Thursday, December 31, 2009

How to prepare minority schoolchildren for the techno-future

Why...don't teach them a damn thing about science.

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/berkeley-high-may-cut-out-science-labs/Content?oid=1536705

Berkeley High May Cut Out Science Labs
The proposal would trade labs seen as benefiting white students for resources to help struggling students.
By Eric Klein

Berkeley High School is considering a controversial proposal to eliminate science labs and the five science teachers who teach them to free up more resources to help struggling students.

The proposal to put the science-lab cuts on the table was approved recently by Berkeley High's School Governance Council, a body of teachers, parents, and students who oversee a plan to change the structure of the high school to address Berkeley's dismal racial achievement gap, where white students are doing far better than the state average while black and Latino students are doing worse.


Read the complete article at the link above.

So instead of helping black and Latino students realize that their futures lie in science and technology, they are going to eliminate the science programs altogether, so that the more motivated children won't be able to learn what they need to know, and the whole student body will sink together. Better than the cream - of all races - rising to the top, eh?

A sad day for the United States when the kids who value education are sacrified so that kids who don't care about it at all won't feel inferior.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Enough with the Post-Apocalypse Movies Already!

I have got to admit that I'm getting sick of these post-Apocalyptic movies .... Denzel Washington is in one now, I keep seeing ads for it, and there's a few others I can't bring to mind right now (I'm busy watching my Vikings lose... I knew Favre would let us down!)

I suppose all the filmmakers have read all the 2012 books predicting the end of days...

Can't we have some nice, uplifting movies instead? That's what we really need right now, especially if the world is gonna end in 2 years!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Read None But Lucifer

"None But Lucifer" is a somewhat famous novelette written during the 1950s by Horace L. Gold, publisher and editor of Galaxy magazine, and L. Sprague DeCamp. It was published in novel form in 2002, but E. L. Gold, Horace's son, has also made it available on the web as part of GalaxyEzine.com's Science Fiction Musuem.

Before I share with you the link to get to the site where you can read the story for free, let me share a couple of tidbits.

First, here is Isaac Asimov talking about the story, very briefly, in "Horace", an essay published in his Asimov on Science Fiction anthology:

In his greatest story, "None But Lucifer," (the most terrifying story I ever read in Unknown) I was pinned to the wall by the manner in which everything worked for the worst. Imagine wishing to have a beautiful girl love you madly and never wanting to leave you; and imagine getting that wish and ending up hating it because she literally couldn't leave you, couldn't even go into the next room, and you couldn't get rid of her.


And here is how it is described by Horace Gold's son, Eugene:



You can purchase it in a nice print volume here:


And finally, here is the link to the Science Fiction Museum where you can read it, and other classic SF works, for free:

http://www.sciencefictionmuseum.com/readingroom/stories/none000.html

And I include the first four paragraphs of the novella.

Hale had plenty of reason for panic. Most men, lying sick, broke, and alone in a cheap, filthy rooming house, would have been terrified. But Hale wasn’t. He was sick, broke, and alone, all right—only that was exactly how he wanted to be. A long time ago he had planned it. Having achieved what superficially appears to be an easy goal, he felt rather successful. He waited impatiently for the next step in his campaign.

He listened to the stairs. He had been listening since early morning. His hungry, wan face brightened. They were creaking, in the exact manner he had anticipated.

The two pairs of feet plodded irresolutely toward his door. Then they halted. Hale listened impatiently for the creaking to resume. Instead he heard muffled, excited whispering.

He fought down his exasperation. If he had dared to expose his eagerness, he would have cried: “I know it’s you and your wife, Burke, coming to dispossess me, if you can get me out while you put a slug in my lock. Don’t worry about that. Don’t waste time thinking up clever schemes to lure me out. I’ve waited for years for the courage to put myself in this position. You’re not going to fail me because of a little pity, are you? Please, man...my destiny’s getting restless.”


So give yourself an extra Christmas present this year, or an early one for next year, and take a look at this classic.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Racism is Where You Want To Find It

Some film critic is calling Avatar racist because the blue people on the planet are "tribal", and it is a white man who saves them....

But here is my question... who is the white man saving the blue people from? Why, other white men, of course!

So how can that be racist? It's the story of a bunch of techno-loaded people invading the land of some aborigines, just as happened in the past on Earth, and those techno-geeks had the most technology, so they were able to massacre the indigenous populations. The indigenous populations had no chance.

So what is so racist about showing a "white man" realizing that what his people are doing is wrong, and try to help the indigenous population fight back?

It's not as if the two populations were equal in armament, so that it was only the "brains" of the white man that saved the stupid and inferior blue people. No, the blue people don't have the kind of armament that the invaders do, so they needed help.

But some people...and I'm pretty sure this reviewer was white...just want to find racism wherever they look.

What the movie really is about, is a castigation of the European explorer and how he took over every country he found, at the expense of the indigenous population! With a little nod to those individuals who didn't believe what they were doing was right, and attempted to protect the rights of those individuals...until finally enough of the Europeans had their consciousness raised, and started making amends for what their ancestors had done.

The minority will get nothing that the majority does not give it. Just ask the women in any Muslim country, if you can find them, hidden as they are in their own homes or behind burkhas that cover their entire faces. Blacks in the US today would not be where they are - in an unsegregated country where anyone with a good education can get a good job - if the white majority in the late 1960s and 1970s had not given it to them. Why? Of course this backfired when the welfare system was created that gave women more money if there was no husband in the picture....which destroyed black families and got us started on the descent into the welfare state and the entitlement generation - of blacks and whites and every other minority that comes here solely to get into our welfare system - who are sucking this nation dry.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Irwin Allen's City Beneath the Sea

Below are two excerpts from Irwin Allen's City Beneath the Sea pilot for a TV series from 1969.

Glenn Corbett stars as the commander of Triton Tower, General Matthews, with James Brolin as Tyler, Lawrence Montaigne as an amphibian (and Mr. Spock clone), Doctor Aguila, and Lloyd Bochner as Temple, the villain. Also in the cast was Cecile Ozorio as the security chief, and Francine York.

The second video repeats the last 4 minutes of the first video, then gives the final four minutes, where Matthews dispatches Temple.

As an aside, Glenn Corbett is about the stiffest actor I've seen





This video is the complete version - all 9 minutes of it! with the very ending and credits that the video above lacks. However, I think the two vids above are of slightly better quality.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

OT: NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles Call For Tolerance

Both NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles have new episodes showing today, and, perhaps coincidentally, both shows have the same theme. Muslim soldiers in the US Army are hazed and mistreated and when they turn against their fellow soldiers, it's their fellow soldier's fault.

Well.. that wasn't precisely the theme of NCIS - turns out one sibling, a Christian, kills the other one because he converted to being a Muslim.

In NCIS Los Angeles, the Muslim member of a unit is suspected of setting bombs to kill his squad mates because they let him get disfigured in an explosion. He doubltless will provde to be innocent by the end of the episode...

But let's talk about tolerance... not for Muslims but from Muslims, shall we?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ml_arabs_sexual_harassment

The suicide rate for women in previously secular Arab nations that have now gone Sharia law is growing, because once again women are being turned into dirt - regarded as less than dogs.

And I'm supposed to be tolerant of this religion? I don't think so.

(Don't get me wrong, I'm an atheist. But I'm an atheist woman who can do what I want because I live in the secular USA. And I'm grateful for that.)

Sure, Christian men, and even atheist men, rape and kill women all the time... but when they do it the rest of the Christian community looks on in outrage. Not so in Muslim communities, eh?

Will Men (And Women) Learn From the TIger Woods Debacle?

I wonder, sometimes, what Tiger Woods is doing, while he's holed up in his mansion avoiding the paparazzi, and perhaps watching the news coverage of newscasters (many of whom have probably had affairs themselves) smirking as they tell of each new mistress of Tiger's. Apparently some of them didn't come forward voluntarily, their names were leaked by other people who knew about the affairs, but never blabbed...until there was a chance to make some real money out of it by selling their stories to the tabloids.

Will Tiger commit suicide? That'd probably make the newspapers happy.

If he'd only had one mistress, or even two... things would not have gotten so far out of hand. But the fact that he apparently had thirteen or so..

And now of course the latest woman is older than he is. Oh gasp. Oh horror! She's a "cougar." God I hate that term. What's a guy that has an affair with a woman forty yeasrs older than him? Gramps?

No, I don't really have much sympathy for Tiger Woods. If it'd been one woman or two... but he's just had too many. And apparently he's a jerk in other ways as well. We've all seen the tantrums on the golf course. And apparently he doesn't tip.

But I must say the "media" is really beginning to sicken me, as they are enjoying this so much. And I bet at least 10 authors are out there now paying Tiger's harem for their "exclusive" stories, so they can get their books out by Christmas.

As someone at another site has said, there are heros, and then there are celebrities. Tiger was never a hero, he was only a celebrity, and now the media that built him up is voraciously tearing him down.

And then there's Tiger's women, each of them probably going to make a fortune out of this debacle. Now, I don't think they should be stripped naked, tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail --- Tiger went after them willingly -- but the fact that they're willing to sell their stories for monies, just makes it clear that they are prostitutes, whatever else they are.

But here's the question. How many people who cheat on their spouses are going to stop now, because of what they've seen? Of course, the average person has little to fear from the paperazzi, but what about the actors, and athletes, and politicians who cheat on a regular basis? Now that they see that the media will tear them down in a heartbeat, will they stop their cheating ways?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Planet 51: A for Animation, F for Everything Else



I loved the animation and visual design of Planet 51, but two-thirds of the way through the movie, if I hadn't been there with someone else, I'd have walked out on it. Boring. Worse than boring, annoying.

