A NEVERENDING STORY ------------------- The story so far...... CHAPTER 1. ---------- Yet another day dawned to reveal miserable weather over Bangor as usual. Our heroine stared out of the window and said "Argle...glurp...grrr... shhlob... crugry.........PRITH!". Quite why she said this, even she could not understand. Perhaps it had something to do with being extremely bored......and it was only 10:00 a.m. Suddenly the boss appeared. "Oh oh," she thought, then "Odd. Very odd." She couldn't quite work it out but there was something odd about the boss today. Was it the little red sparks of light where his eyes should be? Was it the steam emanating from his suddenly enormous nostrils? "No," she thought. "I know what it is - the B*****D looks pleased. I wonder who he's sacked today?" The boss strode over to a minion and drew his laser pistol (the one that he found in the bottom of his cornflakes packet) then put his pad of paper away. "OK, scum," he said, "listen up! The all powerful Maggie, scurge of the populace, master of the Tebbit, leader of the roving band of malicious Cons, has decreed that.....". Our heroine woke up as the boss slammed the door on his way out. It was another boring day in the office. After whiling the rest of the morning away by sending endless messages to people she hardly knew over the computer, reading DECWARS again for the tenth time, and pretending to look busy whenever anybody, boss or pathetic underling, came near, our heroine (whose name temporarily escapes me - probably because I haven't thought of one yet) decided it was time for lunch. At least, she assumed it was lunchtime - it was hard to tell whether the Sun had reached its zenith, or even if it had bothered to rise at all that morning, due to all the rain blocking the view. She strapped on her magic sword, Scumhacker, and threw on her magic cloak, Rainrepeller. She was in a bad mood - the jerk telling her story ought to have thought of a name by now. "Ah well," she thought, "just so long as I don't get called Prucilla, or Ermintrude, or She-Ra princess of Power, or something else equally mundane. OK, sword? - check, cloak? - check. Right, Bangor High Street - here I come!" Glancing to right and left, our heroine made sure she was unobserved as she left the building. Drawing her sword, she thought "Not the same gag again", pulled her sword from its scabard and yelled "what's the matter, lacking in imagination?" at the narrator. In a fitting display of total cowerdice, the narrator began that paragragh again.... Glancing to right and left, our heroine made sure she was unobserved as she left the building. Loosening her sword in its scabard she said "That's better", and rounded the corner of the building. Bangor High Street at lunchtime could be fraught with danger. CHAPTER 2. ---------- As darkness fell....BANG!...she strode into Menai Bridge. "I must remember to turn RIGHT at the lights !" she thought. And why was it dark? ...Ah..new script writer..The cretin hasn't read what the last person wrote... "Ammeters ( and Voltmeters !)" she cried. Suddenly...175 splashes...175 screams..a cry of "They couldn't take it !"...."Plas Gwyn Caterer's have taken another year "... ....26.23 Seconds later...NEW YORK... Extra,extra, read all about it..174 die in mass suicide-in....Bangor University hall given Conservative prize for student cuts." "Look you idiot- this is my story," our nameless heorine cries to me. "OK..OK..I submit." "Good, and I want to be in Bangor". There she stood below the clock tower ("Thank you")..waiting, watching, looking for anything out of the ordinary to happen.... (in Bangor?...HA! ...fat chance!). Suddenly, a giant form swooped out of the sky. Oh no, it was too much. People ran in panic, shouting and screaming, in all directions. "Wonder what's happening?" our heroiine asked herself as she looked up. She blanched. The horror of the situation was almost too much for her to cope with, but bravely she held her ground.... "What could this horror be? What evil could drive the good citizens of Bangor away from their window-shopping?" the narrator asked herself as she desperately tried to think of something even faintly amusing. "Got it!"..... The all powerful Maggie was on her way to Ysbyty Gwynedd (that's Gwynedd Hospital, to all you non Welsh speakers out there - of which I myself am one) on the pretext of an official opening ceramony. In reality she was going for a quick shuftie to see how big her health cuts for the area could be, without having to leave the planet in order to escape a wrathful population!!! What will our heroine do? How will she cope with the situation? Can she do anything at all? Will she find anyone to help her? (hint, hint) Find out in the next exciting installment (yawn....ZZZzzzZZZzzzZZZzzz), i.e. Chapter 3, of 'A NEVERENDING STORY'! CHAPTER 3 --------- Suddenly, our heroine was approached by a small, scruffy looking individual wearing jeans, T-shirt, open toed desert wellies, long hair, and a funny looking hat with "Bangor - Playground of the bone idle" written on it. "Hey, man" he said, "Who're you calling an individual.......?" "Student type, obviously," she thought. And killed it before it could infect anyone. By this time our heroine was getting somewhat peeved (to say the least) - The narrator had started the chapter with the word 'Suddenly' and nothing even remotely nerve-wracking had happened in the first paragraph. She stamped her foot in a fit of pique, waved her sword dangerously close to the narrator's nose and said "ENOUGH OF THIS RUBBISH !!!!!, get me into a real adventure before I sue you for breach of contract!" "Sigh........." said the narrator - there was nothing for it, but to do as requested. "I'd better start a new chapter I suppose....." CHAPTER 4 --------- Our heroine found herself in a strange forest clearing. She wouldn't have minded except for the fact that it was raining. And it was very windy. And it was cold. Not to mention dark. "I must still be in Wales," she thought, as if she had had another hangover, then through