Break Seven--The Plot Thickens, or A Light Knocks Indy's Lights Out

::A man in a fedora and a man in dark shades confront each other on the sidelines of the stage, behind the curtain and out of sight of the audience::

Indy (worried): Rennod, we have a problem.

Rennod (politely defiant): I’m still not wearing that tux.

::Indy shakes his head and waves his hands in dismissal::

Indy: No, this is different! The audio just cut out and Katie Courier says we’ve lost the feed to camera three.

::Rennod raises an eyebrow and tilts his head in confusion::

Rennod: Eh?

Indy: I don’t think it’s the equipment. You’re an electrician, can you find the problem?

Rennod: Well, let’s check it out…

::They both walk to the back of the backstage area. Rennod opens a cabinet, revealing a guinea pig furiously running in an exercise wheel to the tune of a ringing bell, turning a generator which ran to one arm of an electrified mouse, whose other arm was touching electrical feeds to the theatre lights and rigging::

Rennod: Well, this part of the system seems to be running okay...

::Indy glares at his co-host::

Indy: I thought I told you not to do that...

Rennod (shrugging): They volunteered, actually.

Buzz (motivated): Running....running...running...running...running...running...

Sparky: H-h-hap-p-p-py...t-t-t-to-o-oo...h-h-hel-ll-lll-lpp...

Indy (annoyed): Get them out of there!

Rennod: Sure thing.

::Rennod disconnects the bell. Buzz plops in a heap, exhausted, and the generator dies down. The eerie blue-white glow around Sparky fades slowly::

Buzz: Ahhhh....

::The guinea pig is snoring within seconds::

Sparky: Wow! I haven’t had a charge like that in....well, I don’t know, really. Where are we, anyway?

Indy: At the Golden Acorn Awards.

Sparky: Oh, silly me! I thought we were at the New York Metropolitan Opera House!

Rennod: You are.

Sparky: Oh, well at least I’m not at those silly Golden Acorn Awards. Whew, talk about a waste of money...

Indy (stammering): Wha--??

Rennod: Take it easy, there, Indy...

Sparky: Who thought those up, anyway?

Indy (spluttering): But—

Rennod: It’s okay. Let’s just go this way...

Sparky: I wouldn’t be caught there even if I were a presenter!

::Rennod leads Indy away before the latter blows a brain circuit. They had only gone a short distance when Indy regains control of himself and they come upon something strange::

Rennod: Hey, look! This is where the equalizer and amplifiers used to be that drove the left channel speakers. It’s been ripped out. Which camera did you say they lost?

Indy: Three. That’s on the left side, too, kinda up there...

::As they look upwards, they see the camera’s gimbal-mount protruding empty from the wall. The camera, too, has gone. Suddenly, the lights around and above them flicker out::

Indy: What? Hey! Yaargh!

Rennod: Hey! Ah! Ack! What? Ooof!

::Scuffling sounds ensue, followed by a crash::

Voice From Above: Oh, drat! Well, I can make do with just one...

::The lights come back on. Rennod finds himself sitting down on a stool, a pair of black dress pants halfway pulled on over his jeans. Indy had tried to take advantage of the confusion by upgrading his co-host’s wardrobe. The adventurer’s fedora has a big dent in it, and a smashed small stage light lies near him. Obviously, it has fallen from above and knocked him out. Then Rennod notices what is encasing most of his legs::

Rennod: AAAAAAAAAAAAAGGHH!! Dress pants! Gaaaack! Poison! Filth! False formality! Arrgh!

::Rennod flails, frantically trying to tear the black dress pants off of him. Once he has pulled the dress pants off of his jeans, Rennod kneels beside Indy and makes sure he is all right. He bends down by his ear::

Rennod: I’ve told you before, I don’t wear fancy clothes. Come on, wake up, pally...

::As he shakes his head slowly and tries to revive Indy, far above a short hooded figure swiftly makes off with several small stage lights, carrying them back to the rest of the stolen pieces and parts being collected for some sinister purpose::

US Award for Best Prose

::Alex and Alicia look over the list of nominees for the next award::

Alex: Hey, I read that story. It was a good one.

Alicia: Really? I’m surprised.

