NUMBER ONE: (to audience) The 'Asuka and Shinji' scene from
'Neon Genesis Evangelion', ladies and gentlemen.
>Here's a summary of the meeting. We have decided to form a
NUMBER ONE: They were promptly sued by Jesse Jackson for
>composed of our 20 ships and 5 other ships estimated to arrive in
>the system within the next hour or so.
DIANE: (Church Lady) How conveeeeenient!
>We have 5 freighters, one of which equiped with neutron missles;
DIANE: (to NYSSA) I notice you aren't picking out every single
grammar and spelling error in this one.
NYSSA: That's because if I did, we'd be here all day and none of
you lot would ever get a word in edgewise.
>1 medium cruiser, an old design dating back to the last Earth-
>Dalek war with no missiles but plenty of laser banks, particle
DOUG: ...wave motion guns, kill-o-zap blasters, t-ray guns,
brickbats, folding metal chairs, two-handed battle spatulas...
>and rail guns; 10 heavy fighters of varying make and armament; 4
>medium fighters, including mine. The expected 5 additional ships
NUMBER ONE: ...Galaxy Police cruisers commanded by Mihoshi.
DIANE: They are _so_ doomed.
>1 scout capable of amazing speeds and 4 additional destroyers
DOUG: ...including the _Soyokaze_.
DIANE: They are only marginally less doomed.
>from the private world of Theta Prime, one of the first Earth
>colonies in this sector which became an independent goverment
>100 years ago.
HELEN: (Thoreau) Aside from paranoia and post-traumatic stress
disorder, Captain Hunter also suffers from acute expositophrenia.
>"Our leadership consists of me and two other experienced
>commanders. Capt. Dreklar of *Pelago* is our 'Admiral', I am in
>charge of the improvised fighter squadron, and Cmdr. Gretzle of
>the cruiser *Jolly Roger* is in charge of the cruisers.
NYSSA: I thought there was only the one cruiser?
DOUG: (Dreklar) I say that Hunter, Gretzle, and myself should be
in charge. What do you other captains think?
HELEN: (other captain) Well, I think--
DOUG: (Dreklar) It doesn't matter what you think!
>"Now we have a navy! NOW, we can show these damn Cybermen
>that we humans aren't to be pushed around.
DIANE: Killed, maimed, tortured, and Cyber-converted, sure, but
not pushed around.
>We'll strike back and we'll strike back hard!"
NUMBER ONE: And here I was thinking they were going to pass
around some petitions and maybe write some letters to the
>::Hunter is sitting erect on his acceleration couch yelling various
>curses at the unseen Cybermen::
DOUG: (Rick Hunter) Your mother was a Ford Anglia! Eat gold
and die, motherconverters! I hope you're all prematurely obsolete!
><<Now, Capt. Hunter is beginning to lose the control he had a few
HELEN: (to NYSSA) Yes, thank you, you've made that point
>ago. I think, however, this is good for him, this could be
>considered to be just a little letting off of steam. Hopefully he can
>retain stability during battle.>>
NUMBER ONE: (Thoreau) Although I doubt it, since he tends to
fly into screaming berserker rages just from playing Chinese
>::after a couple of minutes, he has calmed down and is again
>strapped to the chair::
HELEN: And ball-gagged, I should hope.
>"Thoreau, hail the *Pelago*."
DOUG: (Thoreau) If you insist, sir... Ave _Pelago_! Morituri te
NUMBER ONE: [collapses laughing] How incredibly apt! [high-
><Hailing... *Pelago* responding, on screen...>
>::Capt. Dreklar is sitting in his chair in the *Pelago's* cockpit::
HELEN: Ooh, there's another word I'm quite fond of! (to DIANE)
I'd love to have a flight in _your_ cockpit, darling.
DIANE: (to HELEN) Try it, and I guarantee you'll crash and burn.
>"Hello Capt. Hunter. Is your squadron ready?"
>"The fighters are at full readiness. They await your orders."
DOUG: (Dreklar) Very well. Change your Veritech to Guardian
mode and attack the Zentraedi forces in sector--
DIANE: (Rick Hunter) For the last time, I'm not _that_ Rick
DOUG: (Dreklar) Oh, so there's not much chance of you getting
me any free Minmay concert tickets, is there?
DIANE: (Rick Hunter) Aaaaugh!