the mist (which had immediately fallen as soon as she had thought 'Wales') she saw a horrible sight. At first it was just a faint sound of a bereaved duck calling to her dead mate but as this noise grew a strange creature appeared. The body was all red, it had flashing blue eyes ,a large grey mouth with yellow fangs, and to cap it all it surrounded in a golden halo. "Oh shit not another lost fire engine," our heroine cried. "Why couldn't it had been a dragon? Look here I want a proper adventure is it too much to ask?". After directing the firemen to the chemistry buildings she found a large boulder and sat down (because she was too bored to stand up any longer and it gave the writer time to change to wps so he could spell check). Ten minutes later (spelling mistakes corrected) our heroine feels a warm felling against her thigh and also senses a strange buzzing sound. She jumps up, crouches down battle ready to fight for her life. Slowly scanning the scene she sees nothing, she feels the weight of the sword in her hand making sure the balance is right, then notices something. Swinebasher is no longer in her hand - "Where the bloody hell is it???", she hisses then looks back to the rock she was sitting on. The sword is half buried in the edge of the rock just left of the greenie-brown moss and above the third crack from the middle. "What the hell gives you the right to look so happy", she moans, looking at the sword as it pulsates white light and sings to itself. "I'm SUPPOSED to be the star of this story, so shut up and come over here !". The sword does as it is told, goes quiet and flies back into it's master's hand. Paul Daniels walks onto the scene and says "Now thats magic!". Our heroine gets so peeved at the interruption that she cleaves his head in two. "I think its time for a new chapter, don't you? How about putting me in the Mediterreanian or somewhere nice 'n' hot", our heroine asks. We shall see - the writer replies. CHAPTER 5 --------- The world goes suddenly very dark and dingey. Then there's a flash, and she finds herself up to her waist in very cold water. She throws a steely stare around her (unfortunately the slips missed it and she isn't out). "I don't call a lake in Snowdonia hot," she shouts, "now get me out of here before my sword goes rusty." But not soon enough, for Brainbiter was already showing that undeniable sign of age common on many a student car :- FeO2 ("Ha Ha," said the script-writer, "at this rate I'll be writing drivel good enough for Dallasty-Brook-Enders before I graduate!!"). (It should here be pointed out that the script writer was doing a post-grad. Open University course in writing pompous letters to The Times - Ed.). But enough of this maudling talk - on with the story: Seeing the plight that Brainbiter was in, our heroin (sexist!) took off Raincheater and shielded Brainbiter with its dry shadow, gathering up her strength to leap up from the water, out of the page, and, landing with a "Splodge" on the writers desk. Naturally, this surprised the writer; his surprise left him rigid for those vital few seconds our heroin required to cross the desk and swing Brainbiter in just such a manner that it's tip momentarily occupied the same temporo-spacial coordinates as the script-writers arm. (In plain simple English, she hit him with it.) This caught the script- writer somewhat unawares, since it had the unfortunate side-effects of a mild dose of tetanus (fortunately his jabs were up to date, so he survived this attempt on his life); and leaving the poor (sic!) man a heroin addict for life!!! Whilst the script-writer was being taken off to the hospital ,the princess LPA0: (for it is she!) jumped forward to chapter 7......missing chapter 6 completely, which wasn't very interesting anyway because she wasn't in it. CHAPTER 6 --------- ......Con Solo was mistified. One minute he was talking to Princess LPA0:, the next minute she was gone. He searched the Milliamp Falcon from paper tape input to paper tape output, but he could not find her. "Well gosh darn it," he muttered - or words to that affect, and punched the Milliamp Falcon into a hyper-spatial micro-quantum leap to UK.AC.BANGOR.VAXA so that he could at least read further of her adventures..... CHAPTER 7 _________ +---------------------------------------+ | W A N T E D : - N E W | | S C R I P T - W R I T E R | | T O C O N T I N U E | | T H I S N E V E R - E N D I N G | | S T O R Y . | | ( Apply here in chapter 7) | +---------------------------------------+ ............ Two light years have passed... F O U N D I T ! T R A N S P O R T C O M P U T E R S L O C K E D O N A P P R O A C H I N G : B.A.N.G.O.R. ( the aBsolutely most fANtastically Great place tO be.. eRr ) - -- - - - Con stepped from the craft, an overwhelming sense of fear came over him. "LPA0:..something's wrong, I must find her." He stood and thought for a moment. When suddenly it struck him. Picking himself up off the floor he turned the page and read :- "There she lay in the shadow of a great monolith of concrete, steel tubing strengthening the Safeway's empire." "Great !, the Safeway site." The construction site was Mega-Awesome ( in the words of an American friend ). It was dusk, soft rays of sunlight caressing a monument of steel reinforced concrete and metal girders. Trucks and earth-movers lay like stranded whales in the mud, apparently overcome at last by the Bangor weather. There she lay in the shadow of a great monolith of concrete, steel tubing strengthening the Safeway's empire. Her once pure white fighting uniform was torn and blood stained. Her face, dirty and frowned, wet strands of hair partially covering her still beautiful features. Con knelt beside her and stroked her arm, it was warm and soft, his heart lifted as he remembered the days ( and nights ) they had spent together. LPA0:'s pale face gave a weak smile and slowly she opened her eyes. "Con," she faintly whispered, "The narrator.." she chocked a little and a look of pain came over her face, "he's dying, you must save him or find another - without