Alex: What? That I’d read a fanfic?

Alicia: No. I’m surprised that you can read.

Neobat: Okay you two, knock it off! Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for my friends here. They can be unruly at times. Now can we please get on with this?

Alex: All right, big guy. Don’t get your shorts in a bunch.

Alicia: In the category of Best Prose, the nominees are…

Alex: “Claw & Antler: Small Animals Unit – Small Town Heroes”, by Rennod.

Alicia: “Gadget In Chains”, by Loneheart.

Alex: “The Untold Ranger Tales” (All Parts), by Indy & Chris Silva.

Neobat: And the winner is “The Untold Ranger Tales”!

::Indy and Chris walk on stage, this time to the “Odd Couple” theme song::

Indy: Okay boys, take five.

::The boys in the orchestra laugh and settle down. Indy starts things off::

Indy: We appreciate this award...

::Chris interrupts, his smile full of mischief::

Chris: We're not sure what the award is for, but we're still thankful for winning the category!

Indy: Chris, we weren't going to tell them that!

::The audience laughs while Indy blushes in the spotlight::

Indy: Um, anyway I think it refers to our use of verse in the Untold Ranger Tales, something I decided to add as a way of getting into the inner thoughts of the characters. It was also a way of expressing emotions that they couldn't have openly shown otherwise. I think it is through verse that a person can reveal what their innermost heart is, and I tried to give that quality to the Rangers in the story. Thank you very much.

::The audience applauds kindly::

Neobat: On behalf of my friends and myself, I’d like to thank you for letting us be part of this special occasion. C’mon you night flyers, let’s go.

::With Alicia perched on his shoulder and Alex fluttering nearby, Neobat starts to exit the stage along with Chris and Indy::

Neobat: I can’t take you two anywhere! Especially you, Alex! For cryin’ out loud, BODY ARMOR?! Why didn’t you just show up armed to the teeth? I wonder if other authors have this much trouble with their characters?

US Award for Best Use of a Recurring Series Character

::Two female mice walk onstage. One is dressed in a perfectly pressed business suit of a dark gray color; she wears glasses, and the long skirt threatens to reach her ankles. The second wears a daring, low-cut, backless gown, deep black but shimmering with sequins—reference any major TV awards ceremony for ‘daring’ in this context. Other than clothing, the mice are nearly identical, and are both the spitting image of Gadget, for they are Hack and Hackwrench from Ronnie Rabbit’s story, “Broken Glass”::

::The mouse in the glasses glances over the audience, and addressed the audience in calm tones:: 

Hackwrench: Good evening. My name is Ms. Hackwrench, and this is my charming associate, Hack. Due to the nature of the nominees for the next award, I’ve made arrangements for us to...supervise...and make sure there will be no irregularities in the process—

::Hack beams broadly, and is suddenly holding two very large crossbows, as her dress flickers to a fiery orange::

Hack: There’d BETTER be some irregularities! I hafta see if these things WORK!

::She giggles hysterically as Hackwrench adopts a long-suffering expression::

Hackwrench: I don’t REALLY think that will be necessary, Hack. After all, imagine pitting your…overly energetic…self against a rogue’s gallery of villains, including some of the Rangers’ deadliest foes. Arrayed against them: a single Ranger, at the end of her physical, mental, and psychological limits, without friends or resources.

::She lowers her glasses slightly and peers over them at the audience::

Hackwrench: I hardly think it’s fair to the villains...

::Hackwrench pauses for effect, then continues::

Hackwrench: The nominees for Best Use of a Series Character (Recurring), are:

“Chimes of Fat Cat’s” or “Wart vs. Soup” by Jeff Wikstrom, using Wart.

“Gadget in Chains”, by Loneheart, using Gadget.

“The Day Dale Became Smart”, by Indy and Chris Silva, using Fat Cat.

“The Day Dale Became Smart”, by Indy and Chris Silva, using Nimnul.

“The Ties That Bind”, by KS, using Fat Cat.

::Hack suddenly pops a claw from one finger, and gleefully slashes open the top of the envelope::

Hack: Golly, I ALWAYS wanted to do that! And the winner is Loneheart, using Gadget in ‘Gadget in Chains’!

