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                    WESTSIDE CITY TIMES

Vol.1.0 * Tuesday, Jan.3, 1989 * FREE complimentary issue * Enjoy!

The Ill-fated Voyages of Cap'n Roger and his

         Stalwart Crew as They Sailed Across the Mag-
         netic Seas...
         As recorded by Ship Doctor Julius M. Brown.

Captain Ollie Roger sat down in his lounge-chair, surveying the ocean that lay before him. It was dark and murky. Byte-sized fish occasionally leaped in great swarms up from the waves, to some unknown destination beyond the clouds. After a time, the fish would rain back down into the waters, sometimes unchanged, and sometimes altered. The spectacle never ceased to stimulate the Captain's imagination. Where did they go? And what power summoned them up from the depths? But no one knew the answers.

   The Captain turned around as he heard Billy Bob's

congested lungs struggle for air.

   "Hyuck!" -it was the old, familiar cough; the one the

crew usually woke up to late at night. When Billy Bob couldn't sleep, no one else could, either. This fact had frequently inspired violence against the man, but his cough was, if anything, only made worse by the beatings. The Captain had already decided to snatch a good technician to fix him up next time they docked at the Directory - "s'all I can do", he reminded himself.

   "Cap'n -hyuck!- I gots to assk yew -hack! hack!"- to

change course. Yew knows, well as I, why, Sector 9's protected, and yew knows we can't take it, not now, Cap'n!"

  The Cap'n frowned, partly at the sputum drooling down

Billy Bob's chin, and partly out of habit. Frowns did wonders for the purpose of intimidation; this he learned rather early in his career. He glowered at Billy Bob for a small moment and then nodded down to look in his coat pocket, from which he extracted a long, brown cigarette. If he didn't succeed in dispelling this pest, the cigarette smoke and Billy Bob's cough would do it for him. "Now Billy, we two been through rough seas, you and me. And we come through every last raid, mostly without a scratch, yes?" He paused to light the cigarette with a skull-sculpture lighter. "Billy, we two, why I figure we the most experienced bucanneers in the business. You catch my drift?" The Cap'n exhaled deeply; the smoke blew all around him, effective as tear gas. But Billy Bob was persistant. "Cap'n, I hear tell they gots some new duhvices in this Sector. Yew know -hyuck!- stuff we aint seen before. And I aint in no cundisun -hyuck!- to go through ANUTHER fight!" He squirmed in the putrid mist, but held his ground, for the moment. The Captain sighed. "Billy, I tell you, after this one we're heading straight back to Sick Bay." Billy looked puzzled. "You know-" the Cap'n added, "Bay Sick. And then we'll patch you up right quick, we will. You'll have chips and ice cream silicones to munch on all day. So cheer up - we'll win this one, like the rest, and then it'll be over." Billy seemed satisfied by that, or perhaps his bronchials were getting a might too rebellious, but in any event he nodded sadly and walked away. The Captain smirked and took a nice deep drag of the clove. A petty thought possessed him - it was proper that a devil like he should smoke a cloven cigarette. His eyes turned to the sea again. By Odin, he thought, it's important we don't get off Track again, or we'll never crack this protection. And then! He thought darkly of returning home with nothing for trading, nothing but fantastic stories of what MIGHT have been. Piracy was a risky business- aye-aye to that, thought Captain Ollie.


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