>::Rick has to keep himself from grimacing at the
NYSSA: ...way he's being written.
>fact that he has to take orders from someone that he does not
>really know. He does, however make a point that _they_ await
>Dreklar's orders, not neccessarily he::
NUMBER ONE: But it also makes the point that _they_ are
awaiting Dreklar's orders, not necessarily _his_.
>"Okay. I want 2 heavy fighters escorting each of the light cruisers
NYSSA: I reiterate: five freighters, fourteen fighters, one cruiser,
one scout, and four destroyers. So just where did these light
cruisers show up from?! Isn't even the _author_ paying attention?!
[NUMBER ONE reaches over and pours her drink on NYSSA's
NUMBER ONE: (to NYSSA) You were starting to smolder.
NYSSA: [wiping away cola] Bleah. Sticky. (to NUMBER ONE)
I don't see how you stand getting this done to you all the time.
>and freighters, 2 medium fighters with the scout, and 2 medium
>fighters with the medium cruiser *Jolly Roger*.
DOUG: He could super-size that cruiser for another 49 cents.
>I want you to be with the scout. At my command, you three will
>proceed to the 3rd planet, Nigel Prime. You are to find out the
>strength of the invading forces and get to the 4th planet as fast as
DOUG: (announcer) Join the Nigel II freedom fighters, where
we've heard of this concept called 'combat training', but have no
truck with it!
>We'll meet you in low orbit so as to scramble the Cybermen's
DIANE: ...and limit your ability to maneuver. But then, that whole
'tactics' thing is over-rated anyway.
NUMBER ONE: (to DIANE) Spoken like a true ADF soldier!
DIANE: (to NUMBER ONE) Bite me, Numerator.
>Relay these orders to the *Searcher's* commander and to the
>fighter you choose as wingman. Leave as soon as possible.
NUMBER ONE: Yes, you are.
>"Yes, quite. Hunter out."
>::Hunter cuts the communication:: "Agggh!! It's the Navy all over
HELEN: Oh, please. This was _your_ idea, angst-boy. Suck it up
>Calm, yourself Rick... soon the Cybermen will be but scrap metal
>floating in space."
><<I have consulted many sources and I am still not sure about
>Capt. Hunter's stability.
DOUG: (Thoreau) I am not certain whether the term 'nutjob' or
'basket case' is more accurate.
>Some databases say that talking to oneself is a sign of mental
>instability, others that it is a common human trait.
NUMBER ONE: (Thoreau) But they all agree that the box full of
love letters to Jodie Foster is a bad sign.
>I must ask him about it later>>
>::Hunter orders the fighter *Helena* and the scout *Searcher*
>and the three of them head out to the 3rd planet at maximum
>cruising speed. Minutes go by.
NYSSA: ...which could be any length of time in this story, really.
>Suddenly, the radar starts beeping like crazy. Three huge blips
>come up on the screen.::
HELEN: But then they turned out to just be one of Lister's old,
>"Thoreau, are we in visual range?"
><Yes, sir. On screen now...>
>::There are three, enormous ships on the screen. Each wear the
>insignia and tell-tale signs of Cybermen.
DIANE: Such as the stuffed Cyril the Cybermat suction-cupped on
the back window and the bumpersticker with 'Don't blame me, I
voted to return to Telos!' on it.
>Three fighters erupt from a hangar bay of the middle ship. They
>perform very high-g maneouvres that no human could survive
>long. *Michael* and *Helena* get between *Searcher* and the
ALL: (flatly) Ooh. Ah.
>Beams of highly concentrated radiation erupt from the ships.
NYSSA: Any more eruptions and this paragraph will look like
>The humans attempt to dodge them, *Helena* is scraped along
>the belly but otherwise the shots missed. *Michael* fires two
>blasts from the particle cannon turret at one of the fighters. It
>dodges the first, but is vaporized by the second. *Helena* fires
>image recognition missiles at the remaining fighters.
DIANE: ...which are immediately struck and... uh... recognized.
>Each are hit, but one still survives it. *Michael* finishes it with a
>pirouette of laser fire.
DOUG: Battle choreography by Isadora Duncan.
>*Searcher* finishes off its detailed scans and speeds away. The
>two escorts follow. They make it to the 5th planet without further
NUMBER ONE: Stuff happened. It was cool.
