[SCENE: The SUPERVISOR's office. On the desk in front of him is an inkwell, a
table light, and a copy of The Mirror, whilst on the shelves to his side there
are books by Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson, a
selection of CDs including Johnny Cash, Eva Cassidy and Norah Jones, and a mini
hi-fi. Quite what this says about his tastes is difficult to work out, but it's
[The SUPERVISOR himself is leaning back in his chair, whilst SARAH has taken the
chair opposite, her coat slung over the back.]
SARAH: I'm currently talking to the Supervisor of Look Who's Talking - I take it
it's just 'the Supervisor', right?
SUPERVISOR: [nods] Right.
SARAH: Okay. Let's start at the beginning. Why exactly did you need to raise
money for the day care centre?
SUPERVISOR: All right. First things first, we don't ask parents for fees - Look
Who's Talking is free for anyone to use. In actual fact, (chuckles gently), it's
a registered charity.
SARAH: [blinks] Then where do you get the money? I mean, all this...
SUPERVISOR: Most of the money we receive has come from private donations. So
far, they've been enough to keep us going - until now, at least.
Besides, the kids are pretty good at bringing in money themselves - treasure
hunts, stock trading, salvage duties...
SARAH: [blinks again] I'm sorry, did you say _stock trading?!_
SUPERVISOR: [shrugs] Hey, they do a lot better than most stockbrokers I know -
throw the names of the FTSE 100 into a hat, and the ones they pull out are the
ones they invest in. Of course, that's when they're just playing. When they get
_serious_... whoo, boy.
SUPERVISOR: After all, they _do_ have a vested interest in seeing that Look
Who's Talking stays solvent - so they put most of the money they make straight
back into the centre.
SARAH: So why...
SUPERVISOR: We've had repeated influxes of newcomers over the past couple of
years - fortunately, the place is dimensionally transcendental, so _that's_ no
problem. What _was_ the problem was the fact that the money we had coming in was
barely able to support that many toddlers - and towards Christmas last year, we
reached breaking point.
In the end, we made the decision to begin asking for public donations...
...which was when Amber stepped in.
She'd been one of our supporters since the middle of last year - and when she
heard about our decision, she offered to find a way to help out.
[The SUPERVISOR chuckles again.]
SUPERVISOR: I think it's safe to say none of us were expecting _this_, though.
SARAH: [manages to raise an eyebrow] You can say _that_ again... Thank you,
Supervisor. You've been very helpful.
SUPERVISOR: You're welcome, Sarah.
SARAH: And now, back to the studio...
AMBER: Thank you, Sarah. Now, it's time for the traditional introduction for
Paul Gadzikowski as presenter of the Best Comedy Short Fiction Award.
Mr Gadzikowski has been a presence on adwc since 1995, with a prolific output of
fics and cartoons that includes 'King Arthur In Time And Space', the Peri arc,
and a wide range of crossovers and satires. He's also been a massive help in
collating and tabulating tonight's voting.
So... without further ado, here's Paul!
(CUT TO: As ever, when Gadzikowski is called to make an Adrics
Best Comedy presentation, he doesn't appear himself. PERI and
DESTRII are at the presentation podium.)
Hi, I'm Perpegilliam Brown, the sixth Doctor companion from tv.
Hi, I'm Destriianatos, the eighth Doctor companion from the DOCTOR WHO
Magazine comic. You know, Peri, we have a lot in common.
(smile getting a little stiffer)
You mean, both being nominees for the Best DOCTOR WHO Character Adric for
Actually that's an interesting coincidence, because that's not at all what
I'm nothing like you.
We're practically sisters!
You're a murdering sociopath.
(her smile is as easy as PERI's isn't, but just as cold)
I'm a self-centered princess, always in moral conflict with my Doctor -
I am not a -
And then there's the whole cross-phylum mindswap thing
The 2002 Adric nominees for Best Comedy Short Fiction are: (reads off cue
card): 'Another Conversation in TTR' by Ken Young.
