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BLACK FRIDAY: THE DEATH OF BLUE LEDIC

The stars shone dimly in the distance, and they twinkled inadvertantly, causing an uneasy disturbance within the huge metal ship. T. G. Taft slowly stared out at them, silently wondering how far away they Really were. Slowly he again turned his head downward; down to look at the planet beneath him, and sighed a very deep sigh.

He quickly strolled around the bridge of the huge metal starship that he was aboard, and it gave him a proud feeling to know that all of it was his. The whole fleet, in fact, was his; all six ships and all that they carried; his to do as he wished. But he turned his head to the floor when he remembered why he had had them built.

The ships were all part of Project Exodus; that is, the removal of a small part of Taft's empire from the Earth. The project would be moved to the planet Pluto, where a colony known as "Taft's Utopia" was to be built.

The fleet that was built to accomplish this purpose was now nearly completed; the fleet consisting of six ships: the passenger ship, the TGTS Sworshk; the cargo ship, the TGTS Plimpkin; the construction ship, the TGTS Slosh Gorshkin; the tanker, the TGTS Susantown; the Food ship, the TGTS Bob; and the amazing Flagship, the TGTS Susan Smith.

Located in the rear of the fleet, the TGTS Sworshk was the colony's passenger ship. It was a rather flat spaceship, and it contained the ten most "normal" families from Taft's Territory. These families were to form the nucleus of Taft's Utopia.

Next in line was the cargo ship itself, the TGTS Plimpkin. It was primarily a miscelaneous ship, carrying all the excess cargo that did not fit on any of the other ships. It also served as the garbage scow.

Sitting just in front of the Plimpkin was the TGTS Slosh Gorshkin, containing all the supplies needed to build the colony itself; especially the patented weather-dome. The dome was to protect Taft's Utopia from the frigid weather on the planet Pluto.

The TGTS Susantown was next, carrying all the fuel needed for the journey and for the colony. It was a huge cylinder in space, and it was estimated that the nuclear fuel aboard her would be sufficient for 101.4 million years.

The Second ship to the front was the food ship, the TGTS Bob. It contained all types of vegetables, fruits, meats, and grains, along with a seperate dairy section. It also contained the seeds needed for the colony once it arrived at its destination planet.

The pride of the fleet was her flagship, the TGTS Susan Smith. She was truly a beauty: On her portside was a huge network of holes, resembling a honeycomb, whereupon little fighter ships would emerge should the fleet ever be attacked. On her starboard was the huge superstructure, where, on the very top was the bridge. This is where T. G. Taft had been, staring out at the stars. The rest of the superstructure was made up of living quarters, recreational facilities, and, most importantly, the Laser. The Laser, by the way, was the Susan Smith's main weapon: It had the capability of total destruction from a very long distance away.

Project Exodus had been in the minds of T. G. Taft and the many Taft Lab Scientists for a long time, but it was finally executed when Taft realized that there was no way to split up the marriage that combined three of the six keys. He decided that the only way to stop the Power from being released once again one was to take one of the keys far, far, away, and so, with him aboard the Susan Smith, was the Tiara of Phumos. He hoped that its absense would help peace develop on his home planet.

T. G. Taft once again looked out the bridge windows, and quietly sat down in his huge custom-made command chair. "Somehow it doesn't feel the same..." he murmured, and once again stood up to look out of the huge glass windows that bordered the bridge. As he peered down toward Earth, he was reminded of a time long, long ago: A time when his greatest problem was not that of the Keys, but of writing his precious stories. Oh, yes: His stories! He sighed happily and walked out of the bridge; he meandered down a few halls and softly walked into his quarters. Once there, he quietly searched through the baggage that he had had sent aboard the ship. At last he picked out an old, dusty book, and read the Title Page: MY STORIES.

He settled down into his bunk, and read the whole thing from cover to cover. He sighed as he finished off "A Connection of Collections," and looked at himself in the mirror. "Those were the days..." He said to himself, nodding his head up and down a couple of times. Suddenly he jumped up with glee, and frantically searched for pencil and paper. He giggled to himself, and began scribbling frantically. "I guess good authors never die..." He said as he scribbled down another sentence...

