A mysterious portal connects young protagonist Carrie’s Canadian hometown to the world of 90s computer-animated cartoon Reboot. Series villain Megabyte, who’s a vampire in Canada, bites Carrie. Back in the digital world, she becomes half-erased. As Carrie is not just the protagonist but also our author, which might prevent the story from ever finishing. But series hero Bob thinks he can rescue her, if series villain Megabyte keeps to a deal whose terms I don’t think I understand …
And that’s about where we are in Carrie L—‘s fan fiction “Breaking the Barriers”. Also in my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction treatment of it. The entire MiSTing should be available at this link and if it’s not, something will be, I’m sure.
I don’t think there are any riffs that need explanation this time. Somehow the Peter Potamus and the Skeksis references became less obscure than they were in 2003. In the host segment the game that Tom and Crow try distracting Joel and Gypsy with is a mish-mash of old-school games. The twisty maze of passages, or maze of twisty passages, references the 70s game Colossal Cave Adventure. The Vogons and the aspirin are, of course, from the interactive-fiction version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. That’s a game I sometimes got as far as the second room in. The ampersand was the character used to represent an enemy in … I want to say Rogue? I forget if there were a specific reference for the treasure room (Adventure?) and the chair by someone’s side. Hacking a game to turn off sprite collisions would let you get through a round without touching the bad thing killing your guy. But that could keep you from killing the badnasty jumpjumps, too.
I know it’s a bad idea to fall in love with your own writing. But the host sketch here, oh, I love it. I feel like it’s one of the times I captured the voice of the actual show. Crow’s unmotivated wanderings off-camera are there to give the stagehands time to put the stick in or take it out of his hands. I like host sketches that plausibly read like ones they might have been able to record. I also feel like I had a weakness for writing Joel sketches that end with a group hug but I don’t know if the statistics bear out that I wrote more of those than the average MiSTer did.
> * * * * * * * *
> * *
> Part Twenty-Four
CROW: I hope we get up to part 28, ’cause that’s a perfect number.
> Bob stood silently at the entrance to Dot’s Diner, Carrie
> lying limply in his arms.
TOM: They should just revert to the last saved copy.
> He looked up at the sign, and turned to
> Megabyte. "You have to be patient." Bob told him.
JOEL: I thought Carrie was the patient?
> "This is the only
> way we can return her to normal." Megabyte smiled slyly. "Don’t you
> trust me, Guardian?"
CROW: So if they pushed her back through the portal she’d be a translucent Canadian vampire.
TOM: That could get her a four-year run on UPN.
CROW: You’re right, we’ve got to stop her!
> He asked sarcastically. Bob frowned, and turned,
> pushing the door open. The place was almost deserted.
JOEL: Must be after the dinner rush — see, ’cause it’s … deserted…
> The only
> people there were Enzo and a rather frazzled looking Dot.
CROW: Yakko and Wakko have gone too far!
> As Bob
> entered, Enzo looked up. "Bob!!" he shouted jumping down from his
> stool. He was about to tackle Bob
TOM: Enzo’s veering dangerously close to Scrappy Doo territory.
> when he saw the half-erased sprite
> in his arms. Then his face turned fearful as he saw Megabyte
> following behind.
CROW: This is a weird parade.
> Bob carfully placed Carrie on the counter and Dot
> looked at her in shock.
JOEL: Hey, dead girl *off* the table.
> "What happened?" she asked, "Magnetic
> erasure? Like last time?"
TOM: [ As Carrie ] Last time?
JOEL: [ As Bob ] She was an ADSR waveform, she meant nothing to me.
> Bob shook his head. "It’s a long story,
> right now we need to help her.
CROW: Megabyte zapped her. Hey, that’s not so long.
> What she needs is pure energy." Dot
JOEL: If they download a Jolt ad I’m leaving.
> She didn’t even bother to ask Cecil,
TOM: She’s not getting The Straight Dope?
> she jumped down off her
> stool, and went to get it herself.
CROW: Let’s see… Pure Ivory Soap, pure baking soda, pure vanilla extract, pure table salt, pure baking powder, pure karo syrup, pure … this is harder than I thought.
> Bob looked down at Carrie, gently brushing her hair away from
> her face.
