MOPS members in their white room. However, the room was apparently sound proof, as they did not hear a sound.

Eventually, Victor returned and crashed upon a couch. His recline was short lived as the couch evaporated beneath him. All of the furniture was gone only the slight fragrance of cinnamon remained. Slowly, the walls began to push in on them.

"Oh, we're dead," exclaimed Kelly.


NOTES:

8: Yes, we did do Ewok Celebration from Return of the Jedi in high school.

9: A cultural reference to The Who's Rock Opera Tommy

10: Psalms 23:1-2

11: William Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet. Act II: Scene 2

12: Cultural reference to a some lines in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

13: Ibid Return of the Jedi.

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The Scout

Chapter 31

By Dwayne MacInnes

When the sun finally rose above the eastern horizon, the two sides were able to get a good look at each other. The Anarchists found Valley City a veritable fortress. Only a couple of bridges remained intact. The ones leading to the western part of town where the convoy took refuge still stood. The wasters were hesitant to send in their heavy vehicles. They had already expended nearly all of their tanks and APCs. They knew the convoy would have deployed more mines and the wasters were none to keen on discovering where they were.

The convoy on the other hand found themselves bottled in. Wasters on bikes and buggies sped back and forth along the highway, the back roads, and the open fields around the town. Fortunately, the wasters held their two M60 Pattons back for fear of losing them to the recoilless rifles and landmines that guarded the town.

Both sides withheld their fire as the day wore on. Scott called a meeting with the various convoy and escort leaders. They met inside an old fast food restaurant.

"Looks like we are under siege," Scott announced to the gathered group.

"We have enough stores to last us for some time," Ed, one of the convoy drivers, chimed in. "We even have a good store of ammunition. It's the manpower that concerns me."

"Maybe we should see if any of the locals will want to join our posse," Wrangler offered. Scott nearly broke into a laugh when the gangly man stepped out of his armored truck the previous night. The scout never noticed him before and he could not understand why. The man wore a cowboy hat, a western vest, chaps, and cowboy boots in the same Holstein print that matched his outlandish truck. It was a good thing Wrangler was busy cussing over the fact one of the horns on his Texas Longhorn mount broke off during the brief combat.

"How many locals have we evacuated to this side of town?" Scott asked Julia.

"A little over a hundred -- most are women and children," the large woman replied.

"Right, see how many men and women will be willing to defend their town," Scott continued.

"Do you think they were setting up an ambush with those tanks last night?" a short squat escort driver named Willy asked.

"I can only surmise two things: one is that they were setting a trap for us. However, I doubt that is the case. The second is a thought I really do not want to dwell on," Scott said.

Julia scorned hard at Scott, "Would you be willing to share that thought?"

"Just before we left Billings, I received word that the Anarchists were sending out forces to Minneapolis. The goal was to unite the local warlords and then try to conquer St Paul. My fear is if those tanks are here, then St Paul is already gone."

Silence hung over the group for several minutes before Willy broke the silence. "So we cannot expect any help from the east to lift this siege. Does General

MacKenzie know of this and is he going to send us some relief?"

Scott looked around the group again, "I'm going to level with you and this cannot leave this room. General MacKenzie knows the situation in the Twin Cities very well. However, before we left he had received orders to abandon Fort Billings."

The silence a few moments before suddenly broke into a raucous chaos of yelling. The various leaders started shouting and asking questions simultaneously. It took the hollering of Mad Momma's booming voice to restore order.

"Then we are as good as dead," Willy said before the menacing scowl on Julia's face forced him to swallow any further complaints.

Scott paced back and forth for a while before he turned back to the group.

"The radio tower is still intact and the Wrecking Crew owns a portable generator. With any luck we can send out an S.O.S."

"That is a long shot at best," Willy retorted. "The atmospherics don't allow us to send messages long distance."

"I know it is a long shot, but it is still a shot. Do any of you have any better suggestions?" Scott asked.

"Well, good buddy," Wrangler finally put in with a smirk on his face, "we cannot very well leave our Fort Apache here. Neither can we just stay here and wait for the cavalry to arrive. We need to get a message out somehow. I figure the radio is the best option for now. If things start to get really hairy maybe one of those scoot jockeys could race for the border with a personal appeal for help."

