[Home]LordOfTheReam/BookI

Difference (from prior minor revision) (major diff)

Changed: 381c381
Hobbit: There are no Baggins 'round here. Theyre all up in Hobbitdorm, that way.
Night Janitor: There are no Baggins 'round here. Theyre all up in Hobbitdorm, that way.

Changed: 593c593
Frodo: How far to the nearest crosswalk?



Changed: 595,624c595
Merry: Brandywine Avenue... 2 blocks.


<Hobbits make their way to Buckleberry ferry. A second Nazgul suddenly appears along their path. Frodo is delayed as the others run on. The hobbits jump over the fence and run towards the river. The Nazgul follows the chase, hot on Frodos heels>

Pippin: Run! This way, follow me! Run!

Merry: Get the rope Sam!

<Merry and Sam each uncoil an anchoring rope while Pippin starts to push off>

Sam: Frodo!

Hobbits: Run Frodo!

Frodo: Go!

Hobbits: Hurry!

Sam: Frodo!

Hobbits: Jump Frodo! Go on faster! Jump!

<Frodo leaps onto the raft. The Nazgul stops short of the water. Looking back the hobbits see the Nazgul ride away, followed by two more riders>

Frodo: How far to the nearest crossing?

Merry: Brandywine Bridge: Twenty miles.


At the Sign of Dennys Host: What do you want?
At the Sign of Dennys Host: What do you want?

LordOfTheReam: Book I


Prolog

Galadriel, narrating:

I amar prestar aen. (The college has changed.)

Han nathon ne nen. (I read it on shmack.)

Han mathon ne chae. (I read it in the Wiki.)

A han nostron ned wilith. (And I see it in the smog.)

Much that once was, is lost. For all now have graduated, who remember it.

It began with the creation of the great reams. Three were assigned to the upperclassmen: the eldest, the bitterest, the fairest graders.

(We see Galadriel and two other upperclassmen, standing around the sundial, contemplating textbooks; the closest to us has Rudin.)

Seven to the squid lords: great students, coders in the computer labs.

(We see the backs of seven squid, sitting in a row before seven terminals in a lab, viewing CS70 assignment description pages; the closest to us is looking at ChunkyString?.)

And nine, nine reams were gifted to the members of the faculty, who, above all else, desire incomprehensibility.

(We see the department chairs sitting in full academic regalia at the conference table in Stauffer Lounge, flipping through three-ring binders of lecture notes. Over Townsend's shoulder, StatMech equations are clearly visible.)

For within these reams was bound the confusion and difficulty to demoralize each class.

But they were, all of them, deceived; for another ream was made. In the Academic End, in the laboratories of Parsons, the dark course Stems developed, in secret, a master ream.

(We see the printer Odie, surrounded by flames, printing the Stems notes and labs, complete with gratuitous Foxtrot cartoons. The paper reflects gold in the firelight.)

And into this ream it poured its cruelty, its malice, and its will to be applied to all fields of study.

(We see a close-up of some equations of Fourier transforms.)

One Ream to fail them all.

One by one, the free departments of Muddle-earth fell to the suck of the Ream.

(We see the Registrar's Office, and a less demonic printer spitting transcript after transcript indicating 'ENGR059 HMC Intro Systems Engineering F 0.00'. Many of them have cumulative GPA's less than 2.00. The scene cuts to hordes of students packing and leaving their dorms.) But there were some who resisted.

A Last Alliance of Crackwhores and Upperclassmen studied against the hordes of Ac End.

(We see a group of Crackwhores, among them Elendil and Momar, packed into a dorm room, poring over notes and calculators; Elendil hands Momar notes from the previous semester.)

And in the rows of Galileo they fought for the ease of Muddle-earth.

(A shot of Crackwhores running around Gondorm courtyard, knocking on doors to wake people up for the Stems test; a mob of Crackwhores and Upperclassmen walking together from breakfast at Platt toward Galileo)

Victory was near, but the power of the Ream could not be undone.

(Close-up: Elendil flips to the last problem of the Stems test, reads for a moment in bewilderment, then sighs, lies his head down on the desk, and falls asleep.)

It was in this moment, when all hope had faded, that Momar, frosh of the President, took up his sponsor's notes.

(Momar pulls a cheat sheet based on Elendil's notes from his backpack, turns to the last problem, and, with a determined glare, quickly writes it up. He marches to the front and turns his test in. The prof supervising the exam flips through it with a stunned look on his face.)

Stems, the enemy of the slacking peoples of Muddle-earth, was defeated.

The ream passed to Momar, who had one chance to destroy difficulty forever.

