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LordOfTheReam: Book II


Frodo Awakens

Frodo: Where am I?

Gandalf: You are in the Room of Elrond and it is four o'clock in the morning... on April the 24th, if you want to know...

Frodo: Gandalf!

Gandalf: Yes, I'm here. And you're lucky to be here. A few more hours and you would have ITR'd. But you have some precocious bitterness in you, my dear Froshling...

Frodo: What happened, Gandalf? Why didn't you meet us?

Gandalf: Oh, I am sorry, Frodo. I was delayed...

(Flashback: Saruman prepares to boff Gandalf on roof Platt, the squirrel runs past, then we see Gandalf's ex-roommate Gwaihir approaching, dragging a mattress stolen from a frosh room)

Saruman: The friendship of Saruman is not lightly thrown aside. One ill turn deserves another. Embrace the power of the Ream, or embrace your own academic ruin.

Gandalf: There is only one Lord of the Ream, only one who bends it to its will, and it does not share grading privileges!

(Gandalf throws himself off the side of Platt and lands on Gwaihir's mattress)

Saruman: So, you have chosen ITR...


The race of crackwhores is failing

Elrond: His coherency returns...

Gandalf: The grade will never be fully erased. He will carry the D on his transcript for the rest of his life.

Elrond: And yet, to have come this far still bearing the Ream, the prefrosh has shown extraordinary resilience to its evil.

Gandalf: It is a courseload he should never have had to bear. We can ask no more of Frodo...

Elrond: Gandalf, the Enemy is moving. Stems' forces are massing in Ac End, his eye is fixed on Rivendorm! And Saruman, you tell me, has betrayed us - our list of allies grows thin...

Gandalf: His treachery runs deeper than you know. By foul craft Saruman has crossed F+M with pitzer students. He's breeding an army in the Caverns of Platt, an army that can get high at night and cover great distance in golf carts. Saruman is coming for the Ream.

Elrond: This evil cannot be concealed by the power of the Upperclassmen. We do not have the strength to fight both Platt and Ac End.

Gandalf - the Ream cannot stay here.

(Arrival of Boromir, Legolas, Gimli, Gloin, a bunch of extras)

(Elrond striding across room in Rivendorm, speaking to Gandalf)

This peril belongs to all Muddle-earth. They must decide now how to end it.

The time of the Upperclassmen is over, my people are leaving these halls...

Who will you look to when we've gone? The Squid? They hide in their dorm rooms, seeking the Dean's List. They care nothing for the low grades of others.

Gandalf: It is in crackwhores that we must place our hope...

Elrond: Crackwhores. Crackwhores are weak. The race of crackwhores is failing! The sleep-dep of Numendorm is all but spent, its pride and insanity forgotten. It is because of Crackwhores, the ream survives. I was there, Gandalf... I was there three years ago...

Momar took the Ream. I was there when the strength of Crackwhores failed...

(We see Elrond watch Momar pass Stems)

Momar! Hurry! Come with me!

I lead Momar into the heart of the Libra Complex, where the Ream was forged... the one place it could be destroyed.

Flip the switch to 'Easy'! Destroy it!

Momar: (smiles) No.

Elrond: Momar!

It should have ended that day. But evil was allowed to endure...

Momar kept the Ream. The line of presidents is broken. There's no strength left in the world of Crackwhores. They're scattered, divided, leaderless...

Gandalf: There is one who could be working so hard for them, one who could reclaim the Presidency of Gondorm...

Elrond: He turned from that path a long time ago. He has chosen to transfer...


The Heir of Momar

(We see Aragorn, sitting in Rivendorm lounge, playing video games. Boromir comes in, not knowing Aragorn is there. He sees Momar's Stems final (marked with a large red 100, with an incomprehensible "cheat sheet" attached), duct-taped to the wall, then he turns to the cabinet where the rumpled, disordered pages are kept. He picks up the top sheet.)

Boromir: Momar's Stems notes! The study aid that cut the Ream from Stems' coursework! (He gets a paper cut from the notes) ...d'oh!... (He sees Aragorn watching him) But no more than T-G firepit fodder.

(He goes to put the sheet back, but it falls to the floor. Aragorn hits "pause", gets up, and replaces it. Arwen comes in.)

