::8-Bit and Mademanna resume their places at the podium::


8-Bit: *Phew* Mademanna, you think you can handle this batch?  I'm tired from last time.


::Mademanna’s eyes grow large and she shakes her head::


Mademanna: Oh no! You're the fanfic author here.


8-Bit: Yeah, but your the young, strong one.


::Mademanna tries to look innocent::


Mademanna: Umm... I'm not strong! 


::8-Bit gets her eyes off the audience::


8-Bit: Oh come on! Anyway, it's some airtime for you. Just do it. And remember, I'll search across the land, look far and wide, release from my hand the power that's inside...'."


Mademanna: Oh, all <I>right</I>...


::She picks up the envelope timidly, almost as if she really was a little girl with stage fright::


Mademanna: Ummm...uhhh....


8-Bit: Come on, girl, calm, cool, and don't be afraid to say silly things."


::Mademanna takes one more shy look at the audience and returns her attention to the task at hand::


Mademanna: Ummm...okay. The nominees for the Best Mystery/Thriller story are:


Claw&Antler: Small Animals Unit  Small Town Heroes, by Rennod

Cobwebs of the Past, by Morgan Kohl

Once Upon A Dream, by Loki

Payback, by Matt Plotecher


::She opens the envelope, then starts to head off the stage. Fortunately, 8-Bit was watching and herds her back::


Mademanna: Okay, and to unite all peoples beneath our nation, the winner of the Best Mystery/Thriller category is…oops, the winners ARE “Claw&Antler: Small Animals Unit”, by Rennod and “Payback” by Matt Plotecher. A tie!


:: Rennod rises, totally surprised. A few of the people around him shake hands and slap him on the back, and then it’s time for him to take his place up on stage. Before he can make it up, from stage left ambles Dominic, a wolf spider, smiling gregariously to the crowd and presenters. The applause is hearty, partly out of honest enthusiasm, and partly because he's higher up in the food chain than half the audience. He steps up to the podium, accepting the award with one hand, shaking hands with the presenters with another, and waving to the crowd and cameras with the remaining two. Rennod waits at the edge of stage left, politely. Mademanna shrinks back a bit, leery of spiders, and Dominic takes the podium::


Dominic: On behalf of Matt, I'd like to thank those that helped out with the story in one fashion or another. John Nowak, Roy Neal Grissom, Jeff Pierce, and Chris Barat all contributed in manners of inspiration, editing, or just as a sounding board. Also thanks go to those who have followed the CNDRR series for this long. The fidelity that you show is noticed and greatly appreciated.


::He nods once and heads off, and Rennod comes forward. Mademanna appears as leery of Rennod as she was of Dominic, but 8-Bit comes forward and shakes his hand. Then Rennod kneels down and Mademanna timidly shakes hands with him as well. Rennod stands and faces the crowd::


Rennod: Wow. I was wondering if this story would win something, but I wasn't hopeful. From the beginning this work's had a troubled road to follow. It was my first story I ever really finished and took public, as it were. I got a few positive comments and a lot of constructive criticism for it. After all, mixing the styles of 'Rescue Rangers' with 'Law & Order' isn't the easiest thing. It's nice to see the story proved more than just a first try. Thanks to everyone who enjoyed the story and voted for it. This makes me think my writing fanfics is definitely worthwhile. I'm very appreciative. Thank you.


::With a hearty round of applause, Rennod lifts his award into the air and heads off the stage. Mademanna is right behind, all too eager to leave the spotlight. 8-Bit waves to the crowd and walks behind the curtain with Mademanna::