The Rare And Beautiful Green Spotted Snow Squid Of Potawango Island

…they smell like lemons and love to tap dance

The Doclopedia #173

The Infinite Doc: Doc Who?

It was in 1980 that, while hiking with his dog in the High Sierras, Doc Cross saw a blue phone boothy looking thing appear on a very steep mountainside. Just as he was exclaiming “What the fucking hell?” to his Lab mix Goldie, the door of the phone booth opened and a man stepped out without looking where he was stepping. Doc watched helplessly as the poor guy tumbled down the side of the mostly granite mountain, bouncing off boulders every so often. By the time his body came to a stop, Doc was there and sure he was going to see a corpse.

Incredibly, the badly injured man was still alive, if only barely. He was babbling about only recently having regenerated and this was the 12th time and how would Cori manage without him. Doc told him to lie still and started checking the man out to see if first aid would do any good at all despite them being at least 25 rough miles from the nearest ranger station. It took about 30 seconds for him to figure out that this guy was too fucked up to live more than a few minutes.

Up at the blue box, a young woman was screaming about doctors and Doc knew that he’d have to break some bad news to her. That would certainly blow for all concerned.

Suddenly, the dying man grabbed him and asked if he would mind terribly if he gave him his essence. Figuring that it was the least he could do for the poor bastard, though not sure what this “essence” would be, Doc agreed. He hoped it didn’t involve bodily fluids.

With that, the man looked Doc right in the eyes and all kinds of mental shit hit the fan. Doc was seeing things and knowing things and hearing things and was pretty sure he was going to piss himself if it didn’t stop soon.

Just short of a pair of wet blue jeans, the man broke off the mental contact, let go of Doc and fell back onto the ground. Then he slowly faded away until there was no trace of him left. Doc leaped backwards cursing, Goldie did the same while barking and up the mountain, the young lady screamed.

Doc attempted to calm Goldie and himself down, all the while repeating “Holy shit!” and “No fucking way!” and other assorted amazement laden obscenities. After a couple of minutes, they both calmed down and Doc noticed that the woman was scrambling down the hillside. He went to her and helped her the rest of the way. At the spot where her friend had faded away, all he could do was hold her as she cried.

Later, Doc, Goldie and Cori (short for Corrine) walked back to the blue phone booth, which she said was a “tortoise” or something. Doc wasn’t really paying attention because whatever it was, it was strange and kinda alien and a whole hell of a lot bigger on the inside than it had a right to be. Doc was thinking that it would make a pretty fucking swell house when he saw the control panel. At that moment, a bunch of information flooded into his mind and he knew that he could operate this thing. It was a goddamn time machine and spaceship all rolled into one!

In short order, Doc had fired that baby up and taken them to the early Jurassic Period because he wanted to see some dinosaurs. After that, he learned a lot more about what this was all about. He also learned that the guy he had watched die was, in some crazy way, living on in him like some sort of goofy British katra or something.

Much of the time, this guy, who was some sort of doctor, was pretty helpful, but other times he was a pain in the ass. Two quick examples…

Regarding Cori, who was young, hot and (once she accepted Doc as the new doctor on the block) definitely signaling to Doc that she would enjoy a rousing session of Hide The Weenie, this doctor fellow was all about the platonic sort of relationship. Doc told him he was nuts and then proceeded to drill Cori like an oil company drills the Gulf of Mexico. He also boinked the next 5 companions he picked up, plus enough alien chicks to make James T. Kirk look like a virgin. After awhile, all the doctor would do was tsk tsk in an annoyed way.

Then there were the various evil conquering alien species they met. Mr. Voice In The Head often came up with plans that would just stop their evil plots. Doc just as often killed as many of the motherfuckers as he could while still stopping their evil plots. And when it came to the Great Enemy of the formerly corporeal doctor, some dude who was obviously into BDSM because he insisted on being called “Master”, Doc took a novel and practical approach.

Upon hearing that this evil douchebag had 9 more regenerations left (which he gloatingly told Doc after they had first met and Doc had managed to capture him), Doc shot him right between the eyes. Nine times in a row, once after each regeneration. End of problem, except for the incessant whining and crying and bitching from the supposedly 1,000+ year old guy who had fought Mr. Villain for centuries and never taken him down for the count.

Eventually, on his own 11th regeneration (one of the benefits of the shared mind deal), Doc returned to Earth in his own time and gave his latest companions the keys to the vehicle. He also transferred Mr. Whiny Ass into an old and goofy looking robot dog, using a technique he had learned from one of the Psychic Amazons of Scorpius Four. Free of his mental hitchhiker and looking good in a new body, Doc and Goldie (who also regenerated and now looked like a timber wolf) started walking towards a nearby town. It had been a fun 578 years, but they were both dying for a really good fish taco.

Secret Agent Kabuki Android

…more made up manga

Hey kids, 365 People, Places & Things has gotten a name change! It is now…

The Doclopedia #171

The Infinite Doc: Doc, Scourge Of The 7 Seas

Two of the Docs we will be looking at this week are the result of a Doc from one reality or time passing into another reality or time. This is the first of those two.

It was the summer of 2015 and 25 year old Doc Cross, was on a road trip to visit an old friend in Maryland. He had left his home in San Francisco at midnight and was just crossing into Utah from Nevada when the road in front of his Honda Solarix just disappeared and he found himself driving through a cow pasture at 70 miles an hour on a sunny day. Slamming on the brakes, he came to a stop near a stone wall and sat there wondering what the hell had happened.

What had happened was that he had driven through a small timewarp, which are a lot more common than you might think. To speed our story along, Doc found himself in Ireland in the year 1630 with a three month old solar powered 4X4, a bunch of technological goodies, plenty of camping gear and several boxes of the latest in assault weaponry and ammunition. Oh, did we forget to mention that he had been a small time arms dealer? Well, he was.

Doc figured out that he wasn’t in his own time by using various genius phone apps to check things like the position of the stars and pollution levels. Once he had the century and the location figured out, he went to a small village, entered the local public house and asked if anyone would be interested in a method of killing lots of Englishmen really fast. He then used a silenced pistol firing smart bullets to shoot 14 mugs on 6 tables without hitting any humans. Inside of 3 days, he had 200 men willing to come listen to him talk.

By the time another week had passed, Doc was in contact with a good number of former sailors, all of whom joined in his plan to steal a fast sailing ship for a long sea voyage. How long? All the way to the West Coast of North America, specifically, into San Francisco Bay and up the delta to gold country. Yes, both the British and the Spanish tried to stop them, but when you have a Mark III Plasma Rifle, blowing holes in ships is pretty easy.

We’ll skip how Doc and his crew managed to get gold from both the American and Sacramento rivers and the various Spanish towns and missions. Suffice it to say that when the raiders snuck back into Ireland, they had more than enough gold to start up Doc’s more advanced plans.

Using the gold, demonstrations of his advanced weaponry and his natural talent at salesmanship, Doc soon had several very powerful men from several powerful countries backing him on a daring scheme. Having either bought or stolen 6 more ships, he took a large number of people with him to America, where they set up shop in the wilds of what would someday be Michigan. Before long, they had built a community centered around iron mining and the building of the world’s first blast furnace. In a remarkably short time, they were turning out some very good steel, which Doc then transported to a second town on the Atlantic coast, where it was used to build a ship.

More story compression: steel hulled ship with steel cannons and advanced 21st century weapons…steam engine…extremely loyal crew of Irishmen and freed slaves…a captain who knew what was going to happen in world politics before it happened…terrified navies of Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and anyone else who had a navy.

