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Milliways - the cafe at the end of the universe...

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Milliways - the cafe at the end of the universe...

Post  HuginTheCrow on Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:46 am

Scene:
A slightly grubby cafe, with shelves near the entrance, full of cheap confectionery for the customers queuing to get a seat...

Commander Krane enters, dragging one leg, and leaving a trail of some indefinable body fluid...
...she looks around the cafe, and seeing no table that would allow her the solitude she deserves, picks over the cheap sweets, finally scooping up a handful of jelly babies.

Waitress approaches her, looking suspiciously like Bis Jena...
In a impossibly shrill voice, 'Table for one...?'

'Naff off, you alien dreg. I'll wait.'

'Suit yourself dearie. Doubt anyone would want to share with you, anyway. Especially with that...what is that you're dripping on the sweets?...oh, that is disgusting...'

'Go on, naff off, you stupid old crone, or I'll stuff this jelly baby right up your nose.'

'Oooo, there's no need to get nasty with me dearie. Just trying to be helpful.'

Door opens and President Raczak enters, with a gaggle of Vell-os beauties. They are giggling, and looking at him adoringly. Krane snarls in contempt and hawks on the floor at their feet. Raczak considers killing her again, but lets it pass. They stand with their back to Krane, waiting for the waitress to find them a table...

...a slightly curious looking chair stealthily sidles along the bar towards Krane. She watches it with amusement, and when it finally halts next to her and leans towards her, she casually places a foot on the seat, pressing it to the floor.

'Hello, Frandall.'

'Oohhh, Commander, how did you...'

'Phaw, you forget, I taught you everything you know. The chair. Oldest trick in the book. Surprised you'd even think you could get away with it.'

The chair slumps sadly, and as Krane removes her foot, it slowly changes into a tatty looking mop. She shakes her head in disgust and chooses some sherbet dips.

Bis Jena bears down on the mop with delight, 'Ah, there you are.'

She immediately starts mopping the floor vigorously, removing the disgusting fluid leaking from Krane.

'Fmmmmehhweh.ppoommmmnimwmaaahhwmnnne,' says the mop, hopping up and down in the waitress' hands, much to her horror. She thrusts the mop head-first into a bucket.

'Bbbbbblllllllbbblllbbllllbbb,' says the mop, frantically trying to get out of the bucket, 'blllbbuubbbbllbbb'

By this time Raczak and his escorts are eyeing the mop with considerable suspicion. Raczak reaches slowly for his blaster, trying not to make any sudden move likely to alarm the mop. He takes careful aim, but just as he presses the trigger, the door bursts open and...

...Alex Cerenkov and Li Chan come laughing and joking to an astonished halt. They gawp in amazement as the mop both wrestles with Bis Jena, and attempts to knock the blaster from Raczak's hand.

Raczak squeezes the trigger and a blast sears across the bar, narrowly missing the occupants of the table nearest the stage. Angella McCullen and Queen Siobhan dive to the floor in panic, spilling anchovies in all directions. The poor little fish scream as General Hein, at the next table, leans over and spears several neatly with his blade. He smiles smugly and pops them into his mouth.

'Oi, no discharge of firearms in here. I told you that last millennium', says the waitress shrilly over her shoulder, 'How do you expect to get any desert if you carry on like that?' continuing to fight with the mop.

President Raczak frowns embarrassedly, 'sorry, wasn't thinking.'

He smiles, but his eyes still flicker to the mop, wondering if he can slip in a quick shot without the waitress noticing.

Alex and Li have lost interest in the mop by this point and are in a passionate embrace across the sweet trays.

'Oi, and what do you two think you're up to', shrieks Bis in irritation, now kneeling on the mop whilst trying to strangle it, not an easy feat on an object that has no discernible neck.

I've got quite enough trouble with that slime monster and this mop, thank you.'

They stalwartly ignore her, completely engrossed in one another, only briefly stopping to come up for air as the lights dim and a pianist starts playing a very familiar tune...