>*Searcher* broadcasts its scans to the other ships. Capt. Drexlar
DIANE: ...twisted clone of Dreklar...
>broadcasts on a wide-beam channel to his fleet.::
>"You all know your duties,
NYSSA: Die early and often!
>let's get in defense pattern zeta-alpha. If I know those soulless
>bastards they'll be here any minute."
HELEN: (Dreklar) And after the Tory MPs arrive, you can bet that
the Cybermen will be right behind.
>::The fleet leaves orbit and hides itself within the asteroid belt::
NUMBER ONE: Ooh! Tactics, for a change.
DOUG: Tactics that depend upon the Cybermen being incredibly
stupid for success, so I don't see--
NUMBER ONE: (to DOUG, interrupting) 'Revenge of the
DOUG: [shakes head] Right. Never mind.
>"This log system is just gonna be a nuuisance in battle. Keep the
>black box on but stop recording, I'm going to need not only this
>ship's, but your full attention, Thoreau."
NYSSA: It'd be nice if he had the author's full attention.
><<That was a lie, the log is totally passive, but he probably
>doesn't want anybody else to know if he fails until afterwards.
DIANE: Erm, perhaps I'm just dense--
NYSSA: You are.
DIANE: --but I thought the only way failure could be judged is
after the fact anyway.
>Just another behaviour pattern I'm going to have to learn to deal
>~DATE (Earth Standard) : 5.March.2528
>~TIME (Ship's, 24-hour) : 05:45
><<In the past 30 minutes or so,
NYSSA: ...which, given the way time operates in this story, could
be several months long...
>brief skirmishes have developed into an outright naval battle. The
>Cybermen have experienced numerous casualities to the makeshift
>human resistance fleets, but the humans have had just as many
>losses. The ratio calculates to approximately 1.5:1, with the
>Cybermen in the advantage.
DOUG: Then, they haven't had 'just as many' losses then, have
NYSSA: (to DOUG) Just give it up. This fanfic is like California.
Few words and no numbers have any real meaning here.
>The human commanders have repeatedly outwitted the Cybermen
>when matching pure tactics, the logic-oriented Cybermen can't
>defend against human irrationality and intuition.
NUMBER ONE: (human pilot) I know! I'll throw them off by flying
directly into their gunsights! That should keep them off-balance!
>They have, however, made up for it in sheer numbers. The
HELEN: Tell me this: if crime-fighters fight crime and firefighters
fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?
>have had to use pure tactics and human inginuity in order to fight
>the Cyberman menace.
NYSSA: Fine as far as it goes, but I find that a horkin' big gun
DOUG: (to NYSSA) On Cybermen?
NYSSA: On anything.
>When fighting, there have been, at the most, 2 human fighters to 3
>Cyberman fighters of equivilant armament. Capt. Hunter is
DIANE: ...to a bad-tempered tomboy, a transvestite chef, and a
NUMBER ONE: Heh. Now I'm picturing one of the Cybermen
yelling, 'Curse you, Rick Hunter! I shall defeat you and free the
pigtailed cyborg from your vile organic clutches!'
>with a wing of heavy fighters. In the beginning, I would have
>thought he would lose, the Cyberman fighters being state-of-the-
NYSSA: 'State-of-the-line'. You have to admire an AI that's smart
enough to invent its own idiom like that.
>After seeing him in battle personally, however, he has a very
>good chance of winning.
DIANE: Thoreau obviously didn't look at the title of this story.
>He recently had me plot the probability of winning but not to tell
DOUG: (Harrison Ford) Never tell me the-- (normal) Oh, wait, I
already did that one...
>just to insert it into the log.
HELEN: ...just so everyone will know what a cool suicidal angst-
boy he is.
DOUG: (grumbling) Duo Maxwell wanna-be.
NUMBER ONE: (to DOUG) This was written way before 'Gundam
Wing' came out.
DOUG: Oh... But still...
>After assembling our fleet, it was have been 1 in 2,890.
DIANE: 'Was have been'?
NYSSA: That's actually the correct grammar when you factor in all
the time distortion in this story.
DIANE: Yeah, right.
NYSSA: [holds up a book] Dr. Streetmentioner's book on temporal
syntax. Check page eight.
[DIANE takes the book and turns to the correct page. She reads
for a moment, then her eyes widen a bit.]
