Back between 1999 and 2001, while Chook Industries was still in full swing, I started writing a story based in the Chook universe. CHOOK, for those who don’t know, is an acronym for “Chung Hort Offed On the King”. I seem to recall one or two Chook stories Mike wrote prior to my publication of the Vort Conspiracy, apparently those revolved around the eponymously acronized main character and his colleague “The Toe”, though unfortunately I can’t seem to locate a copy of those at the moment. The Chook RPG also tied in to the Chook world mythos.
I’d posted the stories up on an old geocities webpage I started in college, but then managed to forget the link (this was back in the day when geocities pages were actually named after cities and subdivided into neighborhoods). For years it looked like those stories were lost to the sands of time, but within the last year I salvaged the hard drive from the ancient, moldering computer in my closet, and behold: There were the files!
Looking back at this story I find it interest to note how my writing style seems to have changed in the intervening years. For one thing I think I use more commas now and generally try to break thoughts into smaller sentences. Also my spelling seems to have improved, maybe just due to improvements in word processor spellchecking applications.
Unfortunately this work is still somewhat incomplete. For one thing the web pages contained secret messages, encoded using a sequence of letters throughout the text that were highlighted in a different color from the rest of the text. But since the website is gone and I have only RTF files to work from, those messages are no longer available. Probably no big loss though. I think they were all something to the extent of “Drink your Ovaltine“.
Also, I stopped writing at some point and never got past part 6 of the story. At this late date I’m not really sure how I was going to proceed from there. Readers are free to make up their own ending if they so choose, or wallow in the ambiguity of not knowing.
The story follows. Hope you enjoy.
It was a time of great power all round. The celestial quartet Zil, Shim, Rupert and Hyxxmrzqvllb had only recently birthed the universe and it’s pantheon of 4.6819×10^11 lesser dieties who quickly distinguished themselves into the 4 main forces (gravity, elector-magnetism, nuclear strong force and weak force) and otherwise tried to fit in with the expanding cosmos. About the time the whole ball of wax had cooled to an even (if one can call such a conglomerate “even”) 273 K one group of “gods” in an otherwise undistinguished corner of the thing (this thing being the universe) along with a few of their pallies, who were only in the corner as much as they could be said to be anywhere, decided that they wanted to make themselves a world.
This was to be a world of convenience, a world of fun and revelry, a place where things like jo-sticks and badger sized marsupials were plentiful, a place where abounded beautiful proto-Valkaries (Valkaries not having been spawned yet) with their ungentle breasts clad in gleaming cones of osmium-inlaid titanium, a place where hot-joe (with two spoonfuls of black) and Oolong would be served piping hot in 12×14′ cinderblock cubicles. “Finally,” thought ‘those who deem things’, “A place where “Rent-A-Knight” can become the fastest growing business. They set to work with much joy and power to build this wonderful new world of theirs.
But, it is said that too many Jawas spoil the eggnog and so it was with these powerful beings. There were those who would form committees to decide the fate of the oceans (should they contain brimstone or hot tar?) and others (we will not name names here) who were against committees in any form and said that each divinity should create a small piece of the world which would eventually be assembled together. Well, that is just perfect said some others but who would be doing the assembling? And would it be right to intervene in the world after they got it going? Should they manifest themselves corporeally or just do the â€œoversoulâ€ thing? Heavenly host? What’s your shoe doing in my optical oriface? That’s what you get for deionizing my magic haggis! Think you’re almighty? Who’s the 50d20 mega-bathuu around here, me or you? Listen Stewart, I just want to know who died and appointed you Chief Git of the Universe? Your mamma!
And the Mighty Mighty Boss gods went to war over the planet they were creating, squabbling not so much like spoiled only children (this would have been difficult since they were all brothers and sisters, or party to other sibling relationships which only avid fans of Al Hazzad (the mad Arab) would want to try comprehending) but more like feuding families somewhere in Appalachia. Only the ‘gods’ used a greater variety of expletives and even at times invented new alphabets and restructured the sound spectrum to accommodate new cuss words. Eventually the divisions in their factions became too great and they could no longer stay in the same universe together. Several of the more Norse-ish and Oriental type deities bore themselves some children and forced them to stay behind just in case anything interesting should happen, then departed for places like RagnarÃ¶k and nirvana (which had yet to form) while a few others drifted off to form the C’thulu Mythos and found the Greek pantheon.
