Friday, December 31, 2010

Merry 2011

Capt. Brown rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “So…it just appeared?”
Dr. Smith nodded, “About Ten minutes ago.”
     “What Does it Mean?
            “As long as you're paying.”

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode #83: Too Easy

Last Week As you Recall…
 Ms. Teresa Phillips, Not-So-Secretly-Anymore a Russian spy, had ambushed our heroes in the prison of Dr. Smith's Robotic Butler, Jeeves.

-=fig. 571: an unwelcome surprise=-

“Three hours,” she said, “ It took you three hours to escape.  I'm disappointed.  I expected More from The great Dr. Smith. ”
Dr. Smith Shrugged, “The guard was a slow walker. Let us go, and I won't kill you.”
  Ms. Teresa Phillips laughed, Dr. Smith was unarmed, and standing nonchalantly.
   “Do you know how annoying you are?” she said, “All the time, it either this or its that, I don't now how he–” she gestured at Capt. Brown “Puts up with you, you think you're so clever and magical and special, you're not, really.  You're just a little man with a robot.”
     Dr. Smith was the master of Selective hearing.
      He had gotten a lot of practice.
       All his life.
        “So what do you want with my robot?”
         “To take him apart, to find out how he works, and you're going to help us, or die.  You do understand that when you made your ‘butler’ you made a nearly-indestructible  infinitely obedient yet imaginative and thinking soldier?  What I can't understand is how Legopolis is not the worlds largest superpower!”
  Capt. Brown, who up to this point had been trying not to be noticed, spoke up “He won't let me use anything he makes for war.  Damned stupid, but those are his conditions.”
   Dr. Smith, while a brilliant inventor, had no concept of market applications, so when he invented something he would sell it to Capt. Brown.
       Capt. Brown, being at heart a layman, had all kinds of ideas on how, for example, the telecommunicational-audio-visual system could be applied.  {TaVee! The next big thing in entertainment!  Dr. Smith had developed it as a teleconferencing system.}

Two guards appeared out of nowhere.
Ms. Teresa Phillips turned to them, “We only need the doctor, take this one away.”
  The guards grabbed Capt. Brown, He resisted “But what about all our old times?  The good times!  Remember!”  Dr. Smith watched with interest, Lots had happened when he was out, apparently.
    Ms. Teresa Phillips laughed, she was doing that a lot lately. “There were no old times!  You mean nothing to me fool!  I'm a spy, remember?  We're very sneaky, and you weren't all that hard to fool, Most men aren't.”
    “That's how you really feel?”
      ”Of course!”
    Capt. Brown overpowered his guards, bashed their heads together and stole their guns.

-=fig. 572: heartbreak=-

“I'm sorry you feel that way. Let us go or you die.  I have–” he checked, but quick “–Twelve shots, and they're all yours if you don't open up Jeeves' chamber.”
  Ms. Teresa phillips gave him a big hand.  “Bravo!  It was an almost convincing lie, tell us what the man won, Jim!  You'll never shoot, you're just a big sentimental softie, and that sort can't shoot girls—” he shot her.  Not fatally, because she was the only one could open the containment unit, but it hurt.  Most leg wounds do.
   “Eleven shots. And plenty of you left, shall I continue?”
     “Ha!  I'll never–” bang.
        “You really shouldn't have hurt his feelings.” Dr. Smith commented from the sidelines. 
 Capt. Brown took an ambidextrous approach to gun-wielding.
  ‘One Gun Per Hand’ was his motto.
   He also didn't take well to people messing with his heart.
     He took it as a personal insult.
       A Very personal insult.
 All of this gunfire, however, had attracted attention.
   Dr. Smith's hand shot up, “James?  There's a blinking light, it says ‘All persons Alert’ I don't think we have much time. ”
   “Alright, Ms. Phillips, Next one goes through your head, how do we open the cage?”  He didn't say it particularly loud, or meanly, but saying threats softly has quite the impact when you have a couple of guns and have not very much to lose.
  “You're a psychopath!” she said.
    Capt. Brown cocked his guns and smiled.
      “Fine! Иаков. The code is ‘4gh6yhEç6ø2op9πx5’ ”
 “You got that Zachary?”
   “Got it, typing.”
 Capt. Brown leaned in real close, so that Dr. Smith couldn't hear him, but Ms. Phillips could. “I'll let you in on a secret, I am a big softie, you're right, but you show your face in my city again and you die.  Not quick, like with bullets, no.  We have just the things for heart-breakers like you.”
   She spat in his eye.
     He helped her to unconsciousness.
“You know,” said Dr. Smith from the console,  “We're a couple of Psychopaths. ”
  “Good thing we're the Good Guys.”
The secondary-back-up generator finally kicked in, and the machine recognized Dr. Smith's kill-code.
A chunk of Jeeves' cage slipped away.
 “How's it going, Jeeves?”
   “Not well at all, sir, I need a serious tune-up and over-haul, and perhaps some chicken soup.”
      “I'll make you some soup when we get home Jeeves, right now we need to run–”
 The Russians had found them and started shooting.  bam. bam.
  Capt. Brown loosed a couple of shots. bang. bang.
They ran.