him/her I am finished." Her trusty sword NameChanger then slowly and dimly changed it's name again. Con tried desperately to write her a script but it was of no use, his IQ was a single digit ( ASCII 49 ). The spirit of LPA0: rose to stand beside him - together they must find a script writer who can revive LPAO:'s body so they can be physically together again.... CHAPTER 8. ---------- The chapter started in a bad way, the stand in script-writer on loan from Crossroads was stuck for ideas. The bleakness was interrupted by a strange, two headed, three armed man with an acute lack of dress sense. "Holy Zarquon!", he yelled, "You aren't Trillian. Shit! I must have entered the wrong story while using the improbability drive." Suddenly there was a flash, both Zaphod's heads swore and he changed into a deformed penguin and disappeared. Con solo was smashed on the head by his first good idea in years. After he recovered, he grabbed the red telephone that a whim of the script-writer had caused to materialise in the middle of this building site. He dialled, waited, and started to talk frantically into the mouth piece. A few moments later he put the phone down and looked solemly at LPA0: "I tried to hire Douglas Adams but he wanted nearly three pounds a year so I had to refuse!", stated Con, "he was going to put me in touch with the writer of Blake's Seven but the stand in script-writer couldn't remember his name.". Suddenly a left-over improbability field from the Heart of Gold exploded and they found they had been teleported to a small and rather revolting little part of Leicester called Oadby - birth place of PDP-1's grandfather Oadby-1 Kenobi. They glanced around and discovered the place to be full of students. At this point they felt they ought to make a run for it... CHAPTER 9 --------- Where will this mad sprint end? will a new script-writer be found to replace the Crossroads reject? Find out by writing this gripping episode in the NEVER ENDING STORY. "HOLD IT!" yelled Princess LPA0:, coming to a sudden stop. "Just what the Devil is going on around here?" she inquired of the Crossroads reject. ("Funny you should say that," said the writer under his (fiery) breath.) "I don't remember having recieved any applications for the post of script-writer yet." "Look," said the reject in his most reasonable tone of voice, which sounded like a cross between a fog horn and a concrete mixer, and preening his horns aragantly with a cloven hoof. "If I hadn't shown up, you'd still be stuck at the advert at the beginning of chapter 7! And besides, you said yourself that no-one else had applied for this job - even in the present economic climate, nobody's this desperate!" The writer was getting angry and his tail was beginning to twitch as he warmed to his subject. Casually releasing his subject and letting it fall back into the fiery pits of Hell, he opened his cavernous mouth to continue. "All right, all right!" said Con Solo irretably. He hadn't meant to say that at all but he wasn't given any choice. "Can you at least prove to us that you have at least a little bit of imagination?" Suddenly, a large cloud of dust appeared on the horizon. (Princess LPA0: yawned loudly.) Soon several figures had resolved themselves out of the swirling dust. "Hi. I'm Leek Vegslicer," said Leek Vegslicer. "This is Corn Solo and Twobugger, his Nookie. And this is Obergene Kenobi." "Hi, y'all" said Obergene. Leek waved his Herbi-sabre restlessly. "Have you seen a particulary nasty- looking gardener go by here?" "No. Why?" queried Princess LPA0: "Well, his name's Dirt Digger and he's captured Princess Layher. He's under contract to the Death Sun to write a piece about Corn's sex life. Judging by the size of his cheque book, I don't think she'll be able to resist for long" opined Leek worridly. "If you haven't seen her then I guess we'd better go. May the Farce be with you." "Bye, y'all" said Obergene. And with no further ado, or anything else for that matter, they climbed into the Millipede Falcon and disappeared back over the horizon chased by a particularly un-frightening pack of Imperial Butterfly fighters. "YOU'RE SACKED!!!!" screamed Princess LPA0: and stormed off into chapter 10. Con Solo followed after directing a sympathetic shrug in the direction of the now mournfully weeping Imp. The shrug didn't want to go in that direction and scampered off the edge of the page. "Lucifer will give me Heaven for this," sobbed the Imp as it vanished in a puff of un-smoke. CHAPTER 10 ---------- Princess LPA0: waited impatiently for Con Solo to catch up. "I saw the way you looked at that Nookie!" she accused. Before Con Solo could say a word in his own defense, Princess LPA0: unfastened a previously unspecified zip down her back. As the outer skin peeled away, Con Solo stepped back aghast. "Gasp" he said. Then..."Gasp" he said again, just to make sure everyone was paying attention. Princess LPA0: wasn't Princess LPA0: at all !!!!!! She was..... ........OUR HEROINE !!!!! ("Phew!") "At LAST!", shouted the figure that emerged from the cheap Woolworths 'Genuine LPA0: Disguise - buy two and get a free lazer pistol', "Back to MY story!!!!". "Who are.....", Con Solo started to ask, but our heroine simply kicked him back to DEC-WARS where he belonged. Wrapping RainRepeller more tightly round her, she paused to let the script writer think of what she should do next. "Come on, come on" she cried at him, so, after a quick consultation with his neighbours.... She clambered out of the slippery pit to the side of the road. "I must get out of here," she thought - "I'll never get into a decent plot at this rate!" Just then, she heard the sound of an engine. Backfiring. Turning, she saw a 1950's saloon (no, the saloon CAR - not from the Wild West), filled with several thousand deck-chairs, parasols, and with suitcases bulging out of the windows trundling towards her. "Excuse us, love", called a piercing voice, "Could you please tell us if this is the right road to Bournemouth ?" She looked at them, baffled. "We've been driving round