"Liar: One who tells an unpleasant truth."
OH YEAH III - THE THIRD ENCOUNTER (AND OF A CLOSE KIND)
by Stefan Posthuma and Richard Karsmakers
"Oh, come on, relax."
Cronos Warchild wanted to retort, "That's easy for you to say,
chum, you haven't got a suction device hanging in your mouth and
a piece of drilling equipment homing in on your molars," instead
of which, however, he heard himself uttering something like,
"Hmmmm hmmpff dribble ow sshidd."
Why was it a universal property of dentists to try and start a
conversation with someone of whom the vital bits of his speech
production apparatus were temporarily invalidized?
He hated his annual checkup, which is why this was his first
one. He already regretted not having regularly undergone them,
for now his dentist had started to actually physically drool when
Warchild had opened his mouth to display the oral disarray that
had prompted the visit in the first place. He could have sworn
there were Thanatopian Credit signs in the man's eyes before they
were quickly blinked away. The man had looked familiar in a way
many dentists tend to. Cronos was quite sure he had met the man
before - he just couldn't remember, no matter how hard he tried.
"Ssssjjjggrrrrrr," the suction device intoned.
Warchild decided he didn't like the drill, and the sedative
stings even less.
"Now this may hurt a little," a positively gorgeous assistant
had shushed when the revealing of small syringes had caused
frenzied fear to creep on Cronos' face.
It is said that the pain limit can be relocated to a rather more
favourable position in the presence of female beauty. This is a
lie. On top of the discomfort of two pairs of hands working their
ways in his orifice he merely felt an additional feeling not
unlike cramp elsewhere.
Now what had the dentist whispered to that absurdly pretty girl
just before that? Warchild had not forgotten his hearing aid this
time, as a matter of fact he had even had new batteries
installed. Dura-something - he had liked the rabbit commercial.
Now what was it again?
"Better give him something extra. He's a big dude. A regular
dose might not work, and there's plenty of work to be done."
The Thanatopian Credits had been in the man's eyes again, just
for a while.
Cronos felt them turning him around. And around again. They
swivelled the dentist chair a bit. A drill homed in on his eye.
He wanted to cry but found it impossible because of an excess
amount of tools lodged somewhere. A mirror, previously located on
a wall at a sufficient distance, suddenly started to move around
the room. At just a few instants after the mirror had started
moving, Warchild's personal tiny universe folded on itself,
collapsing into a tiny speck of blackness at the end of which
there wasn't a spotlight.
"Oh, come on, relax."
He had little other choice. Four boys had tied him to a pillar
and the only thing his current position allowed was plenty of
relaxing, be it in a vertical position. He tried to move a foot
but gave up when it turned out to be of no avail. He blinked an
eye. Even that was hard, what with all the make-up that was
clumsily painted on it.
Now all he had to do was wait. Wait until the boys had decided
to leave him be, and then wait until school opened again after
the holidays and some stunned janitor would find him.
"I know something funny," one of the boys had whispered to him.
He had come to life there and then. None of the really popular
guys in his class had ever found him worthy of confidential
information. Nobody had whispered anything in his ear. He wished
it had been a girl, but for now a boy would have to do. Male to
male bonding it was called, he thought. Anyway, it was better
He had waited breathlessly until the confidential revelation
It had caught him totally unawares when it had turned out to be,
"Me and Tony and Jack here are going to tie you to that pillar
overthere and then paint you with girl's make-up."
He had been lucky. They hadn't used reinforced tungsten scarfs
to tie him. With any luck, halfway through the holidays he would
have wrenched himself loose and then try to stumble home.
He wondered if there were any school buses driving in the middle
of summer. No, probably not. He'd have to walk the way home. But
he'd been worse off before. He didn't know exactly when that had
been - his memory refused quite desperately to let the event
escape from its psychological hiding place - but he was fairly
sure it was true. Anyway, what was 80 miles to a healthy young
A stinging pain invaded his consciousness. He thought he heard
someone shouting angrily, "I told you he needed more. Give him
another shot!" There was a pause. "What do you mean, 'where'?
Anywhere will do. As long as it's lots."
He saw a familiar face. It made him feel more comfortable, but
as if the emotion had to be punished the face changed into that
of Jack, then Tony, then that of Merle with its familiar already
retreating hairline. He tried to blink them away but they
wouldn't. He tried to reach out but his hands went through the
images, touching nothing.
