Yo'Haan It was another boring novel. Yo'Haan was miffed. 'What a boring novel,' he commented. It was the sort of offhanded, repugnant comment that could really drive his cheap plastic lawn furniture into a frenzy, if it were indeed capable of being driven into a frenzy, what with all the time consuming business about being cheap, plastic, and lawn furniture. Yo'Haan usually commented about the banality of his poor choice in literature around the same time every afternoon. He read cheap sci-fi trash, and had purchased this particular novel because it came with a CD-ROM, which of course didn't work. Actually, his CD-ROM drive had broken, or rather, he'd poured a beer in it two nights previously. It was all the same to Yo'Haan. Frankly, the furniture was getting a bit tired of it. They began wishing he would read one of Dante's Divine Comedies again. Even his technical manuals would be a break from the crap Yo'Haan was reading today. He got up and shrugged on his worn out dinner jacket. He climbed over the leather love-seat into the open upper half of a tiny dutch door. Yo'Haan lived in a trailer park in Pigsdale, California. You could say that Yo'Haan lived in a trailer, but then You haven't seen Yo'Haan's trailer. Yo'Haan (rather incorrectly) guessed his trailer had originated in the forties. This was before trailers acquired brand names as selling points, like shoes and soft-drinks. All in all, the trailer was about fourteen feet long, and about eight feet wide, not including the window box plastered on the back right hand side. At first glance, other than how old it was, there was nothing out of the ordinary about it. It was the second glance that got you running. Yo'Haan had considered a myriad of signs for his front window- "Beware of second glance," or "Whoa, that second glance will get you every time," and even "Caution: Owner not responsible for crainial hemorrhaging." He finally settled on spray painting a customized image- A yellow diamond shaped warning sign, which warned passers-by with a simple statement: "Don't look here." His trailer was two stories tall. Sometime, (Yo'Haan guessed rather incorrectly {again}, that it had been about the Sixties), someone had built a room on top of the trailer. They cut a two foot by two foot hole in the ceiling of the rear sleeping quarters, and had thrown a whole room right on top. Not happy with this, the builder had added a little dutch door and a deck to overlook the smaller, lesser trailers. Yo'Haan was happy with it. He liked it's innate weirdness so much that he gave up the comforts that many other trailers in the same general price range offered; Hot water and toilet facilities. He stuck his bed upstairs, his guitars, amplifiers and stereo equipment in the front "Kitchen/Livingroom" space, his computer in the old sleeping quarters, and was totally happy. The deck soon became populated with furniture; two cheap plastic lawn chairs he had reclaimed from a dumpster, a matching table of the same origen, one large pink plastic lawn flamingo, and two leather love-seats which he'd received as a tip while delivering a pizza. He'd later been fired for driving about with a tea party in the back of the company truck. It was spring. Yo'Haan wore his spring uniform. Cut off jeans, hawaiian print shirt, snappy dinner jacket (whose edged were crimped with protective beer caps), and on his head was a smart black pork pie. He tweaked his nose ring, cracked his knuckles, and kicked open his tiny fridge. It hadn't worked for years, but Yo'Haan had felt sorry for the little thing. Besides, he kept it full of Guinness, which he liked served at room temperature. Yo'Haan liked a nice warm beer on a hot summer day. Such was the life of Yo'Haan. Which he quite liked. It's too bad, considering what happens to him. GEORGIE Georgie was six foot two, which was an amiable height indeed. He would have been considered a strong, stout man, except that he wasn't. He weighed one hundred and twenty eight pounds. He was a software engineer, and he had green hair. Georgie arrived at home with an armful of flowers, and a huge bottle of extremely cheap champagne. A small note had embedded itself in the wet part at the bottom of the flowers. It read "Happy sort-of anniversary, love Georgie." He wasn't actually married to his girlfriend, which was fortunate, because she had rather impolitely excused herself from his life fifteen minutes previously. Georgie walked into his apartment, and threw his coat on the couch. 'Honey?' He hummed to himself, thinking what a wonderful day it was. the kind of day that anything can happen in. He found a small note on the coffee table. It read: "Love lasts erw jldssl, nvd." Georgie's tears had fowled up the end of the note before he could read it. Life had a way of occasionally smacking Georgie upside the head. Without thinking, which was what Georgie was generally known for, he packed a bag lunch, threw both the champagne and the flowers into a duffel bag, along with an extra pair of socks, and began the two hundred and fifty mile road trip up to Yo'Haan's trailer. RODREIGO Rodreigo was, to say the least, odd. A medium sized man, but powerfully built. Not powerfully built to the extreme of cheap action movie heros, but powerfully built to the extreme of cheap martial arts movie heros. He sat at home, pecking away at his keyboard, making his computer do things that normal programmers find disgusting. His mother called him. 'Rodreigo! Get up! Dinner!' Rodreigo lived with his parents. The money he saved allowed him to do rather dangerous things, rather frequently. He'd been skydiving naked two days ago. He took the last pull from a bottle of Stoly, and carefully hid the empty Vodka bottle under the pile of other empty Vodka bottles on the floor next to him. He executed his latest creation, and went off to dinner giggling insidiously, scratching at some annoying full-body wind-burn. ELI The rain came down in terrible sheets. Eli had barely learned to drive a car, and now he was breaking not only speed laws, but speed records as well. He was engaged in a high-speed land assault from Boston, Massachusetts, to Pigsdale, California. At the moment, he hated Everything. Everything had wronged him in it's own nasty way. Stoplights had taunted him with a seemingly endless green glow, then suddenly turned red to halt his progress. Stop signs carefully placed themselves to impede his escape. Banzai insects smashed themselves against his windscreen, giving their very lives if just to impair his vision, and annoy him. He'd been driving for fourteen hours now, leaving Boston with a single suitcase packed in the most half-assed possible manner. It contained twenty six T-shirts, four packets of cigarettes, an elephant mobil his sister had given him, and a single rubber squid that squeaked when you squeezed it. He was teaching himself how to smoke out of pure self-distruction. The rain came down harder, and Eli drove on. As he passed the Utah border, he squeaked his squid in renewed determination. CHAPTER ONE: The Delicate Art of Oblivion Yo'Haan watched the sun go down. He'd seen every sunset without exception for three years running. He finally had to admit it- every one was different. He poured himself another pint of Guinness. The last thing Yo'Haan expected to happen to him, the very last, even after getting a refund from the DMV, happened.Someone knocked on his door. 'Come in!' he shouted. The door opened up, and in came Georgie. He was glassy-eyed, and smiling in a dangerously. 'Whoa, Georgie, what's up?' 'Nothing, you know, same old same old.' Yo'Haan gestured to the flowers and champagne Georgie was still carrying. 'Those for me?' 'Uh, yeah. I love you, man.' 'Then give me the Champagne.' Georgie weighed the Champagne in his hand. 'Ok, I like you a lot.' He closed the door and sat down on the tiny couch opposite Yo'Haan. They sat in silence for a while. After the while had gone, leaving no forwarding address, Yo'Haan considered that Whiles, when not present, are, for all practical manners, infinite. They could be sitting in silence for half that long, and would still probably die. He took another pull from his pint, and decided to speak. 'Want to talk about it?' 'My girlfriend left me,' Georgie said. He held out the Champagne. 