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Most of you who know me personally (i.e. Troels and Frede ) know that I went through a pretty rough patch last week. Thereafter, I received a bit of time off work to collect my thoughts. I'm happy to say this bit of introspection and soul-searching has resulted in a bit of surge of creative energy for me. So, I went back and played through Space Quest 6... well, I watched the intro and played through it for a few minutes. Then I started thinking about the intro to the game, and Wilco's Tribunal, and the horrendous amount of plot inconsistencies present. We can chalk most of them up to designer miscommunication (perpetrating a sequel without prior authorization!) but we can also make a good story out of it. So that's what I've done. I've created a transcript of the proceeding's at Roger Wilco's tribunal before the cushy admiralty of StarCon. This is a work-in-progress and there is more to come. Please read and let me know what you think. --- DAY 1 Toolman : (Admiral Richard P. Toolman) The StarCon Federation Tribunal Council is called to order on this day, Stardate 1732.25. Case 1996SQ6. StarCon vs. Former Captain of the S.C.S. Eureka, Acting Captain of the S.C.S. Goliath, Roger Wilco of Xenon... Court reporter, did you catch all that? Reporter : (Warrant Officer Kenneth Tips) Yes, sir. I did. Toolman : Good... Do not write that down in the transcript. Reporter : Yes, sir. Toolman : <sigh> Captain Roger Wilco, please step forward. Roger Wilco : <stands from the defense's table and approaches> Toolman : Captain Wilco, do you understand why you are here today? Roger Wilco : Um... kinda. This is my promotion hearing, right? Toolman : ... Roger Wilco : I mean, I did just save the universe... again. From the Sludge Bandits, so I assume I've been called here to get credit for that. Benzeen : (Vice Admiral Benzeen) Do you mean to make a mockery of this tribunal, Wilco? Roger Wilco : Huh? Fencorps : (Lieutenant Nush Fencorps) Your Honor, Mr. Wilco is attempting to convey his innocence in the face of the charges you are bringing before him. Toolman : Indeed. And he is aware of what the charges are? Roger Wilco : <sigh> Yeah... violation of StarCon Regulations 127.36, been repeated to me over and over again. Toolman : The purpose of this hearing, Mr. Wilco, is to determine your guilt or innocence in the violation of those regulations. Based on your apparent belief of... lack of wrongdoing... this tribunal will assume that you are entering a plea of "not guilty". Roger Wilco : That's correct, sir. Toolman : Very well. I believe the prosecution has a statement to make. Androge : (Lieutenant Zender Androge) We do, Your Honor. Ready for your case to go down in flames, Fencorps? Fencorps : I object to that, Your Honor. Toolman : Objection sustained. Court reporter, please strike that from the transcript. Reporter : Yes, sir. Androge : The case will reflect that the defendant, Captain Roger Wilco, did willfully and with malice aforethought engage in crimes against the StarCon Federation. Beyond the aforementioned violation of the Regulations, he engaged in numerous other crimes which we seek to prove before this court. We will prove that he is quite possibly one of the most flagrantly disobedient officers that StarCon has ever admitted into its officer corps, and that his actions over the past five days reflect likewise. Benzeen : These are harsh words, Lieutenant. Are you insinuating that StarCon made an error in assigning him the rank of Captain? He was, after all, one of the highest scorers on the StarCon Aptitude Test. Androge : I'm getting to that, m'lud. However, before I tackle that particular part of my case... Roger Wilco : <visibly looks pained> Androge : ...I wish to present a piece of evidence. First, the misuse and destruction of StarCon property. Although it is true that Roger Wilco did return to StarCon Central Command with the rescued S.C.S. Goliath's crew after an invasion of an unknown biological force-- Roger Wilco : And don't you forget that! Toolman : Reporter... Reporter : Struck, sir. Androge : --the black box we retrieved in an internal affairs investigation revealed that the S.C.S. Goliath was in fact destroyed, although he retained command of the S.C.S. Eureka. Benzeen : ... Androge : That's a crime, Your Honor. Benzeen : No doubt it is, Lieutenant Androge. However, I think you're rather confused. Androge : What do you mean? Fencorps : Zender, Roger Wilco DID return the S.C.S. Goliath. It's in the shipyards at StarCon Academy as we speak, undergoing structural repairs. Androge : ... Haha. Classic defense misdirection. Benzeen : No, Fencorps is correct. My men are doing a survey of the hull. Androge : Really? (sifts through his papers) Fencorps : Are you sure that your case is fully in order? Androge : Quite sure, quite sure... Look. I have the black box recordings here. "S.C.S. VESSEL SELF-DESTRUCT SYSTEM ACTIVATED AT 0732 STANDARD TIME; SYSTEM SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED DETONATION AT 0747". It says so quite clearly. Fencorps : That says S.C.S. vessel. It doesn't specify which ship. Androge : Erm... Fencorps : And besides which, the Goliath had a crew of hundreds. I submit to you that you are correct, Roger Wilco did indeed rescue and decontaminate the S.C.S. Goliath's crew and return them to StarCon Central Command for debriefing and further detox, but there's no possible way that you could have fit all those men on board the Eureka! The ship was an E-class garbage scow. Roger Wilco : Hey, now... Fencorps : Sorry, Rog. Anyway, it had been commissioned years prior to the Sarien Wars and so lacked the accommodations or even the capacity for a crew the size of the Goliath's, which was a newly christened warship. Androge : Really? I... I would dispute that. Yes, it's