-=fig. 573: mooks=-

A stray bullet found Jeeves. ping.
  The tunnels blurred together, Capt. Brown's bullets ran out, they kept coming.
    “James, I feel this is the best time to say this–”
     “I love you too, man”
       “What?  No, I have a pocket in my suitcase filled with the weapons of people who have tried to mug me.”
           “Do they still have bullets in them?”
    Dr. Smith passed over his suitcase, Capt. Brown opened it up. “Wow.  You must get mugged a lot.  The poor hoods!”
   “Anything you can use?”
     “I like this one,” he had selected an automatic weapon, it was evil-looking, and full.
      “Good, Lets go.  How are you feeling, Jeeves?”
        “Not at all well, Sir.”
         “Just hang on, We're almost outside.”
A small hatch was openly marked with an arrow pointing up, and the words: ‘Аварийный выход’  It led up, there was another hatch at top.
 Dr. Smith, being in front went through first.
 “Oh no.”
    “Guys, We're in the middle of nowhere.  And it's freezing.”

-=574: i thought you knew we were in russia=-

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode #82: Bunker Down

“We Should start a band.”. Remarked Dr. Smith.
 Capt. Brown, who up to that point had been trying to loosen a steel bar out of its solid concrete foundations, stopped.
    “A Band?”  He asked.
      “Yeah,”  Said Dr. Smith, Staring at the ceiling, “A Band.  I can play the Trumpet pretty well, I know you can play drums.   Find somebody for the bass and we have a quartet.”
    Capt. Brown silently worked out who would be the fourth man, “Jeeves.  But can he play the Piano?”
       Dr. Smith nodded, Still staring at the ceiling,  “He can play any instrument you hand to him.  I think it's just sheet metal.”

-=fig. 567: a shaft of light, just out of reach=-

You don't get to be Dr. Smith's only friend unless you can follow his non sequiturs.
       “Do you think you can reach it?”
 Dr. Smith stood up and tried to reach the crack in the ceiling. He was five-and-a-half inches too short.
    Dr. Smith examined his belongings, he had his Satchel, But the only thing in that was his lock-pick set and a small notebook.   The Russians had taken away his suitcase, so that was–
  His Lock-pick set.
 Dr. Smith swore.
    “What?” Said Capt. Brown, not having any luck with his steel bar.
     “My lock-pick set is missing.  But if you give me a hand I might be able to reach the ceiling.”
      “Zachary, We're in separate cells. Try jumping.”
   Dr. Smith jumped.
    No dice.
  “You know, You're taller than me, I don't suppose you have a crack in your ceiling?”
A moment of silence as Capt. Brown examined his ceiling,
   “Nope.”  He said.
     It seemed they were well and truly stuck.
 “Has it ever occurred to you that our lives have just been one disaster after another?”  Capt. Brown, having given up on his steel bars, was waxing philosophical.
 Dr. Smith nodded, this had occurred to him often.  “And on a roughly weekly basis as well.  I have come to dread Tuesdays.   But it's better than a life of boredom, I suppose.  I'm serious about that band.”
  “I'm sure you are, But lets focus on escaping first.”
   “I'm surprised that with all of our experience in jails not dissimilar to this, That we haven't discovered a surefire way of escaping.  But I have an Idea, GUARD!”
 The guard, a bored russian with a very limited sense of humour, came ambling.
  “What is it you want, prisoner.”
    “My good man, Give me the key to this cell.”  Dr. Smith tried to say it in his most commanding tone.
        “Someday that will work.”
The Guard ambled off, his dinner was rapidly cooling.
    “That was your big plan?” Asked Capt. Brown, incredulously.
     “Did you know that there is an illustrated guide to pickpocketing?” Dr. Smith replied as he unlocked the cell door.
  “What now?” Capt. Brown asked as he caught the key Dr. Smith threw to him.
    “We rescue Jeeves and get the [HECK] out of here.”
       “Easier said than done.”
-=fig. 568: a gray passageway=-