'Do you have any proper glasses in this dump?' Yo'Haan laughed. 'Sure, Georgie. I'll just pop down to the wine cellar and get a properly chilled decanter from my crystal collection.' Georgie shot the cork into the rear end of the trailer and took a drink from the bottle. Immediately, he spat foam over Yo'Haan, while the bottle itself exuded it's contents into his own lap. Yo'Haan shook his head, and handed Georgie a towel. 'That's what I hate about champagne. A drink really isn't a proper drink unless it can be consumed from the bottle. Champagne is for yuppies, politicians, and other wine glass owning wankers. You want a beer?' 'No,' Georgie replied. 'Not now. This is fine.' 'Good. I've only got seven left. Unless you really want to talk about it.' 'I really do not.' 'Ok. Then let's do this: Drink.' 'You want to get me drunk, so I'll talk about it.' 'I don't want to talk about not talking about it. Drink up.' 'You are a cheap punk, you know that?' 'Ah, but I'm not. I'm a Cheap Trailer Park Trash Punk.' 'Cheap Trailer Park Trash Punk, Esquire,' Georgie lofted his bottle in a toast. Yo'Haan lofted his pint glass. 'Cheers. Drink up.' They did. They started around six, when the sun had gone down, and were only really starting to get serious about it around eight, when they decided that they didn't have the necessary beverages. At this revelation, they promptly made plans quest out on foot to the nearest convenience store, armed to the gills with a shopping cart and three American Express cards. Georgie had vetoed Yo'Haan's proposal to paint the cart olive drab, on the basis that the police would certainly pick them up for committing a B.T.D.S.P.- Being Too Darn Silly in Public. Yo'Haan pushed the cart along the sidewalk. He was humming "Secret Agent Man." 'You do this often, then, do you?' Georgie asked. 'No,' Yo'Haan replied. 'Why do you ask?' 'It's just that you have the bags, the shopping cart...' 'It's for recycling. I collect cans and bottles in it.' 'I thought you didn't give two laughs about the environment.' 'I don't. I do it for the money.' 'I thought you delivered pizza.' 'I did, but it wasn't enough. I make about a hundred extra dollars a month on recycling.' 'Where do you find all that glass?' 'Glass and cans. Cans and glass.' 'Ok. Where do you find a hundred dollars worth of glass and cans every month?' 'In my trailer.' 'Ah. Of course.' They continued on their holy quest. A short while later, a car came careening down the street. This in itself was not unusual in Pigsdale, California. There was smoke pouring out from under the hood, the emergency blinkers were on, and the horn was apparently stuck. This, also, was not terribly unusual. It cornered on the street they were walking down, and flashed by. Yo'Haan shrugged. Georgie shook his head. They continued their quest. Twelve seconds later, the car came back up the street. The tires screamed in horrible agony as the car skidded and slid at a frightening speed toward Yo'Haan and Georgie. Although, technically, this was not terribly unusual either, it began to cause some alarm among the shopping-cart-pushing and American-Express-card-carrying members of the Pigsdale pedestrian society, namely Yo'Haan and Georgie. Meanwhile, an insect in an alien dimension sat on a log, humming to himself. He sat there, on the log, thinking. He thought about his future, other insects, logs, and what an interesting day it might turn out to be. He was watching a small television screen, which was tuned to the frequency of an alien soul, many dimensions from his own reality. It was a troubled soul. It was a soul in a Pinto. Meanwhile, Yo'Haan and Georgie screamed. They feared this one last binge of drinking and laughing about old times would be delayed by some idiot in a Pinto. Fortunately, the Pinto halted inches away. This was no big surprise. Yo'Haan and Georgie were saved by the small matter of a large tree. The tree which they were both boldly cowering behind. The car sat still, it's engine hissing sweet-smelling fumes into the atmosphere. Oil drooled out from underneath it, smoking and stinking it's way into the drainage ditch. Yo'Haan and Georgie peeked at the car from behind the tree. 'Wow,' Yo'Haan said. 'Car blood.' They left the cart and ran around to the driver's door. Yo'Haan stuck his head in the air, and perked his ears like a cat waking up... listening for a police siren. Georgie looked at him. 'Do something, Yo'Haan,' he said. 'Right.' Yo'Haan pulled the door open, and peeked through the smoke. The automobile had a single occupant. The occupant stared unblinking at him, cold and emotionless. Yo'Haan decided he had better try intelligent communication. 'Yo, car dude. What up?' Georgie leaned in to join the rescue. 'Hello? Are you dead in there?' The Mad Driver was still. This was also not unusual, even given the unusual circumstances surrounding it. It was a small, rubber squid, of the squeaky variety. 'Phew,' Yo'Haan phew'd. 'No wonder he crashed.' 'How's that?' asked Georgie. 'He must have had a hell of a time reaching the peddles.' Then, very slowly, the back seat started giggling. Then it was laughing out loud. Yo'Haan smiled at Georgie. 'It's a squid cab.' A man in the back seat sat up, and said the only proper and intelligent thing to be said, considering the circumstances. 'Aaaaaaaaaargh!' The driver reached out, grabbed Yo'Haan, and dragged him into the back seat. Georgie grabbed Yo'Haan by his beer, holding on with all his might. He thought he heard Yo'Haan screaming. He released his grip when he realized that Yo'Haan was not screaming, he was actually laughing hysterically. 'Hey, Eli, what are you doing in this time zone?' Georgie asked. Eli loomed in the car, still laughing. 'Being dead, ironically not dead, then ironically dead again, then, finally, being totally and utterly ironically, ironically alive again.' 'Oh,'Georgie replied. Yo'Haan climbed out of the car. 'What brings you out here, Eli?' 'The Surf. The Sun. The Weather. The Wine. The Cheese. That Stuff Californians Put in Their Coffee They Call "Lightener," Which is Supposed to Taste Like Milk, But Actually Tastes Like Salty Chalk... 'You know, Yo'Haan. The Usual. My girlfriend left me.' 'Hey, what do you know? Georgie and I were just not talking about that.' 'Hoo,' Eli hoo'd. 'Say, let's get liquored up and do something stupid that we won't remember tomorrow.' 'Better yet,' Yo'Haan announced, 'Let's get liquored up and do something that we won't remember tomorrow, but we'll be reminded of when we see tomorrow night's episode of "Cops."' 'Sounds great.' Eli started to get up. 'No, wait!' Georgie called. 'You shouldn't move. You might be hurt.' 'He's right,' Yo'Haan agreed, 'Stretcher! Stat!' Georgie ran around the front of the car and came back with the shopping cart. 'Here doctor!' he called. Yo'Haan appraised Eli's condition with a critical eye. 'I proscribe three billion milligrams of cheap whisky.' They loaded Eli into the shopping cart and resumed their journey. 'What about my car?' Eli cried. He still had the steering wheel in his hands. 'It's totaled,' Yo'Haan told him. 'It's also from connecticut. Report it stolen tomorrow morning.' Eli grabbed the squeaky-squid from the front seat. 'We mustn't forget him,'he said grimly. Georgie pulled the two remaining beers from his pockets. 'Here, Eli. Take two of these, and call me "King Ramses Nimblek The Third."' Eli swallowed the first beer whole, chewed, and spit out the can. Well, he tried to anyway. He poured the second in his pocket. "For later," he said. They raced down the block with the shopping cart, the three of them singing "Secret Agent Man" in four part harmony. Eli brought the steering wheel from his demised-mobile in the cart with him, and pretended to steer where Yo'Haan pushed him. Georgie ran along behind, watching out for police. They came to the store. 'Ah,' said Yo'Haan. '"Frankie's Mini Mart, of Pigsdale, California. We sell to minors, young Republicans, and the more prominent members of the Mormon Church."' Georgie pulled Eli out of the shopping cart. 'You smell like cheap beer,' he told him. 'Oh, yeah,' Eli replied, 'and you smell like a spring day in Kent.' 'A spring day in L.A., baby.' Georgie smiled. 'Don't worry,' Yo'Haan told them. 