Eventually all of the charter members had left this wacky, zany, mixed up place except for one, that being Joe, the janitor-god. Joe had not wanted much in a world, just a few intricate mazes and dimly lit caverns full of anachronistic stuff through which he could wander, maybe a place to get iced tea in a plastic bottle. But there was one thing Joe knew how to do and that was to make a floor shine after people had hocked quazi-stellar loogies all over it. So he got out the source code for the world and patched it as best he could using GW-BASIC (of course it was programmed only in JAVA-Ultra-Ultra-Plus-Plus-With-Sprinkles-On-Top and LINUX, but he never took computer science so how was he to know). Joe neatly swept the world into piles and, not finding a cosmic dumpster to crunch it into, he formed one pile into a planet and the other into . . .
. . . a planet.
After building a few dozen dungeon crawls on one and a few dozen Logopolises, Nimon mazes, Nervas, and Castravalvas on the other, he’d had about as much fun as a boy with a new RPG can have. So, he thought, â€œMaybe I should do something for all these people and . . .things I’ve populated my modules with. I know, I can give them a chance to shape the world themselves and live out their lives as they see fit.â€
This took a load off his mind at first (he had really not wanted the responsibility of supplying the creativity for an entire world) but he no sooner began being benevolent than the thingies (creatures, etc.) of the world began beseeching him for stuff. Of particular concern to them was the gap between the two piles of world which they invariably wanted to cross. Those on the smaller pile of world looked up at the bigger piece floating far away and longed for it like a lost home while those on the bigger pile of world looked up at the smaller one longingly like a lost lover. Only the gorilla-dog people (subsequently renamed something much more interesting) had the technology to cross the gap and said that there was really no big difference between the two piles of world but they weren’t interested in sharing their technology either which made the trip all that much more enticing to the other races of creature.
“I’ll take a look at your problem,” said Joe, always the avid handyman.
He got out his mop bucket and cleaning chemicals and did something which kids at home should never, ever, ever (I mean it) try (In all seriousness, never do this. The fumes alone could kill you.): He mixed cleaning chemicals in an attempt to concoct a sticky substance with which to bind the two planets together. And, after many tries, (4531, to be exact) he finally came up with something which did the trick without most of the nasty side effects of Otherworldly cleaning products: The Vort 21. The advantage of the Vort 21 over the others (Vort 793 was a pretty good one too) was that it not only worked rather well, but had a short, catchy name to boot. Thence did Joe take a gob of the stuff and smeared it between the two gravity wells.
Then Joe went for a sabbatical to take notes from another God at a place called Earth. While on Earth, Joe called himself The King (not Elvis) and hung around Olympus a lot, eventually getting â€œoffedâ€ on by a particularly grubby man (or perhaps the King was just grubby when it was all over). Soon after this the world formerly known as Joe’s Big Pile came to be known as CHOOK while the world formerly known as Joe’s Little Pile (which had been campaigning to change it’s name into an unpronounceable symbol) was instead referred to as Lunar Chook.
And what of all those other 4530 Vorts which weren’t used for the sticky deed? Well, a few of them were so volatile that they were destroyed ere they were created, but of those more stable mixtures which remained all shared the same fate. There is a hyperspacial lunar lagrange point called L6 in any given Earth-moon system (you’d be surprised how many people want to name their planet Earth) which can not be detected by any means and which only the more powerful denizens of Chook can reach (though who would want to is a matter for speculation). It is at this point in the Chook-Lunar Chook system that Joe placed the remaining Vorts.
Because, as the archtypical janitor, Joe did what was his nature: He swept the mess under the rug and forgot about it.
Just kidding, all you custodial people reading this ballad, but this is really what he did. Remember, archtypes on Chook are not archtypes on Earth. You all do a good job, pat yourself on the back and have some lobster (if you are not alergic and can afford it). Thank you for making the world a cleaner place.