Jo Raczak looks up from her drink.

'I thought I told you never to play that tune, Eamon.'

'He told me to, miss,' he replies, nodding to a dark corner of the bar. A shadowy figure stands up.

'Of all the gin joints in all the bars in all the world,' said Jo, 'Chorgar walks into mine.'

Eamon starts playing the theme from 'Neighbours', but Jo stops him.

'Play, play the tune, Eamon.'

'But miss, you said-'

'You played it for him, you can play it for me. Play it, Eamon.'

...Eamon caresses the keys lightly, sending shivers down the spines of those diners that could be considered to be vertebrates, which is a goodly proportion. The rest quiver appreciatively, with the exception of Frandall, who isn't sure what he counts as at the moment, except close to being throttled by the distracted Bis, who stares wistfully into Middle Space.

'Always look on the bright side of life,' echoes liquidly around the dimmed cafe.

Scarce a cheek is untouched by a tear, or some other miscellaneous fluid.

Chorgar has resumed staring into the bottom of his glass, perfunctorily stabbing the cherry with the little umbrella's handle. His right leg is still not quite right and the motor growls as he shifts his balance, causing him to lurch suddenly back crashing once more onto the unfortunate Angella and Siobhan. Again the anchovies fly in all directions, and Hein, never the one to miss an opportunity, spears another couple..

A rainbow cloak ripples in the wake of a whirling woman. Kalli takes H'wa's hand and leads him around the dance floor. She sees Raczak and - more to the point - the Vell-os clinging to his arms. H'wa waves at them... the Vell-os, caught by the Auroran's charismatic smile, follow him like magnets. Raczak and Kalli spin around the room to the quick light beat of Eamon's song.

.Ryphon walks in a moment later...in a bright orange suit...double-breasted, yellow pinstripes and a purple bowler...no shoes...

Doffs his hat to Krane, and has the waitress bring him a fine single malt.

A huge shadow darkens the bar, as the Mundokiir Holm pauses for effect in the doorway. Doing a quick psychic scan of the bar for possible traitors, he is relieved to find only crackpots. Night saunters in after him, splendiferous in full Pirate regalia once again.

She leads her erstwhile love interest over to the video game corner, where they are quickly engrossed in a rigorous "4A" (Attack Ancient Atlan Arianrhod) tournament. The star-studded Atlan Eagle swoops, ducks, and swerves in holo-form around the odd couple, as they attempt to blast the "Goodie Bags" she clutches in her talons. Meanwhile, Arianrhod attempts to viciously nuke their psyches. Only the Super Anti-Telepath Protective Helmets ($29.99 from SleeZee Outfitters, Inc) save Holm from being a gorgeous moron once again.

Another, quieter game progresses in a dimly lit corner. Rath, ominous and gleaming in oiled skin and gold armor, sullenly moves an odd piece shaped somewhat like a dog turd onto the board.

The Lovely Lora cracks up. "What in the sam hell is that? she asks.

"That, for your information, is a Grim Bolg. In larval stage. They're much more dangerous than they look!"

"If you say so, dear," she says patronisingly, and begins sampling the bowl of boiled shrimp.


**********************************************

'The writers of EV:N Reality would like to thank the ASW boards for hosting their story. We've had a great time and couldn't have done it without you. Hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as we have writing it.

Chapter 3 has kindly been hosted by EVula at
http://forums.evula.com/.

See you next millennium.


HuginTheCrow
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Posts : 2653
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Act 2

Post  HuginTheCrow on Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:55 am

Interlude

A slightly dishevelled and tired woman struggled into the restaurant with a box of data chips, several Tesla coils and some superconductor conduit. She valiantly juggled the coils as the waitress blatantly ignored her attempts to pull out a chair and sit down. Only one coil evaded her grasp as she sat, but she pounced remarkable swiftly as it fell, catching it before it hit the floor. She sighed and carefully stacked the equipment next to the chair, and glanced at the holomenu erratically spinning and flickering in the centre of the table.