TOM: You know, Bob, this could be the chance for some upgrades…
> Enzo came and stood beside him. He looked up at Bob. "Is
> Carrie going to be okay?" he asked, worriedly. Bob smiled down at
> him, hiding his own fear.
JOEL: She has to be, or else one of the Skeksis has to die too.
> "She’s going to be fine." Enzo turned to
> Megabyte, gathering his nerve.
CROW: Aw, he’s gonna ask Megabyte out on a date!
> "You did this, didn’t you?" he asked
TOM: This is how you start an awkward conversation.
> Megabyte looked at him, then chuckled richly. "Of course."
> he rumbled, "Who else could do someting like that?"
JOEL: Taking a wild guess, L. Frank Baum in one of the lesser Oz books.
> Enzo bit his lip,
> struggling to fight back his tears. "How dare you!" he shouted,
TOM: [ As Megabyte ] Yeah? How I *double* dare you!
> shocking both Bob and Dot, who had returned with an energy shake.
JOEL: So now she’s got tea and no tea at once, right?
> "She’s my friend!!"
CROW: She is?
JOEL: Remember that earlier scene where she talked to him?
CROW: Oh, right, that’s friendship.
> Enzo stood right in front of Megabyte, to angry
> to be afraid of the imposing virus.
TOM: Enzo is going to have to try Peter Potamus’s patent-pending Hippo Hurricane Holler.
> He looked up at him defiantly,
> "You can’t do that!!"
JOEL: On television!
> Megabyte simply stared down at him, as Enzo’s
> eyes flooded with tears. "I won’t let you."
TOM: Never gonna let you go, I’m gonna hold you in my arms forever…
> He turned and ran out of
> the Diner. "Enzo!!" Dot wailed as she watched her little brother whip
> out his zip-board and zoom away.
CROW: So how is Enzo keeping Megabyte from hurting Carrie?
> Bob watched as Dot sat down on a stool, obviously drained by
> what had been happening.
TOM: Take two double A’s and call me in the morning.
> Suddenly, Carrie moved slightly, and her
> eyes began to flutter open.
JOEL: Maybe Enzo was thinking of somebody else.
> Bob stood near her, as she opened her
> eyes slightly. Dot looked up as Carrie tried to lift her hand towards
TOM: Hey, how come her arms get to work?
> He smiled and took it, holding it gently. "How are you
> feeling?" He asked her. Carrie smiled weakly. "Not too bad."
CROW: A touch small-Endian.
> whispered. Bob reached out and touched her cheek. "You gave me quite
> a scare back there." he said.
JOEL: Stop telling people you see snakes everywhere. They’re scary.
> Carrie sat up with Bob’s help, and she
> swung her legs over the side of the counter. Dot frowned.
TOM: I hope she didn’t bleed electrons all over the menus.
> Why was
> Bob acting like this toward Carrie? What had happened back there? She
> stood up with the intention of asking Bob exactly those questions.
CROW: But first, this word from our subplot.
> After he had fled from the Diner, Enzo had gone to Old Man
> Pearson’s Data Dump.
JOEL: Sounds like the setting for a Scooby-Doo video game.
> He knew that he could find something, or
> someone, that could help him get even with Megabyte. He had never felt
> so determined.
TOM: It’s called an "off" switch.
> All he knew was that Carrie was one of the only
> sprites older than him that had treated him as an equal, not some
> little kid.
CROW: He’s a little too impressed by a girl who talks to him.
> Now she was hurt, and he wanted to seek vengance on the
> one who had done that to her.
TOM: And he’ll do it by wielding an old e-mail bulletin of the cafeteria’s menu at Megabyte!
> He smiled slightly. *I like that.*
CROW: It’s silly. Heheheheheheh…
> thought. *The daring and brave Guardian Enzo seeks help to have his
> vengance on the viral evil of his system.*
TOM: Hey, isn’t that giving in to the Dark Side?
JOEL: Bad Enzo. No Dark Side. Bad Enzo.
> His imagination continued
> to whirl as he approached Sector 1001.
CROW: That’s Sector 1001 spelled backwards.
> He stopped infront of Old Man
> Pearson’s trailer. "Frisket!!" he called, "Frisket!!"
JOEL: Frisket? I hardly even *know* it…
> He jumped down
> off his zip-board and began to search for his pet.
TOM: Try looking under CBM.
