"Call to Idiocy, Ground Zero - The Beginning"
"Tell me a story, Auntie Kris." little Simone pleaded as she was put to bed. "Tell me about 'The Bad Time' and how Clan Denial was born."
Kris sighed. "But you already know that story by heart, munchkin." Simone looked at her with those big blue eyes and Kris knew she didn't stand a chance. "All right, it was a dark and stormy night...."
[flashback - May 1997, Seacouver, USA]
"Ah, another night of Highlander." Chris Ely mused as she plunked herself down on the couch. Suddenly the doorbell interrupted her thoughts. Grumbling she threw open the door and found an old man crumpled on her doorstep.
"Are you Chris Ely?" he wheezed.
"Yes - who the hell are you?" she barked.
"Oh, thank God I've found you. I've come to warn you. Season Six is upon us. The Demon is coming. And Opie's gonna bite the bullet."
Chris slammed the door in his face and wandered back to the couch. "Damned Jehovah's Witnesses" she muttered.
An hour later, Chris leaped from the couch and screamed "NOOOOOOOO!!!!! RICHIE!!!!!!!!!!". Her legs felt like jelly, her head ready to explode in anger. She threw the remote at the tv, hitting the off button sheerly by accident just as Joe began to cry. She collapsed onto the couch and sobbed quietly to herself for what seemed like an eternity.
Suddenly she stopped. "This didn't happen. None of this was real." Chris mumbled to herself. "I've got to get to the Temple. Surely somebody must know what really happened."
Chris climbed the long staircase from her gutter home up to the Temple's main door. When she arrived she was surprised to see a very bruised and battered Kenny - yes, more bruised and battered than normal - guarding the Temple door.
"Step aside rugrat. I'm in no mood to play 'whack the midget.' " Chris snarled.
Kenny gave her a pained look and warned "You don't want to go in there. Something's very wrong. There's been a lot of screaming and weird noises coming from the entertainment room. And I don't think it's hot fudge clone night."
Chris, fearing the worst, shoved aside the runt and rushed into the Temple. As she tore into the Entertainment room, she saw a very large broadsword sticking out of the center of the wide screen tv.
"Kat - what have you done with the Holy Sword of Ryan?" Chris cried.
Kat was curled up under the couch in a fetal position, sobbing. Liz was perched on the window sill, ready to plunge to the street below. Beltane was fashioning nooses out of the macramé yarn left over from Disco Night, and Sophie was downloading pictures from the Richie gallery, sobbing uncontrollably.
"LADIES - GET A GRIP!" Chris screamed.
"BUT, but they killed him! They've killed our Studlander! What good is a Temple without a Studlander?" Joanne wailed.
Chris glanced around at her fellow Richie-lovers, who were clearly in no shape to be reasoned with. They needed a common goal, a purpose, a raison d'etre, and she was the only one able to think coherently at the moment. "OK, how much food do we have in stock?" she firmly asked.
Kat answered in a puzzled voice, "Fitz always keeps a month's supply on hand, just in case we have an unannounced 'Spin the Clone' party. Why is that important now?"
Chris replied in a trembling voice "Because no one is leaving here until we find out what REALLY happened to Richie. I don't care how long it takes or who we have to torture - the torture room IS still well equipped isn't it?"
Liz managed a weak smile: "Of course it is - most definitely well equipped."
Chris regained her composure and stated "Well, then, pull yourselves together lassies - we have a mission. We're the chosen ones. The sisters of His Eternal Richieness must get to the bottom of this evil."
The Sisters of his Eternal Richieness spent the next week making phonecalls and searching the Internet, calling in favors from every Watcher they knew, trying to ascertain the true fate of their Beloved. But every spark of hope led to a dead end. Rumors abounded, but hard facts were in short supply. Fitz tried to keep their spirits up with his excellent French cuisine, but even an impromptu naked clone Twister night failed to perk their spirits. Just when all seemed lost, a knock was heard at the front door. Dozens of feet ran down the staircase, hoping against hope that Richie had somehow found his way back to them....
