1 October 2146
ANCHOR: Little Ti'm reads on! It was only yesterday that he took his first dip in the literary ocean with the children's classic Go, Clone, Go, but already he's become an avid swimmer. Reports are that he's been downloading book after book from the Net, steadily moving upward in literary sophistication. His most recent titles show a leaning toward mystery and adventure. Right now he's reading The Bobbsey Twins on Mars. Next up: The Hardy Boys and the Ganymede Getaway.
EPP: We're very proud of Ti'm. He seems to be sparking a whole new interest in text based entertainment. I'm negotiating an offer now to make him a poster boy for "Texts for Tots".
ANCHOR: And on a more serious note: No word yet from Prime Minister Kanter in response to Dr. Rylo's threat to make public his suspicions about the link between the Shah-Ar project and the mass murders committed by its researchers.
2 October 2146
ANCHOR: Reality makes a comeback! The Reality Party, moribund since the last election, is experiencing an unexpected resurgence in popularity. Party headquarters has been swamped by a veritable flood of new applications for membership. We asked Perry Epp, the Reality Party's presidential candidate in the 2143 election, the reason for this sudden surge in interest.
EPP: I wish I could explain it. And I wish all these voters had show this much interest in reality four years ago – you might be talking to President Epp now. (chuckles)
ANCHOR: Does the idea of a reborn Reality Party get your campaign juices flowing, Perry? Any thought of another run for the presidency?
EPP: No. Once was more than enough, believe me. And besides, I'm not the same man as I was back then. I've learned something in the past four years... that there's more to reality than I ever imagined.
3 October 2146
ANCHOR: After waiting almost a week since Dr. Winston Rylo issued his ultimatum, Israeli Prime Minister Yakov Kanter has finally broken his country's wall of silence.
KANTER: I am now making it official: As of today, Israel is discontinuing all Shah-Ar research. We will perform no further experiments with the Shah-Ar technology. (pointedly) Shah-Ar is no more.
ANCHOR: Is this in response to Dr. Rylo's ultimatum?
KANTER: Of course not. We respect Dr. Rylo as a scientist but he does not dictate our policy. For months now we have been downsizing Shah-Ar research because of unpleasant side effects on those closely connected to it. Now it is time to call a complete halt.
ANCHOR: Is one of those "unpleasant side effects" a tendency toward mass murder?
KANTER: It appears to be. But as to why that is, I cannot say because I do not know. We may never know.
4 October 2146
KOBLATZ (airily): Humanity should not waste its time reaching for the stars – especially when the stars are reaching for us. We should instead concentrate on the things that affect our daily lives – (suddenly grim) – like biased news coverage from CommLink. The Tau movement is dissatisfied with the way it is portrayed in most CommLink reports, especially by the blatantly anti-Tau computer-human hybrid that calls itself "Ay-Eye". This so-called commentator never misses an opportunity to cast our movement in the most negative light. We demand that CommLink hire Tau-friendly reporters and commentators to provide balanced coverage on FTL Newsfeed. (a beat... ominously) We will be watching.
7 October 2146
VOX: Hello, I'm Sheila Vox, President and CEO of CommLink, and I have something important to say to all of you. Last week, Elaina Koblatz accused CommLink of fostering and supporting an anti-Tau bias in its reporting. Nothing could be further from the truth. FTL Newsfeed provides up-to-the-minute coverage of every newsworthy event on-world and off. Our anchors report the facts as they happen, without bias. Our commentators, however, air their opinions, and those opinions are clearly labelled as such. Ms. Koblatz demanded we hire Tau apologists to – quote – "balance" Ay-Eye's criticism of Tauism. I don't think so!
8 October 2146
ANCHOR: The Tau movement responded quickly to Sheila Vox's remarks yesterday. Within hours of the CommLink CEO's rejection of Elaina Koblatz's demand to add "Tau friendly reporters" to the FTL staff, Tau demonstrators invaded the lobby of CommLink's Earthside offices for a raucous sit-in. CommLink did not attempt to halt the demonstration while the protesters confined themselves to the lobby. But as soon as they tried to invade the upper floors, the police were called in. A few of the more "vigorous" protesters were arrested and the building was cleared before they could disrupt communications.
VOX: If Ms. Koblatz and her followers think CommLink is intimidated by these strong-arm tactics, she'd better think again. My advice: If you don't want bad press, stop creating it.