true, Roger's ship was a garbage truck... Roger Wilco : Garbage SCOW. Androge : I'm sorry, CAPTAIN Wilco. Yes, garbage scow. However, I think if you packed in the crew pretty tight and locked off a few unimportant sections like the EVA bay and the transporter room, yeah, you could cram the entire crew in there. It'd be a squeeze. Certainly not impossible. Would you agree, Your Honor? Benzeen : Certainly, it's not out of the realm of possibility. Fencorps : But Your Honor! He hasn't even proven that-- Benzeen : Now, Lieutenant Fencorps. Merely because the ship was not designed to carry a large crew for operational usage, it does not necessarily preclude the transportation of crewmembers - incapacitated or otherwise - for a simple medevac. I think it is not beyond reasonable doubt that the Eureka would have been used for such a purpose. Fencorps : That's simply impossible. The Goliath has not been destroyed, and the Eureka is gone! The Eureka was the one that blew up! The Eureka did blow up, didn't it, Roger? Roger Wilco : Uh yeah. I blew it sky high. Kablooey. And Captain Quirk was on board when it blew, that's how I know. Tribunal : <clamoring in hushed and horrified voices> Toolman : Order! I will have order. Roger Wilco, did you just now admit to disintegrating your fellow officer, Captain Quirk? Roger Wilco : ... Shoot. Androge : Aha! You shot him! Fencorps : No, that's a figure of speech... Androge : Let the record reflect, Your Honor, that Roger Wilco has willfully confessed to the disintegration of a fellow officer... another violation of StarCon Regulations! Thank you for proving my case, Captain. Roger Wilco : Ugh... Androge : In any case, since we have now proven that we have a murderer on our hands, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Mr. Wilco could have dumped and hid the Eureka in order to conceal evidence after returning to StarCon. <points with his finger> BOOM! Benzeen : Splendid deduction, Lieutenant Androge! The court shall hereby confirm that the S.C.S. Eureka was returned to StarCon with the Goliath's crew, then the Eureka was abandoned at an unknown site. Fencorps : Then who recovered the Goliath? Androge : That is CLEARLY outside the scope of this case. Now, may it please the court, I would like to call my first witness. Toolman : You may proceed, Lieutenant. TESTIMONY OF ENSIGN DROOLE Androge : The prosecution calls Ensign Droole to the witness stand. Benzeen : Call Ensign Droole! Bailiff #1 : Call Ensign Droole! En. Droole : <enters the court and takes the stand> Fencorps : Wait, hold on a second, you're calling OUR witnesses to the stand? What is the meaning of this? We were going to use them to prove our case! En. Droole : Don't look at me, Lieutenant. I have no clue. Androge : All will become clear in due time, Ensign Droole. Toolman : State your name and rank for the court, please. En. Droole : ... I'm sure that's already been established. Benzeen : Now then, Ensign Droole. There's no need to run your mouth. En. Droole : <glares> Androge : You are Ensign Droole, the former navigational and weapons officer for the S.C.S. Eureka? En. Droole : Yeah, before it went supernova. Androge : Ah, Droole, I believe it's been established in this court that the Eureka has not in fact been destroyed and is in fact abandoned in a star cluster somewhere in this quadrant. En. Droole : ... Are you serious? Benzeen : Quite so, I'm afraid. En. Droole : Well, so I guess you aren't all nuts like I thought. You're bananas. Androge : In any case, is it true that you were Captain Wilco's trusted right-hand man in this expedition of yours? En. Droole : ... Well, "trusted" and "right-hand man" are pretty strong terms... Roger Wilco : DROOLE, COME ON! Throw me a bone! En. Droole : Yes, yes, I guess you could say we were. Sorry, Cap'n. Androge : Now then. It's true, then, that both of you were engaging in various cleanups around your assigned quadrant? En. Droole : Yes, we were sent out to locate trash beacons, whereupon we would use the Eureka's refuse recovery system to take aboard the trash - at the Captain's order - and return it to a designated dumping facility. Androge : What were your assigned cleanups under Captain Wilco's command? En. Droole : Prior to the "Puking", StarCon had ordered us to go to four locations for trash pickup - we went to Kiz Urazgubi-- Androge : I object to that, Droole! Court reporter, strike that from the record! Toolman : ... What exactly is the issue, Lieutenant? Androge : Droole just uttered a naughty phrase at me. He said that Roger's crew went to kiss my ass goodbye! Toolman : Lieutenant, how long have you been at StarCon? A year now? Androge : Yes, Admiral. Toolman : In the service of Captain Puuk? Androge : Yes... Toolman : What was the planet you all made shore leave after your consummate training excursion at Spittoonie? Androge : ... Let's see, it was Kiz Ura--oh... Toolman : Good. Now that we've cleared that up, please proceed. Reporter : I don't need to strike that from the transcript then, sir? Toolman : Why bother, you haven't been striking ANYTHING. Reporter : Point taken, sir. En. Droole : <rolls his eyes, insomuch as he can without pupils> Anyways, we went to K.U., then the next trash run we got was Gangularis and then Peeyu. After that we went 10-9 at the Spacebar-- Androge : --which you blew up, by the way. En. Droole : Hey, I'm washing my hands of that. Talk to Captain Wilco, he was the one who put the Space Monkeys in his drink. Roger Wilco : Thanks a LOT, Droole. En. Droole : Anytime, Cap'n. After that our last assignment was Klorox II. Then I think we lost contact with StarCon due to frequency jamming, although we did receive an emergency transmission from Captain Quirk at that point. Androge : So about Klorox II. I understand that no trash pickup was made there. En. Droole : There was no trash to find. The regularly scheduled garbage jettison by the colony had evidently not occurred. Androge : Did you notify StarCon? En. Droole : We couldn't get through, all their lines were busy. Androge : ... Pardon? En. Droole : Their lines were busy. After the Spacebar blew up, apparently they were receiving massive amounts of complaints from vessel crews who had gone off duty and had warped into the sector expecting to find the bar. Androge : So it's established, then, that Roger Wilco caused the StarCon communications overload indirectly. En. Droole : ... Um, yeah, I guess you could say that. Fencorps : <aside to Roger> I can see now why the prosecution called Droole as a witness. Androge : BOOM! Anyways, what happened then? You couldn't get a hold of StarCon. En. Droole : Captain Wilco instructed Flo to hail the S.C.S. Goliath for further instructions. Captain Quirk responded. Androge : One moment. <turning to Roger Wilco> What did he say, Captain Wilco? Roger Wilco : Well, he chewed me out for contacting him on an emergency frequency and told me to beam down onto the planet if I was so concerned about it. Androge : <quietly> Did you? Roger Wilco : Yeah, Droole went with me. Tribunal : <clamoring in hushed and horrified voices> Roger Wilco : ... Uh, what's so bad about that? Toolman : Do you realize what protocol that's a violation of, Wilco? Roger Wilco : Um... I didn't violate any protocol. I was following a Captain's order. Toolman : ... By the seventh star cluster, Wilco, when did you take the StarCon Aptitude Test? Roger Wilco : ... Five days ago? Benzeen : With a perfect score, no less. Toolman : Make a note of that, I'm going into look into how that happened. Do you understand why we have the planetary beam-down shields in place, Wilco? Roger Wilco : What? Toolman : <slowly, firmly, and succinctly> No Captain, Commander, or other authorized StarCon official is to beam down onto a planet when such an action is not within mission parameters, unless the life or limb of the crew is at risk from not performing such an action. Roger Wilco : Why's that such a big deal? I mean, I beamed down onto Kiz Urazgubi. Nobody had an issue with that, otherwise I would've heard about it from Quirk. Androge : As I recall, the ship was under attack from a WD-40 Annihilator droid sent by Gippazoid Novelty Company. That droid specifically was after the Captain, but threatened to blow up the ship if he did not beam down, thus making that a valid exception to the protocol. Toolman : Precisely. Roger Wilco : ... And Quirk telling me to beam down onto Klorox II isn't an official order? Benzeen : Did Quirk seem upset to you? Flippant? Dismissive? En. Droole : As usual, but in this particular case, yes. Benzeen : Not exactly the mindset of an "official order". Roger Wilco : But we TRIED contacting StarCon. We already said the lines were jammed-- Benzeen : By you!!! Roger Wilco : *sigh* <turning to Fencorps> You know, you could try helping me out a bit here. Fencorps : Oh, um... Can't you guys take a joke? Benzeen : <slides hand over face> Androge : Anyway, continuing with the testimony. When you received the emergency transmission from the S.C.S. Goliath, what did you do then? Did you wait for an official order from StarCon? En. Droole : No, none came. The transmission originated from Thrakus, so we went over there. Androge : Another violation. What next? En. Droole : We took Ambassador Wankmeister on board the ship when responding to a homing beacon on the planet. From there, we were attacked by the S.C.S. Goliath-- Androge : Pardon? ... I'm sorry, for a moment there, I thought you said your ship was attacked by the Goliath. En. Droole : We were. Androge : ... Admiral Toolman, if I may approach the bench. Toolman : Proceed. Fencorps, you shall approach as well. Fencorps : <stands from the defense table and approaches the bench, Androge accompanies. A white noise filter is activated blocking out the conversation at the bench, so that only the attorneys, Admiral Toolman and Vice Admiral Benzeen can hear their own conversation> Androge : Captain Quirk was never of deficient mental health, was he? Benzeen : The last health assessment was made two weeks prior to this incident. The medical staff had concluded he was in astonishingly perfect physical and mental health, and was no doubt fit for command in every single respect. Androge : Then there is no reason to believe that he would have fired upon the S.C.S. Eureka without probable cause? Fencorps : I need to state that it would have been at this point in time that the Goliath was attacked by the biological force, and the crew and captain would have been incapacitated, and by that point, acting beyond their ability to control. Androge : Correct, but for the purpose of argument, the Goliath did not fire upon the Eureka. The biological force in command of the StarCon vessel did. Benzeen : ... I'd concur with that. Fencorps : You've concurred with EVERYTHING he's said so far. Benzeen : I'd concur with that as well! Anything else? Androge : No, Your Honors, that's it. <walks away from the bench, as does Fencorp, and the sound filter is disabled> Ensign Droole, I put it to you that it was not the S.C.S. Goliath that attacked your ship, but the so-called "Pukoids" that were in command of it at that point in time, thus not being an act of friendly fire. En. Droole : ... Well, that was kind of what I had meant all along, but if you want to call it that, Lieutenant Anthill, be my guest. Androge : Court reporter... Reporter : Struck, sir. Androge : So, you dealt with the threat then? En. Droole : Hah. Are you kidding me? We were an underclassed garbage scow with the defense capability of a Nosenugget with a water phaser lifted from a Phleebhut souvenir shop. Our ship hadn't been refitted since the days of the Sarien