Friday, October 16, 2009

Czar d'Oz Episode III: TOTO

by Smitty

Start with the Czar d'Oz Announcement

Synopsis: In the year 2112, the characters retreated to a basement shelter to weather a monster tornado. Making an early trip to the local seat of government, they uncovered information pertaining to an experimental time machine located in Seattle.

"He could..."

[Murdoch's office. Murdoch is fat, balding, opulently dressed, and seated facing stage right. Peter Lyon is at mid-stage, with Martin, Julius and Zeda at stage right, standing at ease, facing the desk, too.]

Murdoch: Let me see if I understand this clearly. You four are taking my prize Terrain Obstacle Transformation Observer, whose experimental power plant can make two trips across the US between fuelings, and driving to the capital at the New Chicago Vortex in Michigan to petition President Barack Soros Obama for aid?

Peter: We had thought that the Car Czar might be a better place to start. Might the POTUS be aiming too high?

Murdoch: No, the last year's models were worse than the usual roller-dreck, and the Car Czar is out of favor. Word is that some other Eternals covet his job.

You also realize that makes the Governor of Kansas and the Flyover Czar both look like prize chumps for not fixing Kansas after this killer tornado, don't you? The death toll is at 187 and climbing.

Peter: Of course it does. However, it's not too late to get you on the ballot for Governor this November. And don't you think it's high time that the House of Sebelius was…restructured?

Murdoch: That's a good point. But the way the system works, we'll have to offer some kind of sweetener to Obama to encourage the desired behavior.

Peter: Barack Soros doesn't have any monuments in the area. Proposing something flattering might work.

Murdoch: But where?

Peter: The Sebelius Estate along the Kansas River might offer some possibilities, particularly if the investigation raised doubts about how the land had been acquired, and further ambiguities were raised about spending on tornado preparadness under the Sebelius tenure.

Murdoch: I do like the way you think, Lyons. Clearly you're looking for a Chief of Staff position, or so?

Peter: Well, now, one focuses on the task at hand, which is getting Kansas back in order, and lets the details fall as they may, doesn't one?

" luring.."

[In Murdoch's fortress garage. An SUV-sized vehicle with a tandem rear axel and a tear-drop shape emerges. The rear is slightly higher than the front, for that mean look. The vehicle rolls on from stage right and stops at the center, while Martin, Zeda, Julius and Peter await stage left. A sliver-haired man with a dash of black at the bangs gets out.]

Martin: Ah, the legendary TOTO. She was designed by an old buddy of mine from the Army.

Leno: You knew Shelby Carroll?

Martin: Yeah, we had some…fun…you could say, during that whole Zambiniland fiasco. That was a…time. American people used to be dead-set against foreigners commanding our troops. There was a reason. [Martin glances at his prosthetics, flexes a hand, triggering mechanical groans].

Leno: Well, if you know that much, you know that this custom rig doesn't get too far without daddy knowing about it. Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more. [He does kneel and point at a location under the frame.]

Martin: Got it. Thanks.

[The four pile in.]

"…us in."

[A cutout of TOTO without the top and left side dominates the center stage. An elevated flat screen positioned at stage rear serves to move the scenery by. It shows a still scene of Kansas fields, with the words RIGHT VIEW at the bottom. The characters walk around and get into TOTO from the back. Martin is driving, and he carries a puck-like object. Zeda rides shotgun, with Julius and Martin in back.]

Zeda: Well, you already raised their suspicions by going Northeast on US-4, instead of East on I-70 to Kansas City. When do we make our break?

Martin: Oh, now is as good a time as the present. [Makes turning motions to left. The screen still says RIGHT VIEW, and pans.]

Zeda: 247th Road going West? OK, well, Murdoch can only have us ventilated once. Julius, you look back and right, and Peter, you look back and left. We're not safe until we're not in Kansas anymore.

[The stage lights dim to indicate some passage of time, then come back up. The scenery moves past at a good clip on the screen at the back of the stage.]

