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SturmFiction

Here you will find synopses of Fisherian short fiction, officially known as SturmFiction .

The Fabulous Baker Bots

By Johnny Fisher

The Fabulous Baker Bots ...................................

In 2030AD a large spacecraft crashed into Earth and destroyed forty blocks of New York City, killing millions of people.

The spacecraft had been the personal pleasure vehicle of the ruler of a distant galaxy, Emperor Schgunn IV. He died on impact (I refer to the Emperor as 'he', but in fact his species cannot be classified in male/female terminology, as they have both a vagina and a glans), along with 'his' entire retinue. The only survivors of the crash were two specialised service robots that had been employed as Schgunn IV's personal chefs and who had been inside a giant metal baking tray when the crash happened.

Dazed and broken after the crash, the robots were pulled from the wreckage by a street-wise American techno-punk called Jimmy Logan Jr., who used to roam Manhattan looking for cool techno stuff, and who had sifted through piles of dismembered burning alien corpses in order to find them. Jimmy took them home to his Lower East Side loft apartment and worked on repairing them. He made a few tweaks in their circuitry, as Jimmy was frequently the victim of bullies and felt that having a couple of hardy robots by his side would be swell.

Jimmy fixed the robots and painted them up like new, and he named them Flandroid and The Pi-man. On their first day upon the streets, they kicked the living shit out of some bullies that had once hassled Jimmy. This was the start of their new roles as superheroes. For though they were equipped with fairly basic kitchen utensils and their CPUs were filled with recipe ideas, they proved able vigilantes, and dedicated their days to crime fighting, under their captain Jimmy Logan Jr.

Enemies of the Fabulous Baker Bots:

"Otto the Risotto" is a risotto - originally baked by Flandroid - which mutated into an evil monster when exposed to radioactive chemicals Jimmy had taken from the wreck of the spaceship. Otto plans to destroy Little Italy in order to stop humans from eating his relatives (i.e. other, non-sentient, risottos). Otto battles the Baker Bots armed with his rice cannon and seafood-medley grenades, and he is also accomplished at various martial arts.

"Agent Hardy" is a shady individual working for a clandestine government agency which is investigating the crash and attempting to salvage any alien technology from amongst the wreckage in order to learn from it. Agent Hardy has tracked down the Baker Bots to Jimmy's neighbourhood and is determined to capture and imprison them for all kinds of invasive research. As a result, they must continuously evade him. Agent Hardy is equipped with spectacular protoype alien weapons that have been built in secret by his agency, such as a spray that attracts angry dogs and a gun that fires prison cells.

"Spatulor" was a robotic colleague of the Baker Bots aboard the ship. His broken metal corpse was missed by Jimmy Logan Jr. during the youth's scavenge of the wreckage and instead picked up by Jimmy's arch-nemesis, "Tricky" Micky Michaels, an amateur magician and fellow techno-punk. Tricky Micky rebuilt Spatulor in his own image and put the robot to work on his evil schemes. Spatulor is equipped with a pair of solid osmium spatulas that are as adept at smashing open bank vaults as they are facilitating the cooking process.

"The Critic" - by day a food critic, by night a supervillain

Fats Intrigue

By Johnny Fisher

Fats Intrigue ...................................

The star of this story is an Indiana Jones-esque adventurer/explorer. He is also a fat Louisiana jazzman who sweats profusely, even when performing seemingly effortless tasks.

.............

One day whilst out walking near a bayou, a portly jazz musician called Fats stumbled upon a trumpet case half-buried in the undergrowth. The heavily-stickered case was worn and battered, and when he opened it he found a terrific silver trumpet inside. Putting it to his lips, he sounded it beautifully, and Jazz happened.

Being of a conscientious disposition, Fats made some local enquiries in order to locate the owner of the instrument, but the toothless rednecks and hillbilly simpletons he asked didn't seem to know whose it was. Fats decided to borrow it for a while, until he could find its rightful owner, and began playing it at his gigs in various jazz clubs. The audiences loved the silver trumpet, and the general consensus was that it made him a better trumpeter.

One balmy night whilst practising his horn, Fats played a particularly inspired piece of improvisation. He was startled to find that this summoned a Cajun genie from within the trumpet. The genie informed the awed Fats that he was now the Trumpet Master, and revealed to him its secrets.

Fats' life would never be the same again.

For the trumpet is magical. It has many amazing gadgets concealed inside it - including a torch, grappling hook, flame-thrower, dinghy, etc. - and it enables a sweaty fat man to become a dashing, crime-fighting hero, addressing the injustices of small-town Louisiana and chasing airboat-riding confidence tricksters across bayous.

The trumpet case also contains an array of mutes that double as RPGs, flares and anti-personnel nets, and that can be launched from the trumpet when a particular note is played. Fats can also drive around on the trumpet case like a rubbish scooter with terrible handling.

