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Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3

MMario 13 May 00 - 06:42 PM
Amos 13 May 00 - 12:56 PM
Amos 13 May 00 - 12:43 PM
Peter T. 13 May 00 - 09:48 AM
JenEllen 13 May 00 - 01:32 AM
Lonesome EJ 12 May 00 - 10:43 PM
MMario 12 May 00 - 10:33 PM
Peter T. 12 May 00 - 06:31 PM
Amos 11 May 00 - 09:51 PM
MMario 11 May 00 - 09:18 PM
JenEllen 11 May 00 - 09:15 PM
MMario 11 May 00 - 09:13 PM
Amos 11 May 00 - 09:00 PM
Amos 11 May 00 - 09:00 PM
Lonesome EJ 11 May 00 - 08:07 PM
JenEllen 11 May 00 - 07:56 PM
Amos 11 May 00 - 07:22 PM
Peter T. 11 May 00 - 03:56 PM
JenEllen 11 May 00 - 03:18 PM
Lonesome EJ 11 May 00 - 01:09 AM
Amos 08 May 00 - 06:29 PM
Peter T. 08 May 00 - 06:08 PM
Amos 08 May 00 - 11:12 AM
JenEllen 04 May 00 - 12:20 PM
Amos 04 May 00 - 12:08 PM
Peter T. 04 May 00 - 11:52 AM
Amos 04 May 00 - 11:23 AM
Peter T. 04 May 00 - 11:19 AM
JenEllen 03 May 00 - 07:07 PM
Amos 03 May 00 - 12:18 PM
Peter T. 03 May 00 - 12:07 PM
JenEllen 02 May 00 - 06:22 PM
Caitrin 02 May 00 - 05:05 PM
Peter T. 02 May 00 - 04:44 PM
Amos 02 May 00 - 04:34 PM
MMario 02 May 00 - 04:10 PM
Amos 02 May 00 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Mbo_at_ECU 02 May 00 - 10:53 AM
Amos 02 May 00 - 09:37 AM
Peter T. 02 May 00 - 08:33 AM
Amos 02 May 00 - 12:57 AM
JenEllen 01 May 00 - 08:10 PM
Peter T. 01 May 00 - 07:24 PM
Lonesome EJ 01 May 00 - 02:39 PM
Amos 01 May 00 - 01:39 PM
wysiwyg 01 May 00 - 09:31 AM
JenEllen 30 Apr 00 - 09:30 PM
katlaughing 30 Apr 00 - 07:16 PM
Peter T. 30 Apr 00 - 04:54 PM
JenEllen 29 Apr 00 - 07:12 PM
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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: MMario
Date: 13 May 00 - 06:42 PM

amos....root directory? root directory!? ! ?


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 13 May 00 - 12:56 PM

This gripping story continues in section Four, which can be found over here.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 13 May 00 - 12:43 PM

The agent known as Cornucopia slipped amongst the long shadows of towering Ternian ancient trunks, flinching unconsciously at the sparking dissonances echoing from the sky above.

From three wide spread points on the arc of the planet, the mother ship and her two nephew craft sent down the mind-numbing dissonances of their Eisnerian wave generators; and the atmosphere began to glow with the aftereffects as those waves collided with the sonic blanket of gentle earthen harmonies produced by the endless rolling forests of Tern, the earth song of root, tendril, mulchen bed, lead, breeze, sapling and giant ancient. Gradually the harmonies from Tern formed a shield -- as though a strong quartet of parts had managed to sing so beautifully that the screaming of factories was forgotten. The humming bass of the giants, the tender altos of riverside aspens and saplings, the tenor vibrations of the berry bushes in every damp place and shaded glen combined with the soprano whispers, scintillating, sparking like stars in August skies, to form a harmony which wove the skies into an unstoppable wave of beauty.

The Ternians sighed collectively. A breathing place had been one.

Cornucopia came in the shadows to a central clearing in the forest, a huge circular space where small grasses and fallen leaves lay, but no saplings or bushes intruded. It was a space easily a hundred yards across, and in the center of it stood the largest tree Cornucopa had ever seen. The Plantiarch among Plantiarchs, the god father tree of time itself, it rose toward the skys in sweeps and whorls of timeless, towering strength, wide branches blotting out the sky. The base of it was so wide it would have taken the agent several hours to circumambulate. But he did not pause to consider doing so, either, for his brief was clear and his mission was urgent,

He slipped clockwise around the gigantic elder tree, the ancient rhythms of unknowable depths of time in the wood causing him to wonder and nearly stop in awe; but he pressed on until he found the large arch opening into the gigantic trunk, a scar from some past century which had opened the flank of the giant tree. Into this fine grained archway the agent slipped quickly, and feeling in the half-dark he found the path of a steeply descending burrow, tunneling among the gigantic taproots down into the planet's crust. Bent and half-crawling, he steeled himself and followed the strange burrow downward, following the curved walls with his finger tips. A faint glow kept the blackness from being absolute, and he realized it came from luminescent mosses which lined the low ceiling. He moved down, around and on into the earth of Tern, and the light in the cramped tunnel gradually improved. Suddenly he found himself in a widening chamber where the roof of the tunnel quickly ascended -- he could stand straight. Another turn and the wiles widened further, the chamber expanding out into a large rounded cavern.

He gazed, awe struck even though he had been told what to expect. Along the ceiling, running in long sinuous trails of the huge room, he saw the gigantic muscled taproots of the gigantic tree from which he had begun his descent. And entering the walls, thousands of similar tendrils as large as his leg, en

tered and coiled gracefully, from the floor he saw hundreds more, their reddish glow warming the space. All of them seemed to merge in one end of the cavern, where a huge monolithic reddish bole of ancient wood, gnarled, rippled, seeming to pulse with the strange energies of this strange crossroads of deep earth and the complex crisscrossed network of gigantic taproots and smaller sub-branching cousins that had come together here over countless millennia.

Cornucopia smiled grimly to himself, certain he had come tot he right place. He had found the Root Directory of Tern. And whether it was the safety of his location deep under the surface, or the humming sense of life itself pulsing through the roots trails around him, he began to feel hope.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Peter T.
Date: 13 May 00 - 09:48 AM

The Elder grasped the Green Man's arm, and held him tightly. And the sound descended.

And then they felt something beneath a sound, arising from the planet of Tern itself, like an exhalation, a countermelody, the ancient of songs, as if the whole planet were chiming to the music of the spheres. Gradually it lifted higher, and met the shrieking mist as it descended. The sky folded and mingled and warped, like an aurora musicalis -- light and music and wailing colours -- and a vast hovering curtain of warring sound, chord versus discord, hung high over the sky of Tern.

Boukey and all the rest of the peoples stood stunned at the sight. He said in a hushed voice, over the musical torment: "You have won!"

"No," said the Elder, "Not at all. We have just held it back. It is strong, we are strong, Tern is strong, but there is a dreadful power ranged against it, and there is more to come. Much more. This is only the beginning." He pulled against Boukey's arm. "Come, you must come with me." And the two figures began to run beneath the dissonant battlefield in the heavens above them.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: JenEllen
Date: 13 May 00 - 01:32 AM

(WOW! Wonderful MMario!)


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 12 May 00 - 10:43 PM

LOL! That was great MMario.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: MMario
Date: 12 May 00 - 10:33 PM

Deep in the woods on the furthest side of Tern, where the youngest, most impressionable of the Ternians had been sent by their wise elders a number of the older youth gathered about a glowing campfire. The one elder amongst them stood in the light of the leaping flames, a book in his hands. He gazed at it with something as close to loathing as he had ever felt in his life, hands trembling in his effort not to cast it, unopened, into the flames. But as he gazed at the faces of the young about him, his hands stilled. To cast the book into the flames would betray not only his own standards, but would be a betrayal of these youth, and those who would come after them. Hard as it was, this task must be done.

He opened the book, and gazed silently at the words scribed therin, then raised his gaze to the gathered children of his world. "We on Tern have long held to the truth that all knowledge must be free. We have sheltered you long, but with the coming of outsiders must shelter you no more. Those who come among us have long been under a shadow so deep and dreadful that it shall require all our effort and theirs to remove its stain. Pay heed to the dreadful words I read, that you might know the enemy in all his works..."

In the beginning was the WALT, and the WALT was the WORD, and the Spirit of the MOUSE moved across the world. And WALT said, "Let there be light shining, to display the moving pictures that I have wrought" and the Spirit of the MOUSE moved across the world and there was light. And WALT looked upon what he had wrought as it moved in the light and saw that it was profitable. And the Matinee and the Evening Premiere were the first day.

And Walt said, "Let there be screens upon which the light may shine, the greater to rule the public places, and the lesser to rule the homes." And the Spirit of the MOUSE created screens, the greater in the public places, even to MULTI-CINIMAS and the lesser in the homes, whereupon TEEVEE and VEECEEARES displayed the light of the mouse. And WALT looked upon what he had wrought and saw that it was profitable. and the AFTERNOON SPECIAL and the PRIME TIME SPECIAL were the second day.