'Frankie won't be able smell us through Jack.' 'Who's Jack?' they asked. 'Jack Daniel's. Frankie's best friend. They're never apart.' Once inside the mini-mart, decisions were easy. They agreed that individually they could each afford to spend twenty five dollars, and, since they were in a particularly what-the-hell sort of mood, they might as well round the whole thing off and spend an even hundred on liquor. Further consideration led them to the decide they had better purchase some additional foodstuffs, as Yo'Haan had only one packet of Raman Noodle to his name. It was against house rules to eat the last packet. He'd obediently kept the packet for three years, occasionally dusting it's shiny plastic chicken logo. They then decided that a whole new budget would be tiresome, so the end result was this: Buy things alphabetically. The actual purchase list, however, was by lucky chance, entirely at random. They bought: 4 bottles of Rum (Ron Bacardi Superior, of course) 1 bottle of Cola (Generic, of course) 2 bottles of extremely cheap champagne (Extremely cheap) 1 bottle of raspberry schnapps (whatever) 2 "large-sized" bottles of Jeaggermeister (oh YEAH) 1 bag of ice and 20 Pints of Guinness. (Yo'Haan had to drink, too). And also four or five packets of Raman Noodle, a carton of eggs, a can of chili, and eight bottles of curry. Plus a bag of chips. They made their way home. Eli was aghast at the sight of Yo'Haan's trailer. It disgusted his sense of Americana, and he said so. 'Wow,' he said. 'What an interesting trailer.' 'It was built in the forties,' Yo'Haan informed him. 'I mean, it's really, really weird. The windows are really thick. It looks more like a boat than a travel trailer.' 'He's right,' Georgie commented. 'The walls look as if they could hold a whole lot of pressure.' Yo'Haan kicked open the door. 'Yeah, well, it was built before the war. Maybe the architect was into submarines. It probably floats.' They got settled in, and Yo'Haan began filling the broken little fridge with Guinness. When it was full, he took to filling his even smaller, already cramped cabinets with the tall black cans. When they were full, he still had about ten pints in the bag. He decided he'd better drink those right away, just to tidy up. Georgie got started pouring Rum-and-Cokes. He took all the containers Yo'Haan owned out of their various piles, (making room for badly needed Guinness storage), and filled them half way up with Ron Bacardi Superior. Eli's job was to fill them the rest of the way with ice, and top them up with Cola. He quickly ran out of the soft drink. He decided that, in those last drinks, he and Georgie would probably not notice the lack of it anyway, or even that the invention of Cola had ever existed. He looked over the various containers that had been completed. He felt assured that the Cola would not be missed. Because, he reasoned, that they would likely believe they were small, blue elves by the time they ran out. Yo'Haan was already in the swing of things. He put some music on. It was a rambunctious Punk band, who made up for their musical underachivement with sheer volume. Yo'Haan was proud of their ludicrously asinine lyrics. He wrote them; It was his band. He poured himself another pint and reclined in his leather... recliner. Georgie and Eli shared the tiny bench seat. Eli sighed with relief, his journey was finally over. He began drinking quickly out of a small coffee mug. Finishing that, he started in on a nearby salad bowl. Georgie was thoughtful, he started small. He began managing his alcohol intake, so that he could make it into the wee hours with Yo'Haan and Eli. He drank cautiously, out of a little flower vase that Yo'Haan had been using to keep his toothbrush. About an hour later, about an hour had gone by. The trailer's three occupants were engaged in a deep philosophical conversation. 'But the problem, you see,' Eli argued, 'the problem with pseudo-masochistic-post-mortem-necrophilia, is that.. it sucks.' 'Yes, indeedy,' agreed Georgie, 'but it is possible. Right Yo'Haan?' Yo'Haan stared at a particle floating about an inch in front of his nose. 'Yo'Haan? You there? Yo'Haan?' 'Something..' he murmured. 'Something... Orange?' Eli offered. 'Something...' Yo'Haan repeated. 'Completely Different?' Georgie asked. Yo'Haan looked up at them. 'Something is missing,' he said. Eli laughed. 'Oh, yes, well, the Fly Girls aren't here yet, but it looks as though the drinks have arrived.' Georgie lofted his half empty sandwich baggie bag of Ron. 'Lest we forget the Fly Girls.' 'No, seriously,' Yo'Haan told them. 'Something important is missing.' Eli looked thoughtful. 'Let's see,' he said,' I'm here, you're here..' Georgie sat upright. 'Rodreigo!' he cried. Yo'Haan grabbed the phone from the suitcase where he kept it. He dialed "666-1313," Rodreigo's customized phone number, and let it ring. The night spun on into the night, as it were. CHAPTER TWO: "The moon of The Moon" 'Ooooh..' groaned Rodreigo, 'where the hell am I?' He was slumped over the keyboard of Yo'Haan's computer, on the floor of the trailer. 'Ooooh. G'mornin,' Eli.' He sat up, pulling the pillow case off his head. Eli was lying across his legs, drooling on Yo'Haan's CD collection. 'What's for breakfast?' Yo'Haan came in to join them. 'Double curry fried eggs chili curry curry vind De lose. You want a plate, a bowl, or a bag?' he asked. 'Bag.' Rodreigo replied. He removed himself from the rubble of empty bottles, bowls, cans and various Eli limbs. 'Coffee...' 'In the pot,' Yo'Haan told him. 'Praise the mother,' Eli groaned. Rodreigo poured them a bowl of coffee. 'Praise the mother? What the hell's that?' Yo'Haan asked. 'I've taken to believing that the Moon controls my life. Most religions say "She" is the ultimate arbitrator of good and evil.' 'You're weird.' 'Oh and you're perfectly normal, freak-boy. At least I have a religion. You're a heretic.' 'I am not,' Yo'Haan replied. 'I am an Atheist.' 'Atheist, Heretic, same thing, whatever. You're going to go to hell.' 'Well, I'd rather be a heretic than a Lune-itic,' Yo'Haan smiled. Yo'Haan and Rodreigo were both hard-core atheists, researching as many religious texts as reading magazines with pictures of naked women in them. Rodreigo poured himself another bag of coffee. 'Where is Georgie?' he asked. Yo'Haan pointed at a foot hanging through a hole in the ceiling. 'Upstairs,' he said. 'Food?' 'No ma'am,' Rodreigo replied. 'I'll wait to see if the others die.' 'What? Too much curry?' Yo'Haan gave Rodreigo his hurt look. Rodreigo looked at him ruefully. 'You should keep a pigeon.' Eli and Georgie were awake and choking on the curry fumes. They sat around the tiny table, trying not to smell their breakfasts. 'Good god, man,' Georgie said, 'a little indian cuisine is one thing, but this is ridiculous.' his breakfast glowed at him. It was that nuclear curry yellow that Yo'Haan had spent years perfecting. Eli rubbed his throbbing head. 'What's that humming sound?' he asked. 'Oh, you hear it too?' Rodreigo said. 'Oh, my,' said Yo'Haan, 'I thought it was just me.' Georgie looked at his watch. 'Say, Yo'Haan, what time do you have?' 'About three-thirty. Why?' 'Wouldn't you say it's a bit dark out for three-thirty in the afternoon?' 'Afternoon?' Yo'Haan was surprised. 'Oh, my yes. A bit dark indeed.' Rodreigo pulled the curtain aside. 'It's pitch black out there.' 'How do you mean, pitch black?' Yo'Haan asked. 'Well, it's a bit pitch black even for three-thirty AM,' said Rodreigo. 'In fact, it's a bit pitch black for nighttime in a lit up trailer park, too.' Yo'Haan put down his curry and looked up at Rodreigo. 'Well how pitch black is "pitch black" then,' he asked. 'Well,' Rodreigo said, 'It's pitch blacker than it should be. Actually, I'm becoming a bit concerned regarding the matter of it's utter pitch blackedness.' Groaning, Eli looked out the window as well. 'Albeit, a bit on the dark side out there, I quite agree.' Georgie looked out with them. 'Oh my,' he said. Yo'Haan got concerned. He went to have himself a look, out the door. He was surprised to find that it wouldn't open. 'Door won't open,' he commented. 'That's odd.' 'Is it locked?' Georgie asked. 