"Let us toast to fools; but for them the rest of us could not
by Martijn Wiedijk
After my first Cronos story ("Me Cronos, You Fam"), I decided to
write a bigger sequel. Of course, I called Richard first to ask
his permission and to roughly explain to him the story line.
Richard agreed, and we hung up.
About ten minutes later the telephone rang. I picked it up, and
Richard enthusiastically asked me if I could let Cronos die in
the story. I replied in surprise that that would be no problem
and I asked him for the reason. He told me that he had just had
inspiration to write a story after Cronos' death. I decided that
Cronos would commit Hara Kiri and Richard started writing
The next week he told me that he had finished his story. I had
only written the beginning at the time. Imagine, the first part
was in the early stages of development, while the last (undead!)
part was already finished. Anyway, you're about to read the
longest story I've ever written. It's the best I can do at the
moment. Anyway, have fun with it.
A small bird stretched its wings and gently landed between a few
cows on a pasture. One cow turned its head while rechewing the
grass. The bird picked between some blades of grass in the ground
a few times and eventually a worm appeared in its mouth. The bird
didn't swallow, but kept the worm firmly in its mouth and flew
off to its nest. It was very hungry, but still it didn't eat the
worm. He had to yield it to its wife which could then feed it to
their kids. Suddenly an enlightening thought struck our little
hero. Why bother? Why not eat the worm and fly away, far from
wife, kids, nests and complex tax regulations?
And so it did.
After flying for several hours, eating a worm here and there and
chatting a bit with church bells, which have the pleasant habit
of never argueing with anybody, it landed on the branch of a
tree. An exceptionally large and solid tree, one might add. A
tree that was truly magnificent and one of a kind.
Within a few attoseconds, the tree changed from a vertical into
a horizontal position. This remarkable situation was caused by a
rather squarely built man whose rather squarely built and utterly
insignificant mind was far too busy producing pictures of a girl
so immensely beautiful, that even a Vogon captain would stop his
plans involving the demolition of the earth to make way for a new
Sure, he'd been in love before. Loucynda, Penelope, Klarine. He
had lost his mind then, but this was different. The feeling that
possessed his body and soul now was so incredibly strong and
powerful that whole worlds seemed to explode. Millions of huge
green slimy creatures were killing other huge green slimy
creatures, but Cronos didn't know and didn't care.
Cronos walked. He didn't smell. He didn't hear. He didn't taste.
He didn't see. He didn't feel. Not even did he sense the small
bird that had the misfortune of having a rather rectangular piece
of mobile meat squashing its body from three into two dimensions.
Cronos had solemly sworn not to fall in love ever again.
Loucynda had betrayed him with a blacksmith, Penelope had died on
him, and Klarine had merely driven him to jumping off the edge of
a ravine into a bowl of honey - the results of which we all know.
But common sense had been knocked out from the very moment a
certain female had beaten him. Warchild, Cronos, mercenary annex
hired gun, the extraordinarilyy strong and effective assassin,
had been beaten by a girl. Still he would give his life for her
at any time, he would even clean the excrements of a Mutant Maxi
Mega Monster of Multifizzic Omega for the mere permission of
being allowed to kiss her feet. He would blow up the planet
Sucatraps. He would kill his mother for a mere glimps of her
Cronos was lost.
The girl meant here, of course, is called Fam. Fam entered the
intergalactic history books as being the first female ever (that
means past and future) to whom an issue of the
I.G.C.O.A.K.A.N.K.S.A.H.J. (Inter Galactic Compendium Of All
Known And Not Known Science And Hamburger Joints) had been
dedicated. This had started vicious protests as people feared
that the serious image of the Compendium would be violated. The
article in the Compendium describes her as the 'Ultimate
Combination Of Molecules'. Cronos had never heard of the
Compendium, but this didn't affect his feelings towards her, nor
the feelings of the rest of the male organisms in the entire
Cronos sat on a tree stump. His eyes gazed dazily at nothing.
His hands rested between his legs and his expression seemed to
represent thousands of thoughts in a second. A red heart appeared
above his head. He was chewing on a straw, absent-mindedly.
