Chapter 5

"Keep 'em coming," Bob commanded of the guy behind the counter of the Soda Shop (tm).

"Er...don't you think you've had enough?" the soda vendor spoke up hesitantly.

"I'll tell you when I've had enough," the young man slurred back with a vicious glare, swaying unsteadily.

"Fine, fine," the vendor sighed, sliding another chocolate milkshake across the bar, next to the six empty milkshake glasses already lined up in front of Bob. "Y'know, there wasn't actually any alcohol in these. You shouldn't be drunk."

"Shaddup! I'll be whatever I want! You can't tell me what to do! Yer not the boss of me!"

The vendor sighed and put another empty milkshake glass next to the six others in attempt to shame him into stopping.

"See? Look! Now you've had seven!"

"What?!" Bob exclaimed. "When did I have another one?"

"You need to stop, Sir. You're not even able to keep track anymore. You're not driving home in that condition!"

"Like Hell I'm not!" Bob spat at the unfortunate man in the little white hat. "Gimme my keys!"

"Er, Sir, I don't have your keys."

"Good, 'cause I don't have a car. I came here on a skateboard," Bob chuckled. Then, seconds later, he broke down in a fit of sobs. "Everybody's mean to me!"

"Oh..." the vendor sighed hesitantly. "You...wanna talk about it?"

"No," Bob whimpered.

"That's good. I gotta close up in a minute."

"But it's only four in the afternoon!"

"Yeah, but I don't like you," the vendor, who we shall now give the name of Phil, shrugged.

"That's just the problem!" Bob wailed. "Nobody likes me! They all say they like me, but as soon as I need money, or someone to give me the keys to my skateboard, they don't do it! They're all like, 'Oh, Bob! Everyone loves Bob!' Well, if everyone loves Bob, why doesn't anyone ever help Bob?!"

"Aw, that's too bad. Here. Have another chocolate milkshake on me," he said, expression sympathetic, but inwardly cackling with glee at the forty dollars the young man already owed him for the frozen milk-chocolately treats.

"Thanks, Phil!" Bob wept, overcome with emotion. "You're the best pal I ever had! Sometimes I think you're the only who respects me around here!"

"Wrong," Phil corrected flatly.

"Hmm," Bob sighed. "I'd better leave that while it's still ambiguous."

Phil sighed, knowing full well that this young man would not take his skateboard and find someone else to bother until he got to tell the sob- story that he obviously wanted to.

"Look, kid, you sure you don't wanna talk about it?"

"They all hate my acting!" Bob wailed. "Everyone else got a part in the school play, but not ol' Bob! Bobby just wasn't good enough! Even Tanker got a part! He got the star role!"

"Well, Bob," Phil started, leaning against the counter, "in the television show of life, there are principle characters, and there are secondary characters."

"And I suppose I'm a secondary character," Bob huffed, crossing his arms.

"No, no, Bob, there's another class that I forgot to mention: the extras."

"I'm an extra, aren't I?" Bob sighed in resignation.

"No, you see, Bob, there are also the caterers."

"I'm a caterer?!" Bob wailed.

"Let's just say that SOMEONE has to bring the caterers their coffee. And that's where you come in, in the great television show that we call life."

"I thought we called this television show 'Super-Human Samurai Syber Squad,'" Bob mused, scratching his head.

"Shut up, Bob," Phil commanded menacingly. "Until now, you were only Unnamed Extra #7. Only Bezo and Yezo saw fit to truly bring you to life by giving you the name of Bob. They're like your parents, in a way."

"Oh, no, we're not!" Yezo's voice shouted from the sky. "No kids! No kids EVER!"

"Yeah," Bezo's voice agreed. "Kids are smelly, and they wanna play on my Playstation 2! MY Playstation 2! Rrr!"

"Shut up, Narration!" Bob howled at the ceiling.

"Syd, I really think there's something wrong with Tanker," Sam told his friend seriously.

"We covered that, Sam. He's stupid, obsessed with football, and...stupid," she concluded, ticking them off on her fingers. "Oh! And he's a bad actor!"

