by F.F. "Bones" Norman

Professor Crane Quackinbush sat in his lab, royally pissed off. He had just figured out a principle of quantum physics which might allow the controlled total conversion of matter to energy.
Well, it didn't work.
"Fornication," Crane said, leaning his arm on the table in the spilled root beer.
"Hi! Whatcha doin', Quacky?" asked the professor's huge-breasted red-haired girlfriend.
"Oh, Muffy," said Crane, "my secret formula didn't work. I added the eleven secret herbs and spices but I can't crack the secret recipe."
"Don't sweat it, Bigdaddykins," said Muffy, her solidly packed chest heaving as she chewed her gum. "Everything will come out fine."
Suddenly, 23 armed men crashed into the lab. "Must be some of Bob Camshafter's men!" Crane shouted. "Hit the floor, Toots!"
She did, landing on her more than ample mammaries.
"Quick, Muffy! Give me your guns!" Crain said. She pulled a pair of 45s from her shirt and handed them over. With a gun in each hand, firing from the hip, he let out a steady stream of fire power toward the attacking bad guys. He realized just as he ran out of bullets that firing two-handed without lining up the gun sights first is a bloody waste of time. And bullets.
"All right, Professor," said a bad guy through the noise of battle, "give us the klysteron!"
"The what?"
"The fornicating klysteron!"
"I don't have one!"
"Aren't you Dr. Wolfgang Saganhoffer?"
"Wolfgang lives next door."
"Oh. Sorry."
After the bad guys left, Muffy said, "Gee, I sure hope they don't hurt Wolfie. I sure like him."
"He'll be okay," said Krane, staring at Muffy's magnificent mounds. "He's a big boy." "I know."
"Hi, Doc. Hi, Muffy," said the paperboy, tossing Craine's newspaper into some large beakers full of Kool Aid and dry ice. "Hey, Doc, guess what? I just invented a cheap method of controlled total conversion of matter to energy."
"Fornication," said the Professor. "Ah, but I bet an untrained dolt like you couldn't possibly put that discovery to any practical use."
"Yeah, I guess. Except I made this conversion drive starcraft out of this abandoned oil tanker I found. I was thinking of going to Tau Ceti. Wanna go?"
"No!" shouted Krain. "I don't want to go for a ride in your stupid oil tanker!!"
The paperboy went on to become Overlord of the galaxy and he locked Cwaine and Muffy in a prison on the planet McGuffin IV. He forced the Professor to work endlessly on projects to benefit mankind, and forced Muffy to wear low-cut, slinky dresses in the daytime.
Soon, the pressure became too much for Craine to hear.
"That's enough!" he screamed at his former paperboy. "I can't take it anymore!!"
"Oh, all right," said the former paperboy. "Muffy, take off your dress."
"That's not what I really meant," said Crainne.
"What did you mean?"
"I'm pissed off! I've spent the entire story so far being pissed off. This story isn't any good at all. I quit! I'm going to get a job in a Heinlein juvenile novel."
"Oh,"cried Murry, attempting to refasten her dress which kept popping open at the slightest provocation. "I didn't expect that to happen. Oh, well."
Quain went on to his career in Heinlein novels and was still pissed off all the time. The paperboy remained Galactic Overlord until he turned 42 when he and Muffy retired to a small star cluster orbiting the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. Professor Saganhoffer survived the attack, thanks to his collection of trained attack skinks. Bob Camshafter never got the klysteron, nor did he ever find out just what a klysteron was. In fact, he never appeared in the story at all.
"Fornication," said Bob.