[ JOEL picks up TOM; they and CROW leave. ]
[ 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. ]
[ SATELLITE OF LOVE DESK. The Monopoly game continues; about half the tiles have houses and hotels on them. TOM stands in front of the desk and, below desk top, has a rope tied around his hand. TOM’s token is in jail. JOEL, standing next to GYPSY, finishes moving MAGIC VOICE’s token onto an empty square. ]
CROW: Oh, I don’t believe it.
JOEL: [ Rolling dice ] Magic Voice lucks out again.
MAGIC VOICE: No need to sulk, Crow. Elvis edition never lets me down.
[ JOEL moves his piece ahead, to a square with one house on it. ]
JOEL: OK, that’s my second free landing on one of your squares. I get one more.
CROW: Yeah, yeah, all right. Just roll.
[ JOEL rolls; he moves CROW’s token onto one with a hotel. ]
JOEL: All right, Crow, that takes you to the Yankees edition, mine, hotel, you owe me 700 dollars.
CROW: Oh, gosh, well … uh … I think I’m a little short on cash…
JOEL: We can work it out. Now, what say I get two more free passes on your squares —
JOEL: — Right, yeah, I get one and Gypsy gets one of mine.
MAGIC VOICE: Hey!
JOEL: Right. I’ll need three, I owe Gypsy two of them, and then she passes one to Magic Voice.
CROW: Yes, now.
TOM: [ Turning to face CAMBOT, and sliding to the side so the rope he holds goes slack ] WARNING! DANGER! INCOMING GAME!
TOM: [ Continuing to warn ] INCOMING GAME! INCOMING GAME!
CROW: [ Sidling away, as a large cardboard box wrapped in aluminum foil drops over JOEL and GYPSY ] You’re going to have to defend us, guys, before this zone gets de-rezzed!
JOEL: [ As he is covered ] Guys, this isn’t going to —
CROW: It’s too late! You’re in a maze of twisty passages and the Vogon constructor ships are … uh … and there’s an aspirin in your pocket and everything!
GYPSY: [ Also covered ] I thought it was a twisty maze of passages?
[ CROW slides off-camera ]
TOM: Yeah, and you have to get to the treasure room fast.
JOEL: We’re just going to turn off sprite collisions, you know.
[ CROW, with a stick in his hand, slides back and taps the hotel off his token’s square; he swats TOM’s token out of jail quickly and slides back off screen. ]
TOM: Uh … um … that’s fine, you advance a level … and there’s a chair over by your side and what do you want to do?
[ A beat; GYPSY and JOEL stay silent ]
TOM: There’s a nasty-looking ampersand chasing after you too.
[ CROW, without his stick, slides back on screen. ]
CROW: And… I … I think they’ve beaten the user, then, right?
TOM: Oh, definitely … guys? You can come out now.
[ A beat. ]
CROW: Joel? Gypsy?
TOM: Magic Voice? Are you in there?
CROW: Just lift the box off…
TOM: Uh… game’s over. You can reboot.
[ CROW and TOM look at each other. ]
CROW: Give it a tug.
[ TOM turns around, pulling his rope. The box lifts, revealing JOEL kissing GYPSY’s cheek. ]
CROW, TOM: Gah!
JOEL: [ Noticing them ] Oh, hi there.
TOM: Well — what — what are you doing?
JOEL: You were trying to cheat!
TOM: No! No, no, no —
MAGIC VOICE: Crow moved the pieces.
[ CROW growls. ]
JOEL: Guys, you can’t put Magic Voice in a box. She’s like Springtime, or children’s laughter, or green. You should know better.
CROW, TOM: We’re sorry.
GYPSY: That’s gonna cost you two free turns, Crow.
CROW: Grr… aahhh…
TOM: I recommend surrender.
CROW: [ Angrily ] I’ll take it.
MAGIC VOICE: Commercial sign in five seconds.
JOEL: Now what did we learn here?
GYPSY: Don’t use "Reboot" to cheat in board games.
JOEL: Exactly. Give me a hug, guys. We’ll be right back.
[ JOEL hugs GYPSY and CROW as COMMERCIAL SIGN flashes. JOEL taps TOM’s head, and then COMMERCIAL SIGN. ]
[ COMMERCIAL BREAK ]
[ to continue … ]