On and on the elder read, tears streaming down his face, voice cracking, as on the faces of the youth showed horror, disbelief, and stunned fear. But as he continued, the young faces one by one settled into grim determination.

And the SPIRIT of the MOUSE which was the voice of WALT descended upon Eisner, and Eisner spoke unto the people, saying "There shall be among us false prophets, who shall try to speak against the WALT, and you shall not permit them to sing, you shall not permit them to perform unless it be the word of WALT, and profitable unto the MOUSE

By the light of the flames, as they died down to coals, the youth of Tern learned that night what they had been sheltered from for years, and now must struggle against. And as dawn rose, the elder closed the book, and bowed his head under the weight of what he had read, and the terrible things he has this night exposed to the children of his world.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Peter T.
Date: 12 May 00 - 06:31 PM

The ghostly light following the double eclipse woke something in the Green Man, and he got up amid the crowd, now pointing into the heavens, and running here and there in disarray. Like some kind of sleepwalker, he made his way through them, and came upon a knot of Ternians around the Elder. The Elder was quietly ordering a variety of measures to be undertaken for the protection of all, and from moment to moment someone nodded and raced off. Finally, after the last orders had been given, the Elder spoke to the one known to Boukey as the Terran, who also moved off towards the gracefully carved city, now grotesquely marred by the landed Enterprise. The Elder looked skyward.

Boukey moved forward. "Sir."

The Elder saw him, and smiled. "Welcome to Tern."

And then Boukey did something strange. He reached up and touched the face of the Elder. "You -- you -- are like someone I once knew -- but has gone out of my memory. All I know is the ghost of a feeling."

The Elder stood quietly, and let him continue. There was a hum beginning high in the air.

"Sir", said Boukey, "I think, I think, I had to destroy these memories to protect something or someone. There was a world -- a world named --" and here he paused, groping, "named Margarnagarr, and on this world there were, what were there, there were tribes, yes, tribes, like yours, singing and piping in some celebration. And then the eclipse came, like the ghost light around us now. And we escaped, someone and I, except that something happened to the other someone, and to the world."

The humming in the high air began to turn sour, and another sound, like a harsh wind, arose.

Boukey began to cover his ears, but the Elder stopped him. "Keep on," he said,"What do you remember? Do you remember anything about the other person?"

Boukey shook his head."I cannot remember. All I remember is a vast river with bodies like fallen leaves drifting over it."

The Elder frowned. "I wish I knew whether you meant good or evil in the end. For I begin to suspect one thing --" and here he looked skyward again -- "I suspect that it was you who brought that ship here, through all that protective shielding and our asteroid circle, as if it were gossamer; and I suspect that it was you who brought the dark ships behind them. They followed something like a wave, planted or growing all the time in your mind, as if they were rats following the music of a pied piper. You or something in you is betraying Tern, I think."

Boukey looked panic stricken for a moment, and then said: "Sir, I believe you are right. And I believe that the Iceman and the woman Mandy who came with me somehow hold part of the truth."

And meanwhile the acrid music began to descend like a shrieking mist upon the peoples and cities across the planet of Tern.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 11 May 00 - 09:51 PM

Cornucopia barely dodged the wheezing, whining glimmering form of the half-dematerialized Enterprise as she warped through the asteroid belt in a state of near-nonexistence induced by Leftenant Mbo's bagpipe playing electornically amplified by shield-generator inductors. Nothing in known space time could stand up to, and Cornucopia barely escaped the fatal virbational field.

Ah, well...this was not unexpected. The bagpipes, yes, but the Elders had planned for the eventuality that their natural shields of asteroid and gamma-ray would fail. There were still ways.

His feet dancing on the organ-like pedals of his control module, which Ternian pilots still called "firewood" in the ancient Terran way, and his fingers dancing an inspired tango over the field-shaping control keys, the agent's scoutship twisted, gyred, and sideslipped to a clearing well behind the Clan's Fields, a few hundred yards from the well concealed deep-forest altar, and nestled down among the gentle redwood boughs, settling to the piney needled floor in the long rays of the violet sunset just as the Enterprise huddled quietly to rest on the lapping offshore waters not far from the city's polished wooden quays and walkways.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: MMario
Date: 11 May 00 - 09:18 PM

Amos - sorry - that's what I get for not reading thoroughly. I'm whipped after an 8 hour shift...13 hours and you have my greatest sympathy....


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: JenEllen
Date: 11 May 00 - 09:15 PM

Saved by the pipes...of course....too bad the Elvi didn't think of that....;)


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: MMario
Date: 11 May 00 - 09:13 PM

Amos - during the commercial break, while you were hard at work writing (*smirk*) and oblivious to everything on the internet (*bseg*) Leftenant Mbo wired his bagpipes into the shield generator AND the warp coils and in one repetition of "The Fields of Athenry" moved the MudCat Enterprise safely through both the asteroid field and the radiation belts. How else?


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 11 May 00 - 09:00 PM

Yeh, it was. But the Enterprise was stalled outside a vicious ring of giant asteroids that would have smashed it to smithereens; and behind that there was this lethal high-rem radiation belt left over from some old cosmic battle or something. So how'd the ship get through those, I gotta know? Anyway, I guess ya gotta go with the flow. Caught me on a bad evening though --13 hours on station and counting.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 11 May 00 - 09:00 PM

Yeh, it was. But the Enterprise was stalled outside a vicious ring of giant asteroids that would have smashed it to smithereens; and behind that there was this lethal high-rem radiation belt left over from some old cosmic battle or something. So how'd the ship get through those, I gotta know? Anyway, I guess ya gotta go with the flow. Caught me on a bad evening though --13 hours on staion and counitng.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 11 May 00 - 08:07 PM

Amos...I thought that was the Hunkahunka Sands Hotel that exploded. When did the Enterprise explode?

LEJ/Farkin/Trid


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: JenEllen
Date: 11 May 00 - 07:56 PM

The stumbling threesome made their way through the dim lit hall of the Enterprise.
"No, go this way" whispered the maiden, "to the reactors."
They pushed through the door to see the waiting Farkin. He stood beside the open emergency hatch holding a rope that had frozen from his fist to halfway down the length of it. They peered outside, took their first breath of Ternian air, and gauged the distance from the doorway to the rocking boat below them.
"I'll go first, then you can slide Boukay down to me, allright?" The Terran then grasped the frozen rope from the giant's hand.
Mandy waited, then edged the drowsy Boukay into the boat. She then turned and hugged her dear friend, just long enough to get a blue tinge to her skin, then she clambered down into the waiting craft.

It was sunset on Tern. The waters were swallowing the crimson orb as the three set off for shore. Mandy's eyes were damp as she muttered "Damn frostbite." Boukay was slowly waking up, and his nonsensical utterances about the melting only reminded her of her friend. She put her arm around him as the Terran rowed towards shore.

All along the coast, the Terran caught glimpses of faces in the trees. People rushing back and forth in the twilight, but he knew where he was going. He steered between two rocks in the gentle surf, and reached a secluded bay where the Terran beached the small boat, and went ashore.

As soon as his feet hit land, a great cry arose from the forest. All of the people hiding in the trees came to the water's edge. An old man in a green cloak grabbed the Terran in the biggest hug Mandy had ever seen, and lifted him off of his feet. Homecoming, indeed.

The Terran came back and helped Mandy get Boukay to his feet. The other Ternians swarmed around to help move the man to a clearing in the woods. A roaring fire was at the center of the clearing, surrounded by small tents to which the people slowly dispersed.

Mandy found a sturdy tree at the edge nearest the fire, and she leaned Boukay up against it. Finally his eyes were open, but he couldn't seem to focus. The light from the fire had him enraptured. Thinking he was a safe here as he was going to be, Mandy stood and looked around. Trees! Dirt! Flowers! She had the feeling she was still in dreams. The smell of the food on the fire took her to a small group of young Ternian women. The girls laughed, and poked and prodded her, finally dragging her off to one of the small tents. They traded her sari in favor of jerkins, and pulled the pins from her hair.

The Terran and his father sat at the base of the tree near Boukay. The other elders were close by in conference as well, immune to the laughter and smells coming from the fire. The Terran looked up to see one of the young ones poke Mandy, who squealed and ran after the child, catching him and spinning the giggling child in an arc over her shoulders. The Terran smiled to himself, and tried desperately to concentrate on the conversation before him.

The tribes had been gathered here in an effort to fight the evil in the sky above. The Elders brought their families to this clearing partly to band together, but also to keep the fighting as far from the library as possible. A few had been left behind to guard the sacred rooms, but the rest of the population was here to fight for their planet. And as the evening wore on, moonwater flowed, mock battles were engaged, and people sang until the twin moons rose into view. The elder called order, and told the people to rest for tomorrow. Slowly, a hush fell over the clearing, with only the pops and cracks from the fire to disrupt it.