Then, suddenly, there was his father. He was holding a knife and
fork and looking rather too hungry. The image was hit on the head
by someone else. He wanted to see who this kind benefactor was,
but somehow everything stayed hazy.
"Oops," someone said. A girl's voice expressed wonder somewhere
on the other side. "Perhaps you shouldn't exactly have given him
*that* much of the stuff." A girl started to sob uncontrollably.
"And certainly not *there*." The sobbing increased.
There was a dramatic pause. If thinking processes could ever
make sound, this was deafening.
The girl was padded on the back in consolation. Then a man said,
"Perhaps I have a solution."
In reply he heard not the expected gentle sound of her voice he
so much longed to hear, but a cold wheezy windy sortof of breezy
sound that he considered void of all emotions. When he opened his
eyes he heaved a deep sigh upon discovering himself in a
situation encountered rather too often for any one lifetime:
Stranded on an unknown planet without any clothes on. This time,
as opposed to all previous times, there was a faint sense of
relief; he felt confident his American Express Travellers Cheques
were still in the pocket where they belonged.
Only the pocket was probably somewhere altogether far away.
He could even muster the enthusiasm to utter a heartfelt moan,
or even a curse. Life had its strange little twists and turns,
but why was he always the one to get the wrong end of its twisted
stick? He was getting sick of it.
He erected himself. A good thing was that there wasn't anybody
around to arrest him for indecent exposure, but the bad thing was
this also meant he couldn't rob anyone off their clothes. His
body was trained to block out cold, but the rather minute size of
a certain bit of his anatomy betrayed it more than adequately. It
destroyed his sense of dignity and on top of that quite literally
nullified his manly pride.
His head didn't feel like the proverbial half-peeled orange with
squash balls bouncing to and fro in it - all things considering
he felt pretty excellent, actually. It seemed to prove that
last night had not involved a battering or alcohol consumption.
Only the matter involving bodily coverage would have to be
resolved soon. Hiding from sight his private parts rendered one
hand useless, something that could prove quite a disadvantage
should this turn out to be yet another dog-eat-dog world.
He observed his surroundings. Things were looking up. His
Travellers Cheques were most likely still in his pocket, he
didn't have a brainsplitting headache and he hadn't been dumped
in some desolate, filthy, scum-ridden back alley. He found
himself looking at two eyes frozen wide open, partly hidden by
the snow that had fallen on what seemed a mound of rubbish quite
literally in the middle of nowhere.
A metallic sound became apparent to the inner workings of his
hearing aid, a little world on its own filled with electronic
parts and sticky bits of cerumen. Cronos had often wondered about
it but never quite understood its workings at all. Anyway, that
was not important.
What was important, at least at this time, was that the device
revealed to the mercenary annex hired gun a kind of slow repeated
laughter that seemed to emanate from somewhere in the suspicious-
With his free hand he wiped some snow off the top of the mound
and was momentarily startled by the sight of some rather more
unsightly parts of the frozen corpse, its toothless mouth twisted
in a dying scream of agony. In its hand the corpse was clutching
a small device which Cronos momentarily mistook for a Gargantuan
Organ Disruptor pointed at what he desparately tried to hide with
his other hand. After fighting down the waves of nausea that ran
from his groin via his spine to his brain, he pried the device
loose from the frozen fingers and inspected it in more close
"Ha Ha Ha," the device droned.
Cronos squinted his eyes to be able to read the fine print on
the bottom of the device.
"Cyrius Cybernetics Laughing Gas Dispenser with Pro-Logic Audio-
Feedback Unit," it read.
Warchild stifled a giggle and pocketed the thing, after which he
cursed and picked it up again. It was then that he noticed the
small nozzle on the top with a even smaller button next to it.
Even he knew that buttons were supposed to be pressed - unless
they were labeled 'self-destruct' in bright red capitals - so he
planted a meaty thumb on the thing.
A faint hissing sound followed by a funny smell tickled Cronos'
olfactory senses after which he suddenly realized the absurdity
of his situation and decided to have a good laugh at himself. In
fact, he knew that this one had to be a real holler, a tear-
jerker of monumental proportions.
He started laughing.
"It is a Class E ice planet, sir, average temperature -20
degrees celcius," the android said, "Lifeform readings negative,
and no Federation records present in any of the databases."
"Very well, Mr. Data, perform another scan when we pass the
system," the captain instructed.
