seems empty. Slowly the camera dollies toward the consoles. As
it approaches, some small motion is discernable on the consoles.
With growing proximity it can be seen that the motion is
something small and black bouncing around on a keyboard. By the
time the camera is close enough to the console monitor to see the
text appearing on it, you can see that the tiny black object is a

(text appearing on console monitor)
hello i am
archy the cockroach
a free verse poet
reincarnated as a cockroach
for my sins
one can only imagine
how i d have wound up
if i d written fanfiction instead

[As ARCHY continues to type, the console central column starts
moving up and down.]

the adric award nominees for best
short comedy posted to alt.drwho.creative
in 2003 are

bias what bias by bkwillis

[The central column stills and the doors open. The camera moves
out the doors and reveals that the TARDIS has landed in a
SMALL ROOM atop a tower in the Time Lord Citadel on Gallifrey.]

Now Brojennather's eyes swept Teganwards. "Ah, I see.
'Courageous Earthwoman routs alien menace, rescuing Gallifrey
from certain annihilation!' It still has quite the ring to it."

"Not me, either," Tegan said. She jerked a thumb back at Adric,
who was still trying to free himself from the device's complex
firing mechanism without spilling the bleach on himself. "He did
it. Adric."

Brojennather's eyes narrowed slightly. "Oh," he said, rather more
coolly. "Him. I understand." And with that, he turned and
walked off.


"...and in Gallifrey's top story tonight: Bloodthirsty Alzarian
madman ruthlessly slaughters ship full of peaceful alien visitors in
an act of unprovoked brutality..."

[The camera pulls back until the TARDIS doors close. When the
console and ARCHY are visible the central column is moving again.]

(text appearing on console monitor)
crossovers from heck ii a lizard of earthsea by graham woodland

[The central column stills and the doors open. The camera moves
out the doors onto a FAIRLY ILL-DEFINED EXTERIOR
LANDSCAPE, where are gathered several humanoids - most
sporting goatees - robed in robes and a large draconian being of
some kind.]

A crow sodded off into the trees at a great rate. As the assorted
Masters whipped out their dinky little wands of besmallment from
what one sincerely hopes were hip-pockets, Orm Ellian said coolly,
"Don't even think about it. Anyway, I've got a proposition for you
lads. Tell me, with a whole community of wizards at your beck and
call, why don't you just take over the world, steal anything you
fancy, and live the life of Reilly?"

"Wizards are above such trivial mortal passions," declared the
Master Deadly Assassin incorruptibly. His nose fell off again.

"Besides," offered the Master Roberts, with great self-possession,
"mages are not rulers. When we try it, the unbalanced earth rises
up against us, and finds a new Equilibrium a long way under water.
At least, that's what happened on Atlantea..."

"That was _not_ my fault, vile pretty-boy!" The Master Delgado
drew himself up to his full height and sulked mightily.

"Roger, whatever," dismissed Orm Ellian. "Looks from your
exposition, and the intrusive though technically rather
accomplished and ingenious narrative voice, like this is one of
those deals where Nature rebels against naughtiness after a while.
So, how's about I work with you on a basis for a few... travel
spells... so we can all run around and plunder _other_ worlds to
our gizzards' content? Stay one step ahead of all the whingey
moralistic earth and water stuff, and live by air and fire and
looting the way real sophonts should? Go on, you know you want

"Well, damned if I don't! "By Segoy, I think she's got it!" "But
she's a _girl_!" "I'm not quite dead yet..." "Truly do the
chanters praise the wisdom of dragons!" "My nose is bleeding!"
"Go for it!" ZAP!

And so, after due deliberation and weighing each action nicely in
the great Balance, they fell in with the alien warrior-engineer-
reptile's suggestion; and they did prosper greatly through their
strictly legitimate business activities across divers worlds,
except for the ones that snuffed it in the process. Only in
silence the word; only in dying life; only in loss great profit.
And little more is written of their deeds, because they weren't
real scrupulous about the paperwork.


From _A Lizard of Earthsea_, by BKWillis and Ursula K Le Guin.

[The camera pulls back until the TARDIS doors close. When the
console and Archy are visible the central column is moving again.]

(text appearing on console monitor)
rather be happy than right by paul andinach

[The central column stills and the doors open. The camera moves
out the doors into the business OFFICE of an executive in the
indeterminate future.]

Magnus shrugged noncommittally. "I want some answers," he
said. "If you answer truly, I will let you live."