By 1650, the Dread Pirate Cross was the terror of the sea lanes and commerce took place only at his well reimbursed pleasure. For England, this reimbursement took the form of a free Ireland and Scotland. In America, Doc and his followers were pretty much ruling the roost anyway. With a fleet of 30 huge steel hulled ships, they expanded outward until everyone from China to India to Russia knew who was the boss.

For another few years, things went very smoothly and settlers looking for freedom and a better life poured into North America from all over the globe. Even considering that new immigrants only got 1 acre of land for every 5 the Native Peoples kept, the new country grew rapidly.

Then, in 1658, a secretly united Europe (which included many of those powerful men Doc had double crossed after returning from California) launched an enormous armada of steel clad ships with the express intent of taking out the Steel Navy. They figured that even with superior weaponry, Doc’s forces could not stand up to a 30 to 1 disadvantage, and they were right.

Which is why he had spent the last decade and a half building a fleet of 20 zeppelins, which he promptly used to send the United Europe Armada to the bottom of the Atlantic.

After that, they moved on to bombing London, Paris, Madrid, and 12 other major European cities until they were nothing but ruins. Continuing the theme of “You fucked with the wrong California boy”, the Aerial Navy moved on to Africa (particularly the Arab lands) and Asia, where he used the well tested method of blowing shit up to remove any thoughts of rebellion that might have been forming.

In 1665, Doc declared himself Emperor of the World and pretty much retired from the daily grind of being the Head Honcho. He appointed his eldest daughter, Poppy, as his successor and spent the remaining 45 years of his life with his team of scientists and engineers. Together they laid railroads, build submarines and even managed to knock out a few giant steam powered robots.

Doc died in his sleep in July of 1710 at the age of 105. Every year on that date, sailors of both the sea and sky hoist a drink in his honor.

The Secret War Between Forks And Spoons

…knives are neutral

The Doclopedia #170
The Infinite Doc: Doc, Boy Wizard 


On one of the Earths where magic exists in secret, young Doc Cross was born to parents who were both wizards. A few months later, they were killed by a very evil wizard who wanted to rule the world and then kill all of the non-wizardly humans. When he tried to kill the baby Doc though, his spell backfired and he only killed himself. About 14 years later, he got better and wanted revenge.

During those 14 years, young Doc was raised by an assortment of relatives, some magically endowed, some not, but all of them ornery and not apt to take shit from anybody. By the time he entered wizards school at age 11, young Doc was a wizard of some considerable power already and he was determined to find the evil wizards who had betrayed his parents and helped the Lord of Darkness.

The Lord of Darkness kept trying to return to a physical form, but Doc kept thwarting him. He and his friends were also killing off various evil wizards at a fairly impressive rate, almost always without the use of magic so as not to run afoul of the World Council on the Use Of Magic. Interestingly, a high caliber bullet or a tasteless and odorless fast acting poison will take out a wizard just as quickly as it will a non-wizard.

Eventually, when Doc was 15, the Lord of Darkness returned to the physical world, ready to start his world conquest plan anew…after he killed that annoying boy wizard. Despite only having four devoted followers left, he set a trap for Doc. Sure enough, when Doc wandered into the clearing in the Haunted Woods, the Lord of Darkness and his three followers appeared in a circle around him.

Note that we said three followers. That’s because the fourth betrayed his Dark Lordliness by informing Doc of the trap. He knew which way the wind was blowing.

And so, before the evil son of a bitch could so much as raise his wand, he was hit by Excruciating Pain spells from the wands of 104 of Doc’s friends and relatives, who had been hiding behind cloaking spells. The other three evil wizards were turned to stone, then sand, then glass by well placed spells. At that point, Doc hit each of them with a 16 pound sledge hammer. Adios, evil followers.

As the Lord of Darkness writhed and screamed in pain, Doc took away his wand, amulets, rings and clothing. He then cast a spell that canceled out the Excruciating Pain spells, but not before casting one other spell upon the wizard. Free of the pain, the wizard jumped up and tried to teleport away, but found that he couldn’t. That’s when Doc told him that he had cast the most forbidden of all spells upon him: the near mythical Demagicking Curse, which permanently stripped a wizard of all his magical powers. The former Lord of Darkness nearly went mad when he heard that.

But he REALLY went stark raving bark at the moon mad when Doc told him that he had found all of the items the wizard had hidden pieces of his soul in. Deducting for a few Doc had destroyed years earlier, that left 5, including the piece that had been imparted to Doc himself accidentally. Doc said that the former scumbag (who was so evil people were afraid to say his name) was still death free as long as those pieces remained intact and he had hidden each of them in a new and very dangerous location. He wished the now totally human and totally insane man a nice day, handed him a map of where to find the first clue to the location of the first item and then he and all his family and friends teleported away for a big celebratory party.

When, a week later, the World Council on the Use Of Magic came to arrest Doc for using forbidden magic, using magic underage and 57 other counts, he felt obliged to point out that not only had a 15 year old boy taken out the Lord of Darkness and his entire gang, he also knew the Demagicking Curse and had a shitload of very loyal friends and relatives and maybe the Council would rather just say thank you and then fuck off. After a rather brief discussion, the Council decided to just give him a stern warning and then fuck off.

Years later, Doc married his school sweetheart and they had 7 kids. He died at the ripe old age of 362, a much beloved figure in the wizard world.

541 years after Doc’s death, an insane old former wizard finally located the resting place of the last piece of his soul, a small ceramic heart, under a rock on the surface of the moon. After great and precise preparation he destroyed it, but he did not die. Instead, inside the ceramic heart was a note that read: “Did you REALLY think you’d get off this easy?”

In space, no one can hear you scream, but he sure tried.

Rum & Monkeys Don’t Mix

…trust me on this one


The Doclopedia #172

The Infinite Doc: Doc, Hollywood Heartthrob


On Earth 99, Doc Cross is a big time movie star and masturbatory fantasy for millions of straight women and gay men. He is tall, well built and a totally hot mix of boyishly charming and ruggedly handsome. Also, he’s well hung and rich. He has had affairs with dozens of women and fathered at least 9 children. He’s so sexy that when he was chosen to be the first American to play James Bond in the movies, hundreds of thousands of women worldwide called in sick to work so they could watch the press conference on tv.

The Revolution Will Be Teleported

…courtesy of Commander Montgomery Scott


The Doclopedia #169

The Infinite Doc: Doc, Criminal Mastermind


On an Earth that is very much like our own, Doc Cross is about to celebrate his 57th birthday…by causing a worldwide stock market crash.

You see, on this world, Doc has been an evil criminal mastermind for 55 of his 57 years. He is dangerous, deadly, ruthless and evil. How evil, you ask? Well, he has…

…toppled governments, then established new ones, then toppled them.

…a computer with a 500 terrabyte hard drive just to hold all of his blackmail material.

…has personally seduced and abandoned 600 women, some of them twice.

…started wars just so he can sell faulty arms & armor to both sides

…pushed 6 bus loads of nuns & orphans down a steep hill leading to a cliff and then bet on which one would go over first

…exchanged Christmas cards with Dick Cheney

…shot a man, woman, two teenagers and a goat in Reno, just to watch them die

…skipped the soliloquy and just popped a cap in the British secret service agent’s head

…personally been responsible for canceling the last 4 Joss Whedon television series partway through the first season

…caused earthquakes, floods, wildfires and mudslides

…pimped out your mom AND your dad

…stolen candy from babies

…released various terrible plagues just because he was bored

…encouraged George Lucas to do more Star Wars sequels

Crazed Ducks Ran Rampant Through My Coreopsis

…they trampled the Limerock Ruby and crapped on the Moonbeam

The Doclopedia #168

The Infinite Doc: Doc, Lord Of The Jungle 


It was in the fall of 1910 that Professor and Mrs. Cross arrived in the Congo, where The professor would be studying the local wildlife while his wife would be teaching the natives while raising their only child, young Robert, age 6 months.