The plot
The plot is not only simple but simplisticly accomplished. Captain Charles T. Baker lands his ship on ... Planet 51, whose history parallels that of Earth and who has now reached the equivalent of the 1950s, complete with alien invasion movies. ANd indeed, the planet has apparently long been bombarded by space probes from earth, and has put together a team of soldiers to deal with the anticipated invasion.

Baker steps onto the planet not expecting to find any signs of life - when he does he doesn't try to contact it, but instead runs for his life. Even after his initial panic is over, he still doesn't go out and try to be a representative of Planet Earth, instead he just wants to get back to his spaceship and go home.

He enlists Lem to help him, and even remains hidden in Lem's car while demanding that Lem go out and disperse the crowd around his spaceship so he can get back into it!

Criticism
While I thought Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) did a credible acting job in Race to Witch Mountain, his voice work here is sub-par. Of course, it isn't helped by the fact that his character, Captain Charles T. Baker, is a complete wimp. Baker lands on the planet, walks out, sees a bunch of aliens, and runs for his life. That's not how an astronaut is supposed to act - he takes off his helmet, says Hi, I come in peace. Kind of like my hero, Buzz Lightyear.

Later on in the movie, it also transpires that Baker got by on his looks and his charm, which is a slap in the face to all the astronauts who worked their butts off in school and college, and NASA to be astronauts. Of course he "redeems" hismelf in the end, because he has to pilot the spaceship instead of the autopilot when the location where the ship is kept is about to explode.

Equally, Lem, the main character (Justin Long - Mac from the IBM/Mac commercials) is a teenager who gets a job at a planetarium, and is too shy to ask the girl he loves out for a date. At the end of the movie, he kisses her, ya da ya da.

General Grawl, played by Gary Oldman, is a heroic figure in more ways than one. HE's the handsome 51-er (or whatever that planet is called), dashing, etc., and truly believes that Baker is an evil alien come to take them over. But on two occasion he's made to act really stupidly, which just diminishes the character. Oldman's voicework is excellent, though.

John Cleese's voice work is excellent, as one might expect.

There are a few funny bits, and a few salacious bits put in just because.... (the Rover character leaks oil when he's really scared, a character doesn't want to be probed so carries a cork around that is supposed to be inserted into a certain orifice in the nether regions - disgusting and totally unnecessary, the astronaut stands up, completely nude, tho thankfully we only see his chest from the back, and a character says, "I wondered where his antenna were." or something similar to that.

So overall, a disappointing experience. I may see it again, just to enjoy the animation and set dressing...although more than likely I'll wait for it to be shown on TV, as it isn't worth paying more money to see it again.

Dwayne Johnson ... Captain Charles T. Baker (voice)
Jessica Biel ... Neera (voice)
Justin Long ... Lem (voice)
Gary Oldman ... General Grawl (voice)
Seann William Scott ... Skiff (voice)
John Cleese ... Professor Kipple

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gene Barry, star of Original War of the Worlds, RIP

(War of the Worlds)



in The Adventurer)

Just read the news that Gene Barry has died at the age of 90.

http://cbs2.com/local/gene.barry.obit.2.1363319.html

In addition to War of the Worlds, he was most famous as Bat Masterson (with the bowler and umbrella that you'd swear was the inspiration for John Steed!), and as Amos Burke in Burke's Law and The Adventurer.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Journey to the Center of Rick Wakeman

Radio is the theater of the mind. You don't need to watch TV or a movie, you close your eyes and imagine what you're seeing.

Here is a radio show called Crimes Against Music: Journey to the Center of Rick Wakeman.

It's a spoof on prog rock - concept albums like Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, etc.

Stars English singer-comic Mitch Benn, with a guest-star turn by Benn's friend, Rick Wakeman (keyboardist for Yes before making it big on his own.)

A lot of the early humor is very British humor, very topical (Alan Tichmarsh is a gardening host, yet here he is the Prime Minister of England, the Oracle is a palm computer (page loading...while they're waiting for news on what to do) but it really picks up when the Fellowship are shrunk and sent into Wakeman's brain in an attempt to save him.





Monday, December 07, 2009

Star Trek: The Legacy Continues -- This Enterprise is a space ship


Click on photos for larger versions.

When the United States shuttle program started, the first shuttle, used for test flights, was called the Enterprise, and when it was unveiled, on September 17, 1976 Gene Roddenberry and the cast members from Star Trek were there, except William Shatner) .

The name earned criticism in some quarters, as "stuffed shirts" thought it brought the shuttle program into the realm of fantasy. On the other hand, many more people were disappointed to learn that the space shuttle named Enterprise was just a test vehicle, none of the actual shuttles would bear the name.

Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic has remedied that snub. This Enterprise is a spaceship, not a starship, but the honor is much appreciated among Trek fans.

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/12/07/2143953.aspx

English billionaire Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, is also the owner of Virgin Galactic. His SpaceShipTwo rocket plane "drew hundreds of paying space tourists and travel agents, rocket geeks and glitterati to the Mojave Air and Space Port."

See the link for the complete article.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Calling All Muggles: Dec 7 HP and the Half-Blood Prince DVD Release Party


CALLING ALL MUGGLES:
BAY- AREA BLOCKBUSTER TO HOST MIDNIGHT DVD RELEASE PARTY FOR
“HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE”


Monday, Dec. 7th Event to Feature Prizes, Magician and Games
WHAT: The magic of Harry Potter will descend on the BLOCKBUSTER
location at 2133 Collier Pkwy. in Land O’ Lakes on Monday, Dec. 7 as
the store hosts a midnight DVD release party for “Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince.” In addition to being the next chapter in the
highly popular series of films based on J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter”
novels, the movie is the highest grossing film of 2009 and is among
the top 10 highest grossing films of all time.

Activities at the event include:

The opportunity for loyal Harry Potter fans to be among the first to
rent or purchase the movie on DVD or Blu-ray, while supplies last.
Those who can’t stay until the midnight release are invited to reserve
a copy for purchase with $5 down.
The chance to win Harry Potter prizes
Special appearance by radio station WFLZ 93.3 FM and WXTB 98-Rock,
magician, games and contests.
Register to win a Samsung Blu-ray player and Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince Blu-ray DVD and lots of other prizes.

WHEN: Monday, Dec. 7

8 pm: Event begins
Midnight: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” DVD and Blu-ray
available for rent or purchase while supplies last. (Those who can’t
stay until midnight can reserve a copy for purchase with $5 down.)

WHERE: BLOCKBUSTER, 2133 Collier Pkwy., Land O’ Lakes, FL

HOW: Admission is free and open to the public.

OFFERING: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” will be available
for purchase or rent while supplies last at participating BLOCKBUSTER
stores and online at www.blockbuster.com on the movie’s nationwide
release date of Tuesday, Dec. 8. Fans can reserve their copy in
advance by putting $5 down at any participating store.

In addition to the single-disc DVD, BLOCKBUSTER will be offering
several special editions: a two-disc DVD version and a
Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy Combo Pack. Also available at BLOCKBUSTER
stores starting on Dec. 8 will be a Harry Potter Years 1-6 Giftset,
featuring all six of the Harry Potter movies, on DVD or Blu-ray.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Idiosyncrasies of Isaac Asimov

I'm busy reading Asimov's authobiography (In Memory Yet Green and In Joy Still Felt), in preparation for an article I'm writing about Asimov.

But I must say Asimov amuses me more often than not. For example, he learned how to type when he was about 13 or so... and he says, "I could type 50 words a minute" and "I could type 90 words a minute." He would always clarify it - he didn't bother to correct his speed for errors, of which he made a lot. And if you correct for errors, he probably only typed about 60 words a minute.

A minor thing, but it's just amusing.

It was after reading Asimov's autobiography that I grew to like him personally (though some of his idiosyncrasies were amusing) - at this point I liked his non-fiction but really didn't care for his fiction writing, the prose was just too old -fashioned.

But when I read his I, Asimov, which I believe was published posthumously, but in which he revealed that he actually had cheated on his first wife at conventions -several times - and various other things, I grew to dislike him again.

Still...that shouldn't and doesn't impact his excellent non-fiction writing, and I think it's too bad that most libraries are de-accessioning his books. Sure, all of his sceience essays are now 40 years old, but they're prescient for all of that!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pagemaster suffers on the small screen


I'm watching Pagemaster (1994) on the Encore Channel. This animated movie features the voice talents of McCauley Culkin, Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Welker, Leonard Nimoy and Christopher Lloyd.

I don't think I saw this in the theaters, but my nephew had a DVD of it which I quite enjoyed. The opening, live scenes were a bit... uh...McCauley Culkin seemed a bit too old to be such a wimp ...but the animated story was wonderful, I thought.

Patrick Stewart plays Adventure, Frank Welker plays Horror, and Whoopi Goldberg pays Fantasy. Culkin plays Richard Tyler, a timid boy who doesn't have the courage to ride his bike off a ramp (hey, maybe he's just got common sense, instead!) All the neighborhood kids laugh at him. Then, a storm hits, which forces him into a library. Soon, he finds himself transported into a variety of fictional worlds by the Pagemaster.

He has all kinds of adventures, aided by Horror, Adventure and Fantasy (thank god no love story! - although Adventure and Fantasy get a little something going.) (Adventure: How would you like to curl up with a good book?
[Fantasy wallops him]
Adventure: Ow, me binding!
Fantasy: In your dreams! )

and when he leaves the library it's to have the courage to take on that bike ramp.

It's a paeon to get kids reading, of course. Of letting them know of the joy to be found in books. Whether it actually resulted in a kid sitting down to read a book, I do not know.

The problem is that the version ENcore is showing is terribly blurry and faded...not something you'd expect of a movie that's only 14 years old. YOu'd think they'd have been able to pull a DVD off the shelf and play that! This version will unfortunately not gain the movie any fans, I dont' think.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

PR: Eban Schletter's Cosmic Christmas: A Yuletide Odyssey


I have received this CD for review, and hope to do it within this week.

