22 July, 2011

Side Step...Letter from a Listener

     (I had wanted to share this before now, but between running away for the 4th and coming back all depressed, I had just not had the heart.  Since coming back on July 4th, Life has been very surreal for me, as this is the first time I have not been in radio for 14 years...nor at DUQ for 13..)

     As many of you know, I worked at what was 90.5 WDUQ, Pittsburgh's News...Jazz...NPR station for 13 years.  I started there when I was in college, thanks to the help of another friend who was working at DUQ and going to Duquesne.  I have so many fond memories, and that includes the time I got stuck in the elevator at the Des Places building we used to be in.

     Back on June 30th, Bob Studebaker, who I worked with, forwarded me the following message.  I wanted to share it with everyone, as it made me cry when I read it.  It is a touching tribute not to me, but to what DUQ brought to this city, region, and the lives of so many.


Could you do me a favor, and tell John Lasanich that I think he's one of the "unsung heros" on the staff?

He's so unsung, he's not even listed. And he must not be allowed to answer the phone,'cause I can never get him at the studio.

If Tony's "the Voice," and you're "the Professor,"then John has got to be "the DJ."  With his simple, direct style,he must spin more music/hour than anyone else, and on his shift - jazz's natural "magic hours" -
it's just the time when it's the music we want to hear.

He's been much appreciated at our house. We'll miss him. Wish him all the best from us. Hope we have the pleasure of finding him "on the air," again soon.

~ Larry

16 June, 2011

Side Step...Updating the Universes

     I know that not much has been going on with my writing as of late.  For this I want to apologise to everyone.  I have been busy and moody, dealing with a host of Life's problems.  The biggest one had centered on my situation at the radio station I worked at for 13 years.  I was not sure what would happen after the sale actually happened.  The winds are shifting my sailboat as I now know my last night onair at 90.5 WDUQ is going to be the 28th into the 29th of June.  I am trying to find a radio gig somewhere in the area now.  I hope I hear something soon.

     In the last 45 days I also managed to totally trash my computer.  I lost everything, including all my stories.  It is taking some work, but things are getting recovered, so I will have all my current writing back.  I thought some of it would be lost to the echoes of time, but happily that is not the case.

     I have been struggling through a rewrite as well.  A story I have high hopes for has been frustrating me beyond the capacity to reason.  People gave me a variety of responses on it, all of them questioning my sanity and sentence structure.  Finally, I called on the ultimate authority in help:  My old English teacher.  I think he has set me right, it is just taking time.

     In short I am still here.  The factory of my imagination has been offline for a bit.  But with the wind changing directions and things finally resolving, I will be back to my usual.  New writing will appear soon.  I do have a story, 'One Last Day' due for publication in July, both online and in print.

     Now, to avoid those clowns in the clean white coats...

24 April, 2011

On the New Frontier...What Did They Feed the Computer Today?