The leadership group finally broke up after they hammered out a few more details. Julia found that almost every man, woman, and many of the children were willing to join forces to defend their town. She did not know how many would stay once the shooting commenced but for now she gathered them in work details helping the convoy reinforce their fortifications.

The defenders attached the portable generator to the old radio station. Fortunately, the group boasted several electricians and in a short time, the station was transmitting an S.O.S. to the outside world. No one knew if anyone was even receiving it.

Scott surveyed the enemy forces gathered on the west side of town. The Anarchists still held the tanks and the APCs back. However, the one thing the Anarchists did not lack was people. Hundreds of vehicles from the ubiquitous buggy and motorcycle to the old sedan and pickup truck zoomed back and forth in front of the fortifications.

The sun was at its zenith when the Anarchists finally unleashed an assault on the West Main Street defenses. The wasters poured vehicle after vehicle towards the fortifications. The landmines hidden under the crumbled surface of the road destroyed the initial onrush of vehicles. The machineguns in the fire pits and on top of the trailers mowed down the survivors. The defenders continued to fire even when the noise of a loud rumble heading towards them echoed through the air.

"It's the tanks," one of the civilians screamed. Many of the civilians placed in the defenses on this side of the town started to abandon their posts and run as the thunder of steel treads loomed ever closer.

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M.O.P.S. in Space

Chapter Eight

By Douglas E. Gogerty

The walls of their very white room closed in on them until the four men looked like a four-pack of action figures in their original packaging. That is when the walls stopped moving in on them. They stood there on display in front of the large congregation.

After several minutes with the MOPS members staring at the crowd, and the crowd doing likewise, something red appeared. On earth, he would have been described as the devil. Well, the Earth the MOPS members live on, on this Earth who knows how they would describe him or her or it.

He, she, or it was completely red. The face was red. If he, she, or it had any clothes on, they were red. The eyes had no whites; they were completely red. Let us face facts; this creature was completely red.

Like many of the creatures on this planet, the preacher had four arms; however, these were constantly in motion. One of the arms held what was probably a microphone. The other three took turns pointing hither and yon as the owner of the arms paced frantically in front of the congregation.

The MOPS members could do nothing but stand there and watch the spectacle before them. None of the members in the room could hear what he was saying. Even if they could, they would not have been able to understand him. So, it is just as well.

Occasionally, the congregation would erupt into a huge roar. The men in their confined space could hear the faintest of this eruption from their vantage point. The only option they had was to watch the spectacle before them.

When the franticness of the preacher reached a certain pitch, the preacher made a discrete gesture and a device emerged from the ceiling. It was a device, which looked familiar to the MOPS members. To them it looked like a guillotine.

After a few moments, they were convinced it was a guillotine as the preacher sliced some large melon looking things with it. Using this device, he sliced these large melons into quarters and then eighths. He continued doing this until the there was enough melon to go around to the congregation.

From an unseen hatch above the four men, some of the melon was lowered down on a tray. It tasted strange to the quartet, but it was a suitable start to a nice breakfast. As they ate it, they could faintly hear the roar of the crowd.

After everyone had his, her, or its share of melon, the carcass of something was placed upon the altar. The guillotine was raised and replaced by a large fire. The red individual skewered the carcass and placed it on a rotisserie above the now raging fire. The preacher's antics returned, and he worked the crowd into another frenzy.

Another red individual joined the preacher in front of the now roasting carcass with a large implement. Together they sliced off bits of the cooked animal. Once again, it was passed to each individual in the congregation.

As it did with the melon, the hatch above the men opened up and the smell resembling bacon filled the small room. A tray came from the hatch and the quartet ate some of the roast beast-thing.

Next, several red assistants placed a large pot upon the still smoldering fire on stage. Inside was another carcass that appeared to have been stewed for several days. Once the crowd was worked up again, the preacher reached into the pot and pulled out a piece from the carcass in the pot. Removing the flesh from the bones, he tossed the bones aside and returned the meat to the pot. Once the carcass was bone free, a red assistant gathered up the bones. Like the other food items, a sample was given to the men in their confined room behind the stage.

Wave after wave of implement would come on stage, and more and more food was prepared and passed around. The MOPS members were beginning to think that this place was some sort of funky restaurant, and they were part of some sort of fancy floorshow.

