Apollo 13.0001

By Turbomallard

Narrator: In the first years of the 21st Century, the United States
government found itself grappling with itself.

Narrator 2: Sounds kinky to me.

Narrator: Shut up. Now, as I was saying. A recession swept across the great
land. To combat the problem, the government adopted a new economic approach
known as "the hell with it" and decided to save money by outsourcing all
government functions to the lowest bidder. The State Department was
outsourced to the McDonalds Corporation, and Ronald McDonald was made
Secretary of State. Most countries found this to be a dramatic improvement.
The Department of Defense was outsourced to Southwest Airlines, who did away
with any assigned ranks or job functions. Instead, daily tasks were assigned
to military personnel as they showed up at their base and were issued a
color-coded card. All military bases were made identical and all tanks,
armored personnel carriers, destroyers, cruisers, submarines, bombers, and
fighters were done away with and replaced by a single vehicle type that
performed all the functions of its widely-different predecessors. This move,
meant to economize the military by requiring support of only one system on
one common base design, was pretty stupid but cheap, so nobody cared. The
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, meanwhile, caught up in a
series of extreme cost overruns and deep space probe failures, was purchased
for a price of $94.62 by a bidder named Babes and Airplanes. Learning that
their budget is insufficient to do much beyond firing off a few Estes model
rocket kits, the group thought what the hell, let's go for it, and has
decided to reignite public interest in space by sending a shuttle to the
moon, something it was pretty impossible to do since the spaceplane was
never designed for that. This decision was made somewhat easier by the fact
that the "Board of Directors" decided on the course of action at a meeting
where considerable quantities of Merlot were available... and readily
consumed. It is now the next day, and a meeting of the working group, lead
by Flight Director Moxie, is about to get their worst news yet.

Fade in. A meeting room at NASA. Debris from the previous night's
 "meeting"-- empty wine bottles, broken glasses, paper plates (some with
chicken bones still on them) and other junk litters the table. Handsome
mission patch insignia from the Apollo and Shuttle flights on the walls have
been spray painted over, with one being replaced by a five foot "bad plane
day" picture. The group, somewhat dishelved and more than somewhat hung
over, enters the room, shoving various debris off the conference table onto
the floor and brushing the same off chairs, and takes their seats.

Moxie: Good morning.

Leapie: It's 3:26 PM, dear.

Moxie: Don't argue with me when I've got a hangover. Else you'll be the
substitute for the electronic ignition system that we hacked to save money
and you'll be igniting the shuttle's solid rocket boosters manually with a
Zippo lighter on launch day, do you read me?

Leapie: Yes 'mam.

Moxie: Good. Now. As I was saying. Good morning.

Leapie: But it's-

Moxie gives him "the look."

Leapie: - a beautiful morning, isn't it?

Moxie: I'm afraid I have to announce some very bad news. We have to replace
a member of the two-person shuttle crew. John Glenn called and said he had a
better-paying job offer yesterday that he has decided to pursue and won't be
flying with us.

Viper: What could be better than commanding a space shuttle flight to the

Moxie: He accepted a position as a greeter at Walmart.

A collective groan rises from the hung-over members around the table.

Dave: Wow! That's amazing! Are there any more openings?

Moxie gives him "the look." Dave is silent.

Moxie: Gypsy, you're our personnel specialist. Who can we get to replace
John Glenn to fly with Razor on the shuttle?

Gypsy (flipping through notes): Well... in spite of the fact that the
government has outsourced everything, there are still 4,832 laws that govern
hiring practices. Twinnings, could you help me sort through this?

Twinnings and Gypsy sort through the stacks of law books and paperwork on
potential shuttle commander candidates, with Twinnings muttering "I knew I
should have stayed in Canada" the whole time. Eventually they narrow things
down to one piece of paper. They both look at it, recoil, then look at each
other in horror.

Moxie: Do you have a candidate?

Gypsy: Well, sort of...

Moxie: What do you mean, "sort of?"

Twinnings: Well, according to the "Don't hire anyone competent Act" we were
rather limited in our choice. The emphasis of the law is to ensure that
anyone competent doesn't get wasted on any kind of management position, you
see, and arranges for incompetents to be given impressive-sounding titles
like "associate professor" and then shunted out of the way. The role of
shuttle commander is classified as such, even though it's not really the
same thing. You see--

Moxie: Just tell me who it is!

Gypsy: You're not going to like it...

Moxie: I didn't ask if I'd like it.

Twinnings: You're *really* not going to like it...

Moxie: WHO IS IT?!?!