Wars, and you think we were going to go toe-to-toe with the Goliath? Hell no. Captain Wilco wisely made the decision to take evasive action and retreat into the safety of an asteroid belt. Benzeen : My, Captain Wilco, you've got balls! Toolman : Indeed, I would never have risked my own crew with such a catastrophic maneuver. Roger Wilco : Yeesh... Androge : So after you escaped? En. Droole : After we got away from the Goliath, we determined the cause of the threat during an investigation of the abandoned Genetix laboratories, and from there we made a final rendezvous with the Goliath at Gingivitis. The rest is history. Androge : Indeed, it is. Now, concerning this rendezvous with the Goliath. Did you rescue the crew at that point? En. Droole : Yes. Roger Wilco and Chief Engineer Clifford devised a solution to reverse the Pukoid infection by reversing the polarity of the transporters and beaming the substance out into space, although Quirk - for reasons still beyond my understanding to this day - boarded an escape pod and drove headfirst into that blob, becoming one with it. It then attempted to destroy the Goliath. Androge : So what did you do? En. Droole : Well, I did what any fine soldier would do and shot it. At my Captain's orders, that is. Androge : You shot at Captain Quirk? En. Droole : Yes. Androge : While it--er, he was attacking the Goliath? En. Droole : Yes. Androge : Effectively, you were shooting at the Goliath. En. Droole : ... Yes... Androge : ... I have nothing further. En. Droole : Did I say something I shouldn't have? Roger Wilco : Quite a lot, actually. CROSS-EXAMINATION OF ENSIGN DROOLE Fencorps : I have no questions for this witness, Your Honor. Roger Wilco : What?! What do you mean? Fencorps : Sorry, Rog, but his testimony's watertight. I can't find any holes in it. Androge : At least a man knows when to admit defeat. BOOM! Benzeen : Right, got another witness for us then? TESTIMONY OF AMBASSADOR WANKMEISTER Androge : I do indeed have another witness. The prosecution calls Ambassador Beatrice Wankmeister to the stand. Roger Wilco : Now just hold on a minute! You can't call my girlfriend to the stand, there has to be a rule against-- Tribunal : <clamoring in hushed and horrified voices> Roger Wilco : Oh, what now?! Toolman : What did you just say, Wilco? Roger Wilco : ... Um... Toolman : Girlfriend? You're consorting with Ambassador Wankmeister? Roger Wilco : Is that wrong? Toolman : Beatrice Wankmeister is a StarCon Ambassador from the Xenon High Planetary Council. She was appointed to her position after rigorous screening and vetting. It is an EXTREMELY high-ranking position, recognized effectively as the equivalent of an admiralty within the StarCon Navy. Benzeen : Although we had resisted her coming aboard the S.C.S. Goliath as an observer, she pulled rank on us and we had no choice but to honor her wishes. You are essentially declaring that you have had an undisclosed relationship with an INDEPENDENT SUPERVISOR! Roger Wilco : ... And that's wrong? Fencorps : <head on desk> Roger, it's a violation of StarCon protocol, and you... just... admitted to it... Roger Wilco : Oh... Well, darn. Androge : <golf clap> Jolly good show, Roger! You've done my work for me again. I don't even need to call this witness to the stand anymore. What's more, you saved me the embarrassment from having to show a rather compromising film of the Goliath's ready room-- Benzeen : Oh, bloody hell Zender, would you please show it? You promised, you fairy. Androge : Can we meet in your chambers after court? Benzeen : Fine, fine... Roger Wilco : What film? Androge : So, anyway, moving onto my next witness. TESTIMONY OF CLIFFY Androge : Call Chief Engineer Cliffy! Bailiff #1 : Call Chief Engineer Cliffy! Eng. Cliffy : <takes the stand> Androge : You are Chief Engineer Cliffy. Eng. Cliffy : That's right, bucko. My friends call me Clifford. Androge : Is it true that on board the Spacebar, you got into a scuffle with a Commander of the S.C.S. Goliath? Fencorps : How on earth is this relevant? I object, Your Honor. Benzeen : I agree, Lieutenant. Objection sust-- Eng. Cliffy : Now just hold on a minute there! I can own up to my actions. I don't need no damn court answerin' for me. You reverse that objection right now, yer Honor. Roger Wilco : Cliffy, Fencorps is trying to HELP you. Eng. Cliffy : I never needed no help, Cap'n, and I never will. Roger Wilco : Yeah? What about that time I broke you out of jail? Tribunal : <clamoring in hushed and horrified voices> Roger Wilco : I stepped in it again, didn't I. Fencorps : Looks like it. Benzeen : ... You know what, I agree with the witness. I will reverse my objection. Go ahead, Clifford. Eng. Cliffy : Thanks, sir! So, yeah, I got into a fight with Commander T. Ribbles. He told me our ship was a garbage scow. The nerve of 'im! I couldn't just stand by and take it like that. Androge : Ah, but as has been established, Cliffy, the S.C.S. Eureka IS a garbage scow. Eng. Cliffy : Well, yeah, but would you let a man let 'im rub it in yer face like that? Androge : I'm afraid I wouldn't know much about that, Cliffy. I have a wife. Eng. Cliffy : ... Huh? Benzeen : What exactly is the point of this testimony, amusing as it is? Androge : You will recall that in Droole's testimony, Cliffy and Wilco engineered - no pun intended - a solution to the Pukoid menace to rescue the crew. Benzeen : Yes... Androge : Do you think this overzealous pugilist would have had the genius to manufacture a miraculous solution to this biological disaster? Benzeen : It is hard to believe... Androge : I wager impossible. Fencorps : That's speculation, Lieutenant, and you know it. Roger Wilco : Look, I know Cliffy's unsavory, but I was there, I saw it for myself. Heck, my science officer saw it. He was able to reverse the effects of the Pukoid virus, not