The Golden Acorn Awards--Special Awards--Break Nine: Something's brewing...

::The rigging reached at long last, something catches the cloaked figure's attention down below::

Voltaire: Sacre bleu! L'awardez especiale!

Sewernose: Ah! The climactic finale is close at hand!

Euripides: Wonderful! Your entrance could not be more perfectly timed!

Voltaire: Assuming you don't muck it up again...

Euripides: Bad luck is all. I'm sure things will look up.

Voltaire: As long as he doesn't look down.

::Sewernose does so of course, and gulps::

Sewernose: I can't have stage fright above a stage now, can I? Not when the show is at stake!

Euripides: That's the spirit! Now, let us prepare for the cue!

::The mysterious being takes a length of rigging rope and unwinds it, coiling the length in slack loops. All that was left now was waiting to spring...or swing, rather::

Special Award for Best Caption

::Backstage, a very nervous mouse takes a long swig of water, straightens his plain and patched red shirt, and walks onto the stage looking much calmer than he feels. The audience falls silent as Great steps before them—they had not known that SomeGhol could change shape. Moving behind the podium, Great takes a deep breath and takes a glance at his note card before addressing the audience:: 

Great: As you all know, just a little over a year ago our own Indy introduced an entertaining little contest that made use of Pictures taken from the Rescue Rangers Television show…and the contestants’ own creativity. It is certainly no coincidence that the Captions were left blank, what with televisions early history of soundless….

::Great looks at the card with SomeGhol’s presentation for a moment, flips it over once, and snorts. He skims the card to himself, out-loud, next to the microphone so the audience can hear him::

Great: Good Lord, it goes on and on…oh, well. Each an exercise in originality, witty humor, creativity, and overall effect on the viewer...

::Shaking his head sadly, Great pitches the card over his shoulder and smiles at the audience::

Great: Look, I don’t know what a television show, caption, OR a Rescue Ranger is, but I do know it’s late as all gitout, and y’all probably wan’a get on home, so what do you say to me just telling you who the winner is, and trust them to toot their own horn when they accept the award?

::This receives a resounding applause, because it is, in fact, late as all gitout. Great smiles, reaches into one of the many sewn-on pockets on his shirt and withdraws a white envelope::

Great: Well, let’s find out who the lucky winner is then!

::He uses a claw to open the envelope, and takes out the folded piece of paper, smiling to himself as he reads::

Great: It’s a good thing I was here instead of Redding, Folks! I give you the winner of the Best Caption award! And the Winner is—well, we’ve got a tie! The winners are Loneheart and Rennod for “Tammy Puckering Up”, John “Q” Davidson for “Holodeck Malfunction”, and Rennod again for “Speechless for Deborah”.

::The crowd applauds then Great signals for silence::

Great: And here to pick up Loneheart’s award is Tammy herself!

::There is a drum roll and the spotlight picks out the red headed teenager as she walks onto the stage in a long, sparkling blue evening dress. Somewhere a mother's heart is breaking, because her little girl is all grown up. Tammy waits for the applause to die down::

Tammy: Thank you. That was such a lovely welcome, it makes me wish I could stay the whole night, but I have to be back home by curfew so I can be in bed by ten. Honestly, I could have just strangled Bink for taking that picture of me when I was day-dreaming about – uh, I mean, uh, about the time I got my lips stuck to the basketball post one winter at school! Yeah, that's what I was thinking about!

::Tammy blushes pink through her fur, and the giggles spread throughout the audience. From the back of the hall a lone voice that sounds suspiciously like Dale’s snickers, "Yeah, right!" A hollow bonk rings out from that part of the room and Tammy grins broadly::

Tammy: Thank you.

::She says it with a cooing sweetness, as though someone has just given her flowers::

Tammy: Anyhow, this award is sort of a dead-heat. As you just heard, several people did very well with their captions, and they all deserve this award as much as I do – uh, as much as Loneheart does! So I think that it's only fitting that everyone has agreed to share it.

::When the audience stops applauding, she mutters out of the side of her mouth, "Boy, I sure hope that means I get at least a small piece of it to show off." The audience laughs::

Tammy (earnestly, grinning): I even brought my own hacksaw!

::The laughter becomes slightly embarrassed and uneasy::

Tammy: I've been asked to say a special thank-you from everyone who's enjoyed playing the Weekly Picture Caption game, to Indy, Acorn Café maintainer and die hard ranger-fan!"

::Applause fills the auditorium, and Indy stands up, waving to the crowd as the spotlight falls on his seat. He sits down, then Rennod joins Tammy at the podium, receiving two awards—one for his collaboration with Loneheart and the other for his solo work::

Rennod: Ever since I started playing in Indy's weekly caption contest, I've had several winning captions and quite a few 'almost made it' entries. I'm pretty proud of that. Lately, more and more Rangerphiles have gotten involved, and the competition is a lot stronger than it was when I first started. I think that's a good thing, but it sure makes it tough on me to produce a winner these days.  This award is for one that I'm proud to have won, the tribute picture to Deborah Walley on the anniversary of her passing. I'm glad the sentiment was appreciated, truly, but somehow I wish the award had been merited by a caption for something a little more humorous than that somber occasion. Still, I give my gratitude to the Rangerphiles that voted for this caption.  Thank you.

::More applause, then John walks up on stage wearing a Starfleet dress uniform::

John: Best Caption, wow what an honor! And for such an off the wall one also. The inspiration for this one must have been way too much Pepsi and Pizza, and Star Trek of course.

