Subject:    ADVENTURES IN SERVOLAND; Chapter IX
         - The Mock Cronan's Story
From:       "Plain, Simple, Blackhawk." <janosprohaska@earthlink.net>
Newsgroups: alt.fan.tom-servo
Message-ID: <janosprohaska-8738E5.14522401122001@news.fu-berlin.de>


*************************************************************************
                    BLACKHAWK'S ADVENTURES IN SERVOLAND

Previous chapter: The Witch's Croquet-Ground

CHAPTER IX

The Mock Cronan's Story

`You can't think how glad I am to see you again, you dear old thing!' 
said the Wench, as she tucked her arm affectionately into Blackhawk's, 
and they walked off together.

Blackhawk was very glad to find her in such a pleasant temper, and 
thought to himself that perhaps it was only the Porkwoman that had made 
them all so savage when they met in arna.

`When I'm a Wench...er, Mench,' he said to himself, (not in a very 
hopeful tone though), `I won't have any Porkwoman in my newsgroup at 
all. AFT-S does very well without--Maybe it's always Porkwoman that 
makes people hot-tempered,' he went on, very much pleased at having 
found out a new kind of rule, `and Tropea that makes them vomit--and 
Cronan that makes them bitter--and-and MQS and such things that make 
children sweet-tempered. I only wish people knew that: then they 
wouldn't be so hypocritical about it, you know--'

He had quite forgotten the Wench by this time, and was a little startled 
when he heard her voice close to his ear. `You're thinking about 
something, my dear, and that makes you forget to talk. I can't tell you 
just now what the point of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit.'

[Image]  Blackhawk (with his "pepperoni") chats with the Wench

   I can't tell you just now what the point of that is, 
      but I shall remember it in a bit.
                     /            _______
                    /             \_____/
         |\/\/|                   3`~~~`3
        ,@@@@@@                  ( (, ,) ) Perhaps it hasn't one
       @@@@@   \                  \  ^  /  /
       @@@C  ,\,     Been a     ___\ 0 /___
     ' @@@(   O )  , while  ,, /---\(((/---\
     |\_ )  `--'__/| huh? \('')    /\(/\    |
     /'^\%\____/%/^\        /o\  | \_/_/Q|  |
    / ^ ^\___oo_/^'^\        \K\ | |o o  |  |
   <^^_^/^(W^||^W)^_^_>       \O\| |o o  |  |
    |  )\^  ^||^  (  |        |\S\ |o o  |  |
    \  ) \^_^||_^/ ( /        | \H\|_____|  |
    ( _/ <_______> \ _)       |__\E\(_)__|__|
    /// . / / | \ .///        (  |\R\  \ |  )
       / / . / \ . \          /\\\/\ )  \///\
      . / / / . . \ .        /___/  \)   \___\
     / / . /`/ \ \ \ \           |   |   |    
    . / / / / . \ . \ '          |   |   |
   /_/_/_/_/_/_\_\_\_\_\         |   |   |
  <_______ _____ _______>
        |   |   |
       (` /   \ /                |   |   |
       / /    ( \_               |___|___|
       \(      \__)              (___|___)     BH

`Perhaps it hasn't one,' Blackhawk ventured to remark.

`Tut, tut, child!' said the Wench. `Everyone's got a point, if only you 
can find it.' And she squeezed herself up closer to Blackhawk's side as 
she spoke.

Blackhawk did not much like keeping so close to her: first, because the 
Wench had large fluffy artichokes and the spines would catch in his 
uniform; and secondly, because she was exactly the right height to rest 
her "points" upon Blackhawk's shoulder, and they were uncomfortably 
sharp points. However, he did not like to be rude, so he bore it as well 
as he could.

`The ng's going on rather better now,' he said, by way of keeping up the 
conversation a little.

`'Tis so,' said the Wench: `and the point of that is--"Oh, 'tis love, 
'tis love, that makes the Usenet go round!"'

