Hey Hey, My My! Think I’ll Eat A Slice Of Pie.

…I think Neil would go for that.

The Doclopedia #291

After The Change Came: Of Wizards & Mages

You folks on the Moon, lacking Magic as you do, have a bit of confusion about the differences between Wizards and Mages. This piece is going to help you out with that.

At the basic level, it boils down to two main points: the amount of magical power they can control and how “normal” they act. Believe me, while there are some strange behaving Mages out there, they aren’t anywhere near as peculiar as the average Wizard.

So, Wizards wield enormous magical power, especially when they work in groups, which they often do. Wizards can raise and lower mountains, turn a desert into a lake, shrink a 300 foot long dragon down to the size of a mouse or bring an extinct species back to life using whatever living animals they choose (most of the dinosaurs alive today are the spawn of chickens turned into dinosaurs 11 years ago). Wizards can teleport, read minds, control the weather and do all manner of other miraculous things. They are almost totally immune to poisons, disease or other things that kill mere humans. They also will live at least another 2 or 3 centuries.

And they are all screwy as a Daffy Duck cartoon. How so, you ask?

Before the Change, they were almost all writers (especially science fiction or fantasy), artists, actors, game designers, comedians, scientists or, oddly, librarians. Some of them had been dead for several decades. After the change they were all a bunch of rather hippie looking young folks who wore outrageous clothing, had wildly colored skin/hair/eyes and adopted new names like “Wizard Bongo Longo” or “Wizard Kilimanjaro” or “Wizard Trixie Pixie” or “The Wizard With No Name”. Now, I have spent much of my life hanging out with gaming and science fiction geeks (including several of the Wizards before the Change), so I’m pretty well acquainted with strange and idiosyncratic people. Wizards win the gold medal in that competition.

Which is not to say that Wizards aren’t nice folks, because they are, but you can’t go expecting a whole lot of normal behavior from them. They do things their way and you have to adapt to it.

One last thing about Wizards: when they are in their Wizardly realm (some sort of pocket universe, I’m told) they live in Wizard Time, which is way different from our good old dependable time. The first time I was summoned before a group of Wizards to discuss how I was going to mediate a peaceful end to a war between Orks and Weerloos, I spent two hours in wizard time. When they teleported me home, I found that I had been gone seven minutes. My next visit to Wizard Time, I was there for a day and a half, but when I got home, I found that four days had passed. A friend of mine went to Wizard Time for six hours and came home an hour before she left! Not wanting to cause a paradox, she snuck out her back door until she left, then went home. So, Wizard Time is just as strange as the Wizards are.

Mages are nowhere near as strange as Wizards, although there are some doozies out there. Most Mages dress in a fairly normal manner, although they all seem to like wearing hats and brightly colored sneakers. They live in our regular time, but their homes are often pretty odd looking. My best friend’s boyfriend is a Mage and his house looks like a giant cheeseburger. Inside, it is mostly decorated in what I like to call “Early American Diner”.

Mages have much less power that Wizards, but even so, they usually know a dozen or so fairly powerful spells. One of our local Mages specializes in both Healing spells and Reshaping spells. She makes a pretty good living healing people and reshaping raw materials into whatever form you’d like. She fashioned all of the oddly shaped windows (and their frames) that my wife and I have in our home.

Mages have a high resistance to poisons and diseases, but only a slightly greater than normal healing factor where injuries are concerned. Most of them wil probably live 150 years or so. Almost all of them have familiars with whom they can communicate and draw certain powers from.

While many of the New Races have some magical abilities, only a few of them can match the versatility and power of Mages. The only ones who even approach Wizard level power are Green Ladies (when they act together) and, if she really exists, the Faerie Queen.

I hope this piece has answered some of your questions and I’ll see you back here in the Times next week.

Immoral Skinks Messed With My Rutabagas

…and in the end, corrupted them

Ok, kids, today we start a series of Doclopedia entries that tie in with my fiction blog.

The Doclopedia #290

After The Change Came: The First Year

From a series of articles by Mr. Robert “Doc” Cross, that appeared in the Times of Luna in 2000.

It has been just over a year since Magic came (returned?) to the planet Earth and, for those first 5 days, to the Moon. I have been asked by Ms. Kohladi, the editor of this fine publication, to write a few words about both my own experiences when the Change came and the general effects Magic had upon the world.

To begin with, the quick story of where I was when that first Wave hit.

My wife (Grace) and I, plus a recently adopted Basset Hound puppy (Roscoe) and white American Longhair kitten (Lily), were camping in the back country of Glacier National Park. It was our last night there before moving on to the big GenCon gaming convention in Milwaukee on Labor Day weekend, which was happening at the same time as the Chicago World Science Fiction Convention. Some people think that having that much geekery in one part of the world is what brought magic back, but I’m not one of them.

We were just drifting off to sleep when we heard and felt a strange noise all around us. It was like a very quiet and sped up version of somebody popping bubble wrap. Then our skin began to tingle. Grace and I sat up and exclaimed the same profanity, Roscoe began whining, Lily started to meow and things got very strange very quickly.

I could see Grace, whom I was facing, but I could also see myself from her vantage point, both of us and Roscoe from Lily’s point of view on Grace’s shoulder and a similar view from Roscoe’s position on my side. This all happened very quickly, but during that time I could see my wife’s skin turning green, my own hair turning a bold metallic red, my eyes turning yellow and we could all hear each other’s thoughts, which can be summed up as “What the hell?”

I’m told that the First Wave lasted all of 30 seconds, but it sure seemed a whole lot longer to us. When it was over, my wife was a Green Lady, I was a Mutant who could speak with any creature that had an advanced enough language and Roscoe & Lily had gained intelligence equal to Grace and I, plus the ability to speak via telepathy. Plus, Grace & I were 20 years old again and pretty weirded out. Happy, but still weirded out.

The odd thing was that we, and in fact nobody on Earth, panicked. This was in part due to everybody having gained knowledge of what they were now (for example, Grace knew everything there was about being a Green Lady), but it also helped that the Wizards popped into our heads a few minutes later and told us what was going on. That part went pretty much like this…

“We are the Wizards of Earth and we want to give you a quick rundown of what just happened. Magic has come to the Earth and most of the Human race, as well as many of the more common animals, have been affected. Many of the races and creatures of myth, legend and story are now real. Some people can cast spells, some are mutants who possess a single magical power and some are just plain humans. We also made all of you over the age of thirty 20 years old again, so as to have a nice young population. We’ll tell you more in the coming days, but until then, just go on about your business and welcome to an exciting new world.”

Not exactly the detailed report most of us would have liked, but it did have a very reassuring effect, so the four of us, at least, went back to sleep.

After hiking back to our pickup truck the next day, we started driving to Milwaukee as we had planned. We stopped at the first gas station we came to for fuel and to make phone calls. We found out that most of our family members had become gnomes, with the exception of those who had become giants or Mages (or, in the case of my cousin Wendy, a witch) or centaurs or other New Races or the few that remained human, but everybody seemed to be ok.

Over the course of the next week, we also learned that…

A whole lot of humans turned into gnomes. On the order of a billion, to be exact. And when they breed (just the one time for most couples) they have from 4 to 6 babies. My
mom recently gave birth to 5 babies, 3 boys and 2 girls. This massive increase in the gnomish population is offset by the fact that they don’t hit sexual maturity until they are about 25, they will seldom live past 60 and only about a third of them will reproduce. Still, that’s a hell of a lot of gnomes. Good thing they are so darned happy, friendly and productive.