just on the Goliath's crew, but on Ambassador Wankmeister. Androge : ... I don't recall your crew having a science officer. Eng. Cliffy : Oh yeah! It was the WD-40 droid that was sent to hunt down Wilco for not paying his postage or somethin'. He beat it in a fair fight, so I was able to jury-rig a non-lethal science officer droid. It was functional shortly after we blasted off that Spacebar, along with the cloaking device. Androge : ... Cloaking device? Eng. Cliffy : Yep. After we took the droid out, we also broke into its ship on the planet surface, and extracted the cloaking device from its hull. Or rather, Cap'n Wilco did. Good thing we got off in time, that ship self-destructed like a dying sun when we transported off. Course, it had sustained a bit of damage from the Goliath's attack, and in the asteroid field, so I had to go out and fix it. That's when the Captain saved my butt again. Androge : ... Go on about that. Eng. Cliffy : Welp, I was doing an EVA to repair damages. Eureka was takin' a poundin', and she couldn't take much more o' it, Lieutenant. Benzeen : Spare us the impersonations. Eng. Cliffy : I got to the bit where the cloaking device was, and had made some minor adjustments. Then, an asteroid collided into the ship and severed me from my line, and I went driftin' off into space. Captain showed up just then with an EVA pod and picked me up, wi' just enough fuel to get us back into the ship. Androge : ... In an asteroid belt? Eng. Cliffy : Aye, sir. Androge : Your Honor, I think this is utter, incontrovertible proof that Cliffy is a liar, if not an outright delusional lunatic whose fantastical and inconceivable recounts simply cannot be trusted. None of these events could possibly have happened! They're impossible! Roger Wilco : You have no idea... Toolman : No living being has ever survived an attack from a WD-40 Terminator droid, let alone gone head-to-head with it and emerged the victor. Why should we believe that you were able to best it in combat? Lieutenant Androge is correct. This along with the rest of Cliffy's recount is utter bunk, and quite frankly was a waste of the court's time. You should be ashamed. Fencorps : But I didn't call this witness! Roger Wilco : I think he means me. Toolman : Engineer Cliffy, please step down. Eng. Cliffy : ... ain't no justice in this scum-blasted Federation ... Toolman : What was that? Eng. Cliffy : Err... right away, Admiral, sir. <shuffles off the stand> Benzeen : Well, I think that's quite enough for today. I'm getting sore sitting in this plushy chair. StarCon's chiefs need to get us some new accommodations if they expect us to carry out a proper lyn--I mean, trial. Toolman : By all means. We will recess for today. Lieutenant Androge, you will meet with me and Benzeen in my chambers promptly after adjournment. Captain Wilco, you and your representation are to appear promptly before this council same time tomorrow. Get plenty of rest, and by Pleiades, please work on refining your case. Fencorps : Yes, Your Honor. Roger Wilco : Yes, Your Larder--I mean, Your Honor. Toolman : This hereby closes the convention of the StarCon Federation Tribunal Council, Stardate 1732.25. Case 1996SQ6. Court is adjourned. <raps his gavel, the tribunal files out> STARCON COUNCIL HALL CANTINA "You've let me down, Nush," Roger Wilco said, seated uncomfortably at the cantina table with an already half-finished Kerona Ale in his hand, staring at his hapless attorney seated at the other end of the table with a likewise drink. "I was supposed to get off scot free. I've done more for StarCon than any captain that has ever lived, and now I'm about to go down in flames." "Look, Rog," Fencorps said, "if there's one way you can look at this, it's a badge of honor. Captains have been scrutinized by tribunals all the time for what they believed to be righteous acts in the name of the universe. Just look at Captain Kirk..." "Captain Kirk was never found guilty by a tribunal. I mean, except for cheating at Kobayashi Maru, but that was before he even rose to the captaincy." "Well, fair point." "And if you want to go to THAT point in time," Roger said, "all you need to do is look at my disciplinary record for all the trainers I totaled at StarCon Academy..." "Yeah, but--" "AND let's not forget about the time I got into trouble for getting a flying wedgie--" "OK, Roger, I get it, I get it," Fencorps said, pushing his drink aside, "you're a magnet for trouble, you have horrible as hell luck. Look, though. I'm a Lieutenant. I was supposed to be commissioned for a tour of duty as a diplomatic envoy to Estros, but I've been grounded for the past six months, here in this building as a military lawyer, and I'm likely to spend the rest of my tour out here. By the time I'm done, I'll probably be discharged with a pathetic little pension and a slap on the back. I'll never rise to the rank that you've achieved, nor accomplished nearly as much as you have in this universe." "What's the point of all this?" Roger said, by now having cleaned out and polished off his ale. "The point is--the point is that you've dealt a hammer blow to evil in this universe, many, MANY times. I mean, you've told me yourself: the Sariens, Sludge Vohaul (twice), saving the Two Guys," Fencorps gestured with his hands to indicate every incursion that Roger had made. "You need to throw your weight around. I can't do that for you." "But you're my attorney. That's your job. Why even bother, though? I got maybe two weeks of recognition for saving Xenon from a dying sun. I'm not gonna get any more recognition now." "All I'm saying is stand up for yourself. Right now you've got the appearance and the image of a defeated man. You need to be proud of your accomplishments and even your mistakes. Stand up to the council. It's not gonna get any worse than this, I'll tell you that much," Fencorps said. He stood up himself and picked up his briefcase. "I have to work on some briefs. I'll catch you tomorrow." "Later, Nush," Rog said, staring idly as his hapless and beleaguered attorney left the room.