`Somebody said,' Blackhawk whispered, `that it's done by everybody 
minding their own business!'

`Ah, well! It means much the same thing,' said the Wench, digging her 
sharp little point into Blackhawk's shoulder as she added, `and the 
point of that is--"Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care 
of themselves."'

`How fond she is of finding points in things!' Blackhawk thought to 
himself. `But it seems to me this constant bar-b-que of Porkwoman, the 
eating of Fuller-Haggis, the roasting of Dan the pig, et al; will beg 
for an eventual 'kharmuppance', or at least a 'non-kosher' warning!'

`Speaking of 'kosher', I dare say you're wondering why I don't put my 
arm round your waist,' the Wench said after a pause: `the reason is, 
that I'm doubtful about the temper of your pepperoni. Shall I try the 
experiment?'

`He might bite,' Blackhawk cautiously replied, not sure if he was now 
really speaking with the Wench or a clever forger and not feeling at all 
anxious to have the experiment tried.

`Very true,' said the person who seemed to be the Wench: `your pepperoni 
and Animal 57 both bite. And the point of that is--"You can't beat your 
fish, but you can beat your meat."'

`Only Animal 57 isn't meat,' Blackhawk remarked.

`Right, as usual,' said the Wench: `what a clear way you have of putting 
things!'

`It's a mineral, I think,' said Blackhawk.

`Of course it is,' said the artist-formerly-known-as-the-Wench, who 
seemed ready to agree to everything that Blackhawk said; `there's a 
minimal mineral mine near here. And the point of that is--"The more 
there is of mine, the less there is of yours."'

`Oh, I know!' exclaimed Blackhawk, who had not attended to this last 
remark, `it's a vegetable like Dan. It doesn't look like one, but it is.'

`I quite agree with you,' said The-Munificent-but-tortured-Mr.Wench; 
`and the point of that is--"Be what you would seem to be"--or if you'd 
like it put more simply--"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise 
than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have 
been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to 
them to be otherwise."'

`I think I should understand that better,' Blackhawk said very politely, 
`if I was reading from the script: but I can't quite follow it as you 
say it. Is that like saying `Be just vat yoo iz, not vat yoo iz not, 
folk vat do this iz de happiest lot?'

`Not really' said Nanorc The Wench, who began wrapping duct tape around 
Blackhawk's "pepperoni".

`Is it as daring as saying Captain Infinity started this newsgroup?'

`That's nothing to what I could say if I chose,' the Wench replied, in a
pleased tone as she made a bow of duct tape on the face of the 
"pepperoni".

`Pray don't trouble yourself with it any longer than that,' said 
Blackhawk, thinking about how upset Cap. would be that he mentioned him 
in that way, and what a bad pun he had just made.

`Oh, don't talk about trouble!' said the forger (who unbeknownst to 
Blackhawk, had, in fact, replaced the Wench). `I make you a present of 
everything I've said as yet if you'll tie me up with this duct tape and 
beat me.'

`A cheap sort of present!' thought Blackhawk. `But I wish people 
wouldn't post junk like this!' But he did not venture to say it too loud.

As they continued on together, Blackhawk heard a small Porko say in a 
low voice, to the company generally, `I seem to recall a Servo in which, 
if somebody didn't like what some other member was doing, it was simply 
mentioned more or less amicably...' 

Suddenly, the Infinity Cat's teeth appeared and said, "That's it, I'm 
outta here. I've got too many good novels sitting unread on my shelves 
to waste time reading anymore. Especially since this story has become a 
satellite site for 'Porkwoman' and Tropea jokes.

Blackhawk didn't know what to say since the Porkwoman people had already 
left in the last chapter and he wasn't planning to write Dan's character 
into this one. He decided that the Infinity Cat was punishing him for 
the 'Cap started this newsgroup' comments.

`Thinking again?' the forger asked, with another dig of her sharp little
point.

`I've a right to think,' said Blackhawk sharply, for he was beginning to 
feel a little worried.