However, since time may be of the essence for those who want to attend showings at the Glendale Planetarium on December 6 and 13, I'll share the press release that came along with the CD, so that you can mark your calendars and call up the planetarium to make reservations, should they be needed.

Eban Schletter's Cosmic Christmas: A Yuletide Odyssey

(Los Angeles) -- Because Christmas is a time of traditin, it is only fitting that this year's crop of of holiday music offers a look at "Christmas Past." However, one artist has his eyes set on "Christmas future", and outer space.

Eban Schletter creates a sonic vision of yuletide spirit adrift far into the galaxy in his new album, Cosmic Christmas, available from Oglio Records.

Not content to simply record Theremin versions of Christmas songs, Schletter has created a concept album which takes the listener on a journey through a strange and poetic tale worthy of The Twilight Zone.

The mise-en-scene: a military satellite finds itself in the midst of a musical "transmission" which forcesit to rethink it's primary directive. Original songs, like "What Will Become of Christmas" (sung eloquently by Grant-Lee Phillips) melodiously underscore the evolution of this artificial intelligence.

In December, the Glendale, CA planetarium will feature the debut of Cosmic Christmas, and Eban will be performing live on the theramin, accompanied by vibraphonist Alexander Burke. There will be a dazzling display of real-time animation performed by J. Walt, creator of Spontaneous Fantasia.

Cosmic Christmas was relased on November 17. The Planetarium shows will be on December 6th and 13th, with showtimes at 5 pm and 7 pm.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Twilight Zone's Spur of the Moment

Many of the episodes of The Twilight Zone have little life lessons embedded in them. One of these is "Spur of the Moment" which stars Diana Hyland and Roger Davis.

(Spoiler below)

The plot summary at IMDB.com is incorrect. It says:

An engaged heiress is terrorized by a middle-aged woman on a horse pleading with her not to go through with her impending marriage
.

The actual plot is, "An engaged heiress is rerrorized by a middle-aged woman on a horse, while she tries to decide which of two suitors she should marry.

It opens with the woman riding a horse down a road. Then, a female figure on a horse, wearing a black cape that flaps in the wind and makes her look like a witch, arrives at the top of a cliff and screams at her, and then charges down the mountain toward her. To no one's surprise, the woman flees, and arrives home in tears.

Okay - here's the "twist". The middle-aged woman in the flapping cape is an older version of the young girl, desperately trying to get her to not marry the man she marries (who is not the man she is originally engaged to.) He - Roger Davis, turns out to be an alcoholic who spends all her money, makes her miserable, and apparently turns her into a harridan.

Now, obviously, the woman on the horse with flapping cape is a great visual, which is why they did it that way, but in real life, is that any way to approach someone whom you need to warn them about not doing something? By appearing so dramatically and chasing her younger self, all she succeeds in doing is scaring the woman away!

So the lesson here is, if you need to talk to someone,don't be all dramatic and threatening. Approach slowly, talk gently, and make sense!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Eddie Izzard in Legos: Darth Vader Cantina Scene

This is really, really funny.



This is another funny one.




Eddie Izzard as Sean Connery as James Bond in Legos


and just because it's really funny:



He looks like Tim Curry in this, and his Mutley is fantastic. Wish I had the nerve to laugh like that!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What is this fascination with vampires?

I've never cared for horror movies.

At least...not the modern day ones. The classics from the 1930s - Bela Lugosi's Dracula, The Wolfman starring Claude Rains and Lon Chaney JR., and best of all the Mummy movies...yes, I love those.

But horror movies from the 1070s onward...nothing more than "torture porn" as one critic calls them.

Oh - and I also love the original Dark Shadows and had such a crush on Barnabas Collins aka Jonathan Frid.

But right now, interest in vampires has really taken off...I suppose it can date frm Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire...now there's all kinds of books featuring Vampire detectives for the mystery lover, vampire societies, vampire men and women for the romance lover, and these Twilight Movies featuring the pouty-lipped main characters. And why is there all this fascination? Well, it's because vampires as portrayed today have so much power over people's minds...one bite and a woman is putty in their hands. Or, alternately, a woman bites a man and he's putty in her hands.

I think it all hearkens back to men's and women's insecurities. These days, it seems like no marriage or relationship is safe. Doesn't matter how handsome or beautiful you are...your significant other is going to cheat on you. But if you've got the power of a vampire...they're subservient to you and can't cheat...you can trust them implicitly because they are in your power....

And of course for the young people, so insecure to begin with and afraid to approach someone of the opposite sex (do people like that exist any more, or are they so anxious to lose their virginity that they'll have sex with the first person who asks them regardless of whether they are attracted tothem or not?) But anyway, all that anxiety is removed if you're a vampire and have the power to make this or that person love you...

And unfortunatley, these days peer pressure is such that both boys and girls find it imperative to lose their virginity as fast as possible...if they don't they're dorks or dweebs and teased unmercifully by their peers...and of course if a teenage girl gets pregnant she's sooo proud that a boy's found her attractive enough to have sex with...little recking that he didn't care what she looked like, she'd have sex with him and that was all he cared about... and the fact that he probably doesn't even know her name, and she doesn't know his --- that little factoid doesn't seem to put a dent in the girl's pride....

On an even more distressing note...the Indianapolis Colt defense is being shredded by the Patriots...I sense a blowout in the offing! Damn!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Star Trek fans in Chicago in for a treat at Gurnee Blockbuster Video


Received this press release:

TREKKIES TO GATHER AT GURNEE BLOCKBUSTER FOR
MIDNIGHT RELEASE PARTY FOR “STAR TREK” DVD


Monday, Nov. 16 Event to Feature DVD Screening, Prizes, Trivia Contests and Appearances by Members of Chicago Area Star Trek Club

AND NOTE Through Nov. 16, customers can pre-purchase “Star Trek” at any participating BLOCKBUSTER store and will receive two free movie rentals.


WHAT: Trekkies are invited to boldly go where no fan has
gone before – to a first-ever “Star Trek” celebration at the BLOCKBUSTER store at 6409 W. Grand Ave. in Gurnee. The store is hosting a midnight DVD release party on Monday, Nov. 16 for the box office hit “Star Trek” starring Chris Pine, giving Trekkies of all ages the chance to be among the first to rent or purchase the movie on DVD or Blu-ray.

Activities at the event include:

+ A 10 p.m. screening of “Star Trek”
+ The chance to win official copies of the latest “Star Trek” movie as well as “Star Trek” memorabilia, including theatrical posters, collectible comic books, Delta pins and more
+ Star Trek trivia contest, special appearances by LOOP Rock Girl Leah and the LOOP 97.9 radio street team and costumed members of USS Chicago NCC-75011 Star Trek Flagship.

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 16

+ 10 pm: Event begins with pre-release screening of “Star Trek”
+ Midnight: “Star Trek” DVD and Blu-ray available forrent or purchase while supplies last.

WHERE: BLOCKBUSTER, 6409 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee

HOW: Admission is free and open to the public.

OFFERING: “Star Trek” will be available for rent or purchase while supplies last at participating BLOCKBUSTER stores and online at www.blockbuster.com on the movie’s nationwide release date of Tuesday, Nov. 17. In addition to the single-disc DVD ($19.99), BLOCKBUSTER will be offering two special editions: a two-disc DVD version ($24.99) and a three-disc Blu-ray version ($29.99), both of which include digital copies of the movie, added special features and free trial games.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sideshow Toy Is Such A Rip Off!

Several months ago, I bought the Iron Man movie when it came out, complete with bust and $50 gift card, which was supposed to be able to be used at Sideshow Collectibles.

So I go to their website, and the only thing I could find that you could buy for $50, was these Little Big Heads of the Pirates of the Caribbean characters. So I choose the complete set, try to use my gift card, and find out that only 2 of the 5 characters can be purchased using the gift card. And the others were $9 a piece.

So I cancelled that order.

Now, I find a Captain Hook bust that I want, and its $75, and I apply my gift card, and instead of reducing the bill by $50, it reduces it by $37. Seems I lost out on $13 worth, because when you cancel an order (as I had done with those Little Big Heads), you don't get the money put back on your gift card! So it is, basically, stolen!

So the whole thing was a rip off from beginning to end.

I then found a book that was for sale for $29.99 and gift card eligible. So I figure, well, I've got $37 on the card, so that will pay for postage, too, and I'll be able to use up most of the card, and who cares about a couple of dollars?

But, not so. The gift card doesn't apply to postage and handling. So I can use $29.99 of my $37, pay $7, and have $7 unusuable still left on the gift card.

This really, really annoys me.

The thing with gift cards also is that you can only use them on a limited number of things. Which was one reason why I thought it would be great to get that Captain Hook for only $25, plus shipping and handling. But to have to pay $45...it just really ticks me off.

I'd sell the gift card on ebay if I could...unfortunately it's already registered in my name so that's not going to work.... unless someone wants to email me at Nocturne_CVS@Yahoo.com and have me buy something for them that is gift card eligible, and will send me the entire funds before I actually make the purchase....I'll "sell" it for $20, so you'll save $17 on the deal....

The card expires December 31, 2009.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Only Christmas Carol You Ever Need to See

I just got back from Jim Carrey's A Christmas Carol, and I was disappointed with it. Oh, the animation was fantastic, except the hyper-realism of the characters was a bit unpleasant - perhaps because they were so close to the actors they were based on but not good enough. Colin Firth as Scrooge's nephew was particularly creepy looking, and I have to admit I thought he did a poor job reading his lines.

1970's Scrooge, a musical starring Albert Finney, is my favorite version of A Christmas Carol. It's got everything. The backstory of Scrooge being a money lender (with the I Hate People song), a sense of humor, a real British actor (not that Carrey's English accent(s) were bad, but since I knew he wasn't British...