The young Terran went to check on his friends, but only found Boukay resting blankly against the tree. He looked around for Mandy, but only found her when the sound of gentle snoring drew his gaze up into the tree itself. He laughed aloud to see her, draped across a branch, head resting on her folded arms. The girls had woven flowers into her unbound hair, and it draped down the bark and became intermingled with the leaves on Boukay's head. The jerkins, coupled with the quiver across her back, and the bow clenched in her fist, did Tern proud.

He bedded down under the tree with his friends, and was just about to close his eyes when a shadow crossed the sky. The three circles of the mouse head floated silently above the clearing. There was a small hum and a click, then the two ear pieces of the craft detached and moved away from their mother. The Terran heard a gasp in the tree above him, and he looked to follow Mandy's eyes just as the two ships eclipsed the twin moons of Tern.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 11 May 00 - 07:22 PM

The vessel has been irradiated to a glowing ash and poked full of holes, and you put it into landing pattern? How can you do that????


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Peter T.
Date: 11 May 00 - 03:56 PM

There was an arm cradled around his head, and from the underside of the boat, Boukey heard the gloopgloopgloop of water playing. It was night, and there were Disneyfreighters everywhere, but he felt safe. A rich tenor voice, redolent with the accent of the McXenian tribe, sang about a lad who was born to be king, and then a woman's voice he knew began to sing too, and there was something important about that, but what was it? He was a child again, lying curled up under the grand piano while his mother Rose played Chopin in her flowery way which always amused his father, and out from under the bottom of the piano he could look up and see on the wall a picture his father had, an Earth picture, a Tintoretto, St. Mark Discovering Venice, that had once hung in the Accademmia and was saved from the Drowning. Everywhere around the boat was chaos, nightmare, the clash of arms, sweeping storms, zigzagging lightning, perilous waves. But St. Mark, like his Lord before him, slept calmly in the sweet arms of -- and then he woke, to find himself woozily being assisted by the Terran, and there was Mandy, and spreading out beyond, a kind of light that he had seen once before, but he couldn't remember where, and that too was important, but he couldn't remember why.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: JenEllen
Date: 11 May 00 - 03:18 PM

Mandy startled and woke beneath her blanket. The Terran and the Green Man were both still sleeping soundly, jaws clenched and brows furrowed. Fraternal twins in dream.

Mandy yawned, stretched, and cracked her toes. Upon exhaling, she realized that it was....quiet. No warmed, pressurized air forced through vents, no whirring of machinery, the MudcatEnterprise was at a standstill. With the lack of ventilation, the room began to chill quite rapidly. Mandy shrugged her blanket up around her shoulders. She padded over to the view-port, and gazed out upon a glorious blue-green planet.She began to sing quietly, her breath making feathery clouds in the room,
'oh no, you'll not find me lazy
like some high-born expensive lady
I'll do your milking and I'll nurse your baby
And if you are set upon, I'll defend you bravely...'

"That's Tern," said a low voice behind her, "It's my home." The young Terran was gazing over her shoulder at the planet below them.

Suddenly, a voice over the loudspeaker boomed, "We are entering the atmosphere of Tern. Landing Crew please take your stations."

The Green Man began to stir drowsily, and the Terran went to his bedside, draping one of Boukay's arms around his neck, he looked up at Mandy and said, "We have to get him out of here and on to Tern. He'll be safe there, but first we need to get off this ship.."


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 11 May 00 - 01:09 AM

Farkin was having a tough time falling asleep. He often did on the night before a landing. He had consumed 6 large ice cubes of frozen Poloskovian Vodka as he reclined in his freezer-bed, and at last the alcohol began to take effect. He had been perusing an ancient Terran manuscript called Valley of the Dolls in an attempt to familiarize himself with the creatures he might encounter on Tern, but he found the religious references and complex symbolism daunting. This Jacqueline Suzanne must have been some sort of high priestess of the prevalent Terran religion of the late Twentieth Century, Hedonism.

At last the words began to dance before his eyes, the words to conjure strange associations in his mind, and he clicked off the bulkhead light and drifted into sleep. His dream was one he had often, of Ballonder, his home. In his dream he was working with his brother in the depths of the Malakeist mine, and though he knew somehow that his brother had liquified in a reactor accident aboard a Neptunian Starfrieghter, he did not question Gonden's presence, nor his own in this place. They worked happily, as they had so many times before, bringing down with great pick-strokes the sheets of Malakeist. They would hum together one of the wordless hymns of their kind, their low voices vibrating together in a harmonic synchronicity. "They say it is coming again " said Gonden at last, " the Great Melting." And Farkin knew that his brother spoke of the great cyclical climate change that struck Ballonden every 1236 Terran years. It was the event of which the Priests of his kind spoke often, saying " as we were born in ice, so shall we die in water." Water. It had once been a near mythic substance to him. Ballonder's mean temperature was -26 Celsius. Farkin spoke to his brother. " Do you think that in the melting we cease to exist?" Gonden lowered his pick-axe. " A veil is drawn across that chasm, Farkin. The priests themselves do not know. But this I can tell you...this planet that you see before you, solid with the ice and peopled with those born of the Crystal, was once a moving sea of formless liquid. This was changed by the coming of the Creator, who showered this sea with the life-bringing snow and ice. Gradually it was transformed to this strong and solid world, and from it we were brought forth. When the great Melting comes again, we shall all return to that void of water. But I think," said Gonden," that perhaps nothing is really changed. Perhaps ice and water are actually the same thing. Maybe, brother, as you and I are together in ice, so shall we be in water." Here Gonden touched his forehead with his fingertips, and leaned forward to touch Farkin's face.

Farkin awoke to see the interesting phenomenon of light coming from outside the Enterprise. A voice came over the intercom: " We are entering the atmosphere of Tern. Landing Crew please take your stations."


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 08 May 00 - 06:29 PM

The First Elder of Tern pondered the relative alignments he could impose on the information he had acquired from Cornucopia, and indirectly from the son on board the Enterprise. He contemplated possibilities. scenarios, reflected and weighed. Could Trid have overthrown the vessel? No, for he would have heard. Could the awesome powers of the mysterious Mandolan maid unleashed an irresistible chlorophyllic revolution on board, claiming the entire Federation cruiser as due compensation for the Mandolan tragedy? He thought the plan was not her kind, although she had been exposed to some pretty corrupt education systems in her earlier years. Nothing seemed to add up, nothing seemed to align. And he knew the First Law of Gnosis well -- "In the absence of understanding, seek the omitted Datum." It was, he mused, as though some remote but irresistible message was distracting their attention, like a cheap Galacnet Cosbeam program full of cheap Disnified pablum-tales. As if they were tuned in to some distant reality altogether, and could not get free! The elder reflected on the notion, and decided it was too farfetched -- although it would align all the discrepancies he had noticed in the situation, it was far too unrealistic to serve as an explanation.

But the consideration had somehow excited and refreshed him, and he drew a vellum note pad to him at the dark silkwood desk at which he sat, and began to write a series of hasty notes. The jug of moonwater at his side, purest stoneblooded waters from the highlands, grew lighter and lighter as the evening passed to the rhythm of furious scratching as the Elder wrote and wrote. At intervals he would call through a partly opened door and a young damsel or youth in leather jerkins and running moccasins would promptly step up to his desk, accept a small shiny vellum envelope, and run off into the night, leaping streams and rocks on the curving paths to some far place of the planet, toes flashing in the moonlight like those of a startled gazelle.

"It could work...." he thought, "it truly could.... ."


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 May 00 - 06:08 PM

Meanwhile, a galaxy away, on the planet of Hunkahunka, the Planet of the Elvis Impersonators, Kaalufa was relaxing in the Fat Elvis sector, in full costume and regalia. As the evening progressed, he become drunker and drunker, surrounded by his cohorts of Cygnian mercenaries all dressed like Elvis Buddies. Finally, tottering to his feet, he strode up to the karaoke microphone, and with his coif somewhat soggy, but recognizably Las Vegas revival, he said:

"Thank you, thank you very ,much. I would like to denigrate this to the loveliest lady in the cosmos, Cruella de Villeneuve, who has had it in for me, ever since I had it in her -- know what I mean???" And his Cygnians laughed uproariously, while everyone else in the room laughed self-protectively.