     My scream brought my secretary to my open doorway.  She held scaled hands over her reptilian head, looking at me.  She waited, knowing my hysterics would abate.  As I huffed myself from my unleashing a tirade, I spotted a data tablet tucked under an arm.  Forcing back another yell, I asked calmly, "What news do you have?"
     Torli simply placed the tablet on my desk, spinning and retreating before I could grab it.  Frowning, I knew the tablet contained bad news.  I steeled myself with a swig of coffee, looking at the data.  I almost choked, burning my nose as I attempted not to spray my office in coffee.  Coughing, I looked again at the tablet in abject amazement.
     The food processor in research and development refused to shut off.  Instead, it spewed nothing but grits.  Feeling my frown resurface, I added this to the list of chaos from the day so far.  Malfunctioning lifts, random power surges, the appearance of stuffed animals when using the teleport terminal, and more added to the sense of mayhem. 
     Pressing a hand to my forehead, I marched out of my office.  Heading to a dark corner of the floor, I found the central computer unit humming away.  Lights flicked and flashed at me, in some order.  Blinking, I headed to the main status display.  Punching in my security code, I asked the computer to output the status report.  Turning, I waited for the holographic display.
     A cartoon of some nature blasted my ear drums.  Screaming, "Display off!", not a thing occurred.  Wishing for ear plugs, I furiously tapped the status display.  Not a one of my codes managed to stop the childish show hammering my senses.  I kicked the computer, accomplishing nothing more than banging my foot and yelping.  After an undetermined number of minutes it (Mercifully.) stopped.
     Shaking my head, I opened the door and yelled out, "Torli, send the word.  Switching primary system offline and failing to the backup."  As I closed the door I almost felt the groan from every staff member.  I counted in my head, giving Torli time to send the word to the agents in the field.  Sucking in a breath, I powered down the primary system, watching the backup kick on.  Seeing it appeared to be functioning, I left the computer control room, intent on getting back to work.
     Yelling in surprise, some object nailed me square in the back.  Spinning about, I narrowly avoided a data tablet flying at my head.  I dropped to the floor, seeing staff members scrambling all over.  Crawling under a desk, I began to doubt my senses at the sight before me.  I lost count of the number of objects I saw go whizzing by, as I crawled back to the computer room.  Once inside, I threw the master cutoff for both systems.
     Peeking out the door, I noted no flying objects and a few moans from staff members.  I walked out, checking on people as I went.  Shaking my head, I began helping to clean up.  It took the better part of two hours, but the office no longer looked like a tornado had paid a visit.  Satisfied, I returned to my office and sat at my desk, questions running through my head.  Jumping at the sound of a call coming through, I answered, "Kaden here."
     Laughter greeted my ears, prompting me to glare at the communications system.  Just as I prepared to scream, Doctor Jersil Weki yelled for me.  "Norville!"
     Wincing, I replied over the sounds of screaming and growling, "Weki what is going on up there?"
     "Norville thank the Maker of All.  We are cornered in research and development, "Weki's voice shaded into hysterics as he continued, "by a dragon!  It appeared from the teleport and -"  I listened in abject wonder, hearing screams and a roar echo over the link.
     "Weki!  Weki!"
     Panting from yelling, I raced from my office.  Hitting the emergency stairs at full throttle, I covered two flights in a record dash.  Tripping on a rug, I entered research and development head first.  When my skid ended I became acutely conscious of three things.
     Firstly, my back hurt from landing.
     Secondly, the entire R&D staff huddled in shocked silence.
     Thirdly, a purple and gold dragon filling the room, just turning to face me.
     Panic froze me right to the floor.  Looking up, the dragon glared down, hissing furiously.  I gulped, realizing I just volunteered (Myself!) to provide the appetizer for lunch.  Reaching in my pocket, I produced a snack bar.  My stomach growled in protest, as I slowly rose to my feet.  Smiling my most charming, I said, "Galactic Snacks; Always satisfies."  Throwing the snack bar, I leaped through the R&D doors as the dragon followed the object..
     Crashing to a halt, I thought frantically for a solution to this absurdly dangerous situation.  Hearing a roar, I scanned the hall.  Without much of a thought, I grabbed the hose for the fire suppression system.  Edging to the open doorway, I yelled, "Cafeteria is on the first floor!"  The dragon swung its head, hissing and mouth open.  I thumbed the valve switch to full open, foam blasting forth.  Holding on for everything, I aimed for the open mouth, foaming spraying across the room.
     Surprisingly, I hit the dragon bang on target.  A cough issued from the dragon, and then it simply vanished.  I glared in pure astonishment for a few seconds, managing to coat the R&D staff in the process.  I smiled sheepishly as I shut the hose off, returning it to the mount in the hall.  I walked back in to find the staff cleaning themselves and the place up.  Grabbing Weki, I asked, "How did that thing get here?"
     Weki stared off absently, trying my already fried patience.  Idly wiping foam off his coat, he said, "Norville, yes.  None of us are certain.  Override procedure for the teleport was initiated, and then the dragon appeared."
     I frowned, this piece of data doing nary a thing for the mess of the day.  Checking with R&D staff members at random, none could add anything to Weki's statement.  Glaring at the offending teleport system for a count, no answers arrived from that source.  Frustrated beyond words, I marched to the stairs, headed to my office.