Snow twirled around the vague shape that was kneeling on a small
mound, clutching its belly while convulsing heavily with what
seemed to be uncontrollable laughter. Loud wails of it erupted
from its mouth, and tears formed glistening trails of frozen ice
crystals down the face of Cronos Warchild, naked, freezing cold,
alone in the middle of nowhere, and laughing.
"I won't stop," the voice said, reassuring. It was the voice of
one with infinite time, one with no desire other than to continue
what was being done.
Warchild tried hard, but failed vigorously. He was finding it
difficult to breathe, his entire body writhing and aching as yet
another powerful boost of laughter coarsed up and down his body.
He was beginning to laugh the laugh of the insane, the piping
high semi-roar of girls, whatever, but nothing vaguely male or
heroic or mercenary-ish.
"I assure you I won't stop," the voice repeated. Its owner
seemed to enjoy doing whatever it was doing, which was moving a
feather up and down one of Warchild's bare soles, his victim tied
down entirely and immovably with boyscout knots. There were some
bystanders, laughing for entirely different reasons.
Cronos' reaction was void of anything but laughter. He would
have laughed at the crucifixion of Christ, hollered in the face
of Ashtaroth, smilingly given the finger to Cthulhu and hooted at
Armageddon itself. There was no stopping it. They had found his
weak spot. For three years he had succeeded in hiding it most
cleverly from his tutors and fellow students, but somehow they
had found out about it.
The dragon moved closer to him. He tried to evade its mighty
claws and its reeking, fiery breath, but the animal would not
relent. He took a few steps back, suddenly finding himself up
against a wall.
If dragons could grin inanely, this one would have. It waited
until it could close in on its victim. There was nowhere for the
culprit to go. Supper time!
"Feed me!" the dragon said in some inexplicable language of its
own. It had loved that film.
Quite suddenly a light struck the intended victim. The dragon
was bound to have a weak spot. All creatures great and small had
weak spots. He had one himself, and if the dragon had it too he
was saved for sure. From his pocket the victim - none other than
a Knight of the Round Table - took a quill. He would probably no
longer be able to write with it a letter to his loved one, but at
least he would remain alive to buy another one.
Nobody can stand tickling. Not under the soles of their feet. He
doubted whether Atilla, Hitler, Napoleon or Caligula would have
had such success in their conquests had they not known boots and
had been forced to walk across short grass.
Triumphantly he extended the quill. The dragon wondered.
Warchild had been most rudely interrupted from his dreams of
valiance by an odd feeling. A fellow student looked him right in
the face, guffawing. It was Merle. He had hated Merle for a long
time but, in the way this tends to happen to many persons you
don't like - including the person you ritually exchange addresses
with when on holiday - both their careers had quite
spontaneously unfolded in a similar way. Fate was like gravity -
"Now we know your weak spot, Charwild," an almost demonic voice
had said, "Next time try not to talk in your sleep!"
The android gave his scanner displays a typical puzzled look and
turned around to face his captain.
"Captain, the scanners seem to be picking up signs of a humanoid
lifeform on the planet surface."
"But I thought you said there weren't any lifeforms on the
"Its lifesigns are weak, sir, they only just showed up on the
"Hard to tell, sir, the intense snow storms and other
atmospheric circumstances make it hard to be more precise. The
conditions do allow for use of the transporter, however."
"Make it so."
To relieve the tension, Cronos let go of another shrieking gale
of hard core laughter. It was beginning to hurt. He doubted if he
would ever again be able to hiccup without a pungent ache
stabbing through most of his abdomen.
"I am quite happy to continue indefinitely," the voice confided
Warchild didn't doubt it for a second. Assistants at the
Proximity Sigma Mercenary Academy were famous for few things but
their relentless stamina was one of them. He made a mental note,
between a few violent convulsions, to teach Merle a lesson when -
if - he ever got out of this predicament.
A part of his brain frantically signalled him to faint. He hated
fainting. Girls faint, men didn't. He was brought up with
traditional values. But, then again, perhaps this time it wasn't
such a daft idea anyway. Perhaps the tickling would stop.
Oh, mommy, why wouldn't the tickling stop?
Almost blotted out completely by Warchild's laughter, a voice
said, "That will be quite enough."
The world came in focus again, and the echoes of his own
laughter wore off as quickly as the violent feather-induced itch
under his left sole. The assistant jumped to attention.
"At ease, sergeant," the man said. It was a decorated soldier,
wearing a rather fancy uniform that betrayed a high rank.