Crayden laughed. "I judge you to be the kind of man whose 'If you
answer truly, I will let you live' is only the first part of a
sentence that continues 'after breaking every bone in your body or
performing some other painful but nonlethal act that will make you
wish with every breath you take that you had chosen death'."

Magnus shrugged again.

"Make me a better offer," Crayden said.

Magnus considered. "I want some answers," he said after a moment.
"If I like the answers you give me, you will die quickly and
painlessly. If I don't like them, I will let you live - after, of course,
breaking every bone in your body or performing some other
painful but nonlethal act that will make you wish with every breath
you take that you had chosen death."

Crayden mentally ran through his options again, and found them
unchanged. "Very well," he said. "Where shall we begin?"


Varne's frown deepened. "You said you were planning to let Crayden
go unharmed if he co-operated." She'd objected, feeling that the
potential advantage of a co-operative Crayden who owed them his
life was outweighed by the danger of a Crayden with a grudge; it
was one of the reasons Magnus had insisted on talking to the man

"So I did, and so I was," Magnus said. He grinned wolfishly. "You'll
be happy to hear that he talked me out of it."

[The camera pulls back until the TARDIS doors close. When the
console and Archy are visible the central column is moving again.]

(text appearing on console monitor)
man of the hour by bkwillis

[The central column stills and the doors open. The camera moves
out the doors, where a group of humanoids in grass and hide
clothing are throwing a banquet with an unusual guest of honor.]

You know, I think I could get used to this 'hero' thing.


"Speech! Speech! Speech!" they all chant.

Oh no. What do I say? It suddenly seems important to me that I
say the right things. Something profound, intelligent. Something
suited to my station in these people's eyes. I find myself not
wanting to disappoint them, but what should I say? It's not like
they ever gave us speechmaking lessons in Basic Training. I'm a
_fighter_, not a talker. But I have to say _something_.

Maybe I can just fall back on instinct, just go with the moment and
say what feels right. I look over the crowd, give Tahni a little nod,
and give it a go.


Damn. Looks like I'll have to work on my verbal skills if I'm really
going to make a go of this 'hero' business...

[The camera pulls back until the TARDIS doors close. When the
console and Archy are visible the central column is moving again.]

(text appearing on console monitor)
time and the cockroach by paul gadzikowski

[The central column stills and the doors open. The camera moves
out the doors, into a NEWSPAPER BULLPEN occupied solely by
a tabby cat and a cockroach cowering safely behind the keys of a

only you
says i
could travel time back
to atlantis and overlook
the culture and politics
of the era for the sake of
a little sea serpent with
tartar sauce

well actually
says she
it was some sort of
state dinner
cleopatra was there

asks i
i thought
were cleopatra

sparks did fly
says she

i mean literally

[The camera pulls back until the TARDIS doors close.]

(text appearing on console monitor)
and the winner is

[An envelope appears thrown from offcamera. It lands on the console,
on top of ARCHY. It teeters once or twice, then is still. After a lengthy



[After a fews econds, the placard is replaced by another.]

The new placard reads, "Due to unfortunate circumstances, the
remainder of this scene could not be filmed as scripted. However,
substitutions were made to allow for its completion. The TARDIS
setting has been replaced by the director's patio and the character
of Archy by the director's second cousin's amateur polka band.
We apologize for any inconvenience."


men in German costume are playing 'Beer Barrel Polka'. One of the
tuba players sets aside his instrument and picks up a manual
typewriter. As the camera zooms in on the paper in it, the man
begins slowly pecking out letters. The rest of the band continues

(text appearing on typewriter paper)
and the winner is
bias what bias by bkwillis

hi mom im in a movie ill be famous





He was just attaching the Data Decryptor to the mainframe when
the lights came up and he found himself staring down the barrels
of several dozen guns, all wielded by largish goons who looked
to have the dispositions of, say, rabid dump trucks.

"Don't try anything, Han," a voice boomed out. "Or should I say,
Agent Han-Tao-El of Her Majesty's Secret Service, also known as

Han-Tao-El straightened, keeping his hands away from his guitar.
There were too many machine-gun-toting goons for even him to
take out, and his enemy was too canny. He gave the man a nod
of recognition. "Nyssafeld," he said. "I expecting to find you at
bottom of this."