(On the screen behind the PRESENTERS, a scene from the nominated story
appears - or in this case, due to its brevity, the whole story:)
> Magnus "Yes I have been in a couple of situations where I was
> Varne "You bet, we once ended up on same cruise as Jessica
(reads off cue card)
'What Kind of Story is That?' by David S Rubin.
(On the screen:)
> "Oh, Doctor, this is delicious!"
> "Yes, Charley, I know. You've had four plates of it so far, and I
> think that may have been a bit much."
> "Oh, but Doctor, It's so good - I've never tasted anything like it!
> But now I feel so ... strange ... I believe that, oh my, what has
> happened to my ballroom?"
> "Um, Charley, not that I would ever contradict you, but it's the
> Artsa's ballroom, not yours."
> "Foolish knave, all know that this castle and everything in it belongs
> to me!"
(reads off cue card)
'I Sing the Body Electra' by Paul Gadzikowski.
(On the screen:)
> "The Valeyard is not Peri's father," Nyssa announced. "In fact,
> Peri's mother isn't Peri's mother."
> "Oh, just *great*," Adric groused.
> Everyone turned to him. "What now?" Nyssa demanded.
> "You're about to tell us Peri's mother is a hermaphrodite, aren't
> That took Nyssa down a peg. "Well, yes."
> "Afro-what?" said Spike.
> "A person with both sets of physical gender characteristics,"
> explained Doctor Six. Spike became quite speechless.
> "And," Adric continued, "that your analysis shows that Peri's
> mother is really, biologically, Peri's *father* and it's the identity
> of her *mother* that's still up in the air."
> "Well, yes."
> "And that makes this whole sub-arc a sendup of the
> who's-Cartman's-father episode of SOUTH PARK, and that makes me Kenny
> and I'm going to die! Twice, maybe, because that was SOUTH PARK's only
(reads off cue card)
'TTR: Hard Help' by BKWillis.
(On the screen:)
> The next day, the Proprietor was interviewing the first of the new
> "Mr. S. Baldrick, is that right?"
> "And you are Miss Atsuko Natsume?"
> "And you are?" the Proprietor asked.
> "Hiroshi Umino, Master," the boy replied.
> "Right, then, Miss Inverse..."
(reads off cue card)
'Special Presentation: Nyss and Emmy's Crossovers from Hell Extravaganza' by
(On the screen:)
> NYSSAIAS: Right. What we'll be seeing are not just utterly
> wrong, they're actually quite hideous in that they started out as
> excellent fictional ideas that were then maimed beyond all
> EMBERICLES: And of course, any Muse worth her wings knows
> that the best way to screw up even the best story is...
> BOTH: ...to make it an inappropriate crossover!
> [Enter NORMAN (a thin, spooky-looking middle-aged man wearing
> a white shirt and slacks) from stage right. He is holding one hand
> behind his back.]
> DOUG: (to NORMAN) Hey, Norman. Have you seen Nyssa
> lately? Adric's going to be calling soon, and we can't find her
> NORMAN: No, I've not seen her since this morning.
> HELEN: That's the last time I saw her, too. She said she was going
> to take a shower.
> --from 'Mystery PSYCHO Theater', by BKWillis and Alfred
(reads off cue card)
'Once Upon a Midnight Dreary' by BKWillis
(On the screen:)
> "Can I take your orders, ladies?" Adric inserted as they paused for
> "Beer for me," Babydoll answered instantly. "You got Budmilleken
> "We do. Draft or bottle?"
> "And for you, miss?" He turned to the pale girl.
> "Hmmm... What have you got in light burgundy hemoglobins?
> Anything aside from what's in your veins right now?"
> Adric found himself really, _really_ not liking the look she was
> giving his neck. "I'm sure we have something to suit," he blurted,
> backing away a little. "I'll be right back with your orders..." Adric
> disappeared into the wine cellar with an admirable rapidity that was
> wholly unrelated to any desire to render efficient service.
