Appears in Stormshooters and Troubleknights, ISBN: 0-87431-168-3
Released: October 1993

This story is based on The Computer (from Title Deleted for Security Reasons) launching an invasion of another dimension using the Transdimensional Collapsatron. This other dimension is Earth, which is also being invaded by a variety of ther cosms, including (most pertinent to this story) one that is an Arthurian fantasy realm.

The focus of the story is the chance encounter between a very loyal (and very stupid) Troubleshooter from Alpha Complex with a very clever (and very vengeful) princess from the realm of Aysle.

Author’s Notes and Spoilers Below!

I Came Up a Bit Short

I was contracted for a 10,000 word short story, but after all was said and done, I was still about 1500 words shy. So I also wrote two little vignettes called “Prelude” and “The Truth of the Matter,” which opened and closed the anthology and framed the whole in a horrid sort of cohesion.

How Not to Write a Contract

Sadly, this story also carries a bitter lesson. All payment for this book went through a third party, which was an unincorporated individual. Thus we authors wrote the stories and sent them in. Once approved, this third party sent them to the publisher. The publisher paid the third party for the lot, and then we authors were supposed to be paid. Unfortunately (and predictably), the third party had urgent need of the funds.

I don’t know if any of the other authors ever got paid. I know that I was eventually paid $100 after several years of pursuit (I’m too nice a guy sometimes). Then this third party filed for bankruptcy, so I’ll never get the balance.

So the moral is never to work for a middle man without cash up front.

A Few Inspirations

The title is obviously play on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s oft-repeated line.

The toad owes its Latin name to the alzabo, one of the most horrific creatures in all of fantasy, created by Gene Wolfe and featured in the Book of the New Sun series.