Arwen: Why do you fear the past? You are Momar's heir, not Momar himself. You are not bound to his fate...

Aragorn: The same sleep-dep clouds my head; the same hubris!

Arwen: Your time will come. You will face the same reamstick and you will defeat it.

(Shot of Rivendorm at night, then Arwen and Aragorn in the courtyard)

Arwen: A si i-dhath -orthor, Aragorn. (The Reamstick does not hold sway yet, Aragorn.)

or le a or nin. (Not over you and not over me.)

Renech i lu i erui govannem? (Do you remember when we first met?)

Aragorn: Nauthannem i ned ol reniannen. (I thought I had fallen asleep in frosh chem.)

Arwen: Gwennin in enninath... (Long semesters have passed...)

-'arnech in naeth i si celich. (You did not have the bitterness you carry now.)

Renich i beth i pennen? (Do you remember what I told you?)

Aragorn: You said you'd move, forsaking the air-conditioned life of your people.

Arwen: And to that I hold. I would rather share one semester with you than face all the insanity of Muddle-earth alone.

(Aragorn looks down to find that Arwen has given him the admin password to Asfaloth)

I chose a Crackwhore's life.

Aragorn: You cannot give me this!

Arwen: It is mine to give to whom I will...like my heart.

(They kiss)


Community-lrond

Elrond: Strangers from distant dorms, friends of old...

You've been summoned here to answer the threat of Ac End. Muddle-Earth stands upon the brink of a tuition raise. None can escape it. You will unite or you will ITR.

Each race is bound to this one fate, this one doom. Bring forth the Ream, Frodo.

Boromir: So it is true... The doom of crackwhores... it is a gift. A gift to the foes of Ac End! Why not use this ream?

Long has my sponsor, the Proctor of Gondorm, kept the forces of Ac End at bay. By the sleep-dep of our people are your grades kept safe. Give Gondorm the weapon of the Enemy! Let us use it against him!

Aragorn: You cannot wield it! None of us can. The One Ream answers to Stems alone. It has no other master.

Boromir: And what would a bio major know of this matter?

Legolas: This is no mere Bio Major. He is Aragorn, son of Arathorn. You owe him your allegiance.

Boromir: Aragorn? This is Momar's heir?

Legolas: And heir to the presidency of Gondorm!

Aragorn: Havo dad, Legolas. (Shut the f*** up, Legolas.)

Boromir: Gondorm has no president. Gondorm needs no president.

Gandalf: Aragorn is right. We cannot use it.

Elrond: You have only one choice. The Ream must be destroyed.

Gimli: Then what are we waiting for!

Gimli gets up, brandishing a cheat sheet and a transcript of solid As, but at the mere touch of the Ream they crumble to dust. Gimli is throw backwards.

Elrond: The Ream cannot be destroyed, Gimli son of Gloin, by any craft that we here possess. The Ream was made in the offices of the Engineering department. Only there can it be unmade. It must be taken deep into the heart of Ac End and cast back into the academic chasm from whence it came. One of you must do this.

long pause

Boromir: One does not simply walk into Ac End. Its coded doors are guarded by more than just F&M. There is Suck there that does not sleep, and the Great Profs are ever-lecturing. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with cheap coffee and broken desks and chalk dust. The very air you breathe is a somniferous toxin. Not with ten thousand frosh could you do this. It is folly!

Gimli: Have you heard nothing Lord Elrond has said? The Ream must be destroyed.

Legolas: And I suppose you think you're the one to do it.

Boromir: And what if we fail, what then? What happens when Stems takes back its own?

Legolas: I will be dead before I see the Ream in the hands of an squid. Never trust a squid to lower the curve!

The Ream: [something ominous, probably in dense technical jargon]

Frodo: I will take the Ream to the Academic End.

(everyone pauses and turns to look at him)

Though... I do not know my way around campus.

Gandalf: I will help you handle this courseload, Frodo Baggins, as long as Pre-Frosh Weekend lasts.

Aragorn: If, by pass or fail, I can protect you, I will. You have my crack!

Legolas: And you have my class notes.

Gimli: And my Vax!

Boromir: You carry the fate of us all, froshy one. If this is indeed the will of the council, then Gondorm will see it done.


