I hope that you’re still enjoying this MiSTing of Carrie L—‘s Reboot fan fiction “Breaking the Barriers”. I’ve enjoyed looking back at this Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction I wrote around 2003. You should be able to read the entire MiSTing at this link.
In the story so far Carrie has discovered a portal between small-town Ontario and the digital world of Reboot. Fortunately she lives in small-town Ontario and has a great time meeting the show’s heroes. Unfortunately the show’s villains emerge into small-town Ontario and threaten Melonville’s mall. She with the help of series hero Bob is able to get Megabyte back into the computer, but the digital virus Symble is getting into the action, and maybe even the mall.
If I wrote this today I wouldn’t use the leadoff joke about “can we go?” “No”. I feel the jokes about being stuck watching the source material work in the context of the actual show. Joel/Mike/Jonah and the bots are trapped watching. But, here? It’s harder to disbelieve that I chose to spend my time reading this, and that I must enjoy it enough to continue reading it. Plus it might give my readers ideas.
Houghton is a small town in Michigan’s upper peninsula, at the base of the Keweenaw Peninsula, which pokes out into Lake Superior. I used to know someone who went to school there. That said the last actual Radio Shack I saw in Michigan was around 2016 in Suttons Bay, a tiny town off the Grand Traverse Bay in the lower peninsula, and I think they were having a going-out-of-business sale.
I no longer remember the meaning of the “Thinkit” reference. Enik was the “good” Sleestak from the original, 1970s, Land of the Lost series. Yes, I know, he was actually one of the Altrusian forebears of the Sleestak propelled by a time-portal accident into (for him) a post apocalyptic future he hoped he could escape and somehow prevent, but it’s important not to add unenlightening complications when you explain something.
The Compute!’s Gazette thing about undoing the ‘NEW’ command. ‘NEW’ was the command you typed in to erase whatever program was in your Commodore’s memory. But it didn’t really erase your program. It just put zeroes at the start of the program’s memory, the code for ‘end of program’. If you started typing a new program, that would replace what used to be there. But if you didn’t? If you used the ‘POKE’ command you could change those zeroes back to a sensible start of your program, and undo this ‘erasure’. Learning this kind of thing is what I did in the 1980s instead of having fun.
You can tell this is my sort of humor writing because no successful writer would leave in a joke about tariff rates within the British Commonwealth.
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *
JOEL: That’s actually a very funny joke, but only on Hollerith cards.
> Part Twenty-Two
CROW: The house is busted. Can we leave?
> Bob stood silently, watching the computer screen for any sign
> that Symble had succeded.
CROW: The smiley face isn’t sign enough?
> He had teamed up with him in the hopes that
> Symble would be trustworthy enough to keep helping him.
JOEL: That’s probably wiser than teaming up with Phong, Dot, and Enzo.
> He had heard
> rumours about a sprite and a virus initializing a child, but he had
> passed it off as fanciful speculation.
TOM: Mixed dating? Unthinkable!
> When Symble told him he was a
> hybrid, he had remembered all those rumours and whispered stories.
CROW: But after he met Symble’s lovely parents Sarek and Amanda, he underestood.
> Suddenly, Carrie’s computer began to beep,tearing him from his
> thoughts. Bob looked over at Megabyte. "That should mean that
> Glitch was successful."
TOM: Or that she’s wanted on Yahoo Messenger. I’m not sure.
> he told him, "This should take you to
> Mainframe. I’ll follow after."
CROW: [ As Bob, snickering ] Right behind. Yup. Just head on in…
JOEL: Doctor *Robotnik* wouldn’t fall for a stunt like *this*.
> Megabyte looked down at Bob. "I
> trust you wouldn’t try to doublecross me."
TOM: Even though he’ll never get as good a chance again ever.
> He rumbled, suspitiously.
> "I can’t." Bob said. "I don’t belong here either."
CROW: I’m not even supposed to be here today.
> Bob turned and walked over to Carrie. "I’m going to go after
JOEL: [ As Carrie ] But he’s right here.
TOM: [ As Bob ] No, I mean I’m going in after him.
> so I can keep my end of the bargain." Bob said,
CROW: The bargain was he’ll let Megabyte go.
> "You’ll be
> okay. Won’t you?" Carrie nodded. "I know about vampires."
> assured him. "He didn’t do enough damage to seriously hurt me.
CROW: She can replicate spare parts and be back to operational in just a couple star dates.
> But I
> want to go with you!!" Bob shook his head. "I don’t want you to be in
> any danger." He whispered, "You’ll be safer here."
TOM: Besides, I don’t want to tell your parents about the vampire thing.
> He turned to see
> Megabyte being pulled into the computer screen.
JOEL: It’s a good thing Carrie has a wide screen monitor. Can you picture them all squeezing into a Macintosh SE?
> Carrie forced herself
> to sit up.
> "I’m going with you." She told Bob, then pulled herself up
> onto her shaky legs. She lost her balance, and started to fall.
JOEL: Looks like she picked the wrong week to start roller skating everywhere.
> caught her, and Carrie wrapped her arms around him, startled by her
> inability to stand.
TOM: [ As Bob ] Carrie, uh, me leaving is more effective if I go.
> "Be careful!" Bob said. Carrie looked up into
> his eyes as he supported her weight.
CROW: Meanwhile Megabyte’s had enough computer time to conquer the mainframe ten times over.
> She hated not being able to
> recover quickly, but yet, she loved being held by Bob.
JOEL: Like she was the entire walk back from the mall.