9 October 2146
- Bimbetta and Ti'm (in a futuristic kitchen with a big box of TIM CEREAL on the table)
TI'M: Can I have some more, Mom?
BIMBETTA: Little Ti'm just loves "Ti'm", the new puffed TFP cereal from Phood.
TI'M: That's because it looks like me!
BIMBETTA: But that's not the only reason, is it, darling?
TI'M: Oh, no. It tastes good, too. And it's so much fun to match up the eyes on the face before you eat them.
- Animation: two black, raisin-like eye pieces settling on the pink face piece
BIMBETTA: And I like it because I know it's good for my little Ti'm. Textured fungal protein enhanced with the finest artificial nutrients science can design. What more can a mother ask?
ANNOUNCER (voice only): New TI'M cereal from Phood! It's not just TFP! It's Phood!
BIMBETTA & TI'M (in unison): Ti'm!
10 October 2146
ANCHOR: Startling news from cyberspace: little Ti'm was spotted wandering through a number of areas of the net last night – most notably those frequented by Noomans. Witnesses say he appeared to be sightseeing... or perhaps looking for someone. We asked his mother about this.
BIMBETTA: Ti'm? In the Net? Last night? Impossible. He was home with Jay and me. The three of us were sitting right here on this very couch when those people say they saw him. Isn't that right, Jay?
CYPHERMAN: That's right, Bimbetta. We were watching replays of some of my best old shows, so I can't imagine why he'd want to be anywhere else. (to Ti'm) Isn't that right, little guy? (Ti'm doesn't answer)
BIMBETTA: Tell them, honey. You were with us all night, weren't you?
TI'M: Yes... but I think I was dreaming.
11 October 2146
ANCHOR: More attacks on the Net last night, resulting in a temporary shut down of a number of areas... the Spiral, a habitual target, was hit, but the vandals claimed a new victim: the FTL area where late-breaking news involving the VR net is collated and sent on. But all areas were re-powered almost immediately. Kyle Swann, candidate for the Unified Party's presidential nomination, had this to say about the incidents.
SWANN: I don't think we need a "smoking gun" to know what group is behind this latest attack on the virtual world. The Tau movement has demonised the VR Net to the extent that some of its members generated the deadly feedback that killed hundreds of BioMerge users. And now their drive to censor FTL Newsfeed has boiled over into the Net. But do we hear President Clarke's voice raised in protest against these assaults on free speech? No! (a beat) And that's one of the reasons why I am running for president of the NAU.
14 October 2146
ANCHOR: Another alien baby? Could Ti'm possibly have a half brother? According to Hattie McCoy of Beluga, Arkansas, the answer is a resounding, "Yes!" FTL tracked down the supposed mother and asked her directly. What about it, Ms. McCoy? Is your baby M'ti's child?
HATTIE: Ah... ah was told not to say nothin'.
ANCHOR: And who was it who told you that, ma'am?
McCOY: That man... (points)... that man over there.
CORLEONE: If you want the whole shocking story, access A Current Byte tonight.
ANCHOR: Armondo Corleone! And what's your connection to Ms. McCoy?
CORLEONE: Let's just say I'm looking out for Hattie's interests... making sure she doesn't fall in with people who might take advantage of her, know what I mean? There's a lotta sharks out here. See you on A Current Byte.
15 October 2146
ANCHOR: A startling revelation on last night's A Current Byte as Hattie McCoy explains how M'ti, the last visitor, came to be the father of her child.
HATTIE: Well, y'see, that funny-looking Matty feller was wanderin' around lost and it was raining and so I took him in and let him stay the night. And then, well–
CORLEONE: And then one thing led to another and – badda-bing, badda-boom – (points) – a baby. I want everyone to meet M'ti's second kid: Jo'e. And all you companies out there that want endorsements and have been turned down by that other kid, give us a call. Jo'e will be glad to help you out, know what I mean? You just – (Jo'e kicks him) Ow! You little–! (raises his hand as if to whack the kid, then smiles) Heh-heh! Cute kid, huh?
16 October 2146
ANNOUNCER (voice only): It's NEW! It's DIFFERENT! It's as much FUN as an asteroid full of aliens! It's TI'M'S TORQUO-BALL!
- Bimbetta watches while Ti'm plays with a Torquo-Ball. The ball is doing all sorts of weird loops, and gyrations in the air
BIMBETTA: Isn't this fun, Ti'm?
TI'M: It's the best, Mom! Watch this!