Ernst Stavro Nyssafeld smiled evilly, stepping out into the light.
His pistol, somewhat to Han's surprise, remained holstered.
A white rabbit was cradled in one arm and he idly stroked it
with his free hand. "You were clever, Han," Nyssafeld said
lightly, "but not clever enough. We saw through your disguise
when one of our researchers uncovered the fact that Eddie
Van Halen is _not_, in fact, a Chinese Amazon."

Three of the goons came forward for Han's weapon and he passed
the guitar over without protest. Nyssafeld was in a talkative mood
and now might be the best time to pump the criminal mastermind
for information. "I suppose you plan kill me, yes Nyssafeld?" he
said casually.

"But of course, my dear Han. But rest assured it shall be in a most
entertaining way. Possibly something with crocodiles; I haven't
really decided."

"Then is no harm in telling Han-Tao-El what plan is, yes? Not as
if I escape and tell anyone." He smiled winningly at his captors.

Nyssafeld scratched his brown tresses, considering this. "Hmm...
I really should go ahead and kill you without telling. That would be
wisest, I think."

Han-Tao-El smirked. "Chicken."

The fiendish archvillain's hand dropped from the rabbit to the butt
of his Luger. "_What_ did you just say?" he hissed. "You _so_
did not call me 'chicken'!"

"Chicken," repeated Han-Tao-El, making scratching motions with
his feet as the goons cuffed his hands. "Cluck-cluck-cluck! Big
chicken! Too afraid to tell helpless and soon-be-dead superspy
truth about secret plans!"

Nyssafeld purpled in rage. "I'll show you who's chicken! Professor

A beautiful Japanese woman in a white lab coat and frilly apron
stepped forward. "Yes, evil leader?" she said politely.

A nasty grin spread over Nyssafeld's face. "Professor, please show
the soon-to-be-late Mr. Han the details of our plan for world

"Oh my, certainly." The scientist pulled a remote control out of her
apron and used it to turn on a set of ceiling-mounted video monitors.
"You see, Mr. Han, our research has discovered that the most
powerful force in human behavior is love. However, we couldn't
think of a good way to dominate the world with that, so we looked
into the second most-powerful force, which is humor. It is possible,
we found, to actually cause people to become helpless with laughter
in a literal sense."

She pressed another button, causing each of the four screens to
display a block of text. "Each of these," she explained, "is a piece
of comedic fan-fiction. These have been selected as the four most
humorous extended stories, or best comedy long fictions, you might
say, that we could find. Our research staff is even now in the
process of determining by majority vote which of these is the very

Nyssafeld chuckled sneeringly. "Once we know which of these
comedy long fictions is the best, we--"

Han cut him off. "You use satellites to broadcast onto all media
while jamming all other signals, yes?"

A disdainful sniff was Nyssafeld's answer to that. "Please, Mr.
Han, you insult my intelligence. There is no need for such
expensive toys as satellites and global broadcast jammers. All we
have to do is release the story onto the Internet, where it will
propagate and spread across the planet without effort. And once
the governments of the world are too helpless with the giggles
to defend themselves, our special humor-impaired ninjas will
swoop in and sieze control! MWAHAHAHA!"

"Excuse me," Professor Tendo said to Nyssafeld, "but I was
explaining and it isn't polite to interrupt."

"I'm sorry, Kasumi," he replied. "I'll let you show our 'guest' some
samples of our weaponry and I promise not to interrupt."

The scientist smiled. "Thank you, Mr. Nyssafeld." She turned
back to face their captive. "Now, Mr. Han, if you would be so kind
as to watch the monitors, I'll show you a little excerpt of each one
of our potential weapons. I can't show you the entire works,
because then you'd become helpless with laughter and that would
make torturing you somewhat socially awkward for Mr. Nyssafeld."

She pointed at the first monitor. "Here, you see an excerpt from
Mr. BKWillis's 'She Talks to Rainbows'..."


<You heard me, young lady. We have to provide the public with
the information they request, but we don't have to like it and we
don't have to be helpful about it. Quite frankly, you general-public
types are a tremendous annoyance to those of us in Civil Service
and if we can't make you go away, we can at least amuse ourselves
by making your experience with us as maddening, tedious, and
demeaning as possible.>

"That's... That's _awful_!"

<Sure it is. And it's also true. Would you rather I told you a lie?>


<At any rate, if you want information from us, you'll have to either
come down here and have it transcribed, or send us a money order
for the full fee and a notarized request and we'll put you a copy in
the mail. Allow four to thirty-three weeks for processing and
delivery, assuming we don't -- heh heh -- 'lose' your request.>


"And on the next monitor, some of Mr. Imran Inayat's 'Story Time!
The Princess Bride'..."