Gypsy: Razor's going to go ballistic without the shuttle when she hears
about this...

Moxie grabs the sheet. Her eyes widen as she reads, then she turns pale and
collapses into her chair.

Moxie: Okay... I'll call Turbomallard...

Fade in. Turbomallard's office. He is playing with one of the items in his
Slinky Dog collection. A student knocks on the open doorframe.

Turbomallard: Come in.

Student: All the code I wrote for the virtual library instruction program
has been deleted from the network!

TM: Yeah. We needed more drive space for the Doom session we're running with
the geeks in Computer Infrastructure Support Services. Is this a problem?

Student (sobbing): A problem? Eight months of work for the library, and it
was a special class project too! It was the entire content of a
specially-designed independent study course!

TM: Wow. Sucks to be you.

Student: I was going to graduate this semester! I had a job offer from EDRS
in Michigan to be a Unix administrator!

TM: So this isn't entirely bad. at least you won't have to go there now.
They're a bunch of losers up there, you know. Especially the Unix weanies.

Student: Oh my God. what am I going to do.? (Puts head down on desk,

TM studies this for a moment, looking sad. He puts his hand on the student's

TM: Look, I hate to see a student cry. so get the hell out of my office!

Student leaves, stumbling and crying. TM snorts in his wake. Phone rings.

TM: What?

A pause as TM listens to the caller. then he smiles widely.

Cut to:

Int. NASA Chief astronaut's office. Amazin' is sitting behind the desk.
Razor is pacing around the room.

Razor: So, who are they going to get?

Amazin': Oh, don't worry-- we have a great replacement lined up. You'll love
it. Somebody you've heard a lot about in the aviation world.

Razor: Fantastic! Sean Tucker? Chuck Yeager? Bob Hoover?

Amazin': Um, not exactly.

Razor: Scott Crossfield?

Amazin: Actually, no.

Razor: Who then?

Amazin': (Looking at watch) Whoa-- is that the time? I have a meeting to get

He gets up and begins to move to the door.

Razor: Who is it?

Amazin': The meeting? I don't remember who it is exactly, now that you
mention it.

Razor: I meant who is going to command the shuttle flight!

Amazin': (Opening door and preparing to bolt) Um. Turbomallard.

Razor: (Moving rapidly towards the door) Hey! What the--

But Amazin' is already gone and the door slammed shut behind him. Razor
stands dejectedly and major-league pissed off for a few moments, then holds
her palms out and looks upward.

Razor: Why God? Why do you do this to me? I go to church, well, religiously,
host bible study sessions, the whole bit. WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?!


Cut to:

Int. Shuttle cockpit sim. Razor and Turbomallard are in the crew seats.

Caption: Three weeks later.

Razor: I show pre-TLI checklist complete. OMS fuel pressure nominal and
attitude for TLI burn right on the line.

TM: Roger, I could go for a Sam Adams right about now. Could you have one
waiting for me?

Razor: What the hell do you think I am? A flight attendant? I'm the pilot,
you amphibian scum.

TM: Temper, temper. I wasn't talking to you. Roger, did you copy that?

Turbogoose (over intercom): Roger, this is Roger. And roger, I'll have the
beer ready for ya.

Razor: Excuse me! Could we get back to the damned little TMI burn here? The
clock is ticking!

TM: It sure is, and given a little more time the world will be safe from you
having any offspring.

Razor: Why you--

Cut to:

Int. Mission Control.

Various Babes are seated at the control consoles. Flight Director Moxie
stands at the back of the room, shaking her head while listening to the
exchange of yells and subsequent brawl over the intercom. Most of the other
Babes are looking at her for guidance.

Flash: Damn, I wish we had a video camera in the sim.

Moxie: I for one am quite glad we don't, actually.

Int. NASA Headquarters Hallway.

Caption: Two days prior to launch...

Moxie blazes down the hallway. Camera moves with her. Flash pops out of an
open doorway and runs after her.

Flash: Hey!

Moxie: Good morning.

Flash: It's two seventee--

Moxie gives him "the look."

Flash. Nothing. No, wait... Look... we're two days from launch, none of the
software is working, the flight crew fights worse than Phil Boyer and Jane
Garvey, the Air Force has repossessed the T-38 chase planes, and we're
almost out of Merlot!

Moxie: And your point is?

Flash: How am I supposed to hold a press conference tonight and tell them
that everything's going fine?