And the winner is -
(Supermodel smiles to the camera, she and DESTRII play tug-of-war with
the envelope. It finally tears right down the middle, and the contents
flutter onto the podium. The PRESENTERS grab for it, and announce in
PERI and DESTRII
And the winner is 'What Kind of Story is That?' by David S Rubin!
[AMBER raises her eyebrows.]
AMBER: Well. Thank you, Peri and Destrii - and Paul, too.
And now, here to present the award for 'Best Comedy Long Fiction', recently
arrived from his very own charity cricket match, it's the Fifth Doctor!
[The FIFTH DOCTOR walks on in full cricketing whites, absent-mindedly rubbing a
cricket ball against his leg. ]
FIFTH: Ah... hello there. I'm here to present the award for Best Comedy Long
Fiction - which is to say any comedy of more than a single post. Surprisingly,
perhaps, this year, we have only two nominees - so let's take a look at them.
[FIFTH pulls a pair of half-moon glasses out of his trouser pocket, and puts
FIFTH: First, we have... ahm... Paul Gadzikowski's 'Sela MSTed', as the 'King
Arthur In Time And Space' crew, and various others, pass comment on one of
Paul's earliest adwc fics...
> There was a grimness to the determination in her face that the other
> Starfleet officers didn't match. Or couldn't. Only in some veterans of the
> Cardassian conflict
PERI Or of the fanfiction on alt.sex.startrek.
> had Picard seen that grimness in a Starfleet face before
> The Romulans organized the prisoners into a formation, three lines of
> nine or ten each, mixing humans and Klingons, cuffing those wounded who had
> trouble standing. They were about fifty meters from Picard, and facing just
> away from him so that he could see their faces. When it was done a petty
DOCTOR THREE [officer] "It's *my* turn to call the ship!!"
FIFTH: Our other nominee is B. K. Willis's 'Sailor Who: Separate But Evil', in
which the forces of the Spamverse initiate an elaborate scheme to lure the
Sailor Scouts - and one in particular - into the open.
"Such beauty and power here," Dianite sighed. "It's like a world
of miracles... I see now why we must conquer this place! We must
add its strength to our great Spam Empire! We must make its
uniqueness ours, unlock its secrets and use them as the foundation
for the greater glory of the Spamverse!" By this time, the
Henchbabe's voice was beginning to get quite loud and she had
her fist in the air. "This magnificent world--"
"We're parodying 'Sailor Moon', not 'El Hazard'," Dougite reminded.
"--must be made to yield to us and I, Dianite, am proud to help to
make it so! By all that is Spam, I shall not falter, I shall not slacken,
I shall not rest, and I shall not deviate from the course until every
inch of this world has been brought beneath the glorious yoke of
"There's an ice cream parlor around the corner. You want to go get
a banana split?"
The fist came down. "Yeah, that sounds good!"
FIFTH: [opening the envelope] And the winner is... B. K. Willis, for 'Separate
But Evil'. [frowns] Only his first tonight? That's a surprise... ah, anyway,
thank you and keep watching.
AMBER: Thank you, Fifth. Now, Mr Willis can't actually be here to collect his
[Cheering from the AUDIENCE.]
AMBER: [raises eyebrow] As I was saying, he can't be here tonight, because he,
and his Muses Embericles and Nyssaias, are currently doing their bit for
tonight's cause in an unspecified field somewhere in the southern United States.
We're going to go live now via satellite linkup to find out exactly what they're
doing - and to watch as they present the award for Best Drama Short Fiction...
[SCENE: A large, open field surrounded by forest. A battered,
mud-caked pickup truck is parked in the middle, with a lounge
chair set up in its bed. BKWILLIS (a short, darkish man of about
thirty, wearing muddy denim) is sprawled in the chair, a riot
shotgun across his knees and a beer in his hand. EMBERICLES
(a cute redhead in camouflage cutoffs and halter top, with black
bat-wings on her back) is kneeling beside the truck, sorting
through a box labelled 'Property of Tin Scarecrow Productions,
but not for much longer, hee hee'. A styrofoam cooler full of beer
bottles sits beside it. Into the foreground steps NYSSAIAS (a
petite, brunette, angel-winged lovely wearing shorts and a hunting
vest with nothing under it), smiling and holding a microphone. In
the background, a few shredded bits of paper drift on the breeze.]
