Disclaimer

by
A Kniggendorf


Answer to Elizabeth Bales' Disclaimer story challenge of June 2004. <EG>
And thanks to said Elizabeth Bales-Stutes for editing this fanfic!

Disclaimer (1): This is a piece of fiction. All original characters, institutions, locations, and situations are copyright Ann-Kathrin Kniggendorf and may not be used without permission. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not in the intention of the author.

Disclaimer (2): AKK is willing to license this Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers fanfic story (the story) upon the condition that you accept all of the terms given in the disclaimers given in the story. By reading this story you are consenting to be bound by and becoming a party to this agreement. If you do not agree to all of the terms of this agreement, AKK is not willing to license the story for your further entertainment. By reading the story anyway you are accepting the responsibility to offer the next naturally deceased puppy you find to the Grand Bragg-Hack-A (don't ask) in a tasteful pink Gothic shrine.



A. Kniggendorf: Disclaimer



     After a last look around the cockpit, with a grim side-glance at the burned-out weapon console, Zach told GV to load itself into the BETA circuits and shut the ship down. Ranger-1 was heading for some serious maintenance work after this mission.
     Slightly worn, Zach stomped down the landing ramp following the rest of his team. The condition of Goose's uniform, especially the pants, bordered on indecency, but if anyone else had been working the weaponry, they'd be bringing a body bag back home instead of an improperly clothed Ranger.
     They waited for him to catch up, Doc blocking the transport car's door with his foot. Then they were on their way to the command level and their office. Spare uniform for Goose, hot coffee, five minutes to catch up on private notes – should there be any – and then the buzz about first mission report, organizing Ranger-1's emergency repair, and explaining to Walsh where the latest of Goose's uniforms had gone and why...
     Pretty normal stuff altogether. The lift door opened and they filed out, Zach in the lead this time. He was run over by an infantry cadet waving a blue envelope. "Sorry, si–" The boy had crossed the next corridor edge and was out of sight before he finished. Zach blinked and took Goose's outstretched hand.
     "Better watch out. Lotsa traffic here." With shameless lack of effort the ST pulled him back onto his feet.
     It was true. The corridors were filled with cadets of all kinds: all of them running, all of them panting, all of them waving envelopes of various colors. Zach wasn't sure but he thought he even spotted some ensigns from the Salvation Army...
     What was going on here?!

     A cadet, whose uniform was tidy and who wasn't panting at all, was waiting for him in their office. The boy actually managed to abstain from more than merely blinking at the soot-covered, half-naked ST entering the office next to Zach. "Captain Fox, sir?"
     "Yes, cadet?"
     "The commander sends this message for you." He handed Zach a white-and-blue envelope, saluted, and darted out of the office without waiting for a reply.
     Zach skimmed the message in the envelope briefly. "Okay, this is from Walsh. He writes that the BWL's committee for correct correspondence has equipped BETA's e-mail systems with an automatic disclaimer."
     "And?" Niko asked.
     Zach shrugged. "That's all."
     "Why didn't he send it by e-mail?" Doc asked.
     "No idea. Goose, go and get yourself a fresh uniform." Zach dropped into his chair and activated his screen to see if GV had uploaded itself to the local systems yet. It had. "Any private messages?" he asked the AI.
     =One, sir.=
     Zach yawned. "Read it to me, please."
     GV began: =If you (the reader of this disclaimer, its disclaimer, or the message) choose to bypass the following disclaimer to the message, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall the Bureau of Extra-Terrestrial Affairs (BETA), its personnel, its employees, or its affiliates be liable for any damages whatsoever–=
     "GV, skip the legal blah-blah and get to the message."
     =Uh oh... If you (the reader of this disclaimer, its disclaimer, or the message) choose to bypass the following–=
     "GV. What did I say?" Zachary interrupted his AI, annoyed.
     =To skip the disclaimer, sir. I did.=
     "But you reread the disclaimer!"
     =That's a message function, sir. The disclaimer restarts when you try to bypass it.=
     Zachary groaned. "Do continue..."
     =If you (the reader of this disclaimer, its disclaimer, or the message) choose to bypass the following disclaimer to the message, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall the Bureau of Extra-Terrestrial Affairs (BETA), its personnel, its employees, or its affiliates be liable for any damages whatsoever (including without limitation, special, incidental, consequential, or indirect damages for personal injury, loss of business profits, business interruption, loss of business information, loss of state power, loss of military power, loss of galactic domination, or any other pecuniary loss) arising out of the receiving of or inability to receive this message, even if BETA has been advised of the possibility of such damages. In any case, BETA's and its personnel's, its employees', and its affiliates' entire liability under any provision of this agreement shall be limited to the amount actually paid by you for the message being delivered to you. Because some planets/jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential–=
     "I think I have an idea why the corridors are buzzing," Niko said behind him.
     "You're not the only one," Zach said dryly, looking over to her.
     =Sir, if you don't pay attention I'll have to restart the disclaimer.= GV pointed out. =Subfunction 136512.4 is very insistent about that.=
     "Sorry, Niko. We'll talk about it later." Zach hastily fixed his gaze onto the screen where GV slowly bobbed up and down. "Please continue," he said with irony oozing from his voice. "I'm all ears."
     =–or incidental damages, the above limitation may not apply to you. The message and information contained in it are provided with RESTRICTED RIGHTS. Use, duplication, or disclosure to the Tortuna Military Forces, the Slaverlords of Tortuna, and / or but not limited to the Queen of Tortuna, former Wolf Den inmates (excluding Galaxy Ranger Lieutenant Shane Gooseman BDC-1643453), crew members of Captain Kidd, Captain Kidd in person, Lazarus Slade, the General, and the Kiwi Agricultural Department B is subject to restrictions as set forth in subparagraph (c)(1)(ii) of the Rights in Technical Data and Computer Information clause at NEFARIOUS 252.227-7013 or subparagraphs (c)(1) and (2) of the Computer Message-Restricted Rights at 48 OOMPH 52.227-19, as applicable. BETA maintains the exclusive right to apply appropriate measures to keep this disclaimer and its successor from being bypassed. BETA–=

