::Dr. Indy comes out, this time uncharacteristically to give a presentation himself. Having reclaimed his whip from NeoBat, he checks it as he walks toward the podium, its presence reassuring in case any of the Hovitos tribe try crashing the scene::

Dr. Indy: It’s my pleasure and honor to introduce the candidates for this year’s Best Story. Fanfiction on the Internet has come to mean a lot more than simply stories told about the characters the writer likes, particularly in the Rangerphile community. Our fanfictions are extensions of both the writers and the characters, giving our favorite characters new life while presenting a view of reality that says “This is the way things could be.”


::Dr. Indy takes a sip of water::

Dr Indy: I say “could be” because each writer has a different view of how things can turn out. We all bring a wagonload of individual influences and perspectives to our writing, many of which we aren’t even aware of. But to have a story voted best, it requires some common traits. First, the characters have to live on the pages. Second, the story has to be solid. And third and perhaps most important, the story has to be interesting.


::A stagehand comes and brings Dr. Indy the envelope::


Dr. Indy: Now, let’s see who has best fulfilled those requirements this year. The nominees are:


“Gadget's Quest”, Kevin Sharbaugh

“Gadget Until Proven Innocent”, Morgan K.

“Gadget in Chains”, Loneheart

“A Ranger's Trek”, The Gnome

“A Romance for the Romantics”, Rachel Gloess

“Dale the Detective: Case of the Nabbed Necklace”, Indy & Chris Silva


::Dr. Indy grins::

Dr. Indy: Since I had one in the running, you can probably guess that I didn’t win. But I know who did, and their names are Kevin Sharbaugh for “Gadget’s Quest” and Morgan K for “Gadget Until Proven Innocent”!


::KS, his mouth mostly obscured by his mustache which joined into a bushy beard which has gone untrimmed for the chill weather, strides up to the podium in a standard tuxedo to accept the award and waits for the polite applause to wane before proceeding::

KS: I would like to thank everyone for this award, but particular thanks goes to all the mothers in the world, my own included. "Gadget's Quest", for the most part, was the most elaborate Mother's Day present I'd ever created... which explains the reason I published the final chapter when I did. It was a literary token of appreciation to that person who has given us the most yet has asked for the least in return. In that sense, this award goes to the mothers and fathers who have given so much, and would have given so much more if the need arose, for us their children. Their sacrifice and dedication was very much the inspiration for this story.

::Having let the emotional aspect of the previous statement be appreciated, matters were turned to less significant matters...::

KS: The story was also an effort on my part to excise the sense of disappointment I felt with the previous work, "The Wandering Feather", which was not quite what I'd wanted it to be. It was long, awkward, and the end was needlessly rushed. But "Gadget's Quest", though written on a deadline, felt better handled... if that makes any sense... it was the story I *wanted* it to be. Thank you all, including Mom.

::With a smile and an appreciative nod to the audience, KS proceeds to exit the stage with his award. The applause shows the audience’s appreciation, and now it’s Morgan K’s turn to come up. A loud thud is heard from the audience::

Chip: What was that?

Crisscross: Oh, my author just fainted. He'll be okay in a second.

::Amid giggles from the crowd, the mighty metal foxbot grabs Morgan by his collar and begins to drag him up the aisle towards the podium. A face-splitting grin is on Morgan's face. He looks catatonic in sheer, unbelieving bliss. Chris backs up the stage stairs, thumping his author a bit, who doesn't notice. Morgan is dragged over to the podium, but is still out like a light.

::Crisscross scratches his head::

Crisscross: What am I gonna do now?

::In the audience, Sparky stands up, and produces a Jacob’s ladder between his fingertips::

Sparky: Perhaps I could be of some assistance?

Crisscross (alarmed): Uh, thanks but no thanks, Sparkster. I'm trying to revive him, not kill the guy!

::Having had quite enough of this, Widget gets up out of her seat with a defiant look on her face. She hands Gimcrack to Jurgen (who's wondering what his femme fatale is up to now) and stomps up towards the stage::

Crisscross: Is there an anesthesiologist in the house? No, wait, um... What's the opposite of an anesthesiologist?

::Chris notices Widget headed his way::

Crisscross: Uh, hello, Ryoko. Whatcha doin'?

Widget (very no nonsense): Step aside, Bishop. I know how to jump start this fanboy.

::Widget leans over and whispers something in the catatonic author's ear. Instantly, Morgan springs to life, looking around in every direction at once, a totally goofy smile on his face::

Morgan: Really? Really? Where, where?!?

Crisscross (to Widget): What exactly did you do?

Widget: I told him my sister wanted to give him a kiss on the lips.

::In the audience, Gadget blushes like mad::

Crisscross (rolls his eyes): I shoulda known.

::The audience laughs, and with assistance from the fox, Morgan gets to his feet and takes the podium::

Morgan (still slightly woozy): Okay, ha ha. Good one Widget. (clears his throat) Um... (looks out over the crowd; he's obviously not used to this) Wow. Gosh. Um...

::Crisscross gives him a 'hurry the heck up' nudge::

Morgan: Oh, okay. Well, fellow Rangerphiles, I'm sure you can understand my total shock at winning this. I've always been a worrier when it comes to my writing. Whenever I finish a longer work, some part of my mind always insists on saying it's just junk and no one will like it.

Luckily for me, I can always count on at least a few nice comments on the cafe or a few nice emails to reassure me that my work is appreciated. Knowing somebody out there enjoyed my writing, was entertained, and most importantly, derived some happiness from it, is the most wonderful feeling I, as a writer, can experience.

Knowing that enough of you out there liked this enough to nominate it, and enough of you voted it *best* story (I'm still amazed at that!), is the greatest honor I think I've ever gotten. I'm serious. Sure, I've gotten other commendations in that banal realm we call 'real life', but this Golden Acorn blows 'em all away. This was won for doing something that I love doing, given to me by the ones who I wrote all this stuff for in the first place. So, thank you. All of you.

And before I step down, I'd like to thank those that deserve this even more than me. My characters. Some canonical, some mine, some belonging to others, all of whom I care about. Chris and Widget, you're already up here, but would Gadget, Trackball, Luwainee, Sergeant McDugell, Chip and Tammy please come on up?

::As the crowd applauds, the named rodents all ascend to the stage, waving and smiling to the cameras::

Morgan: Thank you, every one of you!

::The triumphant author raises his award on high, surrounded by his characters. Gadget, Widget and Luwainee snuggle up to him, giving him the unique experience of a triple blond mouse hug sandwich. Gadget, swept up in the emotion of the moment, kisses Morgan's cheek. He immediately swoons and passes out again::

Crisscross: Guess I'll hafta drag him back now...

::Dr. Indy laughs, watching as Crisscross takes his writer back to his seat::