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Part 1 Columbus


WARNING: This story includes sexually explicit material.

I would like to thank the proof-readers for all their help

Any comments, including constructive criticisms, would be most
appreciated. Please send to

This work is copyrighted by the author. You may download and keep one
copy for your personal use as long as my by-line and e-mail address and
this paragraph remain on the copy. Any posting or reposting on a website,
other than the archive or Dejanews, or to a newsgroup requires my
permission first (but I'll probably say yes). This story should not, under
any circumstances be used to make a profit by anyone other than the author.


This story probably won't make a good deal of sense if you haven't heard
of the Fantasy Train, or read the introduction. It also helps if you have
ever visited the ASSD newsgroup. To find out more about the Fantasy Train,
go to: where you will
find not only the introduction but also some very good stories.

There's a lot of references in this story to things that you might not
understand if you don't happen to live on the same small island I do. So
to be helpful, here's an explaination of some of them. If there's still
something you don't understand, just ask *S*.

Darlington: A town in the north-east of England, and claims to be the
birthplace of the railway. GNER: Great North Eastern Railways. A railway
company that mainly operates in the north-east of England. Virgin: Another
company that has trains operating in the north-east, as well as other parts
of the country. They have the worst record for being late or not turning
up at all. Vivenne Westwood: A british designer, who seems to come up with
more and more bizarre clothes each year. red Dwarf: Long running sci-fi
comedy series made by the BBC. Kryten is one of the characters. Big
Breakfast: A programme on Channel 4, that's usually on every weekday
morning from 7 - 9.

Part 1

I should have known better than to get onboard Shon's train in the first
place; then I would never have got myself in such a mess. In fact, I did
know better. My first instinct was to say 'thanks, but no thanks'.
Believe it or not, I'm actually quite shy. At parties I spend most of my
time talking to the granny in the kitchen, until my friends find me and
drag me out to be sociable. But Shon had to dangle the lure of time travel
in front of me. How could I resist that? To go back in time and actually
see how things really were, instead of trying to piece it together from
tarnished scraps of parchment. To watch them building a pyramid and see
how they did it; to walk through Rome when it was freshly built and full of
life; to taste the food in a medieval castle. It was one of those once in
a lifetime opportunities. After all, how often does anyone you know catch
a leprechaun, let alone one with a magic time-travelling train available?
The timing was perfect too. I actually had two weeks off from work, while
my husband was still away travelling so he wouldn't object to my absence. I
would have preferred him to accompany me, but that was impossible.

By the time Shon's train made it to my part of the world, it was already
packed and I was one of the last stops. I wasn't feeling at my best, which
wasn't really surprising, as I had stayed up all the previous night
finishing off the paperwork I had originally intended to do during my spare
fortnight. Paperwork always makes me cranky; there's something about a
column of figures that refuses to amount to the same total twice in a row
that just riles me. I was falling asleep on my feet as I waited for the
Fantasy Train to arrive, and only the customary howling draught whistling
around Darlington station kept me semi-conscious. At least I didn't have
to worry about a train full of ASS regulars being one of the notoriously
late Virgin trains. Just when I was about to start snoring, there was a
whoosh and the train arrived. Either GNER had employed Vivenne Westwood to
design their latest rolling stock or this was my ride. A door slid open
and a man popped his head out.

"Vickie Morgan?" he asked cheerfully as I stepped forward. "All aboard

The door had scarcely swished closed behind me before the train was in
motion. The man's nametag identified him as Shon himself.

"Nice to meet you in the flesh at last," I said politely. He gave me a
big grin.

"Nice of you to join us," he replied, nudging his glasses back up his
nose. "Come this way. You're in cabin 205. You're the last pick-up, so
now we're heading back in time, as soon as someone decides when they want
to go to. Any idea when you want to go yet?"

"Not yet," I admitted."Back to Dallas to stand on the grassy knoll and
yell 'duck'?" I suggested flippantly.

Shon gave me a bewildered look, and I mentally kicked myself. I thought
he was bound to recognise the quote from red Dwarf, as I knew he was a fan.
But I should have remembered that Kryten had his good taste chip bypassed
when he said that. The last thing I wanted to do was offend my American
friends by making frivolous remarks about their major historical figures.

Several parties were in full swing and I saw some bizarre sights as I
followed Shon. It certainly was a unique train. One section looked like a
perfect replica of the Orient Express, then the next carriage was so
high-tech it wouldn't have looked out of place on the Enterprise. We were
passing through a section that reminded me of the observation carriage
described in Dick Francis' 'The Edge', apart from the lively mud fight
occupying the centre of it, when someone called out to Shon.

"What do you use to tie Bondage Barbie's legs to the bed with? I seem
to have lost the handcuffs."

"Lost the handcuffs?" Shon echoed, turning pale. "Oh no, I knew I
shouldn't have brought my Barbies with me. Do you mind finding your own
way down, Vee, and I'll catch up with you later."

"No problem," I said, trying not to giggle at the sight of grown men playing with dolls. "Hope you find your handcuffs." He looked momentarily
puzzled, as if he hadn't understood me, then disappeared into the huddle of
men waiting for him.

I found my cabin in a part of the train that resembled the old fashioned
coaches seen in classic Hitchcock films. I had a generous bunk, already
made up, and a bench and narrow table. There was also a small en-suite
bathroom. I couldn't help wondering exactly how the toilet worked. There
weren't any signs instructing me not to use the toilet while the train was
stationary. There could be a big reservoir somewhere to store all the
sewage but that didn't seem too practical. But the alternative, that it
was being dumped irresponsibly throughout history, didn't seem very clever.
All our modern day germs and bacteria being introduced to ancient digestive
tracts would be a disaster. I know most people probably don't think about
this kind of thing, but I'm afraid that's the way my mind works. I hadn't
really known what to pack for a trip through history, so I had stuck to the
essentials, which didn't take long to unpack. An information pack was
waiting for me, including my nametag. I stuck it on, then headed towards
the nearest kitchen. Hopefully, a good strong cup of tea would have me
feeling more alive.

