(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.)


Three Laws

By Rick Carlson, June 17 and 24, 2007


"The Three Laws are TIF," pronounced Dave, suddenly and quite without warning.

“The Three Who are What?” asked Dan, taken aback – literally taking one step back to look quizzically at Dave.

“Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics.”

“What about them? They’re Triff? As in terrific? Fabulous?”

“No, Dan, not Triff – TIF – Totally Impossible Fiction, our Acronym of the Day.”

“Is that anything like the Secret Word?”

“I was just thinking…”

Dan rolled his eyes, “Here we go again, Dave.”

“Hush, Dan. Now, as I was saying, I was just thinking…we have a Director of the Day, so why not an Acronym of the Day? We’re surrounded by technology, and, as everyone knows, technology is surrounded by acronyms, so I thought we could enlighten members of our viewing audience – Hi, Folks!” Dave grinned and waved to the nearest camera.

“Okay, Dave, I get it. Things have been a bit slow around here, and you’re not getting enough action and adventure.

“Speak for yourself, Dan.”

“(sigh) Actually, I was, but that’ll change when I get back to San Fran next week – that is, assuming we survive until then and get there in one piece.”

“What is that supposed to mean? You’re the pilot. Isn’t that your job? To get us there in one piece?”

”Sure, if you don’t put us in harm’s way, first. C’mon, Dave, surely you remember the last Ratings Red Alert? When you’re not getting enough action and adventure, something exciting – and, therefore, dangerous – happens. Or you’ll make it happen. Face it, Dave – you’re an adrenaline junkie, just like me.”


“No buts now – we can discuss it later, Dave…” turning to the camera with a game show host grin, Dan finished “…WITH AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION! That’s right, folks! Our next D3 (that’s Danger Dave Debates for our newer viewers) will be chock full of action, adventure, and adrenaline. Sure! We’ll call the theme “The A3 D3.” Check out the D3 site for rules, hotel rates and archives of previous D3 events.” Turning back to Dave, he said, “Now, you were saying something about robots?”

Dave sighed, took a long breath, sighed again…and waited.

Dan prompted him, “Acronym of the Day? TIF? Anything ringing a bell here? Hello? Earth to Dave?”

“We’re not on Earth, Dan, even though you’re not flying the ship...hey, hold on a moment. Who is flying the ship?”

“A robot – why do you ask?”

“Well, because we’re doomed, of course.”

“Dave, don’t be such a downer. My robot twin has flown in my place hundreds of times without any problems, whatsoever. Why would this time be any different? Why are we suddenly doomed?”

“Dan, you and I have been friends for how long now?”

“Since boarding school in England, you know that.”

“And you should know that, with me at least, there are no coincidences. You know the drill. Remember Mom’s Old-Fashioned Kitchen, instant delivery pizza and the whole time travel headache that brought the Pun Police down on Maria for making that obscene clone fall?.”

“Well, what about it?”

“It’s simple. I say something about the Three Laws of Robotics being Totally Impossible Fiction, and then you tell me a robot is flying the ship. Top it off with the fact that everything is being recorded for the Better-Than-Life 3-D TV show, The Adventures of Danger Dave, Galactic Hero (see your local listings for show times), and you can only come to one conclusion – the events in our lives – specifically, mine – are merely plot devices to keep the story moving forward.

“Fine, Dave – I’m pickin’ up what you’re throwin’ down – the Three Laws of Robotics, Totally Impossible Fiction, robot pilot, the two of us nowhere near the Bridge, and your little monolog all add up to … what? The lights are still on, the ship is still flying, and we are still alive. If something was going to happen, wouldn’t it have done so by now?”

“Not yet, Dan. Remember, this is also a comedy, and I haven’t finished my thought on the Three Laws.”

“Dave, the suspense is killing me – through boredom.”

“Hold on just little bit longer, Dan.”

Dave turned to the camera, “You too, folks. If I’m right, a Bad Thing is about to happen in the next, say, 30 seconds. Can we have an on-screen countdown, please, on my mark? And…Mark.”

[0:30] “Okay, here goes.”

[0:29] “The First Law”

[0:28] “Of Robotics:”

[0:27] “A robot may not harm a human being”

[0:24] “or, though inaction, allow a human being”

[0:20] “to come to harm.”

[0:18] “The Second Law:”

[0:17] “A robot must obey commands, except where”

[0:14] “that would conflict with the First Law.”

[0:12] “The Third Law:”

[0:11] “A robot must protect itself”

[0:10] “Ten seconds, Dave.

[0:09] “…except where that would conflict with the First or Second Laws.”

[0:06] “Five seconds - MARK.”

[0:05] (quickly) “Robots are built by humans, humans are not perfect, robots would have to be psychic, the Laws are vague, robots are precise.”

[0:02] “and finally, Dan, what’s the Golden Rule of Comedy?”

[0:01] “Timing?”