Fam sat beside a waterfall. Water drops covered her body, the
sun shone on her beautiful hair, female salmons were hitting
their drooling husbands and birds dropped out of the sky. It was
all very peaceful and quiet.
Fam was staring at her fingernails intensely. With relief she
discovered that she hadn't scratched any of them during the fight
with a rather rectangular figure. Not bad-looking either, now
that she came to think of it. Well, never mind. She'd probably
never see him again. And besides, he had probably forgotten her
already. Nobody ever seemed to like her. Really like her. That's
why she had never had a serious relationship uptil now. Nobody
ever seemed to notice her. That had always been her problem in
But then, there were a lot of girls who were much prettier than
she was, right? Fam looked at her body and sighed. Still, she was
probably much more intelligent than other, pretty girls. There
aren't many women who have 42 degrees from the very best of
educational institutions throughout the universe. Strange enough,
though, it didn't seem to be difficult at all. While other
students were studying like freaks, Fam would go and take a
hamburger. But this didn't affect her grades. Of course, the
teachers at the intergalactic universities were all men, but this
was merely a coincidence, she figured.
The building had a lovely baroque structure. Cronos loved
buildings with a lovely baroque structure. The building had a
small, heart-shaped door. It was pink. Cronos loved pink, heart-
shaped doors. In fact, there were very few things he didn't like
at the moment. He squeezed his body through the door and looked
around in the entrance hall.
It was a neat, clean building. People in white coats were
chasing people in green coats. A robot was strangling someone,
apparently because he hadn't payed a quarter for using the
bathroom. More people with white coats and dark glasses were
concentrating on data, probably that of clients.
Someone who looking insanely witty passed the scene.
Some lovely lilacs illustrated the whole thing. Cronos loved
Cronos adapted his usual behaviour, acting instead of thinking,
and thus headed for the blonde female with dark glasses who
seemed to be the receptionist. Her round, wooden desk stood right
in the centre of the room, left and right of it stood two palm
trees. (yes, Cronos also loved the palm trees). Her desk was
equipped with a fax, a phone (in the shape of a battery charger)
and a battery charger (in the shape of a phone). Cronos put his
elbows on top of the desk and bent slightly forward to have a
good look at her face. A smile appeared on his face when he
discovered that she wasn't even remotely as pretty and
delicately-shaped as Fam. The woman behind the desk returned his
smile, taking it as a compliment.
"How may I be of service, sir?" she inquired.
Cronos sighed, caught once more in the vicious circle of
thoughts concerning the big F. The woman behind the counter again
took this as a compliment and waited patiently, smiling
A cold scream intruded Cronos' train of thoughts. He peered
around to notice that a witty looking person had lost the fight
with a toilet robot. He turned towards the woman. The little
piece of paper pinned on her clothes told him that her name was
"Yes, Natascha, as a matter of fact you can," he informed her.
Women are always very pleased when men remember their names,
especially if they've never told them their names. Thinking of
the fact that her name could be read by impudently looking at her
left breast was not required when applying for the job, so she
fanatically didn't. It was not required, either, to be utterly
charmed by a handsome male requiring some information, but she
was nevertheless. She gave Cronos a waiting look.
"You see, there is this certain female I fancy and now I'd like
to sign up for one of your courses to enlarge my
selfconfidence," he told her.
The smile on her face evaporated.
"Well, sir, go to the left, through the entrance hall and FLUSH
YOURSELF DOWN THE TOILET!" she cried.
Cronos, being in the mood he was in now, thanked her politely
and went on his way. First he used the toilet, turned some
naggin' robot into a few balls to play jeu de boules with and
finally he arrived at a door with a sign saying, "Mentally-stable
executive office". He was about to open the door when somebody on
the other side opened it for him, who exclaimed, "Thank you
again, sir. Now I'm not afrain anymore that my hard disk will
Cronos entered the office.
The office was neat and clean, just like the whole building.