They partook in 14 courses. Between each course, the preacher urged the crowd into excitement. Every scrap of food the preacher and assistants prepared with some sort of elaborate demonstration.

At the end of the 14th course, the chants of Larrimoe-Kerly resumed. They were more fervent, and occasionally, the preacher would point to the MOPS members. The chants started haphazardly, but they eventually coalesced into a rhythmic chant. The entire congregation shouted in unison. It was so loud that the costumed men could hear it clearly in their soundproof containment room.

The preacher pointed at the quartet, and they found themselves falling. They had not noticed the trapdoor beneath them. They found themselves on a slide, and soon they arrived in front of the altar in a pile. The din of Larrimoe-Kerly was deafening.

When the quartet gathered themselves together and stood up, the preacher held his hands up and the chants turned into a thunderous round of applause. As the crowd was still cheering, the preacher handed the microphone to Tommy and whispered into his ear, "Yub nub -- okay?"

When the crowd quieted, Tommy made his I am an actor pose and said as if he were a politician running for office, "Yub nub, eee chop yub nub ah toe meet toe peechee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah."

The crowd broke into thunderous applause and Kelly whispered to Angus "Oh! We're soooo dead!"

Tommy continued his oration of Ewok Celebration14 to the enjoyment of the gathered participants. Quietly the preacher left the stage, and the MOPS members were all alone in front of the gathering.

As they had done the previous evening, the crowd responded in the proper place. Tommy glowed with pride as the crowd erupted in thunderous applause for his oration. He took several bows to the standing ovation that followed.

The preacher returned with a book in his hand. He placed it on a lectern, and after the crowd quieted, he read from it. Reverently, they listened to what the preacher said. Naturally, the humans did not understand their language -- except for the occasional okay.

The first passage ended with Larrimoe-Kerly Cooklaa-Frannen-Olly, and with that, the crowd erupted into a deafening roar. Three other passages ended in Cooklaa-Frannen-Olly to which the crowd cheered loudly.

When the preacher had finished, the chants of Larrimoe-Kerly returned. Tommy walked to the front of the stage and raised his arms. The crowd doubled their volume in their chants.

Four red assistants entered and grabbed the four MOPS members. They slowly dragged them off, but Tommy managed to shout, "Be excellent to each other and party on dudes!"15

The four men found themselves back in the white room. Kelly punched Tommy in the arm.

"What?" complained Tommy.

"Do you remember your favorite Twilight Zone episode?" Kelly asked.

"Yes..." responded Tommy glowing from the crowd's acceptance but trying to figure out the reference.

"What do you suppose he was reading to the crowd?" asked Kelly.

"You don't mean?" queried Angus.

"Yes!" exclaimed Kelly.

"You mean..." Tommy began.

"It's a cookbook!" shouted Kelly.16


NOTES:

14: Ibid Return of the Jedi.

15: Ibid Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

16: A cultural reference to the plot of an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled To Serve Man.

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The Scout

Chapter 32

By Dwayne MacInnes

The rumble of steel treads on broken concrete grew closer. The convoy officers in charge of the town's southwestern fortifications berated and coerced many of the panicky civilians back to their posts. Once they were again ducking into their fire pits and trenches in front of the convoy trailers, many started to fire their weapons blindly.

This led to more cussing and berating from the officers until order returned. The silhouette of the heavy armored vehicles with many a buggy and modified car leading the way rumbled towards the defenders. The thick cloud of dirt roiled into the air behind the large force.

The veteran forces held their fire as the newly recruited civilians started to fire their weapons again. The bullets bounced harmlessly off the thick hide of the three APCs leading the new assault. The gunners on the trailers finally opened up with their twin .50 machineguns when the vanguard came within range.

The APCs halted and returned fire as the lighter vehicle poured around the metal giants and raced towards the fortifications. The officers finally gave the order to return fire. Bullets of all calibers zipped and popped back and forth. Occasionally, there was a thunk, as a round entered a body or the explosion of a waster's vehicle succumbing to destruction.

The APCs still held back and returned fire. The gunners worked their guns onto the trailers trying to sweep off the defenders. The trailers however were well constructed and the gun emplacements were well armored. Still a defender would fall to an enemy round from the M2 machineguns leaving only the wreckage of a body.