As Kat threw open the door, she was greeted by the site of a bedraggled woman, who obviously hadn't slept in over a week, clutching a rumpled pile of papers in her fist. The woman muttered something about Zoroastrianism and Osiris, and the importance of the mythic friendship. She also kept saying "The Search for Spock" over and over again.
Chris sighed, "Another Richie disciple who's been drawn to the Temple. Get her inside and put her to bed." Chris grabbed the grubby papers out of the strange woman's hand and put them in her pocket for later reading.
As she lay in bed that night, Chris read the strange woman's words. "Kronos, Ahriman and Set," she mumbled. "Could she be on to something?" Chris' eyes grew wider as she plowed through the pages of pedantic prose. Suddenly she bolted out of bed and ran to the room where the stranger slept.
"Wake up!" Chris screamed. "Who are you? What do you know about Richie?"
The stranger opened her bleary blue eyes and feigned a weak smile. "My name is Kris - with a K. And I'm NOT a K'immie! I assume you've all seen what happened. Well, I DON'T believe it! I've been traveling to Egypt and India and Iraq, searching ancient texts and old Star Trek reruns for some hint of how to defeat this great evil that has arisen out of Southern California and hurt our Richie. I want him back - NOW! And I'm not going to stop until I find him."
Chris weighed the magnitude of the stranger's words. "You sound like a Great Oracle, bringing us ancient wisdom and words of hope. Please, advise us some more on how we might be reunited with our Studlander." A tear ran down Chris' cheek.
Kris beamed a true smile this time - "Don't worry - I'm obsessed, not crazy."
"And you're obviously not stupid either," Chris added. "We'll convene the others in the morning after you've rested and tell them what you know."
Chris summarized the stranger's words for her sisters. An excited twittering began to break out amongst the faithful.
"But if he's not dead - where is he?" Silvia asked.
"That's the part I'm fuzzy on," Kris honestly replied. "I have a few leads, but nothing concrete. The most intruiging snippet of information I've found is from an obscure apochryphal text, The Book of the Opie Killer. There's a prophecy... it is written 'and a time of great woe shall befall the land... a time of great sorrow and mass hallucinations. The Demoness from Hollyweird, so vile, so color-blind that the beautious eyes of the Studlander be not known to her, shall spew forth abominations and cursed scripts and render the undenying into eternal grief.' I also found the line 'Anything is possible in the realm of Ahriman.' At least it's a start. Give me a few weeks - I promise I'll get to the bottom of this."
"But what will we do once we find out his location?" Sandra sagely asked. "How will we know what to do?"
"This may call for a military action - we need to organize." Chris wisely said. Then she uttered what became prophetic words - "I hereby announce the formation of Clan Denial - those who renounce the rumor of Richie's death. We didn't see it. It never happened. We're obsessed, not stupid. Who's with me?"
"I will follow you, oh Chieftain," Kris proudly answered.
Chris smiled. "I knew the Clan Advisor would be quick to speak."
A dozen other voices quickly pledged their allegiance to the Clan and picked their posts within the organization.
Word quickly spread throughout the Richie-faithful about the Clan and their charge. Members flocked to the doors of the Temple begging for admission. Soon the gutter was overflowing - some members, like Kris, took to spending time on the River Denial itself, with her trusty Season 1 clone feeding her grapes as she searched the ancient texts further for signs of Richie's whereabouts. But the answer came from a most unlikely source - the Rysher Forum. One night, Kris read an innocent looking post, a post which was authored by..... The Immortal Cimoli himself. As Kris read the post her eyes widened and she began to weep with joy - "I've found him! He's safe! We've got to organize the faithful - there's not much time...."
(end of Ground Zero)
For the heroic story of the rescue of our Beloved Richie, by the Clan Denial, see this link here.
(Gratuitous Richie Picture)