Welcome to the next-to-final installment in my Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of Carrie L—‘s Reboot fanfic, “Breaking the Barriers”. You can read, and even enjoy, the whole at this link. I haven’t decided what to post next.
The story so far: A portal connects author Carrie L—‘s small Canadian home to pioneering Canadian computer-animated series Reboot. Everyone’s taken some time in the other reality. While Megabyte as a real-world vampire bit Carrie, she isn’t too bothered by it, and she’s back in the virtual world and recovered well. But to get home they have to brave a meeting with Hexadecimal.
Vulture Squadron was the outfit Dick Dastardly and company were flying from when they tried to catch Yankee Doodle Pigeon. Solarians are from Isaac Asimov’s science fiction mystery The Naked Sun. They’re humans who live on a severely and deliberately under-populated planet so people almost never see anyone in the actual flesh. And you see how long ago I wrote this that I thought “web log” was clearer than “blog”.
The Mer-Lion is a giant statue of a part-lion, part-fish that’s an icon of Singapore, where I was living at the time. It’s great to see, especially by night. The Mighty Thornberries is surely meant to be The Wild Thornberries, a cartoon I don’t know why I mentioned at all. It’s not even something I disliked; I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode, unless it was on in-flight entertainment when I wasn’t paying attention.
I have replaced two jokes. One because it was a little more sexist, and hack, than I feel comfortable with now. The other was a quoting from M*A*S*H that I used because it was some nice quick wordplay nonsense. But the underlying joke in M*A*S*H relied on something edging up on gay panic for its delivery. I can do without that, so, I will.
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *
CROW: Kansas (detailed map).
> Carrie stood silently at the base of Hex’s tower, staring
> upwards in awe.
JOEL: And David Warner’s in there *somewhere*.
> Lost Angles was definately a place that one had to
> get used to.
TOM: It’s a good place to (ahem) make a point.
> She looked at Bob. "Don’t be nervous." he told her,
> "I’ll be right here with you."
CROW: Besides, you won the heroes over, you won the villains over, all that’s left is for you to win the landscaping over.
> Carrie smiled. "Thanks." she
> whispered, "I really appreciate it."
JOEL: It’s always the little things that count.
> She took a deep breath and
> reached out to press what looked to be some sort of doorbell. Before
> she had a chance to touch it, the door flew open.
CROW: Convenience store doorways of the future!
> Carrie gasped and
> jumped back. She smiled sheepishly at Bob. He returned her smile and
> chivalrously offered her his hand.
TOM: I hope they don’t put those on the wrong places.
> Carrie just looked at him,
> dumbfounded, for a nano, then shyly took his hand.
JOEL: Energy shake, hand shake, it’s literary counterpointing.
> She wasn’t sure
> why he was acting this way toward her, but she wasn’t going to say
> anything. Swallowing hard, she entered into the shadows.
CROW: And she bonks into Megabyte.
> As her eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, her surroundings
> became familiar.
JOEL: It’s the hangars of the infamous Vulture Squadron!
> This was yet another place that would be forever
> etched into her memory.
TOM: That’s the danger of becoming a sprite, you could get something from cartridge ROM mapped onto you.
> The room was enormous, yet the actual space
> that was accessable by normal sprites was rather small.
CROW: It’s like being at gramma’s, you have to stay on the plastic strips.
> *I guess it
> doesn’t matter whether you have a floor or not when you’re a Class
> Two!* Carrie thought.
JOEL: There’s a thought I wouldn’t have had today if the story didn’t help me along.
> Before them was a large and rather
> uncomfortable looking throne.
TOM: You are what you sit on.
> It seemed almost twisted and the back
> was several twisted spires with no bar ajoining them on top.
CROW: That’s not a throne, it’s a bad church organ.
> started foreward, heading into the ever present spotlight that floated
> through the room. Carrie quickly pulled her hand from his grasp.
TOM: Shhhhhhweeee… *pop*!
> stopped and looked at her. "What’s wrong?" he asked, worried. Carrie
> smiled. "Nothing."
JOEL: Bob Guardian, *this* is *your* life!
> she lied, *It’s just that I would prefer to stay
> on Hex’s good side!* she thought.
CROW: Offer to link to her from your web log.
> "Welcome to my Lair." The voice seemed to come from every
> corner of the Throne Room.