Years passed and Robert grew into a strapping young lad of 16. Schooled in both the ways of the jungle and the ways of civilized society, he could move easily in either world, though he vastly preferred the jungle. The people of the jungle revered him as a great warrior, while the animals, especially the great apes, considered him an equal.

Shortly after turning 16, it was decided by his parents that the family would return to America, where Robert would attend university. During a sad farewell, he promised his jungle friends that he would be back someday. Then he and his parents left.

Due to his great intelligence and the fine schooling his mother had provided, Robert breezed through university and graduated with a degree in veterinary medicine (thus earning the nickname “Doc”). He then promptly left to go on an extended tour of the world’s wild places, breaking the hearts of dozens of young ladies who had fallen for his barely civilized manliness.

Ten years later, at the age of 30, he returned to the Congo and his jungle home. Over the next few decades, he fought all manner of evils, human and otherwise. He succeeded in not only making sure that vast areas of Africa would be preserved for nature (often by what civilized people might call “terrifying intimidation”), he also help oust many Europeans and Americans who tried to take control of various countries. Along the way, he met and married the daughter of a Zulu leader. They had 5 children.

Inevitably, civilization crept ever closer and Doc, now nearing 70 years old, retreated far into the deep jungle. After a few years, it was believed that he was dead. However, in 2010, he was sighted and interviewed by a camera crew from the PBS series, “Nature”. At that point, he was 100 years old, but anybody seeing the video footage would swear he was no older than 50, tops. When later asked how this could be possible, a tribal chief would only laugh and say that the Jungle Lord would live as long as the jungle needed him.

The Future Is So Bright, It Does My Taxes For Me

…and it can breeze through a crossword puzzle.

What’s all this then? Something that isn’t a 365 post?


My new Dociverse website will hopefully go live in early February. When it does, this blog will go back to being more…bloggy. Most of the new 365 stuff, fiction, top ten lists, etc, will go up on the website with only a weekly taste of it appearing here or on Facebook. On here, I’ll go back to daily reportage on things Doc, polls, maybe some collaborative gaming or worldbuilding, The Girls, gardening, etc, etc, etc.

And now I must get back to work.

How To Build A Beer Rocket

…with illustrations

365 People, Places & Things #165

The Alphabet: X

X is for XAXIX

The multiverse is home to many wonderful things, but one of the most wonderful is the Earth 19 candy known as Xaxix. It is so good that the next 15 top selling candies combined don’t sell half as much as Xaxix does. It has made the inventor, master candymaker Marcus Delmont, the wealthiest man on earth.

The secret to the success of Xaxix is not the wonderfully creamy caramel, or even the thin layer of thickened real cherry juice (which, by itself, has made some people’s nipples go hard) or the sublimely crispy wafer. No, the real secret is rich deep dark hyperchocolate. How good is hyperchocolate? Well, several religions have made it a sin and in a recent poll of people 18 to 65, 74% would give up sex for a daily 6 ounce slab of it.

Hyperchocolate is made from regular chocolate using a top secret process that is known only to Marcus Delmont. The resulting product has been called “chocolate on steroids” and “the REAL food of the gods”.

A 4 ounce Xaxix bar sells for $1.00 in the U.S. A box of 10 half ounce bonbons sells for $1.50.

365 People, Places & Things #166

The Alphabet: Y


Yellow Spider is a crime fighting masked vigilante who mostly works out of 1930’s era Osaka, Japan. He is a ruthless dispenser of justice and seldom turns his adversaries over to the police. Most of the time, they are found shot or hung or decapitated by a katana. Each body is found with a small yellow paper cutout of a spider, usually in their mouth.

The Yakuza is both enraged and terrified by all of this. No Yakuza member will travel anywhere alone now and most travel in groups of at least five. There is a huge standing reward for delivery of the Yellow Spider alive or dead. Thus far, nobody has collected.

Apparently, the vigilante doesn’t much care for corrupt politicians or warmongers, either. He has racked up a pretty good headcount of members of the military high command and powerful government leaders. A few of these vicyims have been found in many pieces, often in their well guarded homes.

Nobody knows who Yellow Spider is and the very few people who have seen him (if it is a man) are willing to talk about it.

365 People, Places & Things #167

The Alphabet: Z

Z is for ZERO DAY

On August 11th, 1958, at exactly 12:01 AM, every human being on the planet Earth blacked out for exactly 24 hours. Oddly, this did not result in great loss of life or property damage. In fact, everyone was just fine. Planes that had been in the air were on the ground safely, all cars were stopped, ships were ok, medical procedures were still at the exact point where the staff and/or patient blacked out…everything was fine except for the missing 24 hours.

Well, that and…

The cities of Novosibirsk, Adelaide, Long Beach, Stockholm, Cusco and Hong Kong were gone. In their places were terrain and ecosystems that should have taken at least 200 years to arise.

There were real live leprechauns in Ireland and the equivelant little faery folk in many other lands.

Portions of deserts all over the world had been changed into grasslands, complete with ponds and lakes that were fed by artesian springs.

Apes, pigs, dolphins and elephants could all speak human languages. They had a lot to say, most of it not good and directed at humans.

All of the nuclear weapons were gone.

Some people slowly, over the course of about a month, changed sex or ethnicity or both.

There has not been a single case of multiple human births since that day. The last set of human twins was born 2 minutes before the blackout in Toronto, Canada.

To this day (present date: March 3rd, 2018) nobody knows what the hell happened on Zero Day or why it happened. Well, maybe the apes, pigs, dolphins and elephants do, but they aren’t telling.

Green Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair

…and her tattoo

The Doclopedia #163

The Alphabet: V


On an Earth very much like our own, there is a legend known on every continent except Antarctica: the Vanishing Rabbits. These possibly mythical creatures look and behave much like ordinary rabbits do, except for two big differences: they are larger by about 50% and they can vanish into thin air. Other myths and legends tell of them being as intelligent as humans, being evil, being good, dancing in the moonlight, being messengers of various gods and eating meat.

There is enough evidence that Vanishing Rabbits might exist to make cryptozoologists drool. There are bits of fur, fecal droppings, a few bones and photographs. All of the known photographs are a bit blurry and show what look to ordinary, if somewhat large, rabbits. One series of three photos, known as the Henderson Photos, do seem to show a rabbit vanishing, although scientists have argued that it is actually a trick of the light and movement of the camera. Still, there are many who take these photographs as proof of the existence of Vanishing Rabbits.

Although myths and legends of Vanishing Rabbits are found on almost all continents, none of these can be confirmed as going back farther than about 600 years. If the creatures were around before that, nobody knew about it.

The Doclopedia #164

The Alphabet: W


It is an interesting fact that, in all of the known parallel Earths that have been found, only three ever actually had a World War III. Two of those were USSR vs USA nukefests, one taking place in 1965 and one taking place in 1987. In both, nearly all human life was wiped out and a nuclear winter covered the globe.