ANd I Like Life, by Kenneth More. Another great song!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Law and Order Really Irritates Me Sometimes...

The episode is Doped. It's a "ripped from the headlines" story. A few months ago some poor woman drove the wrong way down a highway, drove headlong into another car, killed herself, and the people in the other car. Supposedly she was drunk, although family and friends said she never touched alcohol. And of course if it isn't bad enought that the husband has lost his wife and I think one or more of their kids, the family of the people who died in the other car filed a lawsuit against him, trying to gouge him and his insurance company for all he's worth. (Apparently, if TV commercials are to be believed, people can be sued for more money than they are covered for in their insurance, and if the person has wealthy parents, their stuff can be taken away, too. )

In any event, of course in the Law and Order version, the woman was deliberately doped, to cause the crash, to kill her. Heck, it may have been that way in real life, too. But in any event, kind of a sick thing to make into a TV episode.

Of course, Law and Order quite frequently does these ripped from the headlines stories. They did one about the woman who ran over a homeless person, who was impaled through her windshield, and lived in her garage for two days until he died. Then she and a few friends dumped his body...but they were caught and she's now doing time. In real life, this was a Hispanic woman, in the TV episode, of course it was a white woman. And the "twist" of course was that in the episode, the guy was actually dying of a beating, the woman hadn't killed him even though he'd been in her car windshield without her trying to help him, so she gets off with a warning for "concealing evidence."

(Not that white folk aren't capable of committing heinous crimes...but whenever Law and Order does these types of episodes, typically the race in the ep is always white, regardless of what the real race of the person in real life was. Little bit of political correctness there.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kill Vader - a Kill Bill Parody

This starts out a bit slow, setting the scene of why Vader must die, but then it really rocks. Check it out.

To find the Godhead

I'm not religious at all, and actually this story sounds Humanistic to me, but I like it:

Once upon a time, when God had finished making the world, he wanted to leave behin Him for man a piece of His own divinity, a spark of His essence, a promise to man of what he could become, with effort. He looked for a place to hide this Godhead because, he explained, what man could find too easily would never be valued by him.

"Then you must hide the Godhead on the highest mountain peak on earth," said one of His councillors.

God shook His head. "No, for man is an adventurous creature, and he will soon enough learn to climb the highest mountain peaks."

"Hide it then, O Great One, in the depths of the earth!"

"I think not," said God, "for man will one day discover that he can dig into the deepest parts of the earth."

"In the middle of the ocean, then, Master?"

Good shook His head. "I've given man a brain, you see, and one day he'll learn to build ships and cross the mightiest oceans."

"Where then, Master?" cried his councillors.

God smiled. "I'll hide it in the most inaccessible place of all, and the one place that man will never think to look for it. I'll hide it deep inside of man himself."


Let Joy and Innocence Prevail

Mark your calendars for 5-6 Feb, 2010 for Weekender SFX Convention

PRESS RELEASE: Fantasy author Stephen Hunt to guest star at the SFX Weekender

More details of Stephen Hunt's novels at www.StephenHunt.net and http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/Authors/7433/stephen-hunt

British fans gearing up for the 5th-6th February 2010 Weekender, the UK equivalent of the Comic-Con event, which is taking place at the Camber Sands Holiday Park in East Sussex.

Stephen Hunt will now be appearing with genre stars such as John Barrowman (from the BBC's Torchwood TV series), James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville), Lis Sladen (Doctor Who's Sarah Jane) and a number of the world's best-selling scifi authors and comic-book creators.

SFX have an exciting announcement for fans of modern fantasy literature: Stephen Hunt - author of the Jackelian fantasy series - has confirmed that he'll be joining SFX for a weekend in Camber Sands. And not just any old weekend, he's joining them for the British equivalent of Comic-Con, the Weekender, taking place 5th-6th February 2010.

Stephen's novel, The Court Of The Air (2007), commenced his international best-selling Jackelian fantasy series, and was the first of his works to be published by JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis's publishers, HarperCollins.

The Court Of The Air was also one of the ten books selected by the organisers of the Berlinale Film Festival for presentation to US and European film producers, and was the only fantasy novel in the line-up. HarperCollins pitched The Court Of The Air as "Charles Dickens meets Blade Runner", instantly earning the book a place on SFX's shelves.

In November 2008, his second book in the Jackelian series, 'The Kingdom Beyond the Waves', was nominated for the long-list of the David Gemmell Legend Award for Fantasy. The third book in the series, 'The Rise of the Iron Moon', was published in the UK in February 2009, and the fourth book, 'Secrets of the Fire Sea', will be published February 6th 2010.

Foreign language and international editions of the three novels of the Jackelian series have been published by Tor Books (USA), Albin Michel (France), Verlagsgruppe Random House (Germany), Enterbrain Manga and Anime (Japan), Edições Saída de Emergência (Portugal), Paidós (Spain), AST (Russia), and the Anhui Literature and Art Publishing House (China).

It's a two day event that will become legend - the Woodstock of science fiction and fantasy!

FURTHER INFORMATION

More details of Stephen Hunt's novels at www.StephenHunt.net and http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/Authors/7433/stephen-hunt

More details of the Weekender at www.sfxweekender.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

William Stromberg Conducts Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

William Stromberg conducts Frank Skinner's Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein live in concert with the Golden State Pops Orchestra Halloween 2008

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Go back to the future on March 5, 2010


Received this press release today:

Tickets On Sale For 'Back to the Future' Reunion

FLORENCE, Ala. – Tickets are now on sale for the 25th anniversary Back to
the Future
reunion, a special event of the University of North Alabama’s
2010 George Lindsey UNA Film Festival
. The reunion will be held at 7 p.m.
March 5 at the historic Shoals Theater in downtown Florence. Back to the
Future
screenwriter Bob Gale and actors Lea Thompson, Marc McClure and
James Tolkan are scheduled to appear at the reunion.

Tickets, which are $15 plus tax and processing fee, are available at
www.lindseyfilmfest.com and at the UNA Bookstore. UNA student tickets are
$5 plus tax and must be purchased at the UNA Bookstore, one ticket per
student ID. Students will need to show their ticket and student ID at the
event. All tickets are general admission.

The George Lindsey UNA Film Festival is one of the few film festivals
hosted by a university. The event was founded in 1998 by UNA alumnus and
celebrated actors and entertainer George Lindsey. Lindsey’s own film career
has included several important roles, including the character Goober Pyle
on The Andy Griffith Show.

For more information on the 2010 George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, visit
www.lindseyfilmfest.com, or contact the film festival staff at
lindseyfilmfest@una.edu or 256-765-4592.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

EYECON ADDS TODD LOWE "TERRY BELLEFLEUR" TO NOVEMBER CONVENTION LINEUP

I received this Press release from the Eyecon organizers, and share it here in its entirety.

EYECON ADDS TODD LOWE "TERRY BELLEFLEUR" TO NOVEMBER CONVENTION LINEUP
AND ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF CELEBRITY EBAY BREAKFAST AUCTIONS


Mark your calendars for: Orlando, Florida on November 13-15, 2009


October 17 - EyeCon Celebrity Autograph Convention featuring stars from the hit HBO series True Blood has added Todd Lowe who stars as "Terry Bellefleur", the shell-shocked short order cook who works at Merlotte's Bar on the show. Todd is also known for his recurring role on the television series Gilmore Girls. He will be appearing all weekend for autograph and photo op sessions.

EyeCon is announcing the launch of the famous celebrity breakfast auctions. The auctions will be held on EBay and will be the opportunity for a few fans to win an hour long breakfast with one of their favorite stars in attendance. The link to the auctions will be posted on the EyeCon website as the auctions become live at www.eyeconfla.com/trueblood.

EyeCon Celebrity Autograph Conventions has announced the launch of the first ever fan convention based on the popular television series True Blood in Orlando, Florida on November 13-15, 2009. The convention will give fans the opportunity to gather with each other and celebrate this breakout new series. The convention will feature celebrity guests, bands, artists, vendors, Q&A’s, parties, contests, panels, fan films, photo shoots, video games, blood drives and more.

The celebrity guest list includes:
* Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte)
* Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette Reynolds)
* Allan Hyde (Godric)
* Ashley Jones (Daphne)
* Todd Lowe (Terry Bellefleur)
More guests will be added soon. Keep track of all the updates at www.eyeconfla.com/trueblood

The convention hours of operation are:
Friday: 4:00pm - 1:00am
Saturday: 10:00am - 1:00am
Sunday: 10:00am - 5:00pm

Tickets are currently available online, pricing is as follows:
General Admission
Friday: $10, Saturday: $40, Sunday: $40
3 Day Weekend: $80
Silver Weekend Pass: $110
Gold Weekend Pass: $135
Platinum Weekend Pass: $295

Special rates are available for all attendees who stay at the host hotel. Hotel information and room rate information can be found at www.eyeconfla.com/location.html

A little about us:
EyeCon is a fan-friendly multi-genre celebrity autograph convention for science fiction, horror, television and movie fans! We have been running successful fan conventions since 2006, bringing fans closer to the stars they love and providing enriched fan experiences for their favorite television shows and movies. There will be Celebrity Autograph sessions, Celebrity Photo Op sessions, a Celebrity Banquet, a Cocktail Party with the stars, a Fangbanger's Ball, Panels, Games, Guitar Hero, Celebrity Breakfast auctions, Blood Drives and so much more! There will always be something to do during the busy, fun-packed weekend!

Our goal is to bring the celebrity guests together with their fans in a relaxed atmosphere with the most exposure possible. At EyeCon, it's like a family reunion. We hope to see you there and look forward to an amazing, memorable weekend! For more information and updates visit: www.eyeconfla.com

Marc Antony's Funeral Oration for Caesar

One of the best I have every seen.