Moxie: (Gabbing a glass of Merlot off the tray of a passing waiter, drinking
it, then throwing the empty glass over her shoulder. It shatters in front of
a badly-startled Wingnut, who is unpacking boxes of rubber ducks.) Have you
considered lying? And your neighbor's cow followed you to work again this

A cow has walked up stealthily and now stands behind Flash.

Cow: Moooooooooooo.

Flash startles, then turns around and makes eye contact with the cow.

Flash: I hate it when they do that. Hmmmmmm...

He smiles, getting an idea.

Flash: Hey everybody! BBQ tonight! Burgers are on me!

He pats the cow on the head.

Cow: Mooooooooooo.

Cut to:

Int. NASA Conference room. Members of the Babes are entering and taking
their seats. Razor and Turbomallard are notably absent.

Caption: 24 hours from launch...

Moxie: Good morning.

Froggie: It's one o'clock in the aftern--

A pistol shot rings out. The shot hits the ceiling panel over Froggie's head
and shatters. Fragments and dust pour down on him, but he barely reacts; he'
s used to this. Across the room, Merlot holds a smoking pistol which she
replaces in her purse.

Moxie: Thank you. Well Babes we're almost there. We have a few minor things
to take care of before launch. I'm also pleased to inform you that we have
with us today Mr. Dan Goldin, former head of NASA before it was... um,
outsourced. He has agreed to serve as a consultant for this meeting after
Rudder kindly arranged to dismantle and ship his house from Houston to the
tropical island of Tahiti for free on Fed Ex.

Rudder: Hey! I never said anything about--

Another pistol shot rings out; this time ceiling tile debris rain down on

Moxie: Mr. Goldin, thank you for being with us this morning. We'd appreciate
any assistance or advice you have to offer as we discuss the mission.

Goldin: Certainly.

Moxie: Let's start with the computer situation. Leapie?

Leapie: Well the good news is that we were able to secure a decent RS6000
for the orbiter to run the AI program we decided to implement in view of the
petty bickering of the flight crew members. The bad news is that we had to
sell all the computers in the mission control center on Ebay in order to
raise the money to buy it.

Sam: So what am I supposed to use to compute their trajectory? An abacus?

Leapie (laughing): No, no, no... of course not. Don't be silly. We replaced
all the PCs with... slightly... "less-capable" models...

Sam: Pentium IIs?

Leapie: Uh, no...

Sam: Good grief! Pentium Is?

Leapie: Care to try again?

Sam: No, not really...

Leapie: I got a really great deal on some 386s...

Sam: WHAT?! Do you know what it's like to try and run Win 95 or better on
one of those things? My abacus would be faster!

Leapie: No no no no... no worries... they have software perfectly capable
for their somewhat reduced clock speeds...

Sam: Oh God... you didn't put Windows 3.11 on the bloody things, did you?

Leapie: Of course not! Something much better... it came pre-installed on the
computers that I got cheap from the Compaq Toxic Waste Reclamation
Second-Hand Store...

Sam: OS/2?

Leapie: Don't be silly... something much better!

Sam: Like what?

Leapie: They came pre-installed with Microsoft Bob...

Across the room, Dan Goldin turns pale and starts to sweat. The room is
suddenly silent.

Moxie: Yes.. well.. thank you, dear. And can you tell everyone about the
arrangements made for the shuttle's computer system?

Leapie: Of course. As you all know, the efforts to build two... "vastly
divergent" people into a flight crew has proven somewhat...

Snack Frog: Impossible?

Leapie: Challenging... to bring together. As a result, we have concluded
that it is necessary to have a backup plan of sorts. We have programmed the
RS6000 on the shuttle with a kind of "prototype" artificial intelligence
system, based on a readily-available database of a person intimately
familiar with aviation and space science and readily available for a
virtual-reality multimedia interaction interface.

Valkyrie: Sounds pretty neat. Whose personality did you use for the--

Moxie: Yes yes yes, all very interesting but we don't have time to discuss
it right now. The only time the flight crew will have to control the
spacecraft is for the initial launch. We didn't have time to program all the
stuff for the non-orbiter systems such as the SRBs.

Dan Goldin is now starting to look physically nauseous. He takes off his tie
and loosens his collar in an effort to stay comfortable.

Blue Moon: But they're bound to get caught up in their stupidity during the
launch. What can we do about that?

Moxie: Our flight surgeon, ASIC#1, has found a solution to that problem.
Though I pray we won't have to use it... even though I'm sure we will...
Now... next problem. The USAF has repossessed the T-38 chase planes we were
going to use for launch. How are we doing on the replacements?