for the past week looking for 'Jolly Jim's Holiday Camp, Bournemouth'. "This is Bangor, Gwynedd - can't you tell by the rain?", asked our heroine. ("Surely someone's thought of a name for me by now?" she thought.) The woman in the car turned to her husband "Tha' stupid great puddin'! Ah told thee tha' should've turned left at t' last motorway!" Reaching deeply into the pocket of RainRepeller, Ermintrude, Princess of Power pulled out a map. She then leaped through the monitor and strangled the script writer. Scrambling back again, she offered to help the couple get to Bournemouth. "It can't be MUCH worse than here," she thought, cramming herself between the golf bags and deck chairs on the back seat. "What do they call thee, then, lass?", asked the driver. A sad, kind of wistful look came into her eyes. "My name is.....not important," she said, quietly. "Well then, Miss Important, which way now?". The driver then turned the car radio on very loudly, and missed what she said. (The narrator kindly refrained from taking the opportunity to insert any jokes like "Perhaps she should've taken aim more carefully" - jokes like that should be banned in his opinion.) The radio began playing an old Cliff Richard song - but, on listening carefully, it seemed as if the lyrics had been given a haunting and depressing twist...... We're all going on a Bangor holiday No more sunshine for a term or two Fun and laughter on our Bangor holiday No more working for me and you For a term or two. We're going where the rain falls gently We're going where the sky is grey We don't get up for lectures They're no fun anyway. Everybody needs a Bangor holiday Doing things they always wanted to So we're going on a Bangor holiday So we can get wet through. Yes, me and you. CHAPTER 11 ---------- Bored because she couldn't talk to anyone while the radio was on, and because there didn't seem to be much chance of adventure with these tiresome tourists, she borrowed some oil for SplodgeBlatter, her newly- renamed sword, and managed a slippery escape from the junk on the back seat of the car. Leaping from the still moving vehicle, she discovered herself to be in the picturesque village of Running Treacle, where, little did she know it, she was soon to be involved in the most dangerous adventure of her life........ CHAPTER 12 ---------- To go boldly where only three million (or so) others have gone before. The most deadly task of all, more feared than molar dentistry on the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, more nervewracking than watching The Price is Right (and believe me, that is something! A better version of this awesomely aweful torment is to try and guess which price is the closest to the combined IQ of the audience and Leslie Crowther. Except that the prizes rarely cost that little, but we digress...), more nailbiting than waiting for Steve Davis to make a mistake, more tedious than watching snooker waiting for Steve Davis to make a mistake. More depressing than Australian soaps. Yes, our heroine, finding that the bottom has fallen out of the heroine business has to sign on ! With BicBiro her persistently metamorphic and often outrageously symbolic weapon clutched firmly in her sweaty hand she walks towards that grey and dismal building...The Social Insecurity Centre, the dungeon of Whereveritisopolis, the dank repository for money grabbing UnderTrolls, those vile creatures headed by that revolting despoiler of Innersitybedsitland, The Maggot Hatcher. For it is here, in the S.I.C., that Her minions do toil at their word mills, turing out reams upon reams of magic scrolls, that, upon even one reading do turn the most hardened livered of the populace into gibbering wrecks. Written in a secret language, such that none of these dark secrets may fall into the hands of the Hoi Poloi, they are known by such names as...UB40, P10, P15, and the horrible Earth shattering R101. But, back to our story, for our heroine, Miss Nobodyatall Totalscumbag, which is the name given by the denizens of S.I.C. to their prey, is standing outside the portals of S.I.C., by the great door. The door itself is forboding and inscribed with the runes: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Names A-X Mondays, 9:00-9:00:00.0000000000001 X-Y Tuesdays, 4:29-4:30 Z Wednesdays-Fridays, alternative leap centuries only, 9:00-4:30 If office is closed tough luck, ha ha ha ha, Jobless Peasant. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Through the grill of the door a tarry smoke boils and writhes as if alive. Getting in could be tricky, she thought. Nearby however was a phonebox, Yes, that would do! So, after ritually vandalising it (well, anybody that walks around carrying a sword of all things, even if it is a ballpoint pen in this particular incarnation, must have a few marbles missing at least.) she mystically becomes... Miss Zapherically ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzziiiiip, the time shifting heroine of Milton Keynes II. (Milton Keynes II is really a small planet out in the commuter suburbs of our galaxy. There are many strange and indiginous lifeforms lurking about amidst the concrete Glulsch monsters perched precariously on the rolling blue-red hills about this NewPlanet. Due to some strange desire to either be first or last in the phone book all the inhabitants have names with improbably large numbers of Z's or A's in them. A truely primitive species they all have to travel increadibly large distances to work every day, then return in the evening. To save journey time these small grey lumps (for the Milton Keynesioans are all small grey lumpen things) evolved the ability to travel in time, thus rendering their employers flexi-time working rule totally redundant.) ...anyway, Ms Z (as she will be known here, at least in the absence of other native MKsians) manages to zip through time (nothing so fashionable here as button up temporalization a la 501 epoch!) to just such a leap century, and, with a giant helping hand from the author dives through the door into.... ..."gasp !!!" cries O.H. "Poison gas..." Her eyes stream and she starts coughing rolling about on the floor, gasping for what little air is contained in this noxious room. Nearby, standing in little pockets of their own bodyspace, are large numbers of 'prey'. Each one has, in their own manner, been defeated by the Maggot Hatcher and dragged screaming down into this swirling sesspit of their own voting. Each fearing their fellow humans they try to ward off the evil one by igniting flamable magic talismen, known as Capstan Full Strength. These powerful charms keep back all health concious devils and demons, but, such is their soul stealing aspect that each and every user dies, usually of something terribly terminal. With a scream Ms Z sees the truely dreadful Wino, blindly staggering about waving his talking cider bottle, and lunging at all and sundry. This poor specimen was once a member of a proud and hauty race, such as the Stockbrokers, or MiddleManagement (A bit like Hobbits really, no one is sure what they do for a living, but theres an awful lot of them and they keep getting under the feet). Then, one day they are visited by that scourge of all RichBuggers (the generic name for Parasites) the Taxman. The Taxman were originally humans too, but under the regime of the dark one, Hatcher, they were twisted and warped into what they are today. This warping was the result of trying to teach them one of the Words Of Power (A Word Of Power is one of those building blocks of Life As We Know It. Without these power words life would end, brimstone would rain on all, locusts would stream out of the east devouring all in their path, frogs would eat people, dustbins would murder babies, profit margins would fall etc.). The word in question was VAT. These black clad creatures lurk about until everone has forgotten their existance, then they leap out crying "VAT, VAT, VAT". This has the effect of turning hardened capitalists into Winos (A Deux Ex Machina if ever there was one...). Then there is the gruesome Woman With Pushchair and Hoards Of Screaming Children. In itself a harmeless creature, but the H.O.S.C. are terrible to behold. They scamper around attempting to drag Ms Z to the floor and trample her to death, but she is not Our Hero for nothing!...No, that is just what she puts on the claims form for simplicity. But the combined effects of the H.O.S.C and Wino send shivers of terror down her spine and she turns to flee, but alas her high heels catch in a hole and she twists her pretty little ankle..... (there was a three week break in this chapter whilst our author recovered from severe injuries in hospital administered by his girlfriend. There was also a period of detoxification in the Institute for the Criminally Sexist, with special psychiatric analysis on "Why I found it neccesary to sink into such gross and antiquated stereotypes", which is the title of a forthcoming paper by Dr. Mooney (Oink and Bar, (Union)) in the scientific journey "Looneys, Dontcha hate 'em" ) Striding womanfully up to the desk she smashes her fist down. "I demand that you process me NOW, so I can get back to work as a full time unpaid heroine as soon as possible." The Thing from S.I.C doesn't even look up as she pushes the wad of scrolls over towards her. But Ms Z is not satisfied, she raises BicBiro above her head... "By the mystic aura of this sorcerous weapon, I'll be processed now or I'll remove your head with trusty BicBiro here !!" she snarls. The sullen no reply is too much for her berzerker blood and she swings wildly with BicBiro. She misses wildly too and falls into the arms of the two waiting Men In Calm Yellow Coats..... "There, there Miss. It'll be alright, just put this coat on, here let me help you with the buckles." "What was it Burt, talking to a ballpoint pen, attempted decapitation of a government official with aforementioned ballpoint pen, vandalism, to whit, one phone box, one job centre door, swearing at minors and kicking a wino? Looks bad Miss, doesn't it, really." The Van outside is yellow too, as is the padded interior, as is the dungeon into which they finally dump her. But she is not beaten yet, for what is this object on the floor. Could it really be... CHAPTER 13 ---------- She examined the object closely. It was the nearest thing she'd seen to a human being, without actually being one. "Oh, 'ello there!" it said, amiably. "Oh 'ere, have a free bitty of plastic!" so saying, it thrust into her hand an oddly shaped device made of plastic. There was something familiar about it, but she couldn't tell what it was. There was something familiar about the creatures strange costume, too. Then, Suddenly - nothing happened. But it happened suddenly, mark you. Instantly, she realized what it was. "Where did you get that 'Star-Trek' costume?" she asked. "Woolworths!" came the reply "I bought two, and they gave me that piece of plastic too. 'E don't work, though." It then took off its Genuine Star-Trek disguise, and was wearing another underneath. Then, for no apparent reason, it did a triple back flip, ran four times round the room, climbed the wall, leaped off, and landed in a pile of rags on the floor. As she looked at the Genuine Star-Trek Phasergun in her hand, an idea began to form in her mind..... She regarded the bleak walls, the total lack of sensible lighting, and the non-existant plush furniture. "This reminds me of University," she thought. "I think I'll go to bed." Silence. Then "Odd," she reflected. Putting the mirror away, she contined "This can't be University - whenever I thought that there, all my neighbours immediately turned their stereos on full blast." Making the most of the quiet, she slept. Next morning, the concealed door opened. Rays of artificial sunlight streamed into the dark cell. Then a shadow blocked the doorway. A large shadow. "Scotland Yard, madam." said a deep, authoratitive voice. "Haven't you been converted to metric yet ?" "Now, now, madam, this is serious. In addition to the charges brought against you by the S.I.C., you are also being charged with