::A great deal of grunting and heaving is heard off-stage for several minutes. A few members of the audience fidget impatiently, wondering what the heck is going on. A squirrel with silver markings finally emerges onto the fiery sunset of the Radio City Music Hall stage, dressed in black formal wear and clawing his way forward on all four paws. A rope, tied around him as a harness, comes after the squirrel and before the large, human-scale hand-held tape recorder he's dragging. The squirrel finally makes his way to the podium with his enormous cargo, takes a moment to lie on the ground and pant for breath, then unties himself and stands up, oblivious to the strange looks he's getting::


Silver Shadow: Good evening, fellow Rangerphiles. I'm here to present the Most Improved Author award. First, the nominees:


- Midnight Man

- Mr. Spumoni

- Mayhem


Silver Shadow: It takes great skill to create a great work—but even before that, it takes great dedication to achieve great skill, and great dedication to continue to hone that skill. Throughout this past year, these nominees each displayed the dedication, the skill, and the works; the recognition from their fellow Rangerphiles proves that much. And now, our winner.


::Silver Shadow takes an envelope from a pocket and toys with it for a minute::


Silver Shadow: Or should I tell you why I dragged a tape recorder up here?


::The audience provides a few cries of assent. The squirrel grins::


Silver Shadow: Excellent! You see, BOC42—Boxy to most of you—was originally slated to present this award and two others, but had to withdraw due to the time constraints of Real Life (TM). I ended up with her presentations, but I thought you might like to hear her thoughts anyway. I grabbed my tape recorder, hunted her down—no mean feat with that monster strapped to my back—and asked her for a few words of wisdom.


::Silver climbs on top of the tape recorder and fiddles with the buttons. Boxy's voice emerges from the device::


BOC42: Good job, they're all wonderful writers!


::Silver pauses and fast-forwards::


Silver Shadow: No, that wasn't what I wanted...


::He hits play::


BOC42: I dunno... no comment?


::Silver rewinds, muttering "Technology, how you vex me," before hitting play again::


BOC42: Writing process... It hurts... It's like hearing voices, but it's okay, because I'm not a certified doctor and can't diagnose them, but I recommend lots of chocolate…


::Silver rewinds again::


BOC42: Tell them that...um...Spumoni deserves a two-stage snow blower to get all the snow off his driveway. Midnight deserves a five thousand dollar shopping spree to the music store of his choice. Mayhem deserves a front row seat to the mayhem at the end of the world.


Silver Shadow: I'm still trying to figure out how to interpret that one.


::Silver fiddles with the fast-forward and rewind buttons again::


BOC42: Hello? Yes, just one second. Mom, phone!


::Silver hits the stop button::


Silver Shadow: Ah, yes, the...interlude...to our interview. You needn't worry about that fiasco. Just a bit of hard-earned advice—stay away from wireless phones that have been dipped in chocolate fondue, particularly when the dipping was intentional. There are a few more voice clips, but you needn't worry about them. They were mostly her responses to me prodding her arm with a pen until she got fed up enough to take the tape out of my recorder and shove me in instead. Don't worry, though, she let me out after a few episodes of Perry Mason calmed her down.


::Silver jumps down, goes to the podium, takes the envelope out again, and opens it::


Silver: And, with Boxy's blessing, we can move along. Ladies and Gentlemen, Rangerphiles all, I give you 2007's Most Improved Author. The winner is...Mr. Spumoni!


::From the back, a very familiar and rather hoarse voice pleads::


Spumoni: No foolin’?


::Salazar Ovid Spumoni gathers himself up and comes once more down the long aisle of Rockefeller Center. He looks rather tired, and he blinks in the spotlight, waving absent-mindedly into the crowd::


Spumoni: Now, let’s see if I remember…


::The rat rubs his chin and looks up into the lights, blinking::


Spumoni: Oh yes, I remember…


[quote]Hey! Rescue Rangers!

Haven't seen that show in years!

Who was that cute mouse?[/quote]


Spumoni: That was the very first written work I submitted to the story board, a simple haiku about the Volume 1 DVD set. Less than two years later I had completed and released a 103,298 word epic and two short stories.


::He smiles widely and looks to the crowd once more—he’s beginning to look quite tired::


Spumoni: I thank the fandom for sensing something resembling growth in my works. I look forward to my farther maturation as a writer, and I look forward to seeing who else comes up and grows in the coming years.


::Once again giving a two fingered salute to the clapping crowd, this time a little slower than before, a tired looking Spumoni departs the stage::


Silver Shadow: Congratulations! It's well deserved, and I know we're all watching to see what you write next. On to the next presentation!


::Silver Shadow reties the rope around himself while muttering darkly about the "fun part." He gets down on all fours and inches his way toward the curtain. The towering tape recorder grudgingly follows and finally disappears off-stage. A short moment later, a loud crash and miniature earthquake startle everyone as the tape recorder topples over::


Silver Shadow (from offstage): OW! Medic!