Kaalufa, in his white jumpsuit with the flare collar, which contrasted strangely with his maroon face like a husk of insect-ridden corn, now began to sing, in his high-pitched nasal whine:

"Wise men say, only fools rush in --"

At this point, the karaoke microphone detonated. Kaalufa and the Sands HunkaHunka hotel disappeared in a flash of exploding fire and smoke, and he passed on to wherever the cosmic Graceland of his dreams was to be found.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 08 May 00 - 11:12 AM

Glowing softly in the dappled waves of light in vacuum from distant Neezie, the small scoutship of shining burl operated by the agent known as Cornucopia completed a tricky corkscrew manuver which brought it to relative rest in the shadow of a gigantic mass of hurtling stone, with matched velocities perfectly maintaining the position of the scout vessel only a few hundred meters away from the gray, pocked, space-shined surface of the asteroid. The agent locked his controls and stood up from his small cockpit, and reached for the polished wooden tabs activating the commnet device. "Cornucopia ... no change in relative position of Enterprise. Vessel seems unable to boldly go. No further sight of small scout vessel leaving under cloak field. Cornucopia out...".

He shook his head, wondering at the apparent complete lack of enterprise on the Enteprrise's part.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: JenEllen
Date: 04 May 00 - 12:20 PM

Girl shrieking with delight!!!!!! Good job guys! I swear on all those lost Mandolian souls to be more diligent. It's tough when even Tolstoy is falling asleep.....:)


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 04 May 00 - 12:08 PM

[Well, so far they haven't even figured out how to deal with a simple asteroid belt -- stalled 'em out in space and wiped out the Trid raider. Wish all these guys on secret missions with private space-schooners hidden around would get the show rolling here. The Ferns of Tern are awful patient, as they learned to be from their ancient Plantiarchs, but I'm not!]


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Peter T.
Date: 04 May 00 - 11:52 AM

[Thanks, Amos, but I just figure these Ternians and Pirates and Enterpriseans in their sleepwear need some serious evil to cope with. If Music is going to win, it better pull its socks up!]


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 04 May 00 - 11:23 AM

[Ye gods and little fishes! Behold mastery at play!]


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Peter T.
Date: 04 May 00 - 11:19 AM

"It's been a long night, Muplassta," sighed Cruella, as he stood almost expectantly at the end of the vast corridor in the penthouse. He was smart enough to know what that meant without pushing it. There was always his wife. He smiled, and moved off down the pulsating, addripping space.

Cruella waved her hand, the multiplastered door slid open, and she drifted into the omni-ad suite: the glossiest most tasteful advertisements, everywhere as far as the eye could see in all directions. At last she could bathe in it all. She dropped her portfolio with the gold inscribed mousears onto the bedside table, all smothered with chocolate and sleeping draught ads.

She undid the doublemouse eared clasp to her cloak, and was just pulling it from around her shoulders when she caught a glimpse of her face in something.

She shrieked, out loud. "What the Waltdamn is going on here!!!!!No space, I specifically said, NO SPACE!!!!!!!! What the Waltdamn am I paying for!!!!!!!I'll kill this hotel!!!!!"

She saw then that there was a small damaged peeled away spot in the wall corner where someone had brushed against it, and a tiny fraction of blank shiny metallic space had peeped through the ubiquitous wallpaper of shrieking ads.

That was why she loved Trascedaria: there was no place like it anywhere. Every possibility of emptiness, of blank space, and especially of mirrors was covered with advertising. But still these stupid things would happen.

She could not stop herself. She tried not to, but she could not stop herself. She came up to the broken corner of the wall, and looked at her reflection.

Was it....was it....you could almost....but then she couldn't see it, and then she could.

She hated herself for doing it, but she couldn't stop. She sighed, and went to the addraped closet and slid out her suitcase. She reached down deep into a pouch, and pulled out a pocket mirror. She hated this, but she couldn't stop.

Relentlessly, she turned on all the lights in the room, as high as they would go, high intensity lights, blazing everywhere. The colours of the advertising, the letters shrieked and howled, beckoning at ever higher intensities to unexplored pleasures, unthinkable, unavoidable.

In the almost blinding crossfire of light, Cruella de Villeneuve sat down in a chair, and looked into the pocket mirror.

Yes, she thought in horror, yes, you can see it. Or can you? When she tilted her head just so, yes you could see the hairline of the scar down her cheek.

She held the mirror in her hand, shaking, looking. Maybe it was because she was getting old. No, no, that wasn't it. They had said that some things were impossible, she knew that, but still! No. Nothing would work. She remembered when Roy 23 had first got her out of that Aldebaran "Place" and fallen in love with her, he had been so sweet, old, but sweet, and when he had said she could have anything in the galaxy and he meant it, and she had touched the scar on her cheek. And good old Roy, he had done his best. Those 50 Terran baby girls they carved up to get the genetic meat out of, all that. And the Genicians had done their best. But as the Head Genician said, sadly, just before Roy had had his body lifted in a particularly gruesome fashion, the Cybanians had been at it a long time and knew what they were doing. There was some amber acid they poured on the slaving knife that just dug it in too deep so no one could ever change the brand or hide it.

But....but, Cruella thought to herself, the Genicians had done good work, the babies were good meat, they said so, you had to know to know, no one could tell. No one. No one except her.

She sat in the blazing blinding light that would not, could not blind her, no matter how hard she tried. She sat in the brightness, stroking her face, her beautiful face, feeling for the scar that she could not feel. Or could she? She rubbed her hand against her face, over and over again, and over and over again. She knew that she just had to let the fit pass, that it could take an hour or more. On she rubbed.

And off in the distance, as accompaniment, she could just hear, circling in infinite unconsummateable desire, all the rest of Trascedaria settling down once more to squeeze the last drops out of another night's glittering endless revelry.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: JenEllen
Date: 03 May 00 - 07:07 PM

Scary as hell is right, but I was wondering how they did it.......


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 03 May 00 - 12:18 PM

[Peter: It's brilliant, and scary as hell. But what art!]


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 May 00 - 12:07 PM

TRASCEDARI!!!NO PLACE LIKE IT ANYWHERE! Beamed at her, even before she stepped out of the transport bay, plastered as it was with slogans. Cruella loved Trascedaria, always had. There was something about it that JUST DID IT!! As she moved forward to where the local Disney Rep was waiting, even she had to take a few moments to handle the sensory barrage. For Trascedaria was completely covered in advertising, every available inch dripping in desperate pleas to buy, to be beautiful, to have it all and MORE!! The walls and floors were living images of smiling faces holding up objects, people, MORE!! You had to gain your adlegs, as they said here, since walking was disorienting with all the beckoning, bouncing, the whipped cream descending onto voluptuous strawberries, the space trips to familiarly exotic places, screaming out at you from all corners. Cruella stopped briefly at customs, where they gave her the trillion dollars of Trascedarian money that all visitors got upon arrival. She smiled at the man who gave her the bundles, gave him his million back, and moved on through the berserk arrival hall.

The local Disney Rep, Muplasstamoidg, who was somewhat famous on Trascedaria for wearing only logos all over his clothing and refusing to tattoo his face, because of skin troubles, smiled in greeting. "Welcome, Your Disney, see you real soon."

"See you real soon, Muplass," she replied, handing him a million dollars. She was an old Trascedarian hand. "Is everything ready?"

Muplasstamoidg waved her into the awaiting limoplane, plastered with ads for exotic trips to familiar places, "Your Disney, they have been awaiting your arrival for hours." And as soon as he said it, he knew that was wrong. Of course they had been awaiting her arrival. She gave him a dark look -- would he never shape up? - and he winced, and she brushed past him.

As soon as they were airborne, gliding over the papered planet, she looked over at Muplasstamoidg. She remembered when they had first come here, and he had been a junior executive, and she had taken a liking to him, especially to his fgkhgje, and what it could do. But that was just sex. He wasn't senior material, but he did have that good thing all real movers needed: the ability to gamble it all as a show of strength.

She remembered that hilarious evening when, after they had spent a long day in fgkhgje, they had gone together very drunk, he as her underling, she as the newly minted Disney Head, to the GamblePlaza for the meeting with the Drugpins. So there they were, and Schhhluuppp, the Drugpin himself, had taken a fancy to her, disgusting as he was, and puffed himself up, and after they had done a bit of showmanship gambling, said, "Ohhh, Cruellla, do you think that Muplassta would bet a Disneyworld from his portfolio against me?" And she looked at him laughing, and said over her shoulder: "Muplassta?", and Muplassta knew that if he lost a Disneyworld from his portfolio, that would be big money and he might get fired. But he bellied up to the table.

"How big a stake?" he said casually.

"You win", said Schhlupp, " And you get to keep fgkhgjing with Cruella, and you get, Oh what, how about Cemaris in Scorpio for Disneycorp?"

This was pretty impressive. Cemaris was rich terrain.

Cruella interjected: "I am off the table, scum." They all laughed, but no one meant it.

Muplasstamoidg said, as casually as he could: "How about Delian Black in Ceres?"

Schhhluppp chuckled, "Oh come on. Oh well why not, just for the fun of it. But it isn't Cemaris. Not nearly." He thought for a second, his lubricious lips caressing his ears. "But I'll tell you what, Junior. We need to teach a little lesson to a couple of not too bright systems. Do you have anything else you could throw in to sweeten the pot, something we could wipe out, somewhere no one cares about, a throwaway, you know."

