Read this MSTing.
Post: Net.legend Robert McElwaine presents another instalment in the long-running "Dr. Beter AUDIO LETTER" series. This letter tears a page from April 1981's headlines to talk about the very first space shuttle mission. As the good doctor sagely informs us, the mission the public saw is actually a fake rigged up in the inimitably shoddy fashion the "moon hoaxers" would try to make famous twenty years later. In this case, though, what's being covered up is an attempt to deploy a "nuclear-powered, laser-firing Spy Satellite" over Russia so that the Bolsheviks who had recently displaced the Rockefellers from power in America could prepare for nuclear war.
Fortunately, the Russians have prepared another variant of the Cosmospheres Dr. Beter is so fond of talking about. Who will live? Who will die? Who will be cloned back to life? And just what's the deal with the space shuttle Enterprise, anyway? An incredible simulation of the answers can be found in the letter.
Host Segments: Prologue: Joel and the bots' camping trip includes a campfire and spooky ghost stories, although Tom's tale of terror goes awry when Crow brings in the food.
Invention: Joel allows people to hedge their bets on whether the 1970s are actually coming back with the Inflatable Disco Ball. Dr. Forrester gets into the pop culture preservation and speculation market with the Collectible Safe.
Segment Two: Soviet cosmonaut Sorri Andropoli, from the episode "Rocket Attack USA," calls the Satellite of Love to share how he's doing. A jumbo Cosmosphere that's survived the collapse of the Soviet Union shows up to spoil the get-together, but the Inflatable Disco Ball turns out to be very useful after all. Down in Deep 13, Frank is still trying to reclaim his property from the Collectible Safe.
Stinger: At least he's honest on some weird level.
Reflections: When I decided the time seemed about right to write another solo MSTing, I also decided to work on something other than a story. Remembering browing a CD-ROM with decade-old archives of the Usenet space newsgroup, and more particularly the bizarre posts of Robert McElwaine, I picked out something at least linked to him.
At the time that I started work though, alas, I hadn't contemplated the post might take on a grim resonance to current events. I ultimately rallied and continued, perhaps even with the faintest thought of making it a tribute. The decision to write a MSTing with Joel in it may have helped disconnect it from the present day, too. I made that decision because I wanted to cap off looking at something in which the Soviet Union figured so prominently with a Soviet character from the show played by Mike Nelson, but perhaps it was for the best.
Special Bonus: Another MSTing, not by me, on somewhat the same topic.
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