Bilbo and Frodo meet before Frodo leaves

Bilbo: My old study sheet. Here, take it. The pencil marks shine blue when Engineering problems are nearby. And it's times like that when you've got to be extra careful.

Here's a pretty thing: asbestos. As light as a Hello World assignment, and as powerful as a spam filter. Try it on.

(The Ream becomes visible to Bilbo, who had had the Ream before Frodo, long enough to get used to and then almost enjoy it.)

Bilbo: Oh, the Ream. I would very much like to try it again, one last time.

(Frodo pulls away, and Bilbo hisses after it momentarily.)

Bilbo: I'm sorry, my boy. I'm sorry it must be you who carries this burden. I'm sorry for everything!


Traversing Campus

(The Wankership makes steady progress on the 12th Street median, eventually pausing for flex-bought candy and caffeinated beverages. The frosh peruse their chem notes, aided by Boromir and Aragorn.)

Gandalf: We must hold this course on 12th Street for four blocks. If our luck holds, Dartmouth Boulevard will still be open to us. From there, our road turns east, to Ac End.

Boromir: ...oxygen, fluorine, neon. Good, very good...

Aragorn: Balance your charges!

Merry: That's good, Pippin.

Pippin: Thanks.

Gimli: If anyone were to ask my opinion, which I note they're not, I would say we were taking the long way round. Gandalf, we could pass through the LAC lab. My roommate Balin would give us an incoherent welcome.

Gandalf: No, Gimli, I wouldn't take the road through the LAC unless I had no other choice.

Merry: Ow!

Boromir: Sorry!

(Pippin and Merry tackle Boromir in a half-hearted attempt to shower him)

Pippin: For the Frosh!

Sam: (spotting something in the distance) What is that?

Gimli: Nothing. It's just a tour group...

Boromir: It's moving fast, and away from Kingston...

Legolas: Hum 1 TA's, from CGU!

(A horde of grad students stumbles by, muttering curses at the hapless frosh who can't write a proper hum paper; the four frosh tremble in fear, while the rest of the Wankership shudders in remembrance.)

Aragorn: Hide!

Gandalf: Spies of Saruman! 12th Street is being watched. We must take the Pass of the Pump House.


Ream on the Stairs

(The Wankership is climbing the short stairs through the Pass of the Pump House when Frodo slips and falls. When he gets up, he realizes that he is no longer carrying the Ream. We see Boromir gingerly pick up the book.)

Aragorn: Boromir!

Boromir: It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so few units. So few units . . .

Aragorn: Boromir! Give the Ream to Frodo!

(Boromir stops himself, and complies. He ruffles Frodo's hair condescendingly.)

Boromir: As you wish; I care not . . .

(Boromir strides up the stairs, readjusting the strap on his laptop carrying case. We see Aragorn slowly take his hand off the duct tape dagger on his belt.)

(At Platt, we see the Hum 1 TA's complaining about the Wankership over burritos. Saruman overhears them, then consults the Sontag webcam using the terminal on the dessert bar.)

Saruman: So, Gandalf, you try to lead them through the Pump House. And if that fails, where then will you go? If F&M defeats you, will you risk the more dangerous road?

(He logs into Stolleworks)

Legolas: (staring intently at laptop screen) There is a foul user on the server...

Gandalf: It's Saruman!

Aragorn: He's trying to block the pass. Gandalf, we must turn back!

Gandalf: No! (Gandalf tries a counter-command to stop Saruman)

Losto Caradhras, sedho, hodo, nuitho I 'ruith! (We would like to reserve the Pump House (Caradhras 210) for WankerSHMC?)

Saruman: Cuiva nwalca Carnirass! (Our new web interface does not accept PM times! Ha!)

Nai yarvaxa rasselya taltuva otto-carinnar! (A fire hazard must be removed...)

(There is a flash of light, and an avalanche of pink tags falls on the Wankership, completely burying them. They dig themselves out.)

Boromir: We must get off the mountain, make for the Gap of South, or go to my suite...

Aragorn: The Gap of South takes us too close to Platt!

Gimli: If we cannot pass over the site, let us go through the LAC lab.

