Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The CWA of Dr. Z Smith: Episode #115: Tierra De La Muerte

Floyd Schwartz, Fearless Airman, flew The Flying Pile Of Junk {As he had so recently christened it} through the pale blue skies of The Desert.

-=fig. 700: the flying pile of junk, flies=-

 The Desert which not long ago he had feared would claim him for its own.
Until, that is, he was unexpectedly rescued by the unfriendly little1 man and his giant friend. {What were their names?}
All thoughts of the mysterious pair were driven out of his head, however, when The Flying Pile Of Junk suddenly stopped running.
Luckily the controls still worked…sort of. Floyd Schwartz realised how well his æroplane had worked before it had crashed.  He fastened his seatbelt, then remembered that his seatbelt was serving the purpose of a fan-belt, and no longer was attached to the cockpit.
He pushed the nose down, and dropped, Hoping that the free-spinning prop would jump-start the engine mid–air.
This, as most pilots will tell you, rarely works.  And In this case, It didn’t.
And now Floyd was too low to go any further.
So he did his best to land.
 Capt. James Brown leveled the strange device at the target.

-=fig. 701: testing the mysterious gun=-
The target was either a small tree with no branches, or a large stick.  It hadn’t decided yet, but after all it had all the time in the world. Nothing ever made it this far into The Desert.
It was a good thing the target had no eyes, no emotions to feel with.
Otherwise it would have been completely terrified.
Capt. Brown fired.  A beam of white light shot from the Ray Gun and disintegrated the target completely.
The ghost of the target floated away in the breeze, confused.
  “Gosh.” Whispered Capt. Brown. This new weapon was completely unfair. Any enemy couldn’t stand a chance, when met with this powerful beam.
An evil smile spread across his handsome face.
  “James…” Warned Dr. Smith.


Floyd furiously worked the buttons and knobs as he plummeted to the ground, he dropped2  the flaps, he dropped the other flaps, he would have dropped the whole damn wing if he thought he could.
Soon there was nothing else he could do but try and glide in for a non-crash-landing.


Colonel Patterson of the 36th Regiment of the Legopolis City Border Patrol led his men with conviction, with courage, with tenacity. 
When faced with a problem, he turned to his family motto; “numquam tornare”  Which translated roughly to “Never Turn Back.”And his motto had served him well over the years, especially when faced with such dastardly enemies as the villainous l'armée de la République française. But he wasn’t facing an army of Angry Frenchmen any longer, he was facing a much more terrifying and dangerous enemy. The Colonel was not one to ever admit wrongdoing on his part, but it seemed his only recourse, now.
“Men,” He said to his assembled regiment, “It has been brought to my attention that over the course of the last couple of weeks, we have wandered further and further from our own borders, the borders of the Glorious City Of Legopolis,  And Men, I’m sorry to say this is the completely the fault of–” He just couldn’t do it. So he continued in the grand tradition of leaders everywhere; “Sergeant Lynch, our navigator.  He’s been feeding me false information this whole time, and is obviously on the payroll of the l'armée de la République française. Our sworn enemies.  He will, of course, face a full court marshall when we get back to the Glorious City of Legopolis.”
All eyes casually turned to the hapless Sergeant Lynch, who was as surprised as anybody.


Floyd, fearless airman, prayed to any gods that may be listening that this would work.

A scout ran into the meeting which threatened to become a mob at any moment.4
  “SIR! SIR! SIR!” Shouted the boy. 
  “Calm down.” Ordered Colonel Patterson. “Take a breath.”
The boy shook his head. And gulped air “A plane! A plane Sir! Heading straight for us! An out-of-control plane! Plummeting out of the sky!”
Colonel Patterson took the boy’s shoulders, “Quick, French or Russian?”
  “Neither Sir, Legopolian!”
  “We have planes?”


The plane rolled to a stop. 
Floyd opened his eyes. 
He wasn’t dead.  Probably. He hadn’t ruled anything out yet.
It was dark, and shaded, and cool.
It was nice, actually. Until, that is, the army jumped out of nowhere and surrounded poor Floyd Schwartz.