::Hackwrench is handed a note by a dutiful stagehand, and readjusts her glasses::

Hackwrench: Loneheart is a little shy of crowds and cameras, and besides he couldn’t afford the airfare, so to accept his award tonight, hot from the production set of Gadget in Chains, we have Gadget Hackwrench herself! (the real one that is).

::Hack and Hawkwrench welcome Gadget onto the stage and the audience applauds wildly, delighted that Gadget would be taking the stage again that night, even if this was a very different Gadget than they had seen before. Gadget walks onto stage in a unique costume – a hockey mask and straitjacket! She leans in toward the microphone::

Gadget: Can we have the countdown, please?

::The big screen over the back of the stage begins a count down from 30 seconds and Gadget starts to twist wildly in the straitjacket, to applause from the more unruly male elements of the audience. At ten seconds the crowd begins to count out loud as the numbers appear on the screen::

Audience: Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven! Six! Five! Four!…

::With three seconds left on the screen, Gadget holds up the mask high in one hand and the straitjacket in the other. She is triumphant and free by her own hand, and the audience goes crazy. Gadget has to appeal for calm several times before anyone could hear her speak, then finally Hack shoots off one of her crossbows into an overhead light, which seems to do the trick::

::Gadget smiles and takes the podium again::

Gadget: As I think all of you know, I’m currently in production of a story called ‘Gadget in Chains’. When Loneheart originally approached me with idea for the story and asked me if I would be willing to work on it, I, uh, wasn’t quite sure how to answer him.

::She looks around and beams amiably, as though she has just used the word ‘should’ while explaining an invention::

Gadget: At first, I was taken with his sense of humour, and I was sure that any project he ran would be fun to work on. And it has been, so I was right about that. He also warned me that it would be a harrowing story to work on and that I probably didn’t know what I was letting myself in for if I said yes. Oh boy, was he right about that! There are a few uneasy chuckles from the audience. But if I had to make the choice over, I’d still say yes, and that’s because he made one other promise: That it would all be worth it. And if he was right about the other things, then he should be right about that.

::She beams again, and the audience is completely silent. Crickets chirp outside the auditorium::

Gadget: Well, anyway, he asked me to accept the award for him and to keep it safe for him and think you’ll all certainly agree that I’ve earned it!

::The applause starts slowly, but grows to a great height before it dies down again. Hack and Hackwrench join in, the bespectacled mouse appearing to consider the possibility of taking the now-empty straitjacket and fitting it onto Hack. She doesn’t get a chance, though, as Hack escorts Gadget off stage and the stoic mouse simply nods and trots off::

US Award for Best Use of a One-Shot Character

::Hack and Hackwrench assume their places at the podium once more, taking a look at the list of nominees for the next category::

Hack: Oh, look, Mz. Hackwrench! One of the other evil twins is in this next one! Can we root for her?

::Ms. Hackwrench frowns::

Hackwrench: We're COMPLETELY neutral and unbiased as presenters.

::Hack rolls her eyes in an obvious 'yeah, surrre' gesture as the other mouse continues::

Hackwrench: The nominees for Best Use of a Series Character (One Shot) are:

“Death of a Comedian”, by The J.A.M., using Foxglove.
“Dreams of the Fathers”, by Indy & Chris Silva, using Bink in the “Untold Ranger Tales”.
“Gadget in Chains”, by Loneheart, using Lahwhinie.
“I Dream of the New Ranger”, by The J.A.M., using Foxglove.
“The Times of Their Lives”, by Indy, using Aldrin Klordane.

::The enthusiastic mouse in orange slashes the envelope again::

Hack: Gosh, that NEVER gets old!  The winner is—Aldrin Klordane, from “The Times of Their Lives!”

::Escorted by two hulking security guards, a heavily chained Aldrin Klordane comes on stage in a prison uniform to a chorus of boos from the crowd. Detective Drake stands up in the front row and offers to hold his award for him until he gets out in 2056. The crowd laughs and Klordane shoots Drake a nasty look. The master villain stops at the podium, the guards bookending him::

Klordane: So, I wasn’t quite forgotten, was I? Yes, I tried my best to rewrite history, but those meddling Rangers got in my way!