     Arriving at my desk, I sat down and put my hands to my eyes.  The entire day just was so random, offering no hope of an explanation.  At this point I couldn't decide if I needed to call a priest, a shaman, or a film crew for the next holo hit.  Closing my eyes, I attempted to decide on a course of action.  After minutes of this, I rose.  I exited my office to Torli's desk, and said to her, "Please notify everyone to take cover.  I am going to restart the main computer system."
     Torli simply nodded and began notifying the departments.  I almost laughed as I headed back to the main computer system.  The staff had taken the warning in extreme seriousness, making forts out of desks and open rooms.  Sobering up a moment, I grabbed a large data tablet in case I needed it.  Prepared as best I could, I faced the main computer system.  Checking connections a moment, I finally turned the thing on.
     Facing the machine, I watched it start up normally.  I commenced holding a breath, waiting for some thing to happen.  Minutes rolled by, and I exhaled to nothing but the system running merrily on its way.  Baffled couldn't begin to cover my thoughts, but since it seemed to be behaving I shrugged.  I walked out of the room and made my way slowly to my office.
     Once seated, I began reading the activity log for signs of anything unusual.  This normally annoying task  was made doubly so today.  As I scanned the log, I tried changing the display type, to zero avail.  For reasons unknown, the display type appeared stuck in a comically difficult to read font.  I poked at the settings again, yelping as I got shocked.
     The curses and screams echoing in through my open door confirmed I was not the only victim of this latest mishap.  Glaring at my terminal, I shook my head.  Any number of random occurrences could be expected in a time travel agency, I mused.  Today's list of occurrences topped the normal by far, I thought sourly.
     "Mr. Kaden, a gentleman from Core Computer Services is here for a service call."
     "Thank you Torli, " I said in defeat, "Not sure if he can help, but he's here.  I'll be out in a moment."
     Getting up, I steeled myself to face a computer expert.  Striding out, I looked over the gentleman.  Extending a hand, I introduced myself, "Norville Kaden, Temporal Troubleshooters.  Thank you for coming."
     "Splendid to meet you sir, "he said cheerily, " Don Barry from Core Computer Services."
     I motioned him towards the computer center and turned him loose.  Hovering in the area, my mind turned back to the events of today.  In the last few minutes, all managed to be quiet.  This (I suspected greatly.) stemmed from most of the staff sneaking off.  I chuckled at the thought, not blaming them one bit.  My laugh faded, banked by fresh thoughts of the random events of the day.
     Thoughts flowing, something amidst the sea of my mind waved.  Trying to focus, a nagging suspicion slowly crept through my body.  I reached my office, sitting down with my raging thoughts.  Rocking in my chair, I frowned anew.  I rose and commenced pacing, attempting to focus my mind.  Engaged in this activity, a question popped into the clear.
     Who called in Mr. Barry to look over the computer system?
     Bolting from my office, I shot straight to computer room.  Skidding through the door, Don Barry jumped in surprise.  In his hand I spotted a data decryption unit.  Glaring in unfiltered anger, I spoke sharply,  "Yes indeed.  So nice of you to arrive Mr. Barry."
     Watching him closely, I continued.  "So nice of you to engineer so many headaches for us today.  An ingenious plan, "sarcasm dripped from my voice as I spoke, "to gain access to our computer system and data."
     Don didn't even blink at my accusation.  In reply, he merely put down the device in his hand, swiftly producing what appeared (To my trained eye and dismay.) to be a laser.  He pointed the the weapon at me, and I waited to be burned to cinders.  Sucking in a breath, I attempted to devise a way out of this.
     Seconds passed, before the realization that I was not dead drove home.  Looking intently at Don, I was shocked to see his expression frozen in terror.  Not wishing to waste an apparent chance, I dove at him.  I relieved him of his weapon and hauled him to his feet.  The look of terror remained fixed on his face, giving me pause.
     I felt my skin crawl just then.  A sound intruded upon my thoughts, the sound of hissing.  Turning slowly, my eyes widened at the sight confronting me.
     A giant bat like creature stood.  Unfolding its wings, the hissing grew in intensity.  Transfixed, both of us stood there. Don reacted first, yanking his laser out of my hand and firing.  I dropped and crawled across the floor as the 'bat' screeched.  Laser fire scattered off the hide as a wing took Don off his feet.  The door opened amazingly enough and I yelled, "Call the city police, emergency!"
     Almost out the door, something grabbed my ankles and yanked me back into the room.  Rolling over, I squinted in the brilliance radiating throughout the room.  Moments passed before the glow simply vanished.  Sitting up in total bafflement, I noted Don unconscious in a corner.  Getting up, I noted the main computer system was on.  I advanced to the main terminal, reading the message displayed on the screen.
     Two city police officers burst in the room, Torli in tow.  I faced them, saying, "Thank you gentleman.  Please remove, "I pointed at the unconscious figure of Don, "this man to a holding cell.  He attempted to commit data theft. I will be along once I verify no damage to our systems."
     The police hauled out Don, as Torli asked me, "At least we know what caused today's mayhem."
     I shook my head, handing over all of Don's gear to her.  She turned and left, leaving me to face the main terminal display alone.  The message answered one question, but opened many more. 
     I appreciate the opportunity to have studied your kind.  While we are unable to formally meet, I enjoyed the adventure as our ancestors must have experienced.
     Clearing the message, I pondered how I would explain today's events at the next staff meeting.