DIANE: Well, I'll be damned...
>Now, I estimate it to be around 1 in 800. Hardly sporting by my
>standards but my captain would be feeling quite pleased with
>himself, probably contributing their success to his skills.
DOUG: Um, okay...
>Having reviewed the following already, this forward should be
>enough of me in this log.>>
HELEN: I can't abide forward machines. They should know their
>"Hey, I've talked a lot in this log, let's let my actions speak for
NUMBER ONE: (Rick Hunter) Have I mentioned that I'm Billy
>::On the forward screen, a wing of 3 Cyberman fighters are
>performing evasive maneuvers.
NYSSA: [applauds] He spelled it right this time. I think we're
all rather proud of our little author right about now.
>Beams of concentrated energy
NYSSA: As opposed to beams of dispersed energy, which
wouldn't actually _be_ beams...
>lance from the *Michael's* unseen turret at the wingman.
DOUG: He's shooting up his own wingman? He _is_ a psycho!
NUMBER ONE: (to DOUG) Obviously you've never played
'Crimson Skies'. After about the third or fourth midair collision
with Jack, you'll make killing your wingman a top mission priority.
>It dodges the first volley but is slammed by the second and third,
>ripping it in half. The wingmen regroup and turn around, releasing
>a wave of heat-seeking missiles as they spin.
DOUG: Okay, so it's apparently a Cyberman fighter he just nailed.
NYSSA: Pity. I've started rooting for them.
>*Michael* turns tail and fires up its afterburners.::
HELEN, NYSSA, DOUG, and DIANE: (singing) High-way to the
NUMBER ONE: (grumbling) Joy. A crap '80s music ref and a crap
'80s movie ref combined.
>"Let's give these 'bots a run for their money"
DOUG: Kick the tires and light the fires, Big Daddy!
>::*Michael* does a tight 180. The missiles attempt to follow but
>lose the lock as their quarry burns the afterburners and charges
>the other Cyberman fighters.
HELEN: (Mel Brooks) Use the Schwartz, Lone Star!
>The missiles regain a lock not on the *Michael*, but on a
>Cyberman. The fighter is confused for a minute but trys to use
>counter-measures developed to evade human-made missiles, not
NYSSA: I've changed my mind. If these idiots can't even devise
effective countermeasures against a heat-seeking missile -- for
example, a simple magnesium flare -- then I'm not rooting for them.
>The missile hits and the fighter is instantly vaporized.::
DOUG: That's 'Boo-yah!'
DIANE: In this instance, I think 'bull' is far more appropriate.
>Fried that sucker! Lez' take out this other one."
HELEN: So, his wingman is a lesbian, or what? I'm getting so lost.
NYSSA: (to HELEN) It's like a tar pit. The more you flail around at
it, the more mired you get.
>::Capt. Hunter switches from the close-counters particle cannon to
>the more reliable laser quad. *Michael* swerves away from the
>debris created by some inapportune fighter.
NUMBER ONE: You have to admire an author who doesn't limit
himself by only using words that actually exist.
>He finally gets the other wingman in his sights. He doesn't bother
>with the auto-targeting system or trying to lock on to the fighter
>with the remaining missiles he has.
DOUG: (Alec Guinness) Trust your feelings, Luke.
>The lasers firing in bursts of two. He leads his prey into the
>position he wants, and cuts its engines from it, leaving the cockpit
DIANE: (Calvin) Once again, Spaceman Spiff is about to teach
vicious alien scum that virtue is its own reward!
NYSSA: [sniffs air] I think I sense sadism on the wind... [leans
forward to watch]
>Knowing that his enemy has no more defenses left he gets within
>metres from the cockpits front, and blasts away at it.
NYSSA: Of course, to a true connoisseur, the sadism of this act
is tempered by the fact that Cybermen are unable to express fear
of death. For that reason, I give it... [holds up scorecard] ...a 5.5.
The fact that he made no clever one-liner as he butchered his
helpless opponent counts against him as well...
[NYSSA looks over to see that the OTHERS have all eased away
NYSSA: (to OTHERS) What?
>Debris is all that remains.::
>"Whohoo!! That should impress the folks back home. Turn it off,
DOUG: Yes, please do.
>~DATE (Earth Standard) : 5.March.2528
>~TIME (Ship's, 24-hour) : 11:30
NYSSA: Six hours later, which in this story is enough time for the
Earth's Sun to undergo gravitational collapse...
