It was just after suppertime aboard the Satellite of Love, and the
crew were all amusing themselves according to their fancy. More
or less, anyway...
The two magic-users glared at one another across the arena as the
crowd held its breath in anticipation.
The sorceress blew an errant strand of hair away from her face and
shifted her weight slightly. "Well," she said in a haughty, husky
voice, "I'm waiting."
Her opponent bowed elaborately, not taking his eyes off her as
he did. A few women in the audience squealed approvingly.
"Ladies first," he replied, his tone faintly mocking.
The woman's eyes twinkled. "You're quite the gentleman to give
me the chance. Foolish, but a gentleman." She stretched, nearly
popping out of the tiny leather bikini that held her rather over-
developed figure in place, then brought her hands down as though
drawing an invisible bow. "Feel the wrath of the White Serpent!
Her opponent smirked as he easily leapt over the frozen projectile,
letting it shatter behind him. "Pitiful, Helen," he laughed as he
landed in a fighting crouch. "You should know that Doug
Schneider can't be taken down so easily. Now... GUNSNROH!"
A holocaust of flame surged toward the sorceress, cracking the
very floor with its heat.
"Ray Wing!" A sphere of solidified air formed around Helen the
White Serpent, simultaneously shielding her from the heat and
carrying her into the air. As she passed over Doug Schneider the
Exploder Wizard, she gestured and shouted, "Elmekia Lance!"
Doug Schneider felt himself buffeted aside as the spell tore into
his astral body, draining his power slightly. "I'll get you for that!
"Oh, yeah!? Feris Bleed!"
"Ha! Try this! EXODUS!!"
"Pathetic, Schneider! Bom Di Wind!"
And so on...
Nyssa carefully added the next specimen to the test tube, watching
alertly for any change in color. Still nothing. She frowned prettily
and tugged at her lab coat. Another failure.
She sat back, contemplating what to try next. She had quite a bit
more material to work with, specimen-wise, so that was no concern.
In fact, she'd only used a tiny fraction of the three quarts of blood
she'd extracted from Number One over the past few days (she'd
never heard such whining, either; now he tended to curl into a
fetal position every time he saw a needle). She had the specimens,
and she had the catalysts, so if she could just find the right way to
apply them, she'd be on the road to her goal of mucking about
with Number One's curse-- er, curing Number One's curse.
With a casual flick of her foot, she kicked the open book off her
desk. So far, _Advanced Biochemical Mutagen Factors_ had been
a dead-end all the way around. She still hadn't tried anything from
_Practical Bio-Engineering Applications and Techniques_ or her
_Time-Life Home Cellular Re-Structuring Manuals_, but she
couldn't escape the feeling that the answers wouldn't be in there,
"Perhaps... a whole new methodology is in order? Yes... App-
roach the problem from another direction!"
With a decisive nod, she gathered up her various science books
and set them aside. Then, going to her shelves, she began select-
ing a new set of texts to work from.
"Let's see, this _Necronomicon_ looks helpful..."
Number One prided himself on his ability to multi-task. It came
in especially handy when there was something unpleasant and
repetitive to be done, like cooking or washing dishes.
It was the latter he was stuck with at the moment. It had been
decided that each of the five crew members would take it in turn
to run the kitchen. There had been some spirited debate leading
up to that decision, but his argument of "Why should I cook when
there's three chicks aboard to do it?" hadn't won any converts to
his side and had left him with three dainty red handprints on his
face, so the motion had carried, four-to-one.
Still, there were worse things than dishwashing. Like being stuck
with large needles and having his vital fluids drawn out. He shiv-
ered and turned the page on his book to take his mind off it.
Multi-tasking. That was the way to do this. Use the time while
his hands scrubbed at the dishes to do a little reading and listen
to a bit of talk radio. Just the peaceful running water, a copy of
_Unintended Consequences_, and the gentle sound of Rush
Limbaugh tearing liberals to bits.
He took the pan he was scrubbing and dunked it in the cold rinse
water, changing to his female form without hardly noticing. "You
tell 'em, Rush!" she chirped as Limbaugh lit into a particularly
shrill caller. "Get on those Feminists!"
Oh, the ironies.