Nice, large windows allowing people to look at other big
buildings with large windows. Executives could then wave at
colleague executives when they had nothing better to do. The idea
of all this erupted from the mind of a brilliant physician who
had nothing to do all day and decided to take advantage of other
people who had nothing to do all day. He advised all executives
to install large windows in their offices to catch more sunlight
while working. Every executive, pretending to be immensely busy
all day, immediately ordered large windows to be installed. The
Terraleaguan Pronto Window Company (owned by the physicians's
wife) did some great business. Then the physician advised the
executives to wave at colleague executives when they had nothing
to do, in order to get some exercise. This resulted in long
waiting lists for people who wanted their physicians to cure
injuries resembling, but not quite like, tennis arms.
The executive smiled at Cronos, while tapping on a hard disk.
"Yes, I just helped someone who was afraid that his hard disk
might crash. Now he isn't afraid of that any more," he explained
while putting the thing on top of other hard disks, typewriters,
televisions, computers and toilet brushes.
Cronos looked at the executive and then out of the window.
"I'm sorry," he said, "but I think that fellow is waving at
"Oh yes, so he is," the executive replied and started to
wave back at the man. Suddenly he produced a loud cry and grabbed
his right shoulder.
"Shit, f*@k, hell & verdoemenis," he cursed and rushed past
Cronos through the door. Cronos walked to the door and looked
into the corridor, but the executive was nowhere to be seen.
Warchild shrugged his shoulders and walked towards Natascha's
"...s, with huge muscles and nice eyes," Cronos heard, "He must
have an infinite libido, I..., I..... ehrm.... I'll call you
Natascha hung up the phone and looked at Cronos akwardly.
"Executive left", Cronos muttered.
"What?" she said.
"I said 'Executive left'", Cronos muttered.
"Oh, he's probably off to visit his physician again," she
uttered, "Damn, the fifth time today already. Ehm, sorry, what
was it you came here for?"
Fam opened the door and walked in. The room was crowded. People
tried to stand in line, but failed in an almost impossible way.
People chatted, smoked, jumped, nauseated, screamed, laughed,
cried, burped, farted and totally ignored a small man with a
large, red tie informing them about all the uses and joys they
would undoubtedly receive if they would go and queue up. A man
turned his head towards Fam. He stopped chatting, smoking and the
rest and started standing there completely baffled. Other people
also turned their heads and stood completely baffled.
Within a couple of femto-seconds a total absence of noise befell
the crowd. Every single living and non-living organism stood
there baffled, intensely gazing at Fam. She closed the door. A
'click' noise echoed through the room and died. Fam turned around
and noticed the crowd gazing, completely baffled. She looked
around to see what they were gazing at. She saw nothing. She
looked through the window in the door and still saw nothing to be
utterly excited about. Fam decided to let the people gaze at
whatever they were gazing at and head towards the counter.
The people at the counter shrunk away from her, mumbling, "We
are not worthy".
"Oh oh," Fam thought, "I should have used that other perfume."
She looked across the counter and saw the only woman in the
"Ehm, excuse me?", Fam said. "Is this where one can get a job?"
"Yes, my child," the heavily made-up old lady told her.
"Usually this is strictly for men," she continued, "The office
for women is on the other side of the building. But I think in
this case we can make an exception." Her eyes gazed at the crowd
"We were looking for a strong man to tame some untameable wild
beasts, but I think you have just the qualities we were looking
for," she finished.
Fam was very pleased that someone finally seemed to be glad that
she existed. In fact she was so glad that she forgot that any
wild beasts had been mentioned and gladly accepted the job.
Cronos jumped high up in the air and reached for the monster's
neck. He reached the long, slippery neck and held on tight to it.
The monster fiercely moved his head up and down, trying to remove
its enemy while Cronos was jamming his megaturbulent gigantic
butter knife deep into the flesh. He slided down a bit, but held
the butter knife in the flesh, and dark-purple blood dripped from
the a gaping cut.
The monster groaned and roared loudly. It started to run. Cronos
climbed on its back and quickly cut another deep hole. He reached
in his pocket and grabbed a small thing and in one swift movement
stuck it in the hole. Then Cronos jumped high up in the air and
grabbed the branch of a tree. He climbed on top of it and watched
the monster run away from him, still roaring fiercely. He took a
leaf and cleaned the blood from his butter knife. His eyebrows
lowered and an evil grim slid on his face. So, his trained killer
ant would take care of it now.