Warchild had never been good at learning ranks, but he reckoned
this guy was pretty high up the fascist ladder. He connected the
face with a name...salmon...haddock...carp...Trautman, that's it,
Colonel Trautman, a man almost his father, the main Academy's
supervisor and director of daily affairs, probably the only
individual convinced that, deep down, cadet Warchild had things
going for him.
Cronos looked up through a haze of tears when some people
materialized beside him and the snow-covered mound. There was a
weird sound. He couldn't make out any details, nor even the
actual amount of individuals that suddenly considered it
necessary to be present.
"It's life, sir, but not as we know it," the android said. He
looked at Warchild quizzically. His yellow eyes scanned the
mercenary. Had he been capable of human emotions, he would have
experienced something not unlike pity.
"You wouldn't believe the things I see," another man emphasized,
a black guy with a permanent infrared vision device attached to
his head, "just a large blue shape with a tiny red sort of worm
in the procreational area."
A woman giggled girlishly and took out her tricorder. It uttered
a few beeping sounds and then became utterly quiet. Apart from
telling her that there were the faintest traces of an alien gas
present, its display read, "DEAD."
"To our standards he isn't even alive, Geordi," she concluded.
"But he's moving," Geordi said.
"Death and mobility aren't necessarily mutually exclusive," the
android remarked, "for example, it is a well known fact the Muier
Shipbiter, the large flightless tracking bird of Altitude
Pleiadis, travels back to its place of birth by means of
involuntary post-mortem muscle convulsions induced by electrical
patterns emanating from the brain decomposition process."
The android uttered a meaningful pause for dramatic impact,
totally failing to sense the fact that all people present thought
he was a smart-arse, then added, "The largest recorded distance
covered by this wholly unique means of vertebrate propulsion is
67.62 earth miles."
"What do you think of this, Commander Riker?" the woman
inquired, indicating Warchild.
Cronos deemed that instant perfect to demonstrate once more the
extent of movement his apparently dead body was capable of.
Another fit of laughter shuddered his being.
"Well, Dr Crusher," the Commander replied, a man who had so far
observed in silence, "perhaps it's some kind of hibernating
"Hibernating and laughing at the same time?" a Klingon intoned.
He wasn't amused and was nervously fingering his phaser. In
Klingon society you didn't laugh in the presence of others. As a
matter of fact he found this humanoid blatantly insulting, dead
or not. Back home he would not have constrained himself.
"Riker to Enterprise," the Commander said after hitting himself
on the chest.
"Go ahead, Number One," a voice came from nowhere. It was the
kind of voice you would attach a bald head to.
"We found a life form here that may be in need of medical aid,"
Dr Crusher said, ignoring the Klingon's snort.
There was a pause.
"OK," the voice out of nowhere spoke.
"Six to beam up," the Commander said.
There was a strange light effect, as if in some cheap SciFi
series, and an equally strange sound. Once that had ceased, the
only sound was that of the wind, breezy kindof windy.
In the middle of nowhere there was a mound next to which lay a
partly snowed in Cyrius Cybernetics Laughing Gas Dispenser with
Pro-Logic Audio-Feedback Unit, but it was beyond the corpse to be
able to laugh about it.
The Klingon escorted Cronos to the bridge. By now the mercenary
annex hired gun had totally recovered from his icy ordeal. He was
comfortably warm again, neatly dressed in crisp clothes and
feeling decidedly less giggly than before. He was a bit
disoriented though - the last thing he clearly remembered was
lying in a dentist's chair and being severy sedated. Now he was
walking beside a taciturn Klingon on what seemed to be a
They reached the bridge. A door opened automatically, they went
through, and the door closed behind them. It was the kind of door
Cronos expected to drone, "Thank you for making a simple door
happy," but it didn't.
They went inside, where he was lead to a balding middle aged
man, and a very familiar-looking balding middle aged man at that.
Several bells rung as the recollections took a solid shape inside
the vast emptiness that formed Cronos' mind.
"Merle!" he yelled.
"Er...How do you know my real name?" the captain hushed to
Cronos, an embarrassed and perplexed look on his face.
The android swiveled in this chair. "I checked this individual's
genetic patterns to the old Federation Colonies DNA databases and
found a 99.8% match on Ambulor Eight where he has spent a
prolonged amount of time in the hospital for the Very Very
Splattered. Despite appearances he's human, one Cronos Jehannum
"Captain, I sense utmost confusion and a violent sense of
revenge in this man," a dark-haired woman with huge black eyes
The Klingon immediately drew a phaser and started forward, an
unprofessionally eager look on his face.