Diane sat at the computer, a look of mild disappointment on her
Recently, in an effort to get the Doctors off his back about his cap-
tives' treatment, Adric had permitted the Satellite to have an Inter-
net connection. Of course, he'd managed to work a bit of sadism
into even that seemingly generous act, by forcing them to use
"Nothing new on alt.binaries.pictures.studlyantiheroes," she mum-
bled. "Let's see if there's anything good on alt.fan.rail_claymore..."
A couple more mouse-clicks failed to brighten her up. "Nope.
just more trolls from alt.fan.kane_blueriver."
She idly glanced over a couple of trolls, just for something to do,
but they weren't even good for getting angry about. Mostly, they
were just comments about Rail's lack of a cape, something the
Kane Blueriver fans seemed to find amusing for some reason.
"Crap, I've got to find some livelier newsgroups. Let's see what
else Usenet has to offer..." A couple of clicks had her scrolling
through the list, but none of the many newsgroups seemed very
"Nothing... nothing... more nothing... porn... more nothing... more
porn... what the HELL!?!"
Doug and Helen shut down the Artificial Reality Machine and
took out the 'Bastard! vs. Slayers Fighting Tournament' CD,
chatting as they did so.
"Man, you're really good at that, Helen! I can't believe you've
never played it before."
Helen flashed a quick, feline smile. "I guess I just have a real aff-
inity for Naga the White Serpent. Her moves all just seem to
come naturally to me. But next time, I want to be Arshes-Nei.
She seems like a cool customer."
"All right," Doug replied, secretly a bit relieved and disappointed
at not getting to see Helen in Naga's battle-bikini again. "I think
I'll be Gourry next time..."
Helen giggled. "We should get Nyssa in here. Wouldn't she
make a rocking Lina Inverse?"
A cold chill slid down Doug's spine. Some things were never
meant to be contemplated, and a Nyssa/Lina hybrid was at the
top of that nightmarish list.
The two looked up sharply as the anguished cry echoed through
"That was Di!" Doug cried. A second later, he was charging out
of the room, Helen half a step behind.
"Byakhee ichor? Where am I supposed to get byakhee ichor?"
Nyssa demanded. This _Necronomicon_ had quite a few useful-
seeming procedures in it, but many of them called for some rather
exotic lab equipment and test ingredients. "Maybe I could synth-
esize a substitute... But, no, I don't have this Shining Trapezohe-
dron thingy either. Hmmph." She flipped to another page.
"Hey, now. Is this a transfiguration procedure? Excellent! And
the only non-standard equipment it calls for is a pentagram made
of shantak bones!" She very carefully opened her desk drawer
and pulled out a star-shaped ornament made of grayish and faintly
disgusting-looking bird bones. "And everyone laughed when I
bought this from that nice Egyptian peddler," she chuckled as she
carried it to her workbench. "Now, let the science commence!"
That sounded like Diane shrieking in anguish. Not being one to
miss out on something like that, Nyssa dropped what she was do-
ing and dashed out of the room.
Number One was just getting to one of the good bits in her book,
the part where Curt and Orville wipe out the ATF assassination
squad, her engrossment in the novel causing her vaunted 'multi-
tasking' abilities to slip a bit, to the point where Rush's deconst-
ruction of the latest Barney Frank speech had faded to a mere
background hum. She had also just washed the same skillet five
times, turning female with each rinse and back to male with each
return to the hot wash-water without apparently noticing.
Number One reacted instantly, dropping the skillet into the sink,
managing to splash herself enough to turn male again in the pro-
cess, then snatching up the nearest large kitchen knife. He was
out the door in under a second.
Doug, Mistress Helen, Nyssa, and Number One all barrelled onto
the bridge in that approximate order, prepared to do battle or effect
a rescue or gloat, whichever turned out to be most appropriate.
The four were somewhat surprised to find Diane simply sitting
peacefully in front of the computer monitor.
Doug glanced around for signs of a hull breach or alien boarding
party or Discordia's Witnesses or whatever had made his friend
scream like that, but everything seemed to be as normal as anything
ever was on the Satellite.
"Di," he asked, "are you okay? What's the matter?"