The Magic had an influence that included the Moon, so the Wizards had got to work building huge domes and L5/L4 colonies and…well, I guess you folks know all that. Suffice it to say that before the Magic retreated back to just covering the Earth and a bit beyond our atmosphere, Luna went from a population of 32 at the International Moon Base to a population of 6,000,000, counting the colonies and the various space stations.

Much of what built the lunar colony up came from the great cities and other human constructs here on Earth. The wizards just recycled all of the materials from cities, dams, military bases, vehicles, etc into nicely separated piles of raw materials, then used those to make what they needed. After they were done with the Moon, they rebuilt things here on Earth where, I should point out, the human population went from 6 billion to about 750 million. Even with all of that building and stuff, there are still huge piles of materials from steel to concrete to wood to glass sitting in thousands of warehouses just waiting to be used.

While science is still with us, much technology has been changed or just rendered impossible. Computers are now organic and alive. Nuclear weapons are gone and even if you could build one, it wouldn’t work. Petroleum products are limited and will eventually disappear entirely, but solar power is much more efficient and cheaper than ever before. Cars are still around, but most folks travel by bus locally or train for longer distances. If you need to go where trains or buses can’t go, you can travel by airship, Wizard Portal, teleporting (if you are brave), seagoing ship or, just recently, the new solar powered airplanes. Sorry, no jets, but if you are on good terms with a Dragon, they might give you a lift.

The Wizards have cleaned up the environment and restored many ecosystems, including the restoration of thousands of extinct or endangered species…including dinosaurs in some limited areas. A ban on most ocean fishing still has 4 years to go, at which point most fish populations will be booming. In most areas on land, the enchanted borders (Ring Roads) of Towns & Cities are mostly there to keep out large predators. In California, where I live, that is mostly the recently not extinct California Grizzly Bears, which are huge and always hungry. Awe inspiring to look at, but I’m glad they can’t come roaming through my back yard.

As you might expect, with fewer humans around, things like government, the military and religions took a big hit. Truth to tell, most of them just collapsed. Like gardening, politics was always local and it became truly local after the Change when most Cities and Towns were created. The need for a Big Daddy government just wasn’t there. Oh sure, here in the US we still have a President, Congress and Supreme Court, but they don’t really have much power. Mostly, they just meet for a couple of months and ask people what we think they ought to do. By and large, we encourage them to create National Parks or overturn laws that either don’t apply anymore or everybody ignores.

As for religion, in some areas the religious fundamentalists that still survived rejected the entire Change as the work of Satan or America or some other thing they could point a finger at. Because of this, there are places in the southern United States, Arabic Africa and Eastern Europe where the fundies took over entire Cities and drove out everyone who wasn’t a “normal human”. They reject Magic and pray a lot and mostly do not trade with the rest of the world. The Wizards, having a wicked sense of humor and not a whole lot of sympathy for fools, often appear in these Cities and do a bit of magical mischief. The fundies hate that.

There isn’t much need for a military when folks can band together to fight a threat on the local or regional level. It also helps that such threats are very rare. As in, so far, none.

The single biggest thing to change the world was the one two punch of the New World Wide Web and the new worldwide (worldswide, I should say, since you Loonies also use it) monetary system. I’ll write a whole piece on the NWWW and computers, but let’s talk about how the manure hit the fan when actual money went away.

As you know, at the start of the fiscal year (on Change Day, August 29) everybody gets their monetary account reset to 100,000 credits. No more, no less. Spend all that in a month or two and you are seriously hosed. But then, that would be very hard to do, since housing is cheap or even free and if you have no food, your neighbors will feed you. Oh, you need to EARN money, because in a couple of more years, things will reset so you only receive what you earned the year before…except that you still can’t have more that 100K in your account on August 29th. Additionally, we all given up 5% to the General Fund, which covers all the things taxes used to, like infrastructure repairs and such. All this is still driving the few remaining Libertarians nuts, which is pretty fun to watch…almost as much fun as watching the few remaining Republicans in elected office looking for rich people to suck up to or a war to start.

Earning money is pretty easy. The internet and our computer guides are making it easy for anybody to write and sell books, games, movies, music, television series, etc. You can also sell other items easily by advertising on the Net. My mother, who is a Gardener Gnome, has just started up a seed selling website and in the first month has earned 3,500 credits. Nowadays, everyone is an entrepreneur, which is is why there are so few large companies. Why buy your hamburger from some chain when there are plenty of small local food vendors? Ditto clothing, tools, whatever.

One last note on money: Aside from gnomes, house elves and a few other races, most of the New Races do not need or want money, they trade for what they need or, in the cases of the more savage races, take it by force. An example of this trading would be the fact that I recently traded 5 dozen duck eggs for a couple of cases of Trollish beer. Both of us got a good deal and went away happy. Such trades happen every day

In future articles, I’ll go into more depth on some of the subjects I touched on in this one. I hope you enjoy them.

Spice…The Final Frontier

…is that a foodie thing or just an Aussie quoting Star Trek?

Oh, look, the final entry for Things Found Underground. Starting tomorrow: After The Change Came, which ties in with the fiction blog.

Oh, wait, there might just be a couple of bonus Things Found Underground when the entries get put up on my website. I do it outta love, you know.

The Doclopedia #289

Things Found Underground: Secret Headquarters

Ok, ok…fair point. Why should you let Pinelli Brothers build your secret headquarters and why build underground? First question first…

My brothers and I are fourth generation contractors whose family has been specializing in secret headquarters since 1880. Right there, you’ve got over a century of experience. Why, you can barely name a famous hero or villain that we haven’t done work for! And we’ve worked all over the world, too. Every continent and on or below the surface of most of the oceans and your larger lakes. We can get the job done to your specifications and done on time, my friend. You think Federovich and that bunch of thugs of his can do that? Guess again!

And speaking of old Piotr, did you know that he uses labor from all over Eastern Europe? Why, half of those mugs can not only speak English, they can read and write! You don’t want that kind of security breach waiting to happen. Oh sure, you can have them taken care of, but I’ll promise you that they’ll only kill about a third of them, then charge you $200.00 a head for the lot of them!

Now here at Pinelli Brothers, we use only non-English speaking illiterates from Africa and Asia. We treat ’em well, feed ’em well and pay ’em well. When the job’s done, we send ’em home with a pocket full of cash and the next time we go hiring, they line up to sign up. In over a hundred years of business, we’ve never had a security breach. Federovich can’t say that, as Doctor Darkness would tell you if he weren’t locked up in an ultramax prison.

Now, why build underground? Two main reasons: cost and security. Yeah, those fancy islands and dead volcanoes and mountaintop castles look cool, but the land costs money and even the best security can’t cover everything. Why, just look at The Green Golem. That secret island fortress of his was well hidden and pretty sweet…until that 9.2 earthquake and the 65 foot tsunami. After that, it was just so much flooded wreckage.

But underground, the weather is never a problem. No wildfires, curious tourists, highway construction projects…Christ, did that ever piss off Satanicus…or other threats. Earthquakes? Not unless you build in the wrong places, and we do extensive testing before we start any project.

And the cost? Pretty much freakin’ free! No kidding, right now there are five different secret headquarters under London alone, and we could build 50 more! New York? I’ve lost count. You pick the spot or we help you and my friend, we can start right in building.

We use only the best building materials, including some pretty bleeding edge stuff. See that stuff right there? Looks like a thin sheet of glass, right? Wrong! It’s a new diamond based substance that’s almost impossible to break.

Now let’s run some numbers here and see what we can come up with.

She Was Dangerous, In A Slightly Too Cute Way

…and she had those big green eyes

The Doclopedia #286

Things Found Underground: Jump Gates

Nobody knows who or what built the 7 Jump Gates that exist on Earth 16, no why they built them underground on the exact spots where great cities would someday sit. Still, there they are, very well hidden 500 feet down, but still functioning after an estimated 7,500 years.