21 April, 2011

Side Step...What is Going On

I thought I would fire in a quick note, for those of you who may not talk to me often, nor see any of my posts on Fbook (Facebook).  I have not forsaken the blog, just been busy trying to get things published.  I was beginning to get worried, as none of the stories I was submitting were getting me anywhere.  Then I changed tacks, and now...

'Would You Say I Do?' is scheduled to be published in the near future at Short-Story.Me (www.short-story.me) on their website.  It was the first one accepted anywhere, and it took me by surprise.

'Now, What Does That Button Do?' was just accepted for publication in Digital Dragon Magazine's online April 2011 issue.  You can find them at:  www.digitaldragonmagazine.com

I have several other stories out that I am waiting on responses at this point.  I have begun work on a couple new things as well.  So no worries, I did not die or fall off the planet.  Or get hit by aliens.

22 March, 2011

Reposting...Hanging Over a Rail

(I am returning this story to the blog after months of trying to get it published somewhere.  If you missed it before, here is your chance to see it.  If you read it before, here it is for your enjoyment again.)

     Standing at the edge of the Great Cliff, a figure drew back the hood of his cloak. He looked at the swirling stars and mists of the Edge of the Universes. Smiling at the sight, he contemplated his vigil. Turning his attention to a nearby rock, he read the inscription carved neatly into it:
     In memory of the endless wanderer, Professor Loun Weicke 31,658- 35,165 Colrion Standard Epoch. Time Tracer Elite and Friend to the Universes.
     Running a finger over the inscription, he smiled broadly. A distinctly fitting, he thought in reflection, tribute to the man. He reached out to the top of the stone and picked up one of the trinkets left as part of the memorial. Lightly fingering each object, he picked up the ancient Terran pocket watch. Studying it carefully, he remembered that only the owner could ever manage to open it, let alone read it.
     A sudden beep gave the figure pause. Checking the communication device, he noted the confirmation signal from his client. Pulling the hood up, he waited for the client's arrival . Turning back to the edge, he silently stared into the mists and stars.
     “Ah, Ptolomus.”
     Ptolomus turned slowly at the sound of that cold voice saying, "Marshall, glad to see you arrived here. How are you?”
     “Dispense with pleasantries,“ Marshall said sharply. “Did you acquire all asked of you?”
     Ptolomus fidgeted, hesitating until Marshall's foot tapping transformed into a stomp. Knowing the words sealed his death sentence, he said, “That I was unable to accomplish.”
     The Marshall blinked once before exploding, “You are standing there telling me you dragged me to this worthless lump of mud, just to inform me of your failure!“ He hissed coldly, “Your life is forfeit.”
     Ptolomus spoke hurriedly, “Now wait a sec here. Don’t blast me to atoms that fast before you hear me out!”
     Marshall finished drawing his blaster. Maliciously he grinned and placed the blaster atop a nearby rock. “Go on,“ he urged mockingly, “tell me whatever you wish to say. Perhaps it shall determine how horribly you die.”
     Ptolomus wrung his hands at that statement. Knowing much from stories and reports on his client, he understood the truth of Marshall's words. He swallowed nervously and dived in.
     “Well Marshall, I know that you’ve been planning something of a take over of sorts. So why don’t you hitch yourself up on that rock. Make yourself comfortable even.”
     The Marshall opted to remain standing, eyes fixed in a cold glare. Ptolomus cleared his throat saying, “You know exactly where you are of course. Shansxi, the Edge of the Universes.”
     Marshall nodded slowly, intently watching Ptolomus. His hand hovered over the blaster. Ptolomus swallowed audibly, before continuing.
     “There goes a legend,“ Ptolomus intoned solemnly, “saying-“
“-how one sees thine future’s face, be whoeth he gaze,“ Marshall finished. “What of this silly legend?”
     Ptolomus almost smiled, but merely nodded. “Look over the edge if you would.”
     Laughing nastily, Marshall scooped up the blaster. Thumbing the selector to full intensity, he snarled, “I thought so much better of you Ptolomus. Such a simple and stupid ploy.”
     Ptolomus backed off a few paces. “It was not,“ he said earnestly,  “my intention to pull anything. Simply humor a dead man.”