NYSSAIAS: Thank you, Amber! And, might I say, you're
looking as ravishing as ever. [winks] Well, everyone, we here
at Tin Scarecrow Productions have decided to do our part to
raise money for those little darlings at Look Who's Talking.
After much thought, we decided that playing to the Boss's
strengths was the way to go...
EMBERICLES: [straightens, holding a book] _Everything to
Gain_, by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.
BKWILLIS: Self-righteous and juvenile at the same time.
Pointless. The intellectual depth of a 'Ziggy' cartoon. Let
'er go, Emmy.
[EMBERICLES throws the book into the air, out toward the field,
as BKWILLIS jerks up his shotgun. He fires and the book is
blasted to scraps before it hits the ground. The two girls applaud
NYSSAIAS: What we've done is taken up pledges from amongst
our many supporters, with the good folk out there promising to
donate anywhere from 5p British to $2 American for every truly
abysmal book that the Boss can shoot out of the air!
EMBERICLES: [holding book] _Mind Guest_, by Sharon
BKWILLIS: [winces] Scattered, disorganized, and one-
dimensional. Dubious science. Gratuitous sado-masochistic
sex that even I got sick and tired of. Chuck it, darlin'.
[EMBERICLES tosses the book, which BKWILLIS again shoots.
As the ragged bits settle to the ground, he shoots it again,
vaporizing the scraps.]
NYSSAIAS: So far, we've gained over $500 in pledge money,
with books such as _Iacocca: An Autobiography_, _Vanna
Speaks_, _It Takes a Village_, _Dianetics_, and Piers Anthony's
entire _Bio of a Space Tyrant_ series getting some much-deserved
EMBERICLES: [holding book] _The Great Gatsby_, by F. Scott
BKWILLIS: Technically well-written, but the plot's predictable
as a Democrat raising taxes and the characters are loathsome in a
range that runs from 'should be shot in the guts' to 'beggin' for a
bitch-slap'. Sayonara, Scotty-boy.
[EMBERICLES flings _The Great Gatsby_, which is immediately
shot to pieces by BKWILLIS.]
NYSSAIAS: See? In this way, we get to combine our twin
passions for guns and literature in a way that's constructive...
er, sort of... [looks uneasy for a moment, then brightens again]
At any rate, it's for a good cause and the Boss said that we
shouldn't go with the first idea Emmy and I had, since he didn't
think it would be all that appropriate for a children's charity. We
were going to... [glances at EMBERICLES and licks her lips]
Aheh. Never mind that.
EMBERICLES: [holding book at arm's length, between thumb
and forefinger] _Helen Huddleson_, by Amanda McKittrick Ros.
BKWILLIS: [pales] Bleaah. The woman with the mushroom
fixation and the addiction to alliteration. Hang on. [sets aside
shotgun and rummages under his chair]
EMBERICLES: (sickly) Hurry, please. I don't want to touch this
one any longer than I have to.
BKWILLIS: [holding a revolver] I loaded this with silver bullets,
just in case. Go ahead.
[EMBERICLES throws the book as hard as she can. BKWILLIS
tracks its motion with the pistol, then fires, drilling a hole through
its spine. An unearthly wailing bursts from the copy of _Helen
Huddleson_, which seems to bleed shadows as it hits the ground.
Two more silver bullets rip it in two and the screaming
NYSSAIAS: So, as you can see, all is going just swimmingly
here as the Boss and my darling continue their sterling
performance. Now, moving on to altogether happier fields of
literary achievement, let's have a look at this year's nominees for
Best Drama Short Fiction.
[NYSSAIAS sprinkles a handful of glittering dust in the air, which
resolves into an ornate gilt-framed mirror that hovers beside her.