Saruman: The LAC. You fear to go into that lab. The squid worked too hard and too late at night. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-Dm. Confusion and illogic!

Gandalf: Let the Ream-bearer decide. Frodo?

Frodo: We will go through the lab...

Gandalf: So be it...


A Journey in the Dark

Gimli: The Walls of the LAC!

(The moon breaks through the clouds and shines on a keypad adjacent to a locked door.)

Merry: What do you suppose that means?

Gandalf: It's quite simple. If you are a student, you press the code and the doors will open.

(Gandalf tries a code to the doors from when he was a student.)

1-2-3-2-3-5-7

(Nothing happens. Gandalf tries other codes, then sits down to think.)

Aragorn: The labs are no place for a Sheep, Sam; even one so clever as Fluffy. Don't worry, Sam - she knows the way home.

(While Gandalf is busy, Merry picks up a stone and tosses it at the nearby roof of Norf. Pippin is about to throw one too, but Aragorn stops him.)

Aragorn: Do not disturb the dorm.

Frodo: (Looks at the 'do not read this terrorists' sign.) I know! I bet it's the 1-2-3-pull code Sam told me about.

(He tells Gandalf to just pull hard. Gandalf pulls, and the door suddenly opens. They all walk inside.)

Gimli: Soon, you will experience the fabled computer labs of the squids. Glowing LCDs, fast ethernet, network games... This, my friend, is the home of my roommate Balin. And they call it a lab. A lab!

(Moonlight shines on discarded print-outs and empty soda cans...)

Boromir: This is no lab... it's a junkyard! (He picks up a torn piece of an ethernet cable.) We make for the Gap of South! We should never have come here. Get out!

(Meanwhile, Frodo has been grabbed by the ankle and dragged outside by an angry upperclassman from Norf who was disturbed by Merry's stones.)

Sam: Get off him!

Gandalf: Into the lab!

(Much fighting ensues, and Frodo is eventually freed. The company runs through the doors as the keypad is smashed behind them by the upperclassman from Norf. The Norfies make off with Fluffy the sheep for nefarious purposes)

Sam: Poor old fluffy.

Gandalf: We now have but one choice: We must face the long dark passageways of the LAC. Be on your guard. There are older and fouler things than Engineering students in the deep places of the world.

It is a four-hour journey to the other side. Let us hope that our presence may go unnoticed.

(The Wankership follows Gandalf and Gimli. At one point, Gandalf is not sure of the way, and sits down to think.)

Frodo: There's someone back there!

Gandalf: It's Gollum... He's been following us for three hours.

Frodo: He escaped the lecture hall of Galileo McAlister??

Gandalf: Escaped, or was set loose. He hates and loves the Ream, just as he hates and loves himself. He will never be rid of his need for it.

Frodo: Pity Bilbo didn't JB/DB him when he had the chance!

Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that dropped Bilbo's charges. Many that get A's deserve showering. And some that ITR deserve to pass. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to kick people off campus in judgement. Even the tenured cannot see all ends.

Frodo: I wish the Ream had never come to me.

Gandalf: So do all who visit to sit in such classes, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the classes that have been given to us.

Ah, it's that way. I can see the faint glow of monitors!

(They pass through another doorway into a larger room.)

Behold! The great Squid realm of the LAC Lab!


The Stairs of Khazad-dm

(Gimli sees an abandoned computer. It is logged in, but a dialogue box announces "The student account bfundin has been terminated. Click OK to log out)

Gimli: He is ITRed then!

(Gandalf moves the dialogue box aside and reads from the screen of Balin's terminal)

Gandalf: "They have taken the passageway and the Riggs Room. We have closed the doors, but we cannot hold them for long. We cannot get out. They are coming. Engineering midterms..."

Legolas: We must move on. We cannot linger.

(Pippin plays around on a computer. He types a ping command, and a loud, echoing packet travels through the empty network.)

Gandalf: Damn frosh!

(In the distance, they can hear footsteps of Engineering students, returning to the lab to use Matlab.)

Boromir: They have a wanker troll!

Gimli: (taking up a computer) Let them come! There is one Squid in the LAC who still answers emails.

(A flame war ensues. The wankership fights valiantly against the engineering students, until the wanker troll bursts in, taking out part of the wall. They battle the troll as well, but finally he corners Frodo.)