Muplasstamoidg shrugged, thought for a second. "Oh yeah, why not, sure, take Mandola. Add it in. Now, roll the dice, the lady and I want to get back to fgkhgjeland."

And the dice were rolled. Muplasstamoidg took the loss well, though it set his career back a bit. He was a good kid, thought Cruella, though the time for fgkhgje was long past. The limoplane came to a halt, hovering. God, the life of an executive, all these damn meetings, she thought to herself, and got to her feet.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: JenEllen
Date: 02 May 00 - 06:22 PM

Mandy slept under the blanket of woven moss. It's warm earthen comforts bringing her dreams of her childhood.
Mandolan children were the most delightful creatures in the universe. Shortly after weaning, they were turned loose with a governess in the forests of Mandola. Like the Lippizan horses that the ancient Terrans used to ride, the children grew strong and sure in this unfettered exhistance. The children were allowed to grow and blossom before choosing a life-path, and they were happy. They played endlessly, swimming in the waters, gardening the sacred herbs, and climbing the ancient trees of the forests. The Mandolans understood the symbiotic relationship between children and trees, and the forests grew along with the youth of Mandola. No where could you travel without seeing one of the children cradled in the boughs, exchanging important secrets with their favorite tree, or just taking a nap.
Each day the children would gather in the clearing to plot the days adventures. Each evening they would gather again to herald their accomplishments around the fire. This was Mandy's favorite part of the day. The Elders would tell them stories, and sing songs, all passing down the oral history that was Mandola.
Life changed for all of the children when representatives from the Federation Academy came to Mandola. They brought with them many games for the children to play. Trials and playful compitition were something the children loved, and they gladly obliged.
Mandy took all of this in as she usually did, after all, if the Elders weren't worried, why should she be? She playfully aced every test set to her. She was a fierce protector in their mock battles, and as quick to laugh as she was to cry over some other child's misfortune. She learned their songs and their stories with passion.
She was no different than any other Mandolan child, except for the fact that she saw everything. One of the Federation 'games' was to put the children in a tent with various objects, under the pretense of waiting for someone to come get them. When the children were removed, they were asked what was in the tent with them. On her first try at this game, Mandy had it down to how many threads per square inch in the tent canvas. The elders and Federation representatives left the girl standing in the clearing and huddled in quiet conference for what seemed like hours.
When they offered Mandy schooling in the Federation Academy, she had no idea they were being anything but benevolent. She had never even heard of Recon, or Information Technology, and as she dozed in her tree for the final time, she imagined the great opportunities this would offer her. The Federation!
Her initial feeling upon reaching Polaris was one of tentative joy. That quickly faded and was replaced by a creeping depression that she had never felt before. There were no trees here, and she was forced to wear a uniform, and shoes.....The tests seemed endless, and she never really saw any point to any of them. She read disinterestedly, fought half-heartedly, and longed to be someplace she could run for miles.
One evening, while resting in her bunk, she heard a low voice singing in the next compartment.
Watermelon moon
Floating in the sky
He's lonesome too
Honey, so am I
He's just half the moon
That he used to be
I know just how he feels since you're not here with me....
She followed the sounds, and came upon the bunk of the Ice Giant, Farkin. She calmly sat on the floor and asked him to continue. His creaking and groaning sounded just like her long lost trees! She leaned against the wall and let his voice roll around her like the wind.
The two made an odd pair. The hulking Ice Giant and the maiden would chatter away, laughing in their little corner of the room, the two seemed to have found their place. His upbringing was similar to hers, and he seemed to be an endless supply of Woodrow songs. They were a delight after the hours of Disney Theme songs piped into their bunks. Farkin would pick her up, and she would cram pillows over the speakers in the room. The two would enjoy the silence for a brief moment, then one or the other would begin to sing.
Life carried on like this for a time, until the morning that Mandy was pulled from her Memorization lab. She was brusquely given the information that in a minor skirmish between DisneyCo fighters and the rebels in the Tygris Quadrant, the planet of Mandola was destroyed, please return to your station. Mandy did as she was told, but on seating herself at her station, she shot upright again and left the room. Farkin saw her face, and he lumbered out of the room after her. He found her in her bunk, curled into a tiny ball, sobbing. Inbetween the sobs and muffled hiccups, the girl told Farkin what had happened. She could not be sworn to protect the Federation and their interests if they would not protect her and hers. Farkin sat in silence. He was never impulsive, but this once he told her, in his quiet voice, that she should go. Their eyes met for a brief second, and in the next she had shed her Federation uniform and the dreadful shoes. She took her sari out from under her pillow, and wrapped herself in the cloth of her land.
The Federation was supposed to protect those that could not protect themselves. They didn't. In that instance, Mandy shed the past few months along with her uniform. She would resume the life she had once known, and was probably always destined for. She took the position on the MudcatEnterprise because she had heard their gardens were unrivaled in any ship, and the Captain gave her free rein so long as there were plants to recycle O2, and fresh food to feed the crew.
Once again, however, there was change in the air. Disney and the Songstealers had taken from her everything she had ever held dear. And what would become of the Green Man and the Terran now? One ancient, one young, but both with kind hearts and powerful souls. She hoped it would be enough.
Mandy shifted uneasily under her blanket, her brow furrowed, and she pulled the moss tighter around her.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Caitrin
Date: 02 May 00 - 05:05 PM

Caitrin sat in her quarters. The hour was late, and the Temporal Police were getting too close. She had to prevent them from getting to Braxton. If they captured her, it would be all to easy to get the whereabouts of the Relativity and the secrets of the mission. The entire endeavor could be ruined. The Temporal Police, were, of course, masters of psychological torture. With only the push of a button, they could release the sounds of Oh-Ay-Siss, guaranteed to scrape across the soul with a horrendous effect similar to fingernails on an ancient Terran chalkboard. If that didn't drag the information from their poor subject, they could bring out the most terrible, horrifying, scarring form of torture imaginable. They called it "Bob Dylan and Neil Young's Christmas Favorites." The origins of this awful thing are as cloaked in mystery as the answer to the age old question "Who let Madonna record American Pie?" Even the most brilliant historians and philosophers of the 26th century could not determine the reasoning behind the creation of these foul devices. Caitrin merely knew that she doubted her own ability to withstand the tortures of the Temporal Police.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 May 00 - 04:44 PM

"See you real soon," said Cruella de Villeneuve upon entering the vast secret DisneyStudio that hovered between the big moons of Callisto.

"See you real soon," replied the Chief of Cartooning and Replication, as he turned from his console.

"Report?" she said sleekly, reminding the Chief as she always did of a Siamese cat licking herself. He must capture that gesture for the prototype felinoids in Polaris.

"The Songdealer says that the demonstration against the ancient Druid forests during the tribal rising proved that the new version of Musicide works beautifully. They can hardly wait to try it against the Elders on Tern, if there are elders on Tern."

Cruella stroked herself lightly.

"But can you be sure that this will be the end, Chief?"

The Chief of Cartooning smiled. "We are really just updating the original principle, Your Disney, only moving further upstream towards the origins. On Earth we Disneyfied the branches and leaves. But that was 500 years ago. Much more powerful musicidal properties now: root work now. Putting a drumtrack to the ancient rhythms, that's what it's all about now."

Cruella de Villeneuve patted him on the shoulder, and held it just that second longer that meant so much to Mouseketerians. "Walt would be so proud." She moved off towards the transport bay. Now to Trascardaria, and the next phase of the plan. She entered the bay. Trascaderia, the advertising planet. She could hardly wait.

After she dissolved, the Chief turned back to his console. Of course he couldn't tell her everything. He had left out the one little troubling detail. Oh well, he was sure that the escapee had been Disneyfied anyway -- no one on the planet could have escaped the Musicide spraying. He looked around, and reassuring himself that he was alone in the console room, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a little pad of paper, on each sheet of which he had pencilled a stick figure, each one slightly different from the previous one. He riffled the pad for a few moments, watching the jerky little figure dance back and forth, and then went back to his Cosmic Disney Corp design work.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 02 May 00 - 04:34 PM

LOL! Dang, Muhmuh, you're hot!

A


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: MMario
Date: 02 May 00 - 04:10 PM

Crewman 12th-class Muh-mUH stumbled into his quarters after a shift in the data depository. Two solid hours of transfering files between holocrystals! He was tempted to go to Ten Forward and indulge in some FUGwort Slings, but decided that he would better exert himself studying for the 11th-class crewman's exam. If he could only pass the exam he would be entitled to longer hours and more responsibility, and come harm or harryfox he intended to at least make the attempt! Though why the Acadamy thought that "Cultures and Cults of Pre-Disney Earth was essential for 11th-class crewmanship in this day and age, he would never know. Most people couldn't even imagine a pre-Disney world.