Okay, I exaggerate a little bit. But theater majors will get a kick out of this.

Eric Morecambe as Marc Anthony. Ernie Wise as the body of Julius Ceasar.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Peter Cushing in Morecambe and Wise

Morecambe & Wise were the most popular comedy duo in England for some time. Peter Cushing, star of many a Hammer film, including The Hound of the Baskervilles as Sherlock Holmes, and of course Grand Moff Tarkin from Star Wars.

In July 1969, Peter Cushing guest-starred on the show, in a sketch about King Arthur. Every year for the next 10 or so years, he would show up periodically on the show, asking for his money.

His first appearance, July 1969:






More reapperances, trying to get paid:

2nd appearance in the year, Sept 1969:



1970 Christmas Special




1978 - moved from BBC to different Network




1978 Christmas special

He appears very briefly at the end of the Jekyll and Hyde sketch:



1980 Christmas special:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Making of the Outer Limits

The original series.

A 9 minute documentary/retrospective.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Don't miss the Mile High Con: October 23-25, 2009

Just received a press release from the event's organizers:

41st Annual MileHiCon, October 23-25, 2009

Denver, CO
- The forty-first MileHiCon, the Rocky Mountain Region's largest literary science fiction convention, will be October 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center-Denver.

See the convention website: http://www.milehicon.org/. (If you've got young kids, they'll be verrry interested in the kids' events - take a look at the bottom of the press release to see what's planned at "Avistrum Academy."


Run entirely by volunteers, MileHiCon will feature more than 80 authors and speakers, programming on every aspect of the SF and fantasy genres, the largest SF/fantasy art show in the region, round-the-clock gaming, a room full of dealers of SF-, fantasy-, and horror-related materials, and a masquerade (costume contest). The convention will also include video and anime rooms, as well as the Critter Crunch-the first robotic combat competition, from which all others came.

MileHiCon has been run by local SF fans since its beginning in 1969. The convention, which celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2008, has approximately 1,000 attendees, and is still run and staffed entirely by volunteers. Its purpose is to further interest in reading and writing SF and related genres, although it has long since branched out to include television, film, anime, and gaming.

This year's guests of honor are authors Barbara Hambly and Nancy Kress, artist John Picacio, and musician Marc Gunn. Author Brandon Sanderson is toastmaster.

Hambly is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter, best known for her fantasy and vampire novels. She has also written novels set in the Star Wars and Star Trek universes, a novelization of the television series Beauty and the Beast, and historical fiction.

Kress, who started writing science fiction in 1976, has written twenty-three books, including three nonfiction books on writing. Since winning the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1991 for her novella, Beggars in Spain, she has received numerous other awards for her work. Her novella, The Erdmann Nexus, has won 2009 Hugo award.

Sanderson, since the 2005 publication of his first novel, Elantris, has published the Mistborn Trilogy, Warbreaker, and the juvenile series Alcatraz. He has recently been asked to complete the novel A Memory of Light, the twelfth and final title in the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

In addition to the guests of honor, MileHiCon will be attended by other SF, fantasy, and horror authors, including Connie Willis, Carrie Vaughn, Ed Bryant, and Mario Acevedo. They will give readings of work in progress and participate in programs on various aspects of writing and publishing. They and other special guests will also give presentations and participate in panels on various topics, including science, literature, and media.

John Picacio is an acclaimed illustrator whose illustrations and book covers have won numerous awards in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Some of his work will be displayed in the art show, as will the work of other artists from all over the United States. Many of the artists will be at the Convention, and will participate in panels, give demonstrations, and lead tours of the art show throughout the weekend. Most of the works on display will be available for sale at the art auction on Sunday.

Marc Gunn, formerly of the award-winning Brobdingnagian Bards, is a musician and songwriter from Austin, Texas, who performs traditional Celtic and American folk music, as well as original folk songs with science fiction and fantasy themes, commonly known as filk music. He will perform in a special musical event on Friday evening, which will also feature Odd Austin, the parody singer/songwriter from Longmont.

Other musical programming will include Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog and Name That Sci-Fi Tune. The dance troupe Serpent Moon, a MileHiCon favorite, will be returning for a fourth year to perform and to teach an interstellar bellydancing workshop.

The MileHiCon annual literacy auction of SF-, fantasy-, and horror-related materials, which benefits a local literacy program, will be held on Saturday night, while the masquerade judges deliberate. This year’s literacy auction will include an array of signed books and advance reading copies, including at least one that won’t be published until several weeks after the event, plus jewelry, works of art, and more.

For kids:
A special programming track of activities and programs is designed for, but not restricted to, younger attendees. The theme for MileHiCon’s children’s programming this year is “Superhero Island.” Also, Mischief Managed Entertainment will once again present its popular "Tales From Avistrum" in tandem with MileHiCon. This event requires separate registration. The top floor of the Hyatt Regency will be transformed into the wizarding school called 'Avistrum Academy' where students help solve a mystery, fight villains, and participate in The Sorting Ceremony, Start of Term Feast, the Quidditch Cup Tournament and a full schedule of classes, including Potions, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts and Transfiguration. All classes will include a craft project that students can take home.

All MileHiCon activities will be at The Hyatt Regency Tech Center-Denver, located at 7800 E. Tufts Ave., Denver, CO 80237. For more information, see the convention website: http://www.milehicon.org/

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Diva Dance from The Fifth Element

No, it's not Loulie Jean Norman doing the singing, but rather an Albanian colaratura, Inva Mula.



(I prefer these wordless vocals to actual opera singing.)


And here's a young woman who can do it too, thought she doesn't quite hit all the notes. (She starts singing at .54).



Wordless vocalists were quite popular on space music of the 1970s. Read an article about it here:

http://www.spaceagepop.com/lpwordle.htm

A favorite effect among space age pop arrangers is the wordless vocal. While the instrumentals plunge ahead on the melody, an other-worldly voice comes echoing from the distance, like the haunting sound of a siren. It was the next best thing to a theremin! Among the better-known wordless vocalizers of the period are:

Leda Annest
Bas Sheva
Beverly Ford
Mary Mayo
Loulie Jean Norman
Marni Nixon
Lois Hunt
Lois Winter
Jackie Allen
Patricia Clark
Edda dell'Orso
Colleen Lovett
Jane Doe

Here's Leda Annest:


Bas Sheva:


Mary Mayo (singing an actual song):

Who Goes There? Epilog

An epilogue to Who Goes There, the re-envisioning of Star Trek: Whom God's Destroy starring Steve Ihnat as Garth of Izar, supported by William Shatner as Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, and James Doohan as Scotty.

EPILOGUE

Part One


“Captain’s log, stardate 1206.72. It’s been seven days since the Enterprise was attacked without warning or provocation and almost destroyed by an unknown alien craft, which we succeeded in destroying in turn, thanks to the sacrifice of Fleet Captain Garth of Izar.

It took Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott and his crews three days of non-stop work to get the engines back on line… first the subspace and now the warp engines, and we are continued en route to the last reported position of the USS Red Admiral – the first ship to be attacked by these unknown aliens. At our present rate of speed, we expect to be at their coordinates in 48 more hours.

Meanwhile, Doctor McCoy and his medical crew have been working around the clock to aid the dozens upon dozens of crewmembers injured during the attack. Repair crews have also been working around the clock to ensure atmospherics and livability are maintained. I cannot emphasize enough how proud I am of my crew.”

Jim Kirk pressed the button to end his recording of his captain’s log. Then he leaned back in his command chair and took a deep breath, which he exhaled out slowly.

It had been a long seven days. Knowing his ship was in good hands with his officers and their repair crews, he’d had to spend much of his time communicating with Star Fleet Command and discussing what had occurred from every angle. Was the Federation about to be invaded by these aliens with their incredibly powerful ships? Three more starships were on their way, and would be expanding out into the unknown to see what could be seen…but they would not arrive for at least another four or five days.

Meanwhile, the Red Admiral was still out there. It may have been vaporized, or it may be a hulk of a ship, with a few desperate survivors remaining, hoping against hope that rescue would come.

The first thing he’d had to decide was, should the Enterprise still try a rescue attempt, or should it return to a space station as quickly as possible for repair or refit? He’d had to wait for Scotty’s recommendations before he’d made his decision, and after three hours of examining the engines Scotty had confirmed that, although they were badly damaged, they could be repaired sufficiently enough that they would be in no danger of breaking down again, if the Enterprise wanted to continue on its present course.


Kirk had discussed the matter with his bridge crew, and in particular Mr. Spock, and they’d all concurred. If another alien ship were to enter Federation space, bent on destruction, its speed was such that it could overtake them if they headed back to a space station. So why not risk meeting such a ship, and continuing onward for a possible rescue of the Red Admiral’s crew?

After that conference, Scotty had returned to the engine room. Kirk had tried to draw him aside as he’d left the conference room, to discuss Scotty’s feelings regarding his failure to rescue Garth of Izar from the alien ship, but Scotty had shrugged him off. “I’ve got engines to rrrrepair, Captain.”

Scotty had spent three straight days – seventy two hours – working with his crews on repairing the engines, stopping for only a few minutes at a time to relieve himself, shower, and shave. He’d contacted the bridge only twice, to say the subspace engines were back on line, and then finally that the warp engines were ready to go. And that he, and his crew, were going to go to sleep for a thousand years.

For the last four days, Scotty hadn’t stopped by the bridge, hadn’t communicated with him at all. Knowing Scotty as he did, Kirk figured he spent every waking moment in the engine room, except for a few odd catnaps.

Well, this silence was going to have to end.

“Spock, you have the con,” he said, standing up. “I’m going to go have a chat with Scotty.”

“Yes, sir,” said Spock.