::The audience laughs, particularly the writers in the audience::

John: When I first saw the picture, the first thing that popped into my head was that Data also liked to dress up as Sherlock Holmes. So then I tried to think of something Trek-related to do. And then I saw the “Will” and it came to me. It was so off the wall and so goofy I just had to submit it! Thank you all once again.

::John walks back to his seat where Commander Will Riker is sitting::

Riker: I can’t believe you won making fun of me!

John: Don’t take it personally. Tell you what, I’ll make it up to you.

Riker: How?

John: Well, after the ceremony is over I know this little place across town where the women are so….

::Riker’s eyes light up and he grins::

Riker: I know the place.

Special Award for Most Helpful

::Walking out on the stage was a common looking man, wearing a tuxedo suit and, impossibly, a beat up bush hat which he immediately takes off when he reaches the podium. SomeGhol gathers his notes, smiles at the audience and begins::

SomeGhol: Hello friends! I am honored to present the award for Most Helpful Rangerphile. Of course, it is an honor to be considered for this award that shows the community’s gratitude and respect for these fine people. Now, there were no nominations for this award, but I think each of us should give a good round of applause for all of the helpful people who help make our little commune of crazies so much fun!

::The audience erupts into a spirited round of applause. After letting the audience settle down, SomeGhol continues::

SomeGhol: To truly understand what these folks do for us, we must first understand the community.

::He pushes a button on the lectern, which turns the screen behind him to a primitive village scene::

SomeGhol: To be part of any community, no matter how small or fringelike, is to accept responsibility for the general welfare of each other member of the group. Some take this responsibility to the next level, going out of their way to help a fellow Ranger fan by assisting with a project, by providing access to hard-to-come-by material, and especially by helping new members of the group feel accepted. 

::He takes a laser pointer and attempts, unsuccessfully, to turn it on. SomeGhol mutters into the microphone::

SomeGhol: Dang thing…

::Suddenly, the pointer blazes to life, and at maximum intensity accidentally it blinds one of the lighting crew, who runs about the high scaffolding, crying “I’m blind, I’m blind!” before tripping over the railing and falling down into the audience, landing on Widget Hackwrench, who gives SomeGhol a look that says she is very, very displeased. SomeGhol, winces from hearing the man fall, and cringes from Widget’s stare::

SomeGhol: Sorry…um…

::He decides that it is best to go on with the presentation, and make his escape later::

SomeGhol: The TickytackyMomacky tribe from the wilderness of Straw Plains, Tennessee, call this urge to assist one’s fellow man the “Dunahowtamindtheirownbusiness”, or “The Helping Way”. The tribesmen revere these proud, helpful people…

::He continues to speak, while pointing the, uh, pointer at the screen, which, unbeknownst to him, had changed from a primitive village scene, to an image of three men playing electric guitars while wearing spandex outfits and hair that looked tantalizingly like pink cotton candy:

SomeGhol: …and so do we.

::A few snickers are heard from the audience, causing SomeGhol to look up from his notes::

SomeGhol: What? Do I have something on my face?

:This draws a bit of laughter, which only puzzles the speaker more. Finally, Bink, who was sitting in the front row, points at the screen behind SomeGhol, while giggling at the absurd music video:

::SomeGhol looks behind him, eyes widening in shock before he looks angrily off stage, where Dale is watching the same video on a smaller TV::

SomeGhol: Dale! You plugged the cable feed into the stage monitor again!

::Dale grins sheepishly and tries to correct his mistake, plugging the wrong thing into the wrong place at the wrong time, sending an electrical jolt through his body and temporarily dimming the lights in the room. The big screen, mercifully, fell blank::

SomeGhol: Thank you Dale…

Dale (with a shaky voice, and fur smoking ever so slightly): No problem buddy!

::SomeGhol wearily moves on::

SomeGhol: I think I’ll cut it short so we can get the electricians up here…and make sure Dale hasn’t just fried his last brain cell. While many people in our community have exhibited the qualities of cheerful, unselfish helpfulness, friendly reception of newcomers, and offer great contributions to our community’s peaceful existence… there can be only one.

::SomeGhol takes the envelope from his jacket pocket, tears it open and reads the name on the slip of paper that it surrendered to his grasp. He looks at the audience and smiles widely::

SomeGhol: And the winner is Ray Jones, Mr. Rangerphile himself!

Dr. Batorious (announcing): And now to accept the award for "Most Helpful" for Ray Jones are Tammy and Chip…

::Chip appears, coming from behind the podium, and helps Tammy onstage from the floor below. She brushes him with her shoulder as she climbs up::

Tammy: Thank you, Chipper…

Chip: Um, yeah. You're welcome.

::They walk to the microphone::

Chip: Hello, everyone. We're really happy to see so many of you out there, and we appreciate each of you coming to the awards tonight. You all know Tammy, so I am going to turn the actual award presentation over to her.

Tammy: Let me also thank each and every one of you fans of  "Chipper's Rescue Rangers" for joining us tonight.

::The audience laughs at the intentional mistake, and Dale especially, pointing and laughing at Chip’s blushing face until he nearly falls out of his seat::

Tammy: This award is very special to us since being helpful is really what we are all about.  Of course, my Chipper normally solves serious crimes and rescues people and animals from terrible fates, but what Ray does is kinda important too.  I mean, someone who's a Rangerphile would just be expected to be more than an armchair cheerleader, but we wouldn't want non-professionals going out and getting hurt attempting the heroics that my Chipper is so famous for.

