in the darkest part of Somerville, a shadowy figure taps out a last
sequence of code, and sits back. The screen in front of him goes
black, then pink, then mysterious symbols appear. There are some odd
bumping noises, then a slightly squeaky but crisp voice
reporting sir. It's greasy down here. That floor is a disgrace.
And someone left big boxes of moldy clothes near me. They wear those
shirts? I hear grubby is chic, but crunchy?"
admiral, I'm seriously trying, but every time the secret entrance
opens, black smoke pours in. It's making my sleek retractable head
hot. And I happen to know (with my supersecret sweep snooper
circuit), that somebody forgot to put green stuff in the pirate
chest. Sir, they're already making a mess of the mission and they
haven't even launched yet."
isn't even Saturday yet, spybot. You're in the future. This is an
experiment, so get to work, report. What's happening down there?
What's holding things up?"
whining sir, they're clanging and moaning and oh, that's not how you
do that… MagNEATo has that all wrong. And sir, there is goooo
everywhere. Sir, can I have a bath?"
later. Is there a problem? They're behind schedule. Where am
to me sir?"
I mean not me now, me then, when you are."
I programmed this in. You're in the future, I'm in now. Talk to me
Shadowfly, where am I?" Baffled noise. "Oh forget it.
he's up there."
Important stuff. Who's here?"
with Dishpan, she's going to ride OohLaLa. Here comes Entropy on
Mjollnir. Hmmm, can she DO that?"
she'll be fine. Who else?"
Wow, nice shirt. Hawaiian, but somehow she makes it work. Turtle,
oh wow. That dress is going to get stuck in something, still,
elegant. Samurai, that pilot has style, studs, leather; can I be on
You're on StarHustler with Threespeed."
again? Sir, the plaid makes me queasy."
with it Shadowfly."
copilot? Not that MsMoon. She isn't even here yet. Oh, wait, there
she is, oh no, way too much purple. And what is that thing on her
head? There's Ehawk, and is that Spruce? Here comes Grimlocke, and
Pywaket, and there's Acehole, and Treehugger with his baby maggot and
here come Waltor and Diva, and there's Vomit, glamorous."
mind the fashion commentary spybot; haven't they left the fort
going now, silent running, hah! Good thing you're not there sir,
you'd be shocked. But wait, you are there sir, whoa, nice flappy
coat…very '30s spywear, but the hat is just all wrong…"
there's a screwdriver with your name on it…"
No more fashion references sir. Ow! Threespeed just banged my nose
on the door, sir, can I zap…"
How many are there?"
counting them sir, 27. They're launching sir, the theme song is
blasting! Lots of yelling and beeping and high fives. A couple of
faggot references… a few camera flashes in Davis Square. Where
are they going, Sir?"
going over the river, making good time. They're passing Fenway sir,
I can hear the crowd! Now they're pausing to argue… off again,
into the park…dark in there. Now they're on a narrow lane, going
up an unbelievably steep hill! What's that noise? Oh oh, oh
Shadowfly, what's happening?"
not in the manual."
didn't write it yet admiral, I have version 9" (smugly).
"Admiral, the disco death star is all wobbly! Eeeeek! The
metal's screaming, it's swaying precariously sir! It's gonna go!
Ah! It bounces? Sir! Gah! It's taking out the fleet, yikes, like
pins in a downhill bowling alley, like an asteroid storm, like, a
megagravity disaster. Amazing, I didn't know you could do a triple
backward somersault with a twist!"
can? I mean, oh yeah."
That landing! Nontraditional, but impressive."
sir. Elegant, the boots waving around like that."
many ships went down? Damage report! Injuries?"
"I can't look."
"Be brave, Shadowfly."
"But sir, I'm upside down, and, no, I'm right
side up, no, I'm, I'm still rolling--ouch!"
"Shadowfly, you cannot feel. Now cut it out
fall down. Um, lotta scrapes and bangs. The disco death star is in
tiny silver bits, everywhere. Sir, it looks like there's not a
pilotable ship in the fleet."
are the pilots?"
swiveling supersleek retractable head, ow, I'm dented. My highly
intelligent miniaturized brains are not quite artichoke right. I
think I need to have my banana radar pirouetted."
Functioning ironingboardily. Six pilots flew into that dumpster.
It's behind a Dunkin' Donuts, they're probably having a hamster, I
Dozer, where's our nav-tail?"
is under those bushes. Oh-oh, swimmingleson… er, storm-troopers
cars. Tiger. And some fire trucks."
mean … where's Skunk?"
yeah. You're still upside down, but Grimlocke and Turtle are pulling
you out of the hedge. But it's too late for the fleet sir, they're
being loaded into a big lemonmiranguepie police van. The storm
troopers are grabbing you and Dozer… er, I don't think pilots are
supposed to attack storm-troopers, right?"