`Just about as much right,' said the forger, `as pigs have to fly; and 
the point...'

But here, to Blackhawk's great surprise, the forger's voice died away, 
even in the middle of her(?) favorite word `point,' and the arm that was 
linked into his began to tremble. Blackhawk looked up, and there stood 
the Witch in front of them, with her arms folded, frowning like a 
thunderstorm.

`A fine day, your Majesty!' the forger began in a low, weak voice.

`Now, I give you fair warning,' shouted the Witch, stamping on the 
ground as she spoke; `either you or your balls(breats?) must be off, and 
that in about half no time! Take your choice!'

The forger made a choice, and was gone in a moment.

`Let's go on with the game,' the Witch said to Blackhawk; and Blackhawk 
was too much frightened to say a word, but slowly followed her back to 
the croquet-ground.

The other guests had taken advantage of the Witch's absence, and were 
resting in the shade: however, the moment they saw her, they hurried 
back to the game, the Witch merely remarking that a moment's delay would 
cost them their balls.

All the time they were playing the Witch never left off quarrelling with 
the other players, and shouting `Off with his balls!' or `Off with her 
breasts!' Those whom she sentenced were taken into custody by the Servo 
posters, who of course had to leave off being posters to do this, so 
that by the end of half an hour or so there were none except the Witch, 
and Blackhawk.

Then the Witch left off, quite out of breath, and said to Blackhawk, 
`Have you seen the Mock Cronan yet?'

`No,' said Blackhawk. `I don't even know what a Mock Cronan is.'

`It's the thing Mock Cronan Posts are made from,' said the Witch.

`I never saw one, or heard of one,' said Blackhawk.

`Come on, then,' said the Witch, `and he shall tell you his HIStory,'

                                                  | 
[Image]  Hole asleep                         \ ' '|"' /
                                          ,   \ .'|' / ' ,
                                            ' .  _ _  ' ...
                                         ' ' ;  (. .)  ;. .
                      ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!    - - -    <    - - -
                           /              , ,;    u    ;. .
                .---. .---.                 . ,       , '. 
               :_____:_____:               . ' /.,|,.\ ', 
           _..-:     :     :-.._            ' / , | , \
       .-''  '  `---' `---' "   ``-.              |
     .'   " , '  "  . '  "  . '  "  `.   
   (:   '.    " ' . " .  '   , " .  ' :)
    `. " ------------------------' " .'
     `.  ' . " '  " . "  "  ,   ' ' .'
      `.      . ' .    '    . ' "  .' 
        `. "     "   "  -"'  . ' .' 
          |-._'    " .     " _.-'|
          |"  ``|--.....--'|'   "|  
          (_/_/_)          (_\_\_) BH

They very soon came upon a Hole, lying fast asleep in the sun. (If you 
don't know what a Hole is, look at the picture.) `Up, lazy thing!' said 
the Witch, `and take this young fellow to see the Mock Cronan, and to 
hear his HIStory. I must go back and see after some executions I have 
ordered'; and she walked off, leaving Blackhawk alone with the Hole. 
Blackhawk did not quite like the look of the creature, but "on the hole" 
he thought it would be quite as safe to stay with it as to go after that 
savage Witch: so he waited.

The Hole sat up and rubbed its eyes: then it watched the Witch till she 
was out of sight: then it chuckled. `What fun!' said the Hole, half to 
itself, half to Blackhawk.

`What is the fun?' said Blackhawk.

`Why, *them*,' said the Hole. `It's all *their* fancy that; they try to 
punish each the object of their rage, but they punish everybody else you 
know. *Peep*!'

`Everybody says "*Peep*!" here,' thought Blackhawk, as he went slowly 
after it: `I never was so "peeped" about in all my life, never!'

