"Land Ho! Four miles at starboard! Land-Ho!" The tired old Captain shrugged his shoulders. 'Finally,' he thought, 'so
close and yet so far…'
Actually, he didn't know why he said that. It just sounded right.
He wrinkled an eyebrow and plucked a clove D'Jarum from his coat pocket. He produced the trademark skull sculpture lighter and proceeded to waste some more of his lungs.
The vessel ported safely into Westside, greeted by the cheers of an
assembled crowd of wives, lovers, family, friends, and debt collectors. The crowd waved merrily as the Town Courier and his escorts climb up the dock and into the ship. This Town Courier was an opulently dressed bureacrat, well paid for his meager -some would say trivial- duties. He identified the captain at once (Cap'n Ollie sported a seasalt's beard, impossible to miss) and handed him a form. "Fill it out immediately." he ordered. The Cap'n didn't like his manner, but he didn't like keeping the crew waiting either, not when they'd been out at sea as long as they had. Swallowing his pride for the moment, he looked at the form.
::: APPLICATION FOR ADMITTANCE INTO THE DOMAIN OF WESTSIDE ::: *============================================================* =[ All Questions must be answered Truthfully, under pain of Death or Castration, whichever is the Greater Loss. ]= *==========================================================*
1. Are you bringing any known VIRUS(ES) into our fair town? NOTE: He Who Answers YES will be thanked for his honesty, looked upon with awe, rewarded 1,000 silver coins for his integrity, and exiled; He who BELIEVES such a thing will then be surprised to find a noose around His Neck....
2. Are you an ACTIVE CITIZEN or merely a wandering vagrant who journeys from town to town, wasting other's time and making no contribution to the General Message Area?
3. Do you come here to TRADE? If so, you must detail your trading wares and become a REGISTERED MERCHANT. UNLOAD all wares from your ship, then UPLOAD it to WESTSIDE, that other citizens may DOWNLOAD it.
Cap'n Ollie dutifully filled in the answer sheet.
1. "None of the magnetic variety, but I can't speak for anything else." 2. "Both. But all of us -my crew and I- make a contribution. No, we're certainly not silent types -"Drones", I think you call them. No, sir." 3. "Yes. I would like to apply for registration. Have quite a few things in our cargohold that might be of interest."
Signed, Capt. Oliver North Roger.
He handed the completed form back to the Courier. "Yes. Now a, yes, a
small, considerate token of your appreciation would, certainly, work to ensure that things are handled as expediantly as possible- " The Cap'n fished out a small, beautiful garnet and handed it over to the greedy hand of the Courier. "Very good, Captain Roger, I'll be seeing you." One of his escorts tooted a cermonial horn, and the procession left. The Cap'n and his crew were free to leave, and that they did, swiftly exploring the city of Westside and all its mysteries…