(This is an excerpt from my Science Fiction/Comedy novel in progress -- The Adventures of Danger Dave, a story of Galactic Exploration and High Adventure, produced and broadcast by 21st Century Weasel Entertainment.)

Chapter 4 - Horsemen

With a look of pain and desperation on his face, Dave charged boldly through the ship to the Captain’s Quarters, clutching his stomach on the way to his private porcelain pal.

(5 minutes later)

"Captain to the bridge!" bellowed the intercom, only an arm’s length away from Dave as he emptied his lunch, breakfast, and other assorted organic items of dubious origin and composition. "Danger Dave, your crew awaits your command…Come out, come out, wherever you are," teased BOB. Dave knew that BOB new exactly where he was and what he was doing. That damn smart-assed computer-human hybrid wasn’t going to embarrass this Galactic Hero, especially this way. Something had to be done!

"I’ve got it!" thought Dave. "BOB, activate and deploy (gag, choke) Virtual Dave, full auto (heave, gag), AI: intelligence maximum, origin, (hurl, gag, choke) just outside my bathroom door.

"Thy will be done, oh Emperor of the Exalted Throne," sneered BOB, with more than a hint of mischief, as the Droid Who Would Be Dave emerged from a hatchway, assumed the form of Dave, and marched to the bridge, whistling a tune by John Philip Sousa.

(Virtual) Dave quietly entered the bridge in exactly the same way that a heard of stampeding elephants quietly window shop in a mall, which is to say, not quietly at all. "Why are we standing still?" demanded Dave, with a look that implied the entire Universe was at fault for moving too slowly. "The winds of change are sweeping the sky! Do we sit idly by? Nay! Nay, I say! The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are charging this way! Do we sit here and do nothing all day? Nay! Lead, or get out of the way! Or follow them and go where they may. Lives will be saved or lost this day!"

After a brief pause to scan the room and make sure everyone was paying close attention, (virtual) Dave looked directly into the nearest camera, gave a wink, then turned back to the crew at large and continued. "Every action or inaction we take or not can have dire consequences on the future, the people in it, and the galaxy itself! And by extension, the entire Universe! Let us not wait a moment longer! Let the wings of Hope carry us. Let Destiny direct us. Let the galaxy guide us. The future is now. Time is of the essence! We must boldly…"

"Psst! Hey, Dan! Hit a button and get us going before Captain Cliché explodes," whispered BOB to the almost hypnotized pilot."

"What? Huh? Oh, right. Gotcha," replied Dan, also whispering. Then, he turned back to Dave, snapped a salute, and barked "Sir, Yes Sir! To the Horsehead Nebula, by your command, sir!"

"What?" replied Dave. "Oh, yes, good. Excellent, in fact!" replied (virtual) Dave. With that said, he sat down, picked up the newspaper, turned to the comics, and began reading quietly to himself – much to everyone’s amazement and delight. No one dared say a word and disturb the wonderful silence they heard all too infrequently on the bridge.

Meanwhile, back in the Captain’s Quarters, the real Danger Dave was "coughing up his toenails," wishing he could just die and get it all over with, unaware that his virtual twin just started a chain of events that might grant his wish. Heading towards the Horsehead Nebula, four great armies were preparing for war, and Dave would be right in the middle, still stuck in the bathroom.

"The Adventures of Danger Dave, Galactic Hero" Copyright © 2000, Carl Erick "Rick" Carlson