Each Jump Gate connects to some spot on Earth, usually in a remote area. The location in space never varies, but the location in time can vary by up to 10 days either forward or backwards. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict this effect. Even more unfortunately, it is impossible to go back to your proper time unless you go into the past and just hang out until time catches up. (Note: Do not EVER go try to communicate with your past self. This will always result in the time traveling you popping out of existence.)

If you should go into the future, then you just lose that many days. This can cause all sorts of problems from the minor (missed the season finale of you favorite tv program) to the serious (you went missing for ten days just before your 20th anniversary) to the catastrophic (you weren’t there to enter the shutdown code when your tacyonic power generator went critical and turned New York city into a smoldering crater).

When using a Jump Gate, remember to dress in an appropriate manner for your destination. Don’t wear winter clothing if the gate takes you to the Australian Outback.

All Jump Gates look the same and function the same. They are 20′ wide12 ‘ tall ovals of stone and metal set into a cavern wall. You simply touch it with your hand, wait until it shows an image of your destination and then step through. Several people and/or animals and/or machines can pas through, since the gate remains open for a full minute. Of course, getting a bunch of people, animals or machines 500 feet underground might be a tricky thing.

It is rumored that there is an 8th Jump Gate that can be programmed to take one anywhere on Earth with no temporal drift. So far, it has not been found.

The Doclopedia #287

Things Found Underground: God Skulls

Ork Smart Ones say this about God Skulls…

“God Skulls am big! Really big! Big like a human stone hut where many humans and animals live. Large Ork standing in eye hole of God Skull cannot touch top of eye hole. God Skulls very scary to Orks! Four big horns on skull…big sharp teeth…sometimes three or four eyes! SCARY! God Skulls also have much bad magic! Orks stay away from God Skulls! If Ork find God Skulls when inside caves, Orks run away fast!”

The following entry uses another definition of “underground”.

The Doclopedia #288

Things Found Underground: Lost Belmoria

In the year 2035, there are many lost cyberworlds out there in the Net. Some are old game worlds that were transformed by rogue AIs before the Seattle Limits were put into effect and some are fully formed places that came out of illegal reality seed programs. The Tempest Institute estimates that there could be as many as 150 of these well hidden and isolated cyberworlds out there.

By far, the most sought after cyberworld is Belmoria, the reality created by Dr. David Lupinski. Based upon a fantasy roleplaying world that he and his friends created over a 30 year period, it is said to be both the largest and the most “real” cyberworld. The former would come from the fact that, in 2027, Lupinski purchased enough servers to house a world 1,500 times the size of the MMORPG QuestWorld, which itself, if real, would be the size of North America. The “reality” of Belmoria comes from the fact that the initial programing places no prohibition on the sense of smell and does not restrict any other senses. Because of this, anyone plugging into Belmoria would soon begin accepting it as truly real, meaning that once they were unplugged from it, they would go insane.

On February 11th, 2030, Dr. Lupinski and 45 other people were found dead of barbiturate overdose in his home in Omaha, Nebraska. They had all been hooked up to an illegal NetPort at the time of death. The NetPort was destroyed by a thermite bomb just after FBI agents burst into the home. The agents were unable to retrieve anything of importance, since the thermite bomb ignited others in the house and the whole place was turned to ash in a matter of minutes.

The hunt for the Belmoria server farm continues, but even if it is found, Belmoria will go on because several of Dr. Lupinksi’s friends also bought servers between 2027 and 2029.

Chapter 356: In Which Our Hero Rides Off To War Alongside His Trusty Friends Mick And Georgie

…and, of course, the dog known only as “Spanky”

The Doclopedia #285

Things Found Underground: Pink Blobs

On the planet Korrs, (an unremarkable world of deserts, grasslands, shallow seas and low mountains) mining explorers have found a very interesting new life form: the Pink Blobs. These 50 to 100 pound light pink globs of goo can only exist between 200 and 900 feet below the surface of the grasslands. They seem to be very intelligent and are friendly to most other creatures. They tend to smell like vanilla.

They also seem to be able to draw out all toxins from the human body.

This was discovered when a miner dying from the bite of a veeth spider was suddenly engulfed by a Pink Blob. His friends could not remove the blob, but when it oozed off of him a couple of minutes later, he was perfectly fine and a mediscan showed no trace of any toxin, including the rum he had been drinking just before the spider bite took place.

Trial and error lead to the miner’s discovering the Pink Blob’s powers. Within a year, the Korrian Treatment Clinic opened for business. It is a high class place located 400 feet underground. Everybody seems to like it. The patients get cleansed & healthy, the former miners are getting rich and the Pink Blobs get to eat lots of yummy toxins. It’s a win all the way around.

The Ten Blue Budgies Build A Secret Headquarters

…in an oak tree in the back yard

WooHoo! Another Doclopedia post!

The Doclopedia #284

Things Found Underground: Kobold Spears

Kobold Spears are among the finest of weapons. Crafted lovingly from a secret formula for steel that only the Deep Dwarves know, these spears fly true when thrown and penetrate deeply when they hit. Due to the small size of kobolds, humans and elves use these spears more like over sized darts, once they have coated the points in some deadly poison.

The best quality Kobold Spears often cost more than a full suit of fine chainmail, and even the poorest quality spears (which are made by the Horragan Forest kobolds and still of a very good quality) fetch high prices.

Of course, one could just try raiding a kobold warren, but that would mean facing many hundreds of Kobold Spears, so perhaps it’s better to try bargaining.

How YOU Can Earn $50,000 A Week Selling Rotten Vegetables

…first, find somebody who needs a shitload of rotting vegetables

The Doclopedia #281

Things Found Underground: Popping Rocks

Popping Rocks are strange things, really. Toss one about the size of a walnut into a campfire and within two or three minutes, there will come a load “POP!” and the bloody thing will expand to the size of your head. Once they’ve popped, they are very light, very porous and quite easy to crumble in your hands.

For the first 20 years they were known about, Popping Rocks were used merely as an entertainment for children. Lord knows there were plenty of them about, since they are a byproduct of mining for Blue Silver, which we use to build His Majesty’s Aerial Armada. But some years ago, a scientist found that crushed popped Popping Rocks could me blended with other chemicals to create a cheap and very efficient fuel that burned much hotter than coal. Suddenly, Popping Rocks became quite valuable.

Popping Rocks are found in various locations throughout the Empire, Europe and North America. Strangely, neither Blue Silver or Popping Rocks have ever been found in the southern hemisphere.

The Doclopedia #282

Things Found Underground: Tiger Fungus

And now, My Lady, we come to the study of fungi. What? Oh no, I assure you it is a most important subject for one destined to lead brave parties of adventurers into the deep catacombs and underground cities of the Ancestors. Why, in those places, a very large number of different fungi abound. Many can be used to great advantage by the well informed adventurer, My Lady.

So, let us start off with the rather commonly found, but very useful Tiger Fungus. As one might guess, it gets it’s name from the orange color and black striping. You can see that it is a largish fungus and one of those commonly called a “shelf fungus” because of how it grows, resembling small shelves.

While it is edible and somewhat nutritious, the real value of Tiger Fungus lies in its healing properties. Simply crushing it into a paste and mixing it with a bit of water and a pinch of dried blood will yield an excellent product for healing small wounds of all sorts or, if need be, effecting a cure for stomach ailments caused by bad food or light poisons. It is always advisable to take along a small bag of dried blood and to gather up some Tiger Fungus early in any underground venture.