ANNOUNCER (voice only): Ti'm's Torquo-Ball is not just any ordinary ball. It flies! It loop-de-loops! And it comes in ten spiffy designs: Get one that looks like Mars or Venus or Jupiter or any of the other planets, or (for a slight extra charge) the special limited edition "Alien World" model. Collect them all!
TI'M: Ti'm's Torquo-Ball! It's the MOST FUN I've ever had! I LOVE it!
17 October 2146
ANCHOR: Tauism is spreading everywhere, taking root in all the Combines. But there is one place where it is being uprooted and shipped home: Mars.
BALLARD: I am announcing the immediate deportation of all Tauist personnel from Habitat Mars.
ANCHOR: Where are you deporting them to, Dr. Ballard?
BALLARD: Anywhere they want to go, just so long as it's not Mars.
ANCHOR: Some will call that a rather hard-line stance.
BALLARD: Mars is a hard-line place. To survive here we have to be a team, working as one. I cannot allow anything divide my team. The only thing you can believe in out here is terraforming Mars. If anything becomes more important to you than that, you're outta here!
18 October 2146
ANCHOR: Swift reaction from Elaina Koblatz regarding the deportation of Tauists from Habitat Mars.
KOBLATZ: This is an abrogation of the basic human right of freedom of belief. If the Tauist personnel on Habitat Mars are not restored to their posts, we will go to court. We are everywhere on Earth, and we deserve to be on Mars as well.
ANCHOR: To which Dr. Ballard replied...
BALLARD: They're gone... and they're not coming back.
ANCHOR: And now, an opinion from FTL commentator, Ay-Eye.
AY-EYE: When Elaina Koblatz says... (mimicking Elaina) "Vee ah everyvhere on Ert" (back to normal voice) she's not quite right. Tauism has made little headway in Israel and the Islamic Federation, probably because these are religious states and Tauism comes on like a religion. But if Tauism is a religion, who – or what – is its god?
21 October 2146
ANCHOR: Tau demonstrators marched outside the NAU capitol rotunda in Chicago today, protesting the deportation of their fellow Taus from Habitat Mars. We asked one of the demonstrators what they wanted.
SPOKESPERSON: Reinstating the Tau workers isn't enough! Recalling high-handed, high haired Kristeen Ballard isn't enough! We want nothing less than the complete shut-down of Habitat Mars and the return of all Mars personnel to Mother Earth.
ANCHOR: And from a quieter venue, Bernice Lenstein had this to say.
LENSTEIN: To put it quite simply, as far as Tauism is concerned, the red planet... is a dead planet.
22 October 2146
ANCHOR: Amid the storm of protest generated by her deportation of all Tauists from Habitat Mars, Kristeen Ballard has found a defender in Kyle Swann.
SWANN: I support Kristeen Ballard's actions one-hundred percent. Taus are cliquish, clannish, and divisive. Their sort is a liability in a frontier situation. So my message to Elaina Koblatz and her followers is: HANDS OFF MARS. But where is President Clarke in all this? Why isn't she voicing her support of Dr. Ballard? After all, Habitat Mars is her project, and though we're poles apart on many issues, I'm sure we agree that Tauism has no place on Mars. (a beat) Or at least we would agree - if she'd only say something. But she can't hide forever. Our first debate is scheduled for next week. She's going have to speak up then!
ANCHOR: FTL Newsfeed will carry the Clarke-Swann debate live.
23 October 2146
VERNE: Life is getting back to normal here. We've finally geared down from our state of emergency and Oceanis is now applying to CenBank for a line of credit.
ANCHOR: What are Oceanis' plans for the future?
VERNE: We'll keep mining the rifts, but President Kirwan has initiated the Oceanis Board of Tourism to boost to our economy. Imagine sightseeing among the volcanic vents and visiting the tube-worm farms. Or, if you simply need a break from the frantic pace and endless dissension of the surface world, Oceanis will offer a peaceful haven.
24 October 2146
- Ti'm and Bimbetta (poolside in bathing suits)
- POOL PET is an octopus-like creature with 2 hands, 2 flippers, and paddles at the ends of 6 of its 8 tentacles.
ANNOUNCER (voice only): And now! For the first time anywhere! The amazing! Astounding! TI'M'S POOL PET! It's a friend! It's a playmate! It's a lifeguard! If you're lonely, or bored, it will play with you! If you're tired, you can float on it. And parents, you'll like this: If you're drowning, it will save you!