Frodo: Aragorn! Aragorn!

(After dodging a few wisecracks, Frodo is caught finally by the wanker troll's flame, which deals him a deadly insult. He lies crushed in a corner. Merry and Pippin jump on the Wanker Troll and are distracting him with an animated discussion of Chessers rules while Legolas lines up for his final shot, hitting him in the ego and killing him. They all go over to look at Frodo, expecting the worst)

Sam: Frodo? Frodo!

Aragorn: Oh no...

(Frodo mutters something about the 'delete' key)

Sam: He's alive!

Frodo: It's all right. I'm not hurt.

Aragorn: You should be dead. That flame would have pissed off a Usenet veteran.

Gandalf: I think there's more to this pre-frosh than meets the eye.

(Frodo's shirt is opened to reveal asbestos pajamas.)

Gimli: Asbestos! You are full of surprises, Master Baggins.

(In the distance, more engineering students can be heard coming.)

Gandalf: We must hurry! To the stairs of Khazad-dm! They will take us to ground level where we may escape the LAC.

(They head for the stairs. The engineering students catch them and surround them, but then in the distance a terrifying noise can be heard. The engineering students scatter.)

Boromir: What is this new devilry?

Gandalf: HDP Moody. A demon of the ancient world. This foe is beyond any of you. Run!

(They reach the stairs and run down. The math professor follows them. Gandalf stops in the middle of the stairs and turns to face the math professor.)

Gandalf: I am a student of the graduate school, wielder of the spinning flame. Bad grades will not avail you, feared of frosh past. Go back to the East Coast. You... shall... not... pass!!

HDP Moody: ...You stole my line... (He threatens Gandalf with a retroactive failing grade in multi-v.)

(Gandalf and the HDP Moody battle, trying to prove that P = NP. Gandalf questions HDP Moody's strategy of setting N = 1, and, lacking logical support, Moody starts babbling about how those who forgive their math professors are divine.)

(Gandalf turns to leave, but as the Moody disappears, a difficult problem is tossed at Gandalf which requires material never learned in class. Gandalf tries to solve the problem, but cannot put his integrals together, and collapses in despair.)

Frodo: Gandalf!

Gandalf: Fly, you fools!

(He fails.)

Frodo: Noooo!

(Boromir and Aragorn help Frodo and the others, and they leave through the front doors of the LAC.)


The pen is mightier...

''(The hobbits, sleep-depped from their encounter with HDP Moody, have collapsed in the middle of the Quad.)

Aragorn: Legolas, wake them up.

Boromir: Give them a moment, for pity's sake!

Aragorn: By nightfall the Quad will be swarming with engineering students. We must reach the house of Garrett... Come Boromir, Legolas, Gimli: Get them up. On your feet, Sam. Frodo? Frodo!

(Legolas takes out a marker, and tries to draw on the frosh's foreheads, but they all wake up before he can. The Wankership slowly progresses down the Grassy Knoll.)

Gimli: Stay close, young frosh. They say that a hum major lives in that house. A senior of terrible power. All who speak with her are seduced by the beauty of the English language...

(Frodo's cell-phone rings.)

Frodo: Hello?

Galadriel: (over the cell phone) Frodo...

Gimli: ...and never take a tech class again.

Galadriel: Your coming to us is as of the footsteps of sleep deprivation. You bring great workload here, Reambearer!

Sam: Um, Frodo?

Frodo: Just some nut. (He hangs up.)

Gimli: Well, here's one squid she won't ensnare so easily.

(Suddenly a copy of Hacker is two inches from Gimli's nose)

Ooh!

''(The same thing happens to Frodo and Sam, and to Merry and Pippin)''

Haldir: The squid flames so badly, we could have refuted him with words no more big than "penis".

Gimli: Grrrr...

Aragorn: Haldir o Lrien. Henion anron, boe ammen i dulu ln. Boe ammen veriad ln. (Hey, Haldir! Stop trying to fix our hum papers and help us already!)

Gimli: Aragorn, this house is perilous. We should go back...

Haldir: You have entered the realm of the Lady of the English-Majors. You cannot go back. Come, she is waiting.