Carol T: Well, I checked and Denmom said she's available to fly chase in her
'Coupe, but she has to be back up north for a PTA meeting at 3:30.

Viper: Bad news on the Rat, I'm afraid. Shelby is taking it down to
Milwaukee to take her friends to a "Back Street Boys" concert.

Moxie: What? Where's her sense of priorities? Doesn't she understand the
importance of manned space flight and the future of the human race?

Viper: Not as much as she understands the desire to see a bunch of studs on

Moxie: Good point... does she have an extra ticket?

Viper: Doubt it.

Moxie: Find out. I've got dibbs if she does. So we're going to need another
plane. Can somebody call Cubintime and see is she's free?

Goldin jumps to his feet in spite of being ill.

Goldin: Please, dear God... please do not tell me you are going to use a
Piper Cub as a chase plane for a shuttle launch.

Moxie: We are going to use a Piper Cub as a chase plane for a shuttle

Goldin's eyes fix straight ahead, he freezes and then collapses to the
ground, dead of a heart attack. Zeus runs over and checks for a pulse.

Zeus: He's dead, Jim.

Moxie: My name's not Jim.

Zeus: I know, I've just always wanted to say that.

Moxie: Well, I guess that about wraps things up here. Let's call it a day...
we have a busy morning ahead of us.

Ext. Launch pad area. Night. The shuttle glows in the distance, lit by a
blaze of floodlights. Turbomallard and Razor are giving the traditional
night-before-launch press conference. They stand about 100 feet apart. The
journalists, kept behind a rope barrier, are clamoring to get close to
Razor, and are completely ignoring Turbomallard, a fact that has not escaped

Journalist #1: How do you feel about being chosen for this historic flight?

Razor: I am very honored to be here, following in the footsteps of many
heroic and pioneering space explorers. I just hope that I can live up to the
high expectations of the wonderful American people and achieve the lofty
goals we have set in their name.

Turbomallard: *snort*

Journalist #2: Is the shuttle ready?

Razor: Absolutely.

Journalist #2: Critics have said that this entire idea is ludicrous. That
the shuttle was never designed or intended to go to the moon, let alone
equipped for it. They say this mission harkens back to the "better, faster,
cheaper" doctrine, only without the "better" and "faster" parts. What do you
think about that?

Turbomallard: Well, I'd like to address that question as the mission
commander. While I understand why some of the critics--

Journalists and Razor (all together): SHUT UP!

Razor: To answer your question, I think the critics are full of sh*t.

Journalist #3: How do you feel about having John Glenn being replaced as
mission commander by a librarian?

Razor: Well, it's not so much the vocation I'm opposed to as it is the fact
that he's an idiot. One might as well ask how it feels to ride a prison bus
sitting next to Charles Manson. One might as well ask how it felt sitting
next to the moron at Chernobyl who shut down the reactor's safety systems.
One might as well ask what it felt like to--

Flash (jumping in front of Razor): Well folks, we're about out of time here.
These two need to get some sleep, you know! Busy day tomorrow and all that.

Razor (continuing behind him): try to fly an Iraqi Mig-29 in January of
1991. One might ask--

Flash: Thank you all soooooo much for coming out tonight. This concludes
this press conference. See you all in the morning.

Razor (continuing): what was like to be on the bridge of the Titanic. One
might ask what it's like to have to be the director of the Battlefield Earth
movie. One might--

Razor's rant is cut off as Flash nails her in the head with a Beanie Baby.

Turbomallard: Yesss!

Int. White Room. Razor and Turbomallard are being assisted in putting on
their David Clark (yes, the same people who make the headsets... they've
been in the space suit business from day one) high altitude pressure suits.
Strawberry is currently hooking up Turbomallard's bio-med sensors.

Turbomallard: Ow! Hey!

Strawberry: Wow. You guys are a lot more sensitive about this than the dogs
and cats I work with at the vet!

Turbomallard: Yeah, except for the fact that if you made a dog or cat fly
with Razor, the ASPCA would be all over you.

Razor: I heard that. Jerk.

Turbomallard: Moron!

ASIC#1 hands Razor her helmet.

ASIC#1: These helmets seem a lot flimsier than I would have expected. Are
you sure it's okay?

Razor: Absolutely. Here-- I'll show you. HEY DAVE!

Dave walks over.

Razor: Is that your nickel on the ground over there?

Dave: Where? I don't see anything.

He leans over to better scrutinize the ground. As he does so Razor bonks him
on the head with her helmet, knocking him unconscious.

Razor: Stone wraps stone.