::Chipper…er Chip senses the momentum slipping from him and hastily retakes the microphone::

Chip: What we mean to say is that Rangerdom is a community of friends and it's great to see all of you encouraging each other when you have problems, trying to help each other out with advice and ideas, and just being there to listen to each other when it's needed.

Tammy: Right!  Now, I am not sure why Ray Jones was voted for this award when so many of you do so much, but I suppose somebody had to win.  He appreciates your thinking of him, I know.  Sure, he's a little flaky, but he's a very informal and approachable person, so anybody can email him or IM on Yahoo and chat about most anything.

::Tammy leans in toward the microphone, getting more personal::

Tammy: In fact, I would like to give him a little kiss right here and now, but I don't think Imelda would go for that at all, sooooo . Ray, this is really for you! Mmmmmmmmm!

::Tammy plants a big kiss on Chip's cheek::

Chip: Tammy! Stop that!

Tammy (pouting): We don't want Ray to think we're ungrateful!

Chip: Ray's the one who's grateful!

::Tammy’s mischievous look returns::

Tammy: Then this is for him! Mmmmmmmmm!

Chip: Tammy! Stop that now…EEEP! TAMMY!"

::Squirrel and Chipmunk exit, giggling and sputtering respectively. SomeGhol watches from the podium, not daring to move lest the squirrel should turn on him next. Only when she has chased Chip out of sight does he dare leave the stage—in the opposite direction::

Special Award for Best Nutcase

::With a round of polite applause, Steve “Steelnerve” Nutcracker, the reformed chipmunk from CD’s stories, enters stage left. He is dressed in his casual Hawaiian outfit—green shirt with red flowers, low brimmed straw hat with red band, white pants with a red stripe left and right along with his trusty old walking cane with a diamond on top. “Little Girl” plays as he gets over to the microphone stand::

Steve (muttering): This looks like the work of my author, go figure…

::Steve settles in at the podium and faces the audience::

Steve: Thank you, thank you, you’re marvelous! I’ll be the one presenting the next award, the Biggest Nutcase award—a title that fits my creator quite well I must say.

CD (from the audience): Take that back!

Steve: Nope, I won’t. It suits you, all right! Oh yes, and Norton Nimnul. However, this award is not to be considered an insult to your mental state, but it proves that you are capable of making people laugh and that your comments are sudden, fitting and funny to say the least. Your jokes make people laugh when they most need it and although you might look stupid in the eyes of real grumpy people, your are loved by everyone with a sense of humor.

::Steve takes and opens the envelope::

Steve: And this crown on someone’s performance goes out to Schroeder!

::Schroeder yells from his seat in the audience::

Schroeder: MEXICO, MEXICO, MEXICO! Oh wait, that’s not me…

::The audience laughs, and one jaguar in particular, as Schroeder takes the stage::

Schroeder: First of all, thank you for presenting this award to me—I'm happy to know my humor is enjoyed so much by the Rangerphile community.  I'll place this award by the straitjacket in my personal rubber room…

::The audience laughs again, and Schroeder holds up his award::

Schroeder: …and here's hoping for more fun for years to come!! Thankyew…

::The audience claps and Steve turns to escort Schroeder off the stage. Steve stops when Schroeder won’t leave first, suspecting mischief. Schroeder stops as well, and for a moment they just stand there, hands on the hips, mirrors of each other. Laughter spreads through the audience again, but peace breaks out when the two of them decide to leave side-by-side. Schroeder sticks a “kick me” sign on the back of Steve’s shirt::

Special Award for Most Prolific Rangerphile

::The crowd applauds as Mercy Stoneturner and Flora Firalda get on stage, some even whistle at them. Flora's in her normal turquoise strapless dress, belt and pants with red polka dots. Mercy's wearing her yellow tight strapless dress. The band plays "Buttercup - I'm a Super Girl"::

Mercy: Thank you all. You really, REALLY love me! I always hoped for this to happen, ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a famous celebrity.

::Flora elbows Mercy::

Flora: We're here to present an award, not take it.

Mercy: Oh yeah, right. But this is my one shot at fame and glory, don't spoil it now!

::Flora pushes Mercy away from the microphone stand.::

Flora: All right. Ladies and gentlemice, it's our honor to...

::Mercy pushes Flora back::

Mercy: Hey, I'm in this too!

Flora: We're doing this together remember? I'll tell you when it's your turn. As I was saying, it's our honor to present this year’s Golden Acorn Awards, and we'll be presenting you a very special award: the Most Prolific Award.

::Flora elbows Mercy::

Mercy: Ow! This award is given to that one Rangerphile that has stuck out his neck for others and who did his best to entertain the rest of this community with fanfics, artwork, websites and the like. It's reserved for someone who spends most of his time, if not all, around the Acorn Cafe or other Ranger sites. Someone who fully dedicated his life to all things rangery and who strives to improve other Rangerphiles’ lives with extreme zeal.

::Flora takes the envelope and opens it.::

Flora: The winner of the Most Prolific Award is...

Mercy: ARE…Ray Jones and 8-Bit Star! Okay, dim the lights again—for you Internet people, just click the link and follow along for 8-Bit’s acceptance…

::Everyone watches the presentation, and then the lights come up again::

Dr. Batorious (announcing): And now, to accept the second award of most prolific for Ray Jones, Monterey Jack and Zipper!

::Zipper  buzzes up above the podium. Monty hops up onto the top immediately afterward.

Zipper: Bzzzzzz

Monty: Right you are, Zippah! It's great to be here to present this award to Ray Jones for being the most long-winded Rangerphile. Though why they chose me, the very picture 'o brevity, I don't know.

Indy (off stage): Most prolific!

Monty: Eh?