Part Two – Ignores Part One
   The silver, dart-shaped spacecraft swung madly through space. “Fornication!” yelled Captain Dwayne “Spunky” Spongester over the roar of the engines as he grabbed at the steering wheel. His ship, the small freighter Mulroney, was totally out of control, its course twisting and tumbling like errant fireworks. It was a good thing Spongester had put on his driving gloves, otherwise he might not have been able to grip the wheel.
Quick, Mavis,” he shouted to young woman in the co-pilot’s seat, “switch to auxiliary!”
Princess Mavis Octavia quickly scanned the controls. She’d had only limited spaceship flying experience as a member of the Royal Court of Whimbillden, but she knew enough to know they were in trouble. “Which one?”
Auxiliary!” The ship lurched and the fuzzy dice hanging off the rear view mirror hit him in the face. “There,” he pointed, “the red one!”
She pressed the button, her expression looking more worried. “What’s wrong with the ship?”
Throttle’s jammed open! And I checked the pedal and it’s not stuck! I’ll bet one of Kling Davar’s henchmen is behind this!”
Like the one I saw hanging around the ship before we took off?” “Yeah, like that one! Fornication, auxiliary’s not working either. Hit the manual override — the blue one!”
She pressed the blue button, but Mulroney continued dizzily careening out of control. Spongester knew they couldn’t take much more of this.
We can’t take much more of this! Nothing’s working!” All the controls were inoperative. With the throttle jammed open and steering gone, it was just a matter of time until they flew into a star or an asteroid. Spongester began to think their future was hopeless.

I have an idea,” said Mavis. “What if we just turned the engines off?” “WHAT?!? Fornication, Mavis, if we turn the engines off, we’ll lose power!”
Yes, so?”
So, if we lose power, the engines won’t have any more power and they’ll turn off, and if they turn off the Law of Infernal Inertia says we’ll lose all our forward momentum and slow down— Wait! I’ve got it! Stand by! I’m going to turn off the engines!” Spongester turned the ignition key to “off” and the main engies cut out. The cabin was filled with relief and silence.
Good work, Mavis. We’ll be drifting for a while, but at least now I’ll be able to fix this crate. First, I’d better find out where we are. Pass me the map.”
Reaching into the glove compartment, Mavispulled out a folded, dog-earred, wrinkled, coffee-stained piece of paper. “This?”
Yeah.” Spongester unfolded and studied the paper. “Ah, I thought so. We’re right on course for this uncharted planet,” he said, pointing at the map, “and if I’m right, we’ll drift right into a perfect orbit.”
Just then, Arnold the Android entered the cockpit. “Sir!” he declared imperiously, “that was the most horrific example of space flight I’ve seen this century. You could have killed everyone and dented me.”
Spongester snorted. Arnold the Android was entirely made of cantbustium, the strongest substance known. “Right. We need to fix this crate fast before Kling Davar finds out we escaped his devious plot. You go outside and do the dangerous stuff, I’ll stay inside and supervise. Mavis, let me know when we get near that planet.”
Unfortunately, Spongster was wrong. The Mulroney did not drift into a perfect orbit about the uncharted planet. In fact, it crashed on the planet.
Fornication,” said Spongester.
The trio survived.
To be continued....

