"I haven't had so much fun since the rats ate my baby sister."
CRONOS' ALTOGETHER RATHER ZARJAZ EXPERIENCES IN WONDERLAND
by Richard Karsmakers
IX - WHO BROUGHT THE SKUNK?
The Mayor was happy to see Cronos. Nobody had ever felt happy to
see Cronos again, except possibly for his dear Mother and the
great loves of his life (of which there had been preciously few),
so it made him feel all funny inside.
They chatted idlily for a very short while. The conversation was
cut short mainly by the fact that Cronos found himself constantly
capable only of talking about killing people and the gadgets
required for that, which tended to put off the Mayor. The man
would probably never be happy to see Cronos again.
The Mayor was oddly relieved to find something else to direct
his attention to when two biped Crocodiles suddenly popped out of
proverbial nothingness and clasped hold of him.
"Resistance is useless!" one of them bellowed in a most
Vogonesque fashion, prodding the Mayor with a stick in a rather
unfriendly fashion. The second guard looked at Cronos mutely, if
possible even more menacing than the other has spoken. It was a
look that suggested the beholder to either piss off or get his
butt kicked - which Warchild of course totally failed to
recognize as such.
Assuming it was some sort of mysterious Wonderland ceremony of
greeting, Cronos attempted to return the nasty grin as evilly as
he could manage. He found it difficult as he lacked the
required dental outfit. Nonetheless, the guard started to sweat
and suddenly found it necessary to direct its attention to the
manner in which its esteemed colleague continued prodding the
"Might I inquire as to the reasons for my apprehension?" the
Mayor asked, trying to sound somewhat dignified but failing.
"You may," said the second guard in a matter-of-fact way,
followed by one of his ominous glares and silence. The Mayor
started to sweat.
"Resistance is useless!" the other guard bellowed, as if trying
to make a point. It prodded again. It was rather obvious it liked
doing it. It had probably been hit a lot by pop and mom Croc.
They lead the Mayor off to a large amphi-theatre court that had
previously been hidden from sight by some purple trees. Cronos,
for lack of anything better to do, decided to follow and see what
The court was quite large. On top of what seemed to be not
unlike a stage there were a desk behind which sat the King of
Spades and Cat the Weasel, a chair and table on which (for a
reason unaccountable) lay a Limburg Pie, and two benches on which
sat a variety of jury-creatures scribbling zealously. Before the
desk stood Ted the Skunk, flanked at a safe distance by two other
Crocodile guards wearing pegs on their noses.
Cronos saw that the jury consisted mostly of creatures he had
met during his stay Underground. He saw the Koala, the Ant, the
Kaka, the Falcon, Mortimer the Badger, Adrian the Mole, Mr.
Richard Cranium and Arthur and Martha - the last two sitting
closely together, talking avidly about something or other.
"Please lead in the defendant," the King said, trying to make
his voice sound weighty and succeeding rather well.
"Most obnoxiously so, Your Flatulence," Cat agreed.
The two Crocodile guards that had fetched the Mayor now lead the
poor man to the chair behind the table on which lay the Limburg
Pie. It was a cherry one. It puzzled him. The guards posted
themselves at each side of the Mayor, disabling him from escaping
should he have intended to.
Cronos saw there was only one place left for him to sit, which
was amidst the jury-creatures. He folded himself between the Kaka
and the Koala.
A murmur ran through the jurors and most of the attending
audience that sat opposite the judge's table on the other side of
the amphi-theatric structure.
"Resistance is useless!" something shouted at the top of its
voice, after which the audience's droning quickly died away.
"Zonk..." whispered the Koala, a bit sad.
There were some instants of hushed silence, hanging in the air
like a death verdict. Then the King rose from his seat, and with
him everybody in the court.
"Herald!" the King shouted, "read the accusation!"
The same White Kangaroo that had ran into Warchild at several
occasions during his stay in Wonderland now appeared on the
stage. It looked ridiculous, what with half of a trumpet sticking
out of its pouch and it wearing a powdered wig of sorts. It
unfolded a piece of paper, waited until everybody sat again and
started to read.
"The accused, Mayor Mr. Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern-
schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon-fried-digger- dingle- dangle-
ticolensic-bur-ander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich... (here it had
to breathe deeply, after which it continued as if nothing had
mittler-aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm, henceforth to be referred to
as 'the Mayor' for economic reasons, is accused of...bringing Ted
Some "ooohs" and "aaahs" went through the audience, after which
they hushed again as the White Kangaroo continued, "The Court
calls the first witness, Miss...er...Virgin."
It took out the trumpet and blew a cheap Louis Armstrong
A door at stage left was thrown open and a bailiff showed in the
ostensibly nude form of the Virgin. Some whistles arose from the
male spectators, some eyeglasses were connected to the females.