-=fig. 702: the 36th regiment ambushes the fearless airman=-
Floyd wondered where all these brightly dressed people had hidden. Red was surprisingly good camouflage. Especially when the person who you were hiding from wasn’t paying too close attention.
  “Oh. um. Hi there please don’t shoot me.” Said Floyd.
  “We Won’t.” the one on the chair tried to say impressively and failed.  “Who are you?” He continued, still failing to be as impressive as he obviously thought he was.
  “I’m Floyd. Schwartz. Floyd Schwartz. Airman. And you are?”
  “We Are the Legopolis City Border Patrol.”
  “Oh, good, I’m near the Legopolis border, am I?”
  “No. Maybe. Probably not.”
  “Wait, Legopolis?” That was familiar. “Is there more than one?”
  “We don’t think so, no.”
  “Then I just met your mayor!”
  “Capt. Brown?” Asked the Colonel excitedly.
  “Oh yeah, that was his name. Big guy. Long coat?”
  “Where is he!”
  “Relax, he’s about 20 miles that way.” Floyd pointed.

 Dr. Smith watched where a dust cloud would have been had it not rained the night before.
Nature had no sense of dramatic timing. 5

-=fig. 703: the far-off glint of outmoded war machines=- 
  “Who would you say that is?” Dr. Smith asked Capt. Brown, “The Russians?”
  “Well,” Replied Capt. Brown “Unless The Russians have completely given up on camouflage, I’d say it’s The Legopolian Border Patrol.”
  “Is that… Is that a horn? They’re playing a march! No one plays a march when they’re actually marching, that would give them away!”
  “Definitely Legopolians then.  I never could convince them to wear anything other than bright red. They all learned army–ing out of a book. An Old book.6 Thank The Gods no one has ever attackedLegopolis, We wouldn’t stand a chance.”
 Dr. Smith watched them for another minute, then asked “Why are they walking so slow?”
  “Because they’re pushing a cannon.”
  “A… A cannon?”
  “That Damned Book again. It says that each regiment must carry at least one [1] regulation cannon, along with some other useless stuff. The reason being that the fools who wrote The Damned Book had cut a deal with france, called The Wartime Service and National Safety act, basically what it said was that our troops would be weighed down with so much stuff we couldn’t attack france, or anybody, and france would buy $600 worth of national product each calendar year.”
  “But that’s stupid.” 
  “Yes, it is. Far too cheap too. Of course, it was written back when the Legopolian Dollar was worth something8. Thank The Gods France repealed the act in 1870.”
  Dr. Smith thought about this for a second, and he could see where this was going. “But we didn’t, because by then we had been cut off from the outside world?”
   “Right, In 1868 we had run out of national product, mined out. No more Upsidaisium, no more Luddite, no more reasons for anybody to think twice about us. The World Wars that started in the 1870’s between the French Empire and Russia Played a large part in that, And the fact that the mayors of legopolis were a bunch or fat, double-dealing amoral—er, Pigs—Certainly didn’t help, either.  On top of all that no one answered anyone’s calls, because of course, they could be Spies For The Enemy. Not the clearest thinkers, world leaders of the nineteenth century.”
The 36th Regiment of the Legopolis City Border Patrol still hadn’t reached our duo, even after that extended and dry history lesson.
As anyone who has pushed a cannon over sand will tell you, It’s mighty slow going.
  “Shouldn’t we go and help them?” Asked Dr. Smith. 
  “They wouldn’t let us, they have their pride.”
  “So we stay here and bake.”
  “Sure, after all it’s kind of nice here, now that we have water. Almost tropical. Besides, I’m working on my tan.” 
  “If I had wanted to tan, I would have pursued a profession in field work.” 

1 Dr. Smith wasn’t all that little, but anyone who travels by the side Capt. Brown tends to look practically microscopic in comparison. It’s the sad truth of contrast. 

2 Lowered, For the non-pilots among you.

3 Actually, it translates to “never turn around” But the message was similar enough for his ancestors, so it was simliar enough for Colonel Patterson. Completely different meaning, of course.

4 A Sergeant Lynch Mob, you could say. 

5 Dr. Smith had first hand experience in this area, many was the night he would finish something amazing, and laugh maniacally into the sky, expecting thunder and lightning to punctuate his feelings, only to realise it was nine–in–the–morning and sunny. 

6 The Legopolis City Border Patrol was a as loyal an army as any man could hope for, they would follow their leader to the ends of the earth, obey his every command.  But no amount of commandment from a former Architect could convince them that the national uniform had changed, when it so clearly stated in the venerable manual it hadn’t. 

7 Plenty of Nefarious Foreign Powers had sent scouts into Legopolis, these scouts had never returned.  The reason being that one scout is a lot easier to disappear than an entire organised army.

8 Currently 300 Legopolian Dollars would buy you one Mid-Size, Single-Family home in a decent neighborhood.