[LEE steps away, draws his sword, practices a few thrusts, then
resheathes and peers over the edge again]

LEE: Could you move it on a bit?

MAN IN BLACK: I _would_, but unfortunately I'm pretty much
stuck like this, unless you have a rope, or a tree branch, or
_something_ that's gonna get me off this cliff!

LEE: Er... well, I've got some rope up here, but I don't think you really
want me to help you, 'cause I'm waiting 'round to kill you.

MAN IN BLACK: Huh. Well, there goes _that_ plan. [his fingers
grab onto another hold a few inches higher]

LEE: ...Okay. What if... what if I don't kill you till you reach the top?

MAN IN BLACK: ...Well, _that's_ comforting. You'll just have to
wait till I, y'know, actually get there.

LEE: [mutters] Hate waiting... [thinks, calls down] You could trust
me. I'm an American.

MAN IN BLACK: [hanging from the cliff] No good. I've met too
many Americans.


"Next is 'Time and the Campions', by Mr. Graham Woodland..."


"It's simplicity itself," he chuckled to Carrie, as they made their
way through the alfresco fancy-dress caperings towards the stately
pile. "The very weft of local causality will be working in our
favour. What could possibly go wrong now?"

His Muse considered this question briefly. "Gross authorial
incompetence and insufficient understanding of the Whoniverse;
leading to romantic tragedy, paradoxical horror, and/or the return
of Nyarlathotep to existence and mastery of local continuity -- all
of which will be due to our arrant hubris!"

"Yes, but apart from that?"

"Oh, apart from that," Carrie agreed, "nothing could go wrong with
it at all!"


"And on the last monitor," said Professor Tendo, "is 'Nyssa's
Christmas Carol', by Mr. Daibhid Ceannaideach."


"Are you the Spirit of Christmas Present?" inquired Nyssa.

"*Bob* the Spirit of Christmas Present," the giant corrected her.

Nyssa narrowed her eyes. "So you are. Do you *have* to appear in
all his stories?"

"No, but we needed a big fat man with a beard, and the only one
that turned up to the auditions was Sabbath. Daibhid didn't think he
was jolly enough." the spirit explained, ignoring the minor detail that,
in point of fact, the Author of this tale was not of the opinion Bob
was jolly enough either, simply more so than the aforementioned
employer of anthropoids.

[Muse's Note: Meanwhile the Author neglects to mention that *I'm*
of the opinion he's overdoing the /faux/-Dickensian prose ever-so-
slightly. And, believe it or not, I *have* managed to get him to tone
it down a bit! Anyway...]


As Han finished reading the last words, three of the monitors went
dark, leaving only one still showing its fiendish message.

"Oh my," exclaimed Professor Tendo. "It seems as if our researchers
have determined which of these is the Best Comedy Long Fiction."

"Indeed," hissed Nyssafeld, "and it appears that our weapon shall be
'Story Time! The Princess Bride', by Imran Inayat! Begin preparations
to release the story onto the Internet and have our humor-impaired
ninjas take position!"

Professor Tendo merely waited, an expectant look on her face.

Nyssafeld started guiltily. "Er, please," he said, a bit shamefaced.

The professor bowed politely. "At once, Mr. Nyssafeld." She strode
off, calling for proofreaders.

"You not get away with this, Nyssafeld!" Han-Tao-El blustered.

Nyssafeld just laughed. "My dear Han, I am _already_ getting away
with this. 'Story Time! The Princess Bride, by Imran Inayat' is the Best
Comedy Long Fiction, the most powerful humor weapon in our
arsenal, and there is nothing you can do to stop me from using it,
especially since you'll be too busy being dead and in chunks. Which
reminds me, I have something I want to show you..."

He clapped his hands and a pair of his goons stepped into the room,
leading a stunningly beautiful pink-haired girl in a string bikini and
manacles to stand before Nyssafeld.

Nyssafeld smirked at the look of horror on Han's face. "That's right,
Double-Oh-Pi, I've captured your partner, Agent Lo-Shon, as well. I
was going to execute the two of you together, but seeing her like this,
I'm inclined to keep her as my personal plaything..."

Han-Tao-El seethed and struggled against the guards holding him,
but was easily restrained. Which was just as well, because he'd used
the distraction to slip one of his surgical-steel guitar picks out of his

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Epilogue & Credits - Summary

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