Symbols flicker and flare in the gold-work, the ancient eldritch
runes 'Acme Industries Magic Mirror, made in Taiwan, for ages 7
and up' clearly visible.]
NYSSAIAS: This was yet another great year for the talented folks
on ADWC, a year that saw much further development of the
various alternate universes such as the Badlands, the Thirteen
Worlds, and Space Camelot, as well as the continued expansion
of the newsgroup's unique Outside setting. All this in addition
to the continued production of first-rate stories in the 'canonical'
Who universe. The five nominees up for consideration tonight
are but the pinnacle of a great body of high-quality storytelling.
And trust me, I'm a Light Muse; I know whereof I speak when it
comes to literature. I know whereof I speak when it comes to 'great
bodies', too, but I'll save that discourse for another time. [winks]
Ahem. Our first nominee for Best Drama Short Fiction is Paul
Gadzikowski's foray into the 'Badlands' milieu, 'Beyond Lies the
[The Magic Mirror crackles with static for a moment, until
NYSSAIAS surreptitiously pounds her fist against it, whereupon
the following scene begins to play out on it...]
The blankets shifted, emitting a mist smelling of day-old alcohol.
Then a set of long, lean limbs began to rise unsteadily beneath
them. It was like a newborn colt trying to stand, or reverse time-
lapse photography of the gradual collapse of one of those girder
structures left over from ancient uptown highrises: a great deal of
uncontrolled lateral swaying within the upward motion. Yet the
swordpoint never moved at the little man's throat, neither
increasing nor easing off pressure, even when the little man
experimentally backed off a centimeter.
The limbs assembled themselves into a man taller than the
chapel visitor, the same age but with more lines in his face, more
blood shot through his eyes, and a shorter and less-intentional
beard. "I am Galahad," he mumbled. "I am charged with keeping the
NYSSAIAS: Next is Imran Inayat's tale of family and friendship in
This Time Round, 'Ghosts of the Past'...
[The Magic Mirror swirls, the scene changing to the ghostly
Had Adric ever sought out the other Alzarians? If he hadn't... why
not? If he had... had he found anything? And if he had, did he tell
Had Adric ever been curious about what happened to the rest of the
That was odd in itself...
She smiled humourlessly.
And she'd be willing to bet that it'd occured to very few people to
wonder what happened to the Alzarians. An entire Starliner of
people missing, and no-one blinks an eyelid.
Why? she wondered. Did we really forget there was a shipful of
Alzarians out there? That Adric wasn't the last one? Or didn't it
NYSSAIAS: Our third nominee is 'The Shape of Fire', by Helen
Fayle, a tale of Dragons and spiders set in her 'Thirteen Worlds'
[The Magic Mirror swirls, the scene changing to an old episode of
MR. SCOTT: (on-screen) Cap'n, if we give 'er any more, she'll blow
CAPT. KIRK: (on-screen) Give her a twenty, then...
[NYSSAIAS angrily smacks the mirror again, and it flickers to...]
Taliesin leaned back against the wall, and folded his arms. 'The line
of the Pendragons is long dead, Calaitin. Dead, or imprisoned in a
realm far removed from this.' He shook his head sadly. On the collar
of the druid's long robe, a small red rose was embroidered, a black
hydra entwined around the stem. The ancient symbol of Morgaine
the Deathless, The Rose of Hell. So the Calaitin had been S'rax, had
they? 'Your mistress will not be returning.'
'They fought against her, once,' the dragon said sadly, staring at
the druid. 'We had a common enemy, then.'
'The rose may wither,' the Calaitin said cryptically, ignoring the
dragon's comment, 'but the thorn may still survive to prick the
unwary.' He approached Taliesin, careful to stay out of reach, the
bard noted, although the powerful wards in the pit prevented either
himself or Delbâeth from acting. 'A pity I will not be able to release
you to send that message to your master.'
NYSSAIAS: Fourth, we have another Helen Fayle story from the
same setting, 'Thorns'...
[With only a slight flickering, the scene in the Magic Mirror
changes to show Morgaine...]