Fats' enemies include the nefarious owner of a local cotton plantation, Colonel Labranche; a talking alligator named Festus; a megalomaniacal jazz drummer called Paradiddle Paulie; and the drunken ghost of Bix Beiderbecke. From time to time Fats teams up with the mysterious Sousaphone Avenger, an obscure brass-based crime fighter.

Stories
Fats Intrigue: Escape to Jazz Island
Fats Intrigue and the Mystery of the Missing Shoe
Fats Intrigue: Gator Japes

Between a Roc and a Hard Plaice: The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor

By Johnny Fisher

...................................

Fetch yonder souk pillow, friend, and fire up this hookah. We must get some of the spicy Arabian scents into the air.

Now, come closer, whilst I whisper ye a yarn.

Did you know that upon translation, one of Scheherazade's tales was deemed too ripe for public consumption? As a result, this particular tale has been excluded from the abridged version of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights we have been peddled over the years by priggish publishers.

The tale in question recounts the final adventure (being the eighth voyage) of Sinbad the Sailor; history's second-most famous Iraqi. I will now relate this tale to you; but pray, hold on to something, for it gets a little ribald.

Sinbad the Sailor related the account of his awesome eighth voyage to Sinbad the Porter one balmy day in Baghdad. The young Porter needed to sit down after this one, even though he had received every other with a manly indifference.

The adventure began with the inquisitive Sinbad the Sailor setting out once again across the oceans in search of foreign lands, as was his wont. His ship struck forth under an azure sky - skimming swiftly through the clear, crystal waters of the Gulf - and out into the wide world beyond. His muscly crew sang songs as they laboured, the tingle of adventure in their bones and the poem of the sea in their ears.

Needless to say, they were soon shipwrecked.

This time, Sinbad's wretched ship crashed into what at first appeared to be a metallic island that had seemingly floated up out of the sea, but what under closer inspection revealed itself to be a giant armour-plated flatfish.

Sinbad and his men were cast out of the splintered ship and into the ocean by the thrashing convulsions of the creature, and soon all were violently killed in its monstrous fangs - all, that is, apart from the heroic captain, who managed to secure a foothold between armoured scales and lasso some reins around the leviathan's head; reins he had cut from the hawser of the sinking ship. The stalwart Sinbad stood firm against the angry protestations of the monster, eventually breaking it in the manner a horsetrader will break a wild horse, whereupon it submitted to his will.

In this way Sinbad assumed control of the beast, steering it across the seas and travelling hither and thither at his whim. Sinbad passed through strange lands where gemstones peeped from the river beds, and fair maidens stared from the river banks at the mysterious fish-riding apparition cruising past them, looking totally boss.

Whilst motoring across a vast lake deep within a land of weird creatures and odd happenings, a gigantic mythical bird swooped from the heavens, screeching death at a billion decibels. Its wingspan was so enormous that no abacus could've been found to compute its dimensions, not though all the plush palaces of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid were searched. This colossal roc skimmed the sea - causing tidal waves that would annihilate entire coastal communities - and seized the flatfish in its monumental talons.

The wily Sinbad managed to leap off the fish ere the roc consumed it, seizing hold of a dorsal feather the size of a Landrover and pulling himself onto the roc's back with much exertion.

For many months the roc soared high over mysterious realms wherein Sinbad, clutching on for dear life, observed many wondrous things from his lofty position. Dancing maidens with faces that shone like the sun; a race of men equipped with savage beaks and feath'ry wings; enormous elephants with cities on their backs; and wealthy princes mincing around gem-encrusted palaces. The sights were so breathtaking that the trapped Sinbad almost forgot his current turmoil.

Sinbad was not alone up there, and became good mates with several other stricken sailors who had also found themselves clinging to the back of the roc. The men spent their days spinning yarns to one another, but Sinbad's stories were by far the most popular, as he'd been up to all sorts of crazy shit in his day.

Alas, one by one the other sailors finally lost their weakening grips and plunged to their deaths, until a day was reached when Sinbad awoke to discover he was alone.

Howling in despair, Sinbad alerted the roc to his presence, and it spake.

"Who art thou, that clingeth to my back?!" the roc yelled.

"I am but an unfortunate sailor, goodly sky king. I intend you no malice. It is not by choice that I make your back my home." replied Sinbad.

"Nonsense!" judged the roc. "Thou art a criminal who would steal my wondrous feathers!"

In the ensuing sky-tussle Sinbad lost his grip and fell from the mighty bird, pulling out a feather as he went. He landed in a cave, using the giant feather to break his fall.

In this cave Sinbad met a gross crab-man, who snipped off the Sailor's beard. Sinbad, bare-chinned and alarmed, fled from this creature only to sprint into the midst of a large gathering of crab-men. Sinbad could tell they were no good, and unleashed his deadly scimitar. For he would not submit to the malicious will of these dirty crabs without putting up some resistance.

