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Holonovels And The Dictates Of Poetics

The Princess Bride
Ginny — 26 Jun 1997

Since y'all were so very, very kind to me about my CAPTAIN BLOOD holonovel, I decided to post the original version of the PRINCESS BRIDE holonovel that I sent to Julia. She made substantial alterations to it before she posted it at her web site and pretty much changed the overall direction of the story. With typical writer's vanity, I prefer my version. And so I present it here, with a slight modification based on a comment from Jules.

A red-haired princess, a Talaxian giant, a Vulcan swordsman, and the Grand Negus Zek are standing on the top of the Cliffs of Insanity. The Grand Negus says to the Swordsman, "We'll head straight for the Guilder frontier. If he falls fine. If not, the sword."

The Swordsman replies, in a very bad Spanish accent (which, for a Vulcan, means practically no accent at all), "I'm going to do him left-handed. It is the only way I can be satisfied. If I use my right, it's over too quickly."

The Grand Negus shrugs. "Oh, have it your way."

As his companions leave, the Swordsman goes to the edge of the cliff, leans out, and sees a tall, slender blonde man in black and wearing a mask attempting to scale the cliff.

The Swordsman calls down, "I do not suppose you could speed things up?"

The Man in Black calls back up to him, "If you're in such a hurry, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do. And do it quick. I'm about to fall."

The Swordsman looks thoughtfully down at the struggling young man. "I could do that. I still have some rope up here. But I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you. And your last remarks were not within the dialogue parameters of this scenario, Mr. Paris."

Tom briefly loses, then regains, his grip on a tree root. "That's because I really am about to fall. Throw me the rope, Tuvok!"

Tuvok kneels down and looks out over the edge of the cliff at Tom's pale face, gray eyes (the color of the sea after a storm) wide behind the black mask. "You are overreacting, Mr. Paris. The safety protocols in this program will prevent you from falling and injuring yourself."


Tuvok quickly finds the rope, throws it to Tom, and hauls the young pilot up over the cliff's edge. "Give me a minute, will you, Tuvok? I've got rocks in my boots and sand in my shorts."

So Tuvok tells him a story about the murder of the Swordsman's father and his life-long search for vengeance. It's a sad story, but Tuvok tells it well. Tom only yawns once.

"If you are ready. . .", begins Tuvok.

"Whether I am or not, you've been more than fair," Tom replies. The men salute each other with their swords. Tuvok says, "You seem a decent fellow. I hate to have to kill you."

Tom replies, solemnly, "You seem a decent fellow. I hate to have to die--wait a minute. There's something crawling on me." He reaches into his shirt and pulls out a small salamander. Tom starts in recognition, then looks suspiciously at Tuvok, who maintains a steadfastly innocent expression on his face. Tom is about to toss the creature off to the side, but suddenly thinks better of it and lays the little salamander gently on a nearby rock.

"Trying to psyche me out, huh, Tuvok?"

"I don't know what you're talking about, Mr. Paris. Begin."

The men commence to fight, holding their weapons in their left hands, lunging and parrying and thrusting. Finally, Tom has Tuvok backed up against a wall. Tuvok says, "I admit it; you are better than I am."

Tom replies, "Then why are you smi--Tuvok, you're not smiling."

"Is it absolutely necessary?"

With an inflection very much like Tuvok's own, Tom says, "Yes, within the narrative parameters of this program, it *is* necessary."

"Very well." Tuvok bares his teeth. It's not a pretty sight, but Tom carries on bravely. "Then why are you smiling?"

"Because I know something that you don't know."

"And what is that?"

"I am not left-handed."

Tuvok switches his sword to his other hand, and they swordfight some more, until Tuvok has Tom bent back over the cliff edge.

Tom says, "There's something I ought to tell you."

"Tell me."

Tom smiles, and switches his sword to his right hand. "I'm not left-handed, either."

They swordfight some more, and Tom does a parallel bars routine mid-parry that would impress even B'Elanna--if only she had been there to see it. Finally, Tom knocks Tuvok's sword from his hand. Tuvok faces Tom, his teeth bared.

"God, Tuvok, that look's going to give me nightmares. Besides, you're supposed to be on your knees." Tom pauses, uncertain. "Why *are* you looking at me like that?"

Tuvok stares intently at Tom. "Because I know something that you don't know."

"Oh, really? What's that?"

Tuvok reaches out and grips Tom's shoulder, pulling him close and whispering in his ear, "I changed the narrative parameters of this program." Tuvok swiftly tightens his grip on Tom, administering a Vulcan nerve pinch. (Faked you off, didn't I? What kind of holonovel did you think I was writing?) As he lowers the unconscious pilot's body to the ground and aranges Tom's limp body so that he will lie comfortably, Tuvok says softly, "Please understand that I hold you in the highest respect." He then picks up his sword and races off to rescue the princess.

The End

You may have noticed that I have a fondness for boots, breeches, and swords. But I also love the Classics. Ask me nice, and I'll give you my synopsis for "Tom and Tuvok's Trojan Vacation".