Although the audience consisted solely of various animals and
birds, none of them seemed to remain totally unaffected by the
way in which the Virgin's beautiful long hair covered vital bits
of her anatomy and simultaneously revealed enough of them to
shake (not stir) anyone's imagination.
To add extra effect to the Virgin's arrival, Cronos' system
considered that precise moment opportune to start growing a bit.
The Kaka cleared its throat and inserted a feathery elbow in
"Would you mind not growing, Sir?" it said irritatedly. It
sounded like a parrot immitating human speech in an awkward way -
which was probably precisely what it did.
"You're growing, too, mind you," Cronos retorted.
"Would you mind," the creature said, insulted, "keeping those
filthy remarks to yourself?"
It turned around demonstratively to study the Virgin, avidly
scribbling things on its piece of paper.
Forward stepped a Hyena, wearing a powdered white wig just like
the White Kangaroo which looked even much more ridiculous on
this African carnivore. It also wore a black cape of some kind.
It walked as if thoroughly aware that everyone was looking at it,
and enjoying it.
"Erm...er...," the Hyena started, having difficulty retaining
his composure with such a mass of soft, naked, human flesh in
front of it, "Miss...er...Virgin, what have you to say about
Johann Gam... er...the Mayor?"
The Virgin looked around at the assembled crowd as if waiting
for a most opportune moment to start her testimony. Suddenly she
"The Mayor is innocent," she said simply.
"Ah!" the Hyena cried.
"That is a most important thing to know," the King said.
"Most hideously so, Your Stupefyingness!" the Weasel chimed in.
"Oooh," said some of the spectators.
"Aaah," said some others.
The jurors were busy scribbling things on their notepads. Cronos
considered it odd that they all spelled guilty like "guilty".
In came a Snake now. A hush went through the crowd, for it was
none other than Tansa, a lawyer enjoying global fame in
Wonderland. It was reknown for its capability of bending justice
to its own needs, something it was better at even than most other
lawyers. It, too, wore some sort of powdered wig.
"Might I interrogate the witnesssss now?" it said, its voice
filled with devious cunningness, if indeed the sound of a
punctured car tyre losing air could have any such qualities.
The King nodded gravely. The Weasel nodded too, but
"Misssss Virgin," Tansa began, "what make you capable of
claiming that Joh...er... the Mayor isssss innosssssent?"
"Well," the Virgin started, "..."
"Isssss it no ssssso," the Snake interrupted, "that you can only
know thisssss if you've DONE IT YOURSSSSSELF?"
The reptile rose to its full height in front of the witness,
trying to intimidate her.
There was a satisfied murmuring from the crowd. The jurors
scribbled enthusiastically. The King sat back in his chair,
smiling broadly. He had always kinda liked the Mayor and he
hadn't felt comfortable when he heard the Mayor had allegedly
committed such a hideous offence. The Virgin, on the other hand,
put him ill at ease just by being here. He didn't feel bad at all
about her being guilty. Justice had been served once more, and he
could finally get down to munching that Limburg Pie that just sat
on that table for not much of a particular reason.
The Virgin was not intimidated by the Snake, however, no matter
how much it looked like lawyers generally do. Even when the
pathetic animal rose to full height it was hardly larger
than...er... Anyway, she had seen bigger things in her life.
"You must be out of your mind," the Virgin spoke haughtily, "I
will not have you accuse me of anything of the sort!"
The crowd went through their "ooohs" and "aaahs" again, the King
moved to the edge of his chair, the imagined taste of cherry
vanishing from his royal tongue.
"Ssssso you deny!" Tansa cried. If the animal would have had a
fist, this would have been to moment for it to be connected to
the table, with force.
Cronos was feeling ill at ease, just like the King. Only with
Warchild it was caused by his overall continuous growing. He was
already getting too big to fit on the jury-creatures' bench any
The King rose from his chair.
"If...er...um...you allegedly...um...er...didn't do...er...um...
it," he said, addressing the Virgin, "then who...er...um...has?"
"Most...er...loathsomely so, Your...um...Divinity!" the Weasel
concorded quietly so as not to disturb amazement and wonder,
which both hung in the sky, chatting leisuredly while waiting for
Without thinking twice the Virgin looked Cronos Warchild
straight in the eyes. He suddenly felt some part of his body was
perhaps growing slightly quicker than the rest of it.
"Him!" she cried, affecting emotion and tears, "that big lummox
She sniggered and snorted derisively, slowly pointing her
virginal hand towards Cronos Warchild. When she was positive all
the court now gazed in awe at the mercenary annex hired gun, she
stepped down and left the court.