They charged down the passage way, it was gray.  

    The man charged with guarding the generator room didn't stand a chance, really.

There were banks of generators, each with thier own little placard denoting their service. 
  “Find one marked ‘Robot Room’ or something similar.”  Said Dr. Smith as he crouched near the nearest placard. 
  Capt. Brown took a look at the next generator and noticed that the placards were all in Russian.
    “I thought you couldn't speak Russian, Zachary?”
     “I Can't, but I can read it.  Now stop talking and look.”
  Moments later, Capt. Brown spoke up “Found it!” 
        “Good, I found the back-up, find two somethings that could conceivably kill these generators.”
    “Like this wrench set?” 
    Dr. Smith selected a rather small one and dropped it in an important-looking spinning bit.
 Capt. Brown then did the same for his generator. 
The sound of metal twisting is not a pleasant sound. 


“Where is everyone?” Capt. Brown wondered. 

-=fig. 569: an empty room=-
“My suitcase!” Dr. Smith went over and picked it up, nothing happened. 
   Dr. Smith walked over to Jeeves' container, they sure had repaired it quick.
    “You picking up any sort of electrical field?”  Dr. Smith shouted.
     “No, Sir.  And I can ear you fine without you yelling, Sir.”
       “Sorry, Jeeves.  Hang on a minute, we're getting you out of there. James–”
         “On it.”
-=fig. 570: an unexpected surprise=-

 Ms. Teresa Phillips entered the room silently, through a mostly secret door.
   “Three hours,” she said, “ It took you three hours to escape.  I'm disappointed.  I expected More from The great Dr. Smith. ”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode #81: Technical Support

Last Week As You Recall…

"You may take blindfolds off now."
 "Where are we?" asked Dr. Smith, wobbling on his newly working legs.
  "Is good question.  One I am not going to be answering."
   They were in a snowy, cold place.
     Dr. Smith's first guess was Russia.

-=565: bunker=-

   "One thing I'd just like to say is that you have a strange way of asking for help,  Ruskanik.  Blindfolding a sick man and me for days without food or water and then withholding where we are after all that?  What do you even want from us anyway?"   Questioned Capt. Brown angrily, As the mayor he felt that no one had the right to do this sort of thing to him.  He was wrong.
 The Russian, {whose name was Boris} didn't like Capt. Brown's tone. Or his derogatory name for Russians. "You listen легополио You just thank lucky star we not kill you both when we had chance to.  For days, nothing but complaining and noise! Is lucky you are important or you would be dead.  Follow me." 
 They followed him into the bunker, it was dark.
   And cramped.
     And being covered in snow made it wet inside.
  Dr. Smith, in between falling down because his legs wouldn't obey him, was having flashbacks to his time spent in the undercity of Legopolis.
  The smell of wet Russian didn't help any.
-=566: holding chamber=-