Resting at Garret House

(note that it is now just before dawn)

Celeborn: Eight there are here, yet nine there were set out from Rivendorm. Tell me, where is Gandalf, for I much desired to speak with him?

Galadriel: He has been cast out of grad school.

The quest stands upon the edge of an F. Lose but a few points and you will fail, to the ruin of all... Yet hope remains while the wankership is studious. Do not let your minds be sleep-depped. Go now and zort, for you are weary with math and much proving. This morning you shall rest in peace...

(then, spoken to Frodo via cellphone)

Welcome, Frodo of Happyville High, One who has seen the j!

''(Legolas is bringing a Brita pitcher of water back to the room where the Wankership is staying)''

Legolas: A lament for Gandalf... (heard in the background)

Merry: What do they say about him?

Legolas: I have not the heart to tell you. For me the application process is too near.

(Aragorn is walking and comes on Boromir, deep in thought, beside the lovely piano)

Aragorn: Zort, Boromir.

Boromir: I cannot go to bed this morning. I heard her voice on my cellphone. She spoke of the ItrFairy? and the failing of Gondorm. She said to me, even now, there is crack left, but I cannot play it. It is long since we had any crack. The ItrFairy? is a noble crackwhore, but his grades are failing. Our people lose points. He looks to me to reduce the course load and I would do it. I would see the glory of Gondorm restored.

Have you ever seen it, Aragorn? The Bouncy Castle of FunBall?, jiggling like a mound of yellow jello, the chain of chairs caught high in the morning breeze. Have you ever been called home by the thumping of techno music?

Aragorn: I have seen the FunBall? mascot, long ago.

Boromir: One day, our paths will lead us there and EDSP will take up the call: The Ossifers of Gondorm have returned!


The Thesis of Galadriel

Galadriel: Will you look at my Thesis?

Frodo: What will I read?

Galadriel: Even the ScrippSies cannot tell, for Thesis tells many things. Things that were, things that are and some things that I just made up and threw in at the last minute.

(Frodo flips through her Thesis and reads of a horrible fate for Happyville. He reads of psycho kilers and vampires and zombie masters stalking the fair people of Happyville, making them very unhappy. He also reads that these new threats will cause the Happyvillians to turn against each other, and start trying to wreck the curve at Happyville High! They all start failing out and have to get jobs at the dining halls of Muddle Earth...)

Galadriel: I know what it is you read, for it is what I wrote down. It is what will come to pass, if you should fail your assignment. The wankership is wanking. It has already begun. He will try to take the Ream. You know of whom I speak. One by one, it will destroy them all.

Frodo: If you ask it of me, I will give you the one Ream.

Galadriel: You offer it to me freely. I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired this. In place of an engineering course you would have a Hum Requirement, not hard but cumbersome and arbitrary as the Dean, nonsensical as the Diversity Committee, more complicated than the theorems of Calculus! All shall love me and write long papers!

I pass my final. I will graduate, and move off campus, and remain Galadriel.

Frodo: I cannot do this alone.

Galadriel: You are a reambearer, Frodo. To bear a ream of suck is to study alone. This task was appointed to you, and if you do not find a way, no one will.

Frodo: I know what I must do. It's just, I'm afraid to do it.

Galadriel: Even the froshiest student can change what courses are offered in the future.


The Dining Registraaargh

(Back at the Platt Campus Center, the assimilation of DOS and Academic Affairs is complete.)

(Saruman inspects Prof. Lurtz, the Captain of his new troops: the dourest, most implacable HUM prof in the department, now dressed in the uniform of F&M.)

Saruman: Do you know how the engineering majors first came into being? They were frosh once. Taken by the course load, tortured and deprecated, a bitter and harried form of life. Now . . . perfected . . . my Dining Registraaargh!

What do you serve?

Lurtz: Platt Matter!

(The other Registraargh are fitted into their uniforms, embossed with the sigil of the white taco. Down the line, they arm themselves with transcripts, burritos, and vast numbers of pink tags.)

(Deep within the Muddhole, Saruman addresses a mighty crowd of his children.)

Saruman: Hunt them down. Do not stop until they are found. You will not know blame, you will not know shame. You will trash dorm stuff!

