Fiction inspired by...
by Stefan Posthuma
...A prehistoric tale
"Wow...what a trip!", Jeff sighed as he admired the colorful sparkles that surrounded him. Cronos shook his head to get rid of the giddy feeling that always accompanied time travel. He scanned the surroundings, and soon concluded that there were no dangers imminent and relaxed. They stepped out of the sparkling transporter field, Jeff shouldered his ghettoblaster and they started out to find those precious dinosaur eggs they were sent to find.
Pink Floyd music is adored by thousands of hippies around the world, but to a Tyrannosaurus Rex, it is totally incomprehensible (and probably edible), so Elmer emerged from his cave and decided to examine (and taste) the source of the strange sounds.
"Oh wow man, check this out!", Jeff exclaimed as he discovered a huge 5-leaved plant sprouting from the prehistoric soil. "This one is good for a couple of dozen joints", Jeff said and started yanking the large herb from the ground. Cronos didn't totally understand Jeff's fascination with the strange plant, and he didn't like the noise coming from the radio that Jeff brought. In fact, Cronos didn't like that he had to go on this mission with Jeff. It was not that he didn't like him, you could always have a good laugh with the old hippie, but he was not really focused on what he was doing. Cronos was always told to be focused on one thing at a time, and he focused on finding eggs now and not on strange plants and loud music. "Come on, will ya!", he said and started off towards a patch of trees that just might hide some of those big, leathery eggs that were so valuable to the boys back home. "Yeah...shit..", Jeff was pulling at the plant with all his might, but the plant was firmly rooted and had no intension of travelling through time and ending up being smoked at some weird party. Cronos looked over his shoulder and saw Jeff struggling with the big piece of vegetation. "Shit", he mumbled and ran over to Jeff, and took him by the collar and pulled hard. Jeff was holding on to the plant with both arms and when Cronos pulled him off it, one leaf tore off and Jeff crashed to the ground, clutching the piece of herb. "Allright!", Jeff cried and quickly stuffed the leaf in one of his pockets, and picked up the ghettoblaster. "When we get back we have to do some serious smoking!"
Elmer craned his neck to see over the trees and saw two, large apes walking on their back legs. The sound was emerging from one of them (the skinny one, use him as an appetizer) and the other one (wow, pretty meaty looking) would do nicely for dinner. "Wow, major dinosaur thing over there man!", Jeff exclaimed as he spotted Elmer's huge head and the gaping mouth containing rows of dripping fangs. "Shit," Cronos sighed and pulled the Dino-Blast rifle, set it to 'Totally Annihilate' and aimed it roughly at the carnivorous dinosaur in front of him.
First note: You might wonder why Cronos didn't aim more precisely. Well, when you set a Dino-Blast rifle to 'Totally Annihilate', it will be so devastating that everything in a 50 metre half-circle in front of the shooter will be reduced to a pile of smoking ashes. Normally, this is only used when attacked by a gang of at least 5 hunger-crazed dinosaurs, but Cronos always wanted to do things right.