the murder and attempted murder of several script-writers. What do you have to say for yourself?" "Ah. It was all a misunderstanding." Then she saw how to put the rest of her plan into action. Putting on her best 'defenceless girl' act, she smiled serenely and said "and please Mr. Policeman, can I have my talking 'Ma-Ma' dolly to keep me company?" Completely fooled, the tough Scotland Yard man stifled a sob. "Of course you can," he said. "I'll go and get it this very minute." "What an idiot!" she said, about half an hour later, when the doll was safely in her possesion. "Thank you!" said the creature occupying the cell with her. Ignoring it, she pressed a button on the doll's back. "MA-MA!" it said. She smiled to herself, and reached into the pocket of RainRepeller, which the guards had totally failed to confiscate. She pulled forth (or even fifth) her secret weapon - SwissArmyknife! She spent the next few hours engaged in careful dissection of the doll's mechanism and the Phasergun, pausing only for lunch. After the final incorporation of a bit of her lunch fork into the works, she stood up. She was holding the Phasergun, but it looked a bit different now, with wires and wierd shaped protrusions all over it. She pointed it at the door, and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. "Rats!" she started to say, when there was a kind of fizzling noise, a shaft of blue light blazed from the gun, and the door flew apart in a tremendous explosion! "IT WORKS !!!!!" she screamed, and leaped through the opening, past the astonished 'Men in Yellow Coats'. Pausing only to blast some perfectly harmless walls, doors, windows, gates, and anything else that looked blastable, she sped down the driveway and out into the country lane. She wandered along the road, hiding occasionaly from 'Men in Yellow Coats' who seemed to be upset about something. She thought "Maybe I can hitch-hike out of here," when she heard the sound of a car. Backfiring. "Oh no, not again!" she thought, and was sued for copyright reasons. She leaped into a nearby ditch just in time to avoid the car, still stuffed with deck-chairs, and the Tiresome Tourists, which roared past and followed a sign saying 'Scotland 350 miles'. Makin sure her weapons, SwissArmyknife and Phasergun were still intact, she continued on her way. She couldn't have gone much more than 48 miles when she heard another car. Turning, she saw a terrifying sight. The car was a red, open-roofed MG-B, the numberplate dented beyond recognition. The six occupants had long hair, and all were waving at least three nearly-empty beer bottles. They wore faded, tattered jeans and t-shirts with outlandish designs. Also in the car were electric guitars, large amplifiers, a few hundred boxes with names on them like 'Sony', 'Philips', 'Hitachi' and 'Aiwa'. Jutting out at precarious angles were numerous mile-high speaker stacks. The car had a sticker on the windscreen saying 'We Love Wales'. It had been crossed out. Our Heroine had no time to hide this time. As the machine bore relentlessly down on her, she began to hear words in the horrible cries they were making: "Didn't we have a loverly time, With our degree at Bangor? It rained each day, The skies were all grey, And in our Hall the food was awful. At night out came stars, Electric guitars, And our neighbours' hi-fi systems; Oh what a bore Our lectures all were, So we slept in them. Then the end of term test, We all did our best, But our marks went down!" The shock was too much for anyone. Our Heroine threw herself down by the side of the road, with her hands over her ears. The noise became louder and louder until it was almost unbearable. It seemed like hours, but could only have been a a few minutes before the sound miraculously began to die away, fading with a burst of raucous laughter as the car rounded the next corner and vanished into the distance. She was just about to pick herself up and continue on her journey when she heard the sound of someone moving cautiously through the vegetation by the road. There emerged a curious man wearing mud-stained shorts, an off-white short-sleeved shirt and a safari hat. She stopped to hear what he was saying. "And here we see an excellent example of Studentis noworkus returning from its tri-annual migration to its selected gathering place, with a remarkable lack of homing instinct, back to where it started from." With that, he left to make another programme about Evolution. "I always thought there was something fundementally wrong with the universe," reflected our bemused heroine as she walked on. "I wonder where I'll end up next ?" CHAPTER 14 ---------- Bewildered at her strange adventures, our heroine began the long walk along the road, back to the place where she knew she could find peace. The places of her childhood, suffused with dim and distant memories, memories of a happier, more carefree time. Memories of old friends, familiar places, secluded rocky bays and rock-pools. How she had loved the seaside as a little girl. How she had taken delight in the beauty of nature, revealed all around, and in the majestic grandeur of the sea itself. How she had ... WHOOOOOOOOOOMPH! Her reverie was interrupted by a large wardrobe falling out of the sky, and landing in the mud by the side of the road. Our heroine, somewhat startled, took a moment to regain her composure before taking time out to investigate this strange occurrence. As she approached the wardrobe, it became clear that this was no ordinary wardrobe, but a genuine Chippendale, walnut-crafted masterpiece, very rare indeed, and very valuable. "What on earth could possess someone to abandon such a valuable artifact?", our heroine asked herself, "And why, if the wardrobe is to be disposed of", her thoughts continued, "Should the owner go so far as to push it out of an aeroplane". For it seemed that this could be the only explanation of the sudden and mysterious appearance of the wardrobe. Deep into contemplation our heroine sunk, as she pondered what kind of a man would push a Chippendale walnut