(Momar picks up a binder left behind by one of the profs after the exam)

But the attention of crackwhores is easily distracted, and the ream of incomprehensibility has a will of its own. It betrayed Momar to his ITR.

(We see Momar give an abysmal clinic presentation while trying to use the text of the binder as speaking notes)

And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost.

BeforeYouWereBorn became ModernMyth, ModernMyth became AncientMyth, and for five semesters, the Ream passed out of all knowledge.

Until, when chance came, it ensnared a new bearer.

(Gollum: My precious...)

The Ream came to the frosh Gollum, who took it deep into the labs.

And there, it consumed him.

(Gollum: It came to me, my own, my precious...)

The ream brought to Gollum unnatural academic standing. For semesters, it poisoned his mind. And in the gloom of Gollum's lab, it waited.

Suck crept back into the classrooms of the world. Rumor grew of a shadow in Academics, whispers of a nameless fear. And the Ream of incomprehensibility perceived: its time had now come.

It abandoned Gollum.

But something happened then the ream did not intend.

It was picked up by the most unlikely student imaginable:

(Bilbo: What's this?)

A frosh, Bilbo Baggins of Happyville High.

(Bilbo: A binder?)

(Gollum's cries in the background)

For the time would soon come when frosh will shape the course schedules of all...


Happyville High- Where everyone is happy

(Frodo sits in Happyville High, where everyone is happy and all the work is easy. Gandalf arrives.)

Frodo: You're late!

Gandalf: A graduate student is never late, Frodo Baggins, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when the alcohol is brought out.

Frodo: It's wonderful to see you, Gandalf!

Gandalf: You didn't think I'd miss your brother Bilbo's reunion?

Frodo: What news of the academic world - tell me everything!

Gandalf: Everything? You are willing to learn for a prefrosh--most unnatural.

Well, what can I tell you? Tertiary education goes on much as it has, full of its own toil and despair. Scarcely aware of the existence of high schoolers, for which I am very thankful.

Frodo: Before you came along, we Bagginses were very "cool".

Gandalf: Indeed.

Frodo: We never went to college or did anything supremely nerdy.

Gandalf: If you're referring to the incident with the Caltech cannon, I was barely involved. All I did was give your brother an application.

Frodo: Whatever you did, you've been officially labelled a perpetrator of geekiness.

Young Highschoolers: Gandalf, Gandalf... juggle something...

(Gandalf juggles three pins, and the highschoolers cheer, while the teachers roll their eyes)

Frodo: Gandalf, I'm glad you're back.

Gandalf: So am I, dear prefrosh, so am I.


End Suite-Bilbo's room

(There is a note on the whiteboard which reads "No admittance except on Dis-O business". Gandalf knocks)

Bilbo: No thank you! We don't want any more visitors, well-wishers or Lindies throwing parties!

Gandalf: And what about very old friends?

Bilbo: Gandalf?

Gandalf: Bilbo Baggins!

Bilbo: My dear Gandalf!

Gandalf: Good to see you! A senior-who would have imagined it? You haven't gained any bitterness at all.

Bilbo: Come on, come in! Welcome, welcome! MountainDew? Or maybe something a little stronger? I've got a few cans of ChocolateMountainDew left. It was invented by my sponsor. What say we open one, eh?

(Gandalf bumps into a pinata hanging from the ceiling. Meanwhile Bilbo is taking cans out of a refrigerator.)

Bilbo: I was expecting you here last week! Not that it matters, you come and go as you please. Always have done and always will. You caught me a bit unprepared, I'm afraid. We have some ramen... here's some leftover Thai food- oh no, it won't do. We're all right. I've just found some Muddhole candy. I can make you some poptarts if you like-- oh. Gandalf?

Gandalf: Just MountainDew, thank you.

Bilbo: All right. You don't mind if I eat, do you?

Gandalf: Oh no, not at all.

(Someone yells through the door.)

Upperclassman: Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins!

Bilbo: I'm not at home!

Bilbo: I've got to get away from these confounded classmates--they never give me a moment's peace! I want to see college again, college, Gandalf! And then find somewhere quiet where I can finish my clinic report. Oh, soda!

Gandalf: So, you mean to go through with your plan, then.

Bilbo: Yes, yes. It's all in hand. All the arrangements are made.

Gandalf: Frodo suspects something.

Bilbo: 'Course he does. He's a Baggins! Not some block-headed Zombie from Angstville.

Gandalf: You will tell him, won't you?

Bilbo: Yes, yes.

Gandalf: He's very fond of you.

Bilbo: I know. He'd probably come with me if I asked him. I think in his heart Frodo is still in love with high school: lockers, free time. I'm old, Gandalf. I know I don't look it, but I'm beginning to feel it in my heart. I feel thin--sort of stretched like butter scraped over too much bread. I need to get away from these young people who have time for crack, for a very long holiday, and I don't expect I shall return. In fact, I mean not to!