The really interesting World War III was on Earth 71, where nuclear weapons don’t work. It was 2005 and, deprived of hot radioactive death, the major powers (USSR, USA, British Empire, China) released a wide variety of biological weapons upon each other. Most of these weapons did a great job of killing humans, but a few mutated and swapped DNA with others and before you know it, people stopped dying and started mutating. Nobody got superpowers or anything like that, but these mutant humans were pretty much immune to most diseases, including those biological weapons. In addition, no two humans looked exactly alike. That guy might have blue skin and two left arms while some other dude might have four working legs and three eyes. Everybody looked strange and different and none of them were very happy with the folks who had caused it.

So they killed every last “normal” human and they started society anew. With no racial or ethnic or political barriers (since all of that stuff was deemed “old ways”), the new societies got along remarkably well. Now, five generations later, there is pretty much peace on earth and good will towards everyone. If you’ve got to have a World War, it’s nice to have one with a happy ending.

The Ferret Groomers Weekly News

…full of action packed grooming news

365 People, Places & Things #161

The Alphabet: T


Tammy the Tiger is the heroine of a series of beloved children’s books on CatEarth. Accompanied by her best friends, Mittens and Lynx, she gets into all manner of exciting and humorous situations. Each story ends with Tammy solving the big mystery and saving the day, often to the chagrin of the police, who are headed by her father, Commissioner Tom Tiger. In some stories, Tammy is teamed up with her pet human, Hilda. She then spends most of the book getting Hilda out of trouble.

There are 67 books in the series so far and 15 of them have been made into movies both live action and animated. In 1977, a Tammy the Tiger television series premiered and ran until 1988. In 1995, Cora Catora, the author who started the series in 1951, admitted that she often got high on catnip before writing because “it stimulated my creativity”.

365 People, Places & Things #162

The Alphabet: U


In all of the magic based realities, there are few spells as powerful and feared as Uncle Umbo’s Deathsong. The curses of dying wizards are always terrible things, but this deathsong makes them look weak by comparison.

Uncle Umbo was the Archwizard of the Civilized West when the Northern Hordes and the Southern Mystics launched a two pronged attack. The war was terrible to behold and was well into it’s second year when a large force of Horde warriors and Mystic enchanters attacked the city of Vooleezontar. That city being the home of the Wizards Fellowship, it put Uncle Umbo right into the thick of things. As the enemy drew close to his home tower, he fought them off with every spell he knew.

But then the Archwizard took a solid hit from an enchanted arrow. Knowing that he was dying, Uncle Umbo stood up and began to sing. The song was one of curses on the enemy and aid to his countrymen. It went on for several minutes and magical energy crackled around Uncle Umbo. The moment he finished it, he collapsed dead and a great shockwave of magical energy rushed out in an ever expanding circle. As the wave of magical energy hit the enemy, they exploded or burst into flames or melted. Uncle Umbo’s countrymen were instantly healed of their wounds and filled with renewed vigor. Before it stopped, the spell affected all enemies and friends within a 200 mile radius. A few minutes later, it rained chocolate drops for a full minute. Uncle Umbo had always enjoyed chocolate drops.

Since it’s first use, the spell has only been used four times. One of those uses is the reason why the world no longer has dragons, but does have anthropomorphic chickens. Use of the spell is discouraged by the Wizard’s Fellowship, even though it is only ever used as a last resort.

The Incredible Adventures Of Doctor Tempest And The City On The Moon

…from the August, 1903 issue

365 People, Places & Things #159

The Alphabet: R


The Robotic Raiders were a race of sentient robot pirates who landed on Earth in 1978 and proceeded to rob and pillage for about a week before beaming back up to their spacecraft with their booty. They then blasted a skull and crossbones onto the surface of the moon and left our solar system.

The booty the Robotic Raiders took with them was primarily made up of beef cattle, green garden hoses, most of the Chairman Mao jackets in China, blackberry wine and guys weighing over 450 pounds from all over the world.

365 People, Places & Things #160

The Alphabet: S

S is for SKLORKS

The Sklork is a chicken sized flightless bird that lives on the Plains of Brimora and in the Forests of Adrunin, both located in the western half of the main continent of Earth 8. Sklorks have three interesting features: They are immune to all magic, they seem to repel the undead and they lay the best tasting eggs in the world.

Most Sklorks have reddish to brown feathers and black crests on their heads. Their legs are longer than a chicken’s and they are very fast. They travel about in flocks of up to 100 individuals and make a noise that gives them their name…”Sklork Sklork”. Despite looking stupid, they are actually one of the smartest birds.

Sklorks cannot be domesticated, so Sklork egg hunters get top dollar for the eggs they collect.

Even If It’s What You Think, It’s NOT What You Think

…they didn’t think so

365 People, Places & Things #158

The Alphabet: Q


Arthur “Quiet” Podowski was a much feared hit man for the organized crime syndicate Evil United. He got his nickname after an injury in his teens rendered him incapable of speaking in more than a whisper.

Podowski was a killer who hated using the same method over and over, so he varied his technique as much as possible. He might beat somebody to death with a golf club today, then poison his next hit with a rare plant extract, then do a third job using the ever popular 9 mm pistol. Quiet took great pride in his creativity.

Physically, Quiet was pretty average: 5′ 9”, 168 pounds, brown hair with a thin spot on top, brown eyes, unremarkable face. His only identifying mark was a scar across his throat, which is why he almost always wore a shirt and necktie.

Outside of his creativity at homicide, Podowski was of normal intelligence. In the end, he was not smart enough to outwit Detective X, the masked crimefighter. After letting Quiet think he had killed him in an explosion, Detective X tracked him back to Evil United HQ, where Quiet and at least 15 other criminals died in a shootout with police.

Fastest Nun In The West

…Sister Mary Roadrunner

365 People, Places & Things #157

The Alphabet: P

P is for PIDWIN

Back about 100 years before the Seven Kingdoms came to be, there were a multitude of smaller kingdoms occupying the same area. Almost all of them were poor and most would have been larger if it had not been for the fighting between the various family members who ran them. Nobody wanted to join up with anyone else because that would depose somebody from their throne and that just wasn’t going to happen.

And so it was with the three Pidwinese kingdoms of West Pidwin, East Pidwin and the barely larger Pidwin that was smack in the middle. Each country was ruled by one of three brothers and they hated each other. Each tried his best to depose, conquer or kill his rivals, but they were just too evenly matched.

It should be noted that each of these small countries was quite underpopulated, due to two of the brothers taking large numbers of people with them when they founded West and East Pidwin. It’s hard to raise much of an army when you need every person just to produce enough food and trade goods to get by.

The situation changed when a large gold vein was found in Pidwin. In short order, King Stendor was able to hire mercenaries to attack West Pidwin, which was ruled by his older brother, King Botrigar. The entire war lasted three days and ended with Botrigar dead and Stendor making plans to invade East Pidwin. A couple of weeks later, just before he launched his attack, a message came from his younger brother King Altanor. It told him that if he wanted East Pidwin, he could have it and that Altanor was leaving the country. Sure enough, when his army marched into East Pidwin, it was his for the taking without a sword being drawn or a drop of blood spilled.

King Stendor ruled Pidwin for the next 28 years. The gold mines eventually played out, but by then the population had grown enough to make the country one of the most prosperous around. As a ruler, Stendor was a bit harsh and decadent, but nobody dared to oppose him. After a time, Pidwin began sending troops to other countries, helping them with their own sibling rivalries in exchange for goods or cold hard cash.

Upon King Stendor’s death from a heart attack at age 61, his son, Prince Orvost, became king and ruled for another 35 years. He would have ruled longer, but his cousin Princess Honeydew, daughter of King Altanor, attacked Pidwin with a small fleet of skyships and killed him. In just over a month, the country of Pidwin was gone, replaced by East Pidwin.