>"What the hell! Thoreau, hail the *Pelago*! Audio only!"
HELEN: (Rick Hunter) I don't want that dreamy Captain Dreklar to
see me when I look such a fright!
><*Pelago* responding, their on sir.>
>::the husky voice
NUMBER ONE: ...and malamute face...
>of Capt. Dreklar engulfs the ship::
DIANE: Oh, he's got a Blautechpunktnik stereo, just like the one
>"Capt. Dreklar here. Report."
>"Sir! A Cyberman corvair has warped into the system,
ALL: [break up laughing]
DOUG: ...and it's unsafe at any speed!
NUMBER ONE: (Rick Hunter) It hasn't got much armament, but
you should _see_ the chrome work on this baby!
DIANE: (Rick Hunter) It'll be my toughest battle since I took on
that Dalek Rambler!
>just outside the belt. No fighter escort but man she can cook. I've
>already lost a wing of medium fighters to her. Get your ass out
>here if you can! I'm sending telemetry to you now but am signing
NYSSA: Signing of what?
>Wish me luck."
DIANE: (brightly) Okay! Hope you die! [shrugs] He didn't
specify _good_ luck, after all.
NUMBER ONE: ...take McCall with you!
DOUG: (to NUMBER ONE) Nice one, Mr. Obscurity... Er, Miss
>"Cut it, Thoreau."
>::Dreklar is cut off at mid sentence as the connection is dropped.
>Suddenly, two blasts from a high-charge particle cannon erupt
>from the corvair bothe miss but
NYSSA: ...strike the paragraph instead, shattering the punctuation
and fusing the sentences together.
>toast *Michael*'s external radio antennae::
>::Hunter puts the missile system on-line.
DOUG: He hopes to make enough off it on e-Bay to cover his
>He dodges repeated laser blasts from the corvair::
NYSSA: He writes simple declarative sentences.
>"Lock on will ya!"
>::The missile system finally blips on the screen, confirming a
>positive lock. A proton torpedo speeds its way toward the
HELEN: ...aiming for a small thermal exhaust port, here, about
two meters square.
DIANE: (to HELEN) Yeah, but Hunter never could bullseye a
womprat back home...
>It is cut down by numerous turbolasers.::
ALL: (chanting) Air-ball! Air-ball!
>::All the banks of the Cyberman ships
NYSSA: I thought there was only the one... [snickers] ...corvair?
NUMBER ONE: Nah, it's been joined by a light edsel and a
>instantly come on line, targeted at *Michael*. Space is lit up by
>the greens, blues, and reds
DOUG: (stoner) Whoa, man! The colors, man!
>of particle cannon, turbolasers, disintigrators,
NUMBER ONE: ...gunblades, frap rays, Mars Flame Snipers, Skuld
Bombs, shojo mallets...
>and other energy weapons. *Michael* valiantly attempts to
>dodge them but is pummeled blast by blast::
NUMBER ONE: (Rick Hunter, as Adric) Now I'll never know if I
was right... OWW!
DOUG: [whaps NUMBER ONE on the head]
NYSSA: And we have our title!
HELEN: (singing) Ding-dong! The angst-boy's dead!
NUMBER ONE: (director) Cut! Print it! Lock it in a box! Throw
it in the river! Kill the witnesses!
[The lights come back on and ALL get up and leave the theater.]
[Door sequence: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6...]
[SOL bridge interior]
[DIANE and NYSSA are at the computer, while DOUG and HELEN
occupy opposite ends of the couch, watching TV. NUMBER ONE
sits in the background, staring at a picture of her male form and
DOUG: Anything good on Usenet?
DIANE: Nope. Just a typical rec.arts.mpt3k flamewar.
HELEN: Over what?
NYSSA: Can't really tell for sure. Something called 'Pro-Meteor
Trolls' appear to be involved, though.
[In the background, NUMBER ONE listlessly picks up a Sony
Discman and puts the headphones on.]
DIANE: Anything good on TV?
DOUG: Nope. Just a typical 'Sailor Who' battle.
NYSSA: Over what?
HELEN: Can't really tell for sure. Something called 'Anti-Spam
Power Nuggets' appear to be involved, though.