::The crowds cheers, with someone chanting, “go Rangers, go Rangers!” Then they quiet down again::

Klordane: And thanks to their attention to duty, I’ve been banished from the world of men. But you know what they say—nothing ever stays the same!

::One of the guards grabs Klordane’s award, and the other begins pushing him off the stage. Klordane laughs all the way, and gives a significant head nod in the direction of the Rangers. Hack takes Klordane’s arm and escorts him offstage, batting her eyelashes flirtatiously. Ms. Hackwrench follows, just shaking her head::

US Award for Best Characterization of the Rangers

::A slightly nervous human in a tux walks out on stage—tall, average looks, and also pretty bad eyesight since he walks across the stage and off the other end of it. Pulling himself back onto the stage he nods to the audience and takes the podium::

John: I'm John Pesterfield, and I'm here to present three awards tonight. I'm a little worried since one of them is the villain award. Those can be hard to judge due to fear. Let's jump right in. My first presentation is for Best Characterization of the Rangers. Generally when writing a character you can have this.

::He pulls a cardboard cutout of Dale on stage::

John: You could also follow the series.

::The monitor behind him shows a short Dale scene::

John: Finally the very best can go beyond that and make truly distinct and living characters, even beyond the series.

::Dale rose, expecting to be pointed out, but Pesterfield just keeps talking::

John: The nominees for Best Characterization of the Rangers are:

“Claw&Antler: Small Animals Unit - Small Town Heroes”, by Rennod
“Plots”, by Matt Plotecher
“Sovereign”, by John Nowak
“The Tin Mouse”, by Julie Bihn
“The Untold Ranger Tales” (All Parts), by Indy & Chris Silva

John: The winner’s John Nowak, for Sovereign!

::Medium Shot of the stage. Widget enters, stage left, to polite applause. Cut to closer in on her as she approaches the podium::

Widget: Thank you. I'm afraid John couldn't be here to accept this award, so I persuaded him to let me go instead. If you're watching, John, the negatives are in the box where your camera was before I needed it.

::Pan audience, chuckling politely at the joke. End on Jürgen and Gimcrack, Gimcrack wondering what the joke is::

::Cut to Widget, waxing philosophical::

Widget: This award is a bit unusual, because it basically means that John wrote something where the Rangers acted like themselves. Naturally, this only makes sense if we assume that the Rangers are fictional.

::Cut to: Rangers, glancing uncomfortably at one another, wondering if they are fictional::

::Cut to: Widget::

Widget: This is particularly interesting for me, because it raises the question of the foundation of morality. If we exist only in the minds of those who write us, then surely we cannot be held responsible for our actions, which are predetermined by someone who is not us.

::Cut to: Audience, looking thoughtful. Jürgen looks worried::

::Cut to: Widget, who smiles::

Widget: By accepting this award, I renounce good and evil. Thank you.

::Slow pan of audience, clapping uncertainly. John escorts Widget off the stage, glad that she didn’t do anything wilder than she did::

US Award for Best Character Interaction

::John Pesterfield waits for the applause to die down, then continues::

John: Next is Best Character Interaction. Like Characterization, it can be done in many ways. Since those ways are basically the same as I listed before we can get on with the awards. The nominees are:

Chip & Lahwhinie, by Indy & Chris Silva, from “The Untold Ranger Tales”
Dale & Foxy's "joint hallucination" scene, by The J.A.M., from “Death of a Comedian”
Dale and Dale's Past Self, by Indy & Chris Silva, from “The Day Dale Became Smart”
“Daring To Dream”, by Indy & Chris Silva, from “The Untold Ranger Tales”, Part I
Gadget and Dale, by Indy & Chris Silva, from “The Untold Ranger Tales”, Part I

::John fumbles with the envelope for a moment, then regains it::

John: And the winner is Chip and Lahwhinie, for “The Untold Ranger Tales”!

::Lahwhinie stands up and shouts, then looks back to Chip::

Lahwhinie:  So, do we win any money with this thing?

Chip: No dear, it's just a symbolic honor.