Cronos launched himself at his nemesis, intending to reduce him
to a mass of quivering flesh. He was stopped rather painfully by
a phaser blast from a grinning Klingon. It slammed him up against
a panel. A few lights blinked, a few beeps beeped.
"Incidentally," Mr Data added, unperturbed, "according to
these records this hospital is supposed to be run by a nurse who
looks like an identical of Gloria Estefan."
Unfortunately for the couple of thousand people aboard the
starship, the phaser shot had hurled Cronos Warchild against a
large red button with the text "PLEASE BE SO KIND SO AS NOT TO
PRESS THIS BUTTON, FOR IT WILL SELF-DESTRUCT THE SHIP".
Perhaps Cronos Warchild had finally taught Merle his lesson.
Unfortunately, however, there were hundreds of people attending
the same class, one of them being Cronos himself who was too
unconscious to alter anything.
A siren threw in a few wailing words.
"THIS WAS NOT IN THE SCRIPT," a voice boomed.
A hushed silence fell over the bridge.
Cronos scratched his head as he sat up and looked around
"I WILL NOT ALLOW IT," the voice continued. A huge face appeared
on the viewscreen.
"Mr. Roddenbery!" the crew exclaimed in exalted chorus.
A gaffer walked up to the large red button, irritated, and
pushed it once more. The siren ceased its incessant wailing.
"SCOTTY, BEAM THIS MAN OUT OF HERE," the mysterious voice now
"Excuse me, Mr. Roddenbery," the android began, "but there is no
record of a Scotty, Mr Scott or anybody with the first name Scott
aboard the Enterprise..."
"Shut up, Data," the captain snapped.
"Mr O'Brien, beam this...this...Neanderthal out of here," he
"Aye, sir," the transporter chief responded, "which
"Anywhere will do," the captain said, suppressing an evil grin,
"basically any random planet. As long as it's far away from
"Aye, sir," O'Brien said. Finally a command that left room for
Cronos found himself standing on a grassy plain, a shimmering
sun hanging in the sky. It was silent, eerily silent almost, and
as usual he was completely baffled, utterly confused and most
muddled for a very long time. Thoughts of Merle drifted through
his mind but he didn't know exactly why or how.
Before he had a chance to completely recover, though, another
bizarre thing started happening. Small mounds of earth began to
appear all around him, muddy hands extending from some of them.
Soon, earth-smeared heads started popping up everywhere. Some
time later Cronos found himself surrounded by a large group of
extremely soiled men and women dressed. They were all quite
naked, although most details of their features were in some way
covered by mud and bits of fungi. They had all crawled from their
own individual little holes in the earth and were now eying each
other vibrantly, the tension in the air building up around a now
totally dumbfounded Cronos who had absolutely no idea what was
going on. He had never been anywhere where people sortof pop out
of the ground where you stand.
Warchild stammered something.
This seemed to trigger the strange group because at that moment
they all started fondling other muddy individuals and engaging in
acts of rather explicit sexual nature. These were explicit enough
for Cronos to turn slightly red around the cheeks. For the first
time since his waking up on the ice planet did he realize that he
in fact did himself have a sexual organ located in the lower
He wandered around aimlessly for a while, making sure not to
step on any of the writhing bodies around him, trying to make
sense of it all. After a while he found a solitary woman lying on
the ground, naked and covered in streaks of dirt, her forms
exposed to a befuddled Cronos who never really knew what to do in
this kind of situation. He sat down next to her and decided to
find out what was going on.
"From what hole are you, handsome?", the woman asked huskily.
"Errr...well...", Cronos didn't really know what to say. He
never before had his home planet Sucatraps referred to as a hole.
For a brief instant visions flickered across the insides of his
eyes. There was the utterly enticing Klarine Appledoor. After two
moments she was squashed by the rather less slim form of Penelope
Sunflower, his almost-betrothed. And, of course, there was half a
nanosecond worth of Loucynda, enough to see the sturdy and rather
rusty locks around the chastity belt were resisting time bravely.
He always had that when he was around women. He either started
acting like a total git or simply shut up and entered
His lack of words, however, merely seemed to flatter the woman,
encourage her. Maybe she was an expert at body language, or maybe
the rapidly shifting folds in the crotch area of Cronos' trousers
told her all she needed to known. She peeled a piece of dry mud
off a breast. Cronos had no idea the removal of sand crust could
be this provoking. A few of his inner glands started to excrete
"What is all this?" Warchild asked.