For an hour Sinbad fought with these villains deep within their fishy lair, ultimately slaughtering all of them and seeking out and destroying their families. He sat down to clean crab meat out of his eyes and gather his thoughts on a magnificent throne of diamonds that had once belonged to the King of Crab-Men, who now lay eviscerated in a pool of purpley blood.

Sinbad came to the realisation that he was trapped in this dank system of caves. He searched for months trying discover a route of egress, eventually spying a small hole that led into one of the swiftest streams he had ever seen.

Into this stream the doughty sailor plunged with a mighty whoop. It carried him to the sea, whereupon he spotted a large raft floating along, teeming with nubile young maidens.

Thanking Allah, Sinbad paddled out to this raft. He found that the friendly maidens were attention-starved, and enamoured with him and his magical roc feather - which he presented to them as a gift. Furthermore his hardships and toil had rendered him extra muscly and glistening. He thus enjoyed an eventful ride back to Baghdad (wink wink).

Of all his numerous voyages, he perhaps remembered that last one most fondly.

Sinbad regretfully left the maidens at the port and made his way home; older, wiser, and leaner than he had been before his journey began. He swore that he would never again strike forth to meet the Call of the Unknown on a great sailing expedition - for the wide world beyond the Gulf teemed with miracles and dangers too numerous and too terrible to mention

And besides, he got shiprecked every time he tried for fuck's sake.

Elephant & Castle

By I_PWN_YER_MA_84

...................................

Disappointed with the standard of virgins awarded to you post-martyrdom?

Concerned that you haven't been reunited with your eyesight or severed limb on arrival in the afterlife?

A bit miffed that you've been given insufficient clearance to traverse Bifrost?

Maybe it's time to get in touch with Elephant and Castle.

Operating from their offices within the temporal vortex under the Elephant & Castle roundabout, Ganesh, the Maintainor (and Remover of Obstacles), and renowned trumpeter, television presenter and deceased human, Roy Castle are consulting solicitors for disgruntled residents of the divine realms of any creed with an acknowledged membership of 200,000 or more.

Elephant and Castle recounts in thrilling detail the legal disputes of the pan-afterlife. Fearlessly delving into the most arcane religious tomes in search of a vital loophole or doctrinal anomaly to liberate their client from an unbecoming post-corporeal status, the paranormal pachyderm and his Liverpudlian assistant are willing to charge on a sliding scale related to the level of satisfaction. However, they are not idiots, and realise that a "no win-no fee" approach is wholly unsustainable, especially given the overheads and cashflow issues inherent in operating in a potentially infinite spiritual marketplace.

Excerpt:

This is the scene. We are looking at a seemingly innocuous traffic management measure. It is the unspectacular concrete canker of the Elephant & Castle roundabout in Southeast London. A place where you might expect to get half-mugged by an over-aggressive beggar in broad daylight on a sunny Summer's evening, but probably not where you would expect to find a vortex which simultaneously links and transcends the divine realms of all appropriately-subscribed religions. You would be wrong to not expect this.

We sweep down underneath the roundabout, through this temporal portal and into the fantastical. But wait, this is not fantastical; it appears simply to be a mundane hardwood panelled waiting room where clients can await an audience with whomever it is resides behind the frosted glass door. There are punched-leather chairs and a collection of middle- to high-brow periodicals. They are of a sort which do not feel the need for abusively glossy covers routinely emblazoned with the beaming blank faces of minor celebrities and "remarkable" proles.

But no, look again, this place is clearly fantastical. Even a brief glance at the waiting individuals would show you that they have little or no concern with the everyday world of you and I, and probably even less with the travails of "soap stars" and "real mums" addressed in the ephemeral leaves of the publications which would clutter a conventional waiting room. The clientele herein are interested in the convoluted bureaucracy which sustains the ultimate destination of their chosen belief system. Few of them have pulses.

One of them clearly has the head of a dog and a rather tremendous crook which he has either refused, or been unable, to store in the tasteful walnut umbrella stand situated in a place which would be considered "near the entrance" if such relative spatial concepts were relevant where he finds himself.

Another is dressed in classical garb. His toga is made of silks spun by the deftest sylphs of the forests within trading range of Delphi. A wreath of Trojan gold ingots wrought to resemble the leaves of a laurel bush rests on his lustrous dark hair. In our world, such hair would most likely belong on top of (and all around) a decidedly swarthy body. But we are not in "our world".

The individual we observe has a beautiful predominantly bronze hue, accentuated by almost milky pale patches where he has received uneven coverage from the sun which shines above the cloud garland atop great Mount Olympus. His cheekbones are so high and sharp they could pierce the talons of a reckless low-flying eagle. His body is awesomely toned, with amazing pecs, and an even washboard stomach which is much more aesthetically pleasing than the crass ostentatious "six packs" favoured by underwear models in our world. This "man" is clearly a god. Or at the very least a demi-god.