Part Three –The Syndrome Factor
Captain Dwayne “Spunky” Spongester of the late space freighter Mulroney was adamanent. It didn’t matter that his spaceship had just crashed into an uncharted planet, it didn’t matter that he was stranded on said planet with only two companions (Princess Mavis Octavia of the Royal Court of Crunchiebar and Arnold the Android), it didn’t matter that right now Kling Davar’s henchmen were quite probably closing in, and it didn’t matter that he hair was mussed and he’d lost his comb in the crash. No, what matter now was that there was no fornicating way that he was going to accompany Arnold the Android.
I won’t do it,” insisted Spongester, “no way.”
It won’t do any harm,” pleaded Mavis. “In fact, it might be fun. I want to watch!”
You’re sick. I won’t do it.”
Please,” Mavis pouted. “Would you do it for me?”
For you? I doubt it. I don’t know anything about you, except you’re supposed to be leading me to your bank machine to pay off your gambling debt to me. I know those things are supposed to be everywhere, but there’s just never one around when you need one. —Fornication, quit pouting! Oh, all right, I’ll do it!”
He stopped pacing, and sat beside Arnold. “Sir,” said the android, “you do not have to do this. If you’re embarrassed....”
No, I’ve done this before. Surprised, Mavis? I guess you don’t know much about me either.”
Sir, I did serve for a time as an entertainment unit on Vegass III. Perhaps I should lead? I think you’ll feel more comfortable. Jump in when you’re ready.”
Yeah, okay. I am a little nervous. You start.”
Very good, sir. Ahem.
Row row row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily merrily merrily merrily
Life is but a—”
Arrgh!” shouted Spongster as he jumped up from the Android. “I can’t do it! I just can’t, I’m not ready—”
Not ready for what?” asked the voice of the man coming over the hill.
Look!” cried Arnold. “It’s Admiral Runté!”
GoodthingI hitthe emergency locatorbuttonjustbefore we crashed last chapter.”
Sir, I read the last chapter and I don’t recall you doing any such thing.”
Well, Spongester,” and the Admiral, “what brings you here?”
I could ask you the same thing, Admiral. When I last saw you on
the cover of this zine, you were trapped on a planet of desperate women with a secret.”
Mavis could stand it no longer. “Spongester, you know this man?
He’s responsible for deaths of millions of Cruchiebarians.”
He is? How?”
Why is Spongester unwilling to sing?
How did the Admiral kill millions of beings?
Did the writer actually stop at this point because he was too lazy to think
of a way out?
To be continued....