The Engineer frowned and, reaching in a pocket of the rather dirty Sigma coveralls, withdrew a set of cybertools. She rummaged through the set and selected a vector analyser. Flipping through a set of displays, she tsked with contempt, and pointed a phase adjuster at the display, making a number of minute changes. The menu suddenly settled into a smooth rotation, bright and clear to see. The Engineer smiled contentedly and, replacing the various tools, ran a hand through her extraordinarily black hair.

'Oi, who said you could just come in here and start fiddling with our tables?' shrilled the waitress, as irritable as ever, staring horrified at the holomenu. She had never seen it rotate properly, the 'Screens and Sounds' men had been in dozens of times, but never cured the problem.

The Engineer shrugged her shoulders and laughed; it was an infectious, mellow laugh that caught the attention of nearby diners. Even the waitress felt unable to be angry with her, and stormed off to pick on someone more easily intimidated, stopping suddenly when she realised she hadn't collected the order.

'Yes. So. What are you having?'

'Mmmm, I'll have a glass of whatever that chap at the bar is drinking and the baby gecht with Hinerian Salad, please.'

'Right. You are sure about that Hinerian Salad? The last Auroran to have that vomited for three days.'

'Yes, thank you for sharing that information with me. I will still have the salad.'

'Suit yourself, dear. Do you want the bucket, then?'

'No, I don't want the bucket!'

'Alright. You'll have to clear it up, then.' With that the waitress strode off.

Several diners still regarded her with curiosity. Despite the obvious lack of concern she had in her appearance, she was strikingly beautiful, and had a smoothness of motion, which made her resemble nothing so much as a black cat. In fact, her eldest brother had nicknamed her 'little panther' when she was a child. She had always been into everything, watching and absorbing all that went on, with a stillness to her and a grace of movement that had made her the favourite of nearly all who met her.

The depth of her intellect had stunned her family, they were wealthy merchants, and had already struggled with one son becoming a warrior. Now they were faced with a daughter that appeared to be a prodigy at maths, chess, and music. Her ready laugh delighted her tutors, and many shook their heads in wonder as she soundly beat them at chess when only ten years old.

Much had happened since those days, but the years had been kind to her, and her hair had yet to show the premature grey common to its lustrous blue-black colour. The strain of the last few months might soon change all that, but her buoyant nature would probably off-set the events that had brought her here.

Her drink arrived, and she sniffed it anxiously. Relieved by the heady mix that assailed her nostrils, she downed it exuberantly, if rather inelegantly. She had often succeeded in drinking many of her fellow students into oblivion, her feline form hiding a constitution as robust as her warrior brother. He and she had hosted some outrageous parties in their youth. She sat back and enjoyed the rich taste of Old Earth Amber Light. It was still as good a brew as she remembered from the University of Misfire, where she had gained a second Masters degree in Astroavionics and Guidance Arrays. They had still been sending her invitations to lecture there shortly before the Bolg came…

Some of the diners seemed to be drifting into sleep, and when she caught sight of Sriam, he seemed somehow confused, and was mopping some blood from his forehead. She saw Alex Cerenkov sending numerous signals to various minions on his com unit, shaking his head at the extent of the loss of the Kane Band operation. It reminded her of her home and friends, now lost to the Swarm, along with her eldest brother and all they had built up on Forticus.

She toasted their memory and awaited her meal.

HuginTheCrow
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Act 3

Post  HuginTheCrow on Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:57 am

The unmistakeable figure of the waitress appears, glaring at the various figures around the table.

'Oh, so, what's going on here, then...you can't sprawl all over the cafe like this...you're blocking up the aisles...and stop picking at the table cloth...'

She makes an angry swipe at the now slowly desolidifying figure of Chorgar the Insane, almost completely missing him. The unfortunate Chorgar makes an ill advised attempt to step back, but he still hasn't mastered this particular manoeuvre and flails helplessly before crashing over with a sound like a cross between a serious automobile accident and a wounded bison.

