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Mergatroyd (NSW, oneshot)


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So this is a one-shot that I've written for my class. We're doing a unit on science fiction (as a genre type, to tie in with our science unit on space and the solar system) and the Literacy assessment task is that they write a short scifi narrative. The way we're doing it is taking Little Red Riding Hood, and using the story-curve to break it into the four elements (orientation, build-up, climax, resolution) summarising each section into 3-4 simple sentences, and then changing everything - characters names, locations, objects etc, into more scifi appropriate versions. Those sentences than get expanded and thus we write a new sci fi story. This is my narrative, that I knocked together today.


It's cheesy, and you get 1 point for each reference you spot from other texts.


Rated G, critique encouraged.




It was a quiet, sunny and productive Wednesday afternoon, and Professor Shintor was in his laboratory working on a new experiment, clad in his ever-present decontamination lab-suit, when he realised that he was out of ectoplasm.


“Well, that just won’t do” muttered Shintor to himself angrily, carefully placing his experiment into stasis and placing an order for express shipment of ectoplasm from his regular supplier. Once that was done, Shintor tapped a frustrated tattoo on the floor as he thought about what he could work on until his order arrived.


“Oh, of course!” he exclaimed loudly as he scurried off towards another part of the laboratory, towards an old experiment that he’d forgotten about, and set to work.


Meanwhile, in the sales office of Ectoplasmic Supplies, Leela was reading through Shintor’s order, and sighed as she put the order through to the warehouse and printed an invoice, calling out to the waiting room for the delivery driver.


“Oi, Mergatroyd! Come ‘ere!”


Leela waited impatiently, listening to the clomping of heavy boots on the waiting room’s tile floor slowly getting nearer, and then, finally, the sshhwoosh sound as the hydraulic door smoothly slid open.


“Alright Leela, hold ya horses. Whaddya need?”


“Your favourite customer, Professor Shintor, has just ordered another full shipment of ectoplasm. He needs it delivered pronto. Oh, and you’ll need to stick to the shipping lanes; we need you to get some Blue Milk on your way back.”


Mergatroyd sighed with exasperation. He’d already been to the Professor’s laboratory three times this week, and didn’t really feel like making the trip again; the traffic on the shipping lanes was terrible at this time of day.


“Shintor, ectoplasm, shipping lanes, Blue Milk, got it” he replied with irritation clear in his voice, as he turned around and began to make his way towards the loading dock.


It wasn’t long until, as expected and feared, Mergatroyd was fighting with the traffic on the shipping lanes, which was as infuriatingly bad as he expected it to be, when to make matters worse, his fuel gauge started flashing that the truck was almost out of neutron-fuel. Pulling into the next neutron station, Mergatroyd began to refuel, when he heard a distinctly crazy voice coming from behind him.


“Good day to you Mergatroyd, where are you off to with a load of ectoplasm today?”


Frowning as he recognised the voice that was coming from behind him, Mergatroyd turned around, and had to squint into the afternoon sun, grimacing when he confirmed who the voice belonged to.


“Oh, it’s you, Mentat. I thought you were locked up in St. Einstein’s Hospital for Crazy Scientists? I’m just taking another shipment to Professor Shintor. You should go back to the Hospital, Mentat.”


Mentat grinned maniacally, with a crazed glint in his eye, as he pointed at the back of Mergatroyd’s hover-truck.


“Oh I will go back, but you should double check your truck, there’s a safety checkpoint up ahead. You wouldn’t want to be delayed with your shipment, now then, would you?”


Mergatroyd rolled his eyes as he turned back to refuelling the hover-truck while Mentat walked away, cackling crazily. As he stood there, he decided that just to be on the safe side, he would quickly double check that the hover-truck would pass the standard police roadside safety check.


Mentat continued to laugh crazily until he was out of Mergatroyd’s hearing range. He pulled out his multi-function pocket watch, and twisted the dials until it was on the teleportation setting, and he promptly disappeared from view with a slight hum.