Martin: [Receiving some comms over his headpiece, nods] Understood. We'll be seeing you in a couple of minutes. Bye.

Julius: I see them coming up behind us!

Zeda: OK, we just passed Haskell Road.

(full size)

Martin: Right. Here's what's happening. Some old friends of mine have an ambush set on the lake at Leisurely Drive. Hold on. [The engine roars, and the scenery blurs and rolls by behind them.] What've we got?

Peter: There are two air cars, one smaller than the other, behind us.

Martin: Stand by. We're going to see what some of these ground-effect controls can do. [The background scenery slows and lurches as the car tilts to its right, away from the audience. Muffled jet turbine whine and tire squeals. The screen says RIGHT VIEW, and pans to the right, showing the two air cars in pursuit, but they quickly fall off the screen.]
I doubt anyone's ever taken a right turn from 274 onto Greely Road at 100 clicks, but this ride can do it.

Peter: [Agitated] They're gaining! They're gaining! Look at them bank on that turn!

Martin: [Muttering into his headset] Almost there. You should be seeing the dust cloud coming up from the South. Zeda, you look green. It might be easier to just close your eyes.

Zeda: Get bent.

Martin: Like this?

[He violently turns the car to the right, and the jets and tires wine and squeal louder still. The background scenery remains on RIGHT VIEW and again shows the two air cars, much closer, before the forward motion of TOTO causes them to fall off the right side of the screen. The image stabilizes for a moment on a lake, and then returns to land and is wildly shaken and distorted by a huge explosion behind TOTO. He jerks the wheel again to the right, to make the turn down Leisurely Drive, and the view on the screen pans to show a huge fireball where a bridge used to be, making a small mushroom cloud. The second alloy air car comes to a fish-tailing stop, then changes direction to go back to Greely Road. Martin stomps on the accelerator, and the view pans left as he straightens, then shows houses screaming past. He gets to the other end of Leisurely Drive and takes another hard right onto Greely Road. The screen now changest to FORWARD VIEW at the bottom, and the alloy air car is limping toward them, shuddering and shimmying, an increasingly big blotch on the screen.]

Martin: Some game of chicken this is. He's either had a fan casualty, his batteries are drained, or he's too big of a coward to go at it like the old days.

Peter: He could be luring us in.

Martin: Fair point.

[The air car moves right on the screen, as Martin veers left, out into the flat wheat field. TOTO goes 4-wheel drive automatically. They go North past the air car, loop around to the South, and come up on the right quarter of the limping air car, now at the left edge of the screen, still set to FORWARD VIEW.]

Martin: They got nothin'.

[Martin stops TOTO, rolls down the window, and picks up the tracker device from the floor. It has one stage of epoxy smeared all over it. On cue, Zeda reaches over with another tube, squirts a black paste on, and stirs it. Martin heaves the sticky tracker at the air car, throwing it off stage left. The FORWARD VIEW screen shows the puck stuck to the quarter panel of the air car. Martin rolls up the window, guns it, and they exit, turning right on 278th Road.]

Julius: So, you just arranged with the locals you know to ambush the authorities? If we weren't committed before, we're committed now.

Martin: Yeah, this is a community of folks that served together in Zambiniland. Still remember the Old Constitution, too. It would be great to stop and thank them. But they kinda understand what's goin' on. Murdoch's too busy with the tornado cleanup to spare more pursuers. Let's get the fizrock out of here.

Next episode: Porch

Copyright 2009, Christopher L. Smith


  1. Smitty, I finally did you up over at TCOTS. Also, I posted this announcement: ANOTHER RAAAAACIST MASTERPIECE!!!.

  2. I'm disturbed by the quality of this. It seems less like satire and more like a solid dystopian sci-fi in need of a good editor. Strange for a Porch Manque product.

  3. @FRO,
    Yeah, it would have been better to retain Little Miss Attila beforehand...