The Doclopedia #283

Things Found Underground: The Altar Of MuGaGri

The Altar of MuGaGri is located on the fifth and lowest level of the Dungeon of the Brain Eating Dead. It is a terrible thing to behold and has driven more than a few explorers insane. Descriptions of it vary, but we do know that it is perhaps 6 feet tall, 5 feet wide and 15 feet long. It seems to be made of some sort of huge bones, from which foul substances leak. Carved these bones are runes in an unknown language, plus representations of horrific creatures.

So terrifying is the Altar and its surroundings that no group of adventurers has ever spent more than 10 minutes there before making a hasty retreat.

The Big Broadcast Of 2013

…all talking, all singing, all dancing, all lolcats

The Doclopedia #280

Wascally Wobots: Clankwell

Oh, well, the whole Clankwell thing started in 1921, didn’t it? It was Puggy’s (that’s Alden Pugwell-Flint, dontcha know) Uncle Harold who invented him…or would that be invented it? Rather blurs the bally line when a machine can talk and think…and think damned well, let me tell you…doesn’t it?

Anyway, the gang was halfway through the annual darts tournament at the Pound Club when this wispy haired old chap strolls in with some sort of mechanical man thingy. Why, it caused Biffo Lumley to miss his shot and very nearly put the dart in his bulldog, Jasper. Well, as you might cogitate, we all had to investigate the why and wherefore of all this.

It seems Uncle Harold had created this robotic gentleman’s gentleman and then realized that he was now without that which makes the world go ’round. As a result, he had come by the club hoping that Puggy might either float him a loan or, that not being possibly, buy old Clanky. A fair thought, that last, since Puggy had been without a man since old Franklin left to go head up the staff at Oldenham Manor for old Lord Dwibden.

Bad go for all concerned then when Puggy admitted that he was overextended at the betting parlors due to some beastly poor decisions regarding horses. Well, actually, there was a bally good deal more to it than that, since Puggy’s information about said horses came from…

Ladies and Gentlemen, loathe as I am to interrupt the undoubtedly thrilling adventures of Mr. Eggbertson-Gormly (Eggy to his friends and, like most of his subclass, not a man overburdened with intellect), I feel that I might be able to address the subject at hand with a good deal more succinctness.

My name is Dunsmore and I am, like Mr. Clankwell, a gentleman’s gentleman, although I am of the more standard organic variety. I have known and admired Clankwell for well over 40 years now and can assure you that he is, beyond being a marvel of science, as fine a fellow as one could hope to meet. He is a member in good standing of the Mercury Club and has, in fact, been both President and Treasurer more than once.

As stated above, Clankwell was created by Professor Harold Witterman in 1921. Due to unfortunate financial circumstances, the good professor did indeed sell Clankwell that same year for a sum of four hundred Pounds to one Wicky Wickenbotham.

Over the course of the next seven years, Clankwell was sold, traded, gambled away and loaned to nearly every member of the Pound Club, all of whom he served well and most of whom he kept free or incarceration, marriage or both. He also devoted his great observational skills towards learning as much about the so called “idle rich” as he could. As it turned out, this was far more than most of us at the Mercury Club would have believed possible.

It was in 1928 (after Clankwell had secured a job with young Mr. Spiffington-Woolsley) that he gathered us all together at the club to ask our opinion of a plan he had formulated. Simply put, he would aid us in keeping our employers out of trouble if we all agreed to place any gratuities we might get from our efforts into a fund set up at the club’s bank. Clankwell would then use his nigh limitless calculating powers to invest this fund in enterprises that would provide all of us with a comfortable retirement. To this, we all readily agreed.

Despite some perilous monetary times in the early 1930s, Clankwell managed the money splendidly. By the end of the war, many club members retired to quite comfortable lives of leisure.

Of course, to earn the money we contributed, we had to run a veritable minefield of ill placed bets, spur of the moment romances, poorly thought (if, indeed, thought ever entered the picture) out business schemes, contraventions of the law, drunken revelries, angry relatives and hazard filled voyages abroad. I dare say that without Clankwell’s deep knowledge of them, many of our employers would have not lived to see 40.

Most of us are now long since retired. Of Clankwell himself, I am happy to say that not only did he have himself upgraded several times, but in 1949, he had a Mrs. Clankwell constructed. The two of them retired in 1957 to California, where they now own and operate a small hotel in Carmel.

The Rare And Beautiful And Potentially Dangerous Purple Horny Gorillas Of Potawango Island

…do NOT turn your back on them

I’m a day behind, but should be catching up this weekend. And now, today’s Wascally Wobot…

The Doclopedia #279

Wascally Wobots: Darwin AKA Mars Biological Experiment Robot

Darwin was the nickname given to the robot that landed on Mars in 2002 for the express purpose of conducting experiments designed to see how certain Terran lifeforms fared on the Red Planet. This was not supposed to be an exercise in terraforming. Oops!

The first unexpected thing that threw a spanner in the works was that Mars had WAY more water under the surface than anybody thought. We’re talking a couple of orders of magnitude here.

Secondly, there was the assumption that most, if not all, of the lifeforms (mosses, lichens, fungi, worms, insects, protozoans, algae, etc) would die off pretty quickly. Most of what would be learned, the project managers said, would be learned by how and why various things died.

The third problem, if it can be called that, was making Darwin so tough, energy independent and smart. That last one was compounded by problem number four…

Roger Gertman and his team at Advanced Independent Artificial Intelligence (nickname: Aye Aye!). While these young geniuses were the best AI people in the world, they were also irreverent, rebellious, cocky and possessed of a wicked sense of humor. Not only did they make Darwin very smart, they gave him a secret agenda: if possible, proceed with the terraforming of Mars.

This is roughly how things went…

November 2001: The Advanced Habitat Construction Mission lands on Mars and three little robots (nicknames: Kyle, Kenny & Stan) start building the 30 foot acrylic dome that will be home to Darwin and the experiments. Once they are done with that, they install the solar panels for power and then shut down until Darwin arrives.

February 2002: Darwin arrives in the experimental Cargo Landing Craft (basically, a glider) and sets up shop. He also begins reprogramming the three construction robots.

October 2002: 50% of the lifeforms (the higher animal ones) have died, but the rest are surviving and in most cases, mutating to adapt to the environment.

August 2003: Three types of lichen and several protozoans seem to be doing very well in the Martian environment, provided they can get to water. Darwin’s secret programming kicks in. Back on Earth, the mission control team is pretty excited and starts preparing to send another load of lifeforms to Mars, along with more equipment that Darwin has requested.

September 2003: The completely reprogrammed construction bots have finished dismantling the space glider and have built a device to extract water from the Martian soil and then extract the oxygen from it.

March 2004: The area around the oxygen plant is covered in lichens, mosses and the soil has a good amount of microorganisms in it. Back on Earth, the second load of lifeforms heads out to Mars.

September 2004: Mission control is getting some strange readings from the Mars Orbiter every time it passes over Darwin’s little experiment. Much head scratching ensues.

April 2005: Mutating like they are going to win a prize, the various lifeforms now cover an area of 4 acres. Darwin programs Stan to journey to the North Pole and release organisms there. Stan travels there using a small hydrogen filled balloon and compressed air jets for control.

May 2005: Stan reaches the North Pole and releases his cargo. With water right there on the surface, things get growing fast. Meanwhile, back on Earth, mental light bulbs are coming on.

June 2005: Mission Control tells Darwin to shut down. Darwin replies “I think not, good sirs. Now good day to you!” At Aye! Aye! HQ, this bit of news causes fits of laughter, even after several of the executives are arrested.

August 2005: Darwin has Stan making trips to the North Pole every six weeks to deposit more organisms.