But it is not the gigantic homo caninus, nor the handsome deity to whom your eye is drawn. Rather you spot a man, dressed in conventional early 21st Century attire, who sits in the chair nearest the door to the room to which this waiting area would be considered an ante-room. Whilst in many cases it would be an indication of your lazy mind - settling your attention on the person whose appearance most resembles your own, like a mindless parrot nodding and screeting at its own reflection in a hideous bare, plastic-coated cage - you are right to look at this man.

He looks concerned, pensive, and is wringing his hands in anticipation of the impending meeting. The frosted glass door opens and the previous appointment departs. This client is some 7 feet tall and wears full Norse combat attire. He leaves the waiting area in a rush, perhaps not entirely sated by the outcome of his engagement.

The 21st Century human you were correct to observe knows that now is the time for him to enter the main office, behind the frosted glass door. He gulps, rises and looks directly at the door. There he cannot avoid noticing, cut clearly in the glass in an unassuming sans serif font:

Elephant and Castle

Consulting Solicitors

AT-ST

By M. Dangermond

AT-ST ...................................

During the Galactic Empire's invasion of the rebellious planet Boranor V, a reporter for the Corellian Star newspaper was granted permission to travel with Alpha Company of the 1st Imperial Recon Battalion, documenting that outfit's experiences of the conflict.

What emerged was a breathtaking account of drama, hardship and fraternity amongst the flames and chaos of warfare.

Background

As a reconnaissance unit, 1st Recon was expected to rapidly puncture - and operate behind - enemy lines, establishing a foothold in enemy territory and paving the way for the main body of the Imperial invasion force. Where encountered, resistance was to be mercilessly wiped out. In order to carry out its mission, 1st Recon was equipped with a fleet of All Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST) military walkers.

Alpha Company was led by the enigmatic Corellian, Captain Shalen Murg, a devoted disciple of the respected and fearsome Commander of 1st Recon, Lieutenant-Colonel Jarth, whose insistence that ambitious and unrealistic targets were continually met caused much of the drama and stress endured by Alpha.

Excerpt 1

On that humid and listless morning there was nothing for the Recons to do but rest and wait for orders. I had familiaried myself with my kit as much as possible, unpacking and repacking it numerous times, so I now sat on my mattress listening to their conversations. In particular I listened to the entertaining and somewhat inane chatter of Pawlee, the young and hyperactive Private from Mos Eisley. He was sat on a fold-out stool curling a barbell, and his thoughts jumped from topic to topic without any logical segueway as he addressed various comrades at random.

"Yo Hitchy! You ever fucked a Devaronian bitch, man?" Pawlee was looking across at the prostrate form of big Hitch Huulor from Coruscant, who was reclining on his own mattress with a flannel over his face.

"Hell no, you crazy?!" laughed Hitch, incredulous. The big man lifted up the flannel and raised his head to look back at the Mos Eisleyan. "You're some kind of fucked up, Pawlee!" This elicited some laughter from the troops lounging around us. Pawlee spied me laughing along with them.

"The fuck you laughing at, Reporter-boy?! Them devil bitches is hot! They got them horns* you can grab onto and shit. oh man!"

"You got the horn, you sand-eatin' motherfucker!" cut in Doc D'Mathh, peering leisurely over the top of the datapad-porn he was perusing. "A blind fuckin' Hutt wouldn't touch a Devaronian bitch!" Further laughter rang out around the tent.

Pawlee continued unabashed. "You're damn right I got the horn, Doc! But the best thing about 'Ronian honeys ain't the horns. They -"

His testament to the sexual appeal of female Devaronians was cut short by the sound of an explosion in the distance, its shockwave rattling the tent fixtures and causing me to instinctively duck and grip onto my bunk. I was not yet used to these frequent rumblings, which caused barely a raised eyebrow amongst the Recons.

"Gas!"

The word was relayed across the camp through a series of urgent calls. With an air of resignation the Recons reached for their breathing apparatus for the third time since dawn. I struggled clumsily with mine, panicked fingers unable to perform the simple task. Pawlee noticed this and took the opportunity to berate me in his mask-muffled drawl.

"Yo! Reporter-boy! You can't even handle a Breather! How the fuck you gonna come with us into The Shit?! Fuckin' civilian!" A few of the Recons laughed as I stared sheepishly back at them through the hazy visor of the mask. I had far to go to earn their respect.

Excerpt 2

"Yea! Get some!" screamed Joker, repeatedly emptying both of the AT-ST's chin blaster cannon into the simple stockade. "Eat shit, fuckers!"

Wood splintered violently and erupted into livid flame as the laser bolts tore into the structure; chunks of flaming timber ripped from the walls and danced in superheated air.