The ant would produce a tiny amount of acid which would go
through the wound into the monster's veins. The acid would hitch
a ride from the beast's blood and spread all through the
monster's syste. The ant had been trained to produce a kind of
acid that would be lethal to creatures up to 42 cubic meters in
Cronos jumped out of the tree and landed on the ground. The ant
would report back to him after the monster's death. Cronos would,
in return, draw it a map leading to the Grand Bowl Of Honey
(otherwise known as The Eternal Honeyjar) and the ant would
fulfill its final quest, even if that meant jumping off some very
His mind wandered back to the moment Natascha told him the
coordinates of the planet where he could follow a course to
enlarge his self-confidence.
"The planet you're looking for is called Suicidium," she had
told him. When he walked out and turned around, he noticed that
Natascha had reached for the phone (in the shape of a battery
charger) and fanatically dialed a number, presumably of one of
her girlfriends. Now this was nothing to worry about. What did
worry Cronos was the evil grin she had on her face. Could it have
been? No, she wouldn't.... Would she? But why would she send him
to the wrong planet? Surely he hadn't done anything to hurt her,
A squeecking noise.
A second squeeking noise.
Cronos awoke from his thoughts and looked around. Suddenly all
his muscles strained and he leapt to the right, behind a tree. A
giant bat had only missed him by inches. It was furiously flying
around, attacking everything in its vicinity. Cronos watched the
mighty creature with awe, while his right hand automatically
reached for his improved, hand-made and extremely lethal nuclear
disintegration gadget. No need for it, though. The distance
between Cronos and the bat increased rapidly. His muscles relaxed
and Cronos stood up.
He wondered if this was really the right place to strengthen
your self confidence. Cronos had always thought such courses
involved long, intense discussions and parting with lotsa money.
But, then again, it wouldn't be the first time Cronos' thoughts
would prove to be wrong. If he could be said to have any at all,
If this would get him closer to Fam, he reckoned, he would go
through with it. If this would not get him any closer to Fam, he
would go through with it anyway, because he hadn't found a way to
get off this planet yet. It hadn't been difficult to get on it in
the first place, as Natascha had been more than willing to give
him a ride. "Just to make sure you get to the right place," she
The three suns decided to call it a day and solemnly started to
disappear behind a few mountains in the distance. Cronos had
never seen three suns disappear behind a few mountains and he
stared at it, baffled. In fact, he couldn't remember ever having
seen a real sun. He had heard about it, sure, but until now he
had mainly seen artificial suns with remote controls - ones where
you could make the day a bit longer or shorter, matching your
Cronos firmly believed that the other two suns were being
recharged and could be reclaimed by some lonely (and dark) planet
anytime now. Not many people shared this belief, but Cronos
wouldn't listen to other explanations. The guy at the Newstellar
Bar For The Very Very Depressed had told him this confidential
theory and had also warned him that other people might have
difficulties believing it. The guy could even see three pints of
Zeastorm beer, whereas Cronos could only distinguish one. But the
Newstellar Bar For The Very, Very Depressed was no place to
question people or theories and so Cronos didn't.
Cronos' thoughts were brutally interrupted by a small
squeecking-like noise. Cronos decided that the time for evasive
action had come once more and he carefully walked towards the
noise - or at least where the noise had come from a few atto-
seconds ago. He made sure not to make any noise himself. His eyes
were narrow, but rapidly spied around him so nothing could escape
his attention. His hands were ready to demonstrate one of the
536,459 killing manoevres they knew. His throat was ready to
produce one of the 132 deadly sounds it knew (42 of those,
however, would only paralize the victim for a prolonged period of
up to a few years).
His instincts took command and suddenly Cronos dove forward,
his improved, hand-made and extremely lethal nuclear
disintegration gadget held ready at hand (with the safety pin
removed, of course). A second later his instincts handed over the
command to Cronos again and he quickly checked his position.