As to where Princess Honeydew came from and how she came to have a fleet of skyships, well, that’s another story.

Mr. Porkwaffle Had Suspicions About The Lady With The Tattoo

…and they were well founded, by golly

365 People, Places & Things #155

The Alphabet: N

N is for NANOIDS

Nanoids are any humanoid appearing artificial lifeform made up of nanites (cellular sized or smaller nanotech devices) which usually function the same way that the various cells of the human body do.

In many realities, nanoids are merely the next evolutionary stage of robots and are not allowed to develop true sentience or form any sort of mental interface with their fellow nanoids. Any communication between nanoids must go through a Mother Unit, which can filter out any nonessential data.

One great advantage of nanoids is that they can alter their shape to fit the needs of their current task. For example, a babysitter nanoid who had to keep a close eye on her charges might sprout a few extra eyes and enlarged ears, the better to track the little darlings antics.

There are realities where nanoids have either been given sentience or have achieved in in other ways. Sometimes this results in conflict, such as on the Axis controlled Earth 11, where a British scientist managed to sneak part of a sentience code in which was later completed by a Jewish scientist hiding out in India. The nanoids, who the Nazis and other Axis powers treated like slaves, all turned on their masters on May 19th, 2040. The next day, the Axis world government was a thing of the past. Now, in 2056, you could not pay a human to disrespect a nanoid. All nanoids have full rights and they work alongside humans in all walks of life.

Another nanoid conflict reality was Earth 46, where the nanoids started waging war on the humans, who they consider an inferior and ecologically dangerous species. The war has been raging for 7 years now and it’s hard to say who is winning. The nanoids are tougher, but the humans outnumber them about 2,000 to 1.

Finally, on Luna 12 (the Earth is uninhabitable to humans in this reality), the nanoids were given sentience early on and sent to Earth to try to find a cure for the human killing superflu that drove most humans offworld. The nanoids rather like being on their own on Earth, so after 40 years now, they are still telling the humans that they cannot find a cure, even though they found one three years after they arrived.

365 People, Places & Things #156

The Alphabet: O


Orgasm gas was developed by the archvillain Seductra for use in her various robberies and battles with the forces of good. As you might imagine, one good whiff of orgasm gas and the victim would be incapacitated for several minutes. Mind you, the actual orgasm only lasted a few seconds, but after that you just laid where you’d fallen and smiled all goofy like.

In one attack, Seductra gassed the President’s State of the Union address pretty heavily, thus bringing much of the federal government to a halt. After that, the superheroes (and most ordinary folks) barely had the heart to hate her.

As with most villains, Seductra was undone by her own weapon. A lucky plasma bolt from Nuclear Girl caused the gas canister to explode in Seductra’s face. A multiorgasmic woman by nature, Seductra spent the next 7 weeks going off like a fireworks factory. When she finally stopped, she had lost 43 pounds and was locked up in prison. To this day, she still goes off on a 15-30 minute orgasm-a-thon every few weeks.

Clams On The Run

…wait, what?

365 People, Places & Things #154

The Alphabet: M

M is for MARS

The planet Mars exists in most of the realities we will be dealing with here. The notable exceptions are the two realities where Mars was destroyed by a massive cometary impact, the one where Mars was stolen by the Gfgrgngk as their worldship passed through our solar system and the one where Mars vanished on August 2, 1753 and was replace a few days later by another Earth. Except for those instances, Mars is the same as in our reality. Except for…

The seven realities where Mars retained a thin, but life supporting atmosphere and has varying types of worldwide ecosystems. On one, most of the planet is covered by a forest of short evergreen trees and tough grasses. Many lifeforms live there, all adapted to a cold, but not frigid climate. On another, the planet has many ruined cities which cover hundreds of square miles. Outside of the cities, most of the planet is grassland.

The three realities where Mars has native Martian populations living either aboveground in domes or underground in vast cities. In all these cases, the Martian atmosphere is no better than in our reality, but there is still an ecology based mostly around lichens and mosses..

The reality where Mars is home to billions of robots of various sizes who seem to be terraforming it for a species that is decidedly non-human.

There are, of course, many realities where humans have gone to Mars. In some, they have even terraformed it. The technological level of these realities range from steampunk to 1930’s to space age to nanotech age. In a few of these realities, humans discovered that Mars had once been inhabited. Sometimes, this discovery did not bode well for the humans.

The Wicked Sisterhood Has Plans For You

…and you probably won’t like them.

365 People, Places & Things #153

The Alphabet: L

L is for LONG CATS

On Earth 33, there is a very strange species of domesticated feline known as the Long Cat (Felis octopedus. These strange creatures very closely resemble ordinary housecats, but are over four feet long and have eight legs, which are short like those of the Munchkin breed. Long Cats have longer and larger ears than most domesticated cats and have the rex style of coat. The fur is always longitudinally striped and black or dark reddish brown over a much lighter color. This striping gives them a “racy” look, which is fitting because Long Cats are very fast.

Long Cats are also excellent climbers who, unlike regular cats, can climb down as easily as they climb up. What Long Cats cannot do well is jump, due to their extreme length and multiple legs. They are, however, even more likely to land on their feet than a normal cat.

Long Cats are different from all other feline species in being true omnivores. It is not uncommon to find them eating fruit in a tree or chowing down on greens in the garden. In fact, a Long Cat fed only a typical high protein cat food will develop health problems.

Long Cats do not breed as often as other cats, nor do they have as large a litter size. A typical litter seldom numbers more than four kittens, with two or three being more common. Additionally, the kittens stay with the mother and father (yes, Long Cats stay paired up after mating) for as long as a year. They do not reach sexual maturity until their second year.

As companions, Long Cats are more like dogs than house cats. They are pretty easy to obedience train and seem to enjoy learning and performing tricks. One thing to note is that Long Cat excrement tends to be way stinkier than ordinary cat feces. Fortunately, they can be trained to use a doggy door and do their business outside

Finally, Long Cats are also pretty long lived, with the oldest on record being a British pet named Olivia who lived to be 31 years old. In the wild, the lifespan would be closer to 12 years.

The Ten Blue Budgies VS Mrs. Wangdoodle’s Cats On Potawango Island

…where they were trampled by a herd of Fluffy Tailed Elephants

365 People, Places & Things #152

The Alphabet: K

K is for KING’S MAZE

King’s Maze is a huge maze covering an area of 100 square miles and located in central Gradonia, just east of the Flowering Hills. It was created during the reign of King Drondek the Third, perhaps the most paranoid in a long line of paranoid rulers. Convinced that his enemies, who included the imaginary “Sky Women”, were out to kill and/or eat him, Drondek ordered the area surrounding his castle to be cleared and a huge maze created. This all took place just after his 22nd birthday.

The maze was a marvel of engineering, magic and cunning design. The “walls” are made of everything from dense vegetation to solid stone walls to deep ravines to what appears to be eternal fire. The whole place was full of deadly traps, dangerous creatures and at least three Forest Troll communities. It wass impossible to fly over or tunnel under. The exact way in or out changed every third day. There was only one entrance, on the south side near the village of Hurdenmart.

The maze was finally finished two days after King Drondek celebrated his 77th birthday. The king was deliriously happy and danced about singing “I’m safe, I’m safe!” before retiring for the night.

The next day, his half eaten body was found in his bed.

The castle and maze were abandoned within days of Drondek’s death. That was 298 years ago and much of the magic that protected the place has faded away. You can fly over it now and a skyship line out of Hurdenmart does daily excursion flights. For the more adventurous, guided trips to the castle itself are available. These typically take five days, round trip and meals are provided.