Amazement and wonder decided to stay for another while.
X - CRONOS' INNOCENCE
Warchild arose, startled, tossing over most of the jurors'
benches as he had already grown larger almost up to his natural
size. The creatures fell over. Deja vu struck Cronos mercilessly,
upon which he frenetically tried to put all the animals and birds
back on their benches for fear of treading on them. His first
kill had been his foster mother's cat, which he had reduced to a
flat mass of blood and gore by inadvertently lowering his
buttocks on it. He didn't like to think back of it, nor did he
like to have things repeat themselves. As far as repition was
concerned, everything that had happened underground had already
been, somehow, uncannily familiar.
"What do you know about thisssss busssssinesssss?" Tansa asked,
attempting a hypnotic stare on Cronos that bounced back off and
made it feel sleepy for an instant.
"Nothing whatever," Warchild said firmly. He might have been
dimwitted, but he had a great sense of justice. In his views the
guilty had to die horrible deaths, preferably by his hands, and
the innocent needed to go free and generally live long and happy
everafter. As he could not imagine killing himseld he logically
concluded he had to be innocent of whatever ridiculous charge was
made against him. Besides, he knew nothing of any Skunks
whatsoever, except maybe for once having kicked one.
If Tansa would have had a brow, it would have frowned it. If it
would have had hands and hair, it would have put its first in its
Rather unannounced, the King suddenly sprang up from his chair.
"Silence!", he yelled at the top of his royal voice, the
Weasel's frantic agreement lost in the noise. The King took a
leather-bound tome from the table, opened it and read, "Rule
forty-two: All persons more than a mile high have to leave the
All eyes (some of which were on stalks) immediately turned at
Cronos, who suddenly felt stage fright homing in on his
subconsciousness at positively awesome speed.
"Peremptorily so, Your Multiformness," Cat added after a while,
which it had spent stunned at the King's suddenness.
"No way," Cronos said.
"Way," the King replied.
"Yesssss way," the Snake lawyer added superfluously.
"Two miles," the Hyena spoke.
"I don't care a pair of fetid dingo kidneys," Warchild said,
folding his arms demonstratively. One of the members of the
audience uttered an insulted bark.
The White Kangaroo was the first to send silence to the
hospital. "There's more evidence to come yet, Your Majesty," it
said, "A letter written by the mercenary annex hired gun and
addressed to Ted the Skunk, as a matter of fact."
Of course Cronos was as little able to read and write as
politicians are able to talk honest sense - so it was quite out
of the question that he should have written that letter, or
whatever it was.
"What'sssss in it?" Tansa asked with the inquisition so familiar
"Dunno," the Kangaroo said, fumbling its trumpet's mouthpiece
lamely, "there is nothing written on the outside."
"It has to be written to someone," the Hyena remarked smartly,
"it rarely occurs that letters are written to no-one, you know."
"Open it," the King commanded.
"Mandatorily so, Your Slovenliness," the Weasel enthused.
The White Kangaroo solemnly opened the envelope and took out a
piece of paper. Even most jurors started to doubt whether it had
been written by Warchild when it was proclaimed to contain only
"It doesssss not look like the mersssssenary'sssss handwriting,"
the Snake said. The jury-creatures looked at each other, not
quite knowing what to make of this.
"He must have faked another person's handwriting," the Hyena
remarked, smart as ever. The jurors smiled happily, scribbling
"Cock's Wallop!" Cronos cried, rising to his feet whereby he
tossed most jurors off their benches again, "and I am sick and
tired of all this. Ever since I came here nobody liked me! Ever
since I arrived here everybody has been very nasty to me, and now
you're trying to sentence me or something!"
He breathed in deeply.
"Mummy!!" he cried, sobbing, shoulders shaking.
The sheer power of his voice moved the tables, let the Limburg
Pie dash off with its proverbial tail between its metaphorical
legs and caused most of the creatures present to land on the
ground spreadeagled, prostrate, or both. Even the King found
himself on the ground, his royal arse in the air.
Some Old Wonders of the World came running into the courtroom.
Numbers floated through the air. Colourless green ideas started
"Order!" the King yelled.
"Mummy!!" Cronos howled.
Warchild found himself screaming into an empty street. He was
wet; it appeared to have rained. Dusk had fallen. The moon and
stars looked at the mercenary annex hired gun mutely, seemingly
intent on remaining that way.
As Cronos was not trained to think but to fight instead, the
difference between dream and reality was altogether rather vague
to him. He wondered how he came back on that bank, and he also
wondered what had become of the bozo that seemed to have done a
pretty good job at going off somewhere.
Warchild felt his pockets. A curse rolled off his lips.
His American Express Travellers' Cheques had been nicked again.
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.