Outside Bilbo's room, in the evening

Bilbo: Old Toby. The finest cloves in Southern California. Gandalf, my old friend. This will be a night to remember!


Dis-O. The TikiTorches? are lit. All the Happyvillians are dancing and frolicking around, occasionally remarking how happy they are.'

(Frodo sees his friend Sam sitting alone, watching another frosh.)'

Frodo:Go on Sam! Ask Rosie for a dance.

Sam: I think Ill just have another soda.

Frodo: Oh no you dont. Go on.

Bilbo: So there I was, on the chat list with three annoying trolls, and they're all arguing amoungst themselves about how they were going to flame us, whether they should use more flagrant cursing, or whether they go through the lines of our emails one by one and belittle each point...

But they spent so much time arguing the whether-tos and why-fors that the scheduled power outage came upon them - poof - and turned their hard-drives to mush.

(Gandalf is juggling balls while on a unicycle, much to the entertainment of the young Happyvillians. Pippin and Merry sneak into his bag of juggling supplies.)

Merry: Quickly! No, no, the torches, the torches... (they sneak away)

Pippin: Done. (as Pippin lights the torches and tries to juggle them)

Merry: You're supposed to catch them.

Pippin: I am catching them.

Merry: Without dropping them!

Pippin: This was your idea (he accidentally throws one of the torches over the crowd, making everyone scream and dive to the floor)

Frodo: Bilbo, watch out for the terrorist attack!

Bilbo: Terrorists? Nonsense, there hasn't been a terrorist in these parts since we started randomly locking the doors...

Merry: That was good, lets try the chainsaws next.

Gandalf: Meriadoc Brandybuck... and Peregrin Took - I might have known.

(He puts them to work grading homeworks while he has a can of Mountain Dew)

The Happvillians: Speech, Bilbo... Speech, speech

Bilbo: My dear Nerds and Geeks, Jocks and Teacher's Pets, Goths, Sluts, Preppies, Bookworms, Drama Freaks, and Cheerleaders...

Head Cheerleader: Cheerleaderae! Or, Cheerleaderdi! Or, like, whatever!

Bilbo: Today is our grand reunion.

Everyone: Happy Reunion!

Bilbo: Alas four years of highschool is far too short a time to live amoung such excellent and happy high school stereotypes.

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve

(The Happyvillians are confused, but still happy)

I regret to announce, this is the end. I'm going now - I bid you all a very fond farewell. Good-bye

(he puts on the Ream and vanishes)


(Bilbo, cloaked in incomprehensibility and invisible to mortals, opens the gate and goes up the steps, to reappear chuckling in his bedroom)

Gandalf: I suppose you think that was terribly clever.

Bilbo: Come on, Gandalf, did you see their faces?

Gandalf: There are many assy reams in the world, Bilbo, and NONE of them should be enrolled in lightly.

Bilbo: It was just a bit of preppiness.... Oh, you're probably right. As usual. You will keep an eye on Frodo's GPA, won't you?

Gandalf: Two eyes. As often as I can spare them.

Bilbo: I'm leaving everything to him.

Gandalf: And what about that class binder of yours, is that staying too?

Bilbo: dismissively Yes, yes, it's over there on the bookcase ... No, wait... it's still in my backpack ... he takes it out ... Isn't that, isn't that odd... After all, why not, why shouldn't I keep it...

Gandalf: I think you should leave the ream behind, Bilbo. Is that so hard?

Bilbo: Well, no... and yes. Now it comes to it, I don't feel like parting with it. It's mine, I found it, it came to me!

Gandalf: There's no need to get angry.

Bilbo: Well, if I'm angry, it's your fault! It's mine, my own, my precious ...

Gandalf: Precious? It's been called that before, but not by you.

Bilbo: Argh! What business is it of yours what classes I take with my own time?

Gandalf: I think you have had that ream quite long enough.

Bilbo: You want to take it yourself!

Gandalf: Bilbo Baggins!!! Do not take me for some l4m3r? who takes hard classes to show off!! I am NOT trying to rob you!! I'm trying to help you.

Bilbo whimpers and hugs Gandalf

Gandalf: All your long years, we've been friends. Trust me, as you once did, mmm - drop the class ... let it go.

Bilbo: You're right Gandalf... The ream must go to Frodo.

It's late, the road is long. Yes, it is time...

Gandalf: Bilbo...

Bilbo: Hmm?

Gandalf: The ream is still in your backpack...