ASIC#1: I stand corrected.

Razor and Turbomallard finish hooking up their helmets, pick up their
portable air conditioning units, and head for the door. Unfortunately, the
door is narrow and neither one of them has any peripheral vision with their
helmets on. They bump as they both try to go through the door at the same
time, and this quickly escalates into a pushing and name calling session
reminiscent of a scene in a day care center. Strawberry and ASIC#1 watch the
scene in futility.

Strawberry: They're doomed, aren't they?

ASIC#1: It's a distinct possibility.

Cut to: Int. Mission Control Center. Babes, all wearing lightweight
headsets, man the busy consoles, many of which have rubber ducks sitting
atop them. Moxie stands in the back looking over her flock. She looks at her
watch, then keys her mic.

Moxie: Shuttle controllers, listen up. Give me a go/no go for launch.

MamboFrog: Go!

Moxie: Retro?

Rush: Go!

Moxie: FIDO?

Sam: Arf!

Activity comes to a screeching halt and everyone present gives her "the

Sam: Sorry. Bad joke. FIDO is go.

Moxie: Guidance?

Curt: Go!

Moxie: Surgeon?

ASIC#1: Not sure, flight. I'm getting some strange readings here. Stand by
one. Hey-- can I use the BRB keyed to the left sear to see if my equipment
is working?

Moxie: No. Leapie-- be a sweetie and check out her console, will you?

Leapie goes to ASIC#1's console.

Leapie: Oh, that's right. This is the console. I forgot.

ASIC#1: Forgot what?

Leapie: We had to sell the computer from this console to pay for a couple of
extra bottles of Merlot last night.

ASIC#1: Then what the hell am I looking at?

Leapie: Well... actually... it's an old "pong" game from 1976. Incredible
resemblance to the EKG reading thingies, don't you think?

ASIC#1: About as much resemblance as your nose to a hamburger if Moxie finds

Leapie: Nah. Besides-- yours is the most useless console in here.

ASIC#1: (Standing up menacingly) About as useless as your head is going to
be after I use my special "pain clinic training" on it...

Leapie: Nonononononono! That's not what I meant. Look, what can you do if
all the medical sensors start telling you the crew is having a heart attack
when they are 200,000 miles away from here? Call an ambulance?

ASIC#1: Well, now that you mention it...

Leapie: Exactly! So! Since the "medical sensors" are never going to register
anything's wrong, you can relax and sleep at your console. If it turns out
there was an actual problem, all you have to do is say that the sensors
never displayed it and you're off the hook! So you get to get paid to sleep!

ASIC#1: Well, I guess...

Leapie: Besides, I have the same thing on my console... we can play pong and
look like we're working.

ASIC#1: Okay. But I get to win or I'll rat on you. (She keys her mic)
Flight, surgeon... we, ah, got that little glitch fixed and we are go!

Moxie: EECOM?

Snaproll: Go!

Moxie: GNC?

Wingnut: This call sign sucks. Everyone's calling me on the damned phone
asking me for vitamins. Other than that, we're go.

Moxie: Procedures?

Flyingfish: Go!

Moxie: INCO?

Legs: Go!

Moxie: FAO?

Viper: Wignut thinks he has it bad? I keep getting phone calls asking about

Moxie: Are you go or do I have to come down there and skin me a snake?

Viper: Uh... in that case, I'm go!

Moxie: Network?

Leapie: Considering the budget we have and that we're using Arcnet... this
is as close to "go" as we're gonna get.

Moxie: Recovery?

Xena: Uh, flight?

Moxie: Yessssss...?

Xena: Flight... um, Recovery's gonna need a hold.

Moxie: What for?

Xena: Well... Cubbie's battery really didn't take the trip down very well
and it didn't hold a charge. Her plane won't start.

Moxie: So have them hand prop it...

Xena: They were trying that, but the engine misfired and the prop hit
Kamikaze in the head.

Moxie: My God! That's horrible! How could this happen? What are we going to

Xena: Well, apparently he wasn't hurt too bad...

Moxie: Not him, dammit! The *prop*!

Xena: Oh.

Moxie: What's the status of Denmom?

Xena: She took off in her 'Coupe two and half hours ago and has been
climbing at Vy. She's almost at two thousand feet now.

Moxie: Very well. We'll go with one plane for now. CAPCOM?

Turbogoose: I just want to say that it's silly to keep calling this position
a CAPsule COMmunicator since NASA hasn't flown a "capsule" in over a quarter
century. Other than that, we're go.