"Isn't it obvious?" the woman responded rhetorically.
"This is the moment we've all waited for," the woman said. Her
eyes went into a musing distant-gaze mode when she told a story
involving the burial of 41 infants in the rich and nurturing
soils of the Mother Planet where their collective minds would
dream about Unabridled Sexual Nirvana for 17 years until finally
the Exhumation Phase of their Life Cycle would come upon them.
She revealed to him the Doctrine of the Nine Utterly Holy Phases
- Cloacal Birth, the Burying of Infant Eggs, Life in Entombment
for Seventeen Years, the Unearthing, the Shedding of the Sands,
the Mating (a.k.a. Passionate Time of Ultimate Bliss), the
Smoking of the Cigarette and then, after a short but exciting
Life, the Revelation of the Truth in Death. A pretty fulfilling
life, so she assured him.
To Cronos she appeared to be human, but she was talking about
eggs and cloacas - and what was this thing with the cigarette? He
was about to ask when she grabbed him in her arms. The two of
them looking like the covers of cheap love novels, only this time
the male held by the female.
"O noble hunk," she whispered wetly in his ear, "be my Sacred
Partner in the Ritual of Ultimate Joining!"
He thought about it for a while, but not for long. The woman
peeled another piece of half-dried mud off her anatomy. This time
it revealed part of her right buttock. Warchild hadn't realised
half a square inch of buttock could look in any way luring. Well,
he concluded, this particular piece did.
The woman, her lips moist with desire and her eyes undressing
him unceremoniously, now interpreted Cronos' muteness as
reluctance. She had to fight for him. Perhaps he was playing hard
to get. She liked that in a man. It's never any fun if they throw
themselves at you. She liked getting "no" for an answer. They
always meant "yes" anyway.
"I have four sexual organs, you know," she revealed, "and that's
not even including the cloaca." She turned around a bit and
showed a few of them.
By now Warchild got the general idea. In fact, the part of his
body that had been shrivelled hopelessly during his ice planet
experience was now claiming most of his blood and sending waves
of unclean thoughts through his mind.
Perhaps a blood vessel in his brain sprung, or an adrenalin
gland went into Warp 9 mode. Things went strange.
"Videodrome!", he yelled, tore his T-shirt off his body and
jumped onto the ecstatic woman. That is to say he aimed to hurl
his body at her but somehow it failed to hit its target and
impacted a rather unforgiving piece of bedrock. Debbie Harry
vanished off his mind and was replaced by a screaming pain racing
through his nervous system. Yet a certain part of him was poised
for serious action and the sudden impulse of the cold and gritty
rock was enough to cause a rather intense climax of the most
pinnacle kind. A blurred vision of tissues and washing machines
came to his mind, but it was quickly replaced by a detailed
vision of microwave ovens and food blenders.
It was orgasmic, fatamorganic, spirallomatic and truly mind-
evaporatingly huge. The Dingo stared at him with yellow eyes, and
a brightly lit church from Vienna appeared before him. Kiss the
guitar, feel the Fields of the Nephilim. Someone's got to suffer.
Pain looks great on other people, that's what they're for. He was
sick of all the people, the angels getting on his nerves. Sweet
dreams, his soul screamed. He cannot live, he cannot die,
Sumerland is where he wanted to go. It was the depth of his soul
made real. Afraid of waking up, he stayed deep down in the lands
of forever...call it a day. What a bastard of a blinking cursor
staring at him. Sleep...forever...
Last thing he remembered was a rather cute Tiger Quoll looking
at him, wondering what he was doing. He didn't know where the
little animal had come from, and actually didn't even realize it
was one. He decided to give in to what his body wanted him to do.
With an erection that would have made any London Knight proud
and a girl next to him that was ready'n'willing to go to the end
and have him mount her in each of her many bodily openings he
The thing most prominently present in his mind was the face of
Merle. Or Picard, or whatever he called himself now. It morphed
to and fro into a hungry face of his father. In the back of his
mind he heard his mother pleading with the man, but there was no
His father was whetting a stainless steel kitchen knife of huge
proportions, eyeing him rather unfatherly.
"It has to go!" the man bellowed.
Cronos tried to hide behind his mother but his father shoved the
frail woman aside and advanced on him with a grin of very
"Come here boy," his father whispered satanically, "it might not
"Drahcir!" his mother uttered, "please be careful!"
Cronos had hated the idea of circumcision ever since.