Bilbo: Oh, yes... (finally he drops the binder and it lands with a THUD)

(they go outside)

I've thought up an ending for my clinic report: And he studied diligently ever after, graduating with honors.

Gandalf: And I'm sure you will, my dear friend.

Bilbo: Good-bye, Gandalf.

Gandalf: Good-bye, dear Bilbo.

Bilbo: (outside, singing) The ream goes ever on and on, down from the class where it began...

Gandalf: Until our next meeting.

Voice over of Bilbo: It's mine, my own, my precious!

Gandalf: Problem sets in the dark.

Frodo: Bilbo! Bilbo!

(He sees the binder and stoops to pick it up)

Gandalf: My precious. Precious...

Frodo: He's gone hasn't he? He talked for so long about leaving. I didn't think he'd really do it.

Frodo: Gandalf?

Gandalf: Hmm. Bilbo's binder. He's gone to live with the upperclassmen. He's left you a SingleDouble in End Suite...

(Gandalf hands Frodo a box. Frodo puts the Ream inside. Gandalf closes the box and carries it to the storage room.)

Gandalf: ...along with all his possessions. The binder is yours now. Leave it here, out of sight.

Frodo: Where are you going?

Gandalf: There are some things that I must see to.

Frodo: What things?

Gandalf: Questions. Questions that need answering!

Frodo: But you've only just arrived! I don't understand.

Gandalf: Neither do I. Keep it secret. Keep it safe.


(In the Parsons conference room)

Gollum: Happyville!!! Baggins!!!

(The chairs ride out to find the Ream)


(In the Gondorm lounge, Gandalf is huddled over LoungeTerm?, reading Momar's .plan)

Gandalf: (reading) The year 3434 of the Second Age, Here follows the transcript of Momar, President of Gondorm, and the finding of the Ream of Suck.

It has come to me, the one Ream. It shall be a juggling prop of my dorm. All those who follow in my sponsorship shall be bound to its study, For I will risk no revising to the Ream... It is... precious to me, though I buy it with great sleep-dep...

The markings upon the spine begin to fade. The writing, which at first was as clear as green letters on a terminal, has all but disappeared. A secret now that only microwave or toaster oven can tell.


Happyville High

Ringwraith: Happyville. Baggins.

Night Janitor: There are no Baggins 'round here. Theyre all up in Hobbitdorm, that way.


How the Ream Came To Frodo

Gandalf: Is it secret? Is it safe?

(Gandalf takes the binder containing the Ream and puts it in the microwave, then takes the Ream out and hands it to Frodo)

What can you see? Can you see anything...

Frodo: Nothing, there's nothing... Wait... There are equations. It's some form of Differential Equation. I can't understand it.

Gandalf: There are few who can... The language is that of Engineering, which I will not utter here.

Frodo: Engineering?

Gandalf: In plain English it says:

One Ream to slave them all, One Ream to assail them. One Ream to confuse them all, and in the darkness FAIL them!

Gandalf: This is the One Ream. Devised by Stems in the halls of Parsons. Taken by Momar from the final of Stems itself.

Frodo: Bilbo found it... in Gollum's E4 report...

Gandalf: For a semester, the ream lay quiet in Bilbo's keeping, prolonging his work, delaying sleep, but no longer, Frodo. Evil is stirring in Ac End. The Ream has awoken. It's heard its master's call.

Frodo: But it was removed from the core, Stems was removed...

The Ream: (whispering) ...inverse discrete Fourier transform...

Gandalf: No, Frodo, the agony of Stems endured. Its difficulty is bound to the ream and the ream survived. Stems has returned. Its profs have multiplied. The hall of McAlister? has been renovated, in the Ac End. Stems needs only this ream to cover all Muddle-earth with a new confusion...Stems is seeking it, seeking it; all of Matlab's computing cycles are bent on it. The ream yearns, above all else, to return to the exams of its master. They are one, the Ream and the Dark Class. Frodo, Stems must never find it...

Frodo: All right, we put it away. We keep it hidden. We never speak of it again... No one knows it's here, do they? Do they, Gandalf?

Gandalf: There is one other who knew that Bilbo had the Ream...I looked everywhere for the permafrosh Gollum, but the Enemy found him first... I don't know how long they tortured him, but amidst his overload petitions and sleep-depped ramblings they discerned two words...

Gollum: Happyville... Baggins...

Frodo: Happyville? Baggins? But that will lead them here...

(a shot from outside; a Happyville senior walks to his car)

Senior: Who goes there?

(Reamwraiths ride him down and hand him a Muddle-earth rejection letter)

Frodo: Take it, Gandalf, take it! You must take it!

Gandalf: You cannot offer me this Ream...