Zipper: Bzzzzzzzzzz?

Indy: Most prolific, not most long-winded!

::Monty straightens himself up and looks around, a bit nervous::

Monty: Well, 'e does have two grown sons, Jackson and Jesse, but crikey! - I didn't think THAT'S what was meant!

::Indy covers his face with his hand::

Indy: No, Monty, we mean he does a lot of Ranger things.

Monty: Oh! You mean like putting the Calendar together every month, and making those statues and pictures, and writing in to the Café.

Indy: Yes!

Monty: Well then!

Zipper: Bzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Monty (stage whisper to Zipper): Bloody crackers, they are, if you ask me! Giving a bloke an award for lack 'o focus... (normal voice to the audience) Anyway, looks like our Mr. Jones is trying to be a Jack-of-all-trades here in the Rangerverse. The calendar's a nice piece of work - some great stuff there.  Not bad for cuttin' and pastin'. The pictures and the sculpys are getting' better with practice. 'E don't mind givin' out with a little advice - and far as I've 'eard, it hasn't killed anybody yet. All an' all 'e likes to stay busy with Rangery things – empty nest syndrome, don'cha know and I…I…

Zipper: Bzzzzzzzzzzz?

Monty: Zippah?  Don't ya smell it pally?

Zipper: Bzzzzzzz?

Monty: Someone just came in with a plate 'o...Nachos!

Zipper: BZZZZZ!!!!!

Monty: Ch -  ch - chu - EEEEEEEZE!!!!!

Indy: Monty! No! Come back! Oh man, there he goes!

::From one of the seats in the upper balcony comes a loud SHRIEK. Indy runs out on stage::

Indy: Quick! Bring out the next presentation!

::From the same area in the same upper balcony come the bellowing words, “COLD PAWS!!!!” Zipper shakes his head, and follows Mercy and Flora off stage::

Special Award For Honorable-Special Mention

::With the long, quick strides of someone whose preferred form of exercise is walking, Ray Jones comes up to the podium. He is an older gentleman—once taller, but now more stoop-shouldered as gravity and entropy have their way with him. His cheeks and throat are also withdrawing from the high ground they once held on his face. Perhaps the sagging is allowing more oxygen to reach his eyebrow follicles—that would explain their increasingly luxurious and exuberant development.  His hair has not yet begun to retreat, but, in the gentle, encouraging words of his wife Imelda, “it’s more salt than pepper, Honey!” The green eyes behind the glasses sparkle with humor and mischief. Or insanity. Hard to tell...::

Ray: It’s an honor to be here tonight, to present this award for the Honorable/Special Mention category. What can I say about this person? Especially since I don’t know who it is…well, Indy said that they demonstrate helpfulness. So I guess this person must be helpful. And they’ve made special efforts on behalf of the community - so we want to recognize them for that. And we also want to recognize them for fan works as well. I just hope we recognize them when they come out!

::That gets a few laughs, and Ray continues::

Ray: Seriously, Special Mention is a nice award to receive. It means that your fellow Rangerphiles think you stand out for what you have given to the life of this community. It is a mark of respect and value. That said, may I have the envelope?”

::The RangerPlane, with Gadget at the controls, emerges from the curtains at the left side of the stage. An envelope dangles underneath, suspended by a cable. She flies up to Ray, who unhooks the envelope::

Ray: Thank you, Gadget!

::She waves at the audience, then glides offstage to the right::

Ray: And the winner IS—oboy, we’ve got a LOT of helpful people around here. Could we have CD, KS, Dale, Stephen C. and Schroeder assemble up here?

::The audience stands and the orchestra plays “Wind Beneath My Wings” as four of the five winners assemble on stage. Indy comes out from the side, standing at the podium::

Indy: Friends, Chris “Dale” Birkett couldn’t be here tonight and I couldn’t convince him to write an in absentia speech so I’d like to say a few words on his behalf. Chris was the first friend I made at the Café. He’s one of the nicest and most considerate people you’ll ever have the pleasure to chat with and his enthusiasm is infectious! He should be the official spokesman for the Scottish Highlands, because he sure loves going and talking about them. Chris, you’re one class act—I’ll ship the Acorn to you, and here’s a big hello to you and your mum!

::The crowd applauds as CD steps up to the podium, takes his award and coughs for a speech::

CD: Thank you, thank you all. Thanks to all who wanted for me to win this award, and thanks to those who didn’t. Gosh, I’d never thought about winning something as big as this! Thank you all so much! I promise I’ll continue being honorable as time permits, so hopefully no one will regret their decision. Thanks again from your workhorse truly.

::Stephen C. pushed his way to the front::

Stephen: SURREND...ah, wait, I remember where I am this time....oh is an honor and a privilege to accept this award. You people like me! You really like me! You see, all those stormtroopers and yes-men down in High Command give me all this “All Hail Fearless Leader yada yada” but do they ever give me awards like this? Nooooooooooo!

Chip (from the audience): I hear you, man!

::Stephen gives Chip a thumbs-up and continues::

Stephen: Just goes to show you where my loyalties should lie. But they don’t, because I’m a megalomaniacal freak bent on complete global conquest and I need my armies and my overly agreeable counselors to feel good about myself. Errrrrr, actually, forget I said that last sentence.

::The audience chuckles::

Stephen: Oh, and the one before it, too, now that I think of it. Else I will DESTROY YOU ALL!!!! Ah!!!!

::Stephen slaps self on face repeatedly::

Stephen: People skills!!!  People skills!!! Yeah, forget all that too. You know what? I’m just going to stop talking now. Thank you. Good night!