Seating himself at the computer access, Muh-mUH activated the optical interface with a small feeling of guilt. He knew he should use the voice activated menus, but he came from a poor background, and the luxery of a digital-optical interface hadn't yet worn off. The temptation to "play" with the latest form of computer interaction would probably wear off in time, but until then Muh-mUH would most likely use the digital-optics as much as possible. Eisner only knew when he would be reduced to plebian voice only command, or the only slightly more advanced touch-icons. Pulling the mobile alpha-numeric command interface into a more comfortable position in front of the optical data transfer station, Muh-mUH began to read.

"The existance of the pre-Disney/Ford cult known variously as 'wet-earth-feline-fish or 'dirt-fishkitty' cannot be denied, no matter how diligently some try to forget it's existance in history. The simple fact is that not only did this cult exist, but it was global. Archeological finds beneath the Argentine icecap, from the depths of the Wyoming sea and even from the mysterious tropical ruins of Reykjavik show that this cult was,if not a major culture, at least a widespread one. A few highlights of the cult will be dealt with before going into detail.

The diligent cultural anthopologist will of course recognize the classical BAST cat goddess image in the 'dirtkittyfish' personalization of 'womenwithcatonhead'; clearly this being borrowed from the pharoanic eygptian cultures that existed almost simultaneously with 'dirtfishkitten' culture. Though 'womanwithcatonhead' seems to be also the patron of surgeons as "healing threads" are often mentioned in context with 'womanwithcatonhead', clearly a reference to the primitive practice of sewing wounds together to foster tissue regrowth.

Likewise the 'wet-earthfelinefish' god/king image of 'Max', 'Bert' and 'the elves' (or sometimes OfferJoe) corresponds to the ancient trilogy of earth, ocean and sky. Or, in the opinion of some, 'Max' equates with the mythical figure of "Pelvis" though this is doubted, as scholars point out that it is a near certainty that "Pelvis" and the dominant figure "Alvin" of the triple diety "DA CHIBMUNKS" are co-equal and no known representation of 'Max' has so far related this 'soakedground-cat' icon to the totem-ish "chibmunks"

From the ritual practices of 'wetground-piscine/feloids' comes the early Disney phrase "inda archive" to signify the end of communication, in use in some old-fashioned areas of the quadrant even today.

To be dealt with in more detail later, the preoccupation of some "wetfishdirtykittens' with "cubby rights" - or the terratorial fighting over workspaces is believed to have lead to their demise as a global entity.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 02 May 00 - 04:06 PM

The Conference of the Elders was complete for the moment. The Senior Elder smiled at the wide table of earnest, strong men and women who had followed his lead through so many turns and twists of Ternian history. "We are agreed then!", he said, with a strength in his voice that the others had thought would never return.

"Tern will not be taken, and we will not be thrown down. May the music always be with you as you go!".

At the ritual words, the Elders muttered in their turn, "Let the music go on always" and rose, wandering out of several hidden entrances in the tall building above their hiding place. The lanterned passages along the polished wooden walkways of the city glimmered invitingly in the warm night air, and they made their way by twos and threes, most of them toward the ancient hall with the strange symnbols at the door. For it was the night of Music Fest, and even now they could hear the humming and plunking as hundreds of Ternians came from their farms, their fisher's houses, their studies and their wood craft centers for two hundred miles around, tuned and tried the hundreds of delicate darkwood instruments, mandolins, guitars, Terran Banjos, dulicmers, and more to welcome the beginnings of the Ternian Forth Season, the time of reborning, new growth, warm evenings, soft rains, and the arrival of calves, lineria, lammbrui, and other livestock and wild newborns across the land. The night air hummed with the tuning chatter as the Elders' approached, and they could hear a young Ternian turk startinga whoop up with a wild banjo riff, faster than skilled, loud and ringing, and his challenging young baritone singing out the rhythms of Big Balling Boston.

The stamping of feet and the clapping of hands rose louder as the crowd grew and caught the infectious rhythm in their hearts, more instruments capturing the key and chiming into the irresistible beats, the watchers swaying and nodding, their smiles broader and their hearts lighter. The Music Fest was underway for another year...


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: GUEST,Mbo_at_ECU
Date: 02 May 00 - 10:53 AM

I saw London, Paris, Budapest
Kashmir and Tokyo
And there's nothing like the sight of a desert night
Looking down on Mexico....

Lt. Mbo was still hunched over his PFD console, alone, and kept company only by his cherished recording of "Planet Texas" by a Terran of the ancient past named Kenny Rogers. So! Captain Caitrin was really working for Braxton and the Relativity.

While still a student at Starfleet Academy, the then Cadet Mbo had worked as an engineer technician at the Starfleet Security headquarters on campus. Fixing decoding and tracking equipment, often provided by Section 31. But just getting to that position was a horror in itself. Long hours of forced isolation, months of training and counseling to make him fit for work on top-secret Starfleet equipment containing high-risk information. During those times his only friends were his CD disks. When pulling shifts in the icy, lonely Argus Array relay room, he'd put on "Ma Ma Ma Belle" and glean the warmth from the musical notes. It was there that he first learned about Captain Braxton.

A wise man, a man of principles, and also of vengeance. But he had stopped Henry Starling from making Earth his own planet-wide corporate. But Braxton was not a man to be trifled with. He valued job efficiency above all else, even going to severe lengths to ensure that slackers would slack no more. But then again Braxton and the Relativity WERE from the 26-th Century, 300 years in teh future. But 26th Century technology of Quantum Chroniton Transwarp Drive allowed him to go back and right past wrongs, even personal ones....

But now Federation Temporal Police were after him, and Captain Caitrin was a member of his crew. Lt. Mbo seemed to remember a young Cadet at the academy of the same name, about 3 Cadet levels behind him. She seemed to know an awful lot...Which made his brain to turn now. How did she make Captain while an upperclassmen was only in the Lieutenant ranks? Perhaps she was older than she looked? Possibly an ancient life form with the ability to appear young? He just hoped than she or Braxton would never find out what he and Commander LaFarge's REAL mission was. He was well aware of Captain Caitrin's cloaked ship,The Ups and Downs, which he had found by initializing an high-frequency tachion sweep of the are surrounding the ship. And there he had found it, lodged comfortable between the twin warp nacelles of the Enterprise. Lt. Mbo shut down his station and locked it with the undecodable Section 31 .00004 millisecond rotating password shifter. He slipped silently from his staion and headed to Shuttlebay No.5.

The Shuttlebay looked remarkably empty, since most of the shuttles were off on a diplomatic mission to Risa. H'orgon prices were up...

At the High-duty freight transporter station, the Lieutenant slipped something out of his Engineering toolbox, something long and narrow...
It was a high-capacity isolinear data rod, given to him by 31 themselves. he inserted it into the axiliary data port, and downloaded it's contents to the transporter buffer. Making one last check for people nearby with his tricorder, he energized the tranporter comsole...
In the blick of an eye there stood his baby. His own super-enhanced ship. 5 times larger than a Yangzhee Kiang class runabout, it was the most advanced in tracking and firepower in the whole of Starfleet. Only, Fleet didn't know about it, as was true with so much of Section 31's doings. The Section engineers and Mbo himself had built it, from his designs and schematics. He called it the Showdown 4000. Again using 31 technology to open and board his craft, he made ready to initiate the experimental neutrino cloak, capable of invisibilty and passing through matter unobstructed. He opened teh Shuttlebay doors, depressurized the bay, headed out on thrusters, and initiated the cloaking device. Captain-in Chief Barky would have a full-report in the morning....

--Lt.Mbo


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 02 May 00 - 09:37 AM

You guys are blazin' genii, no mistake.

A


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 May 00 - 08:33 AM

[What a nice range of styles, gang!]


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 02 May 00 - 12:57 AM

As the evening star twins rose over the eastern and western edges of the horizon, as constant in their alignment as the twin eyes of a beloved, the Elder sat before the giant rocks of the Altar of the Voice, and crossed his legs, lowered his head, and laid the backs of his hands down upon the soft needled ground. His mind was full of images -- his son on the far and strange vessel, and his long lost daughter, the people of Tern and the sacred charter, and many other things of great moment. But as he sank gently onto the rich mossy, red-needled floor of the forest, he felt the very ground of Tern connect with him, its thousands of root systems and microscopic pockets of rich life welcoming his attention in a kind of deep organic acknowledgement. And he felt the jagged edges of his thought blend with their ancinet currents and rhythms, and he knew that soon, if he but bided his moment, the Voice would come.

So, indeed, it was, as the twin stars of evening rose above the mark of eleven hours, that he felt, with no sense of the time, the deeper richness of the Voice enter from the ground into his veins, and into his blood, and intohis entire consciousness until he was once again a breathing, single whole, brother to the tree blood and the river waters and the deep rocks and hidden spaces, and the life of Tern spoke with him as one.