According to the diagram in my room, there should be a self-service
kitchen at the front end of the high tech carriage. But before I reached
it I bumped into a group of men heading the opposite way.

"Hello sweetie," one of them said with a friendly grin. They had
obviously been drinking and had reached the happy stage. They focused on
my nametag.

"Hey, Vickie Morgan. I've read your stories." They looked at me in
surprise. "But Vickie Morgan's a man."

"Er, no," I said apologetically. Another man joined the traffic jam we
were creating in the corridor.

"Vickie Morgan," he observed. "Aren't you that British writer? I've
always wondered, does the 'stiff upper lip' you Brits have make any
difference when you're giving blow-jobs? I'd be happy to help you run some
comparison tests"

"And I've always wondered why you named yourself after part of a beer
can?" I replied, smiling at Wijit. He looked puzzled.

"I'm sorry, what did you say?" he asked. "I didn't quite understand

"Doesn't matter, wasn't anything important," I told him.

"I thought you were English."

"I am," I said indignantly.

"But you don't sound English. I can hardly understand you."

"What were you expecting me to sound like?" I asked. "Hardly anyone in
the UK talks like the Queen, or Kate Winslet for that matter. I come from
Yorkshire, so I don't talk like a bloody southerner, I have a Yorkshire
accent." Judging by the bewildered looks on their faces I might as well
have saved my breath. "I'm going to get a drink," I said as clearly as I
could, squeezing past them.

I found my way to the kitchen, which turned out to be an eclectic
mixture of shiny metal machines and long wooden tables. Closer examination
of one of the machines revealed that all I had to do was type in what I
wanted and push the button. Accordingly, I punched in 'tea'. A couple of
menus flashed up at me but I impatiently hit 'enter' a couple of times
until there was a ping and the door opened. But instead of a nice hot
brew, there was a glass containing ice cubes, some pale brown liquid and a
couple of sprigs of mint. Disgruntled, I slammed the door shut and decided
to read the menus this time. To be on the safe side, this time I decided
to request coffee.

A long menu appeared and I started to read the list: 'Latte, double
latte, flat white, double mocha ...' the list seemed endless and none of it
made any sense. I hit cancel, and contemplated the annoying contraption.
Maybe something simple would be a better idea. But typing in 'water' just
gave me another list of gibberish. Trying not to grind my teeth in
frustration, I looked around to see if anyone else was having difficulties.
Seated at one of the tables was a noisy group engaged in an animated
discussion about the finer points of grammar and punctuation. I didn't
need to see his nametag to identify the short, brown gentleman vehemently
arguing the case for two spaces after a full stop, while at the same time
surreptitiously laving a pile of condoms with baby oil, as Homer. I didn't
recognise any of the rest, except a tall, blonde woman waving a
well-thumbed copy of Fowler who had to be Janey. She must have spotted my
difficulty with the drinks dispenser and got up to give me a hand.

"Vickie!" she exclaimed when she saw my nametag. "I didn't know you
were on board. Isn't this fun?"

"I was hoping I'd run into you," I said, trying to control the big grin
spreading over my face. "Don't I owe you an e-mail?"

"Don't worry about it," she replied. "I know how hard it is to find a
bit of spare time."

"Can you give me a hand with this stupid machine, Janey? All I want is
a hot drink, but it doesn't seem to understand plain English."

Janey took a careful look at the offending mechanism, then backed off
and gave it a good kick.

"There! I'll bet the fucker works now! What you want?"

"Hot chocolate," I suggested. Janey punched in some instructions.

"Sugar? Marshmallows? Whipped cream?" she inquired.

"Just plain," I asked hopefully. Janey attacked the keypad again, gave
the enter button a good thump, and moments later handed me a mug.

"You just have to show those things who's boss," she said, scowling at
the machine.

"Thanks a million," I said gratefully, taking a cautious sip.

"You're welcome," she began, then trailed off as her gaze focused over
my shoulder. "Linebackers," Janey murmured.

"What are line backers?" I asked.

"Those gorgeous athletes are. Oh, no, that's not fair," she sighed. I
looked round to see what had attracted her attention, but all I could see
was a couple of young lads in some kind of sports uniform and shoulder pads
that wouldn't have looked out of place in an episode of 'Dynasty'. They
were each holding a ripe peach, and when they saw that they had Janey's
attention they took big, juicy bites.

"Um, excuse me a minute, Vickie," Janey said distractedly. "I just have
to teach them to eat peaches properly. I'll catch up with you later, OK."

"No problem," I told her, amused and bemused at the same time.
Clutching my hard won drink, I took another look around. While I
recognised a few names, not many would recognise me. I didn't have the
time to do more than occasionally read through ASSD, so I wasn't a
well-known, regular poster. The ASS people I knew best were either not on
board or had succumbed to more pressing distractions, and I didn't really
feel like introducing myself to a group of strangers. Especially
considering the difficulties I was having making myself understood. So I
set out to explore instead.

Copyright Vickie Morgan, 1999 E-mail

This story is distributed free of charge for your entertainment. It
does take quite a lot of time and effort to write, type, edit and post a
story, especially a long one like this. All I ask is that you take a
couple of minutes to e-mail me, let me know that you've read this and
perhaps give some reaction. Thank you.


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