JOEL: But … the room is round.
> Carrie’s eyes darted around, trying to
> find the source. Then she saw it. Just a mask floated above the
> Throne before them.
TOM: WHAT would you have of the mighty Oz?
> There was a slight flash and Hex’s form
CROW: Hey, can I learn that trick?
> sitting gracefully on her throne. "I so rarely have
JOEL: She’s Solarian.
> She smiled almost evily and Carrie’s heart jumped. *Hex
> may be my favorite,
TOM: I’ll have to check and get back to you later.
> but she still scares the heck out of me!* Carrie
> thought. Then Hex’s mask changed to one of surprise. "Why, I wasn’t
> expecting you, Guardian!"
JOEL: If I’d known you were coming I’d have calculated a pi.
> Bob said nothing, but smiled slightly.
> Carrie stifled a smile. *I guess I’m not the only one who isn’t
> exactly comfortable around Hex. He’s got a good reason, though!*
CROW: They used to be roommates.
> Hex turned to Carrie again. "So," she murmered, "one of my
> many fans finally stands up to be counted."
TOM: One, too!
CROW: One, three!
JOEL: There’s one of us!
> "This is my first time in
CROW: Oh, make sure you get to see the Mer-Lion by night.
> Carrie whispered, "I really shouldn’t be here."
JOEL: It’s supposed to be my day off!
> Hexadecimal looked at Carrie suspitiously. "Why is that?" she asked.
> Carrie swallowed hard. "I’m….uh…..I’m a…." her throat caught
> and she couldn’t say anything else.
TOM: Her next word was going to be "Ima."
> Hex laughed quietly. "I know,"
> she said, "You’re a User."
CROW: You have it written all over your .plan file.
> Carrie’s head snapped up and she stared at
> Hex in shock. Hex laughed again. "You must know that I know just
> about everything that happens in Mainframe."
TOM: She’s been port-sniffing.
JOEL: No, she’s the *real* Carrie L—! *She’s* been writing this whole fan fiction!
> She waved her hand
> casually and a familiar purring sounded.
CROW: She digitized a tribble!
> Scuzzy zoomed into the light
> and stopped just in front of Carrie. He tilted forward slightly and a
> picture appeared in the top of his head.
TOM: "The Mighty Thornberries"? What’s wrong with you?
> It was Carrie, Dot, Enzo and
> Bob sitting in the diner. Carrie looked up at Hex.
CROW: She has the power to look at flashbacks!
> "I guess I should
> have known that." she said.
> "Now!" Hex said, "I know how to get you home." Carrie’s eyes
TOM: Bring me a couple mice, a pumpkin, and my magic wand.
> "Oh! Thank You!!" she spluttered. Hex waved a hand and
> Carrie quickly subsided into silence. "I ask only one thing." she
JOEL: You must start a Robert Benchley web site for me.
> Carrie said nothing at first. "If I can, I will do what you
> ask." she whispered. Hex laughed, amused. "It isn’t as difficult as
> you think." she said,
CROW: Scrub the bathrooms. They’re filthy.
> "I want you to tell Megabyte that he still owes
> me ten crystals of neurowine." Carrie stared at Hex momentarily.
TOM: And you have to do it without giggling.
> "Uh…I’ll tell him, but I can’t ensure he’ll listen to me. He has
> already repaid my favor." Hex smiled mischeviously. "Don’t worry."
> she whispered, schemingly, "He’ll listen."
JOEL: It’s not so much conflict and resolution as much as it is a Reboot Convention.
> A vid-window pinged before
> Carrie and she once again found herself playing the messenger. As
> Megabyte’s face appeared on the screen, Carrie suddenly felt her
> confidence returning.
TOM: You’d think being able to direct traffic through the multiverse would give her more to do with her time.
> He actually wasn’t scowling at her for
> intruding. "What can I do for you?" he rumbled. Carrie smiled.
JOEL: She’s going to start with Girl Scout cookies and move up to neurowine crystals.
> "Hexadecimal has asked me to tell you that you still owe her ten
> crystals of neurowine." Megabyte growled audibly. "She won’t let
> that drop, will she?" Carrie just shrugged.
CROW: If she lets it drop won’t they spill?
TOM: Try to keep up with us, Crow.
> Megabyte pondered her
> request for a nano, then scowled. "Very well.