Cronos felt a tiny tongue licking his face.
He opened his eyes and was confronted with the rather cute Tiger
Quoll that seemed to like him rather a lot.
The strange sound seemed to arise from one end of a long pipe.
Attached to the other end was a strange looking man with scruffy
black hair, his body covered only with a primitive loincloth and
multi-coloured paint. The pipe seemed to be some kind of bush-
native instrument. The word "didgeridoo" sprang to mind.
Cronos sat up straight and uttered an inquiring, "Huh?"
The Quoll, disappointed, began licking its own genitals instead.
The man removed the pipe from his mouth and started to speak with
a heavy accent.
"Hey man, whatya doing 'ere?"
Cronos looked around him and noticed several empty holes. A few
of them had been filled up again and covered.
"Dunno, actually. Where is everybody?" he asked.
"They buggered off to bury the eggs and then...well...let's
just say I'm 'ere to clean up the mess," the man said.
"Mess?" Warchild wanted to know.
The man said nothing, merely pointing in another direction.
Cronos' head swivelled - without as much as a heroic "swoosh" -
and beheld a pile of dead people he had missed so far. It would
have been nice for this story if he had recognized the girl with
whom he had had the near-hit experience, but he didn't. There
were just lots of legs and arms, some totally worn out bodies and
asinine grins on a lot of faces, some still with smouldering
cigarette butts dangling in them. A breeze took the smell of
death and Saigon Brothel Backrooms to him.
Disgusting! If only because he hadn't been part of the events
necessary to produce the distinctive scent.
Reality isn't half as real as you think it is, and just when you
think you've come to grips with it everything changes. In books
all things happen in neat patterns where great minds have thought
out excellent plots to let their characters experience the most
exciting of exploits. Cronos Warchild, mercenary annex hired gun,
was about to have something happen to him that was of no
relevance to his current situation whatsoever. Which is half the
fun of writing, sometimes, though not necessarily of reading.
Somewhere deep within the reaches of space a cell twisted and
turned. It was a warped cell, deadly in its own disctinctive and
very weird way. Without apparent reason it decided to pick out a
random life form in the multiverse and hit it on the head.
"They surely went out with a bang, didn't they?" Cronos asked.
The man nodded and started playing 'Advance Australia Fair' on
Cronos was not a very smart man. We know that, because it has
been mentioned countless times. Nonetheless he had a strange
innate sense of tact, which now told him the man had no further
use for him. He'd better make himself scarse.
Somewhere deep within the reaches of space, though now
infinitely much closer, there was something that *had* a use for
him. Though it, and he, didn't quite know yet, at least not
consciously. It hurled itself at an ever increasing speed toward
a squarely built form, even though neither was yet visible to the
What to do now? The huge pile of smiling corpses wasn't a likely
partner for jest or conversation, not even a friendly fight.
Infinity is all relative, just a matter of perspective.
What sounded like the loudest explosion conceivable to the ears
of the rotating cell - had it had them - was virtually and quite
totally indistinguishable from utter silence to the Mercenary
Annex Hired Gun. Within the instant of collision, however,
profound changes occurred in both of them.
The cell suddenly found itself in a void we know as Cronos'
brain. It wasn't the best place to be in, but at least it was
confined whilst still allowing room for plenty of motion. At
least it was safe, and they wouldn't know where to find it.
Cronos suddenly found his cranial contents doubled. Whereas
previously his brain had been almost solely dedicated to
movement, a few incoherent thoughts and the production of
apparently sentient speech, its newly acquired extra capacity was
Cronos had never known paranormality was a bacterial disease
flung on you by a discontent universe, and he probably never
would. What matters to the current discourse, however, is that
this was exactly what had happened.
Warchild looked at the man that had almost finished playing the
Australian National Anthem. Instead of a man, however, his mind
saw a boy. A frightened boy that looked around it in panic.
The man looked at Cronos. Had his multi-coloured paint fainted,
perhaps, and was the stranger looking intently at that?
"Leave that boy alone!" Cronos bellowed. He meant business.
The man looked around him. He saw no boy to leave alone. The
stranger was surely acting irrational.
Then the boy was gone, just like that. Warchild walked up to the
man and shook him at what, for lack of a better word, were the
lapels of his loincloth.
"What have you done, insane man?!" he shouted. His eyes looked
around rapidly, "where is the boy?"
"Wuh...wuh...wuh...what boy?" the man stuttered.