::Chip and Lahwhinie walk up, Chip in his tux and Lahwhinie in her dazzling pearl-colored dress and jewelry. When Lahwhinie sees the audience and the spotlight and hears the cheers, she practically runs over Chip to get to the podium first::

Lahwhinie:  I'd like to thank all the small and insignificant, nameless people I've stepped on during my climb to the top…

::Chip recovers, and joins her at the podium::

Chip: Honey, we discussed this before we came...

Lahwhinie:  Yeah, yeah...we're humbled by this honor and we thank you for your kind words of praise.

Chip: That's better. Theo couldn't be here with us tonight, so Theo, this one's for you!

::Chip waves the acorn-shaped award around, until Lahwhinie snatches it away that is. She begins kissing it and alternately blowing kisses to the applauding crowd. Chip smiles and ducks his head a little, then runs after Lahwhinie when he realizes she's already heading for home with the trophy::

US Award for Best Original Villain

::John Pesterfield watches Chip run after Lahwhinie to prevent her from leaving the building, then returns to the task at hand::

John: Finally we come to the Best Original Villain. Villains can also come in many varieties. You have the mad scientist like this.

::He raises his arms to the sounds of thunder and flashes of lightning::

John: It's alive, my monster is alive! Or you can be closer to the other end of the scale with the cold calculating villain.

::He pulls a desk from off stage and starts writing in a book::

John: If I raise the rent this much I can condemn the orphanage and the old folks’ home in time for Christmas!

::John allows a stagehand to remove the desk and returns to the podium::

John: These villains have been chosen some of the best in villainy:

Doctor Simon MoonMorton, by Jeff Wikstrom, from “Dance of the Dreams”
Mevos, by 8Bit Star
Officer Margo Haggs, by Loneheart, from “Gadget in Chains”
Ramrod, by Indy & Chris Silva, from “The Spy Who Loved Monty”
Strigidae, by The J.A.M.
The World's Deadliest Assassin, by KS, from “Roaches, Hamsters, and Ladybugs, Oh My!”
Tore, by Matt Plotecher, from “Color Me Confused”

::John looks to make sure the way is clear for an escape if need be, then opens the envelope::

John: The winner is Strigidæ, from ‘Death of a Comedian’, written by The J.A.M.!

::Once again, the jaguar jumps up and hollers while the band plays “I Want To Know What Love Is”::


:: At the stage again, he calms down and continues::

J.A.M.: Believe it or not, I say that every time I see a home run or a touchdown, he he…um…

::He waits for the audience to stop laughing::

J.A.M.: Well, Strigidæ’s gone now, so I’ll be accepting this award on her behalf—


::A horrendous hooting makes everyone  scream and flinch, as suddenly a HUGE female Great Horned Owl sweeps from the back of the audience to the stage!::

::Everyone screams and flinches, as suddenly the fearsome owl lady sweeps from the back of the audience to the stage!::


::And the jaguar warps out of the way just in time, too. Perching on the podium, she hoots::

Strigidæ : You all fear me now, just as you feared Ivana M. Killjoy? HA!! Just be glad that jaguar *didn’t* decide to make me an EAGLE OWL! Then NO ONE would have survived the Night Of The STRIGIDÆEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

::Everyone flinches and ducks and holds on to their loved ones::

Strigidæ: Though I *am* one-quarter eagle owl: my grandmother escaped from a zoo, a ha ha ha ha! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I was on my way to Pennsylvania. STRIGIDÆEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEE!!!!!!

::With that, she takes the award, and flies up into the rafters::


::And the jaguar returns to the podium::

J.A.M.: Um, sorry about that. Embodying Ultimate Evil, removing all manner of reasoning to negotiate, facing Ultimate Danger and being forced to make the Ultimate Decision wasn’t easy to write, especially with a precedent such as Ivana M. Killjoy. Thanks again to Roy Neal Grissom and Aivars Liepa for their suggestion, because without it then the Rangers might have faced something that couldn’t fly. And thank you all for voting!! ¡Gracias!