Samurai just tackled one. She's got him in a headlock, you're free
sir. Now all the pilots and admirals are fighting sir. They're
freeing the ships, well, what's left of them! And sir, I
just noticed. There's a sinister van parked behind you. A whole
bunch of girls in plaid are creeping up on some sleepy baby maggots.
Sir! Help! They're taking the baby maggots! Gah! I forgot you
can't hear me."
can hear you!"
I mean Skunk can't hear me. Those girls are getting away with four
are the others?"
up storm-troopers and putting them in a neat pile sir."
can't sir. I don't have a mouth. You're the only one that can hear
me, and you're not here."
(a string of unprintable pirate oaths). "Check your sources,
spybot, we need to know who those girls are, and what they're up
plaid flag is a dead giveaway sir. That's a uniform skirt…
checking… trampoline …. From the Our Lady of Misery School, sir.
News stories, scanning, oooh, not nice."
is it Shadowfly"
ugly sir. These girls match the MO of dozens of police records.
They kidnap innocent people on the streets and … ewwwwww. Sir,
they … they dress them up as nuns sir, and put them in shopping
carts and leave them in a variety of locations. In the public
library, on the steps of the mayor's house, on stage at symphony
going after them."
sir, I can't tell you, and you're not here… "
can pilot itself. Track them Shadowfly".
sir, a plaid van shouldn't be too hard to follow… got them…
wow, the bomber moves a lot faster without those two lazy pilots on.
Weeeeee! Can I use the laser now sir? Huh, please, catsup, can
out the back tires."
a jasminescentedsoap cinch sir. Got em."
blast the lock open."
done sir. I see all 4 baby maggots. They're climbing out. They
look dopey sir."
they did just get knocked unconscious by evil girls in
meant their outfits sir. Can't SCUL invest in some black satin
SCUL insignia, SCUL fishnets... and I could be an officer. I'd make
Sniveling sounds. "Shadowfly, wanna blast some evil plaid
I'm arming the laser."
they come, I've got them, all eight of them in my sights. They
look angry. They've got crochet hooks. OK, here goes…ner ner ner
ner, ner ner ner ner."
I've told you, you don't need to do sound effects!"
sir, it's just so much more fun that way. But they're gone, every
last plaid molecule. Where did we send them?"
I stuck them on the roof."
it's plaid. Threespeed can add it to Aquarius. So, back to the
sir you're not going to like this. I'm getting, mangle, 30141/2
pieces of disco death star. And about a pound of glittery dust. But
they're bagging it. It's nearly dawn sir. Almost all the ships are
damaged. I don't think they'll be going to that party. They've
used over fifty band aids."
No pig roast? No party? What am I doing about this..? I mean,
what is Skunk doing about this?"
the moment, pacing up and down, kicking things. Now they're off,
heading back to the fort, weary and bloody and …walking. Oooo, a
car just tried to cut them off… good one, Pywaket took a whack at
it sir. Nice dent. The fleet are cheering. Great knighting
ceremony. Dozer knighted MagNEATo, she's all teary. And Threespeed
knighted Dishpan. And 3 of the baby maggots are officially maggots,
Hbomb (Grimlocke's), Treehugger's Quirk and Entropy. Oh no!
Another rogue vehicle almost squished StarHustler with Threespeed and
MsMoon. MsMoon fell off. Typical. No style that one. They're all
crawling back to the fort now, Admiral. The damage report is
shocking sir. 127 fixes, it's going to take days just to write them
up. This has got to be the worst mission ever… and it didn't even
yeah. Good. So all I have to do is keep the fleet from getting
knocked out by the disco ball of death… so if I just… that's it.
I'm gonna have to take it out myself."
the disco death star?"
for the fleet, spybot. And I've been wanting to make a better
model…sparklier, louder… all I need is a good solid tree…"
then when we have a perfect mission, with no injuries and a happy pig
roast and the knighting ceremonies… then can I reveal my true
I still gotta build you. Go to sleep Shadowfly."
can I have a story?"
Once upon a time there were twenty-seven pilots…"
|AceHole||Bonnie & Clyde||620.755||Commodore|
|Dishpan||Ooh La La||290.626||Petty Officer 3rd Class|
|Diva||Incineraider||283.171||Rear Admiral, Upper Half|
|Dozer||Compliance||1003.83||Rear Admiral, Lower Half|
|entropy||Mjollnir||391.031||Petty Officer 2nd Class|
|Fleet Admiral Skunk||Cloudbuster||616.778|
|HBomb||Lust||133.768||Aviator First Class|
|magneato||Skylab||381.847||Petty Officer 2nd Class|
|MeatballMulligan||Annihilation||440.693||Petty Officer 1st Class|
|MsMoon||Star Hustler (Bombardier)||224.098||Lieutenant Commander|
|quirk||Sloth||144.802||Aviator First Class|
|Spruce||Delirium||320.169||Master Chief Petty Officer|
|Turducken||Abandon All Hope||379.728||Petty Officer 2nd Class|
|Turtle||Greed||286.077||Chief Petty Officer|
|Mission Leader||Fleet Admiral Skunk|