He saw, in a way that surpasses seeing, the endless centuries of the giant trees, the galloping songs of the child like streams galloping from less than a season's passage, full of their momentary enthusiasm, and the tireless comings and goings of the seasons of the mosses, and the slow dawning of awareness in each ancient sapling grown full...all this and more did he see. And when the time was, and his breath was as one with the most ancient and the most patient of the ancient Plantiarchs of Tern, he turned his mind to his quest, and waited until seeing was.

The forests and soil of Tern, the life forms of every part of the planet, connected in a tender, breathing, whole, brought many answers to the Elder, some he could grasp and others he could not. Images of long pasts leading to long futures, of cells-rivers and growth forth combined in his meditations in forces of harmony that would have been overhwelming tot he unready mind; and among the flying streams of knowing that his linkage to all that was Tern brought him, he saw two things that brought him peace.

One was his son, standing broad, alert, and ready on the bridge of a strange starship. The other, less an image than a harmonic, tranquil certainty, was the breath in the world of his lost faughter; for a moment he recieved a sense, as if the very yendril of the forest were singing to him, "She is with us", but the meaning slipped his grasp and left only a faint glowing trace of quiet joy.

He sat still in that place until the twin stars of evening had risen to the midnight mark, and descended again in their endless recurring passage through the night sky. ANd when the first light of Neezie dappled the highest limbs in the forest around and above him, graying the paths with light promised and night compleing, he rose again, his ancient bones creaking in protest, and descended the winding trails toward the banks of the river which wended its way to the shores of the Ternian sea. As he made his way cautiously, following the edges of silver water, he caught in the wind, a snatch of a tune he had sung when a youth:

"The river bank makes a mighty good road
Follow! The drinking gourd.
And the left foot, peg foot, traveling on,
Follow the Drinking Gourd!

...and the senior Elder of Tern found the sound of ancient strings ringing in his mind as dawn filled the forest edges, and he smiled.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: JenEllen
Date: 01 May 00 - 08:10 PM

On and on Mandy sang. She idly flipped through Boukey's songbook, humming tunes and feeding words into his sleeping ear. Each song sparking faint memories of others, and they flowed out of her like a river of story and tune. She sang to him the hidden songs of Mandola, the ones she was taught in the forest, the ones the Elders made her swear her life upon, and those that the children sang while swinging from the trees.

The Terran had long since disappeared, and she knew this hidden room wouldn't stay hidden for long. They sat in the hurricane's eye, surrounded by pirates and songstealers, to think that they were safe here was folly.

Still, she was tired, so tired. She pulled a blanket of moss from the foot of the Green Man's bed, and curled herself back into the chair. His notes of Polgar triggered memory of an old Mandolan legend of a girl that ran to the woods for her prince...

....In the winter she would trade her crown
For boots of buckskin leather
Rise up singing when the sun went down
And ride out on the heather
They would meet in the meadow at night
There they dance in the fey moonlight
Dip and spin and skate the wind
Like feathers
Annie's lover was the wildcats brother
And the badger's mad companion
In his rainbow beads and his straw hat
He was the king of Mercy Canyon...


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Peter T.
Date: 01 May 00 - 07:24 PM

Above and below and around the Great High Chamber of the Federation (AWOSCDC), the stars ran in their prearranged, if as yet unbribed courses. When the gavel ending the day's proceedings was over, and the 30th reading of the Extensification Act had fizzled to an end, the President of the Federation sank down into his chair. Amid the hubbub, the seat next to him was vacated, and the Disney Head sat down beside him.

Cruella de Villeneuve was angry, as well she might be; but he was sick of hearing about the Keeping of the Earth. They had spent the whole day hearing about it, as usual. He turned to her, and as always, was struck by her cold beauty. "Madame, I am sorry that we could not pass the legislation, but the fact is that there are other planets and forces in the Federation (AWOSCDC), and some small attention has to be paid to them."

She frowned. "And for all that we have done for them. Ingrates."

The President, in a gesture familiar to all those connected into the PeopleNet, ran his fingers through his hair. "Madame, you must understand. Yes, there is the Root Charter, and we are all eternally grateful to you. But you have, on occasion, to at least be polite."

She looked heavenward. "Oh, Walt, Walt, what sins are committed in thy name."

. "It cannot be helped. There are the beginnings of questionings as to whether the Disneyfication Programme is really going well. Just last week, Kaalufa from Cygnus said to me in confidence that there were moments when one of his mouths felt that the Federation might break away from its foundational Charter and go on its own, away from Father Disney. That it was all just too great a price to pay for peace and cosmic harmony"

"Kaalufa said that? Which one of his mouths? The left or the right?" She hissed.

"Even you can't touch Kaalufa, Cruella." She got up as if to rush off and kill Kaalufa barehanded. She slowed, turned back and put her cold hand over his.

"President, you and I know that what he says is nonsense. Was it not your own son who stood here in this chamber when the Historic Hearings on the Founding were underway, and pointed out that the ancient Disneyrealm was not a religion or a way of life, but an all pervasive Earthean flowering, as essential as air? How can we make people understand? We belong, not to a company, as universal as it is, though that shows how universal its teachings are, but to the root of that precious life itself. We are Terra, the remnant peoples of the Earth, into our hands was entrusted the Keeping and Spreading of the Earth" (he sighed, it had been a long day) "Without us" she continued, "without our saving of our beloved remnant, there would be none of this," she waved her arm around the rapidly emptying chamber "No Root Charter and no Federation (A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Cosmic Disney Corp)." She chanted the full name at him in a kind of spite.

She sighed, "What does the Root Charter say?

As the rivers sing the Disney
As the trees whisper the Disney
As all the airs and waters say:
Why? Because we like you!!!
So long as the songs are sung,
So long as the earth shall live,
So, everywhere and in all things Disney,
So, everywhere and in all things Disney,
See you real soon, see you real soon, see you real soon.

That is the root and power, the fullness of life, what our ancestors on Earth knew in their bones, and what they handed into our keeping to spread throughout the galaxies. The ridiculous nothings from the mouths of Kaalufa are chaff before the wind of Walt. Why even that nonsense on Polgar showed --" She stopped. She had gone too far. She knew it, and cursed herself, and moved away.

The President looked out at the empty chamber, and up at the new range of about to be Disneyfied constellations, once the last bribes were paid, and his heart became sick. He should never have listened to his son, and his stories about that wild lost woman. He looked up one last time, towards where he thought his son might be, in the scattered constellation that in the empty space where Earth had been had once been called Taurus, and was now, in its new configuration, called Roy.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 01 May 00 - 02:39 PM

"Have another drink, Billy. At least you got out with your life." Catspaw poured the Trid's crystal goblet full of garglebaster. Billy had quaffed several cups of the fluorescent purple fluid, and was gaining some distance from his sorrow. He was now able to look down on his misfortunes from a pleasantly drowsy cloud that was drifting above them. "But my ship..." he said. " Sheet metal and plastic," said Catspaw. "What about my collection? Some of those instruments were irreplaceable. One of a kind." Here Catspaw felt a great sympathy for the Trid, stemming from the four years he had spent in the Mudcat Ancient Instrument Institute, employed as a restorer of mandolins, banjoes, fiddles, and tiples. He had developed an acoustically acceptable glue while employed there which was still in use.

"Ah, well, Bill. It's said that the instruments are still made in the old way on Tern. Perhaps you can begin again." The Trid supressed a smile. "Why," he said,"is the Enterprise headed there?" Catspaw swirled the liquor in his glass." The official order is to survey the planet, and to gather artifacts of the Terran Colony there. But.... that's not all there is to it." The Trid lit a Venusian Light cigarette and smiled again. "I heard Boukay is aboard." "Yes,"Spaw responded,"the Green Man. He's another part of the puzzle. The scuttlebutt says he issued the directive that made Tern our destination." Spaw leaned confidentially across the table." He thinks the Sacred Song Archive is there." The Trid exhaled a long line of smoke. "I thought that was a myth.""It may well be," said Spaw."We are about to find out." "Do you have any idea," said Billy," what the original versions might be worth? We're talking Pre-Disney here." Spaw smiled and said "I see the gears turning. You want to find the songs and hijack them." The Trid laughed."No, not at all. I'll let them find the Songs, if they exist. Then I'll make my move. Interested?" Spaw gently tapped the Trid's glass with his.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Amos
Date: 01 May 00 - 01:39 PM

(Sweet Cosmic Mother, Peter T...you have the voice of a clarion archangel betimes!)