She has the gift, at times, of foreknowledge. She knows the why,
sees his desperate attempt to pervert the course of his fate, and
knows in that moment that all he has done is fixed his path in stone.
Sees her behind him in this, and behind her the man who has
heralded all that is painful in her life, or so it seems.
_Guenevere. Merlin._ There is hate in her heart for them both, but
not for her golden warrior and king. _Never for him._ She turns and
walks out of the chamber without a backward glance, ignoring
Arthur's calls for her to return.
Eventually, there will be war.
NYSSAIAS: And finally, 'The World that Jack Built', Imran Inayat's
chilling look at the ultimate doom...
[The mirror darkens to the last scene...]
This is the way the world ends.
Time shattered, splintered. Timelines warring on each other,
fighting for supremacy, fighting for survival - because to lose was
to be destroyed.
And all of them lost, in the end.
The Web of Time is torn apart, its guardians corrupted, cast down.
The destroyer has come, and none stand in his path.
None stand to defend Time, defend Life.
The Doctor is long gone.
Only Zagreus remains.
This is the way the world ends.
[NYSSAIAS shivers, as though trying to shake off the effect of the
gloomy scenes, then snaps her fingers. The Magic Mirror
vanishes in a spray of dust.]
NYSSAIAS: And now, everyone, just a moment while we wait for
the envelope with the results...
EMBERICLES: [holding book] _Knickerless Nikki Lee_, by
Charlene Dykens... Oh, wait. That one's mine. [sets book off to
one side and pulls out another] _Walden_, by Henry David
BKWILLIS: At once hypocritical and condescending. Brimming
with hubris, illogic, and self-absorption. Solipsistic and
pretentious. The 19th-Century equivalent of a U2 album. Sling
that sucker, babe.
[EMBERICLES throws _Walden_, which is promptly blasted out of
the air by BKWILLIS's shotgun.]
NYSSAIAS: Ah, here it comes now.
[An ornate envelope materializes in NYSSAIAS's hand. She tears it
open and reads the card inside.]
NYSSAIAS: The winner of Best Drama Short Fiction is... 'Thorns',
by Helen Fayle! Congratulations to the lovely and talented Miss
Fayle, and to all our nominees for honors well deserved!
EMBERICLES: [rooting through box] Hey, Boss. I thought we
had a copy of Nicholson Baker's _Vox_ on file?
BKWILLIS: Naw, I already paid an illiterate immigrant with no
English skills to burn it, seal the ashes in lead and toss 'em down
an abandoned salt mine that's due to be flooded.
NYSSAIAS: [waves] And that's all for us here at Tin Scarecrow
Productions! Enjoy the rest of the program, and let's all pitch in to
help out those adorable kiddies! Back to you, Amber. Ciao!
[The scene fades out with EMBERICLES still sorting through the
box, BKWILLIS reloading his shotgun and drinking beer, and
NYSSAIAS pulling out a luridly-covered and well-worn paperback
titled _Kitten and Megan Get Lucky, Lucky, Lucky_, which she
begins reading as she wanders off toward the beer cooler.]
AMBER: [pinking slightly] Thanks, guys.
Now, for our second special tenth anniversary award, a gentleman who's been
around as long as the newsgroup itself, perhaps one of the few constants in its
Here to present the award for 'Author You'd Most Like To See Return To The
Newsgroup', it's Dave Yadallee!
Thank you for that lovely introduction.
This ancient poster is here to present "Author You'd Most Like To See Return To
Just a small Historical note, I did start one of the first round robins, but
here are the finalists.
Alden Bates, Becky Dowgiert, Lori Summers, Cincoflex and Erin Tumilty.
And the results were:
3rd (tied): Alden Bates
3rd (tied): Cincoflex
3rd (tied): Lori Summers
2nd: Erin Tumilty
1st: Becky Dowgiert
Becky, you are one of the nicest posters that I have met.
If you are in the audience, come and collect your prize.
AMBER: Thank you, Dave.
And after all that, I think it's time for a break. We'll be right back, after
[CUT to commercial.]