'It doesn't lock,' Yo'Haan told him, 'I only found the handle for it last week.' Rodreigo got up and tried the door. 'Open, you stupid door,' he said. 'I am sorry,' the Door replied, 'but the oxygen levels in the atmosphere of this planetoid do not meet the minimum safety standards of your fragile physiologies.' It paused. 'Dimwit,' it finally added. Rodreigo stepped back, falling over a pile of empty Guinness cans. 'Talking door,' he said. 'Good one, Yo'Haan.' 'Never talked before,' Yo'Haan told them. 'Hey, Door.' 'What?' the Door asked. 'Yes, a bit odd,' Yo'Haan commented. 'Talking door. Never talked before.' Georgie stepped up to the door. 'What do you mean,' he asked it, 'when you say "The oxygen levels in the atmosphere of this planetoid do not meet the minimum safety standards of your physiologies, Dimwit."' 'They don't,' replied the door, 'Dimwit.' 'What "Planetoid?"' Georgie asked. 'Hell, I don't know,' said the door, 'you'll have to ask the NaviComp that.' 'What's a navicomp?' Yo'Haan asked. 'It's that nubby blue thing, under your socks, Yo'Haan.' 'You know my name?' Yo'Haan said. 'Sure. I'm you're door, 'ain't I?' 'You are? Yes, I suppose you would be.' He pointed at his sock pile. 'Then, I suppose that would be my "NaviComp" as well.' 'Yes,' the door told him. 'You suppose it would be.' 'Is it?' Yo'Haan asked the door. 'Dimwit,' replied the door thoughtfully. 'Oh my,' said Yo'Haan. 'I have a NaviComp.' Eli looked at the sock pile. "I'm not like, naive, or anything Yo'Haan, but what exactly is a "NaviComp?"' 'I have no idea whatsoever,' Yo'Haan suggested. 'Well,' Rodreigo said, 'perhaps it has something to do with the sheer and utter pitch blackedness that seems to be currently surrounding your trailer.' 'Perhaps indeed,' said Yo'Haan. 'NaviComp?' 'Murph, Nave?' it replied. 'What is all this darkness doing around my trailer at three thirty in the afternoon?' 'Murgle zeed gurest glorp, grnude esta gromph nord,' it replied thoughtfully. 'Perhaps,' offered Georgie, 'removing the socks from the top of it would greatly reduce it's apparent speech impediment.' Yo'Haan kicked the socks from around it, revealing a round blue nubby thing. 'Could you repeat that?' Yo'Haan asked it. 'I said,' it replied, 'that it is a waste of time trying to explain the motives and methods of light, and more to the point it's lack of being at the moment, to a bunch of hairy half-developed primates, especially when confined vocally by a significant number of stinky, dirty socks.' 'You're the door!' Yo'Haan cried. 'Am not,' the nubby thing replied. 'I am a "NaviComp."' 'You are not a "NaviComp,"'Yo'Haan told it, 'you're the door.' 'NaviComp,' it said. 'That's a wheel-well,' Yo'Haan said. 'You're the door, and you're throwing your voice.' 'Well, maybe,' the door said. 'But I'm smart as a NaviComp.' 'So where the hell are we?' Rodreigo asked. 'Where are who?' asked the door. 'Us, you, all of us, The Trailer.' 'Well, remember where you were?' 'Yes,' Rodreigo replied, 'we remember where we were, and now we want to know where we are.' The door was silent for a moment. 'Where you weren't,' it finally told them. 'Where weren't we?' Yo'Haan asked. 'The far side of the moon,' it replied. 'Then why is everything pink?' Georgie was right. Everything was pink. It had mostly to do with the fact that a brilliant pink light was emanating from behind the curtains in the front room of the trailer. 'Say,' Yo'Haan said, 'what is that brilliant pink light emanating from behind the curtains in the front room of the trailer?' 'Door?' said Eli. 'Any ideas?' 'Let me see,' pondered the door, 'what could that strange light be? It's not the Sun... no, certainly not the Sun... Hmmmmm...' 'It's bigger than a bread box,' Rodreigo offered. 'It's Probably not made completely out of harmless, pink light,' Yo'Haan told it. 'It's pink,' said Eli, 'and light.' 'Oh, that!,' exulted the door, 'don't worry about that. it's nothing. Nothing to worry about. Spnrfovr. Nothing.' 'What did you say?' asked Yo'Haan. 'Nothing. Spufernover. No big deal.' 'Say again?' 'Supernova. It's a little one.' 'Oh, well, then,' said Georgie, 'It's just a little one. There goes the Earth, poof, and it won't even leave a stain the carpet.' 'Oh, the Earth is fine, just fine,' the Door told him. 'I thought you said we were on the moon,' Yo'Haan commented. 'Did I say The Moon? I meant to say "A moon." Specifically, "The Moon Behind the Great Rock That Protects The Snogglehorns of Gelmann 7 From The Fury Of the Galactic Snake God, Ibblescream Baddeath The Fearsome Fire, God of All That Is Terribly, Terribly Nasty."' 'Whom I might assume,' said Georgie, 'is the 'lil Nova we are currently about to witness destroy Gelmann 7 in a Terribly, Terribly Nasty way?' 'Yup,' replied the door, 'That would be the one.' 'So what do we do?' Yo'Haan asked. They waited for the door to reply. 'Door?' Yo'Haan said. 'What?' asked the door. 'What do we do?' 'About what?' the door asked him. 'The Supernova that's about to destroy Gelmann 7, and, well, us.' 'We need to perform a precision tactical manoeuvre,' it replied. 'How do we do that?' The Door paused. Then, it paused again. Finally, after another pause, and a little sort of small wait, it said: 'I have no idea whatsoever. I'm only a Door, after all.' Rodreigo leapt at it, beating his fist on the Door. 'Then how did you get us here?!?' he yelled. 'I didn't,' said the Door. 'Then who did?' he asked. 'You did, Rodreigo,' it replied. 'What?' Rodreigo spun. He looked at Yo'Haan, dumbfounded. 'I got us here. Your Door just told me so. We're about to be totally killed in a complete and utterly total way, on a small moon in a strange place outside our solar system, and it's all my fault. 'I really haven't lost my mind you know,' he reassured them. Yo'Haan put his hand on Rodreigo's shoulder, to calm him. 'No, you haven't, unless it's spreading.' 'No,' said Georgie, 'I see it too.' 'Yup,' said Eli. 'What the hell are we going to do?' Georgie returned to his seat. 'We have to figure out how we got here, so we can reverse the process,' he said. 'Rodreigo, what were you doing last night?' Rodreigo thought for a moment, then answered. 'Drinking,' he said. 'Rather a lot, at that.' 'What else?' Georgie asked. 'Oh, yeah, I was playing a game on Yo'Haan's computer.' Yo'Haan perked up his ears. 'That's really odd,' he said. 'I haven't got any games on that machine.' 'Well, I was playing one last night,' Rodreigo told them, 'and it was some kind of flight simulator.' Yo'Haan scratched his chin. 'Did you bring any software with you when you came over last night?' he asked. Rodreigo went into the back room, where the computer was. 'No,' he said, 'I must have got it off the Internet. 'Now that's really truly odd,' said Yo'Haan. 'I'm not set up for the Internet.' They all went into the back room and stared at the computer's glowing screen. Rodreigo sat down in the desk chair. He pointed behind the machine. 'I just plugged into the phone cable right there,' he said. 'That line never worked,' Yo'Haan said. 'All I ever got was a lot of Line Noise.' 'What's "Line Noise?"' asked Eli. He wasn't down on the fly computer tip. 'You know, Line Noise,' Yo'Haan explained. 'Like when you're on the Net, and someone picks up the phone. It's when real, actual human noise gets in your computer, and messes with the pure, clean, computer noise. It screws everything up.' Rodreigo started typing. 'I know what happened,' he said. 'I was trying to get on the Internet through your account. I plugged the phone in, but what I got was garbage. I thought you had encrypted your account, so I hacked it.' 'That wasn't my account,' Yo'Haan said. 'Are you sure?' Rodreigo asked. 'Yes,' said Yo'Haan, 'Pretty sure. I haven't got an account.' 'Well, I hacked it anyway. I got some weird stuff, and that flight simulator.' Georgie leaned over to look at the monitor's screen. 'Where do you think the garbage came from?' he asked. 'I dunno,' Rodreigo replied, 'but I hacked it.' 'That's it,' said Yo'Haan. 'Door?' he called. 'What?' said the Door. 'This isn't a trailer, is it?' 'Nope,' it replied. 'What is it then?' he asked. 'It's a very, very ancient and advanced space vessel invented by a super intelligent pan-dimensional race that died before the dawn of human kind, and you monkey people shouldn't be poking around in it.' 