Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode 51: The Taking of the MMM

   Last Week As You Recall, Dr. Zachary Smith had had a run-in with death on The Black Planet, so named for it's propensity to be covered in tar.  Luckily he was rescued by the Famed Ronald DaVeu, Explorer extraordinaire, thought dead these many years, who had based himself in the top floor of a tall building, the only area in these parts not flooded with the vile tar.
  But Dr. Smith, not happy with such squalid accommodations, had conceived a plan for their escape.
"We're doin' what?" Said Ronald DaVeu,  Ron to his friends.
 "Drawing them here." Dr. Smith said, referring to The Monoids, a species of men in top hats and suits, who think as one and patrol The Black Planet for stragglers.
   And then shoot them.  Not friendly, these Monoids.
 "Why're we drawin' 'em here?"
   "For their MMM, Marvelous Monoid Mover."
     "I Don' think it's too marvelous."
       "It's going to transport us out of this gooey black prison, I call that pretty marvelous.  You with me?"
 Ron met this with a growl, albeit a consenting one.
     Dr. Smith Pushed the final glob of tar off the edge.
      They had cleared off the entire roof, mostly. 
       Dr. Smith picked a pistol from his tar-stained coat, 
        and fired once.
-=fig. 347: dr. smith's gun=-

"What now?" asked Ron.
 "We wait."
They did not have to wait long as the Monoids had spies everywhere.  Not human spies, of course. but tiny, robotic spies shaped like spiders who crawled over the landscape recording sound and video and then relaying it to their terrible masters.

 The MMM flew over the landscape,  it's propulsion system charring any remaining life to a crisp.  For such a terrible machine it wasn't very big, no bigger than a mid-size car.
  "I see it." Said Ron.
    "Good, prepare yourself."  Ron slunk off into the shadows.
The Monoids came in quick, guns blazing, there was the hum of a laser canon, warming up, and then the roof a foot from Dr. Smith exploded in flames.
 He didn't flinch.
  The monoids paused while their weapons recharged.   The brief wait was long enough for Dr. Smith to dive to the left,  Ron charged in, fired two shots {The extent of his antiquated weapons} and picked up another two guns, which were ready and waiting.

-=fig, 348: ron saves the day=-
These last two should have been enough, but the Monoids are an en-earthy fast bunch.
  Now their weapons were recharged, and Ron was out of guns.
   He clicked the triggers a few more times, uselessly, and then was pushed out of the way by Dr. Smith who was brandishing a brand-new weapon.

-=fig. 349: the sonic particle disruptor ray=-
"DON'T ANYBODY MOVE!"  Dr. Smith yelled,  The Monoids took notice.
 "Who are you?"  They asked in a monotone, all at once.
  "Doctor Zachary Smith and this–" –He indicated his weapon– "–Is a Sonic Particle Disruptor Ray.  It emits a twenty-foot-square field of sonic static that will vibrate apart your very atoms in seconds.  Hand over your machine."
    "You are…Bluffing." There was a note of uncertainty in their voice,  as if they weren't sure.
      "Your kind has met me before.  I don't bluff. Check your memory banks."
There was a pause as they did just that,
        "What is it that you want?"
          "Your machine, and then for you to willingly jump into the tar below."
            "We do not want to–"
              "Think of it this way, Death by tar, or death by disintegration?"
 The Monoids landed their machine on the roof, and, one by one, jumped into the tar.
  As the last one hit the goo below, the Sonic Particle Disrupter Ray's light-bulb burnt out.  It made a noise like this: "bzt." "Cheap lamp."  Dr. Smith grumbled.
Ron was impressed,
   "bravo, kid.  Even I was starting to believe that it was real.  Can't believe they fell for that. You know how to drive one of these things?"  Dr. Smith hopped into the cockpit, "How hard could it be?" He pulled the only lever, and the dashboard lit up in a smörgåsbord of lights. "Wow!  A touch screen interface!  Haven't seen one of these in years.  Good, I see how it works, anything you want to bring, Mr. DaVeu?"
  "Old Bessie."
    "This gun here."
     "Oh.  Hey, bring that string of lamps,  if we're going, I want to be able to see where that is."