::Once more, the jaguar takes his award and clears the stage. John, who had long since found a convenient table to hide under when Strigidæ came zooming in, straightens his glasses, dusts himself off and heads for the curtain::

US Award for Best Original Female Character

::An older but handsome chipmunk comes out on the stage to the tune of  “Hunt For Red October”, dressed in a tux. His rugged features catch the attention of the ladies, and he grins boyishly. Sean Maplewood, Chip’s grandfather from “The Untold Ranger Tales”, takes the podium. His voice sounds just like Sean Connery’s—go figure::

Sean: Good evening. As the conductor of the New York Philharmonic Animal Orchestra, I spent many days in front of crowds like these. But at no time was I more pleased than I am now, to stand here before you all, you august company, and present the award for Best Original Female Character.

::Part of the crowd applauds, mostly the girls::

Sean: For a character to win such an award, she must stand out as being as cognitively complex as any of the Rangers are. She must possess a life of her own, and her life must heavily influence those around her. We the audience should be able to ‘see her thinking’ and predict her actions and reactions. And above all, we must be able to like and dislike her. So, let’s see how our nominees are…

Agnes Oakmont, by Indy & Chris Silva
Doohickey "Dee" Hawkfeather, by KS, from Reservation Dogs, and The Ties That Bind
Liddy Rose, by Rosey Collins
Mademanna, by 8-Bit Star
Raven Southmont, by KS, from The Ties That Bind

Sean: And now, the winner…

::Sean opens the envelope with flourish::

Sean: Dee Hawkfeather!

::A well dressed human in glasses, his blond hair tied back in a pony tail, makes his way to the stage followed by a female mouse who bears a striking resemblance to Gadget, except she is much darker. Sean meets her at stage left, kissing her hand and leading her onstage. After walking to the podium, Kevin accepts the Golden Acorn as Doohickey immediately monopolizes the microphone::

Dee: You like me!

::Dee is absolutely gleeful, still dressed in her requisite black jumpsuit, a gold ornamental sprocket in her black hair being the only concession to the special occasion::

Dee: You really, really like me!

::Seeing her writer take hold of the microphone she stands aside slightly::

KS: Many nya:wehs to you all for this award. It’s wonderful to know that Dee wasn’t seen as just another Gadget knock-off, and all I had to do was break her leg, crush her spine, impale her and subject her to soul crushing angst.

::Dee leans in, smiling::

Dee: He’s promised not to do any of those things to me in the current fanfic.

KS: Which I don’t have to. I gave you more personality than that, and I’m sure that’s the real reason we’re here.

::Dee, still smiling, leans in again::

Dee: I don’t believe him. He’s planning to kill me, I know it.

KS (also still smiling): Now that’s just absurd. I have wonderful things planned for you in the next few stories, not the least of which being your wedding!

::Dee was clearly enjoying herself now::

Dee: Then it’s ‘light’s out’ for me. My days are numbered!

KS: Again, thanks to everyone who made this possible!

::Putting a hand behind Dee, he proceeds to leave the podium with her...then she grabbed the podium. Some of the audience members start to giggle::

Dee: Don’t leave me alone with him! He’s a madman!

::As KS grabs her around her waist and begins to drag her away, she continues clinging desperately to the podium. General laughter breaks out::

Dee: Write Amnesty—

::KS yanks at his character::

Dee: International—

::He yanks at her again::

Dee: House of—

::His third yank pulls her loose::


::KS carries her off, to the laughter and applause of the audience. Sean recovers from laughing himself, and then nods and walks off, “Red October” playing again::

US Award for Best Original Male Character

::A tall red-haired squirrel, her red hair pinned up attractively, comes out on stage, wearing an ornate royal blue dress of her design. Donna Chesnutt, Tammy’s mom from the episode “Adventures in Squirrelsitting” and named in “The Untold Ranger Tales”, takes the podium::

Donna: Hello, everyone. I’m not used to speaking to so many people. My garden club and the local PTA are more my speed, but Tammy insisted so here I am. Tonight, we recognize the author who has created the Best Original Male character. This character should be larger than life, able to exist on his own without the Rangers to help him, and have a style all his own. Now, sit up straight and let’s see who our nominees are…

"Uncle" Bevidere Fairmont, by Indy
Criss-Cross Alexander Flaversham, by Morgan Kohl
Frog, by 8-Bit Star
Gary & Gordon, the Two Scruffy Guys, by Dave White, from the Gadget's Getaways series
Mack JaCroix, by Rennod, from Claw&Antler: Small Animals Unit – Small Town Heroes
Romulus, by KS, from Reservation Dogs, and The Ties That Bind
Theo Maplewood, by Indy & Chris Silva, from The Untold Ranger Tales

Donna: Okay, let’s see here.