The giant hull of the Mudcat Enterprise drifted at the outer edges of the Neezian asteroid belt, glinting and mottled in the intermittent sunlight from the far star, patched with the shadows of the huge asteroids leaping and turning in tortured orbits only a little further into the uncharted depths of Crab Bottom. She was at rest, relatively, in physical space; but around her in mind-clouds of turmoil and war, a battle of royal scale unwound and flowed and clashed and broke, coming and going in the many corners of mind-space centered on the great vessel. The tortured dreams of the Green Man's seas and their haunted people collided here with the towering concerns of the Terran's hopes; there, foothills of psychic flame rolled from the noble minds of the Entrprise crew, laced with the green harmonies of the Mandolan's gentle, nourishing consciousness. Thin white lances of apprehension shot through like mirror-flung signals from the observation post, deep within the asteroid belt, of Cornucopia, amplified by the joining harmonies of those he represented on the far, hidden planet of Tern; throughout, other traceries of golden mesh and fire-speckle entered and left the battle field as the far intentions of those not present reached out to resonate with those who were joined in the dream-conflicts. Dark striations of boiling purple acid showed the dreaming evil of the song-snatchers hidden in the mindless storage sectors of the ships lower deck, and keen silver sweeps, courage in the hearts of warrior made manifest, like spotlights in a night sky, wandered toward and away as they sought answers, identities, resolution. Herem too, was the rancid yellow tide of the lords of Disney, groping low like clouds of ground-hugging acid fumes; and the grasping scarlet tendrils of unknown forces of starvation, seeking to suck the songlife from those who had hearts still, to feed those who had none.

Thus the smooth rest of the vessel was deceptive as she lay, hove to, beyond the danger zone; for she was swept up, a central piece, in a war of hopes and of enemies beyond her dimensions in normal spacetime.

On the far flanks of Tern, beyond the lovely grace of the wood-bright towers of the city, high in the rolling hills that lead back from the sea, there are groves of ancient trees, so wide and tall that they seem to master all space that can be seen, so ancient that they seem to own all known time. Long before the Terrans came to these lands, they were strong, and long of life, and deep of reflection. By their thousands, they had spent centuries, building their deep taproots and their wideflung interconnections beneath the soil, welcoming and using the Neezian light and the moist breezes to build their families, nourish their saplings and teach them the mind of the Ternian forest. Deep in this grove, which rolls for a hundred miles by a hundred miles along the Ternian lowland hills, there is a place held sacred since the first of the Terrans came in humble exploration to drink the beauty of these ancient treed lands.

It is a place where the ancient tree-giants themselves have formed a sheltered dappled center, warm, surrounded by the endless heights of the deep red giants, who have curved to either side of several gigantic rock formations which emerge there from the deep mulched ground. It is as if the very planet bowed to form a welcoming place for sentient life forms to reflect in harmony, hymned by the quiet tones of tree-thought to focus on the sacred and the long, the wise and the patient energies of this place and all it represented in the world.

The Ternian elders call this sheltered grove the Altar of the Voice. It is here that they return when times of grave decision are upon their shoulders. And it is here that the First Elder stood, the latest messages from Cornucopia fresh in his mind, in need of deep wisdom for his planet, his people, and their sacred mission of song.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 May 00 - 09:31 AM

le fresh


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: JenEllen
Date: 30 Apr 00 - 09:30 PM

"Come boat me o'er, come ferry me o'er
Come boat me o'er to Charlie
Hear the call once, never again
Tae ferry me over tae Charlie
We're over the water, we're over the sea
We're over the water to Charlie
Come weel come woe, we'll gather and go
And live or die with Charlie
I swear by the moon and stars sae bright
And the sun that shines so dearly
If I had twenty thousand lives
I'd give them all tae Charlie
Come weel come woe, we'll gather and go
And live or die wi' Charlie..."

The maiden's voice grew weak and hoarse. It had been hours now since the Green Man had fallen into his fit of slumber. The Terran had stayed with them briefly, alternately watching the girl and looking out the viewport at the stars. A look crossed his face, a look that Mandy couldn't place, and when she finished her song, he was gone.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Apr 00 - 07:16 PM

Just catching up on the latest...come late to this incarnation. Well done! Will try to catch up A'troi, soon. Sheesh, spacey bytch isn't she!**BG**


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Apr 00 - 04:54 PM

And he slept, and as he slept he dreamed a dream. He was out over the ocean, and he heard a mermaid singing, and she sang so sweetly that the sea lost its saltiness, and as she sang, a great winged ship with cartoon sails churned into view, and it was trawling a vast net, and in that net were vast numbers of dolphins, and sea horses, and all the fish of the deep, and then the net scooped the mermaid into its webbing as well. The fish swirled everywhere, and the net lifted, and Mr. Starbuck and Mr. Towers ordered the net spilled out over the great deck of the ship, awaiting the Captain's arrival. And they gaffed the mermaid, piercing her tail, and threw her clear of the twisted mass of dying fish. And they took a large knife, and ripped her tail in half up to the hips, and the blood was everywhere. And her tail became two shivering pale legs. They cut off her hair, and scattered it out to the wild winds, and then they began to sing a terrible song that made him cover his ears in pain --

and then -- he could not remember -- and then it was later, much later, in a greenblue land along a sweeping bay, and she was walking towards him, and every step she took was as if a sword were being thrust up through the soles of her feet. But she kept walking, and every step bled into the sand, leaving traces of her passing. And she held out her arms to him and sang:

'It's of a brave young highwayman
His story we will tell
His name was Willie Brennan
And in Eireland he did dwell...


And he came toward her, and then she opened her mouth to sing again, but he could see that they had cut her tongue out as well, and now when she spoke he could not hear words, but only strange whistles and squeaks and highpitched cries, and still she sang, her feet bloody and her head butchered of all its hair, her mouth in pain, and yet still she sang, and yet still she sang, and it became a song, and then flowing from all the waters of the dead world, all the ghosts of the dead fish and the herds of the lost great whales began to appear, and they moved towards the land to the sound of her voice, and then at last in huge teeming multitudes they flowed up onto the beach, and then the ghosts all arose as if charmed, and all the creatures of the sea began to dance to Sharazade's song, and how they laughed to see them dance, all the creatures of the sea, the shoals and swirls of them, and how, towering over all, the stately vast bulky Leviathans weaved and bowed and twirled about in starry minuets and waltzes and schottisches and jigs and reels. And -- and then darkness descended around him again ---


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Tavern Enterprise Part 3
From: JenEllen
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 07:12 PM

Mandy sat at the foot of Trid's bed crowing like a wee demon. She looked up as the Terran was leaving sick bay, and gave him a mischievious wink. Trid's patience with the maiden's games was just about up, and he was getting sleepy.
"Well enough," thought Mandy, "He'll need rest if he's going to deal with those saggy women of his in the morning." She tucked the blanket in around him, praying the bedbugs to bite, just a little...

As Mandy left the sick bay, she felt for the bundle at her waist. When she had gone to Boukey's rooms a second time he still had not returned, the bed had not been slept in. The notebook and papers were where she had stuffed them earlier, and this time she took them. She really had no idea what she had in her possession, and it made her more than a little nervous.

She went down into the hold to retrieve some fertilizer, and upon reaching the bottom of the ladder, she caught a glimpse of a billowing black shape retreating from the light. She started to follow, then stopped. A low moan came from one of the storage lockers. Mandy listened quietly at the door. She then whirled and ran back up the ladder.

Boukey sat in his dungeon, refusing to think for fear the SongStealers would erase even more of his precious memory. One by one, the leaves in his hair curled and fell to the floor. A speedy autumn and a winter's rest would protect him from their madness. The last memory Boukey had before his restless slumber was a vision of the Mandolan girl? with talking socks and a chamberpot on her head? She burst through the door and yelled something akin to "Honey I'm HOOOOOOMMMMMEEEE" and then dropped to the floor. Behind her, with the Wurlitzer at the ready, was the young Terran. The SongStealers wailed and vanished from the room.

When Boukey awoke, he was in a room he had not seen before. The pale green walls were alive with ivy, and grass, REAL grass, grew on the floor. He was resting with his feet in a bowl of warm water, and slowly his strenght returned to the point he could raise his head. His notebook and charts were at his side. He grabbed them, rifling the pages to be sure it was all there. The warm, peppery smell that rose from them told that SHE had held them for him.

The door opened, and the Terran and the girl entered. The worried looks on their faces spoke volumes to Boukey. The Terran pulled up a chair, and the Mandolan perched at the foot of his bed. No chamberpot theatrics this time, she wanted to know if the songs were really gone. Did the SongStealers really take everything?

Boukey felt his head falling again. It would be a slow spring. He closed his eyes just as the Mandolan spoke. She told the Terran in hushed tones "We've got to help him get his songs back...."

The Terran stood, and Mandy claimed his chair, pulling it close to the sleeping Green Man. She began to sing, ever so softly, in the sleeping creatures ear.
'It's of a brave young highwayman
His story we will tell
His name was Willie Brennan
And in Eireland he did dwell...

Small pops and claps came from the asteroids bouncing off the shields of the Enterprise, and there the three souls sat.


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