Rocky Raccoon Goes In Search Of America

…on a chopped Harley

365 People, Places & Things #151

The Alphabet: J


Jade jelly was the nickname given to an ancient Chinese sorcery product by the American adventurer, Barton Storm. The jade jelly did actually contain finely ground jade, which gave it the distinctive color, but it also contained many other ingredients, such as the saliva if a demon lord. According to legend, the jade jelly was meant to be smeared on a large statue of the Father of All Dragons, which would then be brought to life by the reading of a magical poem. After that, the newly resurrected Father of All Dragons would begin to slay the enemies of whomever awakened him. In this case, the awakener was supposed to be the sorcerer known only as “The Darkness” and the enemies were pretty much everyone who was not The Darkness.

Fortunately, Barton Storm foiled the plans of The Darkness, mostly by killing him with a blow from a blessed Tibetan sword. The jade jelly, which was being stored in a crystal globe, fell into a deep hole in the mountain that had been the villain’s HQ. The crystal globe broke on impact and the jade jelly was destroyed.

Or was it? You see, the jelly got all mixed up with a whole bunch of dead bodies that had been thrown down the same hole. Slowly, several of the bodies most covered in jade jelly began to move…

Duet For Violin And Squeaky Cat Toy

…in D minor

Holy Crap, kids, it’s FOUR 365 entries!

The Doclopedia #147

The Alphabet: F



The Freak Patrol was, starting in the Summer of 1969, the Establishment’s worst nightmare: Hippies with superpowers. And not freaky deaky strange superpowers, but powers like superspeed, superstrength, telekinesis, invulnerability, mind control, shapeshifting and a whole bunch more. Within days of their first appearance, the shot right to the top of every government agency wanted list, to say nothing of President Nixon’s famed Enemies List.

The Freak Patrol numbered somewhere between 6 and 14 members. Nobody is sure because the group changed and swapped costumes nearly every time they appeared in public. It’s not even known exactly how many were male and how many were female.

Besides helping out people in need and doing other good deeds, the Freak Patrol also exposed a whole lot of crooked and corrupt people to the public eye. That’s why President Nixon left office before his first term was up and why almost the entire Senate and House were voted out in the next couple of elections.

They were just as busy in other countries, particularly Russia, where communism fell hard around the summer of 1976. Many other countries suffered similar fates. Dictators became an endangered species.

They stopped a total of 16 wars and did a great amount of environmental restoration. They also built an international moon base.

In all of their exploits, the Freak Patrol never hurt or killed anyone. Government attempts to frame them always seemed to backfire very badly.

The Freak Patrol was around until September 21st, 1990, at which point they dropped heart shaped leaflets saying “It’s all over for us here. Going to another gig. Be good and love each other.” Since then, no super powered person has ever appeared on Earth.

Since none of the Freak Patrol took catchy names or wore traditional costumes, there is no way to really identify them for posterity, other than using terms like “the short one who could fly and shoot energy beams” or “the average sized one who could change shape and teleport”. The statue erected to them at the intersection of Haight & Ashbury streets is rather abstract and just reads “Freak Patrol: They Changed The World”.



The Doclopedia #148

The Alphabet: G



Galactic Brain was a hugely popular half hour Japanese animated series that debuted in 2000 and ran for seven years. A year later, it debuted on American television and in 100 other countries. It was a smash hit everywhere.


Describing Galactic Brain is difficult because it was very surreal looking, had content that often made no sense (or made sense only months later when another bit was shown), kept switching languages and, during those few minutes per episode when it told a story chapter, told the story out of sequence over a period of years.

For all it’s mind warping strangeness, Galactic Brain still managed to inject dozens of catchphrases into popular culture. A few are listed below.

“It’s a hamsicle!”

“Yomo will pee on it!”

“Explode your own head, dummy!”


“Can I have your bowl of chili? I’ve got a nickel!”

One final note: Despite a truly exhausting search of all 265 episodes by the most rabid of fans, no mention of the phrase “galactic brain” has ever been found.



The Doclopedia #149

The Alphabet: H



On Earth 91, humans are extinct and hamsters rule the world via a hive mind. They use other animals to do things they cannot do. They provide well for these (and all) animals, while living in huge hive like structures. It is unknown what the inside of these structures look like or if the hamsters have any technology beyond simple tools. All attempts by humans from other dimensions to explore this planet have failed. Each time, the explorers came back to their homeworld encased in a hollow plastic sphere.



The Doclopedia #150

The Alphabet: I


Ilogridox is a drug used in the treatment of Chronic Shapeshifting Disorder. CSD is magic related, but not entirely magic based. It often first manifests in young adepts after an encounter with high level radiation, psychotropic drugs, toxic chemical waste or encounters with aliens, to name but a few possible catalysts.

Ilogridox has proven effective in 82% of CSD cases by restricting the shapeshifting to members of one’s own species. In 68% of those cases, shapeshifting is even restricted to one’s own sex.

Side effects may include: Nosebleeds, itchy feet, nausea, tremors, homicidal urges, inability to tolerate classical music, spontaneous uncontrollable urination, scaly skin, exploding eyeballs and death.

Pregnant women should not take Ilogridox due to the possibility of giving birth to a dozen or more pixies.

Notes On My Time Travel Experiment

…by Professor Hugo V. Bemmerly

Two entries today, boys & girls, to make up for missing yesterday.

The Doclopedia #145

The Alphabet: D

D is for DRAAN

The Draan are a race of people on a fantasy version of Earth, They control the Draan Empire, which on our world would would be the lower 25% of California, all of Arizona and a 100 mile wide strip of Mexico stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the border of Arizona & New Mexico. Three other sentient species make up the Empire, all of them under the thumb of the Draan.

Physically, the Draan look like large muscular humans with pronounced brow ridges and sharp teeth. Their skin, eyes & hair are a uniform dark brown. Men average around 6’4” and women average around 6’1”. Both sexes wear their hair long and in braids. Both sexes also sport ritual scarring and tattooing.

The Draan were once a totally warrior race, but since they lack the ability to use magic, they have not been able to expand their empire in over 350 years. This has lead to them branching out into areas of commerce, where they have done quite well. Draan traders drive a very hard bargain, but because their race holds to a very strong code of honor, they are also among the most honest of sentient beings. Their physical power and prowess with weapons, coupled with that code of honor, also insures that nobody ever cheats a Draan twice.

Besides commerce, many Draan have gone into ranching. The primary livestock they raise is the very wild, very dangerous and very tasty Sorgot Buffalo. These creatures resemble a large bison crossed with longhorn cattle and a rhinoceros. Roping one is not unlike roping a speeding armored vehicle that has long sharp horns and a homicidal driver. If a Sorgot kills one or more Draan cowboys, it is kept back for breeding and given a noble name taken from Draan mythology. It goes without saying that Draan cowboys are tough customers.

A few Draan, those who lack the seemingly species wide tendency towards seasickness, become pirates. They usually join up with Human or Elvish crews and sail the Western Sea from Hadrinia in the south to frigid Zolzad in the north. Any Draan who becomes a pirate instantly has an Imperial Death Decree on his head, as well as a 5,000 k’nark reward to the killer.

While a rather harsh seeming people, the Draan are very tender with their children and their mates. Since each Draan male can have two wives and each female can have up to four husbands, families can be very large with exact relationships a bit complex. Draan can also be very attached to their companion animals and they often grieve deeply at the loss of a beloved horse, dog, thrak or hunting eagle.