A stunned silence falls across the cafe as it becomes clear he has fallen on top of the waitress. The piano player has stopped, and everyone looks over. Even some of the food at various tables slides(?) to the edge of the dishes to see what will happen. The mop is quivering in expectation, absolutely rigid, sticking out of the bucket, froth all over its head, leaning towards the table.

Chorgar grunts and rolls off the waitress who is, not surprisingly, motionless on the floor. Suddenly a terrible keening sound splits the air, and a pack of Cunjos appear from nowhere and set upon the cyborg before he can get up. Chorgar kicks two or three of them across the floor, but is no match for their sheer number and ferocity, and he is dragged screaming and cursing from the room.

The waitress abruptly sits up and stares at the onlookers, adjusting her hair and pulling down the hem of her dress, which has risen up to an unusually revealing level.

She looks at Peter, who has been unashamedly admiring her (very attractive) thighs.

'YES? Do you want something? Like, a smack in the mouth? YES?'

Peter grunts non-committally, 'Can't say much for the nachos.'

'NACHOS? You don't like the Nachos? Oh dear, what a shame, I am totally heart-broken. Hold on a minute while I go and cut off my head. He doesn't like the nachos. Oh dear.'

'Hey, you're a waitress, and not a very good waitress at that, so less of the sarcasm you old boot, even if you have got nice thighs.'

Bis lets out a shriek that destroys 60.2874% of all the glass and ceramic artefacts in the building, registering nearly 138dB (A-weighted). Several encephalopods take advantage of the destruction to escape their captivity and slide from sight. An entire table of delicate fungus beings is reduced to a disgusting pulp that is swiftly consumed by the Hynerians on the next table.

The waitress storms out of sight, towards the kitchen.

Peter glances at the other writers in embarrassment, ' Sorry about that, got carried away.'

He espies Shade who has been caught between metamorphoses by the terrible keening sound and is several characters all at once. Very disconcerting, but post-modern.

'Wow, that's impressive. So there really is no absolute truth and whatever works for you is…'

He stops as he realises Richard is shaking his head in quiet amusement, and mj is looking at him somewhat suspiciously.

He grins at mj boyishly and laughs and contorts his face stupidly. He takes some of the freshly squeezed limejuice and the crushed sea salt, sighs and settles back comfortably with his Tequila.

'So, some new characters, plus some old characters that got left on the edges of the chaos caused by the Bolg? Maybe we should have entitled it 'New Friends, Old Enemies'. Then we would have included all the new alliances with the age-old problems of need, greed, and seed. While the Bolg wouldn't have initially targeted agricultural planets, the technology associated with modern agriculture, projected into the future would make them very vulnerable to interference. So, just feeding people is going to be tricky, unless we have replicators?

I guess wheeling dealing is going to be the order of the day for a while. Maybe a bit like Mad Max in Space?

Mmm, maybe not,' noticing Leperdawn's steely gaze, mistaking his hangover for disapproval.

Peter looks across to the curiously translucent figure of Angella McCullen. The golden glow seems to completely suffuse her form now, as if she is a living flame, merely appearing to be humanoid for the moment. He is somewhat worried that she is definitely not quite within his control any more, and he will have to try and work out what is supposed to be going on.

'Hhhh', he sighed, 'another day at the keyboard.'

HuginTheCrow
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Epilogue...

Post  HuginTheCrow on Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:02 am

The door opened suddenly and a squall of autumn leaves swept in, their vivid colours clashing awkardly with the pink and blue floor tiles.

As the waitress glared towards the door it swung shut squeakily, oscillating on its hinges jerkily. It swung open a second time with a particularly violent gust, and a figure staggered in, wrapped in a dirty poncho and a ragged chaps.

He sucked on a black cigar and mean eyes roamed the cafe from beneath a worn stetson. He frowned as the waitress shrieked towards him anticipating his hawk into a nearby ashtray. His hand rested on some ancient weapon, possibly even a chemical propellant device, certainly not even sub-atomic.