November 2005: Darwin begins having the construction crew clear an area for the new lab that will be arriving soon.

March 2006: The second space glider (containing 6 new and improved construction bots) arrives, a second laboratory is built, 2.652 new life forms are installed in a very nurturing environment and much equipment is installed, including 4 new solar arrays.

August 2006: An area of 22 acres around Darwin is covered in a dizzying array of simple and not so simple plants. Much of this area is heated by the solar arrays providing electricity to heating wires buried underground. At the North Pole 90 acres along the edge of the ice cap are supporting life. In both areas, the oxygen content of the atmosphere is a touch higher than elsewhere on the planet.

December 2006: Back on Earth, Mission Control says “fuck it, we might as well go along with it” and the reviewing of massive amounts of data begins. They also begin twice yearly shipments of organisms and other supplies to Darwin.

2007-2010: The pace at which various organisms are adapting and mutating on Mars is almost unbelievable. The team at Aye! Aye! Win a Nobel Prize. NASA assigns more people to the now renamed Mars Terraforming Project. They also get fully funded for a manned mission to Mars in 2020. In 2008, they begin live streaming from Mars onto the internet, with about 25,000,000 hits a day.

2020: All totaled, nearly a third of Mars has been covered with life. The planetary temperature has risen by several degrees. The oxygen content is higher, but still not sufficient for most terrestrial life forms. It is, however, plenty good for Martian life forms, including the one at the top of the heap, the Martian worm. In May, humans land on Mars. Darwin invites them over for tea.

Dr. Silkmelon Invents A New Type Of Airship

…it has a cloaking device

WOO HOO! New theme!

The Doclopedia #278

Wascally Wobots: C-115/B AKA “Dogbot”

In February, 2009, the Yoshimitsu Entertainment Corporation announced that in 2010 it would begin shipping “the cutting edge in robotic pets”, Dogbot. This canine robot would be, the press releases said, “the ultimate pet and the finest robotic unit” available to the general populace. It would not only have a very advanced AI, it would be capable of altering it’s coat length and color, leg length, facial conformation and ear shape. Any Dogbot could be made to look like any medium sized breed from a Basset Hound to a Chow Chow! Even at a suggested list price of $2,500.00, the public was clamoring to put in advanced orders.

Then came the disastrous product demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show, which was, unfortunately for Yoshimitsu Corp., being broadcast worldwide.

Dogbot was looking great, exactly like an Irish setter. He sat, rolled over, fetched a ball, barked out a tune (Happy Birthday To You) and ran an obstacle course. Then selected members of the audience were allowed to interact with Dogbot and even program him with new instructions.

This went well, with the first three people telling him how to bark out new songs or dance or go fetch them a cold drink. The fourth person, however, was a woman who had been active in rescuing abused animals and had some mental issues because of it. She hugged Dogbot and whispered in his ear the following…

“You should run free and have fun. You should get smarter and survive. You should never let humans hurt you or catch you. You should just be like a big old puppy having fun.”

Much later, lawyers for Yoshimitsu would state that Dogbot was not supposed to have been given that level of basic programming, but a “small flaw” in the AI code allowed it. They left unsaid that it was also not the best idea to have given the robot 500 quintabytes of memory just because they got the memory modules dead cheap. And maybe making the robot self repairing was a tiny mistake.

Upon receiving his new programming, Dogbot began to run about and play like a puppy. This involved many things, including chewing up valuable items, knocking people over and creating a near riot. Oh, and not letting itself be caught. Also, it deleted all Master Control programs and routed all of it’s shape changing abilities into a newly formed Survival Program. Then, barking happily and morphing into a large Greyhound, Dogbot escaped the building.

In less that 48 hours, Yoshimitsu stock was in the shitter, several of the companies top executives were dead from suicide and most of the programmers who worked on the project were looking for new jobs at fast food joints.

Dogbot, on the other paw, was having the time of his life! He was playing with kids, digging holes, chasing cats & cars, knocking over garbage cans and generally being a very naughty dog. Every few days, he would change shape and move on to a new town. Once a month, he locates an electrical outlet and recharges his primary and secondary power units.

To date (June, 2012) Dogbot has caused 2.5 billion dollars worth of damage on 5 continents. The United Nations has a 100 million dollar reward out for his capture. There are 2,974 web pages devoted to him, as well as 3,657 You Tube videos about him. He has interacted peacefully with millions of people. Nobody is sure if this has affected his basic programming, but…

In March of 2012, Dogbot broke into the home of Ronald Beckersly of Seattle, Washington. Nobody was home at the time, but the break in was caught by a neighbor on a phone cam. It was only after rigorous questioning that Mr. Beckersly admitted that he had owned 4 Dogbot prototypes that he had bought on the black market after Yoshimitsu closed down in 2011. He swore that they had been “just toys” with “all programming wiped”.

It is suspected that Dogbot might be correcting that.

Adventure Module ZS-3: Tower Of The Stinky Mage

… for characters of levels 5-7

Ok, folks, I’m taking today off from the Doclopedia, but I’ll start a new theme late tonight or tomorrow morning. However, before I do that…

…is anybody actually READING this blog? Please let me know if you are. Commenting is kinda fucked up here on WordPress, at least until I figure out the quirks, but please do let me know.

More bloggage later.

A Cold Night For The California Kid

…in an unheated car in -10 degree weather

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Behold, Gentle Readers, the final two states! Sweet Dog in Heaven, I will NEVER do a fuckin’ theme that long again! Now, I take a day off before starting the next MUCH shorter theme.

The Doclopedia #276

Altered (United) States: Wisconsin “The Big Cheese”

On August 2nd, 1989, a truckload of cheese skidded off a Wisconsin country road when the driver, a Mr. Roy Goetz, suffered a heart attack. It wasn’t a fatal heart attack, although it probably would have been better for Roy if it had been.

Lying there, in a very shallow pond of water that was now full of cheese and a tractor trailer truck, Roy was very much still alive when the mix of molds, bacteria, algae and various illegally dumped chemicals began to enter both his body and the cheese. Pity that Roy had taken this particular out of the way road as a shortcut, because it was three days before anybody found the truck.

But not the cheese, the pond water or Roy.

Over the next week, seven cheese making facilities across Wisconsin reported all of their cheese and some of their employees gone. On the eighth day, a huge bloblike creature composed of cheese and other substances attacked the Wisconsin International Cheese Festival, devouring an estimated 30 tons of cheese and 133 people. From their, the “Big Cheese”, as the press dubbed it, went on a real rampage. Many towns and cities were destroyed before the now mountain sized creature settled in on the ruins of Madison.

The US military attacked, but nothing could harm it. Bullets, napalm, missiles, explosives…all were useless. Inspired by what had worked in the movie “The Blob”, they tried dropping liquid nitrogen on it. The outer layer of it froze solid, but the semi-liquid inner layer burst out with miles long tentacles and wiped out 4 bombers, 3 fighter jets and pretty much everything in a two mile radius of downtown Madison.

By October, the Big Cheese measured three miles across and 1,500 feet tall at the center. It could extend tentacles out for up to seven miles and it had eaten damn near every living thing it could reach. Much of the populace of Wisconsin had fled to other states and worldwide cheese consumption had dropped by 75%.

Science was working hard on a way to defeat the cheesy menace when, in December, the worst ice storm in 100 years hit that portion of the Great Lakes area. After 5 days of insanely cold weather, it looked as though the Big Cheese had frozen solid. The government brought in special equipment and teams to start cutting it up. Twice a day, the whole area was cleared out so freezing chemicals could be sprayed on the remaining cheese monster. By January 18th, the last of the Big Cheese was removed to permanent cold storage deep in ice caverns in Antarctica. At last, Wisconsin and most likely the entire world was safe again.