Kirk entered the engine room and glanced around. Crewmen were seated at their consoles, eyes on the various flickering lights. A few, dressed in overalls, had panels open and were delving inside…but in a non-panicked, business as usual type of way. But he didn’t see Scotty.

He stopped by Scotty’s station, currently occupied by Lieutenant Gerhardt. “Gerhardt, where’s Scotty?”

“Captain.” Gerhardt said in his soft German accent. “Commander Scott’s shift ended two hours ago. He has left, and will be returning at 0600.”

Six hours from now? Scotty was actually taking an eight hour break? “Oh,” said Kirk. “Good.”

Gerhardt nodded sharply. “Yes, sir. As you know Commander Scott has been here practically every moment since the battle. He has not taken a complete rest period since that time, I know. A couple hours here. A couple hours there. This will be his first complete eight hour rest period.”

Kirk nodded. “Good. Carry on, Gerhardt.”

Kirk felt a little easier in his mind as he left Engineering. If Scotty thought it was safe to leave engineering for eight hours, then it was safe for him to leave engineering for eight hours. Those engines were like his babies…

Nevertheless, he wanted to have a word with him. Kirk knew Scotty. He’d been sent to that transporter specifically to rescue Garth, and he hadn’t been able to do it. He probably felt that he’d let Kirk down, he’d definitely feel he’d let Garth down…that must be why he was avoiding speaking to him.

Part Two

Scotty looked at the face in the mirror. He was tired…so tired…yet nothing of that tiredness showed up in the face, or in the expression. Should it? he wondered briefly. No…he preferred a face to be pristine…

Strangely enough, it had been an enjoyable seven days. It was always enjoyable, using one’s skills to the utmost to solve problems that would have defeated lesser men. The first three days had been extremely intense…he hadn’t had time to pay attention to anything, just direct people to do their jobs and do his own…hours and hours on hands and knees swapping out panels, building from scratch, programming…

He hadn’t played the role of Montgomery Scott then, of course, only the face and the voice…he’d heard of Scotty of the Enterprise, the best engineer on board a starship, so they said…he had not tried to duplicate Scotty’s flair, but he had skills himself and he had used them.

Scotty’s cheek puckered faintly in a sideways grin. Scott had lost his reputation of always finishing repairs hours and hours ahead of his estimated projections, but the repairs had been made and engines that by rights shouldn’t be working at all were working quite nicely. Thanks to him, and thanks to Scott’s crew, whom he had trained well…

One of whom among them had been Katya Landau.

She had been good…very good, working with skill, precision and confidence. Like all the others, she had put in double shifts. He had worked with her on one of those shifts, and enjoyed it. But she had seemed rather sad. He wondered why…by then the entire ship had known that Garth of Izar had been aboard, and that he’d beamed over to the alien ship to rescue the Enterprise, and had died in the attempt… was that what she was sad about?

But he had heard her and her crew talking, and the Boss had been injured in the aftermath of the battle, while helping to rescue people trapped in badly damaged areas of the ship…perhaps that’s what she was sad about.

He had thought about approaching her as Gus Keller, but then had decided against it…even if the Boss had not revealed to her who her friend Gus had really been (for he was sure she would have visited him in sickbay, or at least communicated with him), she would have been smart enough to put two and two together…

A pity…

But perhaps if he approached her as someone else…

The door buzzed. Garth/Scotty had set it to announce the name of anyone seeking to gain access. James T. Kirk, announced the computer.

Garth’s eyes, in Scotty’s face, widened, then narrowed. This could be delicious.

“Enter,” he called. The computer read his voice, unlocked the door, and it slid open. Kirk walked in.

“Scotty,” said Kirk. “I thought I was going to interrupt you in the middle of a good night’s sleep, yet here you are, wide awake.”

Scotty/Garth smiled. “I’m winding down.” Indeed, as Garth well knew, Scotty did like to wind down with a couple of glasses of scotch every now and again. Real scotch, not the kind of thing the ship’s computer synthesized.

Garth walked over to a wall unit and withdrew a heavy, cut glass decanter, half full of a golden liquid. “Are you off-duty, Captain?” he asked, pouring himself a very small drink.

“For a couple of hours,” Kirk said. “Make it a very small one, Scotty.”

Garth splashed just the slightest of drops into the shot glass…a single finger’s worth, and handed it to Kirk.

Kirk tossed it back quickly. He watched with a bit of surprise as Scotty merely sipped at his own drink. That wasn’t like him.

“Scotty, I’m glad to see you’re holding up well. I stopped in at Engineering. Everything’s working like clockwork.”

Scotty shrugged. “I’ve got a good crew.”

“Yes… dammit Scotty, here’s the truth. I wanted to talk to you about what happened seven days ago.”

“What happened seven days ago?” Scotty asked shortly.

“I told you to go to the transporter room. I told you to beam Garth of Izar back here. You weren’t able to do so. I know you, Scotty. That…well, you think it was a failure, but it wasn’t. If you couldn’t do it, nobody could. You know that.”

Scotty moved his neck with a rather serpentine motion that seemed vaguely familiar to Kirk. He’d never seen Scotty do it …but he’d seen somebody…

“I appreciate your concern, Captain. But there’s nothing for you to worry about. I don’t deny I was a bit upset at the time…but as you say…nobody else could have saved him, either.”

“Well, okay, Scotty.”

Kirk looked at the chief engineer, whom he’d known for a long time. Scotty took another sip of his drink. And that was something Scotty never did. Scotty knocked back his drinks like a man.

Kirk went very, very still.

In the heat of that battle, he’d sent Scotty to the transporter room alone. The technician who normally manned the room had probably been out, fighting fires or helping people get through smoking corridors, or something.

Scotty had been in the transporter room alone…and he’d succeeded in beaming Garth of Izar back to the ship.

Kirk sighed and stood up. “Okay, Scotty, well, I won’t keep you from your rack.” He extended his hand, holding out his whiskey glass. “Thanks for the drink.”

Garth/Scotty reached out to take it. Kirk dropped the glass and surged forward, grabbing Garth’s hand and twisting his arm behind his back as he forced him to his knees. “Where’s Scotty?” he demanded.

Scotty began to laugh. Then, he rose back to his feet, inexorably, for all that Kirk had half his weight on the man’s back, trying to hold him down. Garth/Scotty drove his legs like pistons, forcing Kirk backward, ramming his back into the wall. Kirk’s grip loosened on Garth’s arm and Garth ripped it away. He turned into the center of the room, facing Kirk, grinning.

“What have you done with Scotty?” demanded Kirk. “Where is he?”

“He’s here,” said Garth, carelessly.

“He’s still alive?”

“For the moment.”

“Listen to me, Garth,” Kirk said urgently.

Garth drew himself up to his full height. “I’ve told you before. You will address me by my proper title.”

“I’m sorry,” said Kirk. “I should have said, Captain Garth.”

“Lord Garth!”

“No, sir” Kirk said intensely. “Captain Garth. Starship fleet captain. That’s an honorable title.”

“And I was the greatest of them all wasn’t I?” said Garth.

“Yes you were,” said Kirk, very softly. “Yes. But you’re a sick man now, sir.”

“I have never been more healthy.”

“No. No. Think. Think back to what you were, before the accident that sent you to Antos IV. Try.”

Scotty’s features flickered. “I can’t remember,” said Garth. It’s almost as if I died, and was reborn.”

“Well, I can remember. You were the finest student at the academy. You were the finest starship captain. You were the prototype, the model, for the rest of us.”

“Yes, I do remember that,” said Garth, equally softly. “It was a great responsibility, and one I was proud to bear.”

“You bore it well,” said Kirk, eagerly. “And the disease, that changed you, it’s not your fault. And the terrible things you did since then, you’re not truly responsible…”

Garth’s eyes widened. “I don’t want to hear any more,” he said softly. “You’re weak, and you’re trying to drain me of my strength.”

“No, I’m not. I want you to find what you once had. I want you to go back to the greatness that you’ve lost, Captain Garth.”

Greatness that he’d lost?

“I am Lord Garth,” he barked, angrily. “No man can stand against me, least of all you.”

Kirk knew he’d made a mistake. He should have kept on about Garth’s former accomplishments, without bringing his insanity into it.

“That’s true,” he said softly. “That’s true. Scotty couldn’t…but he did save your life, didn’t he?”

“Yes, he did.”

“Please, tell me where he is.”

Garth jerked his head towards the sleeping quarters. “He’s in there.”

“And he’s still alive?”

“I told you, yes. After all, he did save my life.”

“I’d like to see him.”

Garth grinned. He strode over to the wall and activated the door that led to Scotty’s sleeping quarters. Kirk followed him. There, on the bed, was Scotty. Stretched out, legs and wrists bound together with security restraints. His face was waxen, his chest barely moved up and down.

Kirk turned and hit Garth in the mouth. It was totally unplanned, but seeing Scotty helpless….

Garth staggered back a few steps, shocked.

Kirk lunged forward, bringing his hands down on Garth’s shoulders. Garth returned the hold on Kirk’s shoulders – classic Greco-Roman wrestling starting position. The two men strained their strength to the utmost…unmoving…


Part Three

Katya and the rest of her crew watched as Ensign Tyler closed the panel on the polarity flux capacitor, and switched it on. All eyes were on the gauges as the power level climbed upward…. 60%, 65%, 70%, 71%, 72%.....69%....65%.

“No, no, no!” shouted Tyler, and pounded a fist against the panel.

“It’s no use,” said Ensign Lucas, in a defeated tone.

“Belay that,” snapped Lieutenant Minns, who was in charge of the repair detail. “Each time we fail we learn more about what’s wrong. Let’s just analyze this…”

“Lieutenant, I think we need to ask Commander Scott for help,” said Katya Landau.

“Belay that, Landau,” Minns replied grimly. “Scotty’s finally gone to his rack for some much needed shuteye, and I’m not going to bother him for 8 hours. We can fix this, and we will.”