[As NUMBER ONE listens to the headphones, her sulky
expression begins to change. Abruptly, she crushes the picture
and walks quickly off to the left. DOUG watches her leave. A
period of silence ensues, during which DOUG looks increasingly
DOUG: Is anybody but me concerned about how depressed
she is? I think maybe somebody should, you know, talk to her,
DIANE: [shrugs] Not me. We can barely stand each other.
NYSSA: (to DOUG) If you're concerned, why don't you talk to
her yourself? You two get along most times, after all.
DOUG: But she's still the enemy... sort of. Anyway, I have enough
trouble persuading Siobhan that you lot aren't my 'harem' as it is,
without doing any 'bonding'. Besides, Nyssa, it's really your fault
this happened in the first place.
NYSSA: I already _said_ I was sorry. Plus I gave her my Megumi
Hayashibara CD. What more do you want from me?
HELEN: (to NYSSA) I think Doug may be right, darling. All this
moping about can't be doing her any good.
NYSSA: That's why I gave her my Megumi CD.
DOUG: [sighs] I don't think that's quite...
[ALL look as NUMBER ONE enters from the left. She still has the
headphones on, but has changed into a denim miniskirt and a crop-
top. Her expression is much more upbeat.]
DOUG: Umm... Uh... Yeah.
HELEN: Ah, well... (to NUMBER ONE) Er, what's with your
wardrobe change, darling? And why do you seem so much more
cheerful? Not that that's a bad thing.
NUMBER ONE: [takes off headphones] Well, you can only sulk
around so long. All we can do in this world is make the best of
what we have. So, I just figure that if this is me from now on, I
might as well make the most of it.
DOUG: So, what caused this sudden change of heart?
NUMBER ONE: [shrugs] I dunno. I was just listening to this
Megumi Hayashibara CD and everything just kind of fell into place
all of a sudden. [puts headphones back on]
[DOUG, DIANE, and HELEN turn to stare at NYSSA, who just
NYSSA: I told you. Don't underestimate the power of Megumi's
[A light on the console begins to flash.]
DOUG: Ah, yeah. Time to see what Pinko and the Brain want.
[Interior, Tegan World Order Headquarters]
[TEGAN stands behind the console, looking entirely too pleased
with herself. VARNE, still male, stands beside her, flexing and
TEGAN: Back again, my bourgeois basket-cases. I hope you were
suitably chastened by the glorious might of the People's Fanfic.
Are you ready to admit your dialectically-inevitable defeat?
DOUG: Nyet, comrade.
DIANE: Afraid not.
HELEN: I have a high pain threshold.
NYSSA: I wouldn't give you the satisfaction even if I _was_
NUMBER ONE: Hahaha! Your puny fanfic can never darken a
soul that is intent on victory! There is no fear, only love and
strength and glory!
OTHERS: [stare at NUMBER ONE]
DIANE: (to NYSSA) Um, just what's on that CD?
NYSSA: I should've warned her not to listen to too many songs in
TEGAN: (angrily) Is that so? Well, sheila, I've got news for you!
I've got a 200 kilobyte conspiracy rant here, and you'e going back
in the theater and facing it right this instant! What do you say to
TEGAN: (to VARNE) What?
VARNE: [shrugs] I just had the strangest premonition of a meteor.
TEGAN: Not you, too! For the last time, there is _no_ meteor!
Now take your beefcake butt over there and send them the rant,
[VARNE, scowling, starts toward the console when a loud
whistling sound -- a cartoon falling-bomb noise -- fills the air.
BOTH look up just as something comes plunging through the
ceiling, knocking down most of it and leaving a huge cloud of
dust. The dust clears a little, revealing a crater in the floor and
TEGAN's and VARNE's twitching feet sticking out of a pile of
rubble. As more dust settles, a figure slowly pulls itself up out
of the crater. It is scorched, battered, and covered in dirt from
head to toe, but it is also somewhat familiar-looking, especially
the bell-bottom jeans and the 'Hillary Clinton' t-shirt...]
NEGA-ONE: Oh my! I hope my fiery re-entry hasn't caused
anyone undue alarm.
[At that moment, the rest of the ceiling caves in. As the debris
strikes the console, the scene goes black.]
>The lights sometimes seemed as if they had formed themselves
>into patterns, arbitrary and haphazard - a higgledy-piggledy
>cascade of shining dots.