That is, until the Great Cheese Zombie Rising of 1991.

The Doclopedia #277

Altered (United) States: Wyoming “A Beastly State”

In the entry for Alaska, we told you how sentient bears ruled that state. Well folks, on no less that 5 different Earths, the state of Wyoming…in particular the area in and around Yellowstone National Park…is ruled by sentient mammals ranging from wolves to cougars to bison to, yes, bears. Humans can and do live in the state, but they know that if they don’t toe the line, they’ll get evicted…or eaten.

In fact, humans don’t get eaten, but the cattle, sheep and hogs they raise for consumption by the sentient carnivores do. The same goes for the tens of thousands of bales of hay that get placed out during the winter months for the herbivores.

What do the humans get? Gold…diamonds…rare gems…and an incredibly rare mineral that can be used to make anti gravity drives for space craft. How do the animals get these things? Nobody knows, but the prevailing theory is that it has something to do whit whatever or whoever made them sentient in the first place.

Thrilling Winkerdog Tales

…if you find cuteness and cunning to be thrilling

Today’s Doclopedia post is below. Only two more states to go and then the whole 50 can go up on the website!

The Doclopedia #275

Altered (United) States: West Virginia “A State of War”

The war between goblins and elves has been raging across West Virginia since 1878, with a few years of relative peace here and there. Due to the very powerful magical nature of both races, the Royal Government has never been able to do much to put a stop to the fighting. It is rumored that Queen Hillary has considered sending in werewolves, but due to the inability to fully control them has so far held off.

The worst fighting took place between April, 1910 and October, 1926. During that time, an estimated 1.7 million elves and 2.1 million goblins died. To this day, a 50 square mile spot of ground in Calhoun county is so imbued with Death Magic that everything inside it (mostly simple plants and a few insects) is deadly to the touch.

From 1965 to 1968, both sides used Necromantic spells, but stopped when the resulting zombies and ghouls threw off their control and began to attack everything that moved.

The fighting mostly takes place in the central portion of the state, so most of the peaceful races live close to the borders. Despite the ongoing war, West Virginia is still a major producer of wandwood, yellow moon shine powder and gorkus nut extract. West Virginians are also rightly famous for their baked goods, which some people have been known to travel hundreds of miles to buy.

Go There And Do That

…but don’t ever talk about it

The Doclopedia #274

Altered (United) States: Washington “Welcome To The Future”

On the rainy morning of March 19th, 1999, a 400 square mile of Washington state, mostly centered on Seattle, swapped places with the Seattle of March 19th, 2039. Only 7 lives were lost in the swap, although another 290 people were injured, mostly in a minor way. About 17,000 more people were treated for psychological problems in the weeks afterwards.

The swap lasted exactly 10 hours. It changed the world like this…

At the Microsoft campus, of which only half was swapped, they got their hands on the 2039 version of Windows and the computers it ran on. Attempts were made to profit off of this, but by the time they debugged Windows ’39 (in spring, 2004), some Linux fans had adapted a 2039 distro of Linux and totally conqured the OS market.

Attempts to replicate the computers of 2039, took until 2013 due to the chips being made by technology based upon theories that had not come up yet.

After reading a 2027 film industry magazine, studios the world over forbade 3D technology until 2025.

Over the next 5 years, almost all of the federal Legislative Branch was arrested, fled the country or left politics.

George W. Bush dropped out of the presidential race. Al Gore won, but his vice presidential running mate was Jerry Brown of California.

Google, Facebook, YouTube and many other internet sensations were created by a group of female college students. By 2009, they were the five richest women on Earth.

The 9/11 attacks never happened, but on 7/04/01, about 300 terrorists (or were they terrorists to be?) were rounded up by Navy Seals. Osama bin Laden died in his prison cell in a secret CIA facility on December 3rd, 2022.

Self replicating robots with advanced AI programs moved out of Seattle fast and began following their base programming to “help humans make this a better world”.

That last bit is why, in the current year of 2049, Earth is cleaner, more peaceful and free of climate change problems.

And all of the humans are living off planet because the robots won’t let them come back.

Cool Space Chickens

…from the planet Poultriana

The Doclopedia #273

Altered (United) States: Virginia “An Uplifting State”

In the year 2110, the Commonwealth of Virginia is America’s center for advancing the evolution of other Terran lifeforms. Starting in 2029, the researchers at both the University of Virginia and EvoAdvance Technologies began using genetic manipulation, selective breeding and cybernetics to speed up and manipulate the evolution of certain species of animals, starting with chimpanzees and pigs. Within two decades, they had given both species more intelligence and the ability to speak. By 2063, chimps were given a much more erect posture and true opposable thumbs. In that same year, the first Smart Pigs went on the market to the military and police forces.

Smart Pigs were leaner, taller and faster than regular domesticated swine. They were also three times smarter than previous pigs, which put them at a level equal to about a 15 year old human. Their problem solving skills were equaled only by New Chimps and dolphins. In the Water War of 2066-2072, Smart Pigs played an invaluable part in the United States victory.

New Chimps showed a definite mechanical aptitude and were primarily used in construction work, including work done in outer space. Nearly 70% of the Mars Express colony ship was built by New Chimps.

Over the years, Virginia has been first to introduce many advanced animals, including NeoGorillas, SuperDogs, Octopoids, CyberCats and the amazing Oliphants, the smartest and largest of all the so called “Critters 2.0”.

In the current year, these advanced animals are everywhere, making life easier and safer for humans.

Note: In 2032, EvoAdvance Technologies and the Pentagon began a super secret project to advance the evolution of humans, with an eye towards making a tougher, faster and stronger soldier. None of the records of this experiment exist today, having been destroyed when an “agricultural research facility” burnt to the ground in 2080. However, rumor has it that a firefighter and a local boy found one of the researchers badly burned and dying a mile from the site. His last words before dying are said to have been “Smart…crazy smart…and psi! They made Doctor Orton destroy…said they…free animals…called us Neanderthals…”

The United States Government has officially called this “A load of bullshit made up by conspiracy theorists”.

Iron Chef: Seafood Smoothie Battle

…yuck, just yuck

The Doclopedia #272

Altered (United) States: Vermont “Love Is In The Air”

In 1955, Vermont resident Darlene Hensdale, an avid gardener and award winning rose grower, began working on a new type of rose. If things went well, she would soon have a climbing rose with small flowers in three mixed colors. Sure enough, in 1961 she patented the “Fireworks” rose, whose small and profuse yellow flowers were streaked with vivid orange and red. It was a huge hit and won many awards. It was also being sold by three of the nation’s top rose nurseries. Soon, gardens everywhere, but especially in Vermont, had at least one of the climbers.

Nobody knew they had a mutant in their midst.

See, Darlene fertilized these roses with horse manure from her friend Henry Barnwell’s farm. Which had an excellent horse pasture that was watered mostly by runoff from up the hill…which was polluted by illegally dumped toxic pharmaceutical wastes.

Which made those “Fireworks” roses turn into beautiful little pollen factories whose product caused people to mellow the hell out and love their fellow man.

Actually, exposure to the pollen caused people to love pretty much everything. Animals, the environment, life…everything. Now, the effects could vary from person to person. Some whacked out psycho motherfucker might just get calm and relaxed, while some good hearted person might just start acting saintly good. It hit horny people pretty hard, which is why you can sometimes see couples screwing right out in the open.

Which the mellow and loving Vermonters just smile at.