     "Did anyone find out what's up here?" Goose slammed the office door behind him. The protesting screech of his office chair followed. "I prefer the crown army to anything out there!"
     Niko snickered. "You prefer the crown army to anything, Goose."
     "Too right. Zach, do y–?"
      "Please don't talk to Zach," Niko told him hastily. "He might have to sit through the disclaimer again if we distract him and the system notices."
     "Okay." A sharp clicking followed. "ALMA? You there?"
     =Yes, Gooseman. You needn't tap your nails against the hardware, though.=
     "Do you have to read disclaimers, too?" the ST asked his AI.
     =Only if they are given in Cyrillic by my original programmer.=
     "Cyr–?"
     Don't ask.= ALMA blipped. A faint sizzle indicated the deactivation of the screen.
     "Phew. It's not her nice day! Does this legal rubbish have any consequences for us?"
     "It's a waste of time!" Zachary snorted. "I've been listening to this rubbish for 30 minutes now, and–"
     =Uh oh! Disclaimer restart. Recipient is not paying attention!=
     "NO!" Zach yelled at his screen, slapping it repeatedly before realizing the uselessness of it.
     =I told you, sir,= GV beeped unhappily. =But I'm not allowed to give a second warning.=
     Zachary buried his face in his hand and groaned. "Wait a sec, I'm getting myself a coffee first."
     =Yes, sir.=

     Behind them a high-pitched electronic bleeping sounded and bright amber text scrolled over the white panes of their desks. All eyes turned disbelievingly at Doc, who stared horrified at his CDU. "I don't believe it! They put a disclaimer in my CDU!!" Doc shuddered. "Powering up will take slightly longer than before..."
     "Slightly?" Goose snorted. "You better power up before we leave Earth orbit. Otherwise we will win against the Crown army by boring them to death with legalities."
     "Hm..." Doc tilted his head. "I wonder if we can sue the Queen for using Crown soldiers without disclaimers."
     "Why not?" Niko shrugged. "It will even up the score if she loses the case."
     "Yeah," Goose laid his booted feet onto his desk. "But guess who they'll send to reinforce their edict?"
     "Evie Wheiner?" Doc suggested.
     Behind them, Zach flopped back at his desk to get to his message...

     One hour forty-six minutes later (without repetitions):
     =...BETA routinely monitors the content of e-mail sent and received via its network for the purposes of ensuring compliance with its policies and procedures. Personnel and employees must never send or store e-mails or attachments that are obscene, indecent, sexist, racist, defamatory, abusive, in breach of copyright, encrypted or otherwise inappropriate. (The only exception from this rule are field reports of Ranger Gooseman (defined above).) Mails of this nature sent in or out of the BETA network may be intercepted and stopped by the system. BETA is not responsible for any changes made to the message after it has been sent. Where opinions are expressed, they are not necessarily those of BETA or its personnel. This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you are not the intended addressee, or the person responsible for delivering it to them, you may not copy, forward, disclose, or otherwise use it or any part of it in any way. To do so may be unlawful. If you receive this e-mail by mistake, please advise the sender immediately.

=Message: HI, DAD. I'LL BE HOME AT 1545. CU. Z-2.=

     Zach gaped at the one line message displayed on the tiny screen behind GV's bouncing eyeball. "Do you want to tell me that's all after more than an hour of disclaimers?!"
     =Yes, sir. It is. Your son told you that–=
     "I know what Zachy told me!" Zach gave a good imitation of Goose on a no-coffee day. "I–" A new message was indicated. Zachary groaned. He didn't need another disclaimer session, but he had no choice. The message was flagged 'important'. What appeared on his screen as plain text, though, was a surprise. It was a simple text message without any disclaimer. It read:

CAPTAIN FOX: ALL DISCLAIMERS ON PROGRAMS AND MESSAGES ARE TO BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY. THE KIWI AGRICULTURAL DEPARTMENT HAS SUED BETA FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT OF THEIR DISCLAIMERS. SIGNED: WALSH.

End


appendicitis:


Bragg-Hack-A: the real reason for the no living person disclaimer in this context above. ;)


Fanfic

Bureau of Extra-Terrestrial Affairs