-=fig. 350: a commandeered vehicle=-

Dr. Smith pressed buttons like a madman, but with a certain order.
  And they continued along.
   A green, beeping circle appeared, and a line counted out its circumference.
    "Ooh! That's new.  Radar,  But what is it tracking?"
This question would have been answered if he could read Monoidian, a cryptic language which is mainly comprised of a sphere with various geometric chucks cut out of it.  But getting back to the point, the message next to the radar read: "HOME BASE"

-=fig. 351: a menacing home base=-

 Join us next week for our next exciting episode:

 Next Tuesday!  Uploaded at 4:10 G.M.T.
  Available any time past then!

-=Best Regards=-

Sir Jacob D. Fredrickson Esq.

Chief Executive Officer of Early Bird Industries, Inc.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode 50: The Black Planet

Last week as you recall, our own Doctor Zachary Smith was falling.
 Quite the fall, actually.
  It would kill a regular person, 
  In fact it would have killed our own Doctor Zachary Smith, if it weren't for the gunk.
  Technical term.  gunk.
    Now, you must understand that Dr. Smith did not say "splat" It was a stage direction.  A sound effect, if you will.  Dr. Smith flailed about in the thick, gooey tar until he hit shore.   It was then that he took stock of his surroundings,
-=fig. 344: the shadow world=-

     They were black.
  Not for want of lighting, but for want of color.  Well, and lighting.  Dr. Smith took stock of his surroundings from a reclined position, the black tar that he had landed in had siphoned his energy and all he felt like doing was sleeping.

  But not being one for sleeping, usually, he made a last ditch effort to crawl as far as he could away from the tar, which was difficult because the whole place seemed to be covered in the stuff.  His prize-winning fedora had fallen off somewhere along the way, most likely sucked into the terrible goo which covered this god-forsaken place.
     Dr. Smith finally collapsed, face-down in black goo.
-=fig. 345: a rude awakening=-

     Dr. Smith was awoken by the sound of a kettle boiling over.
As Dr. Smith negotiated himself into an upright position, he noticed his shadowy host had poured the tea into two faded pink glasses.
 "Thank you." Said Dr. Smith as his host handed him his cup.
  "*grunt.*" Said his host.
   "Can you talk?"
    " Yep."
     "Thank you for saving me."  Dr. smith gave a weak smile.
      This was returned with a grunt, then The Man slurped his tea through his teeth without taking his eyes off Dr. Smith, as if he expected him to pull out a sword and run him through. 
"You don't talk much do you?"
  "What's your name?"
   "Ron DaVeu."
    "I'm sorry, did you say rendezvous?"
      "No.  Ron DaVeu."  Dr Smith was taken aback,  he'd expected the famous Ronald DaVeu to be, well, taller.  And more eloquent.  Also, given the sheer quantity of places named after The Great Ron DaVeu, you would expect him to bathe once in awhile, which obviously wasn't the case as the smell was very nearly unbearable.  To distract his mind from the smell, Dr. Smith took a drink of his tea.
  And then spat it out.  It was terrible.
 "Great tea!"  There was no sarcasm in his voice, merely pain.
"How did you get here little man?"
  "My name's Dr. Smith.  I fell.  From the sky."
Ron growled.
"You don't believe me do you?"
  "I believe you little man.  I fell from the sky too.  I was traveling in the woods.  There was a hole, a square hole that I didn't see 'cause 'twas covered in leaves.  I stepped on the leaves and" –pause for a *growl*– "ended up here."   Ron's voice was as rough as gravel, and he had a permanent scowl as if he were ready to chop off your head at a moments notice.  It should also be noted that the cup he was drinking from was pink and had a small, happy kitten embellished across the front. 
  "Where'd you come from, kid?  Before this black place took ya?"
 "Legopolis City."
  "Legopolis ain't a city.  Tain't more'n my wife and me's cabin."
   "Your wife?"
     "Dame Lisa O'Callaghan the first.  Her family has money.  Can't see why she married me.  Idiot."
      "Probably loved you."
        "Hrghm. Ain't seen her in more'n nine years.  All on account of this <expletive> place."
         "Well! Lets get you outta here!"
          "How do you suggest that?"
Dr. Smith Thought d=for a moment,
 "What's in these letters?"
    "They were here when I got here.  Dint read 'em 'cause I can't read. Burned 'em 'cause I was cold.
 Dr. Smith Picked one up and read it:
Dear Mayor: The Darkness is coming! ITS COMING SAVE US!!! 
 DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE MONOIDS!!!  Their <expletive> Guns shot off me leg yesterday and by Jacob it hurts like the blazes of hell!