> She smiled at
> him sheepishly, and he returned it with his killer smile. Carrie’s
> imagination began to fly. She had hoped for this moment for so long!
> To be held by Bob was a dream come true!!
TOM: To hold Bob here while Megabyte conquers his home computer and all he holds dear!
> She continued to stare into
> his eyes, hoping he would sweep her off her feet, like he did in her
[ ALL hum theme from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ ]
> Instead, he picked her up and put her back on the couch.
> "You just stay here."
JOEL: Or I’ll turn this computer around and take you right … oh, you’re home.
> he said, softly brushing her cheek. "I’ll be
> seeing ya!" And he dove through Carrie’s computer screen.
TOM: Wait, they should’ve swapped e-mail addresses.
> Carrie wasn’t about to be left behind. She got to her feet
> again, and dove towards her computer before her legs could give out.
CROW: Unfortunately, only her head and torso made it through before the portal closed again.
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *
JOEL: It’s an ergonomically designed light saber.
> Part Twenty-Three
> Symble stood warily as this virus approached him. He didn’t
> like the way she was looking at him.
JOEL: He’s creeped out by that popping out the eye and waving it around.
> It made him feel like a peice of
> hardware on sale in the shops lining Picadilly Circuits.
CROW: Picadilly? I hardly even know a … wait.
[ JOEL puts a hand on CROW’s shoulder. ]
TOM: Since this story was written Picadilly Circuits has become a Radio Shack in Houghton, Michigan.
> "Who are
> you?" he asked. The virus smiled, revealing sharp teeth.
TOM: Martha Ray, Denture Wearer.
> stepped back cautiously. "You needn’t fear me yet." Hexadecimal said.
> "I am Hexadecimal,
JOEL: Thinkit will be so glad to know.
> and I control Lost Angles, for now." She stepped
> closer, and Symble hissed warningly, baring his fangs.
CROW: Wouldn’t it be funny if his teeth fell out right now?
TOM: The vampire fangs would be scarier if he didn’t have the kooky googley eye glasses and Groucho nose too.
> "I may be half
> virus, but don’t provoke me.
TOM: Unless his other half is Neville Chamberlain.
> I will erase anyone who threatens me.
> Virus or Sprite." Hexadecimal giggled.
CROW: Hey, they’re chattering vampire teeth!
> It was a rather unpleasant
> sound, and it made Symble all the more uncomfotable around this virus.
JOEL: He should change his laugh sound to that charming ting noise.
> He was getting very close to the portal now, and he could feel the
> energy radiating from it.
TOM: [ As Bela Lugosi ] PULL the STRINGS!
> "Come now." Hexadecimal said. "You’re new
> around here, and I want to know who you are."
CROW: Why not check his web site?
JOEL: There’s spiders in it.
> Suddenly, someone stepped out of the portal. He was a virus
> once again, and he prefered it that way.
TOM: We now join our plot already in progress.
> He looked over to find the
> virus that had sent him through the portal in the first place standing
> in front of Hexadecimal.
> This virus was poised defensively, and he
> could tell that Hex found this rather amusing.
CROW: It is … oh, you kind of have to be here.
> Megabyte extended his
TOM: I bet it’s a real bad day when that happens by accident.
> Virus or no virus, this newcomer had meddled in business other
> than his own, and he would pay dearly. Before Megabyte could do
> anything, he was hit from behind.
JOEL: Uh … woops … I meant to say, ‘Fore’ …
> He was thrown to the ground, and he
> could feel someone standing on his back. "Attack my partner?
> I don’t
> think so." Bob looked down at Megabyte, and then stepped off him.
CROW: This way Megabyte can escape and wreak havoc again.
> agreed to get you here, but I’m still not going to let you hurt anyone
> ." Megabyte stood up, and casually brushed himself off.
TOM: Oh, he’s doing his classic "Little Tramp" routine.
> turned and looked at Bob. "So, you’ve returned." He said. "I guess
> this means the next move is mine."
CROW: They’re playing checkers by e-mail.
> He turned toward the portal, fully extending his blades.
JOEL: And he’s embarassed because today he only put on the cheese slicers.
> Before he could reach it, someone came diving through it.
TOM: Uh-oh … we could be looking at a Carrie-ka-bob.
> caught the figure, and looked into the face. It was Carrie. She was
> unconcious and partially erased.
CROW: Fortunately, Bob read the article in Compute!’s Gazette about how to undo the ‘NEW’ command.
> Symble turned to Bob as he ran
> forward. "Oh no!" Bob said, "I told her not to follow me!"
TOM: Maybe this was pure coincidence.
> He took
> Carrie from Symble and picked her up. She was very weak. Her energy
> had been almost completly drained.
JOEL: The Pizza Hut didn’t save her life after all?
> She was even becoming transparent.
CROW: Aw, that’s just because her skin’s the Chroma-Key color.
> *I have to get help!* he thought. He pulled out his zip-board.
> Before he could get on it, Megabyte grabbed his arm. "Guardian." he
TOM: You said you’d call.
> "You still have your end of the bargain." Bob just looked at
> him. "I’ll keep my end." he told him.
JOEL: Look, it’s the fifth door on the right, just after the bathroom. Sheesh.
> "But first, I have to help
> Carrie." Megabyte frowned. "Only if I go with you." he rumbled,
TOM: Or what, he’s going to attack Bob and almost kill Carrie?
> Bob started to protest, then thought the better of it.
> "Alright." he said. "Let’s go."
TOM: Did they even need to *go* to Canada?
JOEL: With those scenes the story qualifies for better tariff rates in the Commonwealth.
[ to continue … ]