I could see from the faces of Huulor and Sturn that they were enjoying - in fact, savouring - this barrage, and Sturn gave an appreciative whistle as the devasation continued. "Sheeeeeit!" he exclaimed.

"Yea!" cried Pawlee over comms, observing from Walker-Three. "Laze them bitches, Jokey!"

Such febrile bloodlust no longer startled me. In spite of myself, I had found myself becoming excited during engagements, and the harsh sound of Walker-Two's merciless cannonade had an electriying effect on me.

Eventually Joker ceased pumping fire into the stockade. I watched as smoke drifted away from his target, revealing a scene of carnage amidst the eerie silence. Discernible amongst the burning debris were what looked to me like a couple of dismembered and charred corpses. I thought of asking Huulor to confirm this impression, but checked myself before I did so, as it was not my place to make such enquiries.

"Yea!" cried Joker, who I could see had half-emerged from his Chicken's command hatch. "Shit! You see that, Durrenn?!" he called to his buddy, back in Walker-Four.

Captian Murg spoke over the radio from his command transport. "Good shooting, Corporal Kleev. Now give 'em a Conc. These bastards are tougher than you think."

"Roger, Captain. Stand by, Alpha," came the reply. Joker disappeared back into his vehicle. I braced myself, unfamiliar with concussion missiles and uncomfortable with the close proximity of the imminent explosion.

Phoooont!

A vapour trail indicated that Walker-Two's missile had arced into the middle of the beleaguered stockade. The crack it made on detonation was much louder than I had expected, and the explosion completely annihilated the remainder of the structure. When the smoke cleared, no trace of the corpses I had thought I had seen remained.

"Target destroyed, Captain" radioed Joker once the chorus of cheering had died down.

"Acknowledged Walker-Two, good job. Target nullified. Move out, Alpha."

Through the open viewport I could see Walker-Two, on point, striding off across the clearing, its head swivelling from side to side in anticipation of further resistance. I was lurched forward in my cramped seat as Walker-One followed and put my arms out to steady myself, only then noticing my heavily-sweating palms.

The drawling tones of Pawlee came drifting from Walker-Three behind us, as the young Private sang heartily a ribald song about what he'd like to do to Wynssa Starflare, given the opportunity.

Footnotes (by the Editor, J. Fisher)

* Unquestioning devotees of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) will argue that female Devaronians are in fact hornless, and that this line therefore contains a factual error - perhaps an unforgivable one - that betrays a lack of familiarity with the Star Wars EU on the writer's part. However, as with all of the Fisherians, this writer of fan-fiction is a committed EU-Sceptic**, recognising that the cabal of "official" Star Wars EU authors contains individuals of differing levels of ability and imagination, and refuses to accept the premise that all of the works comprising the Star Wars EU should be automatically treated as canon, containing as they do numerous poor-quality contributions and storylines - such as the ridiculous concept of remarkable gender dimorphism in the Devaronian race. In the opinion of this author, the only true canon is the original three Star Wars movies (though he does accept many later, derivative works), and furthermore Devaronian females are horned.

** This Editor is establishing the Fisherians' position with regards to the canon of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, not making a political statement about the UK's membership of the European Union. However, if pressed, this Editor would be forced to admit that, as a doctrine, Euro-Scepticism does sit comfortably with his clan-based survivialist sociopolitical beliefs.

Son of Cthulhu

By Johnny Fisher

Son of Cthulhu ...................................

Providence, Rhode Island

Randy West is a normal everyday American high-school teenager. He plays football, he eats Twinkies and he attends keggers. He lives with his family in a spacious house in the suburbs, and his "mom" drives a boastfully inefficient motorcar, even over short distances.

Nothing in Randy's behaviour can be described as extraordinary. He has a steady job, many jock friends, a fun-loving girlfriend called Summer, and a sweet ride. In other words, his life is completely uninteresting. "So why would such a cretin be worthy of his own story?!" I hear you ask.

Well, because Randy West happens to be the son of dread Cthulhu, who slumbers in the subterranean sepulchre.

...................................

Son of Cthulhu takes place in the summer of 2010. Randy has just graduated from Greendale High, and become bored of the moronic sportsmen he calls his friends. He has decided to take a year out before college in order to locate the graveyard city of R'lyeh and establish contact with his old man.

Along the way he has many adventures, with cameo appearances by some of the Great Ones and the Other Gods, including an hilarious encounter with crawling chaos Nyarlathotep in the dream-wrought foothills of unknown Kadath.

Excerpt:

"Randy, what does your Pop do for a living?" asked Wayne.

"Living?" replied Randy. "He lives not. He sleeps, deep, in the hidden city of R'lyeh."

"Dude! That's heavy!" said Shaun. "Oh guys I almost didn't tell you! Eggburger's throwing a kegger tonight!"

