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Chapter 9 - The 'G' Men
And so life on the satellite continued as normally as was possible for a marooned janitor and four homemade robots.
Down at Gizmonic, however, it was a completely different story.
In August, the fiscal year at Gizmonic drew to a close and the Gizmonic executives began to draw up a budget for the ensuing 12 months.
Due to the beginning of a small recession which resulted in poor earnings for the previous two quarters, they were looking for ways to make cutbacks.
As they poured over the books for pig programs, the names of two scientists continued to come up.
If I haven't foreshadowed enough yet, they were, of course, Dr. Clayton Forrester and Dr. Laurence Erhardt.
Forrester had made 16 requests for funds to be allocated to Project Borius in April alone.
As well, the executives were concerned about the safety of the project, as it had consumed the life of a young janitor just nine months before.
The board decided, unanimously, that the pair was up to something and to watch their every move to find out what it was.
They granted Forrester another $23,000 in order to make everything appear normal, and then they waited.
"I'm telling you, Larry, we've got to do something," Forrester said, relaying what he had seen and heard from the board meetings.
Being ever so slightly paranoid, Forrester had been keen enough to install cameras in the board room several months ago and was able to witness the meetings that had taken place over the previous few weeks.
As glad as he was that that the bigwigs still thought Joel was dead, he was worried that soon all of his grand plans would be discovered.
"Lar," he said, "We've got to find another site to perform our experiments."
And so they did.
Scouring over the blueprints of Gizmonic Institute, they located an old research site that had been abandoned the previous year, for reasons that the Mads could not determine.
'Deep 13,' it was called; the 13th subbasement inside Gizmonic.
Clay and Lar moved the majority of their research equipment to this basement late one Saturday night after everyone at Gizmonic had gone home, and, as they finished, fell asleep on a couch they found in a corner.
Chapter 10 - The 'G' Men: Part 2
Forrester realized that he could no longer make massive budgetary requests under the guise of legitimate science.
He needed to find a way to get money without the institute realizing it.
He needed a perfect way. As well, he also knew that he and Larry had to continue with their 'regular' lives at Gizmonic, so as to not arise suspicion.
As long as they needed to go out and buy groceries, Forrester needed the ability to easily get back onto the Gizmonic campus.
He had decided long ago that this experiment would necessitate 24 hour monitoring, and that he and Larry would have to sacrifice their personal lives to keep track of Joel.
Not that he and Lar had much in the way of a personal life.
They both worked every day of the week, and Clay typically slept in his office, that is, when he did sleep.
He took showers in the clean room entrances that were typically used to sanitize the space suits that were worn when working with potentially harmful chemicals.
He really only left to buy the food that stocked the mini-fridge he kept under his desk.
But the money. Where was he going to get the money from? And then it hit him like a sack of potatoes.
"Invention exch - OWWW! What in Sam Hi.... Larry?" Forrester exclaimed.
"Oh, sorry, Clay," Erhardt apologized, "I didn't see you there."
"I see you went to the store. But what do we need this many potatoes for?"
"Well, how else am I going to power my clock radio?"
Forrester lowered his head and sighed.
"Say, Clay," Larry stated, "What were you mumbling about inventions when I came in?"
Forrester jumped up, "Oh, I almost forgot! Larry, I've solved all of our money problems!"
"How's that?" Larry wondered.
"It's simple. We use Joeleen's own talents against him," Forrester said, "Joel loves to invent things.
Heck, that's how we got him to get on the satellite in the first place, offering him the chance to test out his new backpack vacuum.
Anyway, we tell Joel that we want to have a weekly invention competition.
We can whip up real garbage like... a public domain karaoke machine, or dog deodorant, or something.
And Joel, true to his nature, will put his all into his inventions.
And then, we can take his ideas, patent them, and sell them to Dayton's and Radio Shack.
"We'll make millions!" Larry said, "Radio Shack will sell ANYTHING!"
Forrester went on, "This will get the Gizmonic bigwigs off of our labcoats and let us operate in peace.
If we can dig a side tunnel out of Deep 13 here, then we won't even need to keep working at Gizmonic anymore.
As it is, we're stuck doing lab reports on Project Borius just so we can keep our gate codes and parking privileges."
As mad as the scientists were, they were still at least slightly above average in intelligence.