     The nasty smiled reappeared on Marshall’s face. "Alright Ptolomus, humor I shall. Kindly refrain from moving."
     Smiling wickedly, Marshall trained the blaster on Ptolomus. Walking slowly towards the edge, he leaned over, peering into the swirling mists. Shock gripped him suddenly, freezing him to the spot.
     "Why Marshall," Ptolomus called mockingly, "you've turned the palest green ever seen. See something familiar?"
     Marshall leaped away from the edge. Aiming on Ptolomus once more, Marshall seethed. Resetting the beam intensity, he spat angrily, "Your cheap parlor trick earns you a slow death. One layer of skin at a time."
     Smiling expansively, Ptolomus reached out, picking the pocket watch off the rock. Clicking it open, he laughed at the time. Looking up at Marshall, he said evenly, "High Noon Marshall. Perfect time for a gun fight according to Old Earth."
     Marshall fought off a sudden wave of irrational fear, switching the blaster to full intensity and firing. Ptolomus promptly disappeared in the glow of full disruption, no remains save dispersing particles. Marshall stared for a count at the spot formerly occupied by Ptolomus. Shaking his head, he mastered his nerves and control. The fool Ptolomus managed to shake him with silly theatrics. The trick with the watch, he reflected sourly, especially so. In the end, Marshall brooded, all a cheap attempt to save his worthless hide.
     Reaching to his belt, Marshall pressed his signaler. Sighing, he waited to be transported away from this worthless planet. Plans would need adjusted after this delay.
     A laugh caused Marshall to jump and fire in three quick strikes. The laughter continued, sounding from every direction. Marshall backed against a rock outcropping, allowing for some cover. He winced as the laughter grew in intensity.
     “Come come, Marshall. Or perhaps," spoke the scolding voice, " between old friends, 'come come, Squadron Leader Makkia of the Tricameroon.'”
     Fear returned to 'Marshall' Makkia, practically forcing the disruptor from his hand. Makkia felt realization tingle through every fiber of nerves in his body. The use of his name and former title set his brain spinning. The voice nagged his consciousness, a feeling of recognition working just below the surface.
     “Strange forebodings and bad tidings chasing you? Surely this is not the same man I fought all those years,” the voice mocked casually.
     Makkia's thoughts crashed frantically, fear and realization choking him simultaneously. One single memory surfaced hurriedly, causing his blaster hand to tremble. Countless years indeed had passed since he last heard that hated voice. A voice he thought silenced forever, by his own hand.
     Unbidden, the name whispered from his lips:
     Appearing before Makkia in Ptolomus' attire, Weicke smiled. He bowed in grand gesture, returning the look of pure fury with a nod. He laughed as Makkia's burning eyes swept over him.
     “I feel deeply touched by your unfailing memory. To think we would have the chance to speak again after so many years.”
     Makkia shook. His lips moved, sound refusing to come out. Seeing his companion of the moment’s inability to speak, Weicke took pity on him.
     “If you are wondering how, I am quite simply afraid I can not provide an explanation,” Weicke said thoughtfully. “I, as were you, felt certain of my end, falling off the Great Cliff into the crossover.“
     Weicke paused, pocketing his possessions from the rock memorial. Placing each one in a pocket, he turned to Makkia. Noting the look of deepening anger, Weicke laughed.
     “To be brief Makkia, I found myself here, alone. I noted the marker where the things I had left before our ‘meeting’ were placed. I stared there for a good long time before realization sunk in: The Universe thought I was as dead as you had hoped.”
     Makkia fired, hitting Weicke in mid stride. The ion disruption deflected away from Weicke. Firing for a full five minutes produced zero effect. He lowered the disruptor with his rage boiling over.
     “Now that is a decent chap, “mocked Weicke. “I can see from your expression you dislike my gadget.”
     Makkia hissed, “Enjoy mocking all you wish. My guard will arrive and then I shall have the joy of ensuring your death.”
     Weicke laughed. Locking eyes with Makkia, he said nary a word. Makkia might be many things, he reflected delightedly, but stupid would not be on that list. Waiting, he was rewarded with watching Makkia realize the depth of his position.
     “Terribly sorry old friend.”