The waitress had the mop in her hand, ready to defend her cafe. Frandall had been dozing quietly awaiting fresh intelligence, and the mop's head swivelled fiercely at Bis, spraying the stranger with suds.

'I wouldn't do that if I were you', the stranger's curiously familiar husky voice muttered, 'a person could get hurt.'

Bis stopped and stuttered in exasperation as he finished delivering his spittle into the ashtray.

Chorgar machined smoothly out of the shadows, he seemed to be getting the hang of his cybernetics at last, and swayed in front of the stranger menacingly.

The stranger shifted his cigar back and forth across his mouth and squinted at the cyborg with contempt. The café was curiously silent, many of its occupants’ primary visual sensory organs focussed towards the two protagonists.

Regi giggled and kicked Sriam, as he loudly grunted in his sleep. He sat up instantly and looked around with some confusion, grunting again as he registered the scene enacting itself near the door.

Chorgar suddenly lunged towards the stranger drawing his blaster, but his first shot whined over the head of the stranger. The stranger had coolly crouched and, drawing the ancient weapon, fired a volley of shots back into the astonished cyborg.

The blaster fell to the floor and Chorgar looked down in dismay as hydraulic fluid ran down his chest and arms. He blinked twice and sat down abruptly and rolled over with a loud burp, or at least it sounded like a burp…

‘Mmmm’, said Sriam, ‘Teflon coated shells. Good thinking. Bet that surprised that heap of junk.’

‘Yup’, said the stranger, ‘a robot’s got to know its limitations.’

‘’Cyborg’, gurgled a voice from the floor, ‘not a robot.’

The stranger hawked again, landing exactly centre of Chorgar’s back, nodded at Sriam, and walked slowly out, reloading the gun as he went.

The waitress seethed, and whirled upon the steadily spreading pool of fluid around Chorgar.

‘I hope you’re not just going to lie there all day making a mess of my café’, she stormed at the helpless figure.

‘Give it a rest, you old bag, ’gurgled the cyborg, desperately trying to roll over.

Regi ambled over with her tools, and quickly sealed off the worst leaks, and performed a pressure test.

‘It doesn’t look good Chorgar, we’re going to have to get a trolley and take you into a repair shop. There’s none of this fluid for five parsecs around, I’ll try to see what I can concoct to get you by for the moment. It might take a couple of days to get you mobile again.’

The cyborg’s eyes rolled in frustration and he seethed at Sriam’s amused look, his lip curling nastily.

‘Bad show, old boy’, said President Raczak, jauntily, his clothes not entirely in order after his latest frolics in the cupboard with…who knows…



HuginTheCrow
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Re: Milliways - the cafe at the end of the universe...

Post  HuginTheCrow on Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:20 am

I apologize for the all the preceding ramblings. Not all of it is my writing, it was the idle musings of a group of several writers whose long running story, 'Reality', was brought to an abrupt halt when told that our posts had exceeded the allowable quota for a story hosted on the EV:Nova web site. I wrote the first part of Milliways as a humorous final post on the forum, it was deleted by the mods within hours of posting, probably as meaningless drivel, which upset many of the other writers, who were already pretty pissed at losing the story we had been writing for so long.

In the first section I only originally wrote up to ...
Chorgar has resumed staring into the bottom of his glass, perfunctorily... ... ...spears another couple..
, and then one of the other writers joined in, then another, then another, which is how we had written the story, which was 1000 pages long! Much of the other pages are mine, and are the terrifying products of a childhood and youth brought up on The Goon Show, Round The Horne, Beyond Our Ken, Not The Nine O'clock News, Monty Python and many other insane example of english humour!

The story itself was an amazing saga, based on the game EV:Nova, using the characters developed by Ambrosia software within the game, and giving them life and breadth. It was my first story writing for years, and, having really enjoyed the game, was huge fun and was a real sense of camaraderie with the other writers around the world. It was going to be made into a book at one time;I don't know what happened to that project.

HuginTheCrow
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