wardrobe out of an aeroplane, and in such a manner as was likely to cause severe danger and inconvenience to pedestrians. "What a careless, thoughtless man!", though our heroine, "What a ..." WHOOOOOOOOOOMPH! That one was a lot closer ... Our heroine realised that she had had a lucky escape, for another wardrobe had fallen to earth, not more than five yards distant from her! Incredible! "It's not often that one witnesses two falling wardrobes in one day", she mused quietly to herself, for though disturbed by the sudden unscheduled appearance of the wardrobes, our heroine was far too composed to allow herself to be shaken by such an event. "What on earth can be the meaning of this?", she questioned, "What manner of a man is this, that throws two wardrobes out an aeroplane in but a single day?" Then a though struck her ... She had neither seen nor heard anything remotely resembling an aeroplane for some hours! What could be the explanation? For surely, if an aeroplane had passed near enough to allow the arrival of the wardrobes, she would have heard it? With trepidation, she glanced skywards, only to see her worst fears realised. There, hanging suspended in the sky, (and note how I have carefully avoided quoting the "Hitch Hikers' Guide" bit about bricks here), was the largest flock of wardrobes she had ever seen! Held in the sky by some mystical, unseen force, there was an ominous, almost malevolent air about them ... The rigid way they held formation, the effortless ease with which they wafted around in the vernal breeze, and the rather odd-looking gentleman perched atop the largest of the mahogany wardrobes all contributed to our heroine's feeling that something very odd was going on. And indeed, it became clear that her feelings of disquiet were not unfounded, as she heard, wafting distantly downwards, the voice of the odd-looking person, shouting something that she could not make out clearly, or indeed at all. Was he trying to communicate with her? Or was he shouting instructions to the formation-flying wardrobes? It seemed the latter, for immediately, at a single gesture from the hand of the wardrobe-master, two cheap Woolworths "Assemble-it-Yourself" wardrobes peeled off from the wings of the flying-V, and plunged into a kamikaze attack on our heroine! Down, down, down, they flew ... Faster and faster ... However, fortunately for our heroine, wardrobes have a low coefficient of ariel manouverability, and it was thus the work of a moment for her to anticipate the points at which the wardrobes would land, and leap nimbly out of the way ... And not a moment too soon! WHOOOOOOOOOOMPH! WHOOOOOOOOOOMPH! The wardrobes, made as they were of inferior wood, were laid waste utterly upon hitting the ground, such was their impact velocity! Surely, had our heroine not moved in time, she would have suffered a similar fate! But glancing upwards, she saw that the danger was not yet over! For the odd gentleman, whom she now recognised to be Reginald Maudlin, was now enraged, probably by the untimely demise of two of his wardrobes. Though he was far off from our heroine, he was so angry, he was shouting so loudly, that she could make out his words quite distinctly: "Look! Look at that! My poor wardrobes! Look what she's done to them! She's caused them to be rent in twain utterly!" ... There was a pause as the crazed, psychopathic Maudlin gathered his breath, and drew himself up to his full five feet seven. Balanced precariously on the mahogany masterpiece, he cried ferociously: "Get her, my beauties!" Suddenly, our heroine's worst nightmare had come true ... She was bombarded all around by wardrobes! Some large, some small, ranging in quality from some pieces nearly of the quality of the majestic Chippendale that had started this odd episode down to cheap, home-made plywood wardrobes that wouldn't look out of place in a student house in Earlsdon. All came pouring out of the sky in a frenzied rush, wave upon wave of demented avengers, flooding down in a manner liable to cause injury. WHOOOOOOOOOOMPH! The first wave impacted, and by some miracle, our heroine emerged unscathed, but many many more of the wardrobe flock, now grown in size to some three thousand, were hurtling downward to take their place! Gazing upward like a frightened rabbit, our heroine noticed that, in the confusion, and almost unbearable emotion of the moment, the lunatic Maudlin had slipped from his position on the proud mahogany beast, and was dangling from a piece of rope attached to this wardrobe. By now, he had become almost incoherent in his fury: "Get her! Get her! ... Look what she's done ... Hundreds of my pretty babies smashed to matchwood ... Get her! She mustn't get away with this!" More and more wardrobes were gathering for the second attack wave, and our heroine realised that if she were to survive this massive, if somewhat odd, onslaught, she would have to come up with a better tactic ... She paused, hesi- tated, uncertain of how to approach the problem ... WHOOOOOOOOOOMPH! One particularly eager of the more impetuous, younger wardrobes had broken formation, and come crashing down in a death-or-glory attempt to destroy our heroine! Fortunately for her, he had been way off target, but realising that she couldn't expect such luck to continue indefinitely, she did the only thing possible ... Opening the door of the nearest intact wardrobe, which happened to be the Chippendale once again, she quickly slipped inside ... But in the panic of the moment, she forgot her kindly old uncle's sound advice never to shut the door of a wardrobe completely, in case you can't get out! How dreadful! Our heroine was safe for now ... But was trapped inside a wardrobe belonging to the very man, the dreaded and insane Maudlin, who had forced her to take such action in the first place! As the muffled "WHOOOMPH!"s of the wardrobes outside, flinging themselves to untimely destruction in futile obedience to their master, permeated the large mahogany wardrobe, our heroine, finally overcome by the emotion of the moment, sat down