Smoke, fire, dirt, bullets, and mists of blood filled the air. From along side the road a 75 mm recoilless rifle protruded from a house. The round fired and struck an APC. The metal beast flashed into flames and the gunner disintegrated. However, an M60 tank pulled out from behind the burning APC and fired its main gun into the structure. The house collapsed and then burst into flames.

The Anarchists in the smaller vehicles made their way towards the fortifications. The slaughter they endured was great, but no matter how many the defenders mowed down another took its place.

Meanwhile on the east side of town and across the river, another battle was brewing. Anarchists were exchanging fire with the defenders from houses across the Sheyenne River. Some were trying to get boats into the water amidst the bullets of the defenders. Many sank before they left the shores.

The one bridge still standing on this front was the scene of a bitter and costly battle. The trailers with their gun crews mowed down waster after waster who tried to force a crossing. They could not use their vehicles for debris and obstacles were cluttering its span.

So, the Anarchists decided to dismount and try to take the bridge from the defenders on foot. The wasters soon found out that behind every obstacle a defender lay in wait to unleash his or her deadly arsenal. It was not long before the machineguns and rifles of a multitude of calibers riddled and pock marked the bridge.

Scott had chosen to bulk the majority of his green troops on the eastern fortifications. He figured that the wasters would concentrate on breaking through on the west. However, the ferocity and tenacity of the Anarchists on this front was more than even he anticipated.

Scott was in the middle of the defensive zone coordinating the defense of Valley City. He would relay orders over the CB radio in the Charger or he would send runners out to assess the situation. The center of the defensive zone was almost as chaotic as the battles raging on both sides of town.

"Sir," a convoy officer ran up to Scott. "The western forces are starting to break. We need reinforcements."

Scott looked over at one his runners, "Are the wasters attacking the north bridge from the interstate?"

"No, there are a lot of mines still in place on that section of road as well as the bridge."

"Good, grab half those people and have them join the secondary defenses on the western fortifications," Scott ordered.

Both the officer and the runner ran off towards the north. Another runner quickly ran up from the east.

"My God, look!" the young man panted as he pointed towards the eastern horizon. Over the tops of the buildings and houses in the east and between the black smokes of the burning debris rose a grey ominous cloud.

"The wasters are getting reinforcements!"

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Proof that the world is a sphere!

Lunar Eclipse Image 1 Lunar Eclipse Image 2

Click on the image above for a larger version

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M.O.P.S. in Space

Chapter Nine

By Douglas E. Gogerty

"How do you know they mean to eat us?" asked Tommy as he looked around their white room.

"How many courses did we eat yesterday that contained meat?" asked Kelly.

"Four -- but that is just a coincidence," insisted Tommy.

"How many passages did he read from the book?" asked Kelly.

"Again it was just a coincidence that there were four passages," asserted Tommy.

"You are not concerned that in some religions they eat their gods?" asked Kelly.

"You are over reacting," Tommy replied.

"Whether he is right or not," interrupted Angus "we should try to get out of here."

"I need to speak to the tree first," Tommy said with a wry smile.

"Not in my store you don't!" exclaimed Angus in his best immigrant grocer voice.17

The couches that had vanished when the room shrank had now returned. The remaining MOPS members relaxed as Tommy went to take care of his business.

"Hey, the tree is gone..." Tommy noticed as he entered the room off the main room.

"Your last trip probably killed it," joked Angus.

The men sat and let their food digest. After a short while, Tommy returned and said, "You'll probably not want to go in there for a while."

Kelly was going to make a joke but he got a whiff of what Tommy had done in the bathroom. "Man! What crawled up into you and died?"

"I don't think that meat we ate is agreeing with my system," explained Tommy.

"But do they have to fight in our presence?" Angus asked as he also got a smell.

"Somebody please open a window," complained Victor.

"It isn't that bad," laughed Tommy.

"If that outer door is locked, I'm going to break it down," Kelly explained as he ran out.

Kelly found the bathroom door closed, but the smell was clearly emanating from that room. It was very strong in the entryway. He tried the outer door, and the red assistants had not locked it. He rushed out searching for an escape from Tommy's digestive odor. The rest followed.

After rushing down a few hallways, they exited the rear of the building and found themselves in an alleyway.