Well, here I am...again. If you've been hanging around these forums for the last couple of years or so, you might have noticed the quotes from "a WIP" in my signature, or noticed me allude to a piece of fan fiction I was working on once or twice. You may also have heard the SQ Historian podcast episode where an excerpt from said fan fiction was read. Well, after nearly two years of on-again, off again work, it is (nearly) DONE. This is the first piece of SQ fan fiction I've written in years. I started it for various reasons which I won't get into right now, hit a lot of rough patches when I was about 2/3rds of the way through, and even when most of it was finished, I still had some difficulty getting this thing hammered out until I was (mostly) satisfied with it. I'm going to be posting one chapter a day throughout December. I probably won't have the entire thing posted by the time the new year rolls around, but at this point, I can't promise anything for certain. Now that all of that's out of the way, here is... Space Quest: The Time Machination Prelude Roger Wilco Junior – son of Roger Wilco, the man who had saved the galaxy multiple times despite being nothing more than a moderately skilled janitor – was confused. This was hardly an unfamiliar feeling for him, and after several years of his mind being dominated by fear, depression and hopelessness, it was a relief to be bothered by something as comparatively trivial as mere confusion. However, the reason behind the confusion was far from trivial. RJ (the name which Roger Wilco Junior had insisted that his peers and family call him by since he hit adolescence) had just sent Roger Wilco Senior back to the point in the past that RJ had originally pulled him from. As much as RJ wished that he could spend a little more time with him, the fear of causing irreparable damage to the timeline prompted RJ to immediately return his father to the Space Quest IV time sector while RJ himself remained in Space Quest XII time sector. He had sent his father back to his own time with a head full of questions to which the answers would not come for many years, if they would come at all. However, RJ's own head was bulging with questions as well, one of which loomed ominously above all the others (not unlike the massive Supercomputer that RJ was currently standing in): The Anomaly. What was it? Why did it exist? How could it exist? RJ gazed out at the mangled metropolis hundreds of feet below him, the memory of the events leading up to the discovery of the unimaginatively-named Anomaly slowly replaying in his frazzled mind. It all started with the Supercomputer -- the Supercomputer which a group of scientists (who in hindsight really should have known better) accidentally exposed to a crippling virus. This virus was in actuality a digital replication of the mind of Sludge Vohaul, an evil, twisted, aesthetically challenged scientist who made several attempts at dominating Xenon many years prior but was ultimately defeated by Roger Wilco. It turned out that Roger Wilco's defeat of Vohaul wasn't as ultimate as the people of Xenon thought. However, Vohaul hadn't given up on his plans of taking over the planet, and this time, he came very, very close to succeeding. The events that followed after the Vohaul virus gained control of the Supercomputer and nearly every piece of technology on the planet were, in short, very unpleasant. Though most of the population either fled Xenon or perished, a small number of people remained in hiding beneath the streets of the planet's central city, hoping to find some way of destroying the Supercomputer. When the rebels learned that the Supercomputer had discovered time travel, they had little time to ponder on this discovery. Recalling that Roger Wilco was the only person who had ever defeated Sludge Vohaul, the rebels realized that time travel could be their only chance of destroying the Vohaul virus. Two of the rebels (who had just recently decided to call themselves the Time Rippers, given the nature of their mission) were selected to steal some of the time technology, travel into the past and return to the present with Roger Wilco. RJ was one of these two rebels. In the time between the infiltration of the Supercomputer, the pilfering of the time tech (a pair of guns that looked suspiciously like modified hairdryers) and the departure for Space Quest IV, RJ and his companion discovered the following information: 1) The Sequel Police -- the intimidating cyborgs tasked with making sure that the Space Quest timeline ran according to Vohaul's wishes -- were planning to travel to the past as well... however, their goal was to kill Roger Wilco. (This was bad.) 2) In order to avoid accidentally setting off a retroactive chain of events resulting in the Vohaul virus never getting uploaded to the Supercomputer and thus erasing them from existence, the Sequel Police wouldn't confront Roger Wilco until after Space Quest III. (This was good...sort of.) 3) Because of 2), the only available time when both the Time Rippers and the Sequel Police could reach Roger Wilco was a narrow window at the beginning of Space Quest IV. (This was because...) RJ quickly pushed the reason for 3) out of his flashback. He didn't feel like revisiting that memory just yet, but when put together, it became very clear that if he and his companion didn't rescue Roger Wilco from the Space Quest IV time sector before that window closed, there would be no way of stopping Vohaul. Fortunately, luck was on the Time Rippers' side: They arrived in Space Quest IV just in time to save Roger Wilco from