and started to cry. What a terrible situation now confronted her! Would she ever see again the kindly old uncle whose advice she had so rashly ignored? Would she ever again skip through the old meadow behind the farmhouse where she had spent her childhood? Would she ever again stand on Old Ben's Ridge, by the sea of her home town, entranced by the almost magical beauty of the setting sun, as it sank slowly and majestically behind the distant, mist-shrouded horizon, its last rays twinkling, shimmering over the incoming waves? It seemed not, for looming out of the darkness in the deeper recesses of the uncharted parts of the wardrobe of which she now found herself an inhabitant, came the one man of whom, more than any other, she lived in fear ... The man who, upon having his clumsy advances rejected by our heroine many years before, had flown into such a rage that he had sworn to kill her if ever he saw her again! The man who, after a three year hunt, had been convicted of the horrible "Catholic Prayer-book Murders". The only man who inspired more fear and terror in our heroine than Reginald Maudlin himself! Yes, it seemed that the hour of our heroine's nemesis had truly arrived, for the man who leapt out before her, drawing forth from our heroine a gasp of terror such as to send a shiver down the spine was ... Was ... Chapter 15 ---------- .....The Boss! He was so mad that his head was glowing bright red in the darkness. He bellowed something unrepeatable (and incoherant for that matter!). He demanded in his joyless tones if she really needed to take about 4 days for lunch, and, what the ****** **** she was doing sitting in the filing cabinet bawling her eyes out and screaming for wardrobes to do some obsene, and probably impossible (for wardrobes anyway) things! He opened the door and she stepped out confused and tired, sure enough they were back in the office in Bangor, it must have been Bangor...it was raining. She glanced at her desk and, letting out a furious yelp she grabbed her old sword StudentSmasher from its place on the sword rack. Completely ignoring the fact that it was impossible for StudentSmasher to be there at all she ran with it towards the computer terminal on her desk and hit the butt of her sword (which was busy changing its name in anticipation of chapter 16) against the head of the long-haired yobbo sat at the terminal. "Ugg",he cried,"What was that for?" "No wonder this story is going to pot you *****", she wailed, "You're not paid to read DECWARS all day! You're meant to be writing me into some wild adventures!". Suddenly recognision dawned on her, the useless script writer was none other than the idiot somebody had sent her from Crossroads in Chapter 7. "What the **** are you doing back here? I thought you had gone for good!" "Oh don't be like that", snivelled the misbegotten creature, " I left and got a cushy job on Dallas, but everything went wrong...I gave Miss Ellie a couple of plastic surgery visits and the viewing figures dropped. I had Bobby murdered and the veiwing figures dropped. I tried to repair the damage but when Pan woke up from her dream of Bobby's demise...the viewing figures dropped. Finally I was annoyed with Pam for not being a convincing dreamer, so I rammed her merc. into a truck and..." "The viewing figures dropped." our heroine cut in. "No", he moaned, "Well not yet anyway, but Pam wasn't very impressed and she can throw a lot of weight around with the bosses...I became the first ever script-writer to be written out of the titles". "Well isn't that a shame, get out of my chair", she commented with almost as much sympathy as a S.I.C. employee hearing the latest sob-story. Suddenly! ("Oh god not that no hopper of a paragraph starting word again!" our heroine moaned) A group of yellow coated men burst in with a stun gun and blasted her to sleep. Chapter 16 ---------- She awoke with a start to find that she was once again in the mahogany wardrobe....and the strange figure was still leaping towards her from the deeper and darker recesses of the Chippendale. "What IS going on?" she wondered. Lacking any time to do any serious thinking on the matter, our heroine told herself that it was probably "retrogresive hysterical amnesia" or some such, and got on with the business of trying to escape. Fortunately for her, her omnipotent sword StudentSmasher had already anticipated her needs and had, after a series of difficult and painful contortions, managed to change itself into the magnificently rusty looking CrowBar. In an instant (that was in fact a few seconds) our heroine had forced open the mouth (OK, door then) of the wardrobe and made a quick getaway into some nearby bushes in order to survey the scene. So eager had the wardrobes been to make her into strawberry jam, that not a single wardrobe (apart from the one in which she had so inadvertantly locked herself) remained. The ground was covered in a deep layer of very small splinters, and in the middle of it all sat Reginald Maudlin - his eyes streaming with tears, and muttering "It's not FAIR!" to himself. The remaining mahogany wardrobe tried to comfort him, but since it was a wardrobe, all it succeeded in doing was hitting him on the back of his head with its door. It was at this moment that the Boss plucked up enough courage to walk out into the light of day. Creeping up quietly behind Reggie he yelled "BOO!!!" Reggie jumped up like a startled....er....um....Reggie. "Quit mucking about! Have you any idea how long it's going to take me to gather that many wardrobes again??? Our Heroine will be going round causing havoc for years before we can catch up with her again!" "Oh" said the Boss, "I hadn't thought of that." And with that they walked off into the sunset leaving only the magnificent mahogany wardrobe as a monument to all it's fallen brethren. "Phew!!!" said Our Heroine. "That was a lucky escape. Thank goodness they didn't see me hiding behind these bushes. There's definitely something very odd going on around here. Hang on!!! These arn't bushes, they're..... Pete .