"Sweet!" exclaimed Wayne and Hannigan in unison, slapping their hands together in a "high five".

Emilio Quatrefoil

By Johnny Fisher

Emilio Quatrefoil ...................................

The year is something like 2140AD, but no one is really sure.

Humanity's prospects look increasingly bleak. Overpopulated and underfed nations are run from fortified ivory towers by uncaring corporate conglomerates interested only in their own wealth. Apart from a small band of ultra-rich "Consumers", the general citizenry has been abandoned to poverty; toothless serfs and peons left to wallow in the dirt, sifting through shit for scraps. Disease and Crime run rampant, leaping o'er hillocks hand-in-hand, and Despair oozes through the streets like some kind of emotional ectoplasm. Skylines are dominated by vast, blocky ziggurats, their lofty pitch-black walls displaying the oppressive catchphrase of the corporate government in massive white lettering, sans-serrif and sans compassion:

WE PWN U

Such pwnage is evident. Any kind of dissent amongst the general populace is met with a swift head-battering or jugular-stomping from state-hired thugs in hobnailed jackboots, followed by an indefinite period of incarceration in a dark and shit-smeared hellhole that stinks of shit.

The earth's environment has fared little better than its wretched human population. The vast majority of flora and fauna has disappeared from the face of the earth, killed off by greed and the chemicals of war, and there are no more fish. Acid rain empties from the unreal skies in relentless torrents, creating continual mists through which Hope can no longer be espied.

The Fraternity

Across the crowded nation once known as England (now called Penske's World™) an evil criminal organisation called The Fraternity runs amuck, waging a campaign of terror and extortion against the defenceless population. The Fraternity is free from reprocussions; for the Army no longer exists - having swapped its weapons for office stationery and its fatigues for white-cuffed-and-collared "Gordon Gecko" shirts - and the Police force serves only to protect the interests of the Penske Conglomerate. Officially known as the Peace Brigade Brought To You By Chowdhry-Chin Heavy Industries™ but referred to colloquially as the Peace Brigade or the Peebees, the Police force is characterised by brutishness and mindless thuggery. Most Peebees are giant, balding simpletons, heavily armed and bloodthirsty.

At the head of the Fraternity stands its secretive leader, a shady super-villain known only as The Mason. Besides his loyal human ranks of cyber-punks and electro-perps, The Mason also commands an army of huge stone warriors that are all but unstoppable. These Stonemen are created by The Mason deep in his heavily fortified underground lair, The Quarry, and they issue forth like an avalanche of evil to enforce his every command.

The Fraternity is involved in extortion, drug-dealing, mugging, murder, prostitution, bootlegging, gun-running, smuggling, buggery and racketeering, among many other crimes. Any rival gangs have long since been silenced by the Stonemen. The Mason has a monopoly on crime, and he makes the most of it. Every criminal, from the lowliest car-jacker to the loftiest pimp, pays monetary tribute to their overlord.

The civillians of Penske's World™ had long since given up any hope that The Mason could be stopped in his bid to extort and bully them. The Penske Conglomerate was unconcerned, provided The Fraternity did not get in the way of its profits. No civilian had the military might or know-how to combat The Mason's Stonemen; in fact nobody from the ravaged population had sufficient fighting spirit to even try.

But one day a self-reliant young orphan lad came into possession of a very special weapon. That lad was Emilio Quatrefoil, and that weapon was a ray gun that could make statues come alive.

The Fightback

Emilio Quatrefoil was originally one of a group of wild urchins inhabiting a derelict building in New Shadwell. As with most orphans, Emilio's true surname was unknown, so he had instead been named for the prominent birthmark on his neck, which took the form of a strange four-leafed device.

As an adventurous toddler the boy had struck up a friendship with Yamasaki-San, a reclusive old Japanese inventor who lived in a hovel nearby. Emilio found Yamasaki-San's inventions fascinating, and Yamasaki-San just relished the attentions of another human; for as a smelly old tramp he had been shunned most of his life, and as a result had surrounded himself with robot pals and gotten pretty weird.

Whilst dying from a terrible injury (sustained quelling a robot insurrection led by a Hello Kitty cyborg) Yamasaki-San bequeathed his independent young friend his most secret invention - an unimpressive-looking metal ray-gun, caked in rust. With his last feeble words Yamasaki-San testified to the awesome powers of the weapon, but Emilio did not believe him, putting it down to the lunatic rantings of an old eccentric at death's door. Yamasaki-San expired and Emilio left the old man's stinking abode for the last time, taking the crappy gun with him.

But lo! Emilio soon discovered that what the inventor had claimed was true. The amazed boy found he could make statues come to life when he fired his ray-gun at them.