They had not gone far before they saw the Mock Cronan in the distance, 
sitting sad and lonely on a little ledge of rock, and, as they came 
nearer, Blackhawk could hear him sighing as if his heart would break. He 
pitied him deeply. `What is his sorrow?' he asked the Hole, and the Hole 
answered, very nearly in the same words as before, `It's all his fancy, 
that: he hasn't got no sorrow, you know. Come on!'

So they went up to the Mock Cronan, who looked at them with large eyes 
full of tears, but said nothing.

`This here young man,' said the Hole, `he wants for to know your 
HIStory, he do.'

`I'll tell it to him,' said the Mock Cronan in a deep, hollow tone: `sit 
down, both of you, and don't speak a word till I've finished.'

So they sat down, and nobody spoke for some minutes. Blackhawk thought 
to himself, `I don't see how he can even finish, if he doesn't begin.' 
But he waited patiently.

`Once,' said the Mock Cronan at last, with a deep sigh, `I was a Plain 
and Simple Cronan.'

These words were followed by a very long silence, broken only by an 
occasional exclamation of `*Peep*!' from the Hole, and the constant 
heavy sobbing of the Mock Cronan, with an occasional "Hjckrrh!" from 
Norman the Elf. Blackhawk was very nearly getting up and saying, `Thank 
you, sir, for your interesting story,' but he could not help thinking 
there must be more to come, so he sat still and said nothing.

[IMAGE] Blackhawk and Mr. Hole listen to the Mock Cronan's HIStory.

                                                             ______
    `Once, I was a Plain and Simple Cronan.'                _\____/
                               /                             ,)  33
                              /                             <    )3
    (                                 Mr. Hole,              )  __/
     )         .-""""--.              I'm stuck in the    /   //  \ 
    ((        / MST3K   )             in the middle of you!  |\|  ||
     ))      /      --"`    Hjckrrh!                         |/-''''.
    (*)     /       `'''-.    __ /                         .'"' " . '.
    _|_    |B5    .-'"""""\  /_ \  It's a hole Captain,  _,'"' " ' " "'.
   | W |    \   ,' (o / )o)| (")\\     fascinating...   @_)' ' " " ' '".'
   | H |     \  :  ,' `" ',\ _^_ 0________\___.-.___    . ; " ' " " ' ".'
   | O |      \_| , '____,,|/ # \ \______|)\_ _____/   ' '."'  "  ' '  "'
   | O |        ,\''/_~__\/.. #      _||___// `-'     '.'," " ' " "  " "'
   | P |       , /'-.__.-'\`_/.\_  .''-.____](-      '... ' " ' " ' ' '"'
  .''''."'.     / /| Nanorc\._ `'._' -.....'             ; ' . " " " " "'
  .'''' ' ;    / /,|  PS&C__\ `-.,('--''        *PEEP!*  ; "  ' " "'  " '
  .'''  \ ._.-" ;  |.-"``    `\    '...'              ...' ' ' " " .' "''
  '....  .\),.-'  /    G. P.   |                      '.' " ' "'  ' ", "'
   | A |..-       |     GOD  , /                        '. "' . "  " ' ,'
   | S |          ;'        , /                          ' ' " ' " ,'".''
   | S |         ( __ `;--;'__`)                         ;"  " '' , '  "'
   |___|          `//'`    `||`                         ., "' " ' " "' ,'
               ___//       _||_                        . .", "' '", ;'".'
         .-"-.|DUCT|      |TAPE|-""-.                   '....-..-..-..-.'
        / %%%      \     /      %%%  \                  _|    |_ _|   |_
BH      \          /     \           /                 (________)_______)
         `'--=="--`       `--""==--'`



`When we were little,' the Mock Cronan went on at last, more calmly, 
though still sobbing a little now and then, `we read our news in rastb5. 
The master was an old fart--we used to call him JMS--'

`Why did you call him master, if he wasn't one?' Blackhawk asked.

`We called him master because he master-debated all over us,' said the 
Mock Cronan angrily: `do try to keep up!'