"…Nice place you have here." Ventured Dr. Smith.
  The assembled Russians stared.
   Dr. Smith wondered if any of them recognized him, then dissmissed that thought because the last time he had been in Russia it had been nowhere near here.
      Capt. Brown was working his way through the 246 Calming Steps To Not Killing Them that his Psychiatrist had recommended. 
        He was up to 245: 'Try Killing them with your Mind'
 It wasn't working.
  "Sorry to keep you waiting Gentlemen, I wanted you to meet our head Of Robotic Servant Acquisitions,  Ms. Teresa Phillips. "  The Speaker backed away quietly but quickly.  
  Ms. Teresa Phillips {If that is her real name} Strolled in front of the glass cage pushed against one wall.  "Good to See you all again." She said.
   "So you're head of Robotic servant Acquisitions," Growled Capt. Brown, "Get a lot of work do you?"
   "Actually, Yes.  I Apologise for our treatment of you both, but we couldn't have you guessing why we brought you here, now could we?"
     "I Already know."  Claimed Dr. Smith.
        "Know what?"
          "Why you brought us here.  Jeeves is exporting a lot of data to somewhere far away, but close, and you can't get him to move or respond in any way, right?  How do I interface to him through his containment system?"
   Ms. Teresa Phillips has Shocked, Her face showed it.
    Capt. Brown Leaned in conspiratorially and said with a quick wink and a big grin; "He's pretty clever, I'd do what he says."
  She gestured vaguely to the blinking lights, buttons and levers spread across the room.  "All that keeps him in, but you talk to the cell using the keyboard."
  The keyboard turned out to be a beat up Remington wired into the wall.
    Dr. Smith typed: Hi Jeeves, I'm here.
 Nothing responded.
Dr. Smith Typed:
     @Jeeves, $Force.Wakeup; var. #Jeeves:
If var. #Jeeves=Wake.Up $Shutdown; var. #Jeeves.Tele.Com.Unit Authcode=#876 =/startstart=00/ If all.that=yes Order; Jeeves.Prime.Directive.1

Dr. Smith figured that ought to do it.  Even if all this machine was doing was printing these commands out on the other side of the glass this would wake Jeeves up,  shut down the telecom unit, and force Jeeves to make tea.
   "Is there any way to insert tea leaves, one liter of water and a cup into the containment unit?" asked Dr. Smith. 
"Is that Crucial to his recovery?" Replied Ms. Teresa Phillips
Ms. Teresa Phillips snapped her fingers and barked things in Russian.
  Out of a tube inside the glass cage dropped the things Dr. Smith had requested.
Jeeves awoke.
 Actually, he was playing a high C, but it sounded like screaming.
  He changed pitch, went higher.
   The glass broke.
    Jeeves failed to escape.
 The Russians laughed.  "What?" Said a big one, "You think can escape just by break glass?  What you think buttons and levers do?  They keep you in, is what they do."
   Just outside of where the glass used to be was a force-field, an electric one.
    Filled with pain.
Jeeves had tried to jump out of his prison, but had gotten shocked, fell on the floor of the cage, twitching.
"Doctor Smith, We expect more of you."
 "But…I didn't–" 
  "Уведите его."
The Big Russian seemed to have some semblance of authority, because the guards obeyed him. 
    "Wait!" Boomed Capt. Brown, "If He says He didn't do anything, He didn't do anything."
That Didn't work.
They Shivered in a much more traditional prison. 
  "Just like old times, eh James?" 
    "Yes, but I don't think your dad is hiding in this secret Russian place, Zachary." 

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode #80: Handicapped

Last Week as you recall…

"Quick! Help me out of these scrubs before the doctors realise where I went!"
  The Not-Jeeves assisted, but modestly.
   "I can't get my pants on without standing up, but if I stand up I pass out."
      "Side-effect of the medication, Sir."
    "Sounds more like a symptom. Help me."
   Jeeves negotiated Dr. Smith upright and held the prone body one-handed above the floor as he levered the pants on with the other hand.  He then placed Dr. Smith gently back in his Wheeled-Chair, and shook him.  Gently, like a mothe–No, not like a mother at all.  Like a very gentle person.   Dr. Smith jerked awake.
 "Quick! to the Hat-Closet!"  He said.
Rollicking Jazz plays from concealed Speakers that aren't there. 
-=fig. 563: hat closet=-

