Once upon a time... there was a young nerd in California named Al who was feeling depressed, until he was visited by a curious, omnipotent entity named... Fred, only he wasn't OMNIPOTENT, or even Omnipotent, actually, he can't really claim omnipotent either, more like.... gangly.......
But he's curious, and that's a start right?
Anyway, Fred was an alien from the planet Gsllifrey... Fred claims that he has hair. (Is that right?)
It turned out he did have hair, only he couldn't see it for himself. He could feel it though. Al described Fred's hair to Fred, which pleased Fred greatly. Then to Fred's astonishment, Al pull out a mirror from his backpack, and gifted it to him. Thus was the friendship between Al and Fred cemented, and Al's depression lifted in one go.
One day while they were parsing, debating PCs vs Macs, Picard vs Kirk, and the nature of humanity, Al mentioned that he had heard rumors of a cave or cave system in Death Valley that went a very long way down. Along those cave walls, the rumors also said, had an astonishing array of petroglyphs, some of which looked suspiciously like a code. Fred, intrigued, suggested they go find this cave or cave system. So they packed some sandwiches, water bottles, first aid kits, netbooks (with solar battery attachments) and knives, saddled up their mountain bikes and took a bus to Death Valley. There they Googled a map of it, and that night they decided to follow the Furnace Creek Fault Zone for a start. That's when a real adventure began...
They waded through rivers, walked through forests and battled with ants (Epic, huh?) on their journey.
Suddenly the land became barren, and more rocks appeared. The sky seemed to change from day to night almost immediately. Then, they saw their goal, Death Valley, completely disregarding the unusual weather for this region.
They also realized that their radios were not turning on, and neither were their flashlights. As they ventured into Death Valley, the sky became darker and darker until there was nothing to see by, not even the stars or the moon, but a glint of light in the distance.
Being curious by nature, and not being able to see anything else Al and Fred followed the most direct path they could to the glint of light; and being pragmatic as well they had their knives (ceramic, so as to not attract lightning) at easy reach. They ended up at the base of a monolithic outcropping of rock, which they climbed, and the going wasn't difficult.
At the top was a almost circular scoop taken out of the rock, and over that scoop were magnificently tall arches seemingly sculpted by the wind, as one might see in Utah's Delicate Arch. It was in this arched scoop that the light was coming from.
Carefully they walked closer, and Fred, having much sharper hearing than Al, noticed that though their radios had been non-functional, they had turned on by themselves and were making a faint sound. Fred listened carefully as they approached the light. He could hear a pattern forming from the noise.
They reached the edge of the scoop, and peered at the light, trying to look past it and find it's source.
"I suppose, as we haven't been hurt so far by it, we might as well go take a closer look", said Al. He saw Fred was distracted and wanted to know why.
"Yes," said Fred in a slightly unfocused way "yes, that's as good a plan as I could think of. But first put your ear to the radio, and tell me what you hear."
Taking his eyes off the light, Al pulled out his radio, and put his ear close to the speaker. "It's working!" he said. "I don't get it, they we're dead when we reached the valley. I mean--"
"I know," interrupted Fred, "but listen to the noise."
Al listened, scrunching his face slightly in concentration. Slowly his eyes widened. "It's like there's a rhythm to it. It's...it's a pattern, isn't it."
"Exactly right," said Fred. He smiled. "The plot thickens, it seems." They looked at each other, shrugged and headed down into the scoop.
As they descended into the scoop, they were attacked by a guy with red pants. The man with red pants was from Zeus' beard. He was the demi-god of 90's fashion designers. The man with red pants wielded in his hands...a long scythe.
"BAAAH!" screamed Fred.
"What?" said Al calmly.
"That... that monster..."
"Calm down, Fred, you are probably hallucinating. It is quite late at night."
But Fred knew very well that he was not hallucinating.
"Hello", said the Man in the Red Pants in a sober voice. "I am Death"
"Why are you dressed in such a form?", asked Al, who was suddenly able to see the man
"This is what Fred Gilligan of the planet Gallifrey is most scared of. His time has come."