::The stagehand brings Donna the envelope::

Donna: Young man, your hands are filthy. Go wash them right this instant!

::The stagehand ducks his head and runs off stage. Donna brings out a small bottle of hand sanitizer before handling the letter further::

Donna: Ah, there we go. Now, the winner is Uncle Bedivere!

::A loud war whoop comes from the seats and a big gray blur flashes through the spotlights and heads right for the podium. The award disappears in one big swoop of a wing and Bedivere kisses Donna smack on the lips then lands on top of the podium, waving his cowboy hat in one hand and the award in the other::


::The crowd shouts its approval and Bedivere eggs them on. After some more yelling, he jumps down behind the podium::

Bedivere: Howdy, everyone!

::The crowd shouts “howdy” back::

Bedivere: I want to thank all y’all fer voting me the best original guy character! You could slap me with a cactus bush! I’m right glad that there writing feller Indy decided to introduce me, and I’m real pleased to have mah be-yoo-tif-ful niece Foxglove here tonight!

Foxy (from the audience): You tell them, uncle!

Bedivere: I just did, Foxy! This heah trophy’s going right next to the one I have for mah first-place finish at the Great Bat Rodeo and Chili Cookoff of 1979! It ain’t every day a bat can lasso a prairie dog and tie him in nine seconds AND make great triple-alarm chili! Thanks everybody, YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE—HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW!

::Bedivere sticks his award under his hat and flies back off into the audience, the crowd whooping it up with him. Donna recovers from the smooch in a minute, then smiles and walks off::

US Award for Best Imagery

::Kongo, the monkey with attitude, comes on stage wearing a tux and holding a sheathed katana blade. He assumes the podium::

Kongo: In animation, showing a scene is easy for a good artist. They can draw objects larger or smaller than the main characters to show their size. They can use tools such as depth and shadowing to reveal how far away the characters are from something, or to show the darkness of night. In fanfiction, it’s not so easy. A writer must wield the written word like a swordsman wields a fine blade.

::Kongo unsheathes the katana and whiffs in the air for effect::

Kongo: Instead of depth and shadowing, the writer must use verbs and adjectives to express the grandeur of the image to the mind of the reader. This year’s Golden Acorn Award for Best Imagery nominees are:

1)Basil’s Headquarters, by Indy, from The Times of Their Lives
2)Dance of the Dreams, by Jeff Wikstrom
3)Inside the Walls of the Lab, by Matt Plotecher, from Payback
4)Once Upon A Dream, by Loki
5)The Tillamook Escapade, by Dave White

::Kongo throws the envelope up in the air and swishes the blade by it. He reaches out deftly and grabs the letter, showing everyone he’s cut the top off of it. The crowd applauds, and he reaches in and takes out the note inside::

Kongo: And the winner is Loki, for Once Upon a Dream!

::The orchestra plays “Anchors Aweigh” and a seaman in full dress uniform comes out. He takes the award in his white-gloved hands and kisses it, then faces the audience::

Loki: It was with no small amount of apprehension that I decided to share this story.  If it had not been for this community, I doubt I would ever have had the courage. “Once Upon A Dream” is both my first finished fanfic and the first one I have shared with an audience larger than two people. It’s also, even now, a work in progress. I don’t anticipate that I will be able to give it a permanent home on the World Wide Web until I return to the United States, sometime in January. In the meantime, I continue to make various small refinements to it.

::The audience claps politely, and he continues::

Loki: I suppose that the imagery in “Once Upon A Dream” owes itself to the manner in which it was inspired, by music. While listening to music, notably the work of Jeff Johnson and Danny Elfman, images came into my head, and eventually the scenes they suggested grew into a story.  In telling the story, I endeavored to share those images from my head.

Alas, it is notoriously difficult, as many of you know, to share visual information with the written word.  Sight gags, a hallmark of the series, are particularly hard to write. To my way of thinking, “Once Upon A Dream” would have been better suited to a more visual medium, and I can only apologize that my skills as an illustrator are not up to the task. I sometimes worry that my descriptions of the scenes get in the way of telling the story.