(The Registraaargh cheer. Saruman gives Prof. Lurtz special instructions:)

Saruman: One of the froshlings carries something of great value. Bring them to me alive, and off probation. Ream the others!

(A sea of uniform-clad Pitzoids stream out from Platt Campus Center in all directions, marching and riding golf carts.)


The File of Galadriel

Galadriel: Farewell, Frodo Baggins.

I give you the sliderule of Erendil, our most beloved star.

May it be a tool for you in dark places, when your calculator's batteries go out.


The Breaking of the Wankership

Aragorn: We cross the courtyard at nightfall.

Gimli: Oh yes? Just a simple matter of finding our way through Emyn Muil parking lot, an impassible labyrinth of poorly parked cars. And after that, it gets even better. Festering, overwatered lawns, far as the eye can see (through the smog, anyway).

Aragorn: That is our road. I suggest you take some rest and back up your files, Master Squid.

Gimli: Back up my... Grrr...

Merry: Where's Frodo?

(Sam starts awake in the corner where he was dozing. They notice that Boromir has also gone missing and that his binder is still sitting with his pack)

(We see Frodo walking alone, then Boromir)

Boromir: None of us should study alone, you least of all. So much depends on you. Frodo? I know why you seek solitude. You're sleep-depped and bitter. There are other majors, Frodo, other courses that we might take.

Frodo: I know what you would say and it would seem like wisdom, but for the warning in my heart.

Boromir: I ask only for the knowledge to pass the midterm! If you would but lend me the ream...

Frodo: No!

(Frodo backs up)

Boromir: What chance do you think you have? They will fail you. They will take the ream. And you will beg for expulsion before the end! Give it to me!

(Frodo takes on the Ream and disappears in a haze of engineering obfuscation)

I see your mind. You will take the Ream to Stems. You will betray us. Curse you! Curse you! And all the damn frosh!

Frodo? Frodo? What have I done?

(We see Frodo in Ream-world. He hears Boromir calling and sees McAlister? and the j and hears the music of Fur Elise. Then he slams the Ream's binder shut and falls to the ground. Aragorn arrives,, startling him)

Aragorn: Frodo! Where is the Ream?

Frodo: Stay away!

Aragorn: Frodo, I swore to tutor you.

Frodo: Can you protect me from yourself? (long pause) Would you destroy it?

The Ream: (whispers) Aragorn... LSR... (what does it stand for?)

Aragorn: I would have gone with you to the end. Into the very lecture halls of Ac End.

Frodo: I know.

Aragorn: Go, Frodo! Run... Run!


The Battle With the Registraaargh

Lurtz: Find the frosh! Find the frosh!

(Merry and Pippin race out of the visitor's parking lot, sprinting across Beckman Courtyard with angry Registraaargh at their back. Suddenly, more Registaaargh pour out from the stairs across the courtyard, cutting off their escape. They brandish burritos and snarl at the frightened frosh.)

(From around the corner of Olin, Boromir appears and charges the Registraaargh, his duct-tape dagger in hand, his laptop left behind. He shoulder-charges them in a manner that would surely lead to a cry of foul in ITR games. The Registraaargh back off at the fury of his attack.)

(Meanwhile, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli fend off many Registraargh, until they hear a whistle, which they know is not blown except in a real emergency)

Legolas: The orientation whistle of Gondor!

Aragorn: Boromir! (he leaves)

(Back at Beckman Courtyard, Boromir is continuing to hold his own against the Pitzoids, though his zeal is waning. He gives his whistle three more shrill blasts. Merry and Pippin help, pulling napkin balls from their pockets and hurtling them with aggravating accuracy.)

(Prof. Lurtz appears at the edge of the courtyard; Boromir does not see him. Methodically, Prof. Lurtz starts rifling through a folder of official notices.)

(Boromir continues to fend off the Registaaargh, as Pippin reaches for another napkin ball.)

(Prof. Lurtz presents Boromir with a LGN--he has failed one of his core classes. Boromir is stopped cold; Pippin drops the napkin ball in shock. Boromir regains his confidence and raises his duct tape dagger again, though he is in great pain. Prof. Lurtz presents him with another failing LGN. Boromir collapses in despair; but as the Registraaargh start to advance past him toward Merry and Pippin, he rouses with a desperate push and forces them back. Another F--and Boromir's will is spent.)