being killed by a pair of Sequel Policemen. After sending his father to Space Quest XII, RJ paused for a moment to catch his breath, but before he could open another rip to follow his father into the future, there was the sound of a Sequel Policeman's rifle being fired and an explosion of pain in his side. RJ remembered little of what happened after that -- it was mostly brief, blurry moments of consciousness interspersed with what seemed like distorted dreams or hallucinations. After finally regaining full control of his senses, RJ found himself in the innermost sanctum of the Supercomputer, with his father standing in front of him. The pieces quickly came together: He was alive, his father was alive, they were inside the Supercomputer, and there was no Vohaul virus attempting to destroy them. They had won. RJ led his father outside to the landing bay, a large opening near the top of the Supercomputer which provided a great (but depressing) view of the ruined city. He explained what had happened on Xenon, and why his father had been transported to Space Quest XII. Though the conversation began well enough considering the circumstances, it became more and more uncomfortable as it progressed, and despite his disciplined mind, RJ was quite shaken by the time he was ready to return Roger Wilco to Space Quest IV. After saying a final good-bye to his father, RJ stared at the wall of the landing bay for several minutes, wondering what to do next. Then he returned to the entrance to the Supercomputer and began to make his way through the labyrinth of catwalks, circuitry and transport tubes, down into the heart of the technological colossus. Sometime later, he located the small, dark chamber that housed the Chronolux -- the massive mainframe that the Sequel Police had used to track Roger Wilco through the various Space Quest time sectors. To his amazement, the machine was still running. It was also surrounded by the lifeless bodies of several Sequel Policemen -- it seemed that once the Supercomputer had been shut down, the Sequel Policemen themselves suffered a similar fate. RJ (correctly) reasoned that the Chronolux must not have been connected to the Supercomputer, despite residing inside of it. RJ slowly approached the Chronolux. Then, with trembling fingers, he selected the Space Quest IV time sector, entered his father's name, and pressed the Scan button. Several minutes later, a message appeared on the Chronolux's main screen: SUBJECT PRESENT ON MAGMETHEUS UNTIL 00:001:00:26:07. NO PRESENCE DETECTED AFTER 00:001:00:26:07. The hairs on the back of RJ's neck stood on end. He glanced at the digital display on his time gun, looking for the line that displayed the last time entered on it. The line read: SQIV||MAGMETHEUS||00:001:00:00:00. That was the time and place he had sent his father to -- a time approximately twenty-six minutes before the Anomaly. RJ's mind reeled as the memory of the fourth thing that he and his companion had discovered during their infiltration of the Supercomputer came rushing back to him: A few hours after the Space Quest IV time sector began, Roger Wilco vanished. No matter how many scans Sequel Police had made on the ChronoLux, there was never a trace of Roger Wilco to be found...and he wasn't just absent from Space Quest IV, either: he was missing from every single time sector, all the way up to the end of Space Quest IX. This absence was what RJ called the Anomaly. When he first learned about it, he had little time to ponder what it meant or why it existed, but now that the chaos on Xenon had finally ceased, his questions about the Anomaly began careening through his mind like rocket-powered meteorites. What was going on? What had happened to his father twenty-six minutes after he returned to Magmetheus? Could he have been killed by the Sequel Policemen? If he had been killed, then why did RJ still exist? With both his heart and his mind racing, RJ had the ChronoLux run a scan of Space Quest V. Five minutes later, the message "NO TRACE OF SUBJECT DETECTED" appeared. RJ ran a scan on Space Quest VI, only to have the exact same message show up. He ran scans of Space Quest VII, VIII and IX and was about to run a scan of Space Quest X when he finally broke down, slamming his head into the keyboard with a howl of frustration. Saving his father's life hadn't changed anything. The Anomaly was still there -- from the beginning of Space Quest IV until the end of Space Quest IX, Roger Wilco was gone. As for Space Quest X and beyond... No, RJ told himself. Don't go there. Don't. He tried to make sense out of what the Chronolux was telling him, but couldn't. It just couldn't be true. His father had existed when RJ was born near the end of the Space Quest VIII time sector. RJ remembered listening to his father's stories of his past adventures; how his father kept calling him "Junior" no matter how many times RJ told him not to; and that one galaxy-wide family vacation where, despite driving a ship with the most easy-to-use navigational computer available on Xenon, his father still managed to get RJ and his mother thoroughly lost. The Chronolux had to be wrong...but if it was, why hadn't Vohaul or the Sequel Police spotted and corrected the error? After all, they were all machines to a great extent, and they built the Chronolux -- if they hadn't detected any problems with it, then why was the machine reporting Roger Wilco as MIA in spots in the timeline where he had undoubtedly existed? RJ lifted his head from the keyboard and noted that the Chronolux had finished its scan for an individual named LJNGHTDTCH (which it actually had located on a planet somewhere in the Dgjegtmxs galaxy). Though both mentally and physically exhausted, RJ wasn't ready to give up yet. He ran a search on his father in Space Quest I, II and III, and except for one