'How do you fly it?' he asked. 'I have no idea whatsoever,' replied the Door, 'you'll have to ask the NaviComp.' 'Where is this "NaviComp?"' 'You used it,' said the Door. 'For what?' Yo'Haan asked. 'Well,' the Door sighed, 'You see, it looked rather remarkably like, well..' 'Like what?' Yo'Haan pushed. 'Like a beer,' it replied. 'I drank it?' Yo'Haan asked. 'Yup,' replied the Door. 'You're telling me,' Yo'Haan reiterated, 'that a race of super intelligent pan-dimensional beings created a means for traveling through space,' 'And time,' the Door cut in. 'Through space and time,' Yo'Haan continued, 'and that this highly technical piece of pan-dimensionally engineered equipment looked like... A beer.' 'Well, a Guinness really, but I suppose you could put it that way,' the Door told him. 'You rather enjoyed it, actually.' 'How can that sort of thing go on?' Yo'Haan asked. 'Oh, you know, memories encoded at a genetic level in all the life of the known universe sort of a thing,' the door said. Yo'Haan turned to his friends. 'We're dead,' he told them, 'I drank the NaviComp.' Georgie sat down next to Rodreigo. 'Well, the flight simulator got us here,' he said. 'Can you make it work again, Rodreigo?' 'Sure,' Rodreigo replied. He tapped away at the keyboard for a while. He paused, reading some text on the screen. 'This could take some doing,' he finally said. Eli was looking out the window box. He turned to Rodreigo. His eyes were full of fright. 'Must leave now,' he said. Eli was enrolled in an astronomy class at Boston University, and he had seen space telescope pictures of collapsing stars. He knew what one looked like, and had gathered from their general description that being near one when it happened was bad. 'Must hurry,' he told Rodreigo. 'Go fast. Now.' He crouched on the ground, and curled up into a ball. Rodreigo and Georgie looked out the window box. They saw that the pink light was getting brighter, and turning green. It spread out, enveloping the small moon they were perched on, and turned it fiery red. Then the outside of the window burst into flame. Rodreigo began firing commands through the computer at an extremely fast pace. He paused, looking at his work, then hit "Return." 'Georgie,' he said, 'give me the joystick.' 'My god,' said Georgie. It was an ancient joystick, which Yo'Haan had recovered from an original Atari, the kind people used to play "Pac-Man" with in the 80's. He handed it to Rodreigo, and knelt down mimicing Eli's position on the floor of the trailer. 'Hang on to your butts!' cried Rodreigo. A high-pitched whine emanated from underneath the trailer, and it began to shudder violently. The trailer jolted, and pounded itself against the small moon. 'Whoops,' said Rodreigo. Yo'Haan picked himself up off the rubble on the floor. 'Whoops?' he asked. 'Whoops?' 'Sorry,' Rodreigo apologized. The Glow had turned completely green, and was getting brighter very fast. All of the windows were burning with the remorseless heat of the expanding Supernova. Yo'Haan crouched on the floor with Eli and Georgie. 'Save my punk ass,' he told Rodreigo. 'Hang on,' Rodreigo replied. The trailer shook, rumbling, and flung itself from the face of the protective moon. They exited the green shockwave, hurling through space toward the safety of the blackness ahead. The Supernova behind them impacted, sending out it's final ferocious blast of energy. The star had died, and it meant to take them with it. Rodreigo had other ideas about how to spend his afternoon. He rattled off a final command on the keyboard, and crouched on the floor, pressing "Return." The entire contents of the trailer were hurtled against the back wall, including it's frightened occupants, and the computer. The Supernova gripped at them, scorching the paint off their protective outer layer. Yo'Haan, Eli, Georgie and Rodreigo were knocked unconscious as Rodreigo's command blasted them out of the Supernova's entire region of space, which was no small feat indeed. They were also traveling at twice the speed of light. This was no small feat either, even for a race of pan-dimensional super intelligent beings, which, unfortuantly, they were not. Traveling twice the speed of light is, for all intents and purposes, impossible. Rodreigo had commanded the flight systems of the "trailer" to do just that, unintentionally. It was Unintention itself, as a concept, that the trailer's builders had used to become both super intelligent, and pan-dimensional. Because Yo'Haan had drank the "NaviComp," a machine that explained their situation, (and for some reason looked strangely like a Guinness), they lacked the data required to understand what was happening. Coupled with the fact that they were unconscious, the four Humans did not succeed in becoming super intelligent. They were, however, rather Pan-Dimensional. CHAPTER THREE: "The Demon Mel" Rodreigo was relieved to find that he hadn't died. As much as he trusted his code, he felt it was pure luck that had actually saved them. He hacked to the root prompt, and pressed a few function keys. Finally he found a message: "Enter coordinates here." He typed three sets of digits, which is what you need to find something in a three dimensional field of reference. Well, he thought he remembered that from astronomy merit badge. It didn't work. In the end, he knew that english characters had numerical values, so whatever he typed might work. Frankly, what he had been typing could have been anything. It was gibberish. He was surprised as hell to be alive. Eli sat up, rubbing his head. 'Whoa,' he whoa'd. 'What?' he whatted. 'We lived?' 'Looks like it,' Rodreigo told him. Eli stood up, got dizzy, and sat back down. He pointed at Georgie and Yo'Haan. 'Should we wake them?' 'Naw,' Rodreigo replied. 'I've got a lot to figure out. Besides, Georgie looks so peaceful, the way he's drooling on Yo'Haan's CD collection.' 'Well, we have to wake them sooner or later.' 'Later,' he told Eli, 'Is definitely better.' 'Why is that?' 'Well, you see, sleeping, see, sleeping, right?' Eli gave him a confused look. 'What about it?' 'Sleeping takes up less oxygen.' Eli got scared. 'You saying we might run out of air?' 'Yup.' "Dingo doo-doo" was all Eli could say. He said it. 'Dingo doo-doo.' 'You got that right,' Rodreigo told him. 'Help me figure out this machine.' Eli was an extremely bright guy. He held degrees in both journalism and philosophy. He'd been through college, and some rather nasty bits of life, and he was a survivor. But when it came to computers, he knew only one command- the single command that usually solved his problems. He executed it at that moment, knowing it was their only hope for survival. He yelled: 'Help!' Yo'Haan and Georgie came to, shuddering. Eli bent down, and shook them gently. 'What's up?' Georgie asked. 'Well,' said Eli, 'There's sort of a little problem kind of happening, and I thought perhaps you could add your intelligence toward resolving the matter. 'Ah-Ha,' Georgie said. Then he thought for a moment, and thoughtfully asked again. Eli explained. 'We're doing a sort of a running-out-of-breathable-atmosphere act, and we can't call an intermission.' Georgie reflected upon this for a moment. He considered all the information Eli had given him, and went about the best method to alleviate the situation to the best possible benefit of all involved: He passed out. Eli grabbed Yo'Haan, shaking him. 'Ok, Ok, calm down,' Yo'Haan said. ' We've got to figure this out calmly.' 'Ok.' Eli replied. He went to the front of the trailer, sat down, and began drinking a candlestick holder full of rum and coke that was left over from the previous night. Yo'Haan bent down and forcibly sat up Georgie. He looked at Rodreigo, who was shaking his head. 'Might as well wake him up,' Rodreigo said. 'Eli already sucked up half the oxygen we have left.' Yo'Haan put a wet sock on Georgie's forehead, waking him. 'You Ok?' he asked. 'Ooooh,' Georgie groaned. 'What's that smell? It smells like Dingo doo-doo.' Yo'Haan hid the sock behind his back, smiling, while Rodreigo went about setting the computer back up. 'Wait,' Georgie said, 'set it up in the front of the trailer.' 'Why's that?' Rodreigo asked. 'Well, if you navigate with it, like, with the joystick, I thought it might help to be able to see where you're going.' 