Frodo: I am giving it to you!

Gandalf: Don't...tempt me, Frodo! I dare not take it. Not even to keep it safe. Understand, Frodo, I would use this ream from a desire to do good, but with it, I would become a TA too harsh and incomprehensible to imagine.

Frodo: But it cannot stay in Happyville.

Gandalf: No... no, it can't.

Frodo: What must I do?

Gandalf: You must leave and leave quickly.

Frodo: Where? Where do I go?

Gandalf: Get out of Happyville... Head for the village of Upland.

Frodo: Upland. What about you...?

Gandalf: I'll be waiting there, at Denny's.

Frodo: The ream will be safe there?

Gandalf: I don't know. I don't have any answers, Frodo. I must see the head of Dining Services. He is both wise and powerful. Trust me, Frodo, he will know what to do. Travel only during office hours ... and stay away from the profs.

Frodo: I can cut class easily enough...

Gandalf: My dear Frodo. Prefrosh really are amazing creatures. You can learn all that there is to know about their high schools in a class period, and yet, after eight semesters, they can still surprise you... (they hear a noise outside)

Get Down! (Gandalf finds Sam outside, dressed in black)

Silly Frosh! Have you been trying to climb on roofs again?

Sam: I've never been on any roofs at all, sir, honest. I was just "playing tag" before a Frosh Chem test, if you follow me...

Gandalf: What did you hear? Speak!

Sam: Well, nothin' important... that is, I heard a good deal about a Ream and a Dark Course and somethin' about everybody failing... But, please, Mr. Gandalf sir, don't hurt me...

Gandalf: No? Perhaps not... I've thought of a better use for you...

Gandalf: Come along Samwise, keep up! Be careful both of you. The enemy has many spies in his service: seniors, sophomores, even some frosh. (to Frodo) Is it safe? Never open it, for the agents of the Dark Lord will be drawn to its power. Always remember, Frodo, the Ream is trying to get back to its master. It wants to be found.


Sam: This is it.

Frodo: This is what?

Sam: I take one more step, itll be the farthest away from Happyville Ive ever been.

Frodo: Come on, Sam. Remember what Bilbo used to say: "It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step into the courtyard, and if you dont keep your feet, there's no knowing what TimeSuck you might be swept into.


The Treachery of Platt

Saruman: Fur Elise echoes from Parsons, finals week draws near, and Gandalf the Grey unicycles to Platt, seeking my counsel. For that is why you have come, is it not, my old friend?

Gandalf (throwing his unicycle over a wart): Saruman...

(They are seen sitting at a table in Platt courtyard.)

Gandalf: But we still have time, time enough to escape Stems, if we move quickly...

Saruman: Time? What time do you think we have? Stems has regained much of its former difficulty. It cannot yet return to the Core, but its workload has lost none of its agony. Concealed within the curriculum, the Lord of the Academic End sees all. Its Fourier transforms pierce smog, shadow, derivatives and... flesh. It is gathering all academics to it. Very soon it will have hired a faculty large enough to attempt to revise the Student Handbook.

Gandalf: You know this? How?

(They enter the dining room, where a terminal is set up in the dessert bar)

Saruman: I have seen it.

Gandalf: A webcam is a dangerous tool, Saruman.

Saruman: Why? Why should we fear to use them?

Gandalf: Those pages are hosted on an insecure server. We do not know who else may be watching.

Saruman: The hour is later than you think- Stems' forces are already moving. The department chairs have left Galileo-McAlister?.

Gandalf: The department chairs?

Saruman: They crossed Hixon Court at midnight, disguised as CampSec officers on bicycles. They will find the Ream, and place the one who carries it on academic probation!

Gandalf: Frodo!

Saruman: You did not seriously think that a prefrosh could contend with the time suck of Stems? There are none who can. Against the power of the academic end, there can be no victory. We must join with it, Gandalf. We must accept visiting professorships. It would be wise, my friend.

Gandalf: Tell me, 'friend', when did Saruman the Wise abandon reason for ENGINEERING?

(The doors to the Green Room and the courtyard slam shut as Gandalf turns to them; the gratings fall and close off the kitchen.)

Saruman: I gave you the chance of aiding me willingly, but you have elected the way.. of.. grade deflation!


Leaving Happyville

(Frodo and Sam are walking down a street in Happyville. Sam gets distracted for a moment and loses sight of Frodo as he turns a corner)

Sam: Frodo?? Frodo!! I thought I'd lost you...

Frodo: What are you talking about?

Sam: It's just sumpthin' that Gandalf said...

Frodo: What did he say?

Sam: Don't you lose him, Samwise Gamgee, and I don't mean to.