Katya gritted her teeth, but did not argue further. As the rest of the crew huddled together, she stepped backward, and backward, and then turned and headed for Commander Scott’s quarters. Each repair they made to the capacitor had only reduced its effectiveness…they were doing something wrong and if they didn’t stop doing it, they’d suck its energy down to nothing. They had to have help, and she was going to ask Scotty for it.

Part Four

The alert bell to Scotty’s quarter’s buzzed softly. “Sargeant Landau.” The computer voice informed them.

Things had progressed. Kirk had managed to slip Garth’s grip off his shoulder…and then things hand gone wrong from there. They both exchanged body blows, and clinched and rolled back and forth, but Kirk was losing the battle. Garth was thirty years older than he, but he was incredibly strong, stronger than Spock. Their reaction time and reflexes were about equal, and that was the only thing that was saving him.

He was hurting Garth, he knew it. For one thing, Garth no longer wore Scotty’s face, but his own. Not the horribly scarred face that was his true appearance, but the handsome, older Garth…it must be the easiest face for him to assume and hold onto while he fought.

When he heard the buzzer, Kirk grabbed Garth’s shoulders, absorbed a punch to the belly, twisted to the right, and allowed Garth to twist him back to the left. His back hit the wall just where the entry panel was, and the door to the corridor slid open.

A woman dressed in engineering red stood framed in the doorway.

Incredibly, instead of registering what was occurring inside the room, turning and running for help, she stepped in, and the door slid shut behind her.

She looked from him to Garth, and her eyes widened a bit.

Kirk swung back to face Garth, and paused…for Garth was staring at the woman in surprise.

“Gus, I’m so glad to see you,” said Katya with pleasure.

“Katya.” Garth’s voice dropped an octave as he stepped away from Kirk, lowering his hands to his sides. He moved his head in a bit of a serpentine motion, easing his neck, as he shifted into a different persona. “This is a somewhat inopportune moment.”

“I’m sorry to interrupt, Gus, but I need help.”

Garth gestured at Kirk. “I’m in the middle of something, Katya.”

“I’m sure Captain Kirk won’t mind.”

Kirk had backed up to lean against a wall. He could feel his ribs shifting…a couple of them must be broken. He knew he’d had to have done some damage to Garth, but the man was so insane he seemed to be impervious to physical pain. He was standing straight as an arrow. He also seemed transfixed. Whatever was happening, Kirk figured he’d better let it run its course. Give him a chance to get his breath back, at any rate. “I don’t mind,” he put in, in a non-threatening way. Meanwhile, his eyes darted here and there, looking for a weapon.

Garth glanced between the two of them, once, twice. Kirk expected him to a fling a hand in his direction and say, “You do realize Kirk and I have been fighting to the death here, don’t you?” but he didn’t. Instead, he drew himself up and said with dignity. “Very well, Katya. You need help?”

Kirk’s eyes fell on the cut glass decanter. The nice, heavy, cut glass decanter.

Katya Landau was not a fool, and she was not without knowledge. The Boss had been injured during the aftermath of the battle with the alien ship (rushing in to severely damaged sections of the ships and helping to bring out the survivors…he’d pulled a mal-functioning door open with his bare hands and held it open while three men had managed to squeeze through, before it snapped shut and broke his arm before he could get completely out of the way). She had visited him in sickbay when she could grab a moment, and although he had not gone into complete detail, he had told her that Gus Keller had been Garth of Izar.

The man standing in front of her, looking at her politely, bleeding from his lip and from both hands, was Garth of Izar.

“An hour or so ago, the polarity flux capacitors in the starboard nacelle went SOL, she said. I’m part of the team that Minns chose to fix it.”

“Minns, yes,” said Gus. “I remember he was put in charge of the starboard nacelle.”

Katya nodded. Had Garth been Commander Scott, as well? How else could he know that?

“And we can’t do it.” Katya went on rapidly. “At first we could get the power back up to 75…80 percent tops, but then…it just went down again, each time worse than before. I’m afraid that if we keep on the way we’re going, we’re going to drain the capacitors completely. We really need your help.”

“Of course. I’ll be glad to. Just give me five minutes to take care of this…this…”

“No, Gus, please. We really need you now.” She moved toward the door. “Please come.”

Garth took a couple of steps toward her, and the door, and Kirk’s heart rose. She’s actually done it, he thought.

But Garth stopped abruptly. He threw back his head and laughed. Damn, thought Kirk. So close.

“Gus, please…” said Katya.

“Stop calling me that,” barked Garth. “I am Garth of Izar.”

Katya turned to face him. “No, no you’re not.” She said calmly. “Garth of Izar died seven days ago! He sacrificed his life to save the entire crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Didn’t he, Captain Kirk?”

“Yes, he did,” said Kirk, softly. “He died a hero. No more than what I would have expected of him, though.”

Garth stared at her. A whole range of expressions ran over his face, his eyes widened, then narrowed, his eyebrows rose up and down, his lips worked. But he was speechless.

Katya pointed at him. “You are Gus Keller. And we’re going to lose the starboard nacelle totally unless you come and help me now.”

“I am Lord...”

“Garth of Izar is dead,” repeated Katya, persuasively. “You’re Gus Keller. You’re the Lord of the Universe, and you can be whoever you want to be. Let Garth die. Let him rest in the peace he deserves, with the accolades he deserves.”

Half of Kirk, at this moment, wanted to attack Garth with the decanter. But his instincts held him back. If his attack failed, Gus Keller would be lost forever…and so, really, would be Garth of Izar. But Landau seemed to have touched a chord in him…

“Scotty won’t be conscious for a while, Gus,” Kirk said softly. “If we’re not going to lose that nacelle, you’ve got to do something. The whole crew is counting on you, again. So are the survivors of the Red Admiral, if any.”

“And…and…and I won’t let them down,” said Gus. “Quickly, Katya.”

The door slid shut behind the two of them.

Immediately, Kirk hit the communicator in his insignia. “Kirk to McCoy. Please come to Scotty’s quarters, Doctor. Bring your black bag.”

Bones didn’t waste time on questions. “On my way, Jim,” he said. Of course, he wouldn’t be bringing a black bag but rather his tricorder, but he’d gotten the implication that someone needed help.

Kirk tried to take a deep breath, and stopped. Pain. Ribs, definitely broken. He took a shallow breath instead.

He tapped his insignia again. “Kirk to Spock.”

“Spock here, Captain.”

“Spock. I need you to come to Scotty’s quarters immediately. Bring a security detail.”

Once McCoy had arrived and was dealing with Scotty, he, Spock and the detail would go to the starboard nacelle, and wait for Garth to finish the repairs. Then, they’d nab him.

No…no…that would be the wrong move....Landau had him convinced, somehow, that he was this Gus Keller…and there was hope for Gus Keller…as there was no hope for Garth of Izar…

Kirk took another shallow breath, then tapped his insignia again.

“Kirk to Spock. Belay that last order. Come as you are.”

“Very good, Captain.”


Epilogue

The U.S.S. Enterprise succeeded in finding the wreck of the USS Red Admiral, and managed to rescue fifteen survivors. Fifteen, from a crew of four hundred. Nevertheless, it was something.

Scotty recovered quickly from his drugged slip, and he, Kirk, Spock and Doctor McCoy agreed that while Garth of Izar must die, Gus Keller must live.

The four starships that answered the Enterprise’s distress call swept the area and remained on station there for several months, but no trace of any more of the strange alien craft were ever found.

After rescuing the survivors, the Enterprise headed for Starbase 1934, for repair and refit.

Once there, Sergeant Katya Landau and Scientist Gus Keller transferred to a civilian research ship, the Praetorious, where they served on detached duty, and integrated quite happily with the crew of scientists who were delighted to have the imprimatur of the Federation for their voyage.

After three months, the Enterprise, ship-shape and Bristol fashion, left Starbase 1934 and resumed her five year mission to seek out new life, new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one had gone before.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Who Goes There? Part 7 of 7

Download this story as a free PDF from Star Trek: Whom Gods Destroy Fan Fiction.


CHAPTER SEVEN

Part One


Captain James T. Kirk regained consciousness in a heartbeat. He remained unmoving, however, as he tried to assess what was happening. He was sitting…in a chair…from the way it felt to his body he knew it was his chair, in his own quarters. He didn’t need to try to move his arms lying on the armrests to know that they were secured, he could feel the tightness of the straps on his wrists. His legs were free, however.

What had happened? The Enterprise had been warping along towards what remained of the USS Red Admiral, with an estimated arrival time of 18 hours. He’d decided to get some sleep… he’d need to be rested and refreshed to deal with both a madman loose on his ship and some unknown aliens going around destroying Federation starships…

He’d been walking along the corridor to his quarters with a security guard…but he’d never made it…what the hell had happened?

He strained his ears. He could hear nothing…or could he…no one was moving about…but was someone breathing?

Kirk opened his eyes. They widened only slightly when he saw himself sitting opposite him, smiling cheerfully.

“We meet again, Captain Kirk,” said the apparition.

“Captain Garth.”

“You will address me by my proper title,” said Garth/Kirk. “I am Lord Garth, master of the universe.”

“You look like a captain to me,” said Kirk.

Garth/Kirk’s forehead creased, as he tried to figure out if Kirk were trying to insult him. Then he laughed mirthlessly. To Kirk, the world seemed to turn inside out, and then he saw Garth of Izar sitting in front of him, clad in the simple blue tunic of the scientist.

“You…” Kirk tried away to swallow away the dryness in his mouth… “you’re very good with that little trick. How do you do it?”

“Cellular metamorphosis,” Garth said. “Taught to me by the Antosians…”

“But…you can’t be controlling your clothing as well?”