odd patch of time in Space Quest I, Roger Wilco was detected in every one of those time sectors. RJ rubbed his eyes and stared blankly at the screen. What was going on? Was the man he knew as his father just a clone of the original Roger Wilco, or an android duplicate? Had an alteration of the timeline caused RJ to become his own father? Was all this an illusion he was experiencing while plugged into a console deep within the bowels of the Supercomputer? Roger Wilco only existed until the beginning of the Space Quest IV time sector. After that, he was completely absent all the way 'til Space Quest IX. Then, somewhere between Space Quest IX and Space Quest X (there was no way of telling exactly when this was, since for some reason, the Chronolux couldn't scan the time between sectors, just the sectors themselves), he vanished and never appeared on the timeline again. Of course, this had to be because... RJ tried to push that memory away again, but by this point, he was too weak to hold it back: ...because he was dead by then. Both him and Mom. No one could have survived an explosion that large...besides, if they weren't dead, Vohaul wouldn't have needed his lackeys to go back in time to bump him off... But why Space Quest IV? Why Space Quest IV!? KLUNK. RJ froze. Though he had been contemplating smashing his head into the keyboard again, he hadn't actually done it -- that noise had come from outside the room he was in. In fact, it seemed to have come from outside the Supercomputer. RJ's mind went on full alert. He had no idea what had made that noise, but he knew he wouldn't find out what it was by waiting next to the ChronoLux. He grabbed his time gun, sprang from his chair, barely avoided tripping over one of the deceased Sequel Policemen, and bolted out the door. He ran until he reached the tunnel that led to the landing bay, then crept stealthily along the wall, grateful that the deadly laser beams that once filled the tunnel were now deactivated. As he neared the end of the tunnel, he heard and felt the thrum of an engine filling the air. It sounded like a ship...a ship which definitely wasn't the kind used by the Sequel Police. As he reached the entrance to the landing bay, RJ flattened himself against the wall and cautiously peered around the door's circular metal frame. The sound of the engine grew louder and louder, and then there it was -- a small, bulbous shuttle that looked as if it had been built centuries ago. It had gull-wing doors, was painted a gaudy shade of purple and its windows were too dark to make out any of the occupants. It slowly approached the Supercomputer, but despite the massive size of the landing bay's entrances, the ship's nose collided with a section of the Supercomputer's outer wall several feet above the landing bay, producing a noise very similar to the one that RJ had recently heard. The ship slowly backed up, then after a moment of hesitation, it decreased its speed, banked slightly, then dropped its landing gear and gingerly maneuvered itself through the landing bay's rightmost entrance -- the entrance right in front of the tunnel where RJ was hiding. Suddenly the shuttle's thrusters cut out and it bounced off the floor of the landing bay with a jarring thud. The thrusters fired up again almost immediately, and after lurching drunkenly in midair for a moment or two, the shuttle slowly lowered itself until it was resting firmly on the cold, cracked plasticrete. As a cloud of dust billowed around the shuttle, RJ gripped his gun in his hands, ready to leap out of hiding and confront whatever or whoever was inside the shuttle. Then he remembered that the only thing this gun was good for was opening rips into different time periods. Maybe if he just acted as if it were a real gun, whoever was in that ship might think it was real...if only it didn't look so much like a giant hairdryer... There was a sudden hiss of escaping air -- the driver's side door of the shuttle was hinging open, and someone was stepping out. RJ leaped out of the tunnel, his gun aimed at the individual, who was still mostly obscured by the airborne dust. "Freeze!" he yelled. The figure jumped in alarm and tried to run away, but only succeeded in banging its head on the partially opened door. It clutched its skull with a primal outburst of surprise and pain that made RJ feel as if someone had injected liquid nitrogen into his veins. That voice...he knew that voice... The figure staggered unsteadily out of the rapidly thinning dust cloud towards RJ. RJ lowered his time gun, gaping at the figure with a mixture of astonishment, disbelief and a small amount of terror. It was him...and yet it wasn't him. He seemed older, his clothing was completely different...and his hair definitely wasn't that color when RJ had last seen him... Still cringing slightly, Roger Wilco lowered his hand from his head, looked into the widening eyes of his son and grinned. "Hey, Junior." Deciding that it risked serious damage if it remained conscious for a moment longer, RJ's brain promptly shut itself down. His body dropped to the plasticrete with a soft thud accompanied by a loud clatter as the time gun slipped from his limp fingers. Roger Wilco cautiously approached his son, stared mutely at him for a moment, then looked over his shoulder at the shuttle. A tall blonde woman had just emerged from the shuttle through the now open passenger door. She took a few steps forward, regarded the unconscious body sprawled in front of Roger for a moment, then glared coldly at Roger himself. "Uh..." said Roger sheepishly, "I guess it would've been better if you'd talked to him first, Bea." EDIT: Apparently, I can only center and indent individual lines in "Coding Mode" since if I attempt doing that in "Plain Text" mode, the entire body of text ends up centered or indented. Annoying...