'Wait,' Yo'Haan said, 'remember the phone cable Rodreigo hacked- there isn't one up there.' Georgie pondered for a moment. 'Then this must be the front,' he said. 'Ok, but there's no window,' Rodreigo pointed out. 'Sure there is!' Yo'Haan said. He went to the front of the trailer, and went through some drawers. He soon came back with a razor blade. 'I painted over it. The sun comes in that side.' He began to scrape the paint off what Georgie and Rodreigo had thought to be a very clever- if rude- portrait of Adam touching the hand of God. Sure enough, sunlight did pour in where he scraped. Rodreigo smiled. 'It's a sign.' 'Yeah,' said Yo'Haan. He looked at them. 'It's a Stop Sign.' He scraped the rest of the paint off, revealing a small road, lined with trees, with a round purple sign stuck in the middle. It said, simply, "Stop." They heard arguing from the front of the trailer. It was Eli and the Door. 'I mean it,' Eli continued, 'give us some air, or I'll bop you one, you stinking smelly door-in-the-wall.' He waved Yo'Haan's TV antenna in a threatening manner. 'Nope,' said the Door, 'no can do. Too dangerous.' 'But you said the atmosphere was "Quite compatible with our frail physiologies."' 'No, I said it was quite compatible with your physiologies, not our physiologies. I haven't even got a physiology. I'm rather upset about that point, actually.' 'Look,' Eli added weight to this by waving the antenna in an even more threatening manner, 'Open, door, or be opened.' Yo'Haan came up, leaving Georgie and Rodreigo to work on the computer. 'What's up?' he asked them. 'Your "friend" is trying to kill me,' the Door replied. 'I am not. I'm just trying to get some air in here, that's all.' Yo'Haan looked out the "rear" window, and was astonished to see trees, grass, and insects buzzing around. Although a familiar scene, he couldn't name a single plant or insect. They were all different than any he'd ever peviously witnessed. He turned to Eli. 'How do you know the air is safe?' 'The door told me it was,' Eli replied. 'Is it?' he asked the Door. 'Safe enough for you, but it'll kill me. Then you'll be stuck here.' 'How can air kill a Door?' Eli asked. 'Not the air,' the Door replied, 'the insects. They'll eat right through my vacuum-tight seal. Then you'll be stuck here.' 'Hmmmmm,' Yo'Haan hmmmmm'd. 'There must be a way to keep the insects from getting at you. Couldn't you open, let air in, then close really quickly?' 'Oh, yeah,' said the Door, 'I suppose that might work. Should have thought of that before.' The Door opened. There was a popping sound, as the air pressure outside forced it's way into the trailer. Eli and Yo'Haan experienced the scents and scenery of a strange world, where the sky was yellow, and a far off coast revealed a pink, luminescent sea, while their ears were filled with the strange and distant cries of unknown beasts in an alien wilderness. Then the Door closed again. 'Hey,' cried Yo'Haan and Georgie. 'We were enjoying that.' 'Sorry,' said the Door. 'The insects were coming to eat me.' Unaccountably, no one said something. 'No we weren't.' Yo'Haan turned to Eli. 'What you say?' 'I didn't say anything,' Eli told him. 'It was me,' said the voice. 'Who said that?' Georgie asked. 'Over here,' the voice said. 'By the window.' They looked around the window, searching for the source of the voice. To their surprise, the voice turned out to be a small blue and orange insect, with gold wings. Actually, the really surprising part was not the beauty and strangeness of the little alien, but the fact that he was wearing blue jeans and a leather trench coat. He was also smoking a cigarette. The insect looked at them. He took a long drag, and coughed violently. He shook his cigarette at them. 'You know,' he said, 'these things will kill you.' 'Wow,' said Yo'Haan. 'Talking insect. Never talked before.' Eli sat down on the bench next to the window. 'Hello, talking insect,' he said. ''ello,' the insect replied. 'So..' Eli didn't know what to say to an insect who spake. 'What's up?' 'Ahh,' said the insect, 'I understand your confusion. You're humans. Though, I must say, I'd quite thought humans were a bit smaller, really.' It then launched into quite a lengthy explanation, which went not totally unlike this: 'I am Mel, The Inquisitor. You see, I've been watching you in my Soul-a-Scope. My species has advanced intellectually and spiritually to the point of reckoning the very meaning of the universe. We tried particle physics, chaos theory, and deep-space research, all to no avail. Then we found a means to travel inter-dimensionally, and discovered many strange and beautiful alien cultures, and some really great parties. But we found no answers. So we created the Soul-a-Scope, to turn our science inward. We wanted to find The Creator. And, in the end, we did. We found The Creator. And The Creator has filled in all of our answers. The Creator has explained everything. And puzzled us unendingly. The Creator has left us with questions about the very nature of reality, our reason for existence, and why we have to eat dung all the time.' 'Wait,' Yo'Haan said, 'you found God?' 'Yes.' 'Who?' asked Eli. He was very excited. 'Who is God?' The insect flicked the ash from the end of his cigarette. He looked at Eli thoughtfully. Well, he looked as thoughtful as an insect could look, anyway. Then he answered. 'You are, Eli. We knew this day would come. Through the whole of space and time, I've been sent to speak with you.' Eli was perplexed. Here he was, thinking he was an ordinary human being, and suddenly finding out he was The Creator of The Universe. Moreover, The Creator of a highly advanced alien species of insect, capable of traveling between dimensions, and also capable of bad dress sense. He was about to say something like "Excuse me," "Huh?" or, "What the hell are you talking about, Bug-face?" But something happened while he was working it out. The trailer started moving. There was a faint "ding" sound, and Rodreigo looked out the new front window to see where it came from. It was the purple stop sign. It was no longer purple. Also, it no longer read "Stop." It was what Rodreigo decided to be "Burnt-Umber," and it read, surprisingly, "Go." 'Eli?' Rodreigo called. 'Yeah?' 'Better hold on. Something weird is happening.' 'Oh,' Eli sighed. 'Now something weird is finally going to happen. Thank God. I thought we'd be stuck with a perfectly normal day, but finally, something weird is going to happen.' He sat down in a nest of cables and beer cans. 'Ok, weirdness. Go for it.' The road began to move. Rodreigo finished plugging bits of the computer into, seemingly meaninglessly, other bits of the same computer, and went into the other room to find out what was happening. 'What's happening?' he asked. 'Talking insect,' Yo'Haan informed him. 'Never talked before. Says Eli here is God.' 'Is that so,' Rodreigo said. 'Yup,' the insect told him. Rodreigo studied the little alien for a moment. 'I see you wear jeans,' he commented. 'And smoke.' 'Yeah, I find jeans to be a fashionable choice when meeting a Creator of the Known Universe. And, well, smoking is a nervous habit of mine.' He coughed a tiny insect cough, and took another drag. 'Georgie is not going to like this one bit. Where are we going?' The insect shook his head at Rodreigo. 'Why don't you ask God, for this is his Universe.' Rodreigo picked up a half-empty tea kettle of rum and coke, and took a swig. 'Not one bit,' he commented. 'Where are we going, Eli?' Eli shook, coming out of a trance. 'I remember this,' he said. 'This is a dream I had. About the insects. I remember this dream.' Yo'Haan put his hand on Eli's shoulder. 'Then maybe you can tell us where your dream is going.' 'Door!' Eli yelled. 'Open!' The Door didn't argue. It is best, considered the door, not to argue with God. You could get pretty zapped that way. The four humans stepped out onto the road. It was moving, like a conveyor belt. They watched as it brought them through a cleft in the hills into a deep, luscious valley. It was filled with lights and flying insects both tiny and enormous. Mel, The Inquisitor, flew out and landed on Eli's shoulder.'Welcome to Hell,' he announced. Eli was dazed. He spoke in a dazed voice. 