“Oh, that. No, that’s another little trick I taught myself…we don’t need to discuss it. What I want to know is this. Why has the Enterprise left orbit? Where is she going?”

“Don’t you know?”

Garth’s eyes narrowed dangerously. “I’m asking you.”

“We received a distress call. The USS Red Admiral has been attacked…destroyed. We’re en route to their last known location, in Sector Alpha Gamma 2.2. How long have I been…here?”

“Four hours.”

“Then we’re fourteen hours away.”

“I see,” said Garth, musingly.

Garth gazed at Captain Kirk speculatively. His story had worked with the Boss…would it work with Kirk?

“I want you to read something, Kirk.”

Garth pointed a device at Kirk’s left hand, and the restraining strap released. Kirk glanced down at his wrists, and saw that he was restrained by straps used by his own security people. Someone had punched holes through the fabric of his favorite chair in order to do so. When he got out of this predicament, he’d allow himself to be annoyed by that.

Garth tossed him a print book, which Kirk caught awkwardly. “Read the marked passages.”

Kirk did as he was bid. Then he looked up. “This doesn’t match what the Federation has on file about you.”

“No, it doesn’t. But that’s the true story.”

“Yes…yes, I believe you.” Kirk looked at him with compassion.

“I’m not insane, Kirk. I never was. But as you doubtless know, retired Admiral Dixon Welles, the man responsible for the debacle which I then had to go in and salvage, is the brother of the President of the Federation. He suspected…rightly, I grant you… that I wasn’t going to let his brother get away with his incompetence. So he had me framed.”

Kirk blinked at him. Didn’t the man remember five minutes ago, when he’d instructed him to call him Lord Garth, Master of the Universe? But even if that happened…Kirk had a lot of respect for Donald Cory, governor of Elba II, and Cory believed Garth to be mad.

“If what you say is true, Garth…” began Kirk.

“If?” said Garth dangerously.
“Then I’ll help you. But you can’t hijack a starship…”

“Can’t?” said Garth again.

“Yes,” barked Kirk. “If! Can’t! Do those words infuriate you so?”

Garth took a deep breath.

“And if they do, it doesn’t mean I’m insane, damn you. It just means I’m used to people following my orders.”

Kirk nodded. “Yes, I understand. Well, I’m telling you, this is my ship….”

At that precise moment, there was a beep and Lieutenant Uhura’s voice filled the room. “Bridge to Captain Kirk.”

Smilingly, Garth punched the button, even as to Kirk, the world seemed to turn upside down again, and then Kirk was looking at himself. “Kirk here,” said Garth, grinning at his captive.

“You’re needed on the bridge immediately, Captain. There’s….”

Suddenly, the ship rocked violently, and Garth/Kirk almost fell out of his chair. It rocked again. Garth knew what that meant – they were being hit by torpedoes!

The door to the living room of Kirk’s quarters slid open, and the Boss strode in. “Captain…” he began. He stopped, looked at Kirk imprisoned in his chair and Garth/Kirk standing.

Garth/Kirk grabbed a phaser from his belt. “I’m Kirk, sergeant,” he barked. “That’s Garth in the chair. Now, take me to the bridge.”

The ship rocked again, so violently that the Boss and Garth were flung against the bulkhead like ragdolls. The red alert sirens began to shriek.

“Garth!” Kirk yelled. “Let me go! They’re blowing apart my ship!”

Garth of Izar swore viciously, even as he resumed his own form. He could not deny the captain a chance to protect his ship. He deactivated the other restraint. As three, Kirk, Garth and the Boss raced for the bridge.

It was a difficult journey. The Enterprise was being hit by torpedo after torpedo. Smoke and fire filled the corridors. Damage repair crews swarmed here and there. The Boss put his bulk to good use, running interference for the two captains behind him. Finally they reached the Bridge.

Spock jumped out of the command chair and Kirk slipped into it. Spock glanced at Garth and an eyebrow raised as he assumed his own seat.

“What’s going on, Spock?” Kirk demanded.

“We were attacked from long range, Captain. Our sensors spotted incoming torpedoes, but they came in too fast. We are too slow, and too immobile. We are being beaten into submission, and there’s nothing we can do.”

“Who’s attacking us?”

Sulu put it on screen without being bid. The ship was neither Romulan nor Klingon. But whatever it was, it was killing them.

Kirk pounded the button to Engineering. “Scotty, what’s the status down there?”

Scotty’s voice came coughing. “We’re dead in the water, Captain. No power to the warp engines at all. We’ve barely got enough power left to run essential systems.”

“Right. Hang in there, Scotty, Kirk out.”

Kirk turned to Sulu. “Status of our weapons, Mr. Sulu.”

“Photon torpedoes are out sir. Phasers are offline…it will take at least thirty minutes to repair them….” Replied Sulu.

“Not that it would do any good,” Chekov said, sotto voce.

“Uhura, open hailing frequencies,” barked Kirk.

“Hailing frequencies open, Captain.”

Garth was impressed by the calmness displayed by the Enterprise crew. They were seconds away from death and they must now it, yet they were going about their business as if it were an everyday occurrence. Did they have so much confidence in their captain, then, that they believed that even now he’d be able to do something to save them?

Two aliens appeared on the view screen, ugly (to human eyes) lizard like creatures.

“This is Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise,” began Kirk, and then Kirk felt a hand on his shoulder, as Garth came to stand beside him.

“And I am Fleet Captain Garth of Izar,” said Garth, loudly. “In command of the Enterprise at the present time. What are your terms?”

“Terms, Garth of Izar?” laughed the lizard. “You are beaten. One more launch of torpedoes and your ship is blown into millions of pieces.”

“I don’t deny what you say…yet you haven’t blown us apart yet, so you must want something. Therefore, I ask again, what are your terms?”

“Complete surrender. You must beg for our mercy, and perhaps we will extend it to you.”

The other lizard made a noise that sounded like laughter.

“We don’t beg for anything,” snapped Garth.

“Oh…you will beg, Garth of Izar. You will beg. We beam you over to our ship, you surrender, you beg.”

“If I beam over to your ship, you will stop your attacks on the Enterprise?”

More laughter from the lizards. “They do not die…yet,” said the leader.

“You have attacked a starship of the United Federation of Planets. Do you really want a war?”

“If your Enterprise is an example of the starships you have, why should we be afraid of a war?” laughed the lizard.

Garth’s shoulders shrank, defeated, even as his eyes continued to dance around what he could see of the bridge of that alien ship. All starship builders, regardless of race, seemed to put the same kinds of instruments in the same kinds of locations….

“Very well,” he said. “I will beam over to your ship.”

“Garth….” Said Kirk.

Garth turned to face him. “Thirty minutes, Kirk,” he said meaningfully. “All you need is thirty minutes.”

“The wessel has lowered its shields,” Checkov reported. “They’re activating their transporter beam.”

Garth shimmered and disappeared, and the view screen of the alien ship snapped off.

Kirk brought his hand down on his communication console. “Scotty. Get to the transporter room now. Now.”

“Aye, aye, sir.”

“Chekov, you said thirty minutes for phasers. Do it!”

“Yes, sir.”

Spock came to stand beside Kirk’s command chair. Kirk glanced up at him.

“You don’t think Garth planned this?” Spock asked.

“There’s no way he could have,” Kirk said, definitively. “With a ship like that at his command? He never would have messed around trying to hijack the Enterprise. No, whatever those things are, they’re acting on their own.”

“Scott here,” came Scott’s voice. “I’m in the transporter room, Captain.”

“Scotty, in about thirty minutes something’s going to happen. I want you to be ready to get a fix on the bridge of that other ship. You’re going to need to beam Garth of Izar aboard as soon as possible.”

“Aye, aye, Captain.”

They waited. Damage control reports flowed in from all over the ship. Damage repair parties went out to do what they could.”

Kirk knew what Garth was going to try to do. Hell, they all knew. Nevertheless, he gave Sulu the order. “Keep your sensors on their shields, Sulu. Let me know the instant they come down.”

For that was Garth’s plan. That had to be Garth’s plan. Beam over, stall for time, then, either as himself, or metamorphosizing himself into a lizard, he’d find someway to cut the shields of that alien ship. And once he did so…

“Phasers back on line, Captain,” Chekov shouted joyously.

“Sulu, status of their shields?”

“Their shields are fully operational, Captain. Our phasers will bounce off them like peashooters.”

“Wait for it, Sulu.”

Five minutes…ten….then Sulu shouted. “Their shields are down! Their shields are down!”

“All phasers fire,” Kirk ordered. “Scotty, get Garth out of there!”

Without shields, a starship is as vulnerable to a microscopic meteorite than as to a phaser. The Enterprise’s phasers darted outward, targeting every vulnerable spot Sulu and the weapons control room could think of, from what looked like engines to their phaser and torpedo capability.

“Direct hits,” shouted Sulu. “Like a knife through butter. She’s going to blow!”

And indeed, within a very few seconds the starship opposite them had disappeared into a white hot fireball.

Kirk hammered the communication console again. “Scotty.”

“Captain.”

The jubilation on the bridge quieted abruptly, as they all heard the sound of failure in Montgomery Scott’s voice.

“Captain…I was never able to get a fix on him…I tried to beam the entire bridge crew aboard…but nothing came… I lost him, Captain.”

Kirk took a deep breath. “It’s okay, Scotty. It was a long shot. Get back to the engine room, you’ve got a lot of work to do there.”

“Aye, aye, captain.”

Kirk punched another button.

“Captain’s log, stardate 1205.72. The Enterprise, en route to answer the distress call of the USS Red Admiral, was attacked and disabled by an unknown alien ship. Fleet Captain Garth of Izar gave his life, in order to rescue us all. …. Kirk out.

Kirk brought his hand down on the log button again. Mad or not, Garth had died as he had lived...as a hero. And that’s how he would be remembered.