Judging from the gracious feedback I received, I must have been successful in communicating my vision of the story to the audience. I can only thank the creator and sustainer of us all for any talent I am given, and the many people in my life who nurtured it.  Only the mistakes can truly be considered my own. Most of all, I thank everyone who read “Once Upon A Dream”, particularly those who commented upon my work. I am gratified that so many people enjoyed it, and I promise that you may expect to hear more from me.

::The audience applauds. Loki salutes and turns smartly, exiting the stage. Kongo sheathes his katana and follows::

US Award for Best Action Sequence

::Kongo walks to the podium and looks at the audience, clearing his throat::

Kongo: Few cartoons capture the essence of action adventure as well as the Rescue Rangers did. From Monterey Jack lassoing a crocodile in ‘Kiwi’s Big Adventure’ to Gadget’s one-mouse army in ‘Case of the Cola Cult’, it is a tradition that has remained a key element in the fanfiction of today. It is my honor to announce the nominees for Best Action Sequence:

Bats invade the Insect colony, by Matt Plotecher, from “Swarm”
Chip’s fight with The World’s Deadliest Assassin, by KS, from “Roaches,
Hamsters, and Ladybugs, Oh My!” (Chapter 4)
Dale’s Escape From Death (Lab Explosion), by Indy & Chris Silva, from “The
Day Dale Became Smart” (part 3)
Rangers fight with Strigidae, by The J.A.M., from “Death of a Comedian”,
Chapter 25

::Kongo pauses a moment fumbling with his pen knife, then manages to get the envelope open::

Kongo: And the winner is “Death of a Comedian”, for Rangers fight with Strigidæ!

::Once again, the jaguar jumps up and hollers::


::This time the band plays the theme of “Indiana Jones”. When he reaches the podium again, along with the Rescue Rangers, Clarice, and all the bats, he notices the audience’s bewildered expressions, so he explains::

J.A.M.: I guess you have to be a bit versed in soccer in order to understand that particular shout of victory of mine. Originally that’s what everyone yells when someone scores a goal in soccer BUT ANYWAYS!!

::He clutches the award close to him and takes a few moments to assimilate the reality of it all::

J.A.M.:  Strigidæ couldn’t make it for this award tonight, thank God…

::He chuckles, and the audience joins him::

J.A.M.: Well, Chapter EIKOSIPENTE - NIGHT OF THE STRIGIDÆ was certainly not the climax of the story. That came three chapters later! I *really* got into this segment and it became so long that I had to split it into two chapters (‘The Dead and Dying’ was originally part of the chapter)!

::The J.A.M. looks straight into the camera::

J.A.M.: I’d like to thank a former student of mine, The E.Q.U.I.N.N.O.X., because when I was writing the outline during the breaks at school, I asked him and several others for their input and they gladly gave them. His particular advice was having Otis here make a downward loop so Strigidæ would smash into the tree! Thanks also to Roy Neal Grissom and Aivars Liepa for giving me the idea of including an owl in this story, even if it was for just one
chapter. Any words, guys?

::Dale, Foxglove, Otis, and Clarice pad to the podium, and the chipmunk speaks first::

Dale: Zowie! Thanks for making the fight worthwhile!

Foxy: Thanks for bringing us to realization!!

Otis: Thanks to Roy Neal Grissom for creating me, and letting The J.A.M. use me in his story in a way that I *never* thought was possible!

Clarice: And thanks to all you wonderful people for bringing me out of obscurity and into the spotlight once more! I love you all!!”

::CD stands up and throws a big bouquet of flowers Clarice’s way. She catches them and blows a kiss back to CD. The jaguar concludes by speaking like Ronald Reagan::

J.A.M.: Thank you all, God bless you, yes!!

::And they all leave the stage amidst the applause, Kongo escorting them off::

Dr. Batorious (announcing): Next up, the conclusion of the Written awards, including awards for Most Improved Author, Best Author and Best Story. And then, the award for Outstanding Achievement. The Golden Acorn Awards will be right back…

Proceed to Part 8