Warchild suddenly looked at the right ear of the man, or perhaps
somewhat beyond. He cocked his head. He could have sworn he heard
some music. It was peaceful music, with flute and soft
synthesizer. His mind told him, not with words but equally
effectively, "Gandalf. Gandalf's 'Fantasia'."
"Fuck off, idiot!" the man said, recognizing the wild look in
Cronos' eyes gone all soft.
Warchild sat down.
"'He' tells me not to use those words," Cronos said with the
patient and infinitely peaceful voice of a religious nut.
"Who?" the man said, irritated, "the boy?"
"No...no..." Cronos responded, dreamily, "'he' told me."
The man displayed an "Oh no, it's Jehovah's witnesses" look. He
patted Warchild on the shoulder.
"He's a good boy," he said, soothingly, with his other hand
swinging the Aboriginal instrument. It was made of wood lovingly
fondled and spoken to for countless generations. He hoped it
would survive the intented maltreatment.
There was a skull-jarring 'thud'. A cell was hurled off back
"Oh no, now they will be after me again?" Cronos wondered
fleetingly as unconsciousness once more embraced him.
"Genuine fake watches!"
The exclamation had a difficult time reaching Warchild's
"Genuine fake watches!"
He opened his eyes. He had expected to be on a totally different
planet without any clothes on and, indeed, he wasn't. Life isn't
like that. However, seeing as a city seemed to have been erected
about him, he reckoned he had been out for a while. He stared
almost directly into the empty eyesockets of a few grinning
corpses, butt-ends stuck between perpetually grinning skeletal
teeth blowing softly in the wind. Now he thought he could
recognize the girl whom his near-hit relationship had been based
on. She had lost quite a bit of weight since he'd last seen her.
Why had the builders left the pile of corpses in their city? Had
they considered it an artefact of sorts? Why had they left him?
Was he an artefact too?
"Genuine fake watches!"
Warchild tried to move but found that he couldn't. He
frantically scanned his memory for explanations. Was he
paralyzed? Cast in concrete? Rendered motionless by some arcane
In reality everything can be much more simple. He was dead. At
least he showed all the signs of it.
"Genuine fake watches!"
The voice was a lot louder now. It just repeated relentlessly.
Cronos tried to crane his neck but couldn't. Instead he craned
his eyes as much as he could and saw the type of guy you would
expect to pop up at spectacularly gory accidents in the street,
"Genuine fake watches!"
"Hey," Cronos tried to whisper, but nothing passed his lips. He
tried to shout but that proved of no avail either. Nobody heeded
him, and there was no way he could cause people to start.
He was beginning to feel just as genuinely uncomfortable as the
watches were fake.
"Genuine fake crowns!"
The man turned around to look at the mercenary annex hired gun.
"Definitely genuinely fake!" he cried, eyeing Cronos rather more
"I don't understand," a voice said, and there was a female voice
that said something in the background. Cronos blinked his eye a
few times. The watch salesman grew blurry.
There was a distinct smell. The kind of smell you always try to
prevent your dentist from smelling but that instead the man
himself breathes up your nostrils when examing your orifice in
the most minute detail, every agonizing minute it takes.
"He appears to be coming to," the girl now said, "good thing you
did with the water and the feather."
"Forget that," a man's voice said, "or we'll get sued until
we're both cross-eyed. C'mon, give me that sucker."
Cronos blinked his eyes again. He was quite sure someone had
just put a suction device in his mouth. Instinctively he waited
for the inevitable conversation to develop.
His sight was adjusting to the light. The first silhouette it
saw was that of the ravishingly gorgeous dentist's assistance.
What a silhouette! It was actually the first time in his life he
had woken up with that kind of view.
"Ha," the dentist said, sounding happy, "it seems we are waking
up? Have we had a nice nap?"
Cronos wanted to say, "Actually, no, I had a bit of a nightmare
where I sortof get dumped on planets by the likes of you, where I
had an almost perfect encounter with someone of a different and
highly compatible gender but somehow everything went wrong. I
don't know how much time I spent in your damn chair with half
your suckers collection dangled in my mouth, but if you think I'm
going to pay for this you've got another thing coming. And I hate
the way you're talking to me as if I'm some half-arse imbecile. I
would, however, like to have a go at dating your positively
lovely assistant, though, if you don't mind."
He tried hard, especially with the last bit, but all that came
out, as he looked at the almost totally bald head of the dentist
whose face he now quite suddenly remembered, was, "Hmmmm hmmpff
dribble ow sshidd!"
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.