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Skeptic Tank!

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= RUNE'S RAG - Your Best Electronic MagaZine --------------------------------- Dedicated to Writers and Readers of every Genre. =-=-=-=-= -=-=-=- =-=-=-= =-=-= _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_- Published by: Arnold's Plutonomie$, Ltd. Vol. 2 No. 11 P.O. Box 243, Greenville, (NOV 1994) PA 16125-0243 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Modem submissions to: WRITERS BIZ BBS 1:2601/522 @ 1-412-LUV-RUNE (588-7863) ********************************************************************** --- Celebrate THANKS in GIVING, only after you VOTE! --- ********************************************************************** RUNE'S RAG - is going to be a representation of as many authors as we can coerce into submitting high quality material. All genres will be represented. We will strive to present new authors, as well as many inveterates, providing you the reader -- with synaptic stimulations! Some of the features will be pure unadulterated escapism, to stimulate YOUR pleasure centers -- while others will shrivel and shake your Id. YOU, the reader, can help provide more and better stories in the magazine -- send donations, or subscribe to the magazine, so we may pay our writers a better fee -- making us competitive with our print counterparts! Help us keep small Electronic Presses alive and well providing YOU an alternative to destroying trees and nature! If YOU like an AUTHOR, Please E-mail to Rick Arnold: FIDO address: 1:2601/522 or Internet: rick.arnold@f522.n2601.z1.fidonet.org; CIS: 75537,1415 or 77537.1415@compuserve.com. We will get all COMMENTS to our AUTHORS. They like FEEDBACK-Let em have it! SUPPORT THE ARTS. ______________________________________________________________________ WELCOME To: RUNE'S RAG-Bringing you fantastic fiction, poetry and more Managing Editor -Rick Arnold. Copyright 1994 ARNOLD'S PLUTONOMIE$, LTD All Rights Reserved. PLEASE HELP Support our WRITERS! Send donations or TAKE A SUBSCRIPTION to the Magazine. Thanx. Single Registration:$5.69 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 02 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 TABLE OF CONTENTS: SOME BEGINNINGS................................ Various & Staff.........02 TRAVELS WITH LESLIE -lifes serial - eat it..... Leslie Meek.............03 POETRY - bar poetry............................ Various ................07 SUBMERGED INTERFACE -weed on the grave......... Gay Bost................10 HER LIVING TRIBUTE -remember the Vets.......... Thomas Nevin Huber......17 THE HILLS OF COMMERCE -Vets travel............. Marilyn Hutchings.......22 PSICOP - I knew you knew that, you know........ John R. Hillman, Jr.....28 THE MONSTER MEN - an adventure serial.......... Edgar R. Burroughs......41 MUSIC REVIEW - boxing in Kansas................ Dave Bealer.............49 MUSIC REVIEW II - watch da baby................ Gordon Chapman..........50 THE '94 DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN -a concept......... Ray Koziel..............52 WhatNots -- bits of stuFF...................... Various & StaFF stuFF...54 Subscriptions - We Need Your Help! Low rates... RUNE....................56 Writer's Guidelines -- Use Em -- .............. Ed......................57 Sysop Offer - Help! Register or subscribe...... RUNE....................60 Book Offer - Electronic Book Offering.......... Ed......................61 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Some Beginnings: =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE! Heard on the street: ------------------- "That damn governor and representatives just don't know what the hell they're doing," he said. "Did you vote for them?" his friend asked. "Me? Vote. My vote don't count. Don't do no good." "Ahhh, . . . ." The friend responded, shaking his head while walking to the polls. -------------------------------------------------------- [Editor's Notes] Well. Lawd, Lawd. Some very interesting developments in the news. Amazing. I see that Electronic Publishing is actually getting some recognition. I guess we really do exist, and can now prove it, since we are being talked about in the media (even in print). RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 03 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Thanks to ONLINE ACCESS for the mention of WRITERS BIZ, home BBS of RUNE'S RAG. Other publications have done major articles on Electronic Publishing -- no mention of those publications, turn about is fair play -- and it is good to see that more people are becoming aware of this medium. There should be a marked increase in E-Publications to choose from -- as awareness increases -- it can only benefit the computer user. We, at RUNE'S RAG, just hope to see more support from the public, so that the backbone of any publication, the writers, will receive their just rewards -- payment! There's been exciting rumors running through the Electronic Publishing industry. I'm looking forward to seeing announcements breaking these new developments to the media. These hints, at things to come, should benefit many people, most especially you, the *Reader*. Check the next issue for follow up information. If you are interested in Classic Literature, and would like to know where to obtain E-Books of the Classics -- for FREE -- send me E-Mail! VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE!VOTE! ========================= # # # =============================== August 11, 1993 --------------- TYBEE ISLAND, GEORGIA -- Why watch fish when you can watch people for less? Lots of people spend lots of money to buy fancy aquariums and brightly colored tropical fish from other lands. It makes them feel at home to sit and watch the creatures. As tiny as it may be, Tybee Island harbors an abundance of the best people-watching aquariums in existence -- laundromats and bars. The dynamics of a laundromat involve a thankless task and an arena that pits man against machine. People walk into bars to do battle with one another. Nobody ever gets their quarters back from either place, but it costs nothing to watch them lose. I started watching Janice and her friend early this evening when they walked into this local bar. The night was young and so were they, holding hands and singing silent songs together. They sat at a booth, ordered a pitcher of beer, and began sharing whispers and smiles across the table. A small highway winds east from Savannah through a vast marsh-like sea to the beach. You become aware that you are on the "island" only when the highway makes an abrupt turn to run south along the sandy shores. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 04 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "Main street" runs one block from the highway to the sea. Although miniaturized, it is cluttered with businesses like any other main street. On this street is one gift shop, one laundromat, one real estate office, one arcade and five bars. The mere ratio of bars to regular businesses may be unique but it is not the whole story. Typical tourists abandoned Tybee Island in favor of nearby Hilton Head Island years ago. People know each other here. It is a community. If there is a bar fight here, odds are somebody has hit a friend. I am no stranger here. Two years ago I came here with a dear friend and, together, we decided to spend a lot of time in the bars on main street. We were lovers who trusted each other with the other's kingdom, so we thought we were ready to make a very important decision regarding our lives together. We had spent six months holding back from doing something we both wanted to do. Our relationship had grown and flourished since then so we thought we were finally ready. We all have turning points in our lives; times and places where we chose our route among many paths. Tybee Island is my place. Everybody knew Janice, just as everybody knows everybody on Tybee Island. She is the daughter of a local fisherman who spends his days on a boat, working the ocean for shrimp. It's hard work. Janice, they say, has chosen an easier, softer way. She is a law student and pays her way through school by working at a day care center on one of what locals would term "the other" islands. Of course, Bill helps out a lot too. He does the chores -- sometimes even the dishes -- at the apartment he shares with Janice. Some say he is the brightest star in Janice's promising future. As they sat at the booth in front of me sharing the first pitcher you see how much they supported each other. Neither one laughed or smiled alone and I assumed, in trying times, it was the same with crying. Tonight I could afford the luxury of observing. I was no longer a participant so I could concentrate on people watching. Bars and Laundromats are the places to go to watch people and I arrived here alone this morning with a suitcase of clean clothes. The months that followed my visit here two years ago were filled with agony. It turns out that the decision we made here wasn't such a good one for us. Since then, I have done a lot of crying alone. First as he was sleeping then when he was gone. But life goes on and so did the evening. Janice was still laughing when they ordered the second pitcher. I overheard pieces of Bill's soothing words to her across the table -- something about how well she was doing in school and how special that was to him. ". . . Beautiful and smart, now that's a rare package," he said. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 05 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Janice is beautiful. Long dark hair, splendid figure and eyes that glistened even the dim light of the bar. She is no more than twenty-two years old, the point in life where the tomorrow's are so much more important than the yesterdays. The second pitcher was shared a lot faster than the first. After they ordered their third, the conversation got much more intense. I could only overhear portions of the discussion. Something about Bill doing a little better with the dishes and her bad habit of hanging around the care center after work. I wasn't interrupted much. I was careful slip a ring onto the middle finger of my left hand before I came to the bar. It works with most guys. But then again it's the ones that it doesn't work with that you have to worry about. Warren happened to be one of those. "You sure I can't buy you a drink," he slobbered. I assured him that I was. I had made that decision long ago as well, right here on Tybee Island. It wasn't difficult at all to hear the couple I was watching after they got halfway through the third pitcher. Bill was telling her that things were going to have to change . . . and change quickly. She needed to come home right away from work. Janice wasn't smiling anymore. "You get all prettied up just to tantalize these guys in here," Bill said when they started on their fourth. "You would just love to sleep with the whole bunch of them, wouldn't you." It got worse. Much worse. Soon, Janet's glistening eyes were glaring through a haze of held back tears. Bill's slurred words were ugly -- although Janice held her own, slashing back her own comments. It's pretty damn hard to share hate and anger, so each of them tried his or her best to stand up for themselves. "You slut," Bill yelled. "Go ahead and screw them all, I don't care." He gulped down the remainder of their fourth pitcher and stomped out of the bar. Janice stayed behind and called over the waitress. This time ordered a single glass of beer. I joined the rest of the people in the bar in staring down at my hands in front of me. There is something painfully embarrassing and belittling about witnessing the anger of lovers. A collective shame seems to cloak the audience. The turn of events did not come as a surprise to me. Like I said, I have been here before. The night went on and soon the other patrons became busily engaged in what they were doing before the fight. Warren was no exception. He walked past me and up to Janice. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 06 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "Wanna a ride somewhere," he said. Janice brushed back a lock of dark hair that had matted on her forehead and looked up. "Sure. Sure, why the hell not?" She said. Like I say, for people-watching, you just can't beat laundromats and bars. (NOTE: "Janice's" father's occupation was changed. The names of the couple were altered out of respect for their privacy. As mentioned, everybody knows everybody on Tybee Island.) August 14, 1993 --------------- TYBEE ISLAND, GEORGIA -- Some Chinese philosopher dude once said that crises is "opportunity riding the dangerous wind." I have considered that thought with some misgivings over the last few years. I have a tendency to doubt the messenger of meaningful news and it seems to me that the Chinese are falsely credited with too many novel inventions. I was told they developed Pizza -- yet everybody knows that Pizza is Italian, right? I thought about such things today as I walked along the compacted sand of the beach here, preparing for tomorrow. My mind wandered to the phase uttered by some American pipe-smoker: "Fear" is short for "False Education Appearing Real." Now, that hit home. If philosophy is anything like the old Certs commercial and they are both right, it means I've been battered around in an artificial hurricane most of my life. Where is the solution? If "the calm always precedes the storm," how the hell am I supposed to enjoy a cloudless day? And so it goes with me. I am plagued with such thoughts. Conventional wisdom, scrawled in stone by those who are supposed to know about such things, just makes my emotional situation worse. I started out on this trip to get away from the misery of home and find the tools to get better. I cannot think my way to health because, in a very real and honest way, my best thinking got me to where I was. To get better, I must grow. To grow, I must act. I do not believe that people can deal effectively with emotions using intellect. It's kind of like pitting David against Goliath in this internal, grueling battle I am fighting. Emotions are gonna' win every time. I have to do something that spurs within in me all the dreaded emotions I want so desperately to conquer. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 07 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 So tomorrow I am going to enter a bikini contest. Now, before you get to laughing too hard at the picture you have created of this twenty-five-year old blonde think of your own fears. Chances are I may find a few of them a little silly, too. To you, these fears are very serious and very real -- they hurt. So do mine. I just broke up with a man I adored. We lived together four years. I cannot cope with the desperate loneliness I feel by watching other couples walk along the beach, hand in hand. When I watch them I think of how very perfect their relationship must be; I am convinced that he must do the dishes and she never has any headaches. I compare how I feel deep down inside with how they act together in public. This is the kind of thinking that gets me into trouble. I've learned that when I feel really lonely I should find instead someone who also walks alone on the beach. I try to be the best company I can be for a few minutes. It's a small thing, I know, but the harder I try to help them feel better the less lonely I am. Little actions, rather than big thoughts, seem to do the trick. So this morning I bought one of those "g" string bikini's at a little store on the highway and spent the rest of the day trying to work up the nerve to wear it. Little things. It is not immodest of me to tell you that I am very pretty and that I have the body to wear one. Throughout my life my looks have worked against me. When I attract other men's attention, the one I love holds it against me. My lover would call me a slut because a stranger would smile at me. If a guy would actually approach me and ask to buy me a drink or something, my boyfriend was convinced forever and absolutely that I had slept with the stranger. No, saying that I am physically attractive is not an act of conceit -- it is a confession. "Blonde jokes" have become very popular lately. No one laughed at them more robustly than my ex-boyfriend who, by sharing both my body and my soul, knew intimately how truly unfair they really are. This man who would tell me he loved me for my wit and my ambition would parade me in front of friends and strangers with the unspoken demand that I keep my mouth shut. He would dangle me in front of them as bait and, when they finally nibbled, he'd take a bite out of me. Angry? Yes, a little. More than that, I am ashamed. During the final year of our relationship it got so I would tie my hair up and wear the most unattractive clothing I could buy. I did everything in my power not to be noticed. This obsessive practice of trying to look ugly started out like a flimsy cobweb at first and then, like all bad habits, grew into a chain that shackled me . . . holding me back from myself. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 08 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Shame is a big time inner agony. It takes lots of work to bust it up into pieces small enough to throw away. No amount of thinking is going to make it anything but worse. I need to do something. So, tomorrow I am going to enter a bikini contest. # # # Copyright 1994 Leslie Meek, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Leslie has been searching and in her travels relates to us what she has found so far. Warrensburg, Missouri is where the travels have begun and there is no telling where her search will end -- if ever. Perhaps leaving was her fist step to realizing -- she was *there* and already knew. ========================================================================= <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<------>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> POETRY . . . -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=******-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-- :-):-()-:(-: -=-=-=-=-= BAR POETRY =-=-=-=-=- MENTAL FLAGELLATION Copyright 1994 Francis U. Kaltenbaugh You've a heavenly body, Eyes of the Devil, Tongue of a snake. Taking me where No man goes -- it flows. Wrenching desires, you slake. Ripped shattered, your soul's rent. The *great* weight presses On your mind -- quite bent. Feeding you myself, fills you With ecstasy. Complete abandon, Baby bird -- blind -- frenzy. With need to consume, yourself Of another, one more time; We, each, mutually devour. And are individually -- gone. ----------------------------- RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 09 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 (Untitled) If I speak to the wind, To ask his advice, He tells me a riddle To make me think twice. He then goes on to say, It's up to me to find a way. The answer I seek is not hard to find. But, it's still up to me not to be left behind. With one last breath, The wind does say, Look inside one's self, It's the only way! Copyright 1994 Larry McCoy ------------------------- (Untitled) Roses are red, Violets are blue. If you'd stayed in your pants. I'd still be with you. Copyright 1994 Gina Johnston ------------------------------------ Something to stimulate thought... ------------------------------ CARRION COMFORT by Gerard Manley Hopkins Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee; Not untwist -- slack they may be -- these last strands of man In me or, most weary, cry *I can no more*. I can; Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be. But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan With darksome devouring eyes my bruised bones? and fan, O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee? RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 10 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear. Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod, Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, cheer. Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, foot trod Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<------>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> # # # :-):-()-:(-: SUBMERGED INTERFACE by Gay Bost There was music being blown across the edge of the wood, somewhere off to the right. She stopped, closed her eyes and took a deep breath through flared nostrils. Her lungs filled, slowly, cleared more slowly. She knew how to activate heightened senses. She did so, arms raised to the wanning moon. The sliver of luminescence had, this night, a misted corona of upper level moisture, a shroud. "_It is fitting_," she thought, smiling softly. She stepped away from the road and into the spruce and cypress, fingers trailing over the rough bark, pausing to listen, head held high, eyes slitted. She smelled the acrid scent of green cypress being burned, heard the hiss, imagined the steamy evaporation of precious fluids released. She followed the scent as well as the sounds of guitar and voice. The wood was not dense. The hardy trees hoarded what water they found deep, long established roots giving that up only to a few newcomers. Dark grey and rough, the bark of the old ones. She passed through, begging pardon with loving finger tips, to find the dancing glow of the fire. At least they had the sense not to set their fire within the wood itself. She hung back, watching from the shadows. So, and she hadn't realized, when she'd come through the wood, that it was The Interface. Here, in a strip of denuded land, nestled secretly in one of the declivities, had settlers buried the miners which had been pulled from numerous cave ins. No Great Gold Rush, here, but a steady Silver Trickle. Why it was called The Interface rather than, at least, The Old Graveyard, escaped her, at the moment. Here, in The Interface, had they made their fire. Here, they sang their songs. Here, a tall thin boy with ragged curls and angelic face strummed, lazily, upon a guitar. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 11 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 There were five of them, three men and two women. Rather, young men and women, past childhood but still holding the velvet skin of youth and the rosy flush, at least in four faces, of health. The fifth, a rather smallish man with dark hair and eyes, absorbed the firelight with sallow skin. She shifted position, moved with deft steps through sparse undergrowth and over rocky soil. The women were about something, there. Something between them on the ground. A pumpkin. "Of course," she said, stepping from the shadows into the outer aurora of firelight. "A pumpkin at All Hallow's." She bowed with great flourish, a sweep of arm and hand, fingers caught up on her skirts, pulling them into a courtly gesture. "How wearisome. How common." "Jesus!" Exclaimed one of the girls, jumping away from the sound of her voice, her appearance. "A witch!" "How astute," she said, smiling. "It's not a witch, it's just old Sadie," said one of the boys. "Hey, Sadie! Eaten any mushrooms lately?" "Oh, Wow!" said the guitar player. "Not the mushroom head who lives . . ." "Wait a minute," interrupted the sallow one. "She grows weed, they say." He stood and moved toward her, his gait steady but labored. "Sadie, you got any weed ON YOU?" "Moss groweth not on a rolling stone," she answered, coming deeper into the fire's ring. The girl who had jumped back sidled behind the other girl. "Now, then. Do we ALL have names, or am I the only one?" "David," said the guitar player, nodding his shaggy head, a bobbing toy on a long neck. "This is Kathleen and Moonchild." He indicted first the timid one and then the other. Moonchild dimpled sweetly, dropping a tiny curtsy. The twinkle in her eyes said something of games and mischief. What would one named Moonchild have to say with her eyes if not that? "Ryan," added the sickly one, having reached her and extended a hand. "That's Bill, but you can call him Nature Boy." "Nature Boy," she repeated, looking at the third man/boy. "And why is that so?" "Cause he likes to run around graveyards naked. Especially on Halloween!" burst forth the shy Kathleen. "Well then, by all means," Sadie allowed. "And what are we all doing under the moon?" She came closer to the fire, inhaled the pungent smoke, "besides carving Jack o' Lanterns and burning the greenwood?" RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 12 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Nature Boy grinned engagingly, a brave soul in the midst of a dilapidated grave yard. "We've come to raise the dead." "Raise them? Or Raze them?" "God!" Kathleen intoned, clapping her hands together, quite forgetting her earlier start. "I'll bet you're full of ghost stories!" The girl plopped down on the ground as if her bones had melted. Sadie frowned, more at the thought of having lost that ability to throw herself, without pain, at the ground. She sat, slowly, where she had stood, cross legged as the other and looked across the fire at her. "I'll bet." They came round then, all, sitting in various attitudes, though most adopted the crossed legs, Moonchild differing in that she place one atop the other in a Yoga-like attitude. Ryan, less fluid in his movements, seemed as old as she herself, sitting carefully. "And I suspect not a one of you has a drop of libation to share out?" "She wants a drink!" Nature Boy crowed. "Mushrooms and weed and wine. Don't you know that stuff will kill you?" He brought out the bottle, a fine example of decorum. "Gallo?" she shrieked, verbal barbs at the ready. "Have you got anything better?" he asked,haughty with wounded pride. "Happens I do, but damned if you lot will get it. But," she pulled a pouch from her skirt pockets, "hand it here and we'll see what we'll see." She wrapped fingers around the neck of the bottle and unscrewed the lid. "Now," she said, settling the thing in her lap, bracing it between her legs, "what did you children have in mind?" She handed the pouch off to David on her left and looked to Moonchild on her right, a pleasant arch of brow inviting an honest answer. Moonchild waved at the graveyard and continued her gesture to include the moon. "We had an orgy in mind." Sadie laughed heartily, thankful she hadn't taken a swig of the wine just at that moment. "Well, I shall absent myself from your gracious company, in that case. Old skin is fragile, paper thin and dry as the mountain air. Old cypress knees are knobby and fingers ragged." "A story," Kathleen pleaded, childlike in her attitude. "Tell us a story." "Tell? Tell?" Sadie paused to lift the bottle to her parched lips. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 13 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "This," said David, having lit one of the hand rolled cigarettes within the pouch, "is not marijuana!" "Of course not, boy. Marijuana is illegal." "It tastes funny," he continued. "It's home grown," she explained off handed, and returned her attention to Kathleen. "What say I *show* you a ghost story?" The fire flickered, suddenly, as if stirred by an unfelt wind. Sadie shifted her legs, stuck her feet out from under her skirts and wiggled her toes. Four pair of eyes went to her feet. She looked into the fifth's, Ryan's. The dark eyes attempted to look through her. She smiled, gently. "Shall I?" * * * "I don't know why I'm doing this! I must be crazy!" David complained, stepping across the last heavy beam, long fallen, last in a long progression of the same. They'd been coming through the old mine shaft for, he thought, at least an hour. His calves hurt. Moonchild seemed to leap over the stupid things. He knew Ryan would be wearing out, and Kathleen had picked up soot somewhere. Bill was trudging along, heckling the old woman, still trying to get the wine back from her. She'd tucked it in her skirt at the campfire and it had, effectively, disappeared. Her damned home grown tobacco had made his head hurt and his vision swim. She probably ground up old pine cones for filler or something. "Hush!" Moonchild hissed. "I *hear* something." They all stopped, waited for the sound of disturbed stones to quiet, the whisper of dust to settle, the last breath held to still. A drop of water, nearby, struck a puddle of the same. Deep beneath the insulating sheath of stone sound took different turns, moved with a will of its own, rounded corners and came at them, unaware. A released breath became a zephyr. The beating of hearts; the pulse of night earth, bubbling. David experienced a shivering chill, his sweat damp shirt clinging uncomfortably. Another drop fell. "It's this way," Ryan said, taking the lead. "So, what's the story?" Bill asked, hanging back until Sadie caught up to him. "There a river or something under here?" "There's always underground pools and stuff," Kathleen volunteered. "The trickle of Time," the old woman said. "The story is Eternity's whisper." RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 14 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "Aw! Come ON!" Bill grumbled. "Enough!" Dave laughed, came up behind his friend and slapped him on the back. "This is what we get for following a crazy old lady into a mine shaft, you know. You been laying down your bred crumbs, Hansel?" He hefted his guitar higher on his back and inched past Bill, by Sadie and followed after Ryan. "They took a lot of silver out of these mines in the old days," Kathleen continued as if no one else had spoken. Her fingers brushed along the walls at intervals, a diviner in blue jeans and tie-dyed t-shirt. "Grandma used to tell stories about the town that was out of The Interface. I remember being scared, sitting on her braided rug, listening and eating popcorn." One of her hands had flattened out on a wall. She drifted off in another direction. "Whoa, Kath. Stick with us." Dave took her arm and looked into her upturned gaze, frowning. "Kath? You still with us?" She smiled, a vague thing on a pale face. Her cheeks looked too pink, her breath was too shallow. He steered her the way the rest of them had gone, taking rear position. They were following Ryan. Moonchild walked in his footsteps, Sadie not far behind. Bill trudged, again, stirring dust with unheeding boots. As Kathleen came up behind him, Bill roared in surprise, echoes slipping through tunnels and caverns never made by man to echo in places they hadn't, yet, come into. * * * "They say it was here from the beginning of Time, a Pool of Infinity, the Sink of Eternity, hidden until the picks and axes gave it light." They stood abreast in a line across the threshold just that wide, as if made for six to stand so. Sadie had lost the need to tease, looking into it, looking at them. The boy knew. He'd felt it calling at the first sound of water dripping onto it's surface. Moonchild lived her name, in this moment, her face a shining reflection of an orb that had never seen this mirrored image of itself. Sadie looked at each face, in turn, a quiet came upon her. She knew how to activate heightened senses. She did so, arms stretched out to the pool. "When the miners broke through they died. There was gas, they say. Others say they flung themselves into it, happily." Her voice was a shadow, dry leaves rustling without the nightwind. "Several hundred, they say, went below the silken surface." She looked with slitted eyes at it. Water, white and silver with a reflective glow that, should the mountains open up, would shine forth as brightly as the sun. It's surface seemed grainy, as if the sands, alien seeming next the rough stone in the tunnels and smaller caverns, had just gone to liquid, a fluid glittering that gave the still water motion. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 15 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Ryan crossed the threshold first, stopping with a hand braced on the irregular stone wall to remove his shoes and socks. The others followed suit. "Well, Nature Boy," Ryan said in a subdued voice. "Here's you chance to run naked through a graveyard." "Not tonight, Josephine. I have a headache." "Several hundred?" Kathleen asked, a tiny voice barely heard. "I don't think it's quite that hungry tonight." Sadie stepped to the edge of the pool, daring, as she had on other occasions, to bend and touch a finger to the surface. Light spread in ripples from that touch, perhaps reflecting in tiny waves upon unseen veins of silver or precious stone threaded throughout the rock walls. The surface flickered, gleamed in an undulating migration toward the far wall. "'Tis the music of light, this pool." She said, stepping back to watch the transit. "That's a good idea," Ryan commented. "Maestro?" He looked over his shoulder at Dave, an eyebrow raised above a wistful face. The tall young man seemed bent and stooped, clear eyes locked with those of his friend. Angles of elbows came away from his sides, collecting his guitar, bringing it forward to be cradled in his hands. "Ryan?" "Whatever you think." The pale yellow of his skin seemed tinged with the tones of the pool. "O.K, let's see if this bitch likes Rock and Roll." His shoulders squared. His spine went rigid. His fingers, long and thin, as was he, stiffened and poised, so, over the strings. Sadie's hand flew to Dave's forearm. "Lightly, I would say," she begged. "Very lightly." Her eyes implored. She willed him reason, willed him put away the defiance which had come rising through his long frame. "Can this," she tapped softly on the body of the instrument, "possibly know something as archaic as Greensleeves?" "Oh, yesss," whispered Moonchild. "Please, David?" All eyes looked to him, expectantly. He 'tsked', the bent of an old man come back to his shoulders. He stood, picking at the strings, finding, Sadie assumed, the proper wording or some such musical phrase. The sound which came, finally, from the hands and mind of the musician, the body of the instrument, filled the cavern with dappled moonlight and fresh growing flowers, a song of another time, another place. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 16 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Sadie backed against a wall and leaned there, steadying herself, breathing in the sound. Her vision flared, as did the far wall of the cavern, the surface of the pool itself, leaping in glittering specters, welcoming the sound. Kathleen and Moonchild gave voice, the first a sweet soprano, the latter a complementing alto. She wondered how many times the two had sung together, and to what ends. Nature Boy had spread his legs to stand like an ancient guard over the two, hands locked behind his back. She saw him, thus, a few years older, a sterner face, doing he same. Ryan sat in the sand, knees bent, arms and head propped atop them, his toes inching toward the surface of the pool. Sadie joined in the song, wordless sounds following the tune when memory failed, a quavering soprano. All watched Dave, watched his hands, his fingers plucking at the strings. The girls swayed with the rhythm, a gentle nightwind, forgetting the trampling of little feet upon porches a few miles away, squealing pleas for candies a silly affair of children. Sadie's eyes closed. Behind lowered lids Ryan's face, a moonstone reflection, wavered The imperceptible sibilance of a passage washed over her in turbulent breakers. The singer's voices crested, peaking on notes she had never been able to reach, falling as the tide into the endless sea. A moment of silence, a last reverberation within the cavern, a hush of people at peace, an then the scream. Her eyes opened. It was Kathleen, aware, yet unaware, as tears rolled down Moonchild's face. A sharp and angry glance her way from Nature Boy,the cold line of a jaw that would not quiver from David "He was dying, Kath," Dave said, tired resignation shallowly inflected. "He was hurting." "Your All Hallows ghost story," Sadie said, pointing at the center of the pool. Ryan's face, or the reflection, looked back at them, superimposed on several hundred unknown reflections, treble the size of the others, fresh, smiling softly, the center of a widening circle of ripples. "He has chosen to go through The Interface," she continued. # # # Copyright 1994 Gay Bost ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Gay is a Clinical Lab Tech with experience in Veterinary medicine. From NORTHERN California, she's resided in S.E. Missouri with her husband and an aggressive 6 year old boy, since 1974. Installed her first modem the summer of '92 and has been exploring new worlds since. Her first publication, a short horror story, came when she was 17 years old. The success was so overwhelming she called an end to her writing days and went in search of herself. She's still looking. Find Gay's great stories in the best Electronic Magazines. =========================================================================== RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 17 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 HER LIVING TRIBUTE by Thomas Nevin Huber Julie Stollack didn't like public appearances, and as a wounded veteran of a minor skirmish -- at least, that's how she considered it -- she disliked them even more. But that wouldn't and couldn't stop her from visiting the Drac Hall of Space, where her family's memories were forever entombed. She thought bitterly about her own fate as she rode the transitube toward her destination, her heavy war cloak covering her from public scrutiny. It started while she commanded the ADF Waken. An Intruder attack, and her fateful meeting with one of their race had left her without her right arm. Relieved of duty, she returned to Al-zed, where two attempts were made to give her a new arm. It practically killed her. For all the glories of modern medicine, they couldn't give her back what she had lost. But that wasn't all she'd lost. She discovered what her precious society thought about people like her. Never mind that she'd nearly given her life. Never mind that she'd lost the ability to do some things for herself. It didn't matter that she'd been in the line of duty when it happened. Society didn't care about any of that. To them, she was a cripple, someone they did not want around. She was shocked when she learned of Lake Charles and the Silent Bay colony. She'd always thought of it as a place where veterans went for recuperation. Now she knew better, and she knew that she had little time left before she, a PwD -- a person with a disposability -- would make a one-way trip to that awful place. That was where Drac society dumped its physically "incurable." They wouldn't perform euthanasia, but they would keep them out of the way. Drac society, it seemed, didn't want to be exposed to someone different. They had done the same thing with The Pits -- the place where the poor lived below the shining facade of Al-zed, buried forever in darkness, in a society separate from the rest of them. And now, she knew she would face Silent Bay, where anyone missing an appendage -- whether it be arm or leg, hand or foot, toe, finger or eye -- was sent to live out the rest of their lives. It was a prison worse than the worst prison, because no one cared about the inmates. They just dropped them off, and left them there on their own. And that would happen to her. The transitube pulled to a stop a short distance from the Hall of Space. The building was a magnificent tribute to those that had gone before -- those that ventured into space in thin-skinned vessels that barely held a breathable atmosphere. Those that experimented with new forms of power and propulsion. And those that found their way to the stars with the Star Drive and the Clarisse Power Plant. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 18 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 She walked slowly through the crowds. She couldn't avoid them -- not in a city of over 25 million. Someone bumped into her and recognized that she was somehow different. Whispers spread around her as people stopped and stared. She walked on, determined to reach the gates to the Hall, and a reprieve of sorts. Someone plucked at her cloak on her right side, but she ignored the vermin that violated her space. "She's one of them," someone else whispered. "A PwD," another said in a distasteful tone. A big man stepped between her and her destination, now only a half- block away. He looked angry as he snarled, "What are you doing here?" She tried to step around him, but he blocked her way. Another person grabbed her by the shoulders. She thought on the matter -- should she defend herself? "Lay off," she warned. "I'm an active member of the ADF. Do not block my way." The big man stepped to one side, but the hands didn't release her. She turned on her tormentor. "I said, lay off!" Her voice carried the weight of her command rank and she expected the man to release his grip. He did, but wasn't ready for his next move. "It's hot, Captain," he said with a sinister voice. "Let me help you off with your war cloak." "No," she started, but before she could pull away, he had unfastened its single latch and pulled it free. The sleeveless duty uniform revealed her stump to the crowd. They backed away, amidst cries of anguish -- all of them -- leaving her standing in an ever-widening circle of open pavement. "I'm not contagious," she called after them as she realized what was happening. Society believed that she was carrying some terrible disease that made her the way she was. Old habits die hard as she gestured with both hands -- or tried to. The crowd stared dumbfoundedly as she moved the stump. "To Ragnoruk with all of you," she cursed and then retrieved her dropped cloak. The deadly prison planet wasn't good enough for them. Awkwardly pulling on her cloak, she turned and advanced on the Hall. Cries of "cripple" and "PwD" assailed her ears, yet no one blocked her path. "Go live in Silent Bay." RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 19 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "E-vil, e-vil," someone started chanting. Damn, but she hated these people. By the time she reached the gates, her face was flushed with anger. She felt something hit her leg. It was a stone. She turned and eyed the crowd. People were milling a safe distance from her. Some were shaking their fists, others were yelling obscenities. "They always seem to congregate around here," the guard at the gate said. He had a nasty-looking weapon in his hand. "Go in, Captain. You'll be safe there." She'd visited the Hall before, as a way of honoring her family. But it had never been like this. Raggie! She hadn't been this way before, either. She found a bench and sat, looking back at the entrance. The guard was speaking into a comm set, possibly calling in the disturbance. Attacking an officer of the ADF was a severe offense. It was hot in her cloak. She couldn't deny that. But if she took it off, what would people say? More of the same, even here? She looked around. That hall wasn't deserted, but it wasn't as crowded as the streets outside, either. She rubbed her eyes with her left hand and then stood. Raggie! she swore again, and headed for the amphitheater. At least it was dark and she could sit and watch without the cloak on. She shrugged it off, as best she could and then sat silently. The big projection area in the center was portraying one of her ancestor's roles - it was her grandfather. His rugged features had been part of her life until about ten years earlier, when he and her father had lost their lives, fighting an unknown foe in space. Why couldn't she have gone that way? Now she sat miserably, fighting off phantom pain, and closed her eyes. During the next several hours, she dozed in and out of dreamland. Her own past experiences mingled with those portrayed a few dozen yards in front of her. Someone sat next to her, but she didn't turn. Crowd noises grew more intense. She opened her eyes a bit. It was the Demtris riots. Another period of "cleansing" when they wanted to wipe out social problems. The only way they knew how to do it was to permanently alter the offenders. And Demtris had fought back, and won. If she could be like him. But how? He had violated state-mandated laws of treason. He had spoken in his own defense at his own trial. But she had no such avenue. She had broken no oath of allegiance. She wasn't facing a death penalty for violating the state. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 20 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 The crowds were chanting "Demtris, Demtris." She closed her eyes for a moment. The chants turned to "cripple, cripple." She felt the crowd advancing, and a sweat broke out on her upper lip. She reached to wipe it away with her right hand, but failed. They're coming for me, she thought in terror. They're going to take me away. Tears ran from her closed eyes because she would never see this great hall again. The final resting place for her ancestors would be taken from her. Someone jostled her and she lashed out. "Whoa, Captain," a strangely familiar voice spoke from nearby. She blinked her eyes open, and turned to stare at Admiral Scott, her commanding officer. "What?" she asked, confused. "You were having a bad dream, Captain." The Demtris case was still playing out in the projection area. She blinked at Scott. "Oh," she said in a small voice. "Sorry, sir. I didn't know you visited here - during duty hours." "I don't, Captain, but they called me when they recognized you." "You, you came for me?" "Yes. I have an assignment for you." Stollack felt terrible. An empty pit opened up in her stomach. This was it -- this was her final time among the Dracs that she knew and served. Now it would be a life in some remote spot somewhere on Al-zed. Silent Bay on Lake Charles, they called it. Silence, where the Dracs could not hear or see, or feel . . . . "Captain," Scott repeated a little louder. "Are you all right?" She nodded numbly. "Then, what is wrong?" "Wrong?" she woke up at that question. "What is wrong?" He nodded from his seat. "Yes, that is my question." "How can you have the audacity to ask me that? Look at me? What do you see?" "I see a Captain of the line, Captain." Scott's voice didn't waver. She swallowed, then her anger built again. "And what do you call this?" She waved her stump around in a circle. That was about all she could do with it. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 21 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "Immaterial, Captain!" "What!?" "I said your stump is immaterial. You are what is important. And you will continue to serve the ADF, not at Silent Bay, or at Lake Charles, or any other isolation facility. Not ever!" She stared at him, hardly believing her ears. "I'm not being consigned to Silent Bay?" "No." "But . . ." She swallowed again. "What about those that are? The ADF can isolate me while I serve on a ship . . . ." "Or at a military base." "Or at a military base," she repeated, "but not all of them are military, sir." Admiral Scott sighed and looked old for a moment. "I understand, Captain," he said. "But now, there are the beginnings of a political movement to right that wrong. It will take time, and like your ancestors before you, you will prove to society that you can continue to perform your duties, despite the impossible odds." "Society won't change," Stollack said bitterly. "No, not this society, but some future society will be different, Captain. Some society will look at you, sitting here - projected in down there," he pointed down to the center of the theater, "and they will watch you and I have this little talk. And then they will see you, in space, serving their ancestors, as a proud warrior, not some broken cripple." Stollack considered his words. Yes, it had been like that before, when Dracs had first dared cross an ocean to discover a new land and understood a little more about their world; when they had ventured beyond the speed of sound, and understood a little more about the nature of physics; and when they ventured into space and beyond the speed of light, and understood a little more about the nature of the universe. Yes, she could do that. It would be her way of bringing honor to those that went before. A living tribute to her ancestors and to the spirit of all veterans. --- RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 22 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 (Author's note: The PwD definition is intentional. We use the term to mean person with a disability, but for the Dracs, it meant something else.) # # # Copyright 1994 Thomas Nevin Huber ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tom Huber is rapidly approaching middle age (50). Involved with computers since the early '60's and has been employed as a technical writer for a major computer manufacturer for over 12 years. Previous works include numerous user, installation, service, & tech manuals, and magazine articles. Hobbies include genealogy and running his bbs. Look for a major series of SF novels, prerelease title, STAR SPAWN. Many shorts are related to the series. ============================================================================= THE HILLS OF COMMERCE by Marilyn Hutchings The sun floated just above the trees -- a beautiful ball of red- orange flame. I worried for a brief moment about the trees catching fire, but a cool breeze brushed against my cheek, assuring me that the trees were in no danger. I grinned thinking of all the superstitions that must have grown up around the sun when it turned that particular shade. But the only thing I could think of was "Red sky at morning, sailor take warning. Red sky at night sailor's delight." My mother had taught me that ditty -- along with the "Thirty days hath September . . . mnemonic device for the months. The two were linked in my memory. Memory. Memory is a funny thing -- contrary might be a better word for it. It will remember every slight ever done you, but won't let you think of the word, name, place, or number that you want right now -- you know what I mean. Maybe it's some kind of deeply hidden genetic memory that keeps driving me to these hills. These hills where my mother grew up; and her mother; and her mother. I really didn't know why I was trudging up this deeply rutted graveled path to see this old cemetery. None of my kin were buried here -- just a bunch of people named Anderson whose only connection to my family was the coincidence of living and dying in the same town. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 23 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 The cemetery was a jumble of different shaped and sized headstones. Some had been installed fairly recently. These stood taller than me and were still readable. Time, weather, and moss had not worn the chiseled words down to the illegible ridges that remained on the short round-topped tilting stone markers of the past century. Weeds had grown up between the markers, obscuring the shortest stones -- testimony to the inattention this little graveyard had suffered. "_The Anderson family must have had some money_," I thought, looking at all the markers, old and new. "All the Sanders' could manage were large rocks at the head of the graves." I envisioned the little graveyard on my cousin's farm that held the first two generations of the Sander's clan in Missouri: big Maple and Pecan trees shading the 15 by 15 foot plot, two or three actual markers, and nine or ten large rocks. No weeds grew up around these graves, for all that no one still living knew exactly who was buried here or where. My cousins made sure our relatives were well cared for. All the succeeding generations of Sanders were buried in Oakdale Cemetery where someone came by on a regular basis to mow the grass and pull the weeds. The majority of the graves had headstones, an American flag flew on a pole at the center of the cemetery, and the local VFW put little flags on the graves of veterans every Veteran's Day. This was an "active" cemetery. I remembered all the times through my life that I had attended grave side services at Oakdale: my mother's parents, my dad's father, several aunts and uncles, and, the latest, my dad. Months had passed, after my dad's death, before I could visit his grave. Now, I visited more often, but the grave I visited most was that of a woman I had never met. She died seventeen years before I was born, but I felt drawn to her -- To Emma -- my grandmother. I felt pulled to visit Emma. She had died young, of influenza, and had been buried on one side of the cemetery while all the rest of her family -- and mine had been buried on the opposite side. Not only had she been separated too early from her family, but she was separated from them for all eternity. This little cemetery, that I felt drawn to today, sat on top of a hill, enshrouded in trees with a two-foot-tall iron fence protecting it. The fence formed a circle around the graves and marker, like the circle of life, but this circle only measured about twenty feet across. I think this place reminded me of the old grave stones that my Uncle Dick showed me and my dad one Sunday when I was a kid. My uncle led us into the woods in back of his house and we all tromped after him. All civilization had disappeared when we stepped into the woods. The trees and other vegetation were so thick that just a few steps past the edge you couldn't see my aunt and uncle's big two- story white wood-frame house. I felt like we had stepped back to pre- Civil War days when my great-great-grandparents had moved from the hills of Tennessee to the hills of Missouri to homestead 90 acres and raise a family. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 24 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 We wound through trees and up and down hills until my uncle stopped and pointed. I looked in the direction he indicated at the side of a hill -- deep in gloom from the thick tree cover even at midday -- and saw the first rounded tombstone that looked like it had started tumbling down the hill, but had been frozen in mid tumble. We walked over to the area and suddenly the firm ground became soft, sinking with our weight about four inches, as we walked over ground turned up decades ago for the last resting places of these unknown people. I expected to see bones sticking out of the side of the hill, but I guess the local dogs and the other woodland animals had scattered those long ago. I felt sad that no one had cared for these graves -- that no one except my uncle, knew these markers were here. We didn't stay long. I looked out through the trees and noticed that the sky was turning the rose-pink of approaching dusk. I checked my watch just to be sure -- I had about an hour before dark. I looked toward where I thought my uncle's house had been and knew that I had to find out if those grave- stones were still there after all these years. It took about five minutes to drive through town to the bottom of the hill where that white two-story house had once stood . . . before it burned down. I took off into the woods, walking up the hill to take a perpendicular course away from the house. I moved as fast as the dense underbrush would allow, glad that I had worn my jeans and my black short boots. After just a few hurried steps, I had to slow my pace. Fallen trees leaned against living trees; I could climb over a few, and the rest I had to skirt. Forced to slow my pace, I took the time to look around. The hills around here supported a wonderful variety of trees: Maple, Oak, Mulberry, Persimmon, and Sassafras. I wondered if either of my grandmothers had ever made sassafras tea. I know that Granny Wise used to take my mother along when she went out scouring the hills for Polk and Dandelion greens. A person could still probably live off the land around here. Oops! My foot had slipped on something round. I looked for what I had stepped on and saw the tough, round, green pod that protected ripening pecans. It's no wonder that my great-great grandfather had liked this area enough to move here from Tennessee. I looked up into the treetops as a squirrel jumped from one tree to another. The limbs of some of the trees were so close together that they looked like a wooden suspension bridge. The local critters would have a feast before too long, if the profusion of green pecans and green persimmons that I could see decorating the upper-level bridge was any indication -- unless some of the local human denizens still ventured up this way. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 25 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 I stopped at that point and leaned against one of the larger trees -- looking at every hillside for evidence of a fallen headstone, a broken piece of stone, anything that would tell me I was in the right place. How I thought that after all this time I would be able to just walk right to the spot that I had only visited once was really stupid. I hung my head, ready to turn around and admit defeat. There probably wasn't anything left to find anyway. I lifted my head slowly and took one long, last look around me. I turned almost a complete circle, gazing at the woods, looking past the trees, seeing wild ferns, Queen Anne's Lace, and other things that were probably poisonous, and just staring at one spot on the hillside, not really seeing it. Then my eyes focused. There was something irregular about the hillside. I took a couple steps toward it for a better look and sank about four inches into the soil. I gasped and stopped. I had found it. I looked up the side of the hill and saw a couple other stones sticking out. They were covered with moss and algae, but they were unmistakably tombstones. I knelt down to see it any inscription was left on the stone. I had pencil and paper in my pocket (I never went anywhere without it), but time had taken its toll and erased this soul's record completely. I sat on my heels just contemplating the stones and the woods for a moment. Dusk was settling in and all the leaves and all the tree trunks were turning to grey. I needed to start back so I wouldn't get stuck in the woods in the dark. As I rose to my feet, a movement just at the edge of my vision caught my attention. I turned to look, but there was nothing there. Another movement made me look back toward the hill. Mist was forming. "_Great_," I thought. "_I really hate driving in the fog_." The mist spread out -- twining around the trees, climbing the hillside. And the temperature had dropped -- I shivered with the cold. A piece of the mist broke away from the whole and drifted toward me. I took a step back -- away from the mist -- and sank again into the soft soil. My heart beat faster -- I wanted to run, but my feet seemed to have put down roots. "Ah, come on, what am I afraid of -- a little water vapor?" The mist coalesced into a form. It was a little taller than I -- *she* was a little taller than I. Any composure that I had managed to regain left me. I wanted to scream, but all of the moisture had been sucked from my throat and tongue -- my heart just beat even faster -- and louder. People in the next county could probably hear it. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 26 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 I stood transfixed as this mist-woman's features took shape. She had a nice face -- heartshaped -- and short hair. She wore a simple dress that reached almost to her ankles. She would have been right in fashion with some of the 30's dress designs I had seen. But she wasn't really taller than me -- she just happened to be floating about a foot off the ground. I looked back at her face. She had sad eyes. I wanted to ask her why she was so sad. Geez! When had I changed from terrified to compassionate -- I was looking at a ghost! But she had my grandmother's face. A face I had only seen in very few photographs. But here stood my father's mother -- who had died when he was just a teenager. I wanted to touch her; I wanted to talk to her; I wanted to get to know her. Movement behind her drew my attention away for a moment. Behind her were men -- in uniforms -- Civil War uniforms -- walking around. Lots of misty figures were walking all around me. They were all shapes and sizes. None of the others seemed to have features that I could see. They were moving in closer and closer to me. This wasn't interesting anymore. I turned to run. But the ghost of my grandmother was there in front of me holding up her hand -- not to me but to the others. All the other shapes stopped moving for a brief moment then began moving away from me. The shapes who appeared to be in uniform began to file past us, and as they did, each one would salute us. Why they were doing that, I don't know -- it didn't matter. In her pictures, my grandmother had always looked shy -- perhaps she had found courage in the next life. She motioned for me to follow her and I did. We climbed the hill where the tombstones were and then followed the hill down 'till I was looking out through the trees at houses that were in town. I took a moment to realize that the house directly across from me -- across a small field and on the other side of a road -- was where my great-aunt Sally had lived. That meant I was behind the lot where Emma's home had been. I looked over at her image and wished we had some other means to communicate. She led me back through the woods, pausing and pointing at plants and at the Pecan and Sassafras trees. She must have roamed these hills, too, as my other grandmother had done, looking for plants and nuts and berries to supplement her family's meager larder. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 27 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 I suddenly realized that it was completely dark except for the faint lightness of the misty creatures that were still slowly moving around. "I'll never find my way back to my car," I whispered to myself. My grandmother moved and I jerked my head back toward her. She reached her hand out, brushing her fingertips against my cheek. It felt like a cool, damp spiderweb. Then she motioned for me to follow her. I didn't know where we were going, but I didn't want to lose the contact I had established with her. When she stopped, I looked to where she pointed and saw that we were at the edge of the woods where I had entered, and I could see my car in the moonlight. I turned back to thank her, but she was already moving away -- dissipating as she went. Right before she completely disappeared, a tall man's figure joined her that looked like my grandfather . . . and then they were gone. I turned toward my car -- tears streaming down my face. I'm not sure how I got back home -- I don't remember the drive back from the country. And now that I was back in town, the whole thing had a certain unreal air about it. It had really happened . . . I kept telling myself that . . . over and over. I went into my apartment, greeted my cat and sat down on the couch with a book. I flipped through and came across the letter Chief Seattle wrote to the governor to whom the chief's people had just sold their land. His words jumped off the page at me, and instead of being a threat, they were strangely comforting: "Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander way beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return. Our dead never forget the beautiful world that gave them being . . . these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children's children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless wood, they will not be alone...." # # # Copyright 1994 Marilyn Hutchings, All Rights Reserved ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Marilyn Hutchings lives in southeast Missouri, not far from the hills where her family grew up. She teaches freshman composition at Southeast Missouri State university and loves trying to get young minds to stretch their boundaries through writing. She has a daughter and a cat and, like her favorite author, Anne McCaffrey, "the rest is subject to change." ======================================================================== RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 28 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 PSICOP by Jack Hillman It was another dirty day in the city. I pulled my topcoat tighter and flipped up the collar as I walked through the door of the precinct building, my partner on my heels. "Can I drive, Mac?" he asked as he bounced around like a playful kitten. He was a good kid but he tended to bother me with his eager beaver style. It was tough having a sixteen year old for a partner, particularly when he was a Special without full mental faculties. "Sure, kid," I answered, tossing him the keys to the squad car. He couldn't do any harm hooked into the traffic grid. We were headed for one of the ritziest high rise buildings in the city and I wasn't looking forward to it. You couldn't live anywhere near that good on a cop's salary. It should have been just a simple robbery call but the captain made a point of saying we were to take good care of this guy. He was the mayor's friend or something. So we were on our best behavior and I didn't like it. Doing favors for the mayor wasn't on my list of favorite things. My partner pulled into the parking area of the building and cued the intercom to identify us. We were expected, so they let us in with only a minimum scan. As we drove through the gateway, I felt the building shield close around me and the lull of the city drop away. Good shield. I wished the one on my building was that good. Then I would only have to listen to a hundred people cry poverty to their families every night. We drove to the VIP parking near the vators, flashed our ID at the guard, and went up to the penthouse: the scene of the crime. The vator opened onto a room the size of a football field where we were met by another guard. I felt a second screen as we walked into the room. We flashed our ID's again but he stopped us and held out a scan plate for our hands. He smiled when he did it but the smile never made it to his eyes. He wasn't going to take no for an answer. The plate read our palm lines and confirmed there was a real body attached rather than a print- glove. The readout must have been hooked up to the city computer. The light flashed green almost immediately. The guard motioned us into the room and pointed to a man on the far side. It seemed to take forever to cross the room. I tried to keep from getting angry at the space this biz had while I slept in a shoe box by comparison. "Mr. Freeman?" I asked as we came up behind him, trying to read him at the same time. He came up Null. "Detective MacBaen? Thank you for coming." He was one of those guys who comes off trying to sound like he was just "one of the boys". I hated that. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 29 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "No problem. What happened here?" I asked, trying to get down to business. "Didn't your captain give you the details? I filled him in completely when I called." He seemed annoyed at the prospect of repeating himself. "It's better when we get the facts first hand. And would you please turn off your personal screen while we conduct our interview. I need to read your reactions for the record." He frowned at the request. "Is that really necessary, Detective?" "S.O.P., Mr. Freeman. We don't doubt what you say but you know Paths can read things below the conscious level that might help us solve our cases. We are bound by a very strict privacy code. I am conditioned to be unable to reveal anything personal about you not directly linked to the case even under oath." The tired rhetoric spewed out in a slurred statement as dull as Miranda. But he bought it. I guess he didn't want to prejudice his case by refusing. I knew I was going to get a call from the mayor on this one. As the shield dropped, I could see him appearing in front of me to my inner eyes. He looked like the usual Blank to my sight. It seemed to help me to think of the mental images as something I was seeing rather than something I felt, another standard trick. Now there were six people in the room: me, my partner, Freeman and three guards who were also Blanks with no natural shields. I saw his mind spot the guards out of reflex; not afraid of me but taking no chances. They moved a little closer. I shrugged mentally and kept going. "Please explain what happened, Mr. Freeman," I prompted. I could see him shift mental gears. "Well, my vault is one of the best ever built in this city, not excepting the banks and the diamond exchanges. I keep my valuables and some very important papers in there but I try to open it as seldom as possible. There is a full psi screen, separate from the building and this apartment, and a full range of electronic sensors for the entire electromagnetic range. Even a Null would be caught by the EM scans and a ghost would show on the psi monitors." I was impressed. That setup had cost a bundle and he was right: nothing should have been able to get through it without registering. "Two days ago, I went into the vault to retrieve some papers from my files and stopped to look at some of my jewelry." His smile stopped at his teeth. "What good is it if you can't look at it once in a while?" RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 30 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 I didn't smile. "Anyway," he continued, "I noticed there were several pieces missing. I didn't think too much of it at the time, assuming that my wife had taken them to wear to some social function or another. But when I mentioned it to her later, she denied taking anything out of the vault for weeks. I ran a check of the video records and could see nothing missing up until the time I discovered the theft and no one had entered the vault except myself and my wife." I "watched" him as he ran through the story. He was telling the truth as he knew it and not much else. This was going to be a tough one. I turned to my partner. "Okay, Sammy, time to do your thing." He wriggled like a pleased puppy. "My partner will need to check your vault, Mr. Freeman. Will you have one of the guards let him in?" "They can't get in, Detective. It makes it harder for them to be tempted. I'll let him in myself." "I may as well check it out at the same time," I said, tagging along as we headed into another room. This guy had more rooms than a hotel. If I had my bearings correct, the vault occupied the space in the center of the building, making it accessible only through the owners own premises, the floor or the ceiling. Based on what I had seen so far, I was betting Freeman had the floor and the ceiling covered somehow. Freeman watched me check out the area. "The vault is made of sixteen inches of steel plates sandwiched with high tensile plastics that are wired to a central alarm system. Three layers are mirrored to slow laser drills and three more are super cooled to dissipate the heat of a cutting torch. If a thief was able to get past my guards and make a try for the vault, and if he bypassed the alarm somehow, he would most likely wind up with a face full of liquid nitrogen and break into a million pieces. The only joints are at the corners and the edge of the floor and ceiling. Those are braced to twice the thickness of the walls, ceiling and floor. It would be easier to break through the wall than a corner." Freeman was getting a kick out of showing off his toy. I had to admit, it seemed to make my job redundant. So, why was I here? Freeman kept up his oration. "The weakest link is, of course, the door. This one is a modified bank vault door. Between the mirroring, cooling and alarm wiring, this one is almost as tough as the walls. The lock is a series lock. First, a time lock that must be reset every time the vault is opened. Next a print lock set to open only with both hands of either myself or my wife. No one else is authorized. Finally, there is a numerical lock set to a combination only known to my wife and myself." "Don't let me forget," I said to Freeman, "I'll need to speak to your wife before we leave." RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 31 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "She's not home at the moment," he answered, "but I am expecting her within the hour." He turned to open the vault, his guards lining up between him and us, facing us and blocking our view. "Nothing personal, gentlemen," Freeman said over the human wall, "this is just their procedure when I'm opening the vault. I occasionally have guests in to see some of the items or to have certain items appraised. I picked the combination out of his mind as he input the numbers and also caught the thought that he would have to change them since he knew I had done that. Sammy was chomping to get started and I held him back with a gentle hand. It was tough having a sixteen year old partner who was a mental age of about six, but he was the best "meter reader" in the department. I motioned Freeman out of the way and let Sammy take the lead this time. He walked in, carefully placing his hands on certain sections of the walls and furniture. "Your partner, Detective?" Freeman asked, "he is a psychometrist?" "The best in the business, Mr. Freeman. I've worked with him for three years and I've never seen him make a mistake on a reading. He may get nothing but when he does get a reading it's right on the money." Sammy was having some trouble. I could see the strained look on his face as he walked around. I motioned Freeman to stay put and went into the vault. The guards shifted, ready to move, and I caught Freeman's signal to back off. "Problem?" I asked quietly, trying not to break his concentration. "His shields are too good," Sammy said, his concern at the failure welling up for me to catch. "Okay. Wait." I turned to Freeman. "Can you shut off the vault shields for a few minutes so my partner can get a reading? They're interfering with his sense too much." I could see he wasn't pleased, but he came into the vault and flipped a switch on the wall. Immediately, Sammy smiled and began to walk back through the room. After about twenty minutes he shook his head. "All I get are the kind of things that should be in here: Mr. Freeman putting things away, his wife doing the same things, both of them cleaning up, some peeks of another person but always with Mr. Freeman. Kind of dull, really." He looked confused. He was expecting some sort of a reaction out of the place. A crime scene usually had vibes dripping off the walls. Even when the perps were shielded, there was a residual reading to be picked up. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 32 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "Would you show my partner where the missing pieces were kept, Mr. Freeman," I asked as politely as possible. It didn't do any good. The guy was still upset at the need to open more of his security. But he complied. Sammy ran his fingers over the velvet lined drawers, touching the blanks spaces and the pieces next to them. I could tell by the look on his face, he was still drawing blanks. "Was there anything special about the pieces taken?" I asked. "Not really," Freeman replied. "Everything in those drawers is valuable to one degree or another. They were different types of jewelry and individual jewels. No pattern I could tell. I'll provide you with a complete list of what's missing from our insurance inventory." "Thanks. And we'll need copies of the security tapes from your cameras as well," I added. "Never can tell what we'll find." "Certainly. I've already made copies per instructions from your captain. But you won't find anything. We didn't." Freeman took great pride in the ability of his security, I could read. "You never know, Mr. Freeman," I said. "We have a larger database than you to compare your tapes against. We might turn up something." Sammy and I hung around while one of the guards retrieved the tape copies. In the meantime, Mrs. Freeman came home and I questioned her as well. She wasn't any more help than most high society wives seemed to be so I kept it short. I was glad to get out of that place. The guards were getting antsy and I wasn't up to a firefight this early in the day. Back at the station, I began to fill out the requests for computer checks on the missing items and requests for our lab specialists to go over the tapes for clues. I wasn't holding out much hope but you never can tell where the break will come on a case. The next few days were standard back and fill. We picked up a pickpocket who had developed a technique of snatching purses and wallets and teleporting out of the area. One of the purses he snatched was found and Sammy got a reading on the thief's location from the battered leather. We set up a net and nailed him with a Kinetic and a Porter of our own. He had gotten away with his little spree for three weeks, a new record in the city and due only to our heavy work load this month. Meanwhile, the computer began to spill out cases with similar M.O.'s to the Freeman heist. All over the city, things were disappearing and no one saw them go. The only odd thing was that the other items with the same M.O. were in the range of highly technical and even Top Secret. The lift at Freeman's home didn't fit in, and that worried me. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 33 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 The captain was getting calls all day about the problem and the fallout was hitting my level fast. But we had nothing to go on yet. I decided to watch some of the security tapes myself just to see what we were dealing with. I started with the Freeman tapes, since I had been there and knew what the place looked like. After running the tapes three times without any success, I played a hunch and ran them at slow speed at the times someone was in the vault. Most of this turned up zilch but on the very end of the last tape, just prior to the theft being discovered, I made a find. At almost a dead slow speed, you could see the pieces of jewelry disappear from the drawer just before it fully closed. If you weren't watching closely it seemed to stay put but it actually faded off at an angle. I pulled up some of the tapes from the other robberies, those that had visual record systems, and found the same phenomenon in each of them. Now we knew what had happened. The trick was to figure out how. I talked it over at length with Sammy and we knew some one had managed to not only evade the shields but the physical sensors as well. "It's almost like we found an invisible Null," Sammy said in exasperation as we went through the file for the hundredth time. We fed the M.O. into the computer to see if any other cases matched up but this came up blank. It looked like we had a new perp in town who really knew his stuff. Sammy was starting to get paranoid that he couldn't pick up anything at any of the crime scenes. I was starting to get more than annoyed that someone had managed to get past all our psi sensors. We had to catch this mug before he gave us all a black eye. Then we got our break. One of the high tech industries in the city was working on a new way to break down the DNA of an adult's cellular structure and correct any inherited abnormalities. The process had the advantage of moving through the body like a virus, without causing any overt symptoms. There were still some problems with the delivery system to be worked out and a problem with replication of the viral carrier once in the body, but the developments seemed promising. Early in the morning, just before the building was to open for the day, the alarms in a section of the lab went off. One of the vials of the new viral carrier had been removed from the containment field, setting off a pressure sensitive alarm. The cameras in the lab showed nothing, just like the other sites, but the guards had locked down the lab as soon as the alarm went off. Nobody entered or left the area while a scan was carried out using infrared, sonics and laser probes. Whoever had taken the vial was still in the lab. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 34 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 The laser scan showed a man sized form in one corner of the room, visible only on the computer monitor and then in a patchwork affair, like it was only there part of the time or in sections. The security force gassed the room without any affect visible to the monitors. They decided to go in and do a physical search, locking down the door behind them. The security guards moved into the room, carefully blocking the door and moving across the room with linked hands, searching for the thief. As the last guard came into the room and the door began to close, the guard at the door felt a shove and was pushed clear of the door. Quick reflexes on the part of the guard permitted her to grab onto an arm as she fell clear of the door, but she couldn't keep a grip. However, as the security door of the lab closed, as it was supposed to behind the last guard, something was snagged in the door. Once the door was recycled and opened, it was discovered they had part of a sleeve of some silvery material with embedded wiring. Someone had managed to invent a way to confuse not only psi monitors but optical sensors as well. While the lab boys scratched their heads and looked for ways to study the wiring, Sammy and I got the sleeve to work on. Now we had something to use as a reference. Sammy was able to get a partial reading from the sleeve and we took off after the thief. Sammy sat in the car with his eyes closed, occasionally directing "Right" or "Left" as we reached an intersection. I had the lights going full blast and hit the override for the traffic grid, flashing an ID to the computer to keep all other vehicles out of my way. We tracked the partial to the warehouse district, which was surprising. The larger warehouses all had multiple shielding for their clients and the entire area was triple shielded as required by insurance regs. But when I gave it some thought, it wasn't so strange. If our thief was invisible to surveillance, he could safely hide in the middle of all that shielding, secure in the knowledge no one could reach him without setting off several alarms in the process. Sammy got an echo off the sleeve on the way in and we followed the scent to a small warehouse in the middle of a back alley. The bright floodlights and the metal walls shone glistening in the night, lighting the area with their reflections. It would be impossible for some one to walk across the area without being seen and I could feel the clouding of the psi sensors and alarms as they watched us enter. I flipped on the department's transponder for the alarm systems to read. We wanted to approach as quietly as possible. The local guards would see our transponder code and keep the alarms from triggering. They would track our presence on the visual records in case we needed backup. They had more fire power at their finger tips than an Army brigade. We were covered on that side. I stopped the car and we got out. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 35 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Sammy was still limited to an echo from the sleeve, brushing against a corner here, a doorway there. He was straining against my control, trying to follow the scent at a dead run, but I held him back. Whoever was behind this was playing for big stakes and had some high tech help. I had a feeling this wasn't going to be easy. All Sammy cared about was catching the guy that had, by his standards, made a fool of him. Suddenly Sammy stopped at the side of a building. He held his hands palms flat against the wall. "They're here," he whispered. "How many?" I asked quietly. Sammy shrugged. "More than three. Less than ten." He looked at me apologetically. "Best I can do," he muttered. I patted him on the shoulder in a fatherly way and gave him the sign to draw back. He may be my partner but he was just a kid and had no place in a firefight. I hung my badge in my shirt pocket and put my receiver in my ear. Tapping the badge twice, I spoke into the air, quietly. "Unit Six on line," I said calmly. "Security here. What's up?" "We've tracked a bunch of lifters to this area. My partner tells me they're on the other side of this wall. Can you give me a report from your visuals?" "Your position confirmed. Our visuals show a full row of large crates against the wall at your position. No movement noted. Sensors show no IR readings active inside." The voice sounded confused. "You sure about the position?" "Confirmed," I answered. "We have reason to believe they can rig your sensor output. Keep me online and relay to headquarters." I smiled to myself. "And keep your ears open for a loud cry for help." "That's afirm. All readouts on relay to HQ. All sensors on max. Debugs up and running. Maybe we'll get lucky and find them for you." A pleasant thought, since they could just gas them from their position for later pickup or lock them down if that failed. But I knew I had to go in and find them myself. Besides, that's what they pay me for. "Lock-down on all exits 'til I say otherwise." "Afirm. Luck." "Thanks," I answered. Drawing my piece, I stepped up to the wall and felt for the doorway Sammy had spotted. Surprisingly, I felt the wall pivot out of the way and I stepped into the warehouse. My head barely cleared the wall when all the lights went out. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 36 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 * * * I woke to the sound of the entire armed services marching through my skull. I tried to bring my hand to my aching head, but my arms were strapped to my sides. There was a hood pulled over my head and I had been quite professionally gagged. I felt the floor move beneath me and surmised I was in some type of vehicle. "He's up," I heard, somewhat muffled through the hood. There was a hiss of gas and I went out again. The second time I awoke, I was still tied, but the gag and the hood had been removed. I had a taste in my mouth like month old socks. I managed to brace my back against the wall and sit up. The view wasn't worth it. The room was only slightly wider than I was tall and had no furniture. Metal floor, walls and ceiling joined together without seams and without a door. It looked like the inside of a metal packing crate. "Good guess, P-cop," came a voice from the walls. I guessed there was a speaker grid I hadn't spotted. "You realize nabbing a cop will get you fried," I said. "Only if they catch me," came the answer. "Besides, you'll be set free in due time. And you'll never know where you've been." "Pardon me if I don't believe you," I answered. I tried to read the jake on the other end of the line but hit a shield at the wall of the crate. "Naughty, naughty, Path," came the voice. "Just sit back and enjoy your vacation. You did want a vacation, didn't you?" The voice laughed. "I had something a little more sociable in mind," I answered. I was getting annoyed by being read while I was stopped at the wall. These guys had some hot shields if they could read one way. "Yes, we do. Don't we? Now why don't you relax and enjoy the rest." There was a deadness to the air that implied the speaker had shut down. Right about then, the time delay in the bindings went off and they dissolved. I stretched my arms and legs, standing in the middle of the crate as I swung the limbs to get the circulation going again. Then I sat down on the floor and closed my eyes. I couldn't do anything until I took care of the Path that was keeping tabs on me. I visualized my shield and examined it for holes. As far as I could tell, it was complete. So these guys had a way to read through a Path's shield or else I had been drugged and my shield was useless. If it was drugs, I was blitzed anyway so I moved on the first option. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 37 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 I carefully built a secondary shield behind the first, something I hadn't tried since the Academy. The effort was making me sweat, even though I hadn't moved a muscle but I finally completed the mental structure. I took a tip from Mr. Freeman's security system and layered the levels of the new shield, trying to get a high overlap factor. When I completed the shield, I stood and stretched again. It had taken several hours, subjective, to rebuild my shields and I was tired from the effort. I looked around the crate, checking for exits or weak spots, without success. "Hey," I yelled, pounding on the wall. "I need some food and water in here. And how about a trip to the john. It's going to get messy in here otherwise." "All you had to do was ask," came the voice from a spot high in one corner. I spotted the perforations in the metal as he spoke. "Good job on the shield, but it just makes it harder for you." At least I had an answer. It either worked or the jake was pulling my crank to get me off guard. My guess was it worked. The far wall of the crate moved toward me and for an instant I though I was going to be bug juice. Then the wall dissolved from the center out, revealing a john seat and a table with ration bars and a jug. You had to sit on the john to eat. Convenient, I guess. I sniffed the water and took a small sip. Rather flat but it didn't seem drugged. I guessed if they wanted to drug me there were easier ways. I finished off the rations and emptied the jug, making appropriate use of my seat when I was done. Then I began to make plans. The walls' movement told me this was one of the newer sophisticated crates made of malleable metal. The walls were filled with circuitry that let the controller move them any way he wanted. This had some definite advantages in unloading, depending on what was in the crate. It also gave me a chance to get out. One of the things they taught us at the Academy was that many Specials had a little of some other talents even if they only had one strong point. For obvious reasons, we didn't spread this information around. My Kinesis was weak, but the circuitry in the walls only had to move an electron or two to shift shape. And making a hole was one of the programed responses. I sat in the corner away from the table to have the largest area to work with, closed my eyes, and concentrated. The shield around the room was a high pitched buzz that made my eyeballs itch but I could see that it was on the far side of the wall rather than in it. They must have been afraid of setting off the circuitry themselves and opening the crate at the wrong time. I narrowed my concentration and tried to see the circuitry with my other senses. Slowly, with a growing pain in my temples, I saw the dancing movement of the electron fields. I reached out and pushed, trying the set off the programing. It was like trying to move a mountain with a teaspoon. Grimly ignoring the pain, I pushed harder and was rewarded with a tiny shift in the fields. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 38 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 That was the beginning. Once something is moving it is always easier to keep moving and I kept shoving at those little negative billiard balls. Suddenly, I fell through the wall as the side of the crate flowed out of the way. I climbed to my feet, not as quickly as I would have liked, and looked around the room I had entered. A beeping alarm told me I had better move fast. The room looked like the inside of several larger crates and I decided this was the camouflage the lifters were using to hide in the warehouses. On the outside all crates look alike. There was a passage on both sides of the room, leading to other crates I assumed, and from one of them came the sound of running feet. I moved close to the opening and flattened against the wall as two men in silver suits ran past toward my prison. Listening for other footfalls, I moved behind the men and slammed their heads together. One cooperated and fell to the floor, out cold. The other guy must have been a boxer. He shook it off and turned toward me, hand on his belt. When he saw me, he pushed a switch on the belt and effectively disappeared from view. I dropped into a crouch and held my arms out to try and find him. I was nailed by a fist on the side of my head and fell atop the sleeping perp. As I rolled in what I hoped was the right direction, I saw the suit on the floor move like a foot had brushed it. I lunged, arms extended and managed to grab the lifter, bringing him to the floor with me. Closing my eyes to help the disorientation of fighting an invisible foe, I managed to remember a few of my old wrestling moves and proceeded to pound his head against the floor. When the lifter stopped moving, I felt for his belt and found the switch that brought him back to view. These suits were the cause of our recent crime wave and I had to get them back to the station. I ripped out the switch on both suits to keep the lifters visible and tied all four thumbs together with optiwires ripped out of the belts. Now to find the rest of the bunch. These grunts were hired help at best. Carefully, I moved down the passage the two had come from and found a series of rooms that looked like different piles of crates hollowed out. With the right shields for the warehouse sensors, you could hide an army in a place like this. Just what I needed. I found a room that had served as a crash pad, filled with blankets and mattresses, and a room that had been the playroom, with pool table and a V set. I was beginning to think I would have to cover half the city to find an exit when I found their control room. And the head lifter. Ducking back down the passage from the stream of needles fired from my own weapon, I called out, "Give it up! I've made enough noise to set off every alarm in this place." RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 39 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "Sorry, detective. I know what the soundproofing is like in here. A grenade couldn't make enough noise to get through." My peek around the corner had shown me he wasn't wearing one of the silver suits which was a help. But he had my needler and possibly an arsenal besides. The fleeting image of the room showed a control room set-up that must be the main board of this site. If I could get to that board, I could not only get out but probably dump the entire rig into the local security office. "You know, you've really been more trouble than you're worth, p-cop. I think you've outlived your lease," said Freeman, the man in the room. His shield was back in place, so I couldn't read him. He started to move around the room, darting needles through the door every so often just to keep me in my place. "Just when I've figured out a way to get rid of all you Specials and put the world back on an equal footing, someone like you has to step in and screw it up. Well, when I release that virus into the atmosphere in several carefully selected places, all the Specials in the world will die and mankind will be pure once more." I had heard this same tired rhetoric before and wasn't interested in hearing it again. It was time to take out the garbage and I had one last trick left. My other senses were no help in this situation. I'd have to do it the hard way. I picked up a chair to use as a shield, knowing that some of the needles would get past it. Then I triggered that mental switch that locked in all my endocrine system to high gear. For a while I would be stronger, faster and less susceptible to the needles. I gave it a second to kick in and rushed through the door toward where my ears told me Freeman was. A stream of needles smashed at my shield, ricocheting around the room. Then he shifted his aim and hit my legs just as I smashed the chair in a wild swing across his arms, ripping the needler from his hands. I continued the arc of the swing and threw the chair into the main board, pleased in my hyper state at the resulting light show. Then I grabbed Freeman and proceeded to bounce him off the wall. The last thing I remember is the look of fear on his face as I blacked out from the anesthetic on the needles. * * * This time I came to slowly. There was a cloth across my eyes, blocking out the blinding lights in the room. My body felt like it had been used as a tackling dummy for freight trains. I hurt in places I didn't even remember having. I groaned by reflex. "You okay, Mac?" came Sammy's voice from about a mile away. I tried to read him but there was a shield around the bed. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 40 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "What are you doing here?" I asked in my usual style of empathy. "Mac, I was so worried when you faded when you went into the warehouse," Sammy said so fast he fell over his words. "It was my fault I lost you and you never lose a partner. I was worried." "'Sokay, kid," I answered holding out my hand for his. "We were both out on a limb on this one. Did they get them?" "Yeah, wow, Mac. You really bounced Freeman good. Cap'n would have had you up on a ses force charge if you hadn't had so many needles in you. Doc said it was a wonder you could move at all. And then we found the records of the plan to get rid of us Specials and the money from all those thefts he used to pay for the equipment he was using and the people he had to get to spread the virus." Sammy had that hero worship tone in his voice again. It was going to take another month to get him back to normal. "Anyway, now I know you're okay, I'm gonna catch some z's. See you tomorrow, Mac" I heard the door close. I relaxed, listening to the sounds of the ward -- glad the shield was as good as it was. I really needed a vacation. # # # Copyright 1994 John R. Hillman, jr. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- John is a freelance writer, who has been published in BLOODREAMS, ONCE UPON A WORLD, and GATEWAYS. He writes a bimonthly SF/F column published in THE MAGAZINE of SHAREFICTION, and his book reviews appear in POPULAR FICTION NEWS. As a contributing editor to ON THE RISK, he keeps track of "life." =========================================================================== THE MONSTER MEN by Edgar Rice Burroughs CHAPTER 11 "I AM COMING!" The morning following the capture of Virginia Maxon by Muda Saffir, Professor Maxon, von Horn, Sing Lee and the sole surviving lascar from the crew of the Ithaca set out across the strait toward the mainland of Borneo in the small boat which the doctor had secreted in the jungle near the harbor. The party was well equipped with firearms and ammunition, and the bottom of the boat was packed full with provisions and cooking utensils. Von Horn had been careful to see that the boat was furnished with a mast and sail, and now, under a good breeze the party was making excellent time toward the mysterious land of their destination. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 41 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 They had scarcely cleared the harbor when they sighted a ship far out across the strait. Its erratic movements riveted their attention upon it, and later, as they drew nearer, they perceived that the strange craft was a good sized schooner with but a single short mast and tiny sail. For a minute or two her sail would belly with the wind and the vessel make headway, then she would come suddenly about, only to repeat the same tactics a moment later. She sailed first this way and then that, losing one minute what she had gained the minute before. Von Horn was the first to recognize her. "It is the Ithaca," he said, "and her Dyak crew are having a devil of a time managing her--she acts as though she were rudderless." Von Horn ran the small boat within hailing distance of the dismasted hulk whose side was now lined with waving, gesticulating natives. They were peaceful fishermen, they explained, whose prahus had been wrecked in the recent typhoon. They had barely escaped with their lives by clambering aboard this wreck which Allah had been so merciful as to place directly in their road. Would the Tuan Besar be so good as to tell them how to make the big prahu steer? Von Horn promised to help them on condition that they would guide him and his party to the stronghold of Rajah Muda Saffir in the heart of Borneo. The Dyaks willingly agreed, and von Horn worked his small boat in close under the Ithaca's stern. Here he found that the rudder had been all but unshipped, probably as the vessel was lifted over the reef during the storm, but a single pintle remaining in its gudgeon. A half hour's work was sufficient to repair the damage, and then the two boats continued their journey toward the mouth of the river up which those they sought had passed the night before. Inside the river's mouth an anchorage was found for the Ithaca near the very island upon which the fierce battle between Number Thirteen and Muda Saffir's forces had occurred. From the deck of the larger vessel the deserted prahu which had borne Bulan across the strait was visible, as were the bodies of the slain Dyaks and the misshapen creatures of the white giant's forces. In excited tones the head hunters called von Horn's attention to these evidences of conflict, and the doctor drew his boat up to the island and leaped ashore, followed by Professor Maxon and Sing. Here they found the dead bodies of the four monsters who had fallen in an attempt to rescue their creator's daughter, though little did any there imagine the real truth. About the corpses of the four were the bodies of a dozen Dyak warriors attesting to the ferocity of the encounter and the savage prowess of the unarmed creatures who had sold their poor lives so dearly. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 42 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "Evidently they fell out about the possession of the captive," suggested von Horn. "Let us hope that she did not fall into the clutches of Number Thirteen--any fate would be better than that." "God give that that has not befallen her," moaned Professor Maxon. "The pirates might but hold her for ransom, but should that soulless fiend possess her my prayer is that she found the strength and the means to take her own life before he had an opportunity to have his way with her." "Amen," agreed von Horn. Sing Lee said nothing, but in his heart he hoped that Virginia Maxon was not in the power of Rajah Muda Saffir. The brief experience he had had with Number Thirteen during the fight in the bungalow had rather warmed his wrinkled old heart toward the friendless young giant, and he was a sufficiently good judge of human nature to be confident that the girl would be comparatively safe in his keeping. It was quickly decided to abandon the small boat and embark the entire party in the deserted war prahu. A half hour later saw the strangely mixed expedition forging up the river, but not until von Horn had boarded the Ithaca and discovered to his dismay that the chest was not on board her. Far above them on the right bank Muda Saffir still squatted in his hiding place, for no friendly prahu or sampan had passed his way since dawn. His keen eyes roving constantly up and down the long stretch of river that was visible from his position finally sighted a war prahu coming toward him from down stream. As it drew closer he recognized it as one which had belonged to his own fleet before his unhappy encounter with the wild white man and his abhorrent pack, and a moment later his heart leaped as he saw the familiar faces of several of his men; but who were the strangers in the stern, and what was a Chinaman doing perched there upon the bow? The prahu was nearly opposite him before he recognized Professor Maxon and von Horn as the white men of the little island. He wondered how much they knew of his part in the raid upon their encampment. Bududreen had told him much concerning the doctor, and as Muda Saffir recalled the fact that von Horn was anxious to possess himself of both the treasure and the girl he guessed that he would be safe in the man's hands so long as he could hold out promises of turning one or the other over to him; and so, as he was tired of squatting upon the uncomfortable bank and was very hungry, he arose and hailed the passing prahu. His men recognized his voice immediately and as they knew nothing of the defection of any of their fellows, turned the boat's prow toward shore without waiting for the command from von Horn. The latter, fearing treachery, sprang to his feet with raised rifle, but when one of the paddlers explained that it was the Rajah Muda Saffir who hailed them and that he was alone von Horn permitted them to draw nearer the shore, though he continued to stand ready to thwart any attempted treachery and warned both the professor and Sing to be on guard. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 43 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 As the prahu's nose touched the bank Muda Saffir stepped aboard and with many protestations of gratitude explained that he had fallen overboard from his own prahu the night before and that evidently his followers thought him drowned, since none of his boats had returned to search for him. Scarcely had the Malay seated himself before von Horn began questioning him in the rajah's native tongue, not a word of which was intelligible to Professor Maxon. Sing, however, was as familiar with it as was von Horn. "Where are the girl and the treasure?" he asked. "What girl, Tuan Besar?" inquired the wily Malay innocently. "And what treasure? The white man speaks in riddles." "Come, come," cried von Horn impatiently. "Let us have no foolishness. You know perfectly well what I mean--it will go far better with you if we work together as friends. I want the girl--if she is unharmed--and I will divide the treasure with you if you will help me to obtain them; otherwise you shall have no part of either. What do you say? Shall we be friends or enemies?" "The girl and the treasure were both stolen from me by a rascally panglima, Ninaka," said Muda Saffir, seeing that it would be as well to simulate friendship for the white man for the time being at least--there would always be an opportunity to use a kris upon him in the remote fastness of the interior to which Muda Saffir would lead them. "What became of the white man who led the strange monsters?" asked von Horn. "He killed many of my men, and the last I saw of him he was pushing up the river after the girl and the treasure," replied the Malay. "If another should ask you," continued von Horn with a meaningful glance toward Professor Maxon, "it will be well to say that the girl was stolen by this white giant and that you suffered defeat in an attempt to rescue her because of your friendship for us. Do you understand?" Muda Saffir nodded. Here was a man after his own heart, which loved intrigue and duplicity. Evidently he would be a good ally in wreaking vengeance upon the white giant who had caused all his discomfiture-- afterward there was always the kris if the other should become inconvenient. At the long-house at which Barunda and Ninaka had halted, Muda Saffir learned all that had transpired, his informants being the two Dyaks who had led Bulan and his pack into the jungle. He imparted the information to von Horn and both men were delighted that thus their most formidable enemy had been disposed of. It would be but a question of time before the inexperienced creatures perished in the dense forest--that they ever could retrace their steps to the river was most unlikely, and the chances were that one by one they would be dispatched by head hunters while they slept. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 44 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Again the party embarked, reinforced by the two Dyaks who were only too glad to renew their allegiance to Muda Saffir while he was backed by the guns of the white men. On and on they paddled up the river, gleaning from the dwellers in the various long-houses information of the passing of the two prahus with Barunda, Ninaka, and the white girl. Professor Maxon was impatient to hear every detail that von Horn obtained from Muda Saffir and the various Dyaks that were interviewed at the first long-house and along the stretch of river they covered. The doctor told him that Number Thirteen still had Virginia and was fleeing up the river in a swift prahu. He enlarged upon the valor shown by Muda Saffir and his men in their noble attempt to rescue his daughter, and through it all Sing Lee sat with half closed eyes, apparently oblivious to all that passed before him. What were the workings of that intricate celestial brain none can say. Far in the interior of the jungle Bulan and his five monsters stumbled on in an effort to find the river. Had they known it they were moving parallel with the stream, but a few miles from it. At times it wound in wide detours close to the path of the lost creatures, and again it circled far away from them. As they travelled they subsisted upon the fruits with which they had become familiar upon the island of their creation. They suffered greatly for lack of water, but finally stumbled upon a small stream at which they filled their parched stomachs. Here it occurred to Bulan that it would be wise to follow the little river, since they could be no more completely lost than they now were no matter where it should lead them, and it would at least insure them plenty of fresh water. As they proceeded down the bank of the stream it grew in size until presently it became a fair sized river, and Bulan had hopes that it might indeed prove the stream that they had ascended from the ocean and that soon he would meet with the prahus and possibly find Virginia Maxon herself. The strenuous march of the six through the jungle had torn their light cotton garments into shreds so that they were all practically naked, while their bodies were scratched and bleeding from countless wounds inflicted by sharp thorns and tangled brambles through which they had forced their way. Bulan still carried his heavy bull whip while his five companions were armed with the parangs they had taken from the Dyaks they had overpowered upon the island at the mouth of the river. It was upon this strange and remarkable company that the sharp eyes of a score of river Dyaks peered through the foliage. The head hunters had been engaged in collecting camphor crystals when their quick ears caught the noisy passage of the six while yet at a considerable distance, and with ready parangs the savages crept stealthily toward the sound of the advancing party. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 45 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 At first they were terror stricken at the hideous visages of five of the creatures they beheld, but when they saw how few their numbers, and how poorly armed they were, as well as the awkwardness with which they carried their parangs, denoting their unfamiliarity with the weapons, they took heart and prepared to ambush them. What prizes those terrible heads would be when properly dried and decorated! The savages fairly trembled in anticipation of the commotion they would cause in the precincts of their long-house when they returned with six such magnificent trophies. Their victims came blundering on through the dense jungle to where the twenty sleek brown warriors lay in wait for them. Bulan was in the lead, and close behind him in single file lumbered his awkward crew. Suddenly there was a chorus of savage cries close beside him and simultaneously he found himself in the midst of twenty cutting, slashing parangs. Like lightning his bull whip flew into action, and to the astonished warriors it was as though a score of men were upon them in the person of this mighty white giant. Following the example of their leader the five creatures at his back leaped upon the nearest warriors, and though they wielded their parangs awkwardly the superhuman strength back of their cuts and thrusts sent the already blood stained blades through many a brown body. The Dyaks would gladly have retreated after the first surprise of their initial attack, but Bulan urged his men on after them, and so they were forced to fight to preserve their lives at all. At last five of them managed to escape into the jungle, but fifteen remained quietly upon the earth where they had fallen--the victims of their own over confidence. Beside them lay two of Bulan's five, so that now the little party was reduced to four--and the problem that had faced Professor Maxon was so much closer to its own solution. From the bodies of the dead Dyaks Bulan and his three companions, Number Three, Number Ten, and Number Twelve, took enough loin cloths, caps, war- coats, shields and weapons to fit them out completely, after discarding the ragged remnants of their cotton pajamas, and now, even more terrible in appearance than before, the rapidly vanishing company of soulless monsters continued their aimless wandering down the river's brim. The five Dyaks who had escaped carried the news of the terrible creatures that had fallen upon them in the jungle, and of the awful prowess of the giant white man who led them. They told of how, armed only with a huge whip, he had been a match and more than a match for the best warriors of the tribe, and the news that they started spread rapidly down the river from one long-house to another until it reached the broad stream into which the smaller river flowed, and then it travelled up and down to the headwaters above and the ocean far below in the remarkable manner that news travels in the wild places of the world. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 46 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 So it was that as Bulan advanced he found the long-houses in his path deserted, and came to the larger river and turned up toward its head without meeting with resistance or even catching a glimpse of the brown- skinned people who watched him from their hiding places in the brush. That night they slept in the long-house near the bank of the greater stream, while its rightful occupants made the best of it in the jungle behind. The next morning found the four again on the march ere the sun had scarcely lighted the dark places of the forest, for Bulan was now sure that he was on the right trail and that the new river that he had come to was indeed the same that he had traversed in the Prahu with Barunda. It must have been close to noon when the young giant's ears caught the sound of the movement of some animal in the jungle a short distance to his right and away from the river. His experience with men had taught him to be wary, for it was evident that every man's hand was against him, so he determined to learn at once whether the noise he heard came from some human enemy lurking along his trail ready to spring upon him with naked parang at a moment that he was least prepared, or merely from some jungle brute. Cautiously he threaded his way through the matted vegetation in the direction of the sound. Although a parang from the body of a vanquished Dyak hung at his side he grasped his bull whip ready in his right hand, preferring it to the less accustomed weapon of the head hunter. For a dozen yards he advanced without sighting the object of his search, but presently his efforts were rewarded by a glimpse of a reddish, hairy body, and a pair of close set, wicked eyes peering at him from behind a giant tree. At the same instant a slight movement at one side attracted his attention to where another similar figure crouched in the underbrush, and then a third, fourth and fifth became evident about him. Bulan looked in wonderment upon the strange, man-like creatures who eyed him threateningly from every hand. They stood fully as high as the brown Dyak warriors, but their bodies were naked except for the growth of reddish hair which covered them, shading to black upon the face and hands. The lips of the nearest were raised in an angry snarl that exposed wicked looking fighting fangs, but the beasts did not seem inclined to initiate hostilities, and as they were unarmed and evidently but engaged upon their own affairs Bulan decided to withdraw without arousing them further. As he turned to retrace his steps he found his three companions gazing in wide-eyed astonishment upon the strange new creatures which confronted them. Number Ten was grinning broadly, while Number Three advanced cautiously toward one of the creatures, making a low guttural noise, that could only be interpreted as peaceful and conciliatory--more like a feline purr it was than anything else. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 47 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "What are you doing?" cried Bulan. "Leave them alone. They have not offered to harm us." "They are like us," replied Number Three. "They must be our own people. I am going with them." "And I," said Number Ten. "And I," echoed Number Twelve. "At last we have found our own, let us all go with them and live with them, far away from the men who would beat us with great whips, and cut us with their sharp swords." "They are not human beings," exclaimed Bulan. "We cannot live with them." "Neither are we human beings," retorted Number Twelve. "Has not von Horn told us so many times?" "If I am not now a human being," replied Bulan, "I intend to be one, and so I shall act as a human being should act. I shall not go to live with savage beasts, nor shall you. Come with me as I tell you, or you shall again taste the bull whip." "We shall do as we please," growled Number Ten, baring his fangs. "You are not our master. We have followed you as long as we intend to. We are tired of forever walking, walking, walking through the bushes that tear our flesh and hurt us. Go and be a human being if you think you can, but do not longer interfere with us or we shall kill you," and he looked first at Number Three and then at Number Twelve for approval of his ultimatum. Number Three nodded his grotesque and hideous head--he was so covered with long black hair that he more nearly resembled an ourang outang than a human being. Number Twelve looked doubtful. "I think Number Ten is right," he said at last. "We are not human. We have no souls. We are things. And while you, Bulan, are beautiful, yet you are as much a soulless thing as we--that much von Horn taught us well. So I believe that it would be better were we to keep forever from the sight of men. I do not much like the thought of living with these strange, hairy monsters, but we might find a place here in the jungle where we could live alone and in peace." "I do not want to live alone," cried Number Three. "I want a mate, and I see a beautiful one yonder now. I am going after her," and with that he again started toward a female ourang outang; but the lady bared her fangs and retreated before his advance. "Even the beasts will have none of us," cried Number Ten angrily. "Let us take them by force then," and he started after Number Three. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 48 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 "Come back!" shouted Bulan, leaping after the two deserters. As he raised his voice there came an answering cry from a little distance ahead--a cry for help, and it was in the agonized tones of a woman's voice. "I am coming!" shouted Bulan, and without another glance at his mutinous crew he sprang through the line of menacing ourang outangs. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= ? ? ? =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- End Chapter 11 -- THE MONSTER MEN. Get the next issue of RUNE'S RAG for the exciting continuation of this story by Edgar Rice Burroughs. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Edgar Rice Burroughs has influenced writers and readers for the past three generations, with well over 100 million books produced because of his fertile imagination; this offering is a presentation to those who are unfamiliar with his work -- other than the TARZAN series. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= MUSIC REVIEW: Kansas - Boxed Set by Dave Bealer Welcome to part two in a series of reviews of CDs by bands named after North American geographical features. This time we take a look at (alright, listen to) the latest release by Kansas. I'm not much for "boxed sets" since they typically contain little in the way of new material. About the only time they make sense, for anyone but the record company, is in the case of artists whose early work is hard to find in CD format. The other problem with many boxed sets is sheer size: you need a good sized truck to take the box home. Might as well make it an armored truck, since you'll need one to guard the money required to purchase the set in first place. The two discs (or cassettes) in the _Kansas Boxed Set_ contain 26 songs, most of which are from the band's first eight albums. Most of the songs are studio cuts from the original albums, ranging from their self-titled 1974 debut album to 1980's _Audio-Visions_. A trio of previously unreleased live performances ("Death of Mother Nature Suite," "Incomudro - Hymn To The Atman," and "On The Other Side") are included, as is the original demo version of "Can I Tell You" that caused Don Kirschner to consider signing the band (then known as White Clover) to his new record label in 1973. Kansas is an album band with a cult following. "Dust In The Wind" is the only Kansas single ever to chart in the top ten (#6, March 1978). One reason for their limited commercial success is the dark nature of most of their lyrics. "Dust In The Wind" itself is about the very temporary nature of man's existence on Earth. Wonderfully moving lyrics for those willing to listen, the message is definitely not a sappy, happy, "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" one. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 49 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Kansas is NOT just a studio band, however. I had the pleasure of seeing them in concert at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, PA. in late 1980 during the _Audio-Visions_ tour. We had sixth row-center seats for an excellent performance which I thoroughly enjoyed, although I couldn't hear anything for a couple of days afterwards. The only rock concert I've ever attended (my hearing is bad enough already, thank you very much), it was worth it to see the six original band members in action together. About a year later Steve Walsh left the band, so that was the last Kansas tour with the original cast. Two things make this boxed set as must-have for Kansas fans. One is the 32 page book which tells the story, in words and pictures, of the band called Kansas, from it's roots as White Clover (circa 1969) to the breakup of the original lineup in late 1981. The other feature is a brand new Kansas song, "Wheels." Written by Kerry Livgren for a solo project, "Wheels" features Steve Walsh's vocals, Kerry Livgren on guitar and keyboards, Phil Ehart on drums, and newcomer David Ragsdale on violin. With the information contained in the book, this boxed set leaves only one real remaining problem for true Kansas fans: when are those brain dead record company executives going to bring _Audio-Visions_, _Drastic Measures_, and _Vinyl Confessions_ out on CD? # # # Copyright 1994 Dave Bealer. All Rights Reserved. -------------------------------------------------------------------- Dave Bealer is a thirty-something mainframe systems programmer. His musical ability extends to playing "When the Saints Go Marching In" on the piano using only five keys. This makes him as qualified to review music as most of those who do it for a living. When not listening to music, Dave writes for and publishes his own e-mag, Random Access Humor. He can be reached at: dave.bealer@rah.clark.net or at The Puffin's Nest, 1:261/1129, (410)437-3463. ===================================================================== -=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- SPIRITUAL MUSIC ADVICE 'N' STUFF by Rev. Richard Visage =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Ever wonder why there's so many music dinosaurs out there? It seems to me like, back in the bad old days, a band would get a hit or two, then deservedly fade into obscurity. Say, for instance, Freddy and the Dreamers -- I think they had one horrid hit with "Do the Freddy", and maybe a backup hit with a loathsome ballad, and then were never heard of again. Freddy probably became an insurance salesman dressed in doubleknits, and yeah, he's the guy that came to your front door, smoking a cheap cigar. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 50 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 He deserves it, too. But then there's others that just never seem to go away. The first time I saw Eric Clapton play, he was with Cream, and he was generating serious guitar magic at the time. He played wildman blues and psychedelia, did amazing improvisations, and enunciated his guitar work like no one in the business. He was a certified guitar god, and deserved the title. Things changed. Eric joined the super-ego super-group Blind Faith and was still brilliant. After the one and only album that Blind Faith produced, he joined the musical debacle called Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. Worse, he sang. Worse, as his career continued, he didn't stop singing. Ugh. Let's spin a CD, kids. Back to the Cradle, Eric Clapton ------------------ Who could possibly disapprove of Eric Clapton doing a back to the roots pure blues album? I just know all the critics are going to rave over this one just out of purity of concept. And it is a good idea. Hell, he's put together some extra-fine blues musicians for this album and done all the recordings on a single take. Is this great or what? Well, first of all, Slowhand can still pick. Bigtime. There's some absolutely technically brilliant guitar work on this album. The band is relentlessly professional. And the whole thing is tired, tired, tired. There's so rarely a trace of emotion, or real blues feeling on this album, that it could be made into one of those New Age sleep- inducing tapes. Ms. LaBamba steals the remote control from me when I listen to this album, and quickly changes the disc. Can you argue with a woman who wears spandex and garters? Oh, and the vocals deserve mention. With the exception of a small bit of backup vocals, it's all Eric. Eric, his nasal whine, and twenty years of failed vocal training. It's so laboured at times as to be downright hilarious. To really enjoy this album, you need one of those karioke machines that can tune out the original vocals on the track. The only song that really works on this album is an acoustic blues track, "Driftin'", which is reminiscent of the pathos-ridden Tears in Heaven, and doesn't require much in the way of vocal gymnastics. Again, absolutely wonderful guitar work on the acoustic box. Well, I'm sure that you're going to buy this one, despite my ranting about it. But, let's make a bet. In a year from now, you'll find this CD second from the bottom in your pile, look at it, and think about putting in on. But, you'll just stick it back on the bottom of the pile. Delete bin, here it comes. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 51 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 As your spiritual advisor, might I suggest that you pick up J.J. Cale's new release, Closer to You, instead? J.J. is the author of some of Clapton's bigger hits, "Cocaine" among them, and is held in godlike esteem in the UK and in parts of Canada. He's also the gentleman whose guitar style is most imitated by the likes of Clapton and Mark Knoffler. This is real Okie pop/blues, it doesn't to pander roots purists, and it has the feel of musicians who love, and are lost in, the music. The album starts with the blues/rocker "Long Way Home" and winds through the hypnotic vibe-powered "Slower Baby" and winds up with "Steve's Song", an absolutely sparkling instrumental. One could criticize some of the lyrics as being a little to simplistic or Okie, but they don't detract from the music. I'd mention that Ms. LaBamba gets naked every time I play it, but that'd probably encourage folks to buy the album for all the wrong reasons. Or, maybe not. # # # Religiously yours, Copyright 1994 Rev. Richard Visage --------------------------------------------------------------------- Rev. Richard Visage is the official Spiritual Advisor to Fidonet and is listed on the masthead of the Fidonews, where his correspondence with the infamous Doc Logger is published regularly. The Rev. operates 163/409 on a laptop from various hotel rooms, and is bankrolled by expense accounts from unsuspecting publications who showed the poor judgement of hiring him. Canadian Government officials list him and his semi-clad secretary, Ms. LaBamba, as officially being "at large" somewhere in North America. ====================================================================== -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Political Commentary: =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- THE '94 DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN by Ray Koziel Well, it is election season once again. In fact, within one week we head out to the polls to decide which candidates will screw up the least and keep the most promises. If you look at some of the strategies Democrats and the Democratic Party have used to try to get re-elected, you'll see what I mean. The fact is, Democrats throughout the country are in hysterics. Two years ago, when Clinton was elected, they all believed a new great age was beginning. But due to various developments and events from the Clinton Administration, which need not be mentioned now -- this has changed. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 52 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Add to this a strong Republican Party and the Democrats are even more hysterical. The Republican Party joined together and signed the "Contract with America" which listed ten issues that will be brought for debate within the first one hundred days if elected. With these developments going on it is actually no surprise to see the measures Democrats are going to try to get re-elected. First of all, Democrats do not want to be associated with Clinton at all! Here we have the first Democratic president in twelve years and none of the candidates in this year's elections want to even be seen with him! That has to tell you something right there. Polls have shown that for those candidates who have asked for Clinton's help, their ratings dropped after Clinton came to town. Advisors have suggested that it would be better for Clinton to visit the Middle East during the last few weeks of campaigning. They do not even want the President in America! Another tactic the Democrats are using is to run against the 1980's and the performance of Ronald Reagan, especially when debating the Contract with America. Now let me see if I understand this right. They are positioning themselves against a period of our history that had the greatest post World War II economic growth, the largest increase of job creation and personal income, and the quickest growth in federal income through tax reductions. They are pitting themselves against the man that made all these great things take place, who awakened America by making us feel proud of our country and being an American? They are trying to run against this? Well, if that's the case, then they are going to have to do more running than Forrest Gump! Last but certainly not least the Democrats are doing what they do best -- whining. They are griping about the Republicans being the source of gridlock, that they are not letting all these great programs come to fruition. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it their job to try to do what is in the best interests of the American people? After all, that is why they were elected in the first place. The Republicans are just following what we are telling them. We told them we do not need the government controlling health care, and they listened by killing the health care bill and this is just one example. How do the Democrats respond to this? By belittling the American people, considering them as misinformed, ignorant dolts that need as much help from the government as it can provide. Sure, I'm definitely going to vote for someone who just called me a nonsensical moron, wouldn't you? So the bottom line is the Democrats' master plan to get re-elected, or elected for that matter, is a joke plain and simple. They are trying to run against the best periods of this nation's history, blaming the Republicans for doing their job which is listening to the people, and claiming Americans are fools seriously needing the government's assistance. To top it all off, they do not even want the President to help them in their campaigning and would rather have him out of the country completely. Yes, the Democratic campaign for 1994 is a joke, and the American people will have the last laugh come election day. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 53 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 # # # Copyright 1994 Ray Koziel, All Rights Reserved --------------------------------------------------------------------- Ray Koziel lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and one and a half children. When asked about his thoughts on the information super- highway, Ray replied that it was a "pretty nifty idea" but wondered "how we could drive a car small enough to fit through a telephone line". Ray can be reached via CompuServe at 73753,3044 or via the Internet at 73753.3044@compuserve.com, which is most convenient. ===================================================================== =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= WhatNots, Why not? =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= News You Can Use: -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Are you reading this on an archaic 8088 based machine? It may be time for you to take a Pentium leap into the future! Besides, Christmas is right around the corner. Increases in performance found on the newer machines, compared to the 386/16mhz or even older 286 machines, will astound you. Since the Pentium based machines entered the marketplace there have been some very good discounts placed on the lower-end 486's. A little shopping around, especially at the discount electronic stores, will show excellent systems can be found for under $1,000. If you are a novice to computers, I would recommend you spend a few dollars and purchase a book or magazine that gives an overview of computers -- so you can make an informed decision -- and be a wise shopper. Spending $15.00 on a book to be informed may save you a few hundred dollars. Some of the salespeople are more concerned about what they can afford for Christmas, by boosting their commissions, than your choice in equipment! Pentium systems consisting of: 2xCD-ROM player, 250 to 450 and larger Hard Drive, 14" Super VGA (.28) color monitor, 256k Cache, 8 Meg RAM, 3.5" Floppy Drive, and a 14,400 baud modem are selling for under $2,000. Also, if you've never shopped mailorder, you may be missing a good opportunity to save even more money. If you're making your purchase by credit card, you can feel pretty safe shopping mailorder. You can dispute the charge and the credit card company will investigate if there was a problem. Tell Santa it's probably the time to upgrade, and don't forget to leave his little treat -- gin and cookies, er, sorry . . . milk and cookies. # # # RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 54 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 ======================================================================= -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-== Interesting StuFF -=-=-=-=--=-=-=-= Did you download RUNE'S RAG using a 2400 baud modem? Maybe it's time to speed things up a bit. Good news for you. The 14,400 baud modems are now selling for as little as $70 (perhaps less by the time you read this). Your enjoyment of modeming will improve along with download efficiency. The 14.4B modem will actually save you money in the long run, especially if you make very many long distance calls. A 100,000k file downloaded at 2400 baud will take a little over seven (7) minutes. The same file with a 14.4 modem will take a smidge over one minute. Quite a savings if you are a long distance file junkie, or if you are connected to services charging by the minute. Yep, election time. With your fast 14.4B modem, maybe you would like to complain or maybe you would like to congratulate the winning candidate for whom you voted. You can obtain Political Information from an organization called Project Vote Smart. They offer files covering the positions of both party candidates. From the Internet (gopher to gopher.neu.edu) or from their BBS at 503-737-377, you will be able to obtain political information. Another source of interesting files can be obtained from the White House's Internet connection: publications@whitehouse.gov and request instructions to obtain listings of publications available. Or if you just want to go right to the top: president@whitehouse.gov or perhaps the number two man is enough for you: vicepresident@whitehouse.gov Maybe you would like to be on the bleeding edge! The newer 28,800B V.34 modems are available now. Don't be confused with the lower priced and less reliable connectivity of the 28.8 V.FAST models. The latest international standard is the V.34. You can find the modems with the latest v.34 standard available for around $300.00, and possibly less. # # # ---------------------------------------------------------------------- =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- E-Publishing StuFf =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Heard from a mother, "Electronic books for children typically come in CD-ROM format. Most feature a human voice that reads the story aloud as you view "pages" of the book." This concerned mother, Robin Raskin, editor of PC MAGAZINE, feels children's e-books should offer much more. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 55 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 I agree. There are educational opportunities galore that could be easily included in children's e-books. These titles are priced from $30 to $60 and sometimes higher! Looks like an excellent opportunity for fierce competition from some concerned Electronic Publishers. Publishing on floppy would greatly reduce the sale price, could include a higher degree of educational interactive information, and also open this medium to those children who don't have access to CD-ROM based systems. Are you the author of a children's book that you would like to see published electronically? Contact the editor of RUNE'S RAG, E-mail: Fido/EPub/Author's Nets: 1:2601/522; or BBS, WRITERS BIZ 412-LUV-RUNE Internet: 75537.1415@compuserve.com. # # # ---------------------------------------------------------------------- =-=-=-=-=- More StuFf =-=-=-=-=-= It is that time of year again! Time to take an interest in your community, your future, and the future of your children. VOTE! In primary elections, less than fifty percent of Americans vote. A disgusting sign of apathy. In local and state elections some of the voter turn-outs show only 4% to 7% of the community is concerned. Change is your responsibility, initiate some action in your community; make a difference -- VOTE! # # # ----------------------------------------------------------------------- =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Even More sTufF =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= YOU can save a tree -- read Electronically! Buy E-Books and E-Magazines! Support a "Green Industry!" ========================= # # # =============================== Have tips and hints that would be of service to others? Share THEM; send to: RUNE'S RAG, PO BOX 243, Greenville, PA 16125 or DATA (412) 588-7863 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ As always, seek competent advice from your legal advisor, doctor, maid, dentist, accountant, beautician, lawyer, bartender, neighbor, priest, cat, pastor, social worker, contractor, engineer, Dr. Spock, AA, AAA, AAAA, dog, NWU, military advisor, coroner, mechanic, mother, father (both for totally different answers), gardener, tax advisor, HARLEY DEALER, travel agent, roofer, computer dealer (haha), insurance man, and don't forget the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker! Talk to your kids for the best advice! RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 56 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Any and all information found in this magazine is taken entirely at the risk of the individual, and as always wear a condom for complete protection -- against missinformation, and other things. Any and all similarity to real persons is purely fictional coincidence, especially the editor -- who is merely a figment of our collective consciousness. Remember -- keep on RAG'n! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Support the ARTS. Save a TREE, no paper -- buy Electronic Magazines! If you are reading this ON-LINE, simply write down the information and mail to the address below! SUBSCRIPTIONS: You can have RUNE'S RAG delivered to your doorstep, on disk -- MONTHLY. You will also get a *FREE* Book on disk and/or other electronic publications. Please help me support and pay the writers, who provide the reading material; I sell my own plasma to pay them now! (yes, I'm begging) -- send a Donation or Subscribe to the RAG! We accept Donations, but nothing over five hundred thousand per year from any one organization or individual! -- we have our limits. All who donate will be listed on a screen showing supporters of the ARTS. *DOS* DISK TYPE: [ ] 720K DOS [ ] 1.2M [ ] 1.44M COST: 3 Month Subscription....(Trial)... $ 9.95 [ ] 6 Month Subscription.............. $13.95 [ ] 12 Month Subscription............. $19.95 [ ] *** If OUTSIDE the Continental U.S. add $7.00 *** *First Class Shipping*, *handling*, and your *FREE* Classic Book are included in the subscription price. SUPPORT the ARTS -- you get GREAT reading, stories to read to your kids, and a FREE disk. ;-) *NOTE: A 12 month Subscription includes a 12 month PREFERRED MEMBERSHIP on WRITERS BIZ BBS. FidoNet, EPubNet, Authors'Net Echos, and more! Data: (412) LUV-RUNE (588-7863) FidoNet: 1:2601/522 (24hrs) Mail Check/Money Order payable TO: RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 57 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Rick Arnold % RUNE'S RAG P.O. Box 243, Greenville, PA 16125-0243 Full Name:[ Company:[ Address:[ City:[ State/Prov:[ Zip/Postal Code:[ Country:[ Signature:[ Date:[ PASSWORD:[ (for WRITERS BIZ BBS, if 12 months sub) --------------------------------------------------------------------- ** We are in serious NEED of Submissions; give us a try! *** ** Eager to work with New Authors and Inveterates; *** RUNE'S RAG: An Electronic Magazine -- Filled Full from Finest ~~~~~~ ~~~ Fantastic Fiction -- Fantasy, SF, Poetry and more. RUNE'S RAG, % Rick Arnold, Managing Editor P.O. Box 243, Greenville, PA 16125-0243. Phone: 1-412-LUV-RUNE, (DATA, to 14.4B @ WRITERS BIZ BBS) GUIDELINES: ---------- 97.6933% freelance written. A monthly international electronic magazine (save your tree), publishing the best in fiction, sf, nonfiction, Poe_try, satire, reviews, religion, interviews, humor noire, fantasy, essay, (virtually anything relevant to our readers). Bio given. Publishes within 3 months of acceptance. Reports in 2-6 weeks on queries. Takes first North American Serial Rights, if an unpublished work, REPRINT rights, or One Time Rights. Negotiaties for additional rights as needed. Pays 90 days after publication, or sooner. We can potentially reach apx 20 Million readers - go figure. PAYMENT: $2.00 honorarium per article for over 1,000 words. ------- LENGTH: 1000-30,000 words prefer 2,000 to 5,000 words; will publish works over 30,000 words, and UNDER 1,000 words. Larger works will be serialized, or arrangements will be made to produce and publish the work in Electronic Book form. We do not pay for poetry at this time, but should start soon -- we have a dedicated poetry section. RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 58 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 SUPPORT Authors and the ARTS -- Subscribe to RUNE'S RAG!!! TIPS: Send your ms(s) by MODEM, FIRST Preference, to: Fido Address, 1:2601/522, File Attach, or upload file to Sysop at WRITERS BIZ BBS, Phone: 412-588-7863 (LUV-RUNE). Fax should be same, try it. Second Preference, Mail: DOS Disks: 360, 720, 1.2, 1.4 unarced and uncompressed format, *PURE ASCII* text *PLEASE*. Place a minimum of two copies on the disk. On one copy, use your initials as the file name extension. LEAST PREFERRED medium: Paper, if near 1,000 words -- it'll be considered -- we hate data entry, but grudgingly DO IT! ****************************************************************** **SEND/INCLUDE a *SASE* or you WILL NOT receive your honorarium.** Please provide BBS & Fido number for NetMail, or E-Mail address, home phone, and Postal Address -- REPRINT requests from print pubs are possible, we need to find you. All ms(s) received will be considered Disposable -- for return include SUFFICIENT POSTAGE. ******************************************************************* LAYOUT: Standard submission format: FLUSH LEFT margin, Ragged Right, with 65 column Right Margin, blank line between paragraphs, spell checked, EDITED, and *PROOF READ*, yes Proof Read by YOU! Pure ASCII ONLY, please. We do virtually no editing to your ms, except for layout into the e-mag to fit format needs. PURE ASCII text please. RIGHTS: COPYRIGHT of each separate contributing article is held apart from the collective work as a whole, and vests initially to the author of the contributed article. The copyright holder of the collective work, RUNE'S RAG, acquires the right of reproducing and distributing the contributed article, as part of the collective, any revision of that collective work, and any collective work in the same series. FURTHER, ONE TIME anthology rights are acquired on all published manuscripts, but will not necessarily be exercised; if exercised, the copyright owner may, but not necessarily, receive further compensation. IN OTHER WORDS: The Authors retain copyright to their work! And have only released RIGHTS for publication in RUNE'S RAG, not ownership. Submit: the worst thing to happen -- . . . ? You may get published. RUNE'S RAG will attempt to remain a vehicle for new authors to demonstrate their works to their most valued critic -- the Reader. A semi-annual or annual may be produced in electronic and/or hardcopy. The "Best of" will be marketed, and proceeds applied to continuation of this publication and payment to authors. We hope to remain advertisement free -- but are wondering! RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 59 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 RUNE'S RAG is released into as many bit streams as possible!!! ********************************************************* We are LOOKING for NOVEL LENGTH works for electronic publication -- paying well above print rates -- INQUIRE. ----------------------------- Also looking for ms of 5,000 to 30,000 words for inclusion in various thematic electronic ANTHOLOGIES -- INQUIRE: ********************************************************* Netmail, e-mail to: Rick Arnold, Fido (1:2601/522); or CompuServe: 75537,1415; Internet: rick.arnold@f522.n2601.z1.fidonet.org; or Internet: 75337.1415@compuserve.com (**NOTE: period in CIS address) ------------------------------------------------------------------- RUNE'S RAG: member of EPubNet, which supports Electronic Publishing More information on EPubNet - contact: Rick Arnold @ (1:2601/522) 412-588-7863; N.L. Hargrove @ (1:317/317) 505-865-8385; Tom Almy @ (1:105/290) 503-620-0307; or Dave Bealer (1:261/1129) 410-437-3463; Download or FREQ: EPUBINFO.ZIP & EPKIT01.ZIP, may be .ARJ extension. ==================================================================== 浜様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様融 浜擁様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様 PLEASE, I need YOUR *help* supporting the authors who write for RUNE'S RAG. 才 藩様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様 SYSOPS, would you like a hassle free NEW Door each month? RUNE'S RAG will be delivered to your BBS, ready to go on-line simply by unzipping the new magazine. RUNE'S RAG features works from authors around the country, fiction, nonfiction, essays, poetry and much more. A magazine for young and old! 浜様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様 Save a Tree -- read RUNE'S RAG. 藩様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様 I will send RUNE'S RAG via modem to your system as soon as each monthly issue rolls from the electronic press. This saves you time. Time is money. All you need do is initially install the READROOM Door (RDRM32.ZIP by EXHIBIT A COMMUNICATIONS), allowing ON-LINE viewing and downloading from the door (your option). Works on systems which produce DOOR.SYS, or with a conversion program to produce a DOOR.SYS file. Will also deliver RDRM32.ZIP! The cost of this service is ONLY _ $15.95_ per year. Not available outside of the U.S., sorry! YOU'll provide your callers something unique, *every month* -- hassle free. It's like getting * 12 * doors for only $15.95! RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 60 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Support the ARTS and especially our contributing *AUTHORS*. * * * * * * * * * * 浜様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様融 If you're receiving RUNE'S RAG from another source, we still NEED YOUR HELP paying the authors! Send One Year Registration 隼 fee of ONLY $15.95, YOUR BBS will be LISTED as a Supporter 票 of the Arts and Artists! in each monthly issue for a year! 藩様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様夕 * * * * * * * * * * The ASCII version is also available for delivery. SYSOP NAME:[ BBS SYSTEM NAME:[ SYSTEM PHONE:[ ( ) SYSTEM FIDO ADDRESS:[ BBS LOGIN Information: PreLog me as: RUNES RAG (if needed) Postal Address:[ Address:[ City:[ State/Province:[ ZIP:[ Country: VOICE PHONE:[ ( ) Mail this form and Check or Money Order To: Questions? E-Mail to: Rick Arnold INTERNET: rick.arnold@f522.n2601.z1.fidonet.org P.O. Box 243, or: 77537,1415@compuserve.com Greenville, PA FidoNet: 1:2601/522 EPubNet: 1:2601/522 16125-0243 CIS: 75537,1415 DATA BBS: 1-412-LUV-RUNE (588-7863) 12 Months Service: $15.95 [ ] 6 Months Service: $9.95 [ ] 3 Month (Trial): $6.50 [ ] RUNE'S RAG =-VOTE-= PAGE 61 =-VOTE-= NOV 1994 Any unused portion of the subscription service, if terminated by the subscriber without notification to RUNE'S RAG, will be forfeited. If RUNE'S RAG receives written notification 32 days or more in advance, the balance of the subscription fee will be refunded upon mutual termination of this agreement. Sysop Signature: ____________________________________ Date: _____________ Order Form ******** NEW LOWER PRICING ********* _Command Line Cowboys: The Best of Random Access Humor, Volume 0_ Edited by Dave Bealer Bitwise Virtual Press $9.95 (Hyperwriter for MS-DOS) The world's first hypertext funhouse. Eighty original articles from the first sixteen issues of Random Access Humor, the award winning electronic monthly. Seventy percent of the articles were written by the editor. Several articles have been rewritten and updated since their original publication in RAH. Every tagline published in Volume 0 of RAH (9/92 - 12/93) has been included. (This book requires an MS-DOS system with CGA, EGA or VGA graphics.) **** LOWER PRICES! Wow! A deal at twice the price. Amount ____ Copies of "Command Line Cowboys" (5.25" diskette) $9.95 ____________ ____ Copies of "Command Line Cowboys" (3.5" diskette) $9.95 ____________ Maryland residents, please add 5% sales tax ($0.50 per copy ordered) ____________ Shipping and Handling (no matter how many copies) ___$2.00____ Total Check or Money Order Enclosed (U.S. Funds Only) ____________ (Make check payable to "Bitwise Communications") Ship Order to: Name ___________________________________________________________ Address ________________________________________________________ City _______________________________ State/Prov ________________ Postal/Zipcode ____________________ Country ____________________ Mail your order to: Bitwise Communications 4157 Mountain Road, #206 Pasadena, MD. 21122 USA Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. -------------------------------------- ========================== RUNE'S RAG ================================

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