::Kevin walks over to the podium to accept his award. Taking his place before the microphone, he adjusts his glasses::

Kevin (speaking in obvious surprise): Wow, this was really unexpected. I didn’t expect I’d win one of the Special Awards.

::After a moment of thought, he continues::

Kevin: ‘For outstanding work with fanfics and fanfic authors’... It’s an honor to know that my efforts to help other writers is as appreciated as it is. ‘Educating others about my native heritage’... Even though I’ve written about characters who are Seneca, I’m not one myself. I’m actually part Susquehannock... but the tribe technically no longer exists as an entity, the last twenty having been murdered by a gang of racist vigilantes, so I have no real connection to my true Native heritage…

::Kevin takes a dramatic pause to catch his breath::

Kevin: So I supplemented that the with Seneca culture, somewhat fitting since the Iroquois tribes adopted conquered tribes, including some Susquehannock. But even if I wasn’t part Native American, growing up on the Allegany Reservation meant being influenced by the local culture... My kindergarten teacher was a Seneca, we were taught about Seneca mythology throughout grade school, even in high school we were required to take a couple weeks’ long course in the Seneca language along with Spanish and French.

My mother was actually employed by the Seneca Nation as a teacher in the Head Start program to give Native children grounding in their cultural background before being immersed in the public education system.

::KS pauses for a moment to clear his throat, then continues::

Kevin: Also, I would like to express my deep thanks to George Heron, former president of the Seneca Nation, also my mother’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, for his assistance in gaining greater insight into the culture and language for the purposes of my stories as well as getting the proper Mohawk translations for use in The J.A.M.’s stories, Death of a Comedian and I Dream of the New Ranger.

::He pauses once more before finishing::

Kevin: And, of course, nya:weh to everyone who encouraged me to continue my writing and to the entire Rangerphile community as a whole for this award and being a great group of people to hang around with!

::Last comes Schroeder, which is probably a good thing, considering his sense of humor::

Schroeder: ‘Schroeder, for always seeing the fun side of things’. Well, well, this is quite an honor! Normally I don’t expect these kinds of awards, seeing how inactive I know I am around here by comparison, but it’s nice of you to honor me like this, and I really enjoy being part of this wonderful community. Thanks for everything—for the award, for making me feel so welcome, and above all, for your friendships. Take care, you’re all doing a terrific job up here!!

::The audience claps and stands. Schroeder bows majestically and Stephen C. raises his arms in victory. Resisting the urge to continue speaking, Kevin bows to the audience and exits the stage. The crowd responds with enthusiasm, escorting them offstage with whistles and clapping. CD gets back to his seat, hugging his award::

CD (cheerily): I won, I won, I won!

Special Award for Best All-Time Website

::Robert Knaus walks onto the stage, amidst the sounds of deafening applause. The spotlights train on him. Sandy-haired, bespectacled, late-20's, he raises his hand and waves to the crowd as he takes his place behind the podium and adjusts the microphone::

Robert: I have been honored enough to be asked to present tonight's award for Best All-Time Ranger-Related Website.

::Robert shuffles his cue cards, studying them::

Robert:  It's no difficult task to slap a few screencaps on the web, or some fanfiction, or even some fan art. Yet many of these small pages go neglected for weeks, months, even years, the creators' interest in the Rangers having waned, or lacking the time to update them. Tonight's winner is one of the few Ranger fans to have crafted a page that *demands* to be bookmarked.

::Robert adjusts his glasses, then continues as various Ranger websites are shown on the big screen behind him::

Robert: One who creates a page that's updated frequently, with constant, high-quality content that *makes* the viewer want to come back again and again. One who helps keep the flame of Ranger fandom burning brightly, fighting back the near-extinguishing of interest in the series that came about in the mid-90's. That new fans continue to bloom even to this day are due in no small fact to people like tonight's winner, who have selflessly dedicated themselves to preserving the Rescue Rangers for future generations to savor. And without further ado, I give you tonight's winner for Best All-Time Website.

::Robert picks up the sealed envelope from the podium before him and breaks the seal with his finger, removing the folded sheet of paper within and holding it up to be read.

Robert: And the winner is The RR Database, for Matt Plotecher!

::The crowd stands and applauds. Skip enters from the side, and smiles and waves to the gathered people. He also gives a respectful nod to the orchestra pit, and then steps up to the podium::

Skip: Heya everybody! As you've been told a dozen or so times by now, Matt couldn't make it, and so he asked me to be his stand-in for this award. And I have to tell you, it really makes him feel good, because the Database is doing exactly what it was meant to, and be a warehouse, crossroads, and repository for the various Ranger works out there, lest they be lost forever to the ether. And don't worry, he hasn't forgotten about it, either. Time allowing, he has some updating to do. And as long as he can, he plans to keep the site up and running for the foreseeable future. Thanks a bunch, gang!

::He waves again as he takes the award and heads back offstage. Robert claps, and follows::

Special Award for Best All-Time Artist

::Medium shot of stage. Over polite applause, Widget enters from stage left and stands behind the podium. Widget lays a clipboard onto the podium and gets ready to speak. The applause gradually dies down and stops, except for one pair of tiny, tiny, paws. After a few moments of this, Widget glances up, wondering what the deal is::

::CUT TO: shot of the audience. Zoom in on a row of seats where Gimcrack and Jürgen sit, Gimcrack in a booster seat. A medium-sized, blonde female squirrel with glasses sits with them. Gimcrack is still applauding enthusiastically. After a bit, he glances around and stops clapping::

::CUT TO: Widget at the podium::

Widget: Thank you, everyone, for that friendly greeting; and I’d like to introduce you to the people who came with me.