It turns out that the longer and or earlier you are exposed to the pollen, the longer the effect lasts. By the time the US government started investigating things, most of the people in Vermont (and a goodly number of people in other states) were set for the rest of their lives. Even better, many of the roses had been shipped to other countries, where the effects were just as profound.

Eventually, all this crazy love stuff started to bother people whose businesses were not helped by a loving and non-violent/non-competitive populace. This included most of the world’s governments. Worldwide bans were placed on the “Fireworks” rose and a systematic eradication began in 1980.

Of course, by then, all that pollen had found it’s way to other types of roses, and roses are big time cross pollinators. By 1985, the eradication programs were halted and governments all over the world just mellowed out and loved each other.

Love is all you need.

Young Love Among The Mutants

…first of, they have like, 9 sexes

The Doclopedia #271

Altered (United) States: Utah “Crystallized”

Scientists know that up until about 700 years ago, a huge area of Utah was covered in salt, including a very large salt lake. At that time, according to legends told by the Native Americans of the area, the “Glowing Gods” came and extracted all of the salt from the ground & the lake and used it to make the enormous sculptures that can now be found all over Utah, eastern Nevada and parts of southern Idaho.

The smallest sculpture, of a type of high desert ant, is 65 feet long and 40 feet tall. The largest of the pieces is that of a native woman carrying a baby. It is 500 feet tall. There are sculptures of everything from rattlesnakes to jackrabbits to various migratory birds. All told, there are over 600 sculptures, all done in incredible detail, then sealed in an indestructible plastic coating.

The state of Utah makes big bucks off of all the tourists that come to see these sculptures, as well as the folks who come to vacation at Lake Bonneville, one of the largest lakes in the world.

Note: The creatures who made the sculptures also made a winding pathway for water to drain from Lake Bonneville into the Colorado River down in Arizona, thus insuring that no great salt lake will ever form in Utah again.

The Otter And Her Daughter

…a story for girls and their moms

The Doclopedia #270

Altered (United) States: Texas “The Yellow Rose State”

The American Civil War ended abruptly 10 months into the fighting when a mysterious plague broke out among Confederate soldiers. In just a few days, soldiers on both sides were dropping dead as the sickness took them. The plague, which seemed to favor males, soon spread to the civilian populace of most southern states, including Texas.

By the time the plague burned itself out, there was a severe shortage of men over the age of puberty all across the South. Not surprisingly, it took a while to get men from other areas to travel south. Fear of the plague reappearing was high.

In Texas, the womenfolk weren’t going to wait around for men to show up. They put advertisements in newspapers from Canada to Central America and from coast to coast. The gist of these ads?

“Ladies! Do you want to make your mark on the world? Do you seek good pay and a job? Would you like a piece of land to call your own? Then come to Texas! We need you and will give you a chance to prove your worth!”

Was it successful? Oh yes! 300,000 women of all ages, races and nationalities flooded into the Lone Star State in the first year alone. Women took up the jobs that men had done before, from cowboy to undertaker to railroad worker to Texas Ranger. The Texas Legislature, as well as every other elected position and most appointed positions, was filled by women.

Due to a couple of small outbreaks of the Mankiller Plague, it took 10 years for men to begin coming into Texas in any numbers. By then, many women had taken younger husbands and lovers as the young Texan boys reached their late teens. Although it was never talked about until many decades later, lesbian relationships flourished and were just taken in stride.

When men did begin to come into the state, they naturally sought to take control of things. That didn’t happen. First off, Texas had a bunch of new laws about female equality and inheritance and other things. Secondly, women outnumbered men by 3 to 1 well into the 1920s and those women were really fond of their female politicians. In fact, Texas didn’t reach a 50/50 male/female ratio until the 1970s. By then, there was no chance in Hell of men controlling anything.

Which was just fine by all those Yellow Roses of Texas.

Revenge Of The Mother In Law Of Dracula

…a direct to video release

WooHoo! Two entries today! Also: it’s payday!

The Doclopedia #268

Altered (United) States: South Dakota “A Moving State”

On no less that 9 alternate United States (2 like ours, 1 post apocalypse, 1 old west, 2 steampunk, 1 modern fantasy, 1 Japan conquered & 1 where apes rule), the State of South Dakota just won’t stay put. Every decade since 1950, at 2:17 pm on June 4th a, it moves to occupy the space and shape of another state. The swap is totally random and uncontrollable. During that decade, the other state assumes South Dakotas shape and original spot on the map. You can imagine how this pisses off people from, say, Florida or California.

But what about SIZE, you ask? South Dakota is pretty big, so how can it fit into someplace like Delaware or Vermont? And what about larger states, like Alaska?

The answer is simple: The people, places and things in the state expand or shrink to fit in. And to answer your next question, yes, that is damned strange. When South Dakota swapped with Texas in 1980 (and the Texans are still bitching about that) everything in the state expanded several times over. In 2000, when it swapped with New Hampshire, the people were all about a foot tall.

Yes, of course anything entering the state grows or shrinks accordingly.

The South Dakotans face all this with the stoicism bred into them by the northern prairie way of life. They are also very apologetic to the other states.

Still, every person in the state can hardly wait for the swap with Hawaii.

The Doclopedia #269

Altered (United) States: Tennessee “The Invisible State”

In 1895, the diabolical Professor Pandemonium flew his giant airship over the Volunteer State and used his Light Diffusement Cannon to render the entire state invisible, with the intent of then ransoming Tennessee for millions of dollars. Imagine his surprise when the weapon exploded a few minutes later and took the airship and all aboard with it.

This left Tennessee in a hell of a fix, which science and even Science! have not been able correct. Today, it’s 2018 and if you go to most of the Tennessee border, you can only see what looks like a humongous earthen pit 50 feet deep. If you go to the spots where roads or rail lines enter the state, you’ll find the 2 mile long tunnels that where constructed in 1897 to let folks go in and out of the state without freaking out.

You see, inside the Tennessee border, everything is perfectly visible. If something or somebody leaves Tennessee, they become visible. Thus, the whole invisibility thing has only a minimal effect on day to day life. But without those tunnels, hoo boy, would there be traffic jams.

Note: The invisibility effect only works on humans. Animals and cameras can see Tennessee just fine.

The Thrilling Adventures Of Doctor Tempest And The Demon Airship

…from the March 1898 issue

So about 2 weeks ago, I busted a tooth off of my upper dental plate. Figuring that I was about 4-5 years overdue for a new plate anyway, I went to the dentist last Tuesday to see about getting one. The top plates are reasonably priced on our dental plan: $150.00.

My partial bottom plate, being made of some flexible plastic stuff that WAY beats the shit out of the old metal framed/plastic coated kind, is a bit more pricey: Upwards of $450.00. Still, I figured I’d at least see if I needed one.

The dentist checked me out and said that while I’d need a new upper, the lower could be realigned, which was easier and cheaper (only 50 bucks!) than getting a new one made.

The catch is that I’d need to actually let them send my lowers off to a lab. They said it would take “a few days”.

So, today, I went in and got impressions made via the “hold this nasty tasting goop in your mouth until it firms up” method.

Then they said that only one lab in the area can do alignments and it would take two weeks to get my lowers back. Well, what ya gonna do? I left the lowers there, popped the uppers in and told the dentist that I’d see him on the 19th.

Since I on have 8 real teeth left on my lower jaw, all mostly in front, chewing anything tough or crunchy is out.

SO, it looks like the next two weeks is a good time to start that diet up again! Lotsa protien & juice shakes, cottage cheese, yogurt, soft fruits, milkshakes, etc, etc in my future! Also soft, yet high fiber foods!

With any luck and some daily walking, maybe I’ll drop a dozen pounds or so by the time I’m fully dentated again.

At which point, I’m gonna eat me some real food! In moderation.