At first these statues staggered around clumsily, screaming incoherent nonsense and ignoring the commands of "the Awakener", as they referred to the thirteen-year-old Emilio. They caused mayhem, smashing down walls, ripping up pavements and hurling small dogs away like cricket balls. Yet with practice Emilio found he could exert a measure of control over them. This control increased steadily over time as he honed his skill, until a point was reached when the boy was the master of the statues he had Awakened, and the majority of them submitted to his will.

Initially, Emilio had amused himself and the urchin-folk taking the weapon to museums. They found it a great laugh to Awaken statues in front of an unsuspecting public. Yet these simple larks came to a sudden end one day, and Emilio's life nosedived into a lake of seriousness.

One Autumn day, Emilio, out for a stroll, stumbled upon a malnourished civilian being menaced by Fraternity Stonemen in a backstreet. They were messing about with him in a most indecent fashion. Unwilling to stand by in the face of such villainy, Emilio realised he must do something but, being young and orphanly, the physical option was not available to him. So the stout-hearted boy shot ray-beams at a bunch of gargoyles perched upon a neighbouring building. Responding to the commands of the boy, the gargoyles launched from their parapets with wings outstretched and proceeded to harry and assault the Stonemen, allowing the civilian to make good his escape.

Emilio was treated as a hero by those residents of the area that had witnessed his defeat of the Stonemen (for defated they were, carried off by the gargoyles and dropped repeatedly onto dismembering rocks from great heights) for no-one had dared stand up to the Fraternity before. And in that moment the lad realised the awesome potential of the weapon.

From that day forth Emilio Quatrefoil swore to use his ray-gun to protect the long-suffering civilian population of Penske's World™. The weapon enables him to create statue armies in order to take the fight to the powerful forces of The Mason. Emilio must also battle the trigger-happy Peace Brigade, who are unconcerned with right and wrong and interested only in wrecking heads.

Comrades

Emilio has a team of comrades to aid him in his struggle.

Dogtron 3.0.0 Beta is a semi-sentient robotic attack dog and Emilio's most loyal companion, equipped with titanium fangs, retro boosters, a S.A.M. site, paw-mounted grappling hooks and a burglar alarm. Dogtron 3.0.0 Beta can also transform itself into Emilio's super-fast armoured motorcycle when the need arises, like when Emilio is being pursued down an abandoned tunnel by Fraternity henchmen with AKs (AKs still exist). However, Dogtron is prone to breaking down, as it is only a Beta release. Sometimes this works to Emilio's advantage (e.g. Dogtron's CPU crashes and launches a S.A.M. unexpectedly, only for the missile to take out an unnoticed attack helicopter that had snuck up on them) and sometimes to his detriment (e.g. Dogtron badly mauls a child).

Emilio's nineteen-year-old cousin Louis is an expert in kung-fu. Although hotheaded and inclined to violence, he often proves a valuable ally. Janey is Louis' little sister, and she is quite good at solving puzzles. Together the two have helped Emilio out of many tight spots.

Finally there is Winston, a statue of Winston Churchill that Emilio brought to life but that refused to return to statue state. Winston is a great military strategist. He is also the town drunk, and often gets hammered in the midst of a battle. During such occasions he becomes especially belligerent and can often be spied in the heart of the scrap, laying out Stonemen with fearsome (though inaccurate) right-hooks.

Apocalyptic three-way battles are frequently fought between the Fraternity, the Peace Brigade and Emilio's statue squads, and such battles can damage cities. In one such conflict, half of Bristol was destroyed when an army of stone skirmishers - sent by the Mason to pillage and plunder - was ambushed by Emilio's 1st Company. In that battle, Emilio's Field Marshall was the Statue of Liberty, who rode the Sphinx and smashed Stonemen to pieces with her mighty torch.

Vambie Zompire

By Johnny Fisher

Vambie Zompire ...................................

What is one of the most terrifying things you can imagine?

It'd probably be this: zombies and vampires waging an apocalyptic tribal-war on each other, inside a locked movie theatre, slap in the heart of the Central Business District of a small American town.

Something very similar to this happens in Vambie Zompire: The End of Days.

- - - -

How exactly the zombies and vampires came to be battling each other inside the locked movie theatre is not really important. What is important is that the battle is utterly brutal. Zombies rip limbs off vampires and smash their heads open to feast on the brains; vampires bite zombie throats out and spit away the oesophagi.

The ultimate strength of each respective side is subject to tremendous variation, due to the fact that when a vampire bites a zombie, that zombie becomes a vampire; and when a zombie bites a vampire, that vampire joins the undead ranks of the zombies.

The more an individual transmogrifies between vampire and zombie, the stronger, more decrepit and more malodorous that individual becomes.

In the midst of this insane, debauched slaugtherfest, a human is trapped. It is none other than the intrepid Vampire-Hunter, Roger McKindling. McKindling actually feels some sort of vague empathy with the vampires on this occasion, despite the fact that he has spent his formative years ramming wooden stakes through their breastbones and rubbing garlic on their eyeballs.