BIMBETTA: I feel so safe with Ti'm's Pool Pet around. I'll never have to worry about leaving him in or around the pool again!
TI'M: I love my Pool Pet! He's not just a pet! He's a friend!
ANNOUNCER (voice only): You'll FLIP over TI'M'S POOL PET! Another fine product from those geniuses at DNA Wonders.
25 October 2146
ANCHOR: FTL asked Bernice Lenstein to explain the Tauist position on two controversial issues.
LENSTEIN (trying to be warm and intimate): Tauism keeps getting bad press because of its opposition to Habitat Mars and the VR Net. Every time Taus say "Bring down the Net," someone else says, "What about the poor Noomans – they live there." Well, the truth is, they don't live there. They don't live anywhere because they're not truly alive. Shutting down the net will merely end this illusion of life. The same holds true for Habitat Mars. Its supporters say, "We're bringing a dead planet back to life!" But they're doing no such thing. Terraforming only gives an illusion of life to a planet, just as the Net gives an illusion of life to the Noomans. Listen: the Noomans are dead. Mars is dead. It's time we stopped kidding ourselves.
28 October 2146
ANCHOR: President Clarke a no-show! FTL had scheduled live coverage tonight of the first VR debate between incumbent President Madeline Clarke and Kyle Swann who is challenging her for the Unified Party nomination. Unfortunately it appears that Kyle Swann will have to debate himself.
SWANN: This is typical of Madeline Clarke's absentee administration. She has been ducking the press for weeks and now she's ducking open discussion of the issues and her record. I admit I anticipated a certain amount of arrogance from President Clarke. After all, what sitting president expects to be challenged for her own party's nomination? But this is intolerable. (points at camera) You didn't stand me up tonight, Madeline Clarke. You stood up the members of the Unified Party and the citizens of the NAU. And they are not going to forget it... because I won't let them.
29 October 2146
ANCHOR: Earlier today, FTL caught up to President Clarke outside the capitol rotunda. President Clarke, you failed to show up last night's Unified Party debate with Kyle Swann. Can you give us a reason why?
CLARKE: What debate? (a beat) Oh, that. I was all set to go when something unexpected popped up that needed my personal attention.
ANCHOR: What, specifically, "popped up"?
CLARKE: It was a matter of state, not something I can discuss right now. (realizing she's not coming off too well) Look, as President of the NAU I have responsibilities that take precedence over debates and election campaigns. Being President comes first with me – always has, always will.
ANCHOR: With the Unified Party convention only two weeks away, an FTL FlashPoll of the delegates shows Madeline Clarke's lead dwindling.
30 October 2146
ANCHOR: Is Little Ti'm being exploited? The Close Encounter Society, made up of children of UFO abductees, thinks so. And to prove their point, they revealed out-takes from Ti'm's commercials. Here is what viewers of A Current Byte saw last night.
- OUT-TAKE from the Ti'm Cereal commercial
TI'M: But Mom, do we have to do it again? This is my fourth bowl! I hate this stuff!
BIMBETTA: But it's named after you, honey! How can you not like it?
TI'M: Yuck! Tastes like glue!
- OUT-TAKE from the Ti'm's Torquo-Ball commercial
TI'M (with Torquo-ball): Aw, this doesn't work.
BIMBETTA: Try it again, honey... (the ball bounces off Bimbetta's head) Ouch! You did that on purpose!
TI'M: No, I didn't! It's a dumb stupid toy and I hate it!
DIRECTOR (off stage): CUT!
31 October 2146
ANCHOR: The controversy continues over the out-takes from little Ti'm's commercial, aired on A Current Byte the past few nights. In case you missed it, here is another.
- OUT-TAKE from the Pool Pal commercial
BIMBETTA: Come on now, Ti'm, honey. Get in the water and play with the Pool Pal.
TI'M (whining): I don't like the water, Mom. It's too wet. And I don't like the Pool Pal. He's all slimy.
BIMBETTA: You don't want to hurt Pool Pal's feelings, now, do you?
TI'M: Eeeeuuuw! Look what he did on my shoe!
ANCHOR: These out-takes were provided by the Close Encounters Society. But they're not the only ones concerned about Ti'm.
EPP: I've had my reservations about this Ti'm's show-biz lifestyle for some time now. It's not a healthy environment. We can't be too careful with Ti'm – he's an important little guy.
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