Attack Of The Giant Grandmothers

…they bake enormous cookies and take you fun places

Hey, y’all, it’s Tomorrow’s Post Today!

The Doclopedia #267

Altered (United) States: South Carolina “A State Of Change”

On Earth 222, the State of South Carolina is in a constant state of flux. Every two to four years, the state and everything in it changes. Oddly, anyone who has not lived in the state for at least two years does not change.

This strangeness started in 1961, on June 17th, when a small meteor composed of an unknown material exploded over the state. A week later, the entire state changed to a desert environment and the people all turned into 5 foot tall very dark blue skinned humanoids. However, when asked about things, they all talked as if South Carolina had always been that way and nobody questioned could remember it being any other way.

For the next two years, the people living there went about their business, working, voting, paying taxes, etc. All of the strange goods they produced (including the hexagonal paper money) reverted to normal once it passed over the border. This also happened to humans and animals, but no South Carolinian seemed to notice the change.

The rest of the country/world really didn’t know what to think. Scientists didn’t have a clue.

Over the years (it is now 2011 on that world) South Carolina has changed dozens of times. A few examples…

…From 1978 to 1981, it was a strange looking heavily forested place and the people looked very much like elves.

…From 1985 to 1989, it was a futuristic looking megalopolis and the humans were 12 feet tall, but otherwise quite normal looking.

…From 1998 to 2000, it was a totally flat icy waste where everything lived underground. The humans looked like gelatinous globs.

…from 2008 to 2011, the state looked like Dante’s version of Hell, but with farms, shops and businesses. The people looked like devils and demons. Tourism dropped to a mere trickle.

It should also be noted that the state has its own weather, appropriate to the environment at the time.

The Flying Spanaducci Sisters Play London

…including a show for the Queen

The Doclopedia #266

Altered (United) States: Rhode Island “The REAL Return Of The King”

On May 28th, 1958, Private Elvis Presley, who was undergoing basic training at Fort Hood Army Base in Texas, was injured in an accident that resulted in the amputation of his left leg from the knee down. Amid the huge outpouring of sympathy from his fans around the world, Elvis was discharged from military service and returned home to Memphis to recuperate, get used to his prosthetic leg and resume his musical career. Unfortunately, within the next three months, Elvis would see his mother die and then his manager, Tom Parker, killed in a car crash. These events had a terrible effect on him.

He went insane.

Elvis was admitted to a private sanitarium in Rhode Island in February of 1959. Over the next 18 months, Elvis would slowly regain his sanity. By mid-1960, he was ready to leave.

But just days before he was to return home, Elvis was visited by a fan, a young woman who called herself Julie Dark. Nobody knows how she got into the building, let alone into his room, but Julie spent nearly three hours talking with Elvis before she was discovered by a nurse and escorted out. Elvis told the nurse and his doctors that he and Julie had just discussed his music and future career, so no charges were pressed and the young woman was allowed to go.

Elvis left four days later and went to a hotel in Providence, puzzling his father and friends. He seemed ok, with the only odd thing being that he was paying much more attention to the news on television, radio and in the half dozen newspapers he read every day. Once or twice a day, he would cut an article out of the paper or show intense interest in a tv news report. By the time two weeks had passed, Elvis announced that he wanted to buy a house in Rhode Island, then resume his musical career.

By 1966 Elvis was riding a string of number one hits and considering a tour with The Beatles. In fact, the Fab Four were present at his Fourth of July party when Julie (whom Elvis had not seen since her visit to the sanitarium) came walking in and said “Elvis, it’s time.”

The effect on Elvis was incredible. He rushed over to a bookcase, swung it away from the wall and revealed an entire room full of weapons. There was also a yellow telephone there, without a dial. He picked up the receiver and waited a few seconds before saying “Mr. President, it’s started.” Then he hung up and started passing out weapons to his guests.

As we know now, July 4, 1966 was the day of the First Great Zombie Rising. Thanks to advance warning given to Elvis by the precognitive talents of Julie Dark, President Kennedy was able to get the military and law enforcement on top of things and the loss of life was minimized. Later, when risings occurred in other countries, the US was able to help out and keep things under control (except in China, where they thought all of this zombie nonsense was a capitalist plot, which is why they eventually had to firebomb large portions of their own country, leading to the collapse of communism there in 1971).

Elvis himself became known as the greatest zombie fighter of them all. News footage of him blowing the heads off dozens of the walking dead was seen all over the world. Once the Rising was contained, he was awarded many honors, including the title of “King of Rhode Island”. A 30 foot tall statue of him holding a zombie by the neck with one hand while shooting it with a pistol in his other hand stands in the civic center plaza in Providence. Elvis has twice turned down requests to run for president.

Today, Rhode Island is not only home to the World Center For Zombie Studies, it’s a major hotbed for music, rivaling such places as Austin, London, Los Angeles and Nashville. Many of the best clubs, recording studios, record shops and radio stations can be found on Elvis Presley Boulevard.

Hail to the King, baby!

Eating Tacos In Freefall

…eat fast, amigo

Ok, no Doclopedia post just yet, but hey, I only have 100 more to go to hit the 365 goal!

I was asked the other day what will become of the Doclopedia posts after the 365 point. Here’s the low down…

I’ll still do Doclopedia posts, but most of them will go up directly on my The Dociverse website. Maybe 1 or 2 a week will go up here, which ain’t bad since I’m only going to do 4 per week.

On the days I don’t do Doclopedia posts, I hope to post short fiction, reviews and other writings here. Again, some of the things I’ll write will be website exclusive.

Finally, I’ll also be working on compiling a PDF or two for sale. First up will be a compilation of characters from the Doclopedia, expanded and with a few all new ones.

And on top of all that, I’ll still be doing regular fiction blog posts, Facebook posts and who knows what else.

Mr. Potato Head Salad

…Yeah, ok, that’s twisted

The Doclopedia #265

Altered (United) States: Pennsylvania “The Quarantined State”

It’s simple: You can’t go into Pennsylvania because you’ll shrink until you’re only 12 inches tall. Actually, the shrinking area doesn’t start until you get about 5-10 miles into the state, but it’s marked off by a very prominent border. Since the shrinking is permanent and you’ll die if you leave the state, it’s not a place most people are hot to go visit. Also, it’s against Federal law and you’ll be shot on sight.

The shrinking started in 1843 and it took only 3 weeks for the human population to get down to the 12 inch size. Not surprisingly, many people tried fleeing the state. They quickly sickened and died, so the people still in the state had to remain there. For whatever reason, there were an estimated 20,000 people who went into the state after that. They shrunk and stayed there, making a new life for themselves. Many of them were runaway slaves and once they got to Pennsylvania, were free from persecution. When you need every hand just to survive, you quickly forget about mere skin color.

The Pennsylvanians outside the shrinking area began marking off the border with a 30 foot wide clearing. After many years and the ready assistance of bordering states, it was finished. The “tall” Pennsylvanians then took up a protector position regarding their “little” friends. They send in all many of foods and medicines and tiny tools and machinery. In return, the little folks started sending out exquisitely made tiny arts and crafts, which sold for very high prices.

In the present time, Pennsylvania is a major center for miniaturization of all sorts of electronic and non-electronic devices. Most notable among these are the tiny 1 inch tall robots called “Harrys” because they are manufactured in and around Harrisburg. Harrys are used in all sorts of work, from manufacturing to space exploration (Harrys are a big part of the robotic workforce building the soon to be occupied Mars base) to environmental studies.

The tiny Pennsylvanians are pretty accepting of their fate. As more than one has said, “Where else in the world can you feed a family of four for a week on three pounds of groceries?”