::CUT TO: spotlighted seats in the audience::

Widget: First, my husband Jürgen, and our son Gimcrack who’s going to be seven months old just next week, and last but not least, my caseworker Mandy O’Twaddle who works for the Department of Recovering Evil Animals Rebuilding Yadda-yadda for Staten City, but I consider her part of the family now. She’s really been a big help with my twisted desire to dominate all that stands in my path, and has helped me get over my little problems with rage whenever I’m crossed. When life gave me lemons, I used to burn the citrus orchard to the ground. But now, I just make lemonade!

::SLOW PAN of audience, applauding heartily, finishing on Widget’s family’s row. Mandy beams happily. Jürgen applauds. Gimcrack looks at his father, askance, as though wondering which planet he just landed on. Jürgen touches his lips with his fingertip, frowning slightly, and Gimcrack immediately grins widely and applauds again::

::CUT TO: Widget at the podium::

Widget: But we are here to present an award to the greatest artist in Rescue Ranger fan history. This is no small award. It is unbounded by time and geography; a competition wherein only talent matters. It is an award that allows the cream to rise above mediocrity.

::CHANGE Camera angle. Widget is now seen from the side, one hand raised::

Widget: It is an award presented to the strongest of the strong. It is an award that proclaims, “Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!”

::CUT TO: Widget’s row. Gimcrack beams. Mandy purses her lips. Jürgen appears to have a slight sinus headache::

::CUT TO: Widget, close. Her hand is now a fist, her eyes shining with unholy light::

Widget: It is an award which riseth above the unwashed and babbling horde! It is an award which maketh mock of the weak-minded and decadent! This award says, “The best you can do is not enough! To win is not enough!” It is an award of global, artistic, SUPREMACY!

::As Widget’s voice echoes dramatically, slow pan of the horrified audience, staring with huge eyes. The only sound is Mandy, quietly making notes with a pencil while Jürgen looks at her sadly. Gimcrack grins::

Gimcrack: Whee!

::CUT TO: Widget, behind the podium. She realizes she’s gone a tiny bit over the line. She smiles nervously::

Widget: And, uh, he’s a real nice guy, and he’s agreed to send me a cute picture of Gimcrack, and another of Jürgen in a Speedo…

::CUT TO: Widget’s row. Jürgen flinches and slaps his head::

::CUT TO: Widget, looking strangely subdued::

Widget: And the winner is, hey no surprise here. Charles Williams!

::Indy walks up, and Widget makes an astute comment::

Widget: Hey, you’re not Charles!

Indy: Quite right, Widget. Charles couldn’t be here tonight, so again I’d like to say some words on his behalf.

::The lights dim a bit, and pictures of Charles’ works appear on the big screen behind Indy::

Indy: When Charles first joined us at the old Café, we had no idea of what we were in for. He claimed to be a janitor at one time, but the rampant speculation was that he was actually an art instructor at a university in Alaska. As to his current whereabouts, we have no idea, but wherever he is he changed this community forever.

::The big screen shows various drawings of Charles’ from his “Rhyme and Reason” series::

Indy: The culmination of his work was illustrating the unforgettable scenes from Mike Demcio’s “Rhyme and Reason”. Nothing has surpassed this labor of love, and today we thank Charles Williams for this treasure and for all the other treasures that have come from his hand. Charles, you’re one in a million!

::The lights come back up, and the audience stands and claps. Indy holds up the trophy, to be sent to Charles as soon as he’s located. Widget accompanies Indy offstage::

Special Award for Best All-Time Artwork

::From off-stage on either side emerges two individuals who proceed to walk towards the podium at center-stage. One, a human, has long blond hair tied back in a ponytail and bears a neatly trimmed beard. Dressed in the typical black-tie apparel appropriate for such prestigious occasions, he wears a pair of glasses, and some in the audience notice the metallic glint of the key chain dangling from a belt loop on his slacks. His counterpart, a wolf, possesses dark gray fur leading from the tip of his snout to the tip of his tail, light gray fur leading from his chin to his tail and hints of tan between the two. The canine’s black-tie apparel is simply a black tie::

::Meeting at the podium, the two stand side by side before the single microphone. They are Kevin Sharbaugh and his creation, Romulus the wolf::

Romulus: Amigos, it is imperative that we crush the freedom fighters before the start of the rainy season! And a shiny new donkey to the man who brings me the head of General Montoya!

::There is a smattering of laughter from the audience at the wolf’s repartee::

Kevin (with sarcasm): Thank you, Montgomery Burns.

::Turning to address the audience, he proceeds with the presentation::

Kevin: "Hae’, ögwadeo'shö'! That is, ‘Greetings, my friends’! Some of you may recognize me as ‘KS’ from the Acorn Cafe, and with me is Romulus, from several of my fanfics. Please excuse his behavior; he stayed up late last night watching a Simpson’s marathon. We are here to present the Golden Acorn for Best All-Time Artwork.

Indy: Hold it!

::Indy walks out, with a special plaque in his hands::

Indy: Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement. The award for Best All-Time Artwork has now been amended. It is now the Deborah Walley Best All-Time Artwork award.

::The crowd stands and claps in respect, growing louder by the moment. Romulus holds his head up high, proud at being included in such a high honor::

Indy: This memorial plaque will be placed in this theater to commemorate the renaming, and to display the list of winners. Kevin, it’s all yours again.