"Jeff, take cover", Cronos yelled. Jeff, who was examining some zarjaz colored stones he found, looked up and sat down behind a rock, taking the leaf from his pocket. He stared at it like a mother looks at her newborn baby, cradling it in his arms. Shine on you crazy diamond... "Eat sub-atomic particle distorters, sucker", Cronos whispered and pulled the trigger. Cronos expected a small-scale armageddon to take place right in front of him, but all that happened was that the gun spluttered a bit and finally emitted a small ball of light that flew towards the Tyrannosaurus, hitting it in the chest. Elmer wasn't happy. In fact, Elmer was extremely pissed off. That big ape did something and now he felt this sharp pain on his chest, making him rather angry. He already felt the migraine coming again, and he hadn't even had dinner yet! So he roared, and crashed throught the trees, going for the big ape, mouth watering, fangs ready to tear flesh and shatter bones. For a tiny fraction of a nanosecond, Cronos was worried. The gun failed and now a infuriated Tyrranosaurus Rex was coming towards him - and it didn't look like it came to give him a friendly hug. Jeff looked up from his rock and quickly sat down again. "I feel some very negative vibes here", he muttered while changing the tape in his ghettoblaster. "Dark side of the moon...yeah..." Now he was clearly instructed to let Cronos handle the fighting. He was there because he was pretty good at identifying those pretty amazing dinosaur eggs and because he secretly hoped to find the forefathers of the modern Llama, and maybe have a word with one of those caveman dudes to get some pointers on herbal tea. Cronos backed off a bit, nearly stumbling over a small dead tree lying on the ground. Thoughts connected in his head and he picked up the tree and smacked the dinosaur with it in the stomach. Now the beast surely wasn't prepared for this kind of action, was almost knocked off its feet, and was left gasping for breath, getting angrier all the time. Elmer decided that it was time for some clever movements and swung his large, scaled tail and succesfully hit the large ape full in the chest. Now a direct hit from his tail was enough to fell small trees, so he expected no more troubles from this nasty creature. He paused for a while, admiring his work - the ape was knocked out. Cronos felt like a train had run over him. He was thrown against the large rock and heard and felt several crushing noises. Also, he lost his hearing aid and his consiousness. Jeff felt the rock tremble and decided that it was time to investigate things. Now he knew Cronos' reputation and expected the dinosaur to be reduced to something harmless, and was a bit surprised to find Cronos lying on the rock, spaced out. "Hey Cronos, are you allright. You need an aspirin or something?" Jeff looked up to the towering figure of the dinosaur and felt a bit nervous, it didn't look very friendly. "Err..hey man, take it easy. I mean lose the violence scene okay? Shit Cronos, I need you man..."
Elmer was glowering. Time to eat. The only thing he had to do now was to decide which one to devour first...
Jeff's mind was racing. How to get Cronos around again? YES!! He fumbled madly for the pouch hanging from a necklace on his chest. It contained his emergency joint, and boy, this was an emergency! He lit it and inhaled deeply, pausing very briefly to admire the taste of the great stuff and exhaled into Cronos' face. The dinosaur was slowly approaching. Once more he blew a large amount of blue smoke into Cronos' face and Cronos coughed, blinked his eyes and got to his feet immediately when he recognized the smell. "What...where...how......SHIT!!!" Cronos slapped himself in the face to get his act together and immediately remembered the rather large dino that he had to deal with immediately. He spun around and ducked to avoid a huge claw aimed at his head. The monster's jaws snapped and it roared as it found out that it missed. "Wow, you gotta do something about your breath odor man!", Jeff said and hid under the rock this time. "Show time!", yelled Cronos. He had positioned himself behind the monster and produced a number of small explosives attached to a chain. He swung the chain a couple of times and let go, the chain wound itself around the neck of the creature and the explosives detonated upon impact, sending the monster thrashing around, blinded, mad.
Elmer was having a bad day. Not only did he have a massive migraine now, he was also hungry and was totally confused by some very painful things that hit him. While trying to get rid of the pain, he saw the large ape move around, picking up the small tree. Cronos sensed victory as he grabbed the tree and hit the creature on the head with all his might. The tree was smashed, splinters flying around. The dinosaur crashed to the ground, large clouds of dust going up in the air, the ground rumbled. "Right", Cronos stated. He walked over to the rock and collected Jeff. "Jouser, he looks kinda goofy now. You didn't really kill him did you?" "Naahh..he'll live", Cronos mumbled. Jeff climbed off the rock, carefully avoiding some dead rats lying around. "Come on, we've got work to do." Elmer was knocked out cold. He felt faint rumbles in his stomach as he was lying there. One thought crossed his mind just before he passed out. "I need a vacation."