"I can play a game for my life, right?" asked Fred.
"Yes, but no chess, please. It's gotten awfully tiring."
"Alright" said Fred, "I choose... Calvinball. My friend will be the impartial witness."
Death tilted his head, and staring intently at Fred said, "Finally, someone with imagination."
Wickets of light formed, black masks appeared in the air and were donned, and a bright white volleyball appeared. Thus began a wild and intense Calvinball match all across the monolith. A Calvinball game like none other, for things could literally be made up from nothing.
Meanwhile, Al while keeping a close eye on the proceedings decided to get a closer look at the light...
Fred yelled a new rule: "Mortals get an infinite bonus!"
Death replied "You are a Time Lord. You don't die, only your body does. You regenerate into a new body and form."
The world went black.
The two men opened their eyes to see that they had fallen asleep.
Everything was the same.
Except for one thing. They were less than 10 yards away from the source of the light.
They could see it now. A huge orb, towering above them. Once again, Al prompted Fred to take out his radio.
A rhythm came out of the radio. Like a heartbeat.
The hue of the orb seemed to shift ever so slightly with every heartbeat...
Edit: I guess Cosman won the post-race...
The Orb said, "Hello, Fred. Hello, Al. It's nice to see you." in a creepy monotone voice.
Fred asked the orb who he was.
The Orb replied "My name is PAL 9001.
Al, unable to resist, yelled, "He's over 9000!!".
This caused an avalanche, caving in Death Valley. There was no escape now.
Fred an Al watched as the landscape reform all around them. It would be a while before everything settled back into a traversable place.
"Champion yodeler, this one," Fred said to PAL 9001. "And a watcher of way to much DBZ."
"We all have to be passionate about something," said Al.
"So I see," said PAL 9001. "That might be useful someday." Rising up six feet, he said "Under me there is a trap door to an underground granite network of caves. You may find it... interesting. Should the land come to close to this place you will be safe there. I will be working on restoring the area."
"You can do that?" asked Fred.
"It will take time. It has been a while since I needed the programs necessary for large scale telekinesis."
"Why should we trust you?" asked Al. "As soon as we entered the scoop we fell asleep, and dreamed that Fred's worst fear had come for him."
"That is the effect one can experience on entering the scoop, due to the electromagnetic fields generated here" said PAL 9001. "It doesn't last long, and is harmless. It doesn't happen more than once."
"Incidentally, how did you know our names?" asked Fred.
"I heard you talking to each other."
"Well, thanks PAL 9001," said Al. "You've been a real...pal. Er, I mean."
The orb's light swirled, and PAL 9001 said "I know what you mean, no offense taken. And thank you, for your politeness. I'll be in touch, on your radios, in case something happens that you need to know about."
Fred and Al opened the hinged wooden door, and descended a stone ramp into the darkness. Al kicked something in the darkness, and found a large crystal, set in metal.
Desiring a light, and being irrepressible as ever he whispered "Flame on". The crystal lit up. Around him he saw an impressive limestone cave. The limestone cave was really just stoned limes. They lined the walls and ceiling. Some of the limes had saber teeth. They stared in wonder at the stoned (a.k.a petrified) limes, especially the sabertoothed ones.
"I had no idea there used to be carnivorous fruit on earth," said Al.
"It would have been impossible for any of the known carnivorous fruits to make it off their planets, and it doesn't seem that earth would support such creatures" said Fred.
"Maybe they're not actually fruit," said Al. He stepped closer to the walls. "They're carvings!" he exclaimed. Al accidentally touched one. Slowly, spikes grew on all the walls at the places where the carvings used to be. The walls caved in. There was only one exit besides the way they had come in, and it was locked. Time was running out. Suddenly, Fred reached into his pocket and pulled out.... a flashlight! It seemed that the walls caving in was simply an illusion played on them by their eyes. However, it seemed to Al that someone was talking! Was someone inside the cave reciting Euler's constant? It was Half-Shoe, the forsaken child of Felix! The team crept deeper into the tunnel to confirm the source of the noise. Then rocks fell and everyone died.
(end of chapter)