Unseen by both Mergatroyd and Mentat, was Superhero-woman, who was at the time crouched down, putting air in the tyres of her super-cycle, and who heard their entire conversation. Thinking through the options available to her, she began to mutter softly to herself.


“I don’t trust Mentat, I can’t catch him on my super-cycle, but if I go back to the super-hideout, and take the super-plane, I should be able to get to Professor Shintor’s laboratory in time to help save him.”

The decision made, Superhero-woman began to cycle as quickly as her legs could peddle, back to her super-hideout.


Mentat eventually reappeared, his teleportation successful, and after putting the pocket-watch away, Mentat checked himself, and discovered that he hadn’t lost any toes or fingers this time, which brought a sickly grin that reeked of madness to his face. Scanning the laboratory building for security features, Mentat began to stride confidently towards the main door, and using an electronic pulse to short circuit the lock, broke inside. As he hurriedly moving through the facility, Mentat readied his stun-blaster, and burst into the laboratory, startling Shintor, who jumped at the sudden noise.


“Who are you? You’re not Mergatroyd?” he asked slowly and apprehensively. Shintor stopped and gulped in fear as he saw the stun-blaster that was being aimed directly at him, and started to back away slowly, hands held up high as Mentat began to laugh wildly.


“Who am I? I am Mentat the Deranged! Foolish amateur scientist, you will never be my equal! I will lock you in stasis until the ectoplasm arrives, and then accept the delivery in your name, stealing it to help fuel my World Devastator!”


Mentat stopped speaking as an insane laugh burst out of his mouth, convincing Shintor that he was indeed facing the infamous Mentat the Deranged. Mentat waved the stun-blaster menacingly towards the stasis chamber, which was which was conveniently human-sized and standing right behind him, and realising that he was doomed, Shintor resigned himself to his fate, and backed, slowly and clumsily into stasis chamber. Once Shintor was inside, Mentat activated the stasis box, putting Shintor to sleep.


Mergatroyd, meanwhile, had finally gotten past the roadside hover truck safety check, and still grumbling about it, arrived at Shintor’s laboratory, backing the truck up to the delivery dock. Sauntering casually towards the door, he opened up and made his way towards the laboratory that he knew Shintor would be working in.


“Professor Shintor, I’ve got your ectoplasm order here…”


Mergatroyd broke off when he saw someone that he assumed was Shintor. Hang on a sec, he thought to himself, confusedly.


“Professor, is it just the decontamination suit tricking my eyes, or have you shrunk since yesterday?


“Oh, hello again Mergatroyd, it must be your eyes, I’ve always been short, thanks for reminding me” retorted the figure angrily.


“Oh, um, well, um, I’m sorry about that, I didn’t mean to insult you. I’ve got your ectoplasm delivery here, if you could just remove the suit and sign for it, that’d be great and I can unload it and bring it inside for you” stammered Mergatroyd nervously, blushing in embarrassment as he realised that pointing out Professor Shintor’s vertical deficiency wasn’t going to make him happy about having to remove the decontamination suit.


He was proved correct as he heard a frustrated sigh emanate from inside the suit, but nonetheless, the Professor began to uncouple the glove seals in order to start taking the suit off. As the first glove was removed, Mergatroyd’s nose wrinkled at the awful smell that wafted out of the suit.


“I don’t mean to be rude Professor, but are you aware that there are workplace health and safety laws that make the odour coming from your suit a health hazard? Why, it’s like being in the Crazy Scientist Hospital, smelling that.”


There was a pause, and both Mergatroyd and the Professor froze. Mergatroyd gulped, and thought that maybe he’d gone too far, and that perhaps he’d been too abrupt in trying to casually let the Professor know that he stunk. Meanwhile,

Mentat had frozen in shock and was wondering if he really smelled that bad, whilst trying to come up with an explanation.


“It’s, um, uh, you see, it’s part of the experiment, yes, yes, that it, it’s part of the experiment, to see what effect odours have on delivery drivers” he stammered nervously.


Mergatroyd shrugged nonchalantly, even as his nose was still wrinkled in protest against the smell.