"I'll lead the way," insisted Angus. "You guys don't know the way back."

Angus led the MOPS members out of the alley and into a busy side street. They took a few turns here and there. They looked around at the scenery.

"Evening is coming on," noted Kelly.

"How late did we sleep?" asked Victor.

"We were up pretty late," insisted Tommy. "We must have slept a long time."

"Perhaps we have some sort of jet lag," Kelly proposed.

"It's possible," remarked Angus. "I once slept for 14 hours after a long plane trip."

"Plus," added Victor, "that ceremony wasn't exactly short."

"It looks like everyone is rushing home," added Kelly.

"Hey, there is where Victor ordered that awful drink," noted Tommy.

"But it did quite the trick on this bucket," Victor remarked showing Tommy the inside of the bucket. "It is nice and shiny clean!"

"Perhaps Angus does know the way back," included Kelly.

"Of course I do," insisted Angus. "Jesus! What was that?"

"I'm a Kern," responded Kelly. "I'm dressed as a Sixteenth Century Irish foot soldier."

"Right," apologized Angus. "That is why you have that fake Irish accent."

"Enough you two!" exclaimed Tommy. "I saw it too. What was it?"

"I didn't see anything," added Victor.

"It looked like a living example of Australopithecus afarensis," replied Angus.

"Thank you Mr. Anthropology Major," Victor said still not knowing what they saw.

"Wait here," insisted Angus running after the thing that he saw.

The remaining men looked at each other trying to determine what they should do. They were not in the mood to go chasing after him, so they did as Angus asked and stayed where they were. They found a nice bench nearby and took a seat.

As Angus ran off, Kelly and Tommy looked at each other. Simultaneously they said, "gin and tonic."

"Wait here," insisted Tommy to Victor as he and Kelly ran to the outdoor café.

Victor asked them as they hurriedly walked away, "Could you get me a..."

"No!" the two said in unison.

The two men took a seat at the café they had visited the previous day. Soon, the waiter appeared with a gin and tonic and a soda. They could see Victor, so if anything happened they could quickly join him.

Meanwhile, Angus chased after what he thought was an ancient ancestor to Homo sapiens. With plenty of other individuals trying to get where they were going, it was often difficult for Angus to see the small creature he was chasing.

He thought he saw his quarry run down a side street, so when he eventually made it to that street, he turned down it. There was a large group of smallish inhabitants of this planet congregated there. You could assume that they were teenagers or pre-teens. In any event, they pointed at Victor and shrieked.

Victor thought the shrill screams would shatter glass in a twelve-block radius, and it stopped him in his tracks. The shouts continued as the crowd slowly advanced to where Angus was standing. He slowly backed away.

The crowd got closer and closer to where Angus stood. Slowly the pace of the advancing crowd picked up. Victor picked up the pace of his retreat. With each speed adjustment Angus made, the crowd also adjusted its speed. They grew closer and closer.

Soon, Angus found himself running away from the crowd of screaming teens and pre-teens. The once crowded streets parted for the chase. Angus ran past the bench where Victor was sitting. He also ran past the café where Tommy and Kelly were enjoying their beverages. He just kept running with the mob screaming behind him.

The remaining MOPS members filed in behind the group of shouting youngsters. Eventually, Angus made a wrong turn. He ran up dead-end alley. Eventually, he reached a wall. He could go no further. The shrieking youngsters slowly approached him. He was trapped.


NOTES:

17: I Cultural Reference to David Lee Roth's video for Yankee Rose.

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The Scout

Chapter 33

By Dwayne MacInnes

"Damn, we've got them beat in weaponry, ammunition, food and defensive placements," Scott cursed. "The one thing we don't have is numbers. They do, and they are using them to terrible effect." Scott slammed his fist down on top of the hood of the Charger.

1970 Dodge Charger

Sam, standing next to Scott looked around from the various defenders. The look of defeat stared back at him. Even the scout appeared to be temporarily lost to despair.

"Well, we may not survive this, but we will sure make them pay," Scott determined. "Get the last of the escort vehicles to the secondary defensive fortifications on the western perimeter."

"Sam, get into the Charger," Scott snapped and the boy jumped into his seat and pulled on his helmet.

Julia looked over to Scott before she ran towards the Armadillo. "So Scout where are you heading?"