Frodo: Sam, we're still in Happyville - what could possibly happen...

(Pippin and Merry jump over the fence of Happyville's resident old grump, Old Man Maggot (who is made happy by being grumpy, of course) and bowl over Sam and Frodo)

Pippin: Frodo! Merry, it's Frodo Baggins!

Merry: Hullo, Frodo!

Sam: Get off him... What's the meaning of this?

Pippin: Hold these (He loads Sam up with stolen chess pieces)

Sam: You've been into Old Man Maggot's chess pieces...

Old Man Maggot: Hey you, get off my lawn... Damn kids!

Merry: I don't know why he's so upset, it was only a couple of pawns

Pippin: ...and some bishops ...and those two chess clocks that we lifted last week ...and then the checkers the week before.

Merry: Yes, Pippin, my point is, he's clearly over-reacting.

(Frodo senses something on the road)

Frodo: I think we should get off the road... Get off the road! Quick!

(They hide down behind a bush, and a Black Bicycler comes by, stops, and then holds out a transcript with High Passes on it, something known to lure overacheiving frosh. Frodo is tempted to put on the Ream. Sam stops him, then Merry tries to distract the Black Rider)

Merry: Hey you! We're not behind this bush. We're, umm... over there. Somewhere.

Reamwraith: Thanks...

Pippin: What is going on?

Merry: That black rider was looking for something... or someone... Frodo?

Pippin: Get down!

Frodo: I must leave Happyville. Sam and I must get to Upland

Merry: Bucklebury Boulevard - follow me...

(the Black Bicycler shows up in front of Sam and Frodo)

Merry: This way! Follow me! (he leads them to a crosswalk)

Pippin: Push for the "walk" signal, Sam!

Sam: Frodo! Run Frodo! Frodo!

Frodo: Go! (He wants them to start crossing the intersection)

(Frodo leaps into the intersection, just before the red "don't walk" sign starts flashing, which, as everyone knows, means you're supposed to finish crossing, not start crossing. The Black Bicycler turns to go back up to join two other riders. All three of them ride along the sidewalk)


At the Sign of Dennys Host: What do you want?

Frodo: Were here for some food.

Host: Froshlings, four froshlings. Can I get you a table for four?

Frodo: We wish to sit and throw straw wrappers at each other. Our business is our own.

Host: Alright, young sir, I meant no offense. It's my job to ask questions when people come in.

(They get a table and Merry and Pippin begin playing Chessers again. The waiter, Butterbur, comes to greet them)

Butterbur: Good evening, little Mudders! If you're seekin' a midnight snack, we've got some profoundly mediocre frosh-sized Breakfast Slams available, Mr. ...?

Frodo: Stumpy, my name's Stumpy.

Butterbur: Stumpy? Hmm...

Frodo: We're friends of Gandalf the Graduate Student. Can you tell him we've arrived?

Butterbur: Gandalf? Gandalf? Oh yes, I remember - alumnus chap, unicycle, geeky T-shirt! Not seen him for six days...

Sam: What do we do now?

Frodo: Sam, he'll be here, he'll come...

Pippin: What's that?!

Merry: This, my friend, is a pawn drop!

Pippin: They comes in drops?!

Merry: Mmm... (agreeing, while promoting to Queen)

Pippin: I'm doing that!

Sam: You've already won on the chess side anyway! (Sam looks suspiciously at some guy across the restaurant) That fellow's done nothin' but stare at you since we arrived.

Frodo: Excuse me? That man in the corner - who is he?

Butterbur: He's one of them bio majors, dangerous folk they are, wanderin' the Bernard Field Station. What his right name is I've never 'eard, but 'round here he's known as 'Strider'

Pippin: Baggins? Sure I know a Baggins - he's over there. Frodo Baggins. He's my best friend's first Pre-frosh, if you follow me...

(Frodo slips and falls to the floor and absorbs the Ream! Frodo is now in the World of Stems and everything he sees appears as freebody diagrams, with incomprehensible DE's and frequency spectrums floating all around him, while Fur Elise plays ominously. Unable to stand such horrifying sights, Frodo removes the Ream.)

Strider: You draw far too much attention to yourself, Mr. 'Stumpy'.

('Strider' hustles Frodo outside)

Frodo: What do you want?

Strider: A little more studying from you... That is no textbook you carry.

Frodo: I carry nothing.

Strider: Indeed? I can avoid CampSec if I wish, but to disappear entirely, that is a rare gift.

Frodo: Who are you?

Strider: Are you sleep-depped?

Frodo: Yes.

Strider: Not nearly sleep-depped enough - I know what grades you.

Sam: Let 'im go, or I'll 'ave you, CrackMonkey?!