As expected, at their next transmission, Joel bought the invention exchange idea hook, line, and sinker.
It probably helped that they told him that if he didn't invent, that they would cut off his oxygen supply.
And so, August faded into September, and then September into October.
Aside from a single transmission in the middle of September to remind Joel that he was marooned in space (as though he could forget), the Mads did not contact Joel at all for almost two months.
The mads couldn't take Gizmonic's television transmission equipment to Deep 13 without arising significant suspicion, so Forrester and Erhardt were forced to build their own equipment from the ground up.
Because of Forrester's plan to resign from Gizmonic as soon as he could in order to avoid having to answer any difficult questions, the Mad's also built their own satellite transmission facility.
They spent nearly all of their Project Borius grant money on the transmission facility, and, with their last few dollars, retrofitted and reprogrammed an IBM PS/2 to control that facility as well as the S.O.L..
Chapter 11 - Blast From The Past
"Alright, Joeleen," Forrester spoke into the television camera in the Gizmonic TV control room, "This is going to be our last transmission to you..."
"Did you hear that Joel?!?" Servo interjected, "The mads aren't going to be sending us anymore bad movies!"
Joel responded, "Yea, Servo. Say, uhh, Doctor Forrester, does this mean that you'll be bringing us down now?"
Back at Gizmonic, Forrester continued, "Joel, you need to teach your Cracker-Jack prizes some manners or else they will soon meet the same fate as Skylab."
At this point, Dr. Erhardt walked into the frame, conveniently wearing a 'Skylab is falling' hard-hat, "And they told me I was crazy for buying three truckloads of these things.
Just a little bit of reprinting and we'll make millions!"
Forrester went on, ignoring Erhardt, "What I was trying to say, is, Larry and I have a new laboratory, and from now on, our transmissions will come from there.
We've also locked your 'Satellite of Love' into geo - stationary orbit over Gizmonic so that we can keep an eye on you 24/7.
No more space hide-and-go-seek.
"Me and Clay also came across a huge stockpile of old movies too," Larry stated, obviously pleased, "Rick Prelinger should really lock his doors at night."
Forrester smirked and added, "Yes, he should," Forrester then reached under the desk and retrieved three large boxes full of VHS tapes and 16mm film reels.
You are in for a world of pain Joel. I didn't even know there was a horror film sub-genre of Mexican wrestling films."
Forrester picked up one of the film reels and eyed it for a moment, "In fact, Lar and I are thinking about having you watch some of those Gamera movies again.
We got some very positive data from them."
Back on the satellite, Servo screamed, "NOOOOO! You told us you wouldn't send us any more Gamera films!"
At this, the crimson colored robot fell over onto the front of the desk, fainting.
In the process, his dome separated from his head.
Now very annoyed, Joel reached over and picked up Servo's dome, "Yea, Dr. Forrester, you told us you weren't going to send us any more flying turtle movies.
Look what you did to Servo here."
Forrester replied, "Well, Joelie, your forgetting that I'm mad.
I'll make you and your Charlie McCarthys do whatever I please."
Forrester gave Erhardt a knowing glance and the mad scientists, true to their namesake, erupted in maniacal laughter.
Chapter 12 - The Crawling Eye
And so it was November.
"Where is Larry?" Forrester pondered out loud to himself.
Dr. F walked over to some undefined area behind a rock wall and emerged putting-on a neon green labcoat, "That's strange.
Something about this place keeps making my clothes green.
I hope Larry calibrated our Geiger counter correctly before taking those readings."
This reminded Forrester, "Where is Larry!?! We've only got a few minutes before I told Joel we'd call him."
Forrester pulled back his sleeve to reveal not one, but two watches.
He stared at them for a few moments before rolling back his sleeve.
Forrester picked up a pencil, "Alright.. lets see. Movie?... check.
Clipboard?... check. Functioning transmission equipment?..." Forrester pushed a few buttons on the computer console.
The machine made a some whirring noises, "Check. Really cool remote control camera?..."
Forrester then picked up a television set-top UHF antenna that he had rewired to control a set of motors he installed into the the video camera's positioning mechanisms and he began playing with the controls, "Check."
The camera pointed up and down and all across Deep 13 as Forrester began smugly humming Feliz Navidad.