Moxie: Very well. We are go for launch and... dang it... my watch stopped...
anyone know how long to launch?

Int. Shuttle cockpit. Turbomallard and Razor are still strapped in their
seats and are securing items such as checklists and cables.

Cation: Five hours after launch, just after completion of Trans-Lunar
Injection engine burn...

Turbomallard: You know, considering you couldn't figure out how to start
your little Skyhawk without my help you didn't do half bad on the TLI
burn... except for burning up waaaaay to much hydrazine.

Razor: That maneuver was right on, bonehead... we had to do a longer burn on
the OMS engines because you f***ed up on the orbital attitude insertion on
launch. And you know damn well that 172 had problems with the fuel system on
startup, jerk.

Turbomallard: Well, if we're going to bring up that kind of crap, how about
the little freaking out we did prior to launch when you thought the cabin
pressure loss alarm test was real?

Razor: That's nothing compared to the little faux pas I saved your feathered
butt from when you almost walked off the escape chute platform during that

Turbomallard: You can't see a damn thing with the stupid helmet, let alone
when you're running. And the damned little car thingie was supposed to be

Razor: And it was, right at the chute were were using for the test as
opposed to the one you ran to flailing your arms around like the idiot you

Cut to: Int. Mission Control. Babes at their consoles are listening to the
open-mic cockpit transmissions with looks ranging from disgust to boredom.
Moxie, at the command console, has her head down on the panel and is
pounding the console with her fist.

At the PAO console, Flash looks at his watch, clears his throat, and keys
his mic.

Flash: This is Babe Shuttle Mission Control. At T plus five hours, the TLI
burn has been completed and the shuttle is on course for its lunar
rendevous. At this time the workload is at last lightening up for a bit and
the crew is... um... the crew is... "cheerfully reminiscing" about training
for the shuttle mission and the flight so far. All systems are nominal. This
is Babe Shuttle Mission Control. (Keys his mic off.) If there's some kind of
award for this, I'm going to win it.

The crew continue their petty bickering in the background. Moxie takes a
deep breath, stands, points to the flight surgeon console, and nods to
ASIC#1. ASIC#1 flips up a safety cover on her console, revealing a Big Red
Button. She presses it, and screams instantly emanate from the radio

Turbomallard: Houston, we have a problem! We have a major electrical systems
failure here. One of the main BUSes transferred the entire ship's electrical
load to our suit biomed sensors!

Moxie: Negative, no problem with the BUS, just the crew. And if you two don'
t shut up you're going to be experiencing a lot more of those. Is that
clear? Do you wish any part of your clearance repeated?

Razor: But he started it! He's an idiot! And he's always coming over to *my*
side of the shuttle!

Moxie gestures to ASIC#1 again, who triggers the BRB, and once again the
flight crew screams.

Moxie: I say again... is that CLEAR?!?!

Turbomallard: Affirmative...

Moxie: Good. Now. We were hoping that both of you would be... well
"professional" enough to get the mission accomplished, but--

Turbomallard: *snort* Oh, right. Like *anything* having to do with this
"mission" is anything approaching "professional."

ASIC#1 flips a selector switch to "left seat only" and juices the duck.

Moxie: As I was saying. We were hoping you would be able to handle it, but
we aren't stupid enough to think that you would for sure, so we have a
backup plan. Leapie programmed an artificial intelligence system to handle
the shuttle autonomously without your help. To save time we programmed an
existing aviation expert into the system.

Turbomallard: Oh, gee. Let me guess. You digitized Amazin' and we're going
to spend the rest of the mission talking to a computer named "Hal" now. How
original! *snort*

Turbomallard screams yet again upon being shocked once more.

Moxie: Duck, you are one smartass comment away from being fried mallard and
Razor's main dinner course.

Razor: Fry 'im up... beats the hell out of those 1950s nuclear war survivor
rations we bought from that guy in the ski mask.

Moxie: Quiet! We're going to activate the AI system now. Stand by.

Int. Shuttle cockpit. A human-sized pulsating blue light begins to form on
the flight deck, gradually growing brighter and more human-shaped. A hiss of
a carrier wave comes over the speaker as the system's voice interface comes

AI: Hello fellow pilots...

Razor and Turbomallard look at each other in terror as they realize what is

Razor: They wouldn't!

Turbomallard: They might...

In a sudden flash, the hologram is complete, and there stands a shimmering
image of an insanely-grinning John King.

Razor: They did...

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Last Modified on January 30, 2000
All images and text copyright 2000, Barbara @ Babes & Airplanes