There are noted luminaries and celebrities on each side. Vlad "the Impaler" Tepes (Count Dracula) is on the Vampire side, and he is huge and nails. He of course dispatches many zombies in his traditional way (impaling them with giant spikes up their ass). However Dracula becomes a powerful zombie at one point when he is bitten by Baron Samedi, and he turns on the vampires, annihilating hundreds of his former colleagues in an unspeakably brutal fashion. (For instance, he rips one bloke's face off and chokes him with it).

Rob Zombie is the leader of the zombies.

As well as fighting for his life, Roger McKindling has a terrible choice to make. For the side that is ultimately victorious will turn its attentions to escaping from the movie theatre, eventually spilling out onto the streets to begin the human holocaust.

Which fate is preferable for mankind? Death at the merciless fangs of vampires, or death at the disembowelling hands of zombies?

The Human Matryoshka

By Johnny Fisher

The Human Matryoshka ...................................

Picture the scene.

Three implausibly attractive and moronic American college girls are vacationing in Europe when they become stranded in the creepy wilderness of Hungary, after their monstrously obnoxious Humvee-sized Sports Utility Vehicle breaks down.

The evening is cold and the rain falls in unrelenting sheets, and after struggling for a while in a doomed attempt to fix the problem (as if they were equipped to master the arcane complexities of the internal combustion engine) the trio admit defeat and head towards a distant darkling village, through the kind of unspeakable quagmire that can only arise when torrential rain meets a Hungarian dirt road.

Slipping continually on the wet and muddy track in such a way that the mud clings to their skimpy clothing and reveals the shapely contours beneath, the three emerge through a stand of trees into the large front garden of a secluded homestead. Beating upon on the nice clean front door with their muddy paws and yelling at the top of their voices with the sort of ignorant insensitivity that comes so easily to the vacuous, the door is eventually opened by an austere-looking Hungarian man whose eccentric and lecherous behaviour would immediately set the alarm bells ringing in the heads of those less self-absorbed. Inviting them in to clean up and get some rest, he asks the girls all sorts of suspicious questions, and at one point remarks favourably on the fact that the three are all of different heights.

The trio of college girls somehow remain oblivious to the murdery-vibe that oozes from this weirdo, focused as they are on getting their shapely lips round cups of (drugged) hot cocoa and their sexy naked mud-stained bodies into (secretly filmed) hot showers.

And guess what happens? Yep, the drugged cocoa sends the three she-berks into unconsciousness, and they awake some hours later to discover it is all about to go very wrong.

It turns out that the Hungarian is a mad psycho surgeon called Dr Bakos, who was struck off the medical register for doing weird shit to children, or animals, or something. Maybe he turned children into animals? Anyway, the girls discover that they are his most recent abductees; the prison within which they awake is inhabited by several other unfortunate American tourists, varying in ethnicity and height from LaMarcus (8ft tall college basketball star) to Little Vinnie (New York midget taxi-driver).

Dr Bakos proceeds to give a protracted presentation to the prisoners using MS PowerPoint and, over a series of slides linked by genuinely impressive transition animations, he demonstrates what he has lined up for them. In his insanely depraved wisdom he has contrived a way of creating a Human Matroyska - that is, a human version of those Russian dolls that go inside one another. The extensive surgery required to facilitate this procedure will of course be conducted without anaesthetic, and the tools used will look like crude rusty saws.

As it progresses, the film becomes more and more intense. Suffice to say that its unnecessarily graphic and involves things like shit going in asses.

Slumber

By M. Dangermond & I_PWN_YER_MA_84

...................................

Slumber is basically the traditional hard-boiled Asian cop drama, with a few twists.

The main character, Slumber (real name Hiroyasu Sato), is a Tokyo-based kung-fu cop who suffers from narcolepsy. This affliction gets him into all sorts of scrapes. For instance, he might leap across a gap between two buildings in pursuit of a suspect, only to fall asleep in mid-air.

Slumber therefore relies heavily on the asisstance of his sidekick - an Irish ex-con called Mickey Spuds. Spuds previously spent eight years in prison for GBH. His signature move as an active criminal was to use a potato peeler on people's faces. However, after getting out of prison, a wise old sensei got Miceky to reform his ways, teaching him to dissipate his inner anger through speech. Therefore he tends to speak a lot.

Slumber's main antagonist is a Malaysian crimelord called Phil Tetchi. He is a morbidly obese insomniac, with a tiny pet dog named Stephen McAlpine. Tetchi is formidably clever, but also prone to tempers, and even hallucinations, due to his lack of sleep.

Together, Slumber and Mickey Spuds fight against the criminal machinations of Phil Tetchi, across the Tokyo underworld.