From the left, Dr. Laurence Erhardt ran onto camera, out of breath. Forrester center the camera on Larry and himself and set the device down.
Erhardt exclaimed, "Clay! Clay! I think I was spotted on the way down here!"
Forrester replied, "Did you wear your disguise?
"I was wearing my disguise," Erhardt stated, catching his breath, "but I'm just not very good in heels!"
Forrester reprimanded Erhardt, "No one must know we're down here doing this."
Erhardt apologized, "I'm sorry."
Changing subjects, and demeanor, Forrester said, "Well, it's time to call Joel about the experiment," he turned toward the camera and said, "Come in, Joely-Poely Puddin'-n-Pie!"
Up on the satellite, Joel was waiting for the Mad Scientists transmission, "Hey, sirs, I'm ready for this week's invention exchange..."
Down in Deep 13, the Mads nodded at each-other in accomplishment and Forrester retrieved their invention for the week.
Dr. F had already placed Radio Shack's corporate office on speed-dial.
This was going to be easier than they thought.
They had a source of funding, an endless supply of bad movies (at least, as long as Bruce Willis acts), and with their new broadcasting equipment, the ability to unleash the film that would break Joel's will upon the world.
The Mads, however, still didn't have a grasp on Joel's undeniable resilience to their films.
Forrester glanced at the monitor, where Joel and the robots were singing 'Whole Lotta Love' with Joel's electric bag pipes.
He looked over at Larry, who was beginning to double over in pain from the music.
"I love it!" he exclaimed, "Look, Larry's corneas are bleeding! Oh... well! It's time we sent you our experimental nugget this week, Joel. Now, human underarm perspiration..."
"Oh brother, Joel," Crow cried, as the Mads continued down in Deep 13, "Do we really have to watch this?"
"Yea, Crow, I'm pretty sure," Joel said, "Besides, they could invent something really useful."
"I'm leaving," Servo scoffed, "Call me when the movie is over."
Joel grabbed the red robot and held him in place, "I don't think so buddy. You're stuck in this with me."
Servo sighed and glanced back at the monitor just in time to watch Erhardt catch a dog treat in his mouth.
"Oh, brother!" Crow exclaimed, "Eww!"
Servo retorted, "That was pathetic!"
Joel, true to his nature, took interest in the Mad Scientists invention, as poorly put together as it was, "Hey, no. I thought that was really good, you guys.
You're doing really well, and I think that someday, you'll be ready for the Nobel Prize."
"Maybe for fiction!" Servo said.
Joel did a double take at the monitor and then said, "Hey! Hey, I noticed you moved.
You guys must've got kicked out of, uh, Gizmonic institute for shooting us into space like this, I bet."
Down in Deep 13, Erhardt was quick to respond, "Oh, don't be ridiculous! We moved!"
Forrester added, "It's... It's our grand re-opening! Uh, welcome to Deep 13!"
Somewhat concerned for his evil captors, Joel said, "Deep 13? Wait a minute!
That's in the sub-basement of Gizmonic Institute!
I had to clean up a flubber spill once there.
It's incredibly radioactive!"
Erhardt seemed unconcerned, "Well, it hasn't affected our brain any."
Forrester was equally unconcerned, "We like it here! Now we're even closer to the atomic pile. And one day...
Joel interrupted Forrester's likely tirade about taking over the world, "Well, I suppose it's time for you guys to start experimenting on us again."
The mads took a few moments to collect and converse amongst themselves, before Forrester said, "Well, it's a real stinkburger of a film this week, Joel.
It's called 'The Crawling Eye.'
Erhardt laughed and said, "Oh, it's got a bad audio track, it's in black and white, and worst of all, it stars Forrest Tucker!"
Forrester reflected, "Good name, bad actor," and then, added, "I'll put in the tape."
Both scientists laughed as Larry punched out a few minor key chords on the Mad's organ.
Perhaps money that could have been better spent on satellite transmission facilities, but hey, you don't get to become a mad scientist for no reason.
Up on the satellite, for the first time in six months, for Joel and the bots, klaxons rang out, lights flashed, and the whole satellite shook.
It was time.
As the bots panicked, Joel slapped the table and yelled out, "MOVIE SIGN!"
Toolmaster Jeff 'Jef' Zehnder
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Editing Finished: 1/21/2005