JOEL: [ As Megabyte ] You’ve bested me again. Well done.
> It will be sent to her
> by the end of the cycle." Carrie smiled. "Thanks!" she chirped. The
> window closed and Hex smiled down at Carrie.
CROW: He’ll be paying them Tuesday for that hamburger today.
> "Very well done!" she said, "You certainly have won his
> favor!" Carrie said nothing. "Now, your way home."
TOM: Would you like to take this way home, or would you like to trade it for what’s inside this box?
> Out of nowhere,
> Hexadecimal’s Looking Glass suddenly appeared.
JOEL: She’s checking if Snow White is still alive.
> The reflective surface
> shivered slightly, and then a room Carrie knew and loved could be seen
> on the other side.
JOEL: If only they looked.
> She gasped in delight. "…..Home!…." she
> She stepped toward the glass, mesmerized.
> Then, she
> suddenly remembered something. Turning, she faced her new friend.
TOM: You mean Bob, Hexadecimal, Megabyte, Enzo, Dot, Phong, Scuzzy, or the binomes?
> Bob smiled as their eyes locked. "I’m gonna miss you." Carrie
CROW: I don’t know, it seems like getting from the real world to Mainframe and back is about as hard as catching the 173 bus to the MRT station.
> Bob said nothing at first, then produced a small box.
> Carrie gasped in surprise. "I fixed this for you, and added something
> so you would never forget me."
TOM: Gary Seven uses that to talk with his computer.
> Carrie looked up into his soft brown
> eyes. "I could never forget you." she breathed. "Open it." Bob told
CROW: Dare you to lick it.
> Her eyes glistening, Carrie lifted the lid on the box. Inside
> sat her necklace with the ‘Mouse’ charm on it, but now, there was
> another charm beside it.
JOEL: Yellow hearts, blue clovers, green moons —
> A small gold and black inverted icon impaled
> by a rose. "It’s beautiful!" Carrie gasped.
TOM: It’s… a glam rock tattoo.
> Bob took the necklace
> from the box and gently placed it around her neck. Carrie admired it
> briefly before returning Bob’s gaze. "I’ll wear it always." she
> Bob flashed her his killer smile.
[ ALL gasp, choking, and slump in their seats. ]
> "I’ll always wear mine,
> too." he whispered, and gently pulled the gold chain out from
> underneath the coller on his uniform. It almost the same charm as
> Carrie’s did,
JOEL: Hey, he copied her file!
> except that the icon was the usual black and white.
CROW: And then shift-clicked it.
> Carrie couldn’t hold it any longer. She burst into tears and threw
> her arms around him. Bob returned her embrace, listening to her
> gentle sobs. "I’ll never forget you!" Carrie cried.
TOM: Shane! Come back, Shane!
> Bob said nothing
> for a nano, afraid that his voice would reveal his sorrow. "You…you
> better go now."
JOEL: Ah, Louie Louie, aaah… we gotta go.
> he finally stammered. Carrie looked up into his eyes,
> tears glistening on her cheeks. "Thank you," she breathed, "for
CROW: She’s in Mainframe, she’s out of Mainframe, she’s in Mainframe, she’s leaving Mainframe, she needs to make up her mind.
> She stepped back, smiling. "If I can find a better way," she
> said, "I’ll be back." Bob laughed quietly.
TOM: This way seems to be working out fine.
> "Maybe you should feed
> your computer more often, then it won’t decide to have you for a
JOEL: I guess we’re lucky Carrie’s computer didn’t just swallow Benny, her hamster.
> Carrie laughed, and turned to the Looking Glass. "See you
> later!" Bob said. She stepped up to it and started to reach out to it.
> "Wait!" Carrie turned to Bob again.
TOM: Oh, just *go* you big silly.
> He stood in front of her,
> looking directly into her eyes. "Just one more thing to remember me
> by." he whispered.
CROW: Besides the experience, the vampirism, the charms, and the interdimensional computer portal.
> Carrie froze as he wrapped his arms around her.
> She held her breath as his warm lips pressed gently against hers.
TOM: See, this is how you spread computer viruses.
> couldn’t believe this was happening. She wrapped her arms around him
> and gently returned the kiss. Then, suddenly, all her surroundings
> seemed to melt away.
JOEL: Global Warming sinks Mainframe.
[ To continue … ]