     Makkia forced calmness upon himself. Thinking rapidly, escape with his life remained the only possibility. As before, Weicke’s appearance spelled the doom of his plans. Knowing no assistance from without would arrive, action from within would be required.
Makkia watched Weicke punch signals into a communications device. Flipping off the safety, his disruptor built to overload. Waiting for the overcharging to finish, he tapped a code onto his signal device. Holding a breath, he threw the disruptor.
     Watching the explosion, Makkia smiled. Even if the cheapest trick in the book caused little more than a distraction, it would suffice. The emergency recall would transport him directly into his escape vessel. Even with his ship occupied, nothing would override the vessel launch. Makkia smiled widened, already plotting a permanent demise for Weicke.

     Sandis Janil stared in total bewilderment at the body before him. Attempting numerous times, Intertime Intervention failed in capturing 'Marshall' Makkia. Janil motioned a pair of agents to convey the unconscious ‘Master of All’ to a cell on the I.I. cruiser. Satisfied, he turned to the architect of this drama.
Watching the proceedings in total satisfaction, Weicke favored Janil with a smile. Janil registered bewilderment once more at the simple fact of his existence. For years, the monument stood in mute testament of his demise. Yet, Janil thought, before me stands the legend.
     “On behalf of myself,“ Janil said thankfully, “and Intertime Intervention, we are much in your debit.” Pausing a beat, Janil asked, “I simply am astonished. How precisely did you accomplish this affair?”
     Weicke said mischievously, “Why Janil old man, you know my record.” At Janil's baffled expression, he merely laughed. “High sense of drama based on decent acting skills.”
     Janil nodded in confused agreement. Smiling, Weicke said, “Janil, look up Earth literature, Victorian period. You are looking for an author named Doyle. When done with your homework, let me know.”
     Bowing and nodding, Weicke departed grandly, leaving Janil a puzzle.

16 March, 2011

Reposting...Pale Spectre of Days Past

(I am returning this story to the blog after months of trying to get it published somewhere.  If you missed it before, here is your chance to see it.  If you read it before, here it is for your enjoyment again.)