"No, no! This time I'm talking about a different problem!"

"His horrible foot odour?" Sydney suggested.

"Y'know, I never noticed that," Sam admitted. "Hey, speaking of things wrong with Tanker, have you ever seen him play the drums?"

"Come to think of it, I haven't," Sydney noted, frowning. "While we're on the subject, have you ever played your guitar?"

"Y'know, now that you mention it, I haven't. Aside from that one chord," he amended, laughing. "Whenever I play that chord, I get sucked into the computer! It makes it really hard to practice! Not that I ever do...the phone rings every time I'm about to."

"Yeah! I wonder why that is..."

"Hey, weren't we talking about something?" Sam mused, scratching his head as the two wandered aimlessly through the hallway, being randomly distracted by brightly coloured objects.

"Yeah - we were talking about all the things wrong with Tanker."

"Hey, this is only a half-hour show," Sam laughed. "Maybe if this was a three-part episode, we'd be able to cover a quarter. Tanker's problems could easily fill up a season. Hey! We should do that! We desperately need ideas."

"NO!" Yoli barked as she happened past. "I refuse to do a whole season about Tanker!"

With that, she promptly disappeared, having been brought into the scene only long enough to deliver a needed line and vanish conveniently, such as was the way of the show.

Sam and Sydney watched her depart, blinking in confusion.

"Hey! I remember what we were talking about now!" Sam exclaimed jubilantly, hiding the script behind his back.

"Of course you do, Sam," Sydney sighed. "It says right here on Page 45: 'Sam and Sydney figure out that a Mega-Virus Monster is the source of Tanker's problem.' Only one of them," she scoffed.

"Isn't it always a Mega-Virus Monster?" Sam demanded, annoyed. "Seriously! It's always a Mega-Virus Monster! Can someone even get a cold in this town without it being a Mega-Virus Monster?"

"That's beside the point, Sam," Sydney proclaimed, slipping into dramatic mode, which in and of itself was one of the greater examples of irony to occur that day. "Now that we know what it is, we must destroy the virus, and save Tanker's brain!" Then she scratched her hat. "I don't know, Sam. It seems kinda like a doomed mission to me."

"You're dating the guy," Sam reminded her mildly.

"Yeah, but Malcolm's cute," she shrugged.

"How can you say such a thing about our evil nemesis?!" Sam exclaimed. "That's just the Rhianwen 'shippiness talking!"

"But...I thought this was written by Bezo and Yezo," Sydney mused as the two came to a stop in front of her locker, in which conveniently resided her laptop, despite the fact that she had earlier left it in the cafeteria.

"Uh, Syd? Rhianwen IS Yezo," Sam informed her gently.

"What?!" Sydney exclaimed, feeling horribly betrayed for about half a second. Then she brightened. "Ooh! Does that mean it might degenerate into smut?"

"I don't think so," Sam shrugged, then frowned as she opened the door of her locker and turned on her laptop. "Didn't you leave that in the cafeteria earlier?"

"What? Of course not," Sydney scoffed. "If I left it in the cafeteria, it would still be there, and it wouldn't be in my locker! Don't you think this show has continuity?"

"Hey, guys," a young man with shoulder-length blond hair greeted them.

"Hey, Lucky," they both greeted as he rounded a corner.

"Yeah, you're right, Syd," Sam agreed. "This show has flawless continuity! Now, let's go save Tanker's brain!"

"But...but how?"

"I know!" Sam exclaimed. "Let's write a musical about it!"

With that, a triumphant march struck up in the background, and Sam began marching jauntily in place.

"Sam," Sydney began, poking him repeatedly in the side. "Don't you think it might be a little more effective if you go into the computer and beat the virus?"

"What?" Sam blinked. "Oh, yeah, yeah, sure."

And so, reluctantly halting in his march, he struck a pose.

"Let's..." he began slowly.

"SAMURIZE, GUYS!" the two shouted together, drawing several weird looks from the various people wandering through the hallway. On an ordinary day, they would have been lucky, and the hallway would have been mysteriously clear. However, this was not an ordinary day, nor were these the ordinary writers.