When the blonde turned to them a moment later, her face was a
mask of such outright horror that even Nyssa found herself dis-
turbed. Her voice was broken and toneless as she spoke the
fateful words that would forever change their lives...
"They've made a newsgroup about us..."
TO DIE FOR: MYSTERY PSYCHO THEATER 3000
[cue Theme Song]
o/~ In the not-too-distant future
Not too far from This Time Round
There was a girl named Nyssa whose
Sanity was not-quite-sound.
She and some others used to fuss and fight
And destroy the pub almost every night.
So the staff and patrons of that place
Used Borusa's Time-Scoop to stick them up in spaaaaace...
"You'll regret this!!"
"We'll send them crappy fiction
The worst we can find. (la-la-laaa)
They'll have to sit and read them all
To drive the violence from their minds." (la-la-laaa)
Now keep in mind only Adric controls
When the session begins or is through
As he tries to force some sense into
This completely unhinged crew.
PSYCHO ROLL CALL!
NYSSA! ("I am _not_ a happy bunny.")
DOUG! ("I'm the Good Guy.")
HELEN! ("Simply the best!")
NUMBER ONE! ("Go ahead, make my day.")
DIAAAAANE! ("Yeah, whatever.")
If you're wondering how they eat and breathe
And other science facts,
Just repeat to yourself, "It's just a 'fic.
I should really just relax."
'Cause it's Mystery Psycho Theater 3000!
[Interior bridge of the Satellite of Love]
[The Satellite's bridge is back to looking like a standard spaceship
control center, except for the addition of a personal computer at
one end of the console. Around the computer are clustered
DIANE (a pretty blonde woman dressed in shorts and a 'Nekomi
Tech Auto Club' t-shirt), NYSSA (a small, beautiful teenaged
girl with curly brown hair and wearing a white lab coat over her
dress), DOUG (a tall, lanky, ponytailed man wearing military
camouflage fatigues), NUMBER ONE (a short, dark man in jeans,
sunglasses, and a sleeveless 'Mikhail Kalashnikov World Tour'
t-shirt), and MISTRESS HELEN (a tall, well-endowed woman with
auburn hair, dressed in a leather catsuit and carrying a whip).
ALL are staring at the computer monitor as DIANE works the
DOUG: This seems most ominous...
NYSSA: Nothing good ever came from Usenet...
NUMBER ONE: It might not be so bad, you know...
HELEN: [looks up] (to audience) Oh, hello, darlings! Welcome
aboard the Satellite of Love! You've caught us at a bit of a bad
time, just now. It seems that Diane has just discovered that some-
one has created a Usenet newsgroup about us, alt.mpt3k.creative.
Let's see what lovely deviltry this little development turns up,
DOUG: (to DIANE) So, what goes on in this... newsgroup?
DIANE: [shudders] Fan fiction. And lots of it. [looks ill]
NUMBER ONE: Well, that doesn't seem too terrible. I mean,
there are some very good fanfic authors out there. It's just that
_we_ hardly ever get to read 'em.
DIANE: [closes eyes] Not here.
NYSSA: Not that I love fanfic, but how bad could that be? It's
not like we do much to write about. [shrugs]
DIANE: [looks ill and covers mouth] Just... look. You'll see.
[NYSSA leans over and clicks on something as the OTHERS all
NYSSA: [looking at monitor] Let's just click on this... oh, my.
'Satellite of Lust, Chapter 5'? Is that a...?
DIANE: (bleakly) Yes. It's a porn-fic. They're _all_ porn-fics.
NUMBER ONE: A porn-fic? Who's in it?
DOUG: [swallows hard] Even, ah...?
NYSSA: Those _perverts_! How dare they!?
DIANE: And that's one of the better ones, too. Try clicking on
the one called 'Lust for Vengeance'. [gags]
[NYSSA clicks again, then reads for a moment, her eyes widening
as she does.]
NYSSA: (shocked) Oh, my... That's just... The nerve! Who in
their right mind would write a story like this?!
HELEN: (to NYSSA) Why, what's in it?