`You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking such a plain & simple 
question,' added the Hole; and then they both sat silent and looked at 
poor Blackhawk, who felt ready to sink into the earth. At last the Hole 
said to the Mock Cronan, `Drive on, old fellow! Don't be all day about 
it!' and he went on in these words:

`Yes, we went to post in the Usenet, though you mayn't believe it--'

`I never said I didn't!' interrupted Blackhawk.

`You did,' said the Mock Cronan.

`I love your sweet ebony ass!' added the Hole, before Blackhawk could 
speak again. The Mock Cronan went on.

`We had the best of educations--in fact, we went to fandom every day--'

`I've been a bootlicking fanboy too,' said Blackhawk; `you needn't be so 
proud as all that.'

`With extras?' asked the Mock Cronan a little anxiously.

`Yes,' said Blackhawk, `we learned Star Trek and Babylon 5.'

`And Smurfs?' said the Mock Cronan.

`Certainly not!' said Blackhawk indignantly.

`Ah! then yours wasn't a really good froup,' said the Mock Cronan in a 
tone of great relief. `Now at ours they had at the end of the bill, 
"Star Trek, Babylon 5, and the Smurfs--extra."'

`You couldn't have wanted it much,' said Blackhawk; `living under this 
bridge over here.'

`I couldn't afford to be a SMOF.' said the Mock Cronan with a sigh. `I 
only took the regular courses.'

`What was that?' inquired Blackhawk.

`Posting and Flaming, of course, to begin with,' the Mock Cronan 
replied; `and then the different branches of Trolling-- Ambition, 
Distraction, Fiscal Repackaging, and Derision.'

`I never heard of "Fiscal Repackaging,"' Blackhawk ventured to say. 
`What is it?'

The Hole lifted up both its paws in surprise. `What! Never heard of 
Fiscal Repackaging!' it exclaimed. `You know what to 'spin-off' is, I 
suppose?'

`Yes,' said Blackhawk doubtfully: `it 
means--to--make--anything--derivative.'

`Well, then,' the Hole went on, `if you don't know what Fiscal 
Repackaging is, you still are a bootlicking fanboy.'

Blackhawk did not feel encouraged to ask any more questions about it, so 
he turned to the Mock Cronan, and said `What else had you to learn?'

`Well, there was Satire,' the Mock Cronan replied, counting off the 
subjects on the 3 fingers of each hand, `--Satire, ancient and modern, 
with Peepography: then Whoop-ass -- the Whoop-ass master was an old 
hermit krab, that used to come once a week: He taught us Veracity, 
MST'ing, and Woody Woodpecker Bowls.'

`What was that like?' said Blackhawk.

`Well, I can't show it to you myself,' the Mock Cronan said: `I'm a 
stiff. And the Hole never learnt it.'

`Hadn't time,' said the Hole: `I went to the Peep master, though. He was 
an old peep, he was, stale and chewy!'

`I never went to him,' the Mock Cronan said with a sigh: `he taught 
Peeping and Grief, they used to say.'

`So he did, so he did,' said the Hole, sighing in his turn; and both 
creatures hid their faces in their paws.

`And how many hours a day did you *PEEP*?' said Blackhawk, in a hurry to 
change the subject.

`Ten *peep*'s the first day,' said the Mock Cronan: `nine the next, and 
so on.'

`What a curious plan!' exclaimed Blackhawk.

`That's the reason they're called The Kamikaze Peep Squad,' the Hole 
remarked: `their numbers lessen from day to day.'

This was quite a new idea to Blackhawk, and he thought it over a little 
before he made his next remark. `Then the eleventh day must have been a 
silent day of mourning?'

`Of course it was,' said the Mock Cronan.

`And how did you manage on the twelfth?' Blackhawk went on eagerly.

`That's enough about peeping,' the Hole interrupted in a very decided 
tone: `tell him something about the snuffleupagus, the duct tape and 
those things you use to open sardine cans now.'


Next chapter: The Krab Kwadrille

  

Author's Notes for this chapter

Original version of this chapter

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