Part Four – The Dog Days of Space

Huhh - wha—”
Sir, wake up. The ship has crashed!”
Spongester stirred. He opened his eyes and looked up at Arnold the Android.
The ship – out of danger?”
No, sir. As you know, Bob, er, um, Dwayne, we crashed on an
uncharted planet! Remember?” Spongester shook his head trying to recall what had happened last issue.
Forget that,” said Arnold, reading over my shoulder, “last issue was all a dream!”
Oh, that’s right. I remember now. Admiral Runté, the campfire sing-a-long, Princess Mavis – all a dream.”
Well, no. Princess Mavis is real.”
She salvaged the navigational computer and is trying to figure out where we are.”
But I know where we are! We’re on an uncharted planet! Help me
up! Lift that impossibly heavy girder off my legs.”
With Arnold’s help, Spongester struggled through the wreckage and found Mavis in the smashed cockpit. She’d reassembled the navigational computer, but couldn’t find a spare plug to plug it in.”
Let me see that,” said Spongester. “Two prong or three prong?”
Three,” said Mavis.
Fornication! This ship isn’t grounded! Curse this ancient wiring!”
The ship looks grounded to me,” said Arnold as he noted the strangeunearthly yet alien terrain that lay outside the crashed ship.
Never mind that cheap verbal humour now — you’ve got to stand around and watch while I heroically save you!”
Spongester pushed away from the startled android and stood upright. His legs, which a moment ago lay crushed beneath a heavy steel beam, now supported his full weight.
Amazing what a band-aid can do,” mumble Arnold under his breath.
Spongester moved slowly but deliberately to a side panel, popped the cover and drew out the back-up navigational computer (also known as a map). He unfolded it over a pile of debris, and studied it intently. Finally, he said, “I know where we are.”
Where?” cried Mavis.
Right here,” he said, and pointed at the map, “on this uncharted planet.’
Arnold sighed heavily. The author only had one goodjoke and he was milking it for more than it was worth. “So we know where we are. We are on an uncharted planet.”
Not just any uncharted planet,” said Spongester smugly. “We are on this uncharted planet.”
Ahhh. And just where is this uncharted planet?”
Why, it’s right... um... it’s right, er... oh, fornication....” Spongester studied the map again. “Aha! Here we go, we’re in the constellation Rand McNally.”
Arnold shook his head. “No. Try again.”
Oh, okay. We’re in the Yaw Yklim galaxy.”
No, you idiot—”
Near the planets of Nrutas and Retipuj—”
“—you have the map upside down—”
Oh, boys!” Mavis interrupted. “I fixed the radio. And it’s only two prongs!”
Give me that!” yelled Spongester, diving for the radio. He grabbed the controls, pausing just long enough to deliver the following exposition: “This radio is the only communications link we have. Only this radio can save us. Ourhumanity is fragile. Ifsomethinghappensto thisradio,I figure we’re only twenty minutes away from cannibalism. I’m going to turn it on now. Pray that nothing unexpected happens.”
He flipped the send switch.
Mayday mayday mayday! Oh, save me please please please puh-lease save me! Leave the rest to die but please save me. I don’t want to eat the robot but I may have to soon. And he looks way too crunchy. So save me! Save me from breaking my teeth on the robot! Please! I’m worth it! And I don’t have dental coverage! Space Corps Control is too cheap for that! Save me—”
Stop it,” said Arnold. “The signal’s being jammed. And look at the sensors! Another ship is approaching! A ship that’s really big and powerful—”
And dangerous, no doubt!”
Yeah. Anyway, the other ship is broadcasting and totally overpow ering our signal. You want to hear it?”
Golly, yes!”
Put on those headphones and flip the switch from ‘send’ to ‘receive’.”
Spongester did and listened intently. His face turned white. His jaw went slack. His wrists went limp. He unplugged the headphones so that Mavis and Arnold could hear the signal, a strange, alien screeching sound.
What are they saying?” asked Mavis. “Should we turn on the translator?”
No need for that,” said Spongester. “I speak ‘alien’. ”
He concentrated mightily for a moment. His forehead wrinkled, his brow furrowed, his ears wiggled. A small lock of hair curled down the middle of his forehead. Finally, he spoke again.
Fornication! It is an alien invasion fleet. Their world has lost a vital natural resource, and they are going to invade every world they encounter in a mad, but yet strangely insane quest to re-acquire as much of this rare but powerful resource as they can. They will not rest, they will not sleep. Death means little to them. They fear nothing. They are a proud race, a warrior race. They are of a hive-mind, serving their leader-masters, who will relentlessly drive their worker-slave-drones to attack at the slightest provocation by using their incredible over-mind mental prowess, developed through eons of forced evolution, genetic engineering and just plain dumb luck. They have powerful phased-light-photon-quantum-torpedo-blaster-ray stun-guns! They are ugly. They have five arms, four legs, sexual appendages the size of an import car, and acid for blood. They can grow replacement limbs, but oddly, they sound like Preston Manning. They are genetically engineered time-travelling macro-nano-tech ar moured fighting robotic death-machine soldier-clones—”
From outer space?”
Yes! Genetically engineered time-travelling macro-nano-teched armoured fighting robotic death-machine soldier-clones. From outer space!!! We are but flies to them. Or fleas. Or fleas on a fly. An annoyance. They plan to conquer us with the same ease that I can step on a lowly bug. they are irredeemable, oddly just like Preston Manning. We’re doomed. Earth is doomed. The whole quadrant is doomed. Perhaps even the universe itself. Even I, myself, oh so glorious me, am doomed.Fornication!”
Wow. You translated all that?”
Well, no, not really. I just inferred it. The message is only three words long.”
Oh. Well, what is the message?”
“‘Mars needs puppies!’”
{{Parts One, Two and Three were published in (respectively) issues One, Two and Four of UTOH. Part Four was recently unearthed in the bottom of a birdcage and is being published for the first time anywhere.
We’ve been assured that this is the author’s preferred version.
F.F. “Bones” Norman’s fame in Canadian SF literary circles is perhaps second only to Robert Gunderson’s. His previous works include the novels Spam Must Die!, Muffy the Vampire Layer, and A Block of Fish. He also wrote “The Blanderputty Matrix” episode of Babylon 5.
Currently, Norman is a crossing-guard instructor on Salt Spring Island. In his spare time, he volunteers as a soccer goal post.}}

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