NYSSA: (shocked) To summarize, certain ones of us appear to
have become the sex-slaves of a gang of characters from stories
that we've riffed. How they managed to make a Nazi lesbian
bitch-goddess out of Current Companion is a mystery I'd sooner
not have explained to me.
NUMBER ONE: (interested) Am I in that one?
NYSSA: [backhands NUMBER ONE]
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE, sickly) Actually, there's a whole
series devoted to you. Nyssa, click on 'Private Therapy'.
NYSSA: [clicks mouse] Okay, let's see... (reading) 'Chains rat-
tled slightly as the Disciplinarian unfettered his aching, longing
captive. "Is time for new session," Francois husked as he began
unbuttoning the little redhead's torn shirt, his paws gliding lightly
over her tender...'
NUMBER ONE: (enraged) AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!! I'll
kill the bastard who wrote that!
HELEN: [looking at monitor] Hmph. How pedestrian. [yawns]
[A light begins to flash on the console.]
DOUG: Oops. Kinsey, Masters, and Johnson are calling.
[Interior back room at This Time Round]
[The room is filled with a mixture of electronic command-and-
control equipment, computers, and pub supplies. Behind the
control console stand ADRIC (a black-haired teenager in an
expensive tailored suit) and HARRY (a handsome thirtyish man
with curly hair, wearing a barman's apron). BOTH are smiling
broadly, while ADRIC toys with a rolled-up paper in his hand.]
ADRIC: Hello again, Knight Sabres! Are we ready for today's
dose of merchandisable agony?
DIANE: Hah! After what I've just been reading, nothing you
can send can hurt me!
ADRIC: And that would be...? [looks at console] Ah! You've
discovered the joys of one of your Usenet groups, have you?
Well, well. You know, it really is a shame that I can't cull some
material from that one to use in these sessions, but unfortunately
the recursive effects of you reading a fanfic about yourselves,
which would then form the basis of a new fanfic which you would
then read, would cause some difficulties.
DOUG: Would it lead to one of those spatial-distortion and dim-
ensional implosion things, like in 'Castrovalva'?
ADRIC: No. It would just be dumb. So, anyway, I have a special
little announcement to make before I give you your dose of literary
castor oil today. (to HARRY) Music, please.
[HARRY nods and turns on a cassette-player, which begins play-
ing 'Pomp and Circumstance'.]
ADRIC: As we all know, MPT3k, Inc. has of late had some diffi-
culties with a certain outlaw organization that styles itself the so-
called 'Tegan World Order'. And, while I have borne the crimes
and insults of these pirates with much stoic forbearance, still the
plight of our Corporation has not gone unnoticed. In recent days,
I received a lengthy missive from a loyal viewer of ours, express-
ing his outrage and disgust at these vicious attacks. More than
this, he offered a potential solution in the form of a plan that was
quite impressive in both its scope and its total lack of anything
resembling scruples. I shall not go into details, but suffice it to
say that it involved committing acts against these terrorist outlaws
that would break several laws and most of the more basic rules of
morality, ethics, and etiquette. What's more, it would have suc-
Unfortunately, this remarkable piece of scheming was reluctantly
deemed to be impractical for the moment, as the current media
culture frowns on such tactics. However, the young man's loyalty
touched us all with its sincerity, and so it is my honor and privilege
to make the following announcement... [unrolls paper]
By the powers vested in me by all the money I make here, I, as
General Manager of MPT3k, Inc., do hereby appoint Mr. David S.
Rubin to the position of Executive Director of the Official MPT3k
Corporate Fan Club. By his display of loyalty, intelligence, and
amoral opportunism, Mr. Rubin sets a fine example of the virtues
of character that have made this Corporation great. Thus, he is
our chosen hatchet-man to be absolute ruler over all of MPT3k
Fandom! All hail Executive Director Rubin!
[HARRY turns off the music as he and ADRIC start applauding.]
NYSSA: [rubs forehead] Oh, cruk, he's got a protege now.
DIANE: An official _fan club_? First a newsgroup, now this?
NUMBER ONE: It's depressing that there are people out there
who have so little to do. Don't they have _jobs_?
ADRIC: [wipes eye and sniffles] Sorry. I just get a bit emotional
when I see such a promising young man starting down the path to
HARRY: (to ADRIC) I know what you mean, Old Boy. I felt the
same way the first time I saw Gary Coleman.