ITS A CHECKERED WORLD AFTER ALL

The wind became blemished, brushing across the sunlight with a radiance of utter surprise, and it almost turned back towards itself with downright embarrassment. Deep beneath the skies Luke peacefully sat beneath the willow tree and thought about the many different faces of American Government: From the treasured electorial college system to the CHECKs and balances created in the Constitution. Suddenly, without him noticing, a young girl, about his age, snuck up behind him. She began to giggle. Then she began to laugh. Then laugh turned into roar... And that was the end of Luke...

Sam sat peacefully in the stands, watching the baseball game and eating some popcorn. "Come on Rangers! You're only 23 runs behind the Tigers!" Sam leaned peacefully back in his chair again, and began thinking about CHECKing the oil in his car, since it had been 50,000 miles since he had had it changed. Suddenly, without him noticing, a young girl, about his age, snuck up behind him. She began to giggle. Then she began to laugh. Then laugh turned into roar... And that was the end of Sam...

Bill slowly rumaged through some old papers, peacefully looking for some bank statements. Suddenly he stopped and sat down on a chair, taking out a big lamp. He slowly read the paper he had in front of him, and began to mumble to himself. Suddenly he picked the paper up and stared at it. "I wonder when I cashed that CHECK?" He thought, scratching his head. Suddenly, without him noticing, a young girl, about his age, snuck up behind him. She began to giggle. Then she began to laugh. The laugh turned into roar... And that was the end of Bill...

Paul and Rhonda sat in the back of Paul's car, peacefully looking into each others eyes. Paul blinked at her, and she blinked back, both knowing that they had found true love. "I wonder if I should CHECK to see when she has to be home," thought Paul, still absorbing those beautiful brown eyes. Suddenly, without him noticing, a young girl, about his age, snuck up behind him. She began to giggle. Then she began to laugh. Then laugh turned into roar... And that was the end of Paul...

David peacefully lay on his bed, silently playing a chess game with his computer. David sighed, fully knowing that he was behind by a queen, a rook, two knights and a pawn. And then David jumped up. He saw the perfect move. "CHECKmate!" David thought, as he peacefully moved his pawn into position. Suddenly, without him noticing, a young girl, about his age, snuck up behind him. She began to giggle. Then she began to laugh. Then...

"Stalemate!" The computer replied triumphantly. David stared at the screen a while, and then sank back into his bed, unhappilly wondering what had gone wrong. But instead of landing on his pillow as he thought he would, he landed on a young girl, about his age. "Who are you?" He demanded, for he was very surprised to see a girl in his room.

The young girl was also very surprised, as getting caught had never happened to her before. "None...of your...business." She said, nonchalantly. David got up a second, and took a wider view of the person that lay before him.

"Do you want to see something?" She asked him, carefully watching his eyes. David said nothing. Then the girl drew something on a nearby piece of paper.

"A CHECKmark!" David exclaimed, looking at the lines the girl had drawn. Suddenly the girl began to giggle. Then she began to laugh. Then laugh turned into...

"Of course!" Screamed David, and immediately ran out of the room. Soon he returned, however, with a large butcher knife in his hand. With a dangerous swish-noise, he began to practice cutting in the air.

"No!" She screamed, knowing how much she did not want to be sliced. "I'll tell you who I am."

"Talk."

"Well, a long time ago, when I was young, my family and I always had too many "checks." I mean, too many check-ups, too many check-lists, too many check-books. I just grew up hating the word 'check,' and, since my family has the power of Extra Sensory Perseption, I...well..."

"Go on."

"Well, I eat anyone who thinks of the word 'check'"

"I see."

Suddenly she stared at the boy, and decided to CHECK herself before she said too much. "You look familiar; Who are you?"

"KACHOMP!"

"Your brother." He mumbled, after finding a long toothpick.

T. G. Taft looked up from his paper and nodded happily. "I'll have this published as a going-away present to my fans," he thought happilly. Slowly he got up from his desk, and walked over to the viewport that occupied the west wall of his room. He could see, down far away, the Earth. Then he looked past the Earth into deep space. Quaintly, almost in a taunting fashion, he said aloud: "For now this is all mine. I wonder if there is anyone else, either out there or down there, courageous enough to challange me for it?"


 © 1984, 

L. Charles, D. Conrad, A. Duncan, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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