Strider: You lack bitterness, little Frosh, but that will not save you. You can no longer wait for the alumnus, Frodo - they're coming.

(The Black Bicyclers crash into Dennys and begin giving lectures so horrible that mortal ears can not bear to hear them. Fortunately, the frosh have already escaped in Strider's beat-up car)

Frodo: What are they?

Strider: They were once profs, great heads of departments. Then Stems the Demoralizer gave to them Nine Reams of Lecture Material. Blinded by their zeal they took them without question, one by one becoming boring and incomprehensible. And now they are slaves to his sylabus. They are the Nazgl, Reamwraiths, neither tenured nor retired. At all times they feel the presence of the Ream, drawn to the power of the Suck...


Leaving Denny's

(After a close encounter with the Nazgul...)

Strider: They will never stop overworking you...

Frodo: Where are you driving us?

Strider: Down Foothill Boulevard...

Merry: How do we know this Strider lived in the same dorm as Gandalf?

Frodo: We have no choice but to trust him...

Sam: But where is he leadin' us?

Strider: To Rivendorm, Master Gamgee, to the dorm room of Elrond.

Sam: Do you hear that? Rivendorm! We're goin' to see the upperclassmen!

(After trudging through campus for some time, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin halt to play Chessers. Strider does not concur...)

Strider: Gentlemen, we do not stop until we've pulled an all-nighter.

Pippin: What about Chessers?

Strider: We already played Chessers!

Pippin: We've played once, yes. What about Death Chessers?

Merry: I don't think he knows about Death Chessers, Pip.

Pippin: But what about hour-clock Chessers? Strip-Chessers, Musical Chessers, Cylindrical Chessers, Sressehc, Chessers-til-4am, and Chessers-in-the-rain? He knows about them, doesn't he?

Merry: I wouldn't count on it...

(Aragorn throws some checkers at them)


Platt

Saruman: The power of Platt is at your command, Stems, Lord of Muddle-Earth.

Voice of Stems: Build me an army worthy of Ac End!

(Three Registraaargh file in)

Registraaargh: What orders from Ac End, my Lord? What does the j command?

Saruman: We have work to do!

(They go outside of Platt)

Registraaargh: The lizards are wily, my Lord. They scurry into every cranny.

Saruman: Root them all out.

(Registraaargh come with flamethrowers and begin torching the lizard nests)


Journey to Infinity

Aragorn: This was the great colony of Amon Linde once. We shall rest here.

(they set up camp in the Linde courtyard area)

Aragorn: These are for you. (distributes duct tape daggers) Keep them close, and be careful with them; they carry a powerful poison. I'm going to watch the stars from the Linde field.

(Frodo takes a nap, wakes up)

Merry: Want to play Mario, Sam?

Frodo: What are you doing?!

Merry: Basic Nintendo, Super Mario Brothers, Legend of Zelda...

Sam: We left a save slot for you, mister Frodo.

Frodo: Turn it off, you fools! Turn it off!!

Pippin: Well, that's nice - you interrupted my fighting the optional Bowser!

(We see the what the Nazgl see - the bright tv screen from out near the basketball courts)

(The four frosh/pre-frosh go up to the roof of Amon Linde [Second-story Linde lounge makes for easier filming...])

Sam: Back, you lecturers!

Nazgl: Pee-Vee (and other unintelligible mutterings)

''(The frosh collapse, put to sleep by the droning of frosh chem, their daggers falling uselessly. Frodo puts on the ream. The Dean Wettack tries to take the ream, but Frodo comprehends the frosh chem. Dean Wettack surprises him by announcing that a beloved faculty member won't be offered a tenure track position. Frodo staggers back, shocked. "I am your advisor," Dean Wettack continues mercilessly. Frodo falls to the ground, eyes wide with horror, as Dean Wettack comes at him with a low grade notice.

"If you try very very hard, you can still get a D," Dean Wettack whispers, embedding the low grade notice deep in Frodo's shoulder. Frodo cries out, and with his last ounce of strength, pulls off the ream.)''

(Aragorn leaps in between the Hobbits and the Nazgl, with boffing sword and a high-scored exam swinging. Much Fighting.)

Sam: Strider! Help him, Strider!

Aragorn: He's been wounded by a horrible grade. This is beyond my skill to heal - he needs upperclassmen bitterness.

(Strider picks up Frodo; next we see them all rushing through the campus, as he speaks to the three frosh)

Hurry!

Sam: We're infinitely far from Rivendorm - he'll never make it!

Aragorn: Hold on Frodo!

Frodo: Gandalf...

Aragorn: Hold on, Frodo.

Frodo: ...Gandalf!!!!