"Ah! this was the mayors office.  Ther're usually pretty high up, how high up are we?"
 "Two Feet.  That black stuff you were floundering in is like tar.  And It seeps in from everywhere.  Hardens in a day or thereabouts."
  "I don't suppose you found a small leather briefcase out there?  Probably near where I fell?"
    "Well, now we're stuck.  I don't know what to do."  This was very hard for Dr. Smith to admit, being brilliant he usually knows what to do.   A plan for everything, that's our Dr. Smith.  A plan usually named after a city.  
  "At least there aren't any animals out there that will eat us."–This was punctuated by an unearthly roar.
   "Don't worry kid.  They don't live long in this muck."
    "What are they?"
    "Ain't got no idea.  They're big and have hellish teeth.  Better'n those Monoids though."
     "What are they doing here anyway?"
      "Dunno, don't care."
       "I'll bet you that if we follow them back to their base they'll have a way out of here.  They're in my Legopolis too.  The Monoids, I mean."
          "Where are you from?   I've never seen ya in Legopolis."
          "I'm pretty sure I'm from your future.  Legopolis turns into a grand city, with streets and everything."
Ron met this with a growl.   The roof started to leak black muck, the same tar that's outside.
 "What is this stuff?
  "Dunno.  Sticky, black and it gets everywhere.  Steals yer energy if ya' let it touch ya'.  Works a treat for sealin' up cracks in the ceilin'."
 Dr Smith watched as Ron took a glob of it in a handy mitt and spread it over the slice of ceiling where the tar was getting in. 
 "How did all that get up on the roof?"
  "Rains down from the sky every once in awhile.  Nasty stuff."
  "We need to get out of here.  Quick."
  "How Do you suggest?  Walkin' don't work for long. Wheels gum. Boats don't move.  Lucky I'm tough and you were in my foragin' pattern else you'd never be alive.  And the stuff boils up  like you wouldn't believe. Get caught when one of those blows and you're dead. "
    "How do those Monoids get around?"
    "Well, uh.  They have this–"
-=fig. 346: the marvelous monoid moving machine=-
A small, slow smile breaks across our hero's face as Ron tells him about the Monoids marvelous machine.
 "I have a plan!'

 Join us next week at 4:10 G.M.T. For our next exciting episode:

-=Best Regards=-

Sir Jacob D. Fredrickson Esq.

Chief Executive Officer of Early Bird Industries, Inc.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Different Impressions

My father is a pilot.  Not a commercial one, it's his hobby.  
    A fairly important bit of his plane broke and the mechanic made him buy a new one.
 So he brought home the old, broken piece.
  His impressions are: " *Grumble grumble* Can't see why the guy couldn't have just fixed it.  I can see what he should have done there's a thing right here…" And so on.  
   My impressions were:

It's a thing of beauty this device.  Close-up it resembles some sort of nefarious generator!  But from the front it's just another ugly piece of machinery.  
     It was built at a time when brass and copper, tubes and gears were actually feasible, nay, required. 
 And the design never broke or became to expensive to produce, so it never got changed. 