'I had this dream.' Rodreigo sat on the moving road, and cradled his tea kettle. 'Can you tell us where we're going?' 'Yes,' said Eli. He sat facing Rodreigo, and took the tea kettle from him. 'We're going to die.' Quickly, grabbed a book from a nearby shelf, and smashed the insect on his shoulder. 'Run! They're going to kill us!' A buzzing sound came from the valley before them. It increased rapidly, as thousands of insects rushed at their trailer. The four travelers ran inside. 'Shut the door!' Yo'Haan cried. The Door slammed shut, silencing the hideous buzzing. Eli turned to Rodreigo. 'We've got to get out of here!' The trailer began to shake, and there was an audible thumping sound coming from the front window. They went forward to discover insects, thousands of them, smashing themselves against the front window. Rodreigo sat at the computer, facing the insect smeared glass. 'They can't possibly get through, no matter how many there are. The window is too thick.' As soon as he said this, the window began bubbling and frosting over. Georgie shook his head. 'Many varieties of insect carry a corrosive enzyme. I think they know what they're doing.' Georgie was right. Rodreigo's fingers raced across the keyboard, repeating the sequence he used to escape before. As the other three watched, the window began to creak and warp. Rodreigo finished, and sat in silence for a moment. 'What's happened?' Eli asked. 'Did you do it?' 'Compile,' Rodreigo said. 'Takes a second.' Suddenly, the machine made a tiny beep. A sound came from under the floorboards, as if someone started a far away food-processor. He grabbed the joystick, and yanked back on it. The trailer screamed, and leapt into the air. It shook, as a landslide of insect innards slid from it. 'What do we do?' Eli sid. 'The window- it's still melting.' 'Burn it off!' Georgie yelled. 'Burn it off quickly!' The window creaked and hissed as it began to steam inside the trailer. Rodreigo punched a couple of buttons on the keyboard, and thrust the joystick back once more. The trailer shot forward, racing across the surface of the strange planet. 'Faster,' Georgie said. 'We've got to use air friction to burn the enzyme off, before it gets through the window.' Rodreigo shook his head. 'We don't have time,' he told them. 'We could hit a mountain, or a cliff or something.' 'Wait,' said Yo'Haan, 'If it's an enzyme, then it's organic, right?' 'Yes,' Georgie told him. 'Heat will sort of "kill" it.' 'Or cold. Cold will kill it too.' 'You're absolutely right!' Georgie yelled. 'Go up Rodreigo! Go into space!' Rodreigo slowly pushed forward on the joystick, and they felt the trailer gain lift. It screamed like a burning rabid marmoset as it sped into the planet's stratosphere, leaving a greasy, smoking trail of burning insect innards. The window warped inward, as the glass broke down and began to liquify. They leaned back as it reached out at them. The trailer began to shake, jiggling the liquified windshield. 'Hold on!' Rodreigo cried. There was a shuddering as the trailer broke free of the gravitational pull of the planet. The window warped back out, as the air pressure inside the trailer fought to blow through it, into the vacuum outside. It's occupants stared intently at the window, watching it bubble and pop in it's death throws. Then, inexplicably, it froze. It creaked to a halt, remaining in place, bubbled outward, as air tried to push it's way out of the pliable glass. There was only one thing to say, and Yo'Haan said it. 'Phew,' he phew'd. Eli shook his head. 'We're not safe yet,' he told them. 'You see, this is a dream I had. The insects wanted to get me. The wanted revenge. I had this job, you see- I was an exterminator. It gave me nightmares.' Yo'Haan was puzzled. 'So what are you saying?' he asked. 'We're in your dream?' 'I think we are.' 'So what do we do now?' 'We run.' 'Where?' 'Anywhere,' Eli said. 'Away.' Rodreigo punched some more buttons. Georgie started pulling wires from the floor, trying to make sense of the mess. Rodreigo turned to Eli. 'What happened next in your dream?' 'Nothing,' Eli replied. 'It didn't get this far.' 'Then we're safe,' Rodreigo said. Suddenly, they heard a huge clang against the left side of the trailer. It shook violently, much to Eli's alarm. 'Got to go now,' he said. A light flashed by the bubbled-out window. It went straight out in front of them, turned, and raced toward the trailer. 'Aaaaugh!' Rodreigo yelled, grappling for the joystick. Eli stared at the light before them. They raced through space, at the strange light, until the sun came from behind the planet, catching the object in it's rays, revealing it's features. It was a spaceship. But it looked like a gigantic hornet. It was even painted with black and yellow stripes. 'Life is like an onion,' Georgie said, 'but I have no idea why.' 'Interesting,' Yo'haan pondered, 'interesting idea. 'What if life was- like you said- "like an onion," if I may quote you as such. If this is so, then, what might this have to do with the current urgency of our predicament as such?" 'Nothing whatsoever,' Eli explained. 'Except the bit about having no idea why.' 'I see,' intoned Yo'Haan. 'This is indeed a time for literal frivolities, what with the fact that we're all about to die and everything.' Ignoring them, Rodreigo grappled with the joystick, sending the little trailer through a series of huge, seam-stressingly complicated barrel-rolls and an immelmen. The hornet-ship tore closer, following the trailer's movements with intense ferocity. Georgie took control of the situation. 'Rodreigo, I want you to type in the same commands you used to get off that moon.' 'I have,' he replied. 'They didn't work.' 'Oh my. Well, try something else.' The trailer careened right and left, jostling it's contents like a fragile package at the post office. 'I am doing that also,' Rodreigo continued, 'but it is not working either.' 'Try something else.' Rodreigo gave up and tried a gut action that had been on the forefront of his mind. He beat the keyboard with a stick. Suddenly, the hornet streaked at them at an impossible speed, and they gasped in unison at their apparent and soon-to-be instant demise. Then the hornet made a manoeuvre that it wasn't quite prepared to do: It crossed into hyperspace, allowing the tiny trailer to pass through it untouched. Unfortunately (for the insect ship) it did not pass back into real space before the trailer itself passed into hyperspace, leaving a huge spacial rift in the rear section of the craft. That is to say; The trailer blasted into infinity, punching a trailer-sized hole in the aft section of the Hornet. That is to say; the good guys lived, the bag guys died in an unexpected and rather nasty way. The captain of the Hornet was quoted in his after-life as saying 'what the---' about the whole incident. It was recorded for posterity in a small video journal being kept by a pan-dimensional being whose purpose in infinity was to record the last words of species who spent the whole of their existence trying to kill Eli. This was section G2499, paragraph h, under "Various Insects, bugs, and other stuff that looks like them but may not quite be, but who cares, we're pan-dimensional and super-intelligent, which are both multi-syllobolic and hyphenated words, and they're not so ha ha. The trailer sped on. 'Whoa,' Eli whoa'd. 'That was a close one,' Yo'Haan that-was-a-close-one'd. 'Eeeeerg,' Georgie eeeeeerg'd. 'I think we may have crossed into a continuity fold in pan-dimensional space-time allowing us to cross fantastic quantities of space in terms of sheer distance,' Rodreigo... said. They stared thoughtfully out the window at the spinning blue infinitum. Yo'Haan came to a decision he had been trying to make for the last half-hour. 'I'm hungry,' he said. 'Would anybody like some Raman Noodle?' CHAPTER 5 The Unexpected But Really Good Idea That Eli had The four of them sat despondently around the little table, poking their respective Raman Noodle with parts of a totally unmatched set of silverware. 'I think we have to take action,' Georgie finally said. 'Yeah,' agreed Rodreigo, 'but what?' Georgie considered. 