The Jazz Plays on, even in here.
Dr. Smith examined the Fedoras lined along one wall like only a connoisseur could, he noted the band, the crush of the crown, the brim.
  They were all exactly the same.
    "Jeeves," he said "Do you put these here?"
  Not-Jeeves shook his head. "No Sir, The House manufactures them."
   "But I thought The House has no sense of scale?"
      "It doesn't, Sir, These are a fluke of chance. In fact there are several impressively large Fedoras further along in the closet, If you wish, I could–" Dr. Smith cut him off, this was not the time for Impressively Large Hats.
   "No, Jeeves, but maybe later.  Right now I need to come rescue you.  Where's my T.W.E.E.D™ Jacket?"
     "Lost, Sir, But we have regular Tweed Jackets."
        "That will have to do, but the thickest jacket I have, I am going to Russia, after all."
         "Very good Sir."
"How do we get to the pantry?"
   "Through the kitchen, But I can't go past the pantry door."
     "Why Not?"
       "Signal Strength."   

-=fig. 564: medical staff=-

"James! What are you doing here?"
  "I decided that the reason I have assistants is to deal with paperwork.  Why are you not in bed?" Capt. Brown was angry, he had been talking to the doctors.
"OMIGOSH!" Yelled the doctor in front, "You're Doctor Smith!"
  "…Yes?" replied Dr. Smith.
The crazed man shook Dr. Smith's hand, continuing;
   "I Loved, LOVED your treatise on applied neurosurgical psychology. It was poetry, pure POETRY!"   It had, in fact, been poetry.  Doctor Smith had gotten bored halfway through and decided to rewrite the whole thing in Iambic Pentameter, the most fun of all the poetic meters.
 "Thank you, It was fun to write. And who are you?"
   "One of your neurosurgeons. …Sterling."
     "And you hadn't realised it was me while you were operating on my brain?"
       "Not as such, no."
 Capt. Brown stomped over gently.  He, in fact, stomped in spirit but not practise.
   "James, I can explain."
    "You don't need to explain, I'm sure you're bored out of your mind but they–"
       "James, the Russians have Jeeves."
  Capt. Brown stopped. "What? No they don't, he's right there."
          "That's not, it's a Jeeves-clone Jeeves made."
            "He can clone himself?"
              "Sort of.  James, Jeeves is a learning, self-replicating and nearly-indestructible robot, do you know what the Russians would do with that kind of technology?  Here's a hint, they wouldn't use it to tidy up the place and serve tea!"
               Capt. Brown was thinking.  "Why would you make him nearly indestructible?"
                            Dr. Smith shrugged, "When I make a robot, I don't go halfway."
                   "What about Teresa?"
                      "She's the reason Jeeves was captured. James, she's with them."
     Then Capt. Brown understood.
      "Damn." he said.  "I'm coming with you."
    "To Russia? Sure. Now convince these egg-heads I can go free. "
 Capt. Brown Turned, and with an imperious wave, he proclaimed: "EGG HEADS! HE MAY GO FREE."
  The doctors had other ideas.
    "No, he can't." replied the nurse as he maneuvered his way to the back of Dr. Smith's Wheeled-Chair. "You are going right back to bed, And I don't care who you are or how imperious that man's wave is, you will die if you don't get rest."
   "…But I feel fine…"
      "That's what they all say.  Back to bed. Now."
Dr. Smith was not going to be pushed around by this pushy nurse. "But what's wrong with me?"  
 A new doctor who was nearby decided that Dr. Smith was talking to her. "We believe it to be an incredibly dangerous strain of narcolepsy, brought about by the sudden rush of blood to your brain you get when you stand up." she said. She was consulting a clipboard as she said this, so she probably knew what she was talking about.
  "…but…wait, I thought that was a side effect of the medication? And besides, That's not how narcolepsy works, that's a load of official-sounding garbage!"
     "Ah yes," said Doctor Sterling, "I was wondering when you would catch on.  It took your real doctors days to reailse we were just saying words.  Is good to meet great doctor smith, I am Boris.  Russia need your help." 

EDIT: Damn the auto-posting feature! this was supposed to be up yesterday!