::And Kevin continues::

Kevin: This now very special award goes to the artist who created a single work of art that displays, in image, what we all see as the best of the Rangers, and of ourselves. And as such is deemed the finest artwork produced by someone within our community.

::Kevin fumbles around for something::

Kevin: Now, since I don’t want to keep y’all in suspense...

::Finally finding what he was looking for, he blurts out, "The envelope!"::

Romulus: Excellent!

::Romulus grins malevolently, drumming his fingers together. Breaking the seal on the envelope, KS pulls out a folded sheet of paper::

Kevin: The winner of the Golden Acorn for the Deborah Walley Best All-Time Artwork award is...

::He unfolds the paper::

Romulus (shrieking): AAHHH!!!

::This causes everyone to jump::

Romulus: What horrible penmanship! Did you write this?

KS: I was holding it upside-down!

::Righting the paper, he displayed it to his companion::

KS:  See?

::The most appropriate response Romulus could muster was simply, "D’oh!"::

KS: Now that we’ve dispensed with the shrieking, at least for the time being…the winner is—ho, ho, a tie! They’re both for Charles Williams, though, for his artwork for Matt Plotecher’s “Plots” and for Indy’s “Times of Their Lives”.

::Indy comes on stage again::

Indy: Let me say a few words about Charles. I think the cover he did for “Times of Their Lives” really captured all the essence of that story, something I thought couldn’t be done in one picture. He brought the thoughts I put into it to life in a way that was so close to what I was thinking, it was uncanny. My thanks to you, Charles, for that excellent work.

::The audience claps and Indy pulls out a letter::

Indy: As you know, Matt couldn’t be here tonight, but he gave me this letter, expressing his own thoughts about Charles. “What I liked most of all about Charles was his very modest approach to himself and his work. He once mentioned that he just used ordinary typing paper and colored papers, and yet he still churned out incredible results. Charles was also very open to requests and tried to tackle as many of them as he could. I can't think of a more amiable artist in the Rangerphile community.

::The crowd applauds in agreement::

Indy (reading Matt’s letter): As for his drawings from the story "Plots," they were the first I ever received from him, and I can't think of a better way to be first introduced to his talent. His "Plots" drawing captured the scene perfectly, and remains one of my personal favorites.

::The crowds claps loudly and Indy and KS leave the stage::

Special Award for Best All-Time Author

Kat: Guess it's my turn...

::Kat mumbles to herself as she walks toward the presentation area. As the cat-eared girl walks across the stage, many onlookers notice that for once Kat -isn't- wearing blue jeans; instead, she is wearing blue dress pants with a matching blue vest over a white blouse. Kat adjusts the microphone::

Kat: Heh...many of you probably know me and know that I tend to talk to my Writer. Perhaps the management here figured that alone would qualify me to present the next award, which is for the Best All-Time Author.

::Kat chuckles briefly, then continues::

Kat: No community has been more blessed than ours with great writers. Since the time the first fanfiction was written a decade ago, talented writers have aspired to fill in the plot holes left by the series and to develop those beloved characters we all cherish so much. Being named best of all Rangerphile authors is a distinction that puts one in a very rare class of creativity, storytelling, and feeling for both characters and audience.

::A few people in the audience do a double-take as 3 glowing blue lines appear in the air near Kat.  The "lines" spread until they formed a glowing blue portal. A mouse-like person, who bears a vague resemblance to Gadget (or Lahwhinie), steps out of the portal and hands a sealed envelope to Kat::

Kat: Er..thanks, Kuwani.

::Kat takes the envelope and breaks the seal::

Kat: And the winner is…wow. Indy and Chris Silva!

::Indy and Chris stand up, amazed. The crowd claps wildly, and the two authors come forward to take the stage again. Indy takes hold of his award, speechless for a moment::

Indy: I don't know that there are words to go with this award. I thought Mike Demcio had this one for sure. Really, it's something that awes me, because there are so many fine authors in this community that are equally deserving of this honor. To be honored tonight as we have by our peers is something I'll never forget and will always treasure. Chris, do you have any words?

Chris (staring at his award): Not really. I'm stunned that we were chosen. I'm glad the Cafe had an open mind and gave us a shot.

Indy: As am I. John Nowak, Mike Demcio, Matt Plotecher, Man-Child, KS, Rennod—all Rangerphile authors, I'm honored to be in your company and to write along with some of the most talented people on the net. Thank you, very much!

::Indy and Chris wave to the audience, who applaud and shout loudly. Kat and Kuwani escort them off stage::

Special Award for Best All-Time Fanfic

::Man-Child walks out onto stage. He is accompanied by his faithful cat Blue and by a large female wolf spider, which is perched prominently on the end of his nose::

Man-Child:  Good morning [or evening, or whatever time of day it is]. Blue and I have been asked to announce the winner of the Best All-Time Rescue Ranger fanfic. Isn't that right, boy?

Blue:  WOW???

Man-Child:  Yes Blue, it certainly is an honor. And just what kind of fic would it take to qualify as the best RR fanfic of all time?

Blue:  WOW???

(Translation:  With around four hundred fanfiction stories written about the Rangers over the years, there are plenty to choose a favorite from. Epic tales, short stories, crossovers and what-ifs--the Ranger story collection has it all. The best all-time fanfic is one that in the opinion of the majority of Rangerphile readers combines superb writing with great character portrayals to create an unforgettable work that clearly stands above its peers.)

Man-Child:  Elegantly put, Blue. You--you're just so . . .fluffy!!!"