This, of course, might not have been so bad, had Malcolm not happened to be one of those wandering past.

"Let's samurize, guys?" he repeated, scratching his head as Sam was sucked into Sydney's laptop. "Oh, well. Time to check on my little virus."

He made his way across the hallway to his own locker, and turned on his own laptop. And so, both teens stood in the hallway, at their respective lockers, anxiously staring at the screens of their respective laptops.

" cute," Yezo crooned, looking down from the little writer-world that she and Bezo inhabited.

"Hey, what if they find out about each other?" Bezo asked, concerned.

"What do you mean, find out about each other?" Yezo demanded.

"Well, you know. How one works for the good guys and one works for the bad guys."

"Love, remember what universe we're working in," Yezo giggled.

"Right. No chance of that happening," Bezo sighed.

Meanwhile, in the hallway...

"Go, Servo! Find that mean ol' virus!" Sydney cheered.

"Go, virus! Find that mean ol' Servo!" Malcolm cheered.

Then, as one, they turned around to stare at each other incredulously.

"Hi, Malcolm!" Sydney chirped, waving happily.

"Hello, Sydney. Hey, do you wanna trade laptops?" he suggested eagerly. After all, he was getting rather tired of Kilokhan's whining. Let her deal with it for a while!

"No!" she replied snippily. "My laptop!"

"Get the laptop from the Syd-thing!" Kilokhan commanded from where he resided within the screen of Malcolm's computer.

"No, Mysterious Voice Inside Malcolm's Locker! My laptop!" she reiterated, cuddling it close.

"Whoa! It suddenly got really dark!" Servo announced. "And I think I see boobies!"

Malcolm frowned, then shook his head.

"Nah," he reflected to himself. "I couldn't have just heard what I thought I heard."

Meanwhile, in the digital world...

Servo marched along triumphantly, as the same march somehow played in the background. He drew in his breath as if to sing, when all of a sudden...


Servo frowned.

"What was that, home base?"

"I have a name, Servo!" Sydney protested hotly. "And it is Sydney! Kindly use it!"

Meanwhile, at Malcolm's locker...

"What an odd coincidence," he mused, frowning as the girl's voice drifted toward him. "I know a Servo, too. I didn't think it was a very common name, but..."

Then he frowned again as a remarkably similar shout drifted out from the speakers of his computer. For some unexplained reason, things operated on a five-second delay in the digital world.

"I have a name, Servo!" Sydney protested hotly. "And it is Sydney! Kindly use it!"

"Wow! I know a Sydney, too!" Malcolm proclaimed. "Oh, well. Back to the matter at hand. Go, virus! Destroy that Servo slob!"

"Ow!" a tiny voice whimpered from the bottom of Servo's foot.

"Ooh...this isn't good," Malcolm noted in what was perhaps his most intelligent insight that day.

"Ow!" the voice whimpered again as Servo took another step. "Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!"

"Hey, try to keep the beat, would you, little guy?" Servo requested of the bottom of his foot.

"Uh, Sam," a voice echoed through the digital world and drifted out from the speakers of Malcolm's laptop. "I think the virus is taken care of. You can come back now! Back to the hallway of the school! North Valley High School!"

"Curses!" Malcolm hissed. "Foiled again, and STILL with no idea who Servo is!"

"Wow, I hope no one ever finds out that you're Servo, Sam," Sydney was meanwhile saying to a newly reappeared Sam.

Malcolm turned to glare at them both.

"If you aren't going to provide me with any helpful insights, then be gone!"

"But I didn't get to use Grid Power!" Sam whimpered.

"Bob?" a voice softly called from the doorway of the Soda Shop (tm).

Bob set down his fifty-seventh chocolate milkshake and turned to glare blearily at this intruder.

"What?" he demanded, then blinked as his gaze lit on a pretty young woman with long, flowing red hair. "Julie?"

"Yes, Bob. It's me."

"Get outta here, Julie," Bob commanded intensely. "You can't be seen with a- a-a caterer's coffee-guy like me!"