"Please fill in form 3ER-ST. Write in capital letters and don't forget to sign it sir". The pretty young clerk handed Kelly a sheet of paper and continued filing her fingernails. Studying the form, Kelly walked towards a desk and sat down in order to answer the various questions. While puzzling on the question "Have you even been or are you currently engaged in any relationship with a being from a planet other than yours?", he was disturbed by the rustle of chains and the smell of leather. Crashing in the seat next to him was a large figure clad in black leather with all sorts of insulting graffiti on it. Slowly, he removed his headphones and immediately, the sounds of extremely loud and violent music filled the room. He reached into his pocket, and the music was cut off abruptly. "So you want to be a hero huh?", he said in a perilous voice. "Well er....yes.", Kelly replied in a somewhat shaking voice. "I thought becoming a Space Pilot would be nice." "HA! Space Pilot? Are you kidding me?" The mountainous man threw back his head revealing some safety pins connecting the two sides of a rather large cut in his neck. Laughing madly, he put an enormous arm around the shoulders of Kelly. The pressure made him feel extremely uncomfortable but he could not escape the tight grip. The man leaned over until Kelly could smell the cheap booze and noticed that one eye was really a small camera, constantly moving in all directions. "I have something better for you", he whispered. "Why not become a warp master?" "Uhhhh....I don't think that is such a good idea. I really like to be a space pilot. My father always said..." "Shut up! Don't give me any stupid excuses. You're going into the warp whether you like it or not!" Rising from his chair, he put his headphones back on and reached into his pocket again. With one hand, he lifted Kelly and walked out of the door. Kelly was struggling in the iron lock, and tried to protest. "Sir....I really don't think you should do this. I came here to be a space pilot...." "NONSENSE", the man bellowed as he opened the door of a small cubicle and dumped Kelly in it. The protests of Kelly were reduced to a muffled mumbling as the door was closed. Suddenly, someone seemed to turn off the lights...
Total darkness imprisoned him and he felt a tingling feeling all over his body. Suddenly, the lights went on again, and he was standing on a small plateau in a brilliantly lit room. A staggeringly beautiful girl clad in a very tight suit which revealed everything that Kelly ever dreamed of walked towards him. "Ah, there you are sir. We have been expecting you for a long time." "Where am I?", Kelly said in a trembling voice. Drops of sweat appeared on his forehead as he intensely studied the gracious female. "Surely you know sir, you have been preparing for the warp all your life, haven't you?" "This must be some kind of mistake. I don't even know what a warp is!" The girl looked at him with an amazed look in her fantastic eyes. "Please wait here. I will be back". She turned around sharply and disappeared through a door. Stunned by such a dazzling display of beauty, Kelly stood on his dwindling legs, not able to speak at all. "I think it are the Cenobytes again sir. We have a warp master here who doesn't know he is a warp master!" The man sitting behind the large desk uttered a soft curse and shook his head. "I'm sorry for him, but we must continue. The Gal'Rhimm are in serious trouble and we MUST provide them with a warp master. Prepare him!" - "But sir. He is completely ignorant of what is going to happen...." "I'm sorry, but we HAVE to continue this project. Prepare him!" "OK", the girl said reluctantly and walked out of the door. Behind her the officer sighed and his eyes followed every movement of her perfect locomotion. Kelly was shaken out of his trance when she urged him to follow her. "Please come this way sir...". They went through a small corridor which came out into a very large hall, in which only one thing was recognisable: A very slim and fast looking space ship. He followed her towards the ship and she pressed a small button, just under the canopy. With a slow hiss, the glass dome slid open revealing a small cockpit. "Please enter this craft sir". Enchanted by the tone of her voice, he climbed into the cockpit and sat down into the chair. She handed him a large helmet. "Well, I guess you're on your own from here. Good luck". She kissed him softly on his lips. With his senses completely obliterated, he put on the helmet; immediately after that, the canopy closed itself above his head and he noticed a slight tremble of the ship when the main engines were activated. He saw the girl walking away, holding a small device in her hands. The g-forces pressed him back in his chair when the ship was launched into the unknown nothingness. A soft voice crackled in his helmet. "By the way, my name is Alida."
|This text was published in the Atari ST diskmag "ST News" and is used by kind permission of Richard Karsmakers. Source for this article: http://www.st-news.com|