“Well, the effect on this driver is that it makes me feel sick,” he stated, wanting to get the delivery over with.


Suddenly, he flinched, noticing that there was a finger missing on the Professor’s right hand.


“Y…you…you’re not Professor Shintor! The only person I know that has a missing finger is Mentat the Deranged!” he exclaimed fearfully.


Suddenly, Mentat tore the suit open, ripped the helmet off his head and glared angrily at Mergatroyd, aiming the stun-blaster at him, and slowly stalking towards the now quivering delivery driver.


“Curse you Mergatroyd! You were supposed to just deliver the ectoplasm and go! Now I have to take care of you, like I did the Professor!”


Mergatroyd looked around the laboratory helplessly, looking for some sort of inspiration or tool to help him get out of this situation, ignoring Mentat’s rage fuelled rant, and the spittle that was flying everywhere as he raved on about his grand plans for world domination, knowing that as long as he didn’t move while Mentat was speaking, he would be fine.


All of a sudden, the ground shook violently, and they both fell to the ground, sending the stun-blaster clattering to the floor between them. From above came a deafening crash, and suddenly the air was filled with dust and debris, and the fast-moving figure of Superhero-woman, who flattened the stun-blaster with a violent stamp of her super-boot, and knocked Mentat out with a placed right-hook.


Once she saw that Mentat was sprawled on his back from her knock-out punch, she handcuffed him for transport back to St. Einstein’s Hospital for Crazy Scientists, and helped Mergatroyd to his feet.


“Thanks Superhero-woman,” he began, “I thought I was a goner, but we need to find Professor Shintor and make sure he’s ok.”


“Right you are, Mergatroyd. Don’t worry; I’ll use my x-ray vision to find him.”


Saying that, Superhero-woman put her right hand against her temple and began to hum a grim-sounding tune, while she stalked around the room, carefully looking for any sign of the Professor, until, finally, she let out a cry of realisation, and leaped towards a roughly human-sized container that was against one wall of the room labelled stasis chamber. Carefully deactivating the stasis field, Superhero-woman, opened the container fearfully, wondering what Mentat had done to Shintor before locking her away.


She let out a breath she hadn’t realised she’d been holding as Shintor’s eyes opened up, and widened when she realised that was looking at the face of Superhero-woman, and knew she’d been rescued.


“Thank goodness you’re ok Professor! We didn’t know if you had been harmed before being locked away.”


“Thank you, Superhero-woman and Mergatroyd. I’m quite ok though. Just a little annoyed that my experiment was delayed by this interruption” she stated calmly, brushing the dust off her shoulder and looking at the damage from Superhero-woman’s entry with distaste on her face.


“Now then, where do I need to sign for my delivery, Mergatroyd?” she asked quietly.




For the first lengthy piece I've written in some time, it's not totally crap (is it?), but its certainly not going to win any awards.

Member of Jnet Addict Club 12/05

Order of the Nocturnal


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Well, if it is written for a high school level, then that works fine. It is precisely what I would expect from a high school student to write and would make a good example for the teacher to provide so they could understand what was needed without overwhelming them with Top Seller material. It took me a bit to figure out the Red Riding Hood references, but once Mergatroyd encountered Mentat and started commenting on his appearance discrepancies, I got it. Once I went back, I began to see how the rest of the story fit in, too. I understand there are a lot of outside references, far more than I can list, but I was curious, was Mentat one of them? That is the same as a society/collective of sorts from the Dune universe; a bunch of guys who use logic over everything and shun emotion.

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Yeah. It purpose of modifying LRRH was to give them a starting point. Expecting 10 year olds to come up with a good piece of original fiction is a tough ask without some sort of stimulus, and this is an effective method to help them become authors, through taking a story they know and a simple structure, and modifying it to fit another genre...we just happen to be doing SciFi at the moment.


It wasn't about being able to recognise LRRH within the 'new' story, it was about using it as a platform to create a story.


And yeah, I used Mentat as a person rather than a social function which is what they perform as in the DUne series.

Member of Jnet Addict Club 12/05

Order of the Nocturnal


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