-=Best Regards=-

Sir Jacob D. Fredrickson Esq.

Chief Executive Officer of Early Bird Industries, Inc.

More Steam!

This is how I spent my morning.

You can take this however you want, As a call to arms for Steampunks across the world to weed out the posers, Or to weed out the punks by accepting them into the subculture. 
 The least we can do either way is do away with those horrible low-hanging trousers.

EDIT: Re-reading this post I had this image in my mind of squads of roving Steampunks traveling the alleys and byways of the city transforming those regular punks into upstanding citizens.
Somebody get on that.

-=Best Regards=-

Sir Jacob D. Fredrickson Esq.

Chief Executive Officer of Early Bird Industries, Inc.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode 49: TipRău's Tip Top Toppers

The Continuing Weekly adventures of Dr. Zachary Smith:
This week:
Episode #49: TipRău's Tip Top Toppers

Last Week As You Recall our heroes had come out of the window of Dr. Smith's garage, to find that the world was gray, Capt. Brown was red, and The admiral was asleep.
But we start our story today, not with Dr. Smith, Capt. Brown, or even the sleeping admiral.
 No, this week we start our story with a piece of newsprint,
an unassuming piece of newsprint,
the stories ripped from the days headlines.
-=fig. 338: scrabble club scandal=-
     Quite literally ripped.
  The headline reads: Doldrums Strike City
{Subtitle: Citizens Don't Care. } This was because all the beautiful colours of the grand city of Legopolis had been sucked from their spots by the villainous Villiam Von TipRău, arch enemy of our own Dr. Smith.
  And as everyone knows, when colours leave, souls go with them.
Von TipRău was wanted by The Church, The State, and Several Counties In The North Of France,
not for his impressive mustache but for his crimes against humanity.
   Our lonely piece of newsprint circles its way across the city, fluttering like a long flat butterfly on the chilled breeze.  It flipped and fluttered, happily unaware of it's imminent doom.
  Flying over Dr. Smith's yard, it's mind turned perhaps to dreams of returning to its homeland, the grand forests where it was––FWOOOOHM!!
-=fig. 339: FWOOOOHM!!=-

The explosion incinerated the paper instantly.
"Nice Shot!" said Dr. Smith.  The Man who had thrown the lantern gave a weak smile.
  "But how did you know that the fire from the lantern would react with the mercury in the top hat?"
"If bullets don't work, fire usually does."
"Ah.  Your plume is aflame."  As The Man ran off to extinguish his shako, Dr. Smith went to inspect the carnage. "James! Come here."
  "What is it Zachary?" said Captain James Brown, mayor of Legopolis.  Dr. Smith prodded the burnt and twisted carcass of the Top Hat, it melted a tiny bit.  "James, don't let anyone touch this." He motioned to the Top Hat "I think it may be some kind of mind control device."
"What makes you think that?"
  "The label." 
"Outfit your men with some kind of flamethrower, and helmets.  With straps. There's probably something you can use in the garage. Another volley should be coming any sec––" A torrent of the terrible toppers traveled the tops of the turrets, targeted at trolling our turnkeys thinkers.     
"Curses.  James,  try not to get yourself killed or worse, mono-chromised, I'm going across the street."
Across the street was Putzkammer's delicatessen, an abandoned deli a mere block from Dr. Smith's front door and the last known location of Villiam Von TipRău.
"I'm coming with you, Sir."  This was Jeeves, Dr. Smith's robotic butler.
  "You don't have to do that Jeeves." 
 "Ah. but I think that I will be a valuable asset, Sir.  Being a robot the mind control will have no effect on me."
"All right, you can come."
They snuck sneakily through what passed for a door but what was really a collection of boards leaned up against the sheet metal barricade.   Dr. Smith made it as far as the middle of the street before being apprehended by Rather Blank Faced Men, the henchmen of Von TipRău.
-=fig. 340: apprehended by monoids=-
"Good afternoon Rather Blank Faced Men!"
The R.B.F.M. all talked at once, in a monotone no less:
"We are the Monoids."
"Ah! So you can talk."
"Yes.  We have been sent to capture you."
 "And if I don't want to come?"  The sound of eight revolvers all pointed at your head being cocked at once is a worrying sound to say the least. 
   "I thought you wanted to capture me?"
"Our Master cares not if you are dead or if you are alive."
 "By Jacob!  It's a three-headed-monkey!"  Dr. Smith pointed, none of them looked.
  "It is not."
   "I Suppose you wouldn't believe I have a colleague on that roof pointing not one, not two, but three long-range rifles at you?"
     "Would you believe… two long range rifles?"
-=fig. 341: for preference=-
       "Drop 'em Brigadier!"
Brigadier Black was the sort of man you want at your back in a fight, facing the enemy with some sort of heavy artillery, for preference.   Eight shots rang out eight monoids fell dead, as soon as they hit the ground the eight monoids disintegrated in a cloud of tiny squares.  Not cubes, but one-sided squares.  Dr. Smith did not have time to ponder this physical improbability, because five-hundred monoids were marching in from the east.  He had to go, but he left a parting bit of advice to the guard nearest him: "Set fire to their hats, pass it along."  The monoids were marching so close that one good lantern could create a chain effect, saving bullets.   Always thinking, our Dr. Smith.  As he made a mad dash to the other side of the street, he very nearly was knocked over when he ran into Jeeves.  Jeeves, who was dressed in black and white anyway, was almost invisible in the mono-chomised world.  "Jeeves! Watch where you're standing."
"Sorry Sir.  Fascinating building, This is a delicatessen?"
-=fig. 342: Putzkammer's deli=-