Scott shouted back as he climbed into the muscle car's seat, "I'm going to see what help I can lend to the east. I need you to coordinate and conduct our defensive plan to the west."

Before Julia could argue, Scott slammed the door and raced the scout vehicle to the river.

The black Charger pulled up to the last defensive trailer in the eastern fortifications. The scout jumped out of the car, leaving the engine idling with Sam operating the M60 machinegun. One of the defenders tossed down one end of a rope ladder that Scott quickly scaled.

Once on top, Scott found Willy surveying the horizon with his field glasses. The gun crews were poised and ready to unleash their heavy machineguns. So far, no one had crossed the river necessitating the use of the twin mounted M2s. There was no need for them to move fore and aft of the sideways-parked trailer.

Willy shoved Scott the field glasses. "We still are holding the river. I don't know how long we will be able to however.

"They keep coming and we keep repelling them. I'm amazed the civvies are not running yet."

"As long as we hold this side of the river I think they will stand pat," Scott said peering along the riverbanks with the field glasses. Then he brought them to bear onto the encroaching dust cloud of the vehicles racing towards them.

"I guess I better get back down there. The reinforcements are about to add their weight to the assault," Scott grimly replied as he returned the glasses.

Willy peered through the glasses again as Scott started to dismount the trailer.

"Wait," the convoy officer yelled. "Something strange is going on.'

Scott could hear the explosions as he returned to the top of the trailer. Willy thrust the glasses back into Scott's hands and pointed out to the horizon.

"Look!" was all he said.

Scott scanned the area where Willy directed and noticed new plumes of dark smoke drifting into the air. The new arrivals were tangling it up with the wasters. Scott focused the binoculars onto one of the vehicles it was a 1976 Sea Island green Mercury Cougar XR7 sport coupe. An M61A2 20 mm Vulcan cannon inside a fully rotating turret sat atop the roof. There was also its more compact cousin, the XM134 minigun mounted through the passenger side of the windshield. They were firing a barrage of death into the wasters.

1976 Mercury Cougar XR7 Two Door Sport Coupe Tank

Scott counted about six other vehicles racing along side the Cougar, each a different and unique armed vehicle. All were carving a deadly swath through the wasters. It was only a matter of a few minutes before the new arrivals had fought their way to the river.

In those few minutes, Scott made sure the defenders on his side of the river did not fire onto the third party joining the fight. Scott followed the maxim of "the enemy of my enemy must be my friend".

They Anarchist on the east side of the Sheyenne River quickly threw down their arms and either surrendered, ran, or died.

Scott sent a couple of his people out to guide the seven new arrivals across the 8th Avenue Bridge. The scout, while waiting for the new forces to cross, sent the majority of the defenders off to the west to reinforce Julia's command. He could hear the combat growing fiercer to the west.

The Sea Island green Cougar pulled up to the black Charger. A stocky middle-aged man stepped out of the vehicle. He wore glasses, an old T-shirt, a pair of worn shorts, and on his feet were a pair of sandals. He gave a big smile as he waved to Scott.

"We thought you could use some help here," the man said. "We heard your S.O.S. over the radio."

"Glad to have it. But who are you and where do you come from?" Scott replied.

"We are from St Paul. My name is Doug and Weston here is my gunner," Doug pointed to the smaller thin man sitting in the passenger seat behind the minigun cleaning his glasses.

Julia watched as the first line of defense crumbled under the new assault. The M60 Patton tanks made short work of the defensive trailers. The survivors from the first line of defense fell back to the second line. However, most of the civilians tended to bypass the second line altogether and just tended to run.

Even though she had received numerous reinforcements from the east, she still had too few people to stop the unending rush of Anarchists. There were still one APC and the two M60 Pattons relentless that pounded the defenses. Further, almost all the buildings were demolished and burning.

Worst of all, the recoilless rifles were either lost or out of ammunition.

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June 2013

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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
  • Susanne: Nice read, shame computers havent improved several years later (mainly read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Hey Rushan! Sadly no, I do not have one. Thanks read more
  • Rushan: Nice work.do you have that kind of one?thanks.. read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Joyce. I appreciate your kind words. We do have read more
  • Joyce: Douglas, I just want express and my true admiration before read more

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