In the small terptfan1 office Simon Legree sat behind his old beat-up desk. He was a tall thin old man with sparse white hair. George stood in front of him. Although there were two chairs in front of the desk, uncomfortable unpadded wooden ones, George stood, because he had not been told to sit.
Legree glared at him. “Wha’d’y’all wan?” he asked. What do you want? Simon Legree was originally from Jorjia, in the Southlands, and had only come to Yoosah two years ago to run Saint D’Clause, so he spoke Anglish2 poorly.
George swallowed, tried to show just enough fear so that Legree didn’t think he was challenging him. “Is it true, sir3, the New Yawk Kinkys are doing a benefit for the school?”
“Yea-up. But don’t get too excited, bwah4. None y’alla be goin’. Strictly fer adults. Payin’ adults. ‘Tain’t no charity! Well, ’tis a charity, but that doan’ mean you kids go fer free. Er at all.”
“Hain’t been worked out yet. Nunnia7 concern, anyways. Now go play in Traffic.” Traffic was the school band. The band conductor was Mister Fantasy, whom the children loved and Legree hated.
George spoke this next part carefully. He had to seem as if he were muttering to himself, but clearly enough so that Legree could hear him. “Good. At least we’ll be safe.”
“Safe ferm what?”
George startled as if caught. “Um… well, they’re professionals, aren’t they? I mean, our school man-tanks wouldn’t last five seconds8 on the same field as a professional man-tank team.”
Legree rose angrily from his chair. “Now, y’all jes’ listen to me, bwah. Our-uns man-tanks are the toughest, cruelest, best-est machines out there! Don’t jabber at me ’bout no ‘perfeshnal’ team. Ain’t seen one yet could handle monsters like our-uns.”
“If you say so, sir.”
“Ah do sez so! Y’all sayin’ otherwise, bwah?”
“Not me, sir. But some people in town… well, you know how people talk, sir.”
“No, bwah. Tell me how people talk.
“Normally… ah… normally some people say things, people in town. They… they think our man-tanks might be… weak. And that we students are too pampered to ride them properly. I mean, like, as gladiators. Sir.”
“The hail they are!! bwah, we’all’s gonna prove that the man-tanks and students at the San D’Clows School fo’ Lil’ Bastards is as tough as any, an’ tougher ‘an mos’. Ah wan’ yuh tuh put together a wildcat man-tank gladiatoriational team tah beat the &#@%$ Kinkys an’ show everone, an’ ah mean everone, who’s the toughest aroun’.”
“Why oh you. That spells y’all. Y’all’s the one they bin jabberin’ tuh. Y’all can be captin. Now, get! An’ bwah?”
“Don’t. Let. Me. Down. Er else!”
As George left the office and walked down the hall his mind raced. George knew he was something of a natural leader to the other children. He could put together a team. He could run it. Maybe get some of the faculty to help.
George knew he had a talent with man-tanks. He was just about the only one who could operate the Big Bambino, the biggest and most unwieldy of all the the man-tanks at Saint D’Clause.
He knew that the school’s jock10 teacher, “Birdies” Meredith, had once been a man-tank gladiator. He’d operated a man-tank called The Penguin. When he’d quit he gave The Penguin to Danny D’Vito, and turned to coaching other man-tank gladiators. He’d coached Sly and the Family Stallone and their man-tanks Rocky, Rambo, and Rhinestone.
He knew they could attach weapons11, armor, and other necessary equipment to their man-tanks easily enough. Getting the tanks up to professional level would be difficult, but not impossible.
But George also knew the difference between a group of children playing with man-tanks and adults riding and fighting man-tanks for a living. And he believed he knew one more thing.
He and whoever he got to join him… they were going to get killed.
 Obviously, his office was not truly terptfan. The Terptf Empire would not be established for another three hundred years. But “terptfan” so fully and accurately describes his office that I trust I may be forgiven this one small anachronism. Return to 1
 Anglish was the prominent language in Ballmore. Other languages extant included Spanglish, Rushin, Klingon, Jive, Leet, and Shobizness. The One True Language is descended primarily from Anglish. Return to 2
 Sir is a term for a superior. It is, in fact, a corrupted form of the word “superior.” Return to 3
 Bwah is a term for an inferior. It may have been derived from the word “boy,” but more likely it was a variation of “Burt Ward,” an actor famous for his portrayals of loyal children. Return to 4
 Captain Kirk was also the god of loving exotic women, but obviously that wouldn’t be on George’s mind at the moment. Return to 5
 Captain Kirk and Luke Skywookiee were originally from separate pantheons, but by this time the high priest Jabrams had created stories that brought them both into the Siffy pantheon. As previously mentioned, various religions and mythologies are included for historical accuracy, and are in no way a challenge to the Sovereignty of the One True God, KRG, or the rulership of Her 12 Warrior Priests. All Hail KRG! Return to 6
 Nunnia here means “Not any of your.” The exact relation of this word to the ancient land of Narnia is obscure. Return to 7
 Time units in the Motorized Ages was in seconds. Firsts were no longer used. Return to 8
 The interrobang is not being used in this web-serial, as its development is so recent that its presence would be a noticeable anachronism. Other punctuation marks we will avoid include the irony point, the scare quote, and the emojicon. Return to 9
 Jock was another term for sports or athletics. It is related to the words “jerk”, “joke”, and “truck”. Return to 10
 Weapons were trivially easy to get in those barbaric times. The typical Motorized Age adult had a large variety of swords, handguns, and nukes. Return to 11