Back in the young days of Legopolis, this derelict building was the assayers office,  Legopolis was originally a mining town and people would come from miles around to mine the hills of Legopolis for Upsidaisium and Luddite, the two rare minerals that made The Grand City of Legopolis what it is today.  A plateau.   The door to the Deli was locked and rusted shut due to years of disuse, but it was mysteriously lacking in glass so it didn't pose a problem.
The walls inside were covered with the lewd and profane graffiti of deli-goes through the ages, and in the middle of the floor, badly covered in loose boards, was a gaping hole.

-=fig. 342: a gaping hole=-
"Jeeves, Pull those boards away from that hole."
  "Yes Sir."  The boards, when pulled away, revealed a pitch black hole.
Dr. Smith and Jeeves stared down into the abyss.

"You first, Sir."
 "Thanks alot Jeeves."
   "You are welcome Sir."
    "That was sarcasm Jeeves."
  Dr. Smith toed the edge of the hole tentatively.
"That's very deep, Sir."   Dr. Smith nodded his agreement.
Jeeves leaned in closer to get a better look,
Dr. Smith fell.
-=fig. 343: whoops=-
"So sorry Sir!"
  "You forgot to install them, Sir."

What willl happen Next? Will Dr. Smith perish at the hands of… In a deadly Fall? Find out in our next exciting episode:

-=Best Regards=-

Sir Jacob D. Fredrickson Esq.

Chief Executive Officer of Early Bird Industries, Inc.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode #48: Putzkammer

Last week as you recall,  Jeeves had just revealed where the colours of The Grand City Of Legopolis {Last seen in the clutches of the villainous Von TipRău} were being hidden.
"Putzkammer's Delicatessen?" asked Dr. Smith, as if he could hardly believe it.
"Yes Sir." 
"But that's just across the street from here!"
And indeed it was,  Putzkammer's delicatessen was an abandoned building, derelict yet architecturally significant, directly across the street from Dr. Smith's house.