"Don't say that, Bob!" Julie sobbed, throwing her arms around him. "We can get through this together! We can be happy! We can bring the caterers coffee! Together!"

"Oh, Julie!"

"Oh, Bob!"

"Oh, brother," Phil sighed.

Yes, this was the start of a beautiful friendship. Or, you know, something else entirely.

"So, what you're trying to say," Tanker began sceptically, shifting in his chair in the school cafeteria, "is that it was a virus that made me stupid?"

"No," Sydney corrected, patting his shoulder. "The virus made you say 'football' a lot. Your parents made you stupid, with a little help from that tree you fell out of when you were four."

"I thought we'd never discuss the tree again," Tanker glared at her.

"Anyway," Sam began in his 'only two minutes left of the episode/time to wrap everything up' voice, "I think we've all learned an important lesson today."

"Not me!" Tanker announced proudly.

"Or me," Amp added.

"Or me," Yoli agreed from her perch in the bushy-haired youth's lap.

"Me, neither," Sydney agreed sadly.

"And certainly not me," Malcolm added emphatically. "Although, I do have many more clues as to who Servo is. Damn this mystery!"

"I learned how to work the door!" Jennifer announced proudly. "Ow!"

"Uh...kay," Sam said hesitantly. "So, no one learned anything. But at least everything's back to normal."

"Um...not quite," Sydney began to say, but was interrupted by Tanker.

"That reminds me. Sydney, I'm sorry to do this - kinda - but I'm breaking up with you. See, over the course of the last few hours, I have truly found the love of my life. Mandi, Candi, Brandi, I love you guys!"

"We're not guys!" the three chirped together, annoyed. "Duh!"

"Even better! Football!" Tanker proclaimed jubilantly as he sauntered from the cafeteria surrounded by his newly acquired girlfriends.

"Oh, dear. Well, I'll try to get over it. Malcolm? Wanna help me with the long, difficult process of healing?"

"Does this process involve pants flying through the air?" he asked suspiciously.

"Yup!" she chirped.

"O-kay!" he agreed enthusiastically, breaking all sense of character that hadn't already succumbed to brutalisation over the last five chapters as the two scurried from the cafeteria in search of a nice, secluded supply closet...or boiler room.

"What the...?" Sam scratched his head. Then he rolled his eyes. "I'm confused. Whatever. Hey, Jennifer, wanna go for ice cream?"

"Sure!" Jennifer chirped, walking into the door once again. "Ow!"

"Wait a minute..." Mrs. Starkey began as all the happy couples (or quartets) sauntered from the cafeteria. "Weren't we doing a play here?"

The End

What they're doing now:

Sam went on to find a guitar. With strings. He has now learned five chords, and is currently the lead singer of Greenday. However, after learning that fifth chord, he has become hopelessly overqualified for the position, so they are thinking of sacking him.

Jennifer went on to walk into a wall. Several times. She is reported as having said, "Ow!"

Yoli and Amp were married. They now lead a full and happy life together in the Crab Nebula, a quirky little bar and grill in New York City. As owners and part-time managers, they live above the establishment in a lovely little en suite.

Tanker plays football.

Mandi, Candi, and Brandi went on to marry Tanker, once he had converted to Mormonism. They are now his personal cheering squad, on and off the football field. Go, Tanker, go, indeed.

Sydney and Malcolm went on to be married. Malcolm never did find out who Servo was, even after Kilokhan was destroyed in a freak accident, saying as he died, "It's Sam Collins, you idiot!" To this day, those last words of his former partner haunt Malcolm, remaining a mystery that may never be fully solved. Sydney is now a lead programmer for Microsoft. Clearly, Malcolm's evil has got to her. In more ways than one, mrowr. Despite one being haunted to this day by an unfathomable mystery and the other being an agent of the devil, they are very happy.

Bob and Julie went on to be married, as well. Unfortunately, Bob developed diabetes as a result of all those chocolate milkshakes, but was able to cure it, and has since discovered the cure for every known type of cancer, as well as Ebola, and the common cold. He is now the President of the United States. Everybody loves Bob!