(With a cry, Merry and Pippin race forward to console their friend; the Registraaargh grab them and stuff them into a golf cart, growling about the $50 fine for throwing napkin balls. The golf cart trundles away toward Platt, followed by the remaining Pitzoids. Prof. Lurtz remains behind, and smiles at the fallen crackwhore.)

(Prof. Lurtz prepares to inform Boromir that he has also failed his classes in major. He is distracted by Aragorn's arrival.)

(Prof. Lurtz assaults Aragorn with a barrage of impassioned, irrefutable logic that paralyzes him with confusion. As Prof. Lurtz closes for the kill, Aragorn finds the flaw in the professor's argument and dodges defeat. The two grapple with rejoinders, until Aragorn presents a point that Prof. Lurtz had not considered. Prof. Lurtz deliciously refutes the argument and returns it, but Aragorn has now regained his footing. He disarmingly criticizes the professor's ad hominem methods, and takes a mighty stab at a sound conclusion. Prof. Lurtz bears down upon Aragorn with the gargantuan amount of reading necessary to understand his position; Aragorn heads off the workload long before it is due, and routs Prof. Lurtz.)

(Aragorn catches his breath after the ferocious debate . . . then notices the paper trail leading out of the courtyard. He picks up a shred of paper; it's part of Boromir's transcript, listing his abysmal grade in CS 60.)

Aragorn: no.


The Departure of Boromir

(Aragorn finds Boromir sitting on a bench in the Quiet Place, clutching his LGNs; his duct-tape dagger lies on the bench beside him.)

Boromir: They took the froshlings!

Aragorn: Don't worry about it . . .

Boromir: Frodo! Where is Frodo?

Aragorn: I let Frodo go.

Boromir: Then you'd sense where I had not. I tried to take the Ream from him.

Aragorn: The Ream is beyond our reach.

Boromir: Forgive me, I did not see. I have failed them all . . .

Aragorn: No, Boromir. You learned much. You have kept your major.

(Aragorn pulls a textbook from Boromir's backpack and starts refreshing himself on the material.)

Boromir: Leave it. It is over. The crackwhore's grades will fall and all will come to bitterness, and my suite to ruin.

Aragorn: I do not know what strength is in my blood, but I swear to you, I will not let the Bouncy Castle fall. Nor our classmates fail!

(His intention is not lost on Boromir.)

Boromir: Our classmates . . . our classmates.

(Aragorn places Boromir's duct tape dagger in his limp hand. Boromir claps his dagger-wielding fist against his chest and salutes his comrade.)

Boromir: I would have followed you, my sponsor . . . my proctor . . . my President.

(Boromir ITRs)

Aragorn (embracing him): Be at peace, son of GonDorm?.

(Legolas, then Gimli, arrive from the parking lot, having routed the remaining Registraaargh. Aragorn stands, a tear on his cheek.)

Aragorn: They will look for his coming in September, but he will not return.


The Ending

Frodo knows what he must do. He puts the Ream into his backpack, and looks for an opportunity to jaywalk across Foothill. Sam reaches the sidewalk just in time to see him in the middle island)

Sam: Frodo, no! Frodo! Frodo...

Frodo: No, Sam.

(Sam starts out into the street)

Frodo: Sam, go back. I'm going to Ac End alone.

Sam: Of course you are. And I'm going with you!

Frodo: You can't cross now!

(Sam is about to be hit by a car, when Frodo reaches out and pulls him out of the way just in the nick of time)

Come on.

Legolas: Hurry! Frodo and Sam have reached the northern sidewalk. You mean not to follow them.

Aragorn: Frodo's fate is no longer in our hands.

Gimli: Then it has all been in vain. The Wankership has failed.

Aragorn: Not if we hold true to each other. We will not abandon Merry and Pippin to testing and suspension. Not while we have crack left. Leave all that can be spared behind. We travel light. Let's make fun of some Engineering Students!

Gimli: Yes!

Frodo: Ac End. I hope the others find a safer road.

Sam: Strider'll look after 'em.

Frodo: Sam. I'm glad you're with me.


Next: LordOfTheReam/BookIII


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