 Unfortunately Dr. Smith, Morton {Dr. Smith's father} And Jevves 2.0 were inside Dr. Smith's garage and laboratory, a place only accessible through the trunk of Dr. Smith's car. 
     "How are we going to get there, Zachary?" asked Morton.
       "Why, The Door, of course."
-=fig. 334: hello, The Door=-
     "Of course."
        "Don't you like The Door dad?"
"Not particularly.
    "Tell you what, I'll go first."
Dr. Smith walked up the catwalk to The Door, turned the handle, and stepped through.
     There was no special effect, no sound other than the creak of the wind and the thud of Dr. Smith's body as he hit towards the ground at high speed.
   "Ow."  He said.

-=fig. 335: red captain brown=-
A more literal translation would have been "AAARRRGH! STUPID NORTHERN LEATHER!"
     This was because his briefcase had flown out of the window and hit him in the head.
"Hi Zachary.  You came out of that window at quite a clip, you all right?"
Dr. Smith groaned, "Yeah, James. I'm fine, but I don't think The Door likes me much.  Why are you bright red?"  Capt. Brown sighed, "The admiral's here, turns out he didn't get mono-chomized like all the rest, and he's taken control of the whole situation.  His first order of business was to get me out of my old 'more-patch-than-coat', and into the Official Mayoral Uniform."  At the words 'Official Mayoral Uniform' Capt. Brown's fingers tightened and formed themselves into an angry fist, his teeth set themselves on edge, and his eyebrows shot skyward.  
    "Sorry about that James,"–said Dr. Smith, sympathetically–"Help me up.  Oh, and put something soft right here, Morton and Jeeves should be along shortly."  As Capt. Brown set off to find somebody who could cushion Morton and Jeeves' falls, an old man in a blue coat with gold epaulets and a stupid hat walked up to Dr. Smith and started to talk at him "WHO THE BLAZES ARE YOU!?"
     Dr. Smith was affronted, he had never been so verbally abused by a stranger in his own yard before.   He carefully bent to retrieve his hat, and only when it was perfectly straightened did he deign to answer the bothersome verbal assailant.
     "My name, horrible sir, is Doctor Zachary Smith, you may call me Dr. Smith, and I own that building, that building, and this alleyway that we are in now.  Who The Blazes Are You?"  Unshaken by this sudden supply of unexpected information, the admiral supplied his name, "They call me The Admiral and I own this County.  I Don't like insolent little <expletive>s like you shooting out of windows at every turn–"–This was punctuated by Morton and Jeeves shooting out of said window and landing on three rather pudgy cadets,  who were, apparently, the softest things Capt. Brown could find–"–Why when I was your age son I had to fight my way up from the streets, battling barbarians and republicans till I was at the top of the legislative pile and by Jacob I still have some fight left in me!"  Having said his piece, The Admiral collapsed and started to snore.  Dr. Smith watched him fall, with pity. "Narcoleptic.  James?"  Capt. Brown appeared from around the side of Dr. Smith's house, where he had been trying his darnedest to conjure a pot of tea.  His inability to find Dr. Smith's kitchen had not hampered his efforts in the least.    "Zachary? How do I get into your house?  Every time I try the front door it just leads me back outside."  Dr. Smith looked at him, then realized what he meant. "You need to unlock the door with the key, other wise you are just on a feedback loop.  It's a security measure.  What I wanted to talk to you about is, oh what was it… Ah, I remember now.

-=fig. 336: the barricaded petunias=-

   "Its a barricade."
    "Please tell me you didn't dig up my petunias."
   "We needed a base for the barricade, sorry."
 While Dr. Smith did not weep over the loss of his plants, it obviously hit him hard.  "Why are you so upset over these plants Zachary?" asked Capt. Brown, "As far as I know the only thing you're not at all good at is gardening.  So what gives?"  Dr. Smith looked him in the eye, "They were fossils.  I was engineering them from fossils recently discovered in Peru.  five thousand years the world has been without this particular strain of petunia, and you dig it up for a barricade."

It was then that a black top hat trailing darkness shot through the sky.
-=fig. 337: topper=-
Join us next week for our next exciting episode,

-=Best Regards=-

Sir Jacob D. Fredrickson Esq.

Chief Executive Officer of Early Bird Industries, Inc.