[0:00] BOOM! The blast shook the room, the lights went out, and the ship’s engines made the universal whining sound of winding down to a stop, until finally, when all was quiet and still, Dave calmly replied…”Timing.”

Silence and darkness enveloped them, except for the red “[0:00]” that was flashing on the display screen on the wall when everything else around them was dead.


“Yes, Dan?”

“I despise you.”

“Welcome to the club, Dan. Get to the back of the line.”

“Who is in front of me in this line? I can’t see.”

“Pretty much the entire civilized universe at this moment, Dan. Perhaps just the local galaxy, but who’s picking nits at this point, right?”

More silence.

“Um, Dave?”

“Yes, Dan?”

“What are we doing?”


“For what?”


“Do you mean left or right? Or something deeper and more spiritual, like where your life is headed, and does it have meaning?”

“Neither one, Dan. We’re waiting for the DoD.”

“Director of the Day? The one you mentioned before in your speech about the Three Laws?”

“Precisely. The very same.”

“How long do we have to wait?”

“Remember the Golden Rule of Comedy?”


As if on cue, the emergency lights clicked on, and the wall displayed the somewhat balding, middle-aged, and disembodied face of the DoD, who apparently had no neck.

Dave looked at the face on the wall. “Let me guess – you’re the Director of the Day, and your screen name is Holly.”

“You’re sharp as a tack today, Dave – right on both counts!”

Dave shuddered involuntarily.

Dan looked extremely puzzled by the face, Dan’s reaction, and by the golden glow of the emergency lights directly above his head, the halo giving him a look of pure innocence, for once. “How did you know…?”

“His screen name is Holly? Simple…Red Dwarf.”

“Why the shudder?”

“Why? Because I hate mixed media references, that’s why. He’s watched Groundhog Day way too many times, over and over and over…which, incidentally, does not bode well for us.”

“I don’t get it. What does a fairly common, yet not very bright, star have to do with…?”

Dave cut him off, “Red Dwarf was a SciFi TV show, back in 2-D, filmed in England, coincidentally, and since we have already established that there are no coincidences today, I would hazard a guess that our current predicament will have something to do with either the TV show, someone associated with it, or…”

Dan cut in, “…an actual Red Dwarf star, perhaps?”

“INCONCEIVABLE!” shouted the DoD.

Dave looked around at the ceiling at no one in particular and said, “somebody shoot him…please?”

Dan continued, “Like the one out the window?”

Dave whipped back to face Dan. “One what? Which window?”

“…AND CUE COMMERCIAL!” hollered Holly. “Okay, that’s a wrap, people. One hour for lunch!”

The screen went blank again, taking the flashing red [0:00] with it this time.

“Now what, Dave? Any bright ideas? You seem to know everything, for once.”

“Well, Dan, you mentioned D3 – the Danger Dave Debates, and A3 – Action, Adventure, and Adrenaline.”


“So, I guess that makes us O3 – On Our Own. Also, I’m starving. Lunch actually sounds good.”

“But Mister Galactic Hero, what about the galaxy?”

“Let ‘em get their own lunch.”

“I meant, the Fate of the Galaxy, in Capital Letters, smarty pants. Aren’t you supposed to do something about the current situation?”

“It can keep ‘til after lunch, I’m sure. It’s plain as the nose on Pinocchio’s face that someone else is pulling the strings today, so I’m gonna take my cue from the cue ball in the wall and grab a bite. The question is – what and where?”

“That’s two questions, Dave. Is your OCD on the blink, today?”

“No, today is Opposite Day, Dan. Usually, I’m the last to know what’s going on. Today, I appear to be the first. I want to emphasize that word – appear. Usually, I lead the charge into battle or wherever. Today, I’ve surrendered completely to Fate. So, I’ll let you decide. Which way do we go? Left or right?”

“How about Retreat? That’s something you never do. Retreat AND Abandon Ship. If today is truly Opposite Day, and that’s the last thing you would ever do in this situation, then it should be the first. Simple Logic.”

“Suddenly, every muscle in my body is clenched – that goes against every instinct I have…and now, I am feeling the adrenaline rush, so you must be right, Dan.”

“Turn around, Dave.”

“What? The Supply Closet? You’re still not my type, Danny Boy.”

“THROUGH the supply closet – it’s a shortcut to the shuttle bay where I keep my Space Hog.”

“But we don’t even know where we’re going.”

“Since when has that stopped you? You want some action, adventure, and adrenaline? Do something unexpected. We have no idea where we dropped out of warp, so let’s go check out the local neighborhood.”

“Lead on, Macduff!”

“Roll over, Beethoven?”

“Shakespeare, actually, but neither will be joining us for lunch, so relax, Dan.”

“Time travel, opposite day, no idea what lies ahead – Dave, you do know what you just set in motion for us?”

“What, lunch with white-haired dead dudes? It could be much worse…”

“Famous last words, Dave.”