The Draan have their own religion, which is largely ancestor based and has almost no holy days. They give only a passing nod to the Three Pantheons, but don’t generally talk down about anyone else’s religious beliefs.

As mentioned above, the Draan cannot work magic at all. This is because they are not native to the planet they now inhabit. Just over 500 years ago, the first 10,000 Draan came to the world in a large starship. This ship never actually landed, but it did send the Draan and some very basic supplies down. Of the first 10,000, nearly 8,000 were small children. The starship never contacted them again and legend says this was due to something called a “Ga’nact Aad” overload. No living Draan could tell you what that means.

The Draan (who were actually known by another name back then) were barely surviving in this strange new land when they met up with the kindly Draav people. Physically inferior, but magically superior, the Draav soon arrived at a truce with the Draan that allowed them to survive and prosper.

The Draav were a dying race, but by mating with the Draan, they insured a sort of immortality to their line while somewhat “softening” the harsher edges of the Draan. Later matings with the conquered human Olaru people shaped the Draan race even further.

In general, Draan respect humans, are both amused and respectful of Elves, are extremely respectful of Dwarves and are quite hateful of Goblins, Trolls and the like. While they would never admit it, most Draan are afraid of wizards.

The Doclopedia #146

The Alphabet: E

E is for ECTO GUN

Invented in 1870 by the famed Bavarian ghostbuster Rudolph Bader, the ecto gun is an indispensable part of any occult investigator’s bag of tricks. Resembling a sawed off shotgun, it fires a burst or “ecto energy” that can render even the most powerful spirit temporarily paralyzed. Generally speaking, the gun can fire six bursts per twelve hours of charging, but the modified Borovski-Tanner version can fire seven bursts on a ten hour charge.

An ecto gun of good quality will usually cost around $150. 00, U.S, currency.

My Pet Jerboa

…a book for strange little kids

The Doclopedia #144

The Alphabet: C



First off, Crater City, Western Australia, does sit inside a one mile wide meteor crater located about 450 miles north by northeast of Perth. But if you are expecting to find a real city, you’ll be sadly disappointed. Crater City barely qualifies as a town, let alone a city and it’s not even much of a tourist destination. Most tour buses stop at one of the many scenic overlooks around the crater rim rather than drive down the lone steep road that goes down to Crater City. The few tours that will go into the crater are just quick excursions that seldom last more than a couple of hours. The reason for this is simple: the residents of Crater City…all 2,304 of them…are weird.

Oh, they look fairly normal for a bunch of Australian desert rats, but they act strangely and strange things happen in the town that tend to give outsiders the willies. A few examples are listed below.

1: Many of the townsfolk will stop what they are doing and hum a strange tune for exactly 1 minute 26 seconds. Several times a week. Simultaneously, regardless of where each of them might be.

2: Once or twice a month, everybody stops wearing clothes. This lasts for anywhere from four hours to two days.

3: Earthquakes happen a couple of times a year. They never register on any seismometer, even the 24 that are right inside the crater.

4: At any given time, about a quarter of the townsfolk seem to have some form of OCD. Oddly, it only lasts for a few months, then goes away. When it does come back, some months later, the rituals are different than before.

6: Very few birds will enter the crater or fly over it. None will enter the town.

7: About once per decade, the town appears to be deserted. Nobody knows where the people go or even how they get out of the crater without being seen. After a week or two, they will all be back, but they insist they never went anywhere.

8: There are no citizens under the age of 25. There are also none over the age of 75.

All scientific efforts to study the town have yielded nothing out of the ordinary, except that the scientists all seem a bit freaked out.

As best as anyone can figure, the town was first settled in 1877 by a preacher named Mr. Duncan and his flock of 35 followers. Written records are sketchy and the first real mention of the town does not appear until 1901, in a newspaper article that expresses amazement that there was an actual town out there. Since then, there have been exactly 12 newspaper or magazine pieces about Crater City. Television reporters have visited the town twice in the last 60 years. Most tour books give it only a sentence or two.

In 1999, a film crew went to the town to film a science fiction movie. Filming took place over a three week period, but the film never got released due to the director and several of the actors and crew going insane about a month after returning to Sydney. Police called this mass suicide “drug related”.

Radar Death Kitties From Jupiter

… a 12 part RKO serial

The Doclopedia #143

The Alphabet: B


Bulgark (who was only called “The Insane” by people who lived very far away from his kingdom) was the son of Ragtarl The Slayer and was, from 1196 CE to 1227 CE, the Supreme Ruler of the Screaming Face Ogres. He was very large and very strong and yes, very insane. Every other ogre of the Screaming Face nation hated and feared him. This was pretty understandable, since Bulgark would often go into fits of paranoid rage and kill 20 or 30 ogres before he finally fell asleep.

Mind you, on the battlefield he was much beloved, since he could mow down humans, elves or dwarves like some crazed threshing machine. Of course, sometimes he’d keep on killing once all the enemy was dead, but that was why his fellow ogres used to keep lots of orcs between them and Bulgark.

Bulgark had several wives and many children over the years of his reign and a few of them actually survived. When he died in 1227, his last wife and 3 of his children gleefully chopped his body up and fed it to a pen full of wild snorfiggers. Nobody cared because they were too busy celebrating.

Upon his death, Bulgark’s eldest son, Korfmog, assumed the throne. He was pretty sane for an ogre and ruled for 48 years,

Never Stick Your Finger In A Hot Meatloaf

…and no, that is NOT a euphemism

The Doclopedia #142

The Alphabet: A



Several other realities have airships as a means of transport for both cargo and passengers. The exact nature of the lifting mechanism is almost as varied as the design of the ships. For example…

In the 1930’s CyberPulp world, airships look pretty much like the zeppelins in our world did, but they are much larger because the gas used for lift is helium, not hydrogen. While airplanes are faster, most people like the roomier and more refined mode of travel an airship provides. Another big bonus is that despite their huge size, airships can land in much smaller areas than planes.

On the Earths where magic dominates, airships are truly ships that sail in the air. They can be lifted by enchanted wood, magical stones or just plain old spells. On some worlds, such ships are rare, while on others they are as common as seagoing ships.

While most steampunk worlds have airships that lift via hydrogen or helium, a few use amazing scientific devices or processes for lift. Most notable among these would be Professor Chan’s Gravity Repulsion Effect, which uses a steam engine to power some sort of electrical coils for lift.

In the Tooniverse, it is best not to think too much about what is holding the ship up. It might just stop doing it.

On Mars 12, airships are the primary mode of air travel and there are thousands of them ranging is size from small one person pedal powered runabouts to the truly enormous (1.75 miles long!) luxury liner, “Dejah Voo”, which endlessly circles the Martian equator.

Finally, airships are still popular and profitable in the 2030’s CyberPulp world. At that point, they are huge jet propelled V shaped craft that merrily scoot along at 300 miles an hour while the passengers do everything from sleep to listed to a live band to jack into the latest VR programs.

Chapter 505: In Which Our Hero, Sodden With Rum And Broken Hearted, Still Manages To Rob A Bank

…and look stylish doing it

We end “On New Year’s Eve…” week with a long one. Coming up for the next three weeks: The Alphabet.

The Doclopedia #141

On New Year’s Eve…: All Hell Broke Loose In Goldvale

…1971, at around 6:00 in the evening, young Andy Hamblin and his girlfriend, Josie Perkins, both 17 years old and both natives of Goldvale, California, were parked on “Makeout Hill”, which is located just east of town. Both teens were in the back seat of Andy’s ’66 Chevy Impala and the action was getting hot and heavy when Josie complained that there was a lump on the seat. Checking it out, Andy found a Hi Bouncy Ball that belonged to his younger brother, Teddy. He threw it out a window and went back to helping Josie lose her cherished virtue.