::Man-Child rubs the irresistible cat under his chin, sending him into a purring frenzy. Eventually the host "Psst!"'s him and comes on stage with another plaque::

Indy: We’ve got another amendment, folks. From here on, the Best All-Time Fanfic award will be known as the Tex Henson Best All-Time Fanfic award, in honor of the man who created our beloved chipmunks and made the Rangers’ existence possible.

::Indy holds up the plaque, and the crowd stands and applauds again, then Indy turns the presentation back over to Man-Child::

Man-Child:  Yes . . .well. . . anyway, the winner for the Tex Henson Best All-Time Rescue Ranger Fanfic is . . . umm . . .

::Man-Child squints. He finally realizes the wolf spider on the end of his nose is obscuring his vision. He blows at the end of his nose and she scurries onto the top of his head::

Man-Child:  And the winner is . . .

::Man-Child looks to Blue. Blue looks to the wolf spider. The wolf spider produces the envelope and announces the winner in a pleasant, feminine voice::

Wolf Spider:  And the winner is…Rhyme and Reason!

::The crowd stands again, shouting and whistling. Indy returns on stage, going to the podium::

Indy: Unfortunately, Mike couldn’t be with us tonight. Mike Demcio created the Ranger novel movement, so I can think of no more fitting person to receive this highest award. Every author that’s come after him owes a lot to his creative prowess. I voted for this story, because it more than deserved this high recognition. Mike, hope you’re watching out there, because there’s a lot of people here that appreciate what you did for us!

::The crowds applauds as one, and Indy shakes hands with Man-Child, who finds himself blissfully surrounded by most of the female cast from “Untold Ranger Tales”. Indy grins, as he’d arranged this, then nods to the girls. Each one gives Man-Child a kiss on the cheek, which sends him floating up toward the ceiling. The wolf spider jumps on Man-Child’s shoulder, eager for the view from up above. Fortunately, Blue anticipated his master’s reaction and has a string attached to Man-Child’s leg. The cat trots off as the stage empties, hauling him off like a balloon::

Special Award for Rookie of the Year

::Only a little off-cue, Ray Jones rushes out to the podium. He raises his head to look around at everybody.

Ray: Okay, folks and folkettes, Indy tells me we are ready for the presentation of the next award!  This time, we are going to announce our "Rookie of the Year". This is the person who first introduced himself or herself during the last year and has made the biggest contribution, delivered the greatest impact, or otherwise stirred up the most hornets of all our newcomers.

::Several Rangerphiles in the audience exchange smiles::

Ray: Now let me emphasize that all our newbies are equally welcome! We value every new friend and fellow Rangerphile who comes into the Cafe. You don't have to be a great artist or a brilliant writer, or even a professional programmer. All contributions are appreciated, but no matter your background, whether you're an old coot or a kid, a PhD or can barely type, anyone, anywhere on Earth—if you like the Rescue Rangers and you want to be a friend in a group of fellow fans, then there is a chair and a table for you here. Even if you just want to lurk, to sit unseen in the shadowy booths around the walls, you are still welcome.

::A hearty round of applause follows::

Ray: But we humans are competitive creatures, so we need to give out awards. And we do want to encourage everyone to contribute something. You don't HAVE to contribute anything to be welcome here, of course, but you might surprise yourself and uncover some talent you didn't know you had. I don't think you will find a more sympathetic and supportive audience for your efforts.

::From offstage left, a figure waves and Ray notices him out of the corner of his eye::

Ray: Yes, Indy, I know we need to move along. May I have the envelope please!

::Ray looks straight up. Monterey Jack, clutching the envelope, is lowered down from above stage by a string tied around his waist::

Monty: I don't suppose you blokes could have come up with a MORE bloody undignified way to do this!

::The crowd laughs, many of them rolling in the aisles. Dale slaps Chip’s back, knocking him over. Ray takes the envelope::

Ray: Thanks, Monty. 

::Monty, arms folded across his chest, twists slowly on the end of the string. Ray stifles his own laughter and returns to the matter at hand::

Ray: And the winner IS…Rennod!

::Rennod, who is standing next to Indy offstage, is caught flat-footed. He hears the crowd applauding, but is so surprised that his feet won’t obey his brain’s orders to move. Indy gives him a good shove in the back and pushes him on stage. Rennod stumbles out, then regains his balance and Ray shakes his hand, guiding him to the podium and giving him the award. Rennod looks out on his applauding peers and can think of but one thing to say::

Rennod: Oh, my God!

::The crowd roars back, cheering him on::

Rennod: Thank you! Thank you all! Golly—I mean, wow.

::Rennod has to lean against the podium to recover, and the audience quiets down to let him do it::

Rennod: This ... this is just ... *whew*

::The audience laughs, enjoying the moment with him::

Rennod: I—I can't believe it! This just means so much to me. It really does. I mean it. It's been a ... a really...exciting...first year here in the Rangerphile community. I've enjoyed my time here so far, and hope it's just as great for many more years. A lot's happened since I came forward and announced myself, and I'm sure there's a lot more to come. It's just a a real big rush to get this honor. Thanks—many, many thanks—to all of you.

::Indy walks out and puts and arm around his friend’s shoulder::

Indy: This guy did so much work putting this shindig together, that it alone makes him worthy of this honor. I couldn’t have done it by myself—he did all the work on the nomination and voting procedures, gathering the ballots, counting them and verifying the winners, and so much more. He also contacted all the winners and forwarded their acceptances on to me. Rennod, you’re one swell guy.

::The crowd fills the room with cheers and whistling, and Rennod takes his award and heads off—the wrong way. Ray comes to the rescue and steers him back in the right direction before heading off himself::

Proceed to Part 10