Collaborative Carnage: The Next Generation

Mutation 51: 51 Beta (Take Nu)

by tempus fugit

Disclaimer: Any resemblance of persons living or dead to the characters in this story is a warning sign of a fan with no life. If you know such a person, stay away... if you are such a person, well, just wait quietly until the men in white show up with your new jacket...

Place: Tristram
Time: Uncertain, now that we've located the place

A strange oval ripple of time and space formed, elongated, and spat Rich G. out before vanishing without a trace. Rich thought to himself, 'Feels like a year went by in there, or maybe even a millennium.'

As the smoke started to clear CowLord Steve saw Rich stumble from the portal and say, "Don't fear. I'm here to save you all and set everything right."

Looking up and seeing a massive missile launcher pointed right at them Stephen said, "Too late. It looks like the raptors managed to invent and build a nuclear warhead while we were all sitting here discussing ways to get laid."

Teenage Steve said, "It looks like those dinosaurs have once again out smarted our combined intelligence."

Rich said, "Those are some smart dinosaurs."

The missile was launched. It was however a dud, but that didn't matter to Teenage Steve, considering it weighed over fourteen tons and landed right on his head. Steve said, "Here we go again."

There was an explosion. Wave after wave of raw lag energy radiated out from the center of the blast and swept across the globe.


Time: January 2001
Place: Unknown Recording Studio

Rich G. found himself in a small theater, seated in a plush chair behind a long mahogany desk. A large boom microphone was positioned over the desk at his head height. To his left, another empty chair and a somewhat lower microphone waited. Looking around dazedly, he realized that the desk was at an angle to the corner, with a large display screen flat against the wall to his right. A longer table with several empty chairs was parallel to the wall to the right of the screen's wall.

Rich fumbled around for a cigarette, when blindingly bright lights snapped on. From somewhere came a deep announcer's disembodied voice. "Welcome! Boojum Unlimited Live-Links Story Holo International™  presents Fanfics with Rich G. and Time Goddess! Today's program features the Beta Nu version of Collaborative Carnage!"

From the previously empty chair next to Rich G., Time Goddess appeared and began speaking. "That's right folks, the Boojum Story Holo is a cutting edge piece of technology for this primitive era, and as it's first test, the most horribly complex yet still logical of fanfics has been input so that you can experience it firsthand. (All payment in advance please.)"

Rich G. tried to figure out what was going on. TG had to nudge him, then finally step on his foot, hard, before he noticed that she was pointing at a large cue card. "Ahem. The current story arc has Steve attempting to follow the Oedipal tradition by killing off Teenage Steve in a misguided attempt to save continuity by destroying it." The screen lit up, displaying scenes from the story as they were discussed.

The cue card shifted TG's way. "That's right Rich. As any Time expert knows, mere physical destruction of everything in a local spot of a timeline only leaves a... power... vacuum. Um, I've gotta go!" Suddenly her chair was empty once more, and the cues shifted back to Rich. Briefly, the screen showed Time Goddess in the blasted town, summoning up a gigantic squirrel and a horde of polygonically rendered humans before going to a neutral white.

"And now for comments from the public." Gratefully Rich looked away from the card, then started as he saw the newly occupied chairs at the other table.

"I am Skee::Daddle, and I think this is a poor excuse for an action story. I mean, Steve's got a Deus ex Machina to pick up his messes, which hasn't worked since the Greeks. Then there's the whole homosexual symbolism thing where he makes his younger self eat a transformed guy. Plus all the advice adult Steve gives young Steve and Rob's island with swimsuit models and items from an Iowa adult bookstore are not things I want my kids to see."

"Y'all can call me Bob, and I think Skee is full of it! Sometimes you've just gotta open a can of whoop-a$$ to clear things up. Look here, sometimes an oatmeal cookie is just an oatmeal cookie."

Bob and Skee faced off, and the giant armored figure stepped out of the screen. "No fighting in the studio." Picking the two up, it paused before the screen, and suddenly the screen shifted to an empty dungeon scene. Carrying the two struggling mages, it stepped through, and the screen shift to display 'Bob vs. Skee, best 5 of 9, available now only on pay-per-view'

The camera shifted back to Rich G.'s empty chair. A flipped over cue card rested on the desk reading, 'Gone after Teenage SR, back in 20 years.' The screen blanked and the studio lights dimmed. The announcers voice cut in. "We'll be right back after a word from our sponsors, I hope!"


Place: Boojum Computer Lab

Noone looked up from the now blank monitor that had been displaying the show. "Aren't you done repairing the logic circuits yet? We've got to fix the bugs before the public finds out. I wish Handy wasn't dead... you two sure you know what you're doing?"

"That's what you're paying us the big bucks for, Ken." Purple went back to convincing the Boojum Computer that 1+1=3.

"I've been checking all the safeties and I can't find any dangerous problems. Maximum Evil appearing out of the story to kill Handy must've been a fluke, there's nothing here that could hurt me." Moe went back to work at his console. A small tactical nuclear missile appeared and bounced off his anti-nuke .dat harmlessly.

However, Ken was too busy to notice. "Try over there," he said, pointing to the far corner of the room.

SilverRaven picked up the box she'd been carrying around for the last few hours again, and began walking. At this rate she was almost certain to get a hernia. At least the walking kept her warm, the skimpy two-piece 'uniform' wasn't much use in the air conditioned room...


Place: New Zealand

Mad'Doug pondered his next step. His conquest of battle.net had been discovered, and they'd shut down and removed most of his controls, although his main pet, the Lag Monster, still roamed. There had to be more computers he could take over. Meanwhile, the football game he'd been half watching ended, and the 'Fanfics with Rich G. and Time Goddess!' show's first (and only) episode came up.


Place: Rich G.'s Apartment

Rob wandered around the abandoned apartment, searching. Finally he pushed over a small pile of junk mail and tore open the small package thus revealed. Inside, nestled in foam, was a CD jewel case and a paper. Grinning to himself, Rob picked up the paper and started reading, 'Dear Rich G., although we were unable to use your suggestions after the original Diablo II Beta test, we have selected you for the Diablo II Expansion Beta test group. p.s. while we could include "high heels" as a new type of footwear, allowing the "emerald" prefix would cause more changes than we are prepared to make at this time.'

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