     Watching the twin suns sink slowly toward the horizon, I smiled faintly. The light shaded into a deep hue, suiting my thoughts perfectly. My smile assumed a very sad cast as I looked to the sky.
      My name is unimportant, but it is Johaniz Marife. Only an elite few actually knew that name. I, however, was known by many other names on thousands of worlds. Countless cultures, living and dead, knew me by song, stories, you bloody well name it.
      Spending thousands of years chasing the Darkness across time and space provided me with several lifetimes of stories. Adventures beyond the Dreams of Avarice flashed through my mind in an instant. The successes far outweighed the failures of my journey. I smiled again as they flew by in my mind.
      The failures came to surface as well. My failure to save Acsehc of Adelborn IV from the clutches of the Cult of Polla. My inability to save the rule of Arian the Fair at the time of the Solar Concordia. The loss of the race known only as Q;idh.
      Sighing to scatter all the memories with the breeze rustling the trees, I returned to the here and now. Waiting, even now, managed to cause my blood to boil. I mused ruefully about all those philosophical lessons on patience. Good thing, I decided ultimately, I never bothered with attending those lessons.
      The sound of footsteps behind me summoned me from my memories. I played the drama out, letting the approaching figure stop and stare at my back. I smiled, knowing that the person behind me was doubtless attempting to summon his loyal guards. Sadly, facing me alone represented his sole choice.
      "I do not know how you got here, but my guard is on the way to remove you from this holy place."
      Smiling at the false bravado coming from my companion in this place, I remained in place. My patience tried, I returned the favor. My reward came quickly in the form of shouting.
      "I am Lord Voris! Answer me you shall! Who are you?"
      "I know very well who you are, "I said in an even tone. "I even know quite well what you have done."
      "WHO ARE YOU?"
      I laughed wickedly at the creeping hysterics in Voris' voice. By now he knew he was not receiving help from without. Knowledge and understanding was a wonderful weapon when used properly. Laughing again, I said mockingly, "Why Voris, where is the calm that charmed a planet?"
      A snarl issued from behind me.  Laughing again, I felt the strike of a plasma disruptor, and then again. Waiting for him to cease firing, I spoke evenly. "You know who I am Voris. Let your memory work back to those you threw as it where in thy headlong rush for glory."
      I continued smiling into the light of the twin suns. Behind me, I knew Voris' face would be twisted in the thoughts of memory. Knowing the dictatorial mind well, I furnished ample time for his memory to flow. A sudden gasp prompted another laugh.
      "I killed you..."
      Turning and smiling, I watched all the color drain from his face. Voris stared at me, then through me. Transforming my smile, I spoke evenly and sarcastically. "Oh yes Voris. Your eyes deceive you not, nor thy memory."
      Laughing, glaring with all my rage, I spoke. "I am as real as you remember. As real as when you thought you tossed me off this very cliff."
      Voris snarled again at me. I could see his hands flexing, eying me up to try again. Yelling again, he spat, "You powerless fool. Challenging me? You dare challenge me on this world you lost?"
      I yawned at his outburst. Voris leaped for me, but found himself frozen in air. I waved a hand, dropping him unceremoniously. Peering down at him, I let the rage carry through to my voice. "I told you I would come back Voris. I knew you would subjugate this priceless world, with your lies, your domination. I did nothing, this world having shown trust in you and themselves."
      Hissing and spitting, Voris rose before me. Shaking in total rage, he screamed, "Damn you Marife. You may have humiliated me in this moment, but the world is mine. Mine! There is nothing that you can tell these mindless sheep. Nothing! Their will is mine, I broke them and swooped when they were weak. They think as I wish them."
      Pausing, Voris continued at the smile on my face.  "Laugh Marife, LAUGH! Laugh while you can, my guards will come when I do not return. I'll turn your mind inside out! Serve me you shall, an example to these foolish people. I'll turn you, making you my puppet to dance, DANCE!"
      Letting Voris pant from screaming, my smile shaded malevolent. I tapped on my collar, saying pleasantly, "My Lord Voris, I thank you. That simply goes down in the books as one of the best abdication speeches ever."
      Ignoring his stunned screech, I transmitted the the recording to an uplink. Broadcasting around the entire planet, I knew the effect. Turning back to the matter at hand, I smiled at Voris. Waiting eons for this moment, I slowly pulled a small container from my right sleeve.
      "This, " I spoke calmly, "contains a particle of temporal energy. When released, you and I will disappear from time, in a most permanent fashion. No hope of recovery, nevermore a starfall, sunrise, or tea. Just gone."
      Voris snapped out, "You are a Time Tracer! You can not do this! I know the rules of InterTime Intervention. I demand my rights!"
     I smiled sadly for him. "Correct Voris. I am indeed a Time Tracer, and a founding member of InterTime Intervention for that matter. Under ordinary circumstances, I would be bound to accede." My smile fading to sadness, I continued. "Luck is with you not. Dying am I, and leave you for InterTime Intervention to save shall I not."
      I tossed the container up. In a moment, I watched the temporal energy swirl. Smiling, I watched time spiral, hearing Voris scream.