[ADRIC stares at HARRY, who just keeps smiling at him.
ADRIC: Riiiiiight... So, anyway, it's time for viewer mail, as if
you didn't know.
[ADRIC stands expectantly, but nothing happens. He glances
ADRIC: (loudly) I said, it's time for viewer mail!
FRANCOIS: (off-screen) Oh! Be right there!
[FRANCOIS the Ogron (a huge, bestial-looking humanoid) enters
from the left, carrying an envelope.]
FRANCOIS: So sorry. Was just looking at story on Usenet.
[hands envelope to ADRIC]
ADRIC: (to FRANCOIS, slyly) Fan fiction, eh? You weren't
reading 'Private Therapy' by any chance, were you?
FRANCOIS: (startled) What?! No, no, no! Francois not read
such things! Aheh heh heh... And, just for record, Francois hav-
ing no desire for little mirror-eyes half-girl at all! Not care at all
how ripe breasts swell out like little melons or how innocently
vulnerable such girl look when chained naked to wall! So, there!
[DOUG and DIANE are collapsed in laughter, while HELEN and
NYSSA attempt to keep NUMBER ONE from slashing his wrists
with the kitchen knife.]
NUMBER ONE: [struggling] Let me go! Re-incarnation is my
[ADRIC tries to stifle a fit of giggles as FRANCOIS exits to the
ADRIC: So... [giggles] Ahem. So, anyhow, let's see what we
have today. [opens envelope and scans letter] Ah. Today's
letter is from Bobbi H. in the little town of Frasier-Bahlzhoff,
Saskatchewan, and she has a question for Mistress Helen. She
writes: [reading] "I just want to ask Helen, what's the deal, eh?
You chase after Diane all the time, eh, when she isn't interested
in you a bit, eh. With four people to choose from, why do you
focus on the one who doesn't want you, eh? Sincerely you
hosers, Bobbi." Well, Helen?
[NYSSA has gotten the knife away from NUMBER ONE and
everyone is settled down.]
HELEN: Well, my little slab of back-bacon, the reasons are ob-
vious if you think about them. I can't go after Doug, even though
he makes an adorable Dark Schneider, for the simple reason that
he's married, and a master angler never fishes in another's spot.
I can't try to get Nyssa in the sack, because I like my anatomy in
its present arrangement. And as for Number One, while he has
the appealing advantage of being an instant threesome -- just add
water -- there's just no challenge there. A master angler doesn't
net goldfish out of a fountain, either, and getting Number One
into bed would take even less effort than that.
NUMBER ONE: I'd be offended if that weren't so true.
NYSSA: [scowls and elbows NUMBER ONE in the ribs]
HELEN: So, that just leaves Diane, the forbidden fruit. She's the
challenge I aim for; a cute, blonde Holy Grail. The true test of my
skill as a seducer is to change her mind and get her to give me a
toss in the sheets.
DIANE: (to HELEN) I'd rather toss myself out the airlock.
HELEN: Isn't she adorable?!
ADRIC: Thank you, Helen. I'm certain that you just inspired a
whole new round of trashy Usenet porn-fics. And, while we're on
the subject of aesthetic pain, I've got a double-dose for you today,
and what they lack in length, they make up for in painful variety.
You get the easy stage first, to get you off-balance: a little ficlet
from the Land Down Under called 'The Anorak-Wearing Man'.
Then comes the knockout blow: a happy little spam dredged up
from the depths of talk.politics.guns called 'Twenty Reasons Why
You Should Join the Ku Klux Klan'! We'll prove that size doesn't
HELEN: Actually, size _does_ matter. We just say that so men's
feelings won't be hurt.
[DIANE and NYSSA nod agreement.]
ADRIC: Crud. I _knew_ I should've said 'Eat my shorts' instead.
Ah, well. Send them the fanfic, Harry!
HARRY: Righty-ho! [presses a large and conspicuous button on
[Various alarms, lights, and sirens go off as general chaos ensues.]
ALL: Aaaaah! We've got fanfic sign!
[ALL run off.]
Notes - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four