'Well, let's think about this.' The other three waited for him to finish, until it seemed that Georgie had made a statement, and not come up with a plan as they had all hoped he would. Instead, he simply poked his Raman Noodle with a small wooden fondue fork. A little while later, Eli resolved the matter by actually coming up with something. 'I have to go to the bathroom,' he said. 'This presents a problem indeed,' Yo'Haan stated. 'What may that be?' Eli inquired. 'Well, the usual response to a comment like "I have to go to the bathroom" goes along the lines of "It's down the hall, the door on the left," or, and this is important, in our particularly peculiar situation, "Can you hold it until we get to the next gas station?"' Eli stared at him. 'Yes, and?' he said. 'Well, we're lacking in two major areas concerning the former; both in the case of a hallway, and, more prominently, a door on the left.' 'So what are you saying?' 'Can you hold it until we get to the next gas station?' 'I see. So, what you're saying is, although we're obviously in some kind of ancient, alien space craft built by a highly advanced technological society the likes of which human kind has never even dreamed of, it doesn't come equipped with a can.' 'Yup. That's it exactly. You're the kind of right thinking chap a guy can have a pint with.' 'Yes, except I may have to kill you with this spork.' 'Hmmmm, yes, that presents a problem.' He calmly opened another pint of Guinness. Rodreigo decided it was time to jump into the fray. 'Why don't we just sort of, you know, turn it off, and then sort of see what happens?' 'Yes,' agreed Eli, 'maybe we'll pop into an intergalactic Exxon station and use the facilities. I could get a Slurpee while we're there.' Georgie put down his fondue fork and went into the back room, where he made some very disturbing noises of a mechanical nature. 'Georgie?' inquired Yo'Haan. 'What are you doing?' 'Tell me something, Yo'Haan. Do you usually close the little door to the porch at night?' 'Actually, no. Why do you ask?' 'Because,' he said, 'it's open.' Indeed it was. The four of them were upstairs in a matter of seconds, looking out the little door to the porch. What they saw was very disturbing. About twenty meters from the window that had formed a huge fishbowl kind of appearance in it's near death-throws was an orbital-based Exxon Class Intergalactic Refueling Station. It hung majestically over a mind-numbingly beautiful multi-ringed gas giant. The trailer hung, a good deal less majestically, over it. Eli took immediate control over the situation; He wet himself and passed out. Twenty minutes later, Yo'Haan was waking up a freshly washed and exhumed Eli with a "Mega-Gulp," which was made of a substance that contained h2o stored at a temperature so low that it remained in a solid state while it was carved by a number of robots into a fine, grainy-smooth texture, and also cheery flavoring. Eli passed out again, spilling the Mega-Gulp on himself. Rodreigo vaulted into the doorway. 'It's really odd that we seemed to have stopped, and yet, not,' he said. This seemed to be the case, as through every window hyper space was twirling past them, yet through the door, not. 'What's really odd,' Georgie added, 'is that everything Eli joked about came true. It makes me wonder.' 'That's odd, yes,' agreed Yo'Haan, 'but the station itself is the oddest thing yet.' 'I agree that it's odd,' Georgie said, 'but not quite as odd as the moving-yet-not thing.' 'No, not that, I mean, the station is odd.' Georgie gave him a surprised look. 'How would you know?' he inquired. 'Well, it has fuel pumps, a little dirty bathroom with lots of illegible graffiti, and a robot behind bullet proof glass, even burritos and what I would assume to be a microwave.' 'Yes, and?' Georgie intoned. 'It's all there, though, isn't it? Except..' 'Except what?' 'There's no beer. Not a one. The cooler has everything but beer in it.' Rodreigo rolled his eyes. 'You're saying that, in effect, while floating above a ringed gas-giant in a galactic gas station filled with robots, you think it's odd that you can't get a beer.' 'Well, it seems odd,' he said sheepishly. Eli came to again, and suddenly decided against it. They let him be for the time being. They stocked the little trailer with all the foodstuffs they could reasonably recognize, and some Yo'Haan had chosen that they could not, lots of bottles of water (which could later be used in the exhuming process if circumstances demanded it), and were not in the least awed by the fact that they had no trouble paying with Yo'Haan's American Express card. "Don't leave your homeworld without it," he had said. After the excitment settled, they got Eli up to pee again, which he had to do, and he managed to come up with a very startling idea in the process. 'Why don't we pick up some maps?' he suggested, stirring his Mega-Gulp slightly. The others were dumbstruck. They had been in so many gas stations like this one in their lives, that they hadn't even bothered to look at the obligatory map-rack. Rodreigo vaulted back into the trailer, with a box. 'Weird,' he said, 'I asked for maps of the entire known galaxy, and that strange little robot handed me this, and said "With our compliments."' 'A box full of maps?' Eli asked him. The box itself was flat black, and featureless- with the exception of being a box, and being flat black. Well, that, and not having any features. Georgie took the box, and looked it over. 'Interesting. I expected something like this, you know, three-dimensional, but you'd expect a "You Are Here" or something.' 'And maybe some stars and stuff,' agreed Yo'Haan. Georgie placed it on the table, and Eli looked it over. Against all common hopes of the four, the box remained consistently featureless, flat black and box-like. It didn't even beep or hum suspiciously. 'I don't get it,' Eli said. 'What the heck are we supposed to do with this thing?' The door broke it's sullen silence with an intersting suggestion. 'Why don't you stick it up you arse?' it asked. 'Why don't you shut the fuck up,' Rodreigo suggested, waving his stick slightly. 'No no no, I mean your "A.R.S.E,"' the door reiterated, and followed up with a bearly audible 'Dimwit.' 'Ok, I'll bite,' Georgie sighed, 'What is an "A.R.S.E?"' 'Altogether Rudimentary Spacetime Extrapolater,' it said rather more smugly than Rodreigo could comprehensibly stand. After a smallish pause, it added a "Dimwit," softly. 'You made that up,' said Yo'Haan. 'Where is it?' 'I bet you can't find it with both hands,' replied the door. Rodreigo got up and walked over to the door. 'Need I remind you,' he said, brandishing his stick, 'that I have a tool spicifiaclly designed and crafted for dealing with mechanical failier in the most extreme sense of the term?' 'It's in the cuppboard!' criend the door. Rodreigo turned away from the door, smiling just a bit more smugly than the door's sensors could reasonably assimilate. Yo'haan went to the cuppboard opposite the door and began clearing it of Guinness cans, albeit in a drinking-them-as-quickly-as-possible manner. Much to his surprise, he found a square hole in the back with the words "A.R.S.E. interlink unit" emblazened in it. 'I thought it was for keeping crackers dry,' he commented. 'Or some kind of dry brittish humor.. Heh-heh. Get it? Dry brittish... Uh...' The others stared at him like he was some kind of Cheap Trailer Park Trash Punk. Eli got up and put the box in the square hole. 'Welcome,' said a female voice, 'to the intergalatic interactive naviagtional entity known as A.R.S.E.; All your NaviComp instability worries are over, thanks to, and compliments of, Reality Incorporated. We rely on your need to exist,' it said. This would have been just fine with the crew, except for the bit about "your need to exist," during which the voice took on a decidedly dark and altogether corporate tone. Having stuffed every avalible space with food and water, they shut the door. Everything rumbled, slightly, and they felt momentum pulling them forward once again. The female voice spoke again. It said: 'Where to, boys?' After a brief pause, Yo'Haan replied. 'Home,' he said. The trailer sped on. Chapter 6; The planetfull of beautiful naked sex-starved chicks, and also where Georgie figures out some important stuff about preminition.