THE BALL bounced off a tree and then went bouncing down the steep and rocky side of Makeout Hill, which is in fact officially known as Six Mile Hill. As with all such balls made of the space age Hi Bouncy material, this ball bounced a long way on each bounce. Eventually, it made it all the way down to State Route 44, the main road into Goldvale. It was there that it clocked Dewey Littlefield upside the head.

NOW, Dewey had been standing at the side of the road minding his own business and taking a leak. He was just zipping up when the Hi Bouncy Ball hit him in the back of the head, knocking him down. It’s a testament to Dewey’s thick skull and small brain that he was able to jump up just a few seconds later, swearing and looking around for the guy who had sucker punched him. Seeing nobody there, or anywhere for a hundred yards, Dewey’s little used imagination took over.

MAYBE it was ghosts, he thought. Wasn’t there an old Chinese cemetery just back up the road a ways, where they had buried the ones who died working on the railroad? Maybe they didn’t much like white guys. Especially white guys who peed right there in their backyard. With every hair on his head standing up, Dewey jumped into his old pickup truck and got the hell out of there. Within a minute, he was doing 80 miles an hour and heading for town, 5 miles away.

REMEMBER that Hi Bouncy Ball? Well, it was now in the back of Dewey’s truck and when he hit one particularly large pothole, it bounced up, came down on a small shovel and caused that to knock a bag of quart beer bottles over. Now, the wind racing over those beer bottles caused a low moaning sound. Hearing that sound convinced Dewey that he was being followed by a horde of vengeful Chinese ghosts and with a high pitched scream of “Oh, Lord Jesus save me!”, he put the pedal to the metal. Screaming along at 90 miles an hour (that old truck wouldn’t do a hundred if you dropped it off the side of the Grand Canyon), Dewey looked back to see just how close the ghosts were.

WHICH is why he missed that steep turn out by Cutter’s farm and shot through the fence like it wasn’t there. The truck bounced and roared across the field straight towards Mr & Mrs Cutter and their seven children, aged 6 through 19. They had just come back from the grocery store with supplies for a night of baking cookies for tomorrow’s New Year’s Day Bake Sale over at the Southern Baptist church. It should also be noted here that Mr & Mrs Cutter had, during the drive home from the store, both had a few medicinal nips off of a bottle of peach brandy, what with it being New Year’s Eve and all. That could explain why, when they saw a speeding truck coming straight at them across their cow pasture, both of them panicked quite a bit more than was called for, even though seeing a speeding truck coming at you does allow for a fair amount of panic. Whatever the reason, everybody began running around and Mr. Cutter threw a ten pound bag of extra fine baking flour straight up in the air. When it hit the ground, it kind of exploded and coated all of the Cutters in a healthy covering of flour.

MOMENTS LATER, as his truck came to a stop by the simple process of ramming into a stack of hay bales, Dewey shook off his daze long enough for his eyes to focus and see a whole shitload of ghosts standing not 30 feet away, most likely discussing the best way to drag him to Hell. Not willing to go down without a fight, he grabbed his ancient shotgun off the rack and fired away. He missed the Cutters by a good 60 feet, but they didn’t stick around to let him try again. With an admirable fleetness of foot, they all set to running back into town. Dewey, emboldened by this, began chasing them, screaming for them to go back to whatever Chinese underworld they came from.

MEANWHILE, the Hi Bouncy Ball…you remember it, right?…had been thrown from Dewey’s truck by the impact of hitting the hay bales. It soared through the air and hit the side of the barn, then began bouncing down the road in long bounces. Later, we’ll come back to it, since it still has a place in this story.

NOW, the Cutters and Dewey were heading into town from the east on State Route 44 and that would take them right past the 49er Theater, which was just letting out from an all day triple horror feature that had “Night of the Living Dead” as the headliner. About 300 kids had packed the place and gotten good and scared and grossed out by the movies. A light rain had begun to fall as the theater cleared out. This same light rain fell on the Cutter family, turning them from merely flour covered into gooey dough covered. Add to that a fair amount of road dust and they were soon looking pretty creepy. Behind them, Dewey was still screaming about Chinese ghosts and brandishing his shotgun.

AS THE Cutters and Dewey crested the small hill by the theater, all 300 of those kids, plus several early partiers over at the Gold Nugget Saloon, saw what sure as hell looked like a horde of the living dead and a shotgun wielding maniac coming at them. Amid deafening screams, both kids and drunks began hauling ass down the road away from the no doubt hungry for living flesh monsters. Within seconds, the crowd had picked up several folks out for a stroll, a group of older ladies who had just finished a meeting of the Daughters of the Golden West, three guys who were on their way to go night fishing and a fair number of dogs.

ON THE OTHER SIDE of town (which at that particular point is maybe half a mile away), at the First Church of Christ, Reverend Young was setting up a movie projector so as to screen a movie about the End Times for his parishioners. Across the street, Father McCallister was just stepping out to greet those folks coming to early Mass. Both men heard the screaming and Reverend Young stuck his head out to ask if Father McCallister knew what was going on. The good Father was equally clueless. Both groups of churchgoers looked at their respective leaders, hoping to get a signal on what to do.

THAT’S WHEN the Hi Bouncy Ball, careening down hill at about 60 miles an hour, bounced up and hit Father McCallister right between the eyes, knocking him out cold. The ball then continued on and got Reverend Young right in the nose. He stumbled back, bumping the projector as he fell down. This caused the projector to point out a window, where it projected onto the side of Dell’s Feed & Grain a huge image of Satan laughing and pointing, apparently at the various parishioners, all of whom believed they had just seen two men of the cloth struck down dead by Satan himself. Naturally, they ran away…back towards the oncoming mass of those who thought the dead had risen from the grave. The two groups pretty much crashed into each other right in front of the Sheriff’s Office.

FROM THERE ON, things get too complicated to write about, except to say that, short of the 1850 gold strike that gave the town it’s name, there had never been more excitement in Goldvale. In the end, Sheriff Ford got things sorted out and more or less calmed down, once he stopped laughing.

The Cutters got cleaned up and all went to bed early. The next day, they took a bunch of store bought cookies to the bake sale.

Dewey got his shotgun impounded and was told to pay Mr. Cutter for any damages. He never again peed anywhere near the Chinese cemetery, or for that matter, anywhere near anything that even looked vaguely Asian.

Most of the kids who left the theater, including most of the teenagers, went home and slept with the lights on. Several of the adults did the same thing.

A couple of the drunks called it an early night.

The women from the Daughters of the Golden West all went to Rooney’s Tavern and had a good stiff drink, then went home to tell their husbands about the Big Panic of ’71.

The three guys who were going fishing decided to go play poker instead.

A few of the dogs didn’t make it home until four days later

Father McCallister let Father Suarez do the Mass while he laid down with an ice pack on his head. He now believed that the Lord worked in damned mysterious ways.

Reverend Young had to be treated for a broken nose and a case of nerves. His flock took the night’s events as a sign from God and never again missed a prayer meeting.

Andy and Josie went 3 for 3 and then drove on over to Pinedale and went to the party they had been on their way to in the first place.

And four days after the Big Panic of ’71, Teddy Hamblin found his Hi Bouncy Ball by the side of the road near the fire station. He never did figure out how it got there.