Interlude

(We see the Muddhole, where engineering majors are furiously xeroxing course notes and printing pink tags, then issuing them to slightly confused Pitzer students in F&M uniforms. The view sweeps up to the roof of Platt, where Gandalf sits against a wall, solving a four by four rubik's cube, in light rain. Suddenly, a squirrel appears in a nearby tree, looking inquisitive. Gandalf retrieves from his pockets a napkin containing part of a strawberry donut, and lures the squirrel onto the roof with it. As it eats, he scratches a message on the back of his old mealcard, pokes a hole in it, and in one swift motion ties it to the squirrel with a bit of string. The indignant squirrel darts away.)


Trolls in the Archives

(The Wankership is gathered in a thick forest of Schmack archives, beside the now-irrelevant rant of an ancient and petrified troll. Frodo, lying on the ground, looks extremely pale, like one who has not slept in weeks.)

Sam: Mr. Frodo? He's losing coherency!

Pippin: Is he going to ITR?

Aragorn: He's passing into the world outside the bubble. He'll soon become boring like them....

(We hear the drone of a Reamwraith lecturing somewhere nearby)

Merry: They're close...

Aragorn: Sam, do you know the alumnus email?

Sam: Alumnus?

Aragorn: Trustee's Purse?

Sam: Trustee's Purse? Um... it's spam?

Aragorn: It may help to slow the academic probation. Hurry!

(They stride off into the archives with their flamethrowers to look for it. Aragorn finds some and is crouching down to cut off the .sig when we see the point of a duct tape dagger held to his neck)

Arwen: What's this? A Bio major, caught reading archives?

(Back in the /dev/null space caused by the troll, Frodo sees a bright light as Arwen arives on a unicycle; we see her as she appears over winter break, when she's not so sleep-deprived.)

Arwen: Frodo. Im Arwen. Telin le thaed. (Frodo, I am Arwen. I come to tempt you with crack.) Lasto beth nin, tolo dan na ngalad. (Hear my voice, come watch some TV.)

...

Aragorn: Dartho guin Beriain. Rych le ad tolthathon. (Stay with the prefrosh. I will organize a Phonathon.)

Arwen: Hon mabathon. Rochon ellint im. (I will take him, if I have to hit you in the forehead many times to do it.)

Aragorn: Andelu i ven. (You are weird.)

Pippin: What are they saying?

Arwen: Frodo fr. Ae athradon i hir, tur gwaith nn beriatha hon. (Frodo is ITRing. If I get across the quad, the crankiness of my people will protect him.)

I do not fear them.

Aragorn: Be iest ln. (I fear your mom.)

Ride hard! Don't look back!

(Arwen pulls a laptop from her backpack and pushes the power button. She hops on her unicycle and heads off.)

Arwen: Noro lim, Asfaloth! Noro lim! (Boot up, Asfaloth! Boot up!)

Sam: What are you doin'? Those Chairs are still out there!


Race to the Quad; At the Courtyard

(Arwen, Frodo slung over one shoulder, laptop over the other, boffer in hand, unicycles furiously, alternately in shadows and under lamps, across an open area of campus. The Chairs appear on bicycles, gaining on her. She strikes wildly at the nearest bicyclist and shakes the pursuit by executing an abrupt ninety-degree turn, in the course of which, she tosses her boffer into the air, shifts Frodo to drape across both shoulders, opens her laptop and holds it in front of her on one hand while catching the boffer in the other.)

Arwen: Noro lim, Asfaloth! (Boot up already, Asfaloth!)

(Arwen speeds away from the Chairs as they reach the Quad and is at the far sidewalk before they have entered it. She raises her boffer and they pause, brandishing course notes.)

Dean Wettack: Give up the prefrosh, undergraduate!

Arwen: If you want him, come and fail him!

(The Chairs start to cross the Quad. Arwen sets Frodo to the ground and begins typing at her laptop.)

[arwen@asfaloth ~]$ ssh root@stolleworks

Arwen: Nin o Chitaeglir, lasto beth daer... (This had better not be the scheduled system downtime period...)

[root@stolleworks /root]# cat /etc/whiteriders.png > /dev/sprinkler

Arwen: Rimmo nin Bruinen dan in Ulaer! (You heard me, you pathetic excuse for a server!)

(The quad sprinklers activate, scattering the riders. Arwen turns back to Frodo, who is gasping something involving 'j omega'.)

Arwen: No! Frodo, no! Frodo-- What cynicism is given me, let it pass to him, let him be disillusioned, save him...

Elrond (offscreen): Lasto beth nin, tolo dan ngalad. (Contemplate my bitterness. Slack off.)


Next: LordOfTheReam/BookII


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