The situation that his senses came up with was something like
Right in front of him, he found the disintegration gadget in his
hand. It comforted him to see that he was on the right side of
it. It comforted him that the safety pin had been removed by
thought, as the ancient Master of Oriental Arts had taught him.
It also comforted him that there was a monster on the other end
of his disintegration gadget. It didn't confort him that the
monster was only a baby with a very frightened and upset look on
its face. Its big, dark eyes twinkled in fear and its whole body
was shaking. It looked up, desperately and straight in Cronos'
eyes. Cronos had never killed an innocent baby creature and he
didn't intend to. A feeling of intense sorrow filled his mind.
Here he was, a fearless warrior, survivor of many terrible wars
and, until recently, stone-hearted against any small creature
which had barely crawled out of its egg.
"HOLD IT RIGHT THERE, BUSTER!"
Cronos looked up. Behind the baby dinosaur stood an impressive
figure. It was Fam. She had put her hands akimbo. The tree suns
behind her (and behind the mountains) made it seem like a giant
shadow with fireballs behind her. The sight was magnificent. The
situation was slightly less magnificent. For Cronos, that is.
He quickly put the disintegration gadget in his inside pocket
and stumbled over the baby dinosaur towards her.
"Honey, I'm sorry, I can explain everything," Cronos uttered,
and even he was aware of the fact that is was somewhat of a
cliché. He fell on his knees in front of her, head bowed and
"How dare you frighten little Alex?" she hissed, "I just got him
to go for a first stroll without his mother."
"But Fam, I...I...Ehrm...I...," Cronos continued muttering,
still in cliché mode.
"I never want to see you again in my life, you stupid meatball!"
Fam groaned, "So get out of my sight!"
The cathedral breathed rest and peace. The windows were very
small, so there was always little light, causing a ceremonial
atmosphere inside. A few candles burnt, steadily. Suddenly the
flame flickered a bit as someone opened the door. It hadn't been
opened for years and years.
This was the cathedral where Cronos went whenever he needed to
be alone and think about things. That was why the door hadn't
been opened for years. The last time it was opened, was when
Cronos' Oriental Master showed him this place. The Master told
him that this was the perfect place to be, the perfect place to
There were no seats, because the only reason why this cathedral
was built was that it has been tax-deductable.
Cronos' mind was a mess. Not just a mess, but a giant mess, like
a bachelor's house. The world didn't seem to make any sense to
him any more. The only thing he could see was an extremely thick
sortof mist. He stumbled forward, tripping a few times. He
stepped up the three steps and kneeled before the altar.
He looked up at the sculpture of the Mary. His matted hair stuck
to his forehead, besweated. His clothes were torn and dirty. He
had scratches everywhere, some of them were slightly bleeding.
Cronos didn't care.
His big hand reached up and took a dusty, but beautiful sword
from the altar. He rubbed the dust away and looked at it. There
were all kinds of inscriptions on it, written in what was
probably an ancient language Cronos didn't understand. The
Oriental Master had told him that this sword had only one
purpose. That purpose was to provide Cronos with a way to escape
from this earth, this world. The inscriptions had no function at
all, they just looked interesting.
Cronos took the sword from its sheath, braking the seal. He lay
the sheath next to him.
The sword was beautiful. Very shiny and very sharp. Cronos knew
exactly what to do. This world had no purpose for him any more.
The woman he loved had made it quite clear that she didn't want
to see him ever again. What use was it to kill people for money,
when you didn't have the girl you love to take care of you? What
good was the world anyway?
Cronos held the sword in front of him, reminding himself of
Oriental pictures he had seen. With one swift movement he
inserted it in his abdomen.
It should be mentioned that I have had some help with the end of
this story, as I seemed to be out of inspiration then. My
infinite gratitude therefor goes to Monique. She helped and
inspired me a lot. Without her the story wouldn't be what it is
Many thanks go to Famke, of course, as she inspired me to write
both "Me Cronos, You Fam" and "Fatal Fam".
I've also had some help from Natasja, on whom the Natascha in
this story is based. She makes the most excellent Chili Con Carne
in the world!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.