Doc Tempest And The Hammer Of Thor

…from the October, 1957 issue

 

 

The Doclopedia #1,307

How Did You Get That Scar?: The Pirate

I see you staring at my bosom, mate. Or rather, at that circular scar on the right one, correct? No, no need to apologize. Strapping young lads such as yourself can’t help but stare at beauties like these. Ha! I made you blush! How adorable.

The story is as simple as swabbing a deck. My crew of ladies and I had been making things lively down in the Indies and decided to head east for a spell, just to get a change of scenery. The fact that we left just ahead of a great sweep by the Spanish was mere coincidence.

So we were off the coast of Africa, taking prizes from both the Crown and the French when two French ships of the line come over the horizon and give chase. After about half a day, we weren’t losing them and the distance between us was getting damned short. The only trick left to try was to head for a rocky little island we had stopped at before and hope we could run the Frenchy sods aground on the low lying reefs.

The plan worked on the first ship, but the captain of the second had better luck. We ran into a reef and he was on us. A fight breaks out as they boarded us and during the proceedings, somebody shot the fancy looking pistol right out of the captain’s hand. The fight goes on a while longer and they get the best of us, but only after losing a good number of men.

Captain Rambord, for that was the name the Froggy bastard gave, had us all tied up on deck and was telling us how much we would enjoy a French prison. I politely told him my opinion of the French, their prisons and him in particular. That got him mad and he picked up the remains of his pistol and starts heating it over a torch. While he’s doing that, he tells me how the pistol was a gift from some duke or something and how he would use it to brand every one of us, starting with me.

All eyes were on him as he walked up and pressed that red hot barrel to my chest. I screamed and screamed. The pain was terrible, but not the worst I’ve ever felt. He laughed and started heating up the barrel for my First Mate.

And then his ship caught fire.

Well, as you might expect, most of his men took off to help fight the fire, which seemed to be pretty intense. That left half a dozen armed men and the captain with us. When 14 of my crew jumped up and attacked them, they went down without a shot fired. Once I was freed, I started heating up that pistol barrel and telling that scurvy dog how I’d had the presence of mind to prepare for being captured.

You see, I had told three of my ladies to slip over the side the moment we ran aground. They had waited for the right moment, then two of them started fires on the French ship. The third one had climbed up a line and slipped a knife to one of the crew tied to the railing. The knife got passed along unseen due to everyone watching the captain and I. Ah, the French, so easily distracted.

And so the captain’s ship burned, the other ship was not going anywhere due to a hole in her belly, our own damage was minimal and Captain Rambord is never going to be much use to any woman. We looted their ships after forcing the crews to swim to the island, then sailed off on the high tide. As you can see, my wound healed, leaving only this small scar.

Now, my handsome young fellow, how would you like to learn some very saucy tricks I picked up during a trip to India?

 

 

 

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Tales Of The Illuminaughty

…a much more fun organization

The Doclopedia #1,306

How Did You Get That Scar?: The Old Veteran

“Well, Billy, since your old grandad doesn’t have too many more months left on this old earth, I’ll tell you all about it. Now, understand that you can’t go telling anybody anything I’m about to say. It’s still a big deal secret, even though I’d bet a fat wad of cash that there aren’t five people still alive who were actually privy to the info way back during the war. Still, you can bet there’s some government schmoe out there tasked with hauling in anyone that says the wrong things.

It was January of 1945 and contrary to everything you’ve ever heard about me, I wasn’t in the infantry fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. I was in Berlin working deep undercover with three other folks. One was a yank, like me. The other two were a British woman and a Polish guy that looked every bit the Aryan ideal. We’d been there since October of 1943, working jobs and moving up the ladder. Me and Jack were at the Records Department, which gave us plenty of opportunities to learn things. Stan, the Pole, was doing propaganda movies. He hated it, but he learned even more than Jack and I did. Kate was working as a maid in the hotel where all the top dogs stayed when they were in town. Nazis, Japs, Italians, they all stayed there. Kate learned more than any of us, because even the smartest guys leave clues behind, not to mention they like to talk when they get drunk.

Anyway, at first, we were just getting intel and passing it on to our contact. But after about ten months, we all started hearing these rumors about some secret club that Hitler was part of. We also heard about people going to meetings of this club and never being seen again. Now, these were just the barest half-whispered rumors, nothing worth reporting on, but when you keep hearing them, you start digging a little deeper. And we did just that.

Stan found a young actress that, after a little bed action, told him how a friend of hers was sleeping with some Nazi officer who was assigned with protecting a scientist. This scientist was working on something big, something that would turn the war and hand the Germans victory on a silver platter. That got our attention, so we sent word to our bosses back in London and kept our ears and eyes open.

To shorten this story up, it took about six week before we pieced together that there were scientists working on some biological weapon and that this secret club of old Adolf’s was how they got subjects to test on.

By then, things were heating up for the Nazis and we were told we should prepare to get out of Berlin at a moment’s notice. But we’d be damned if we were going to just leave the goddamn Nazis to develop something they could use on our boys! London agreed with us and told us to expect a delivery of something that might help put and end to things.

So we waited and a couple of days before our package was supposed to arrive, we got a double whammy of information. Kate had been cleaning in a hallway at the hotel when she sees this Luftwaffe officer knelt down in a doorway, blind drunk and praying to God about saving us all from the armies of Hell. She hears enough to know that in a few days, something big and bad is going to happen at an old warehouse on the edge of town. And that, my boy, would put it damned near the area of that secret club.

The second whammy, the really big one, comes when Jack is coming back to our room one night and meets a young lady we both knew. Now, when we had last seen Elise a couple of weeks earlier, she was your typical pleasant German girl working for the war effort. That night, she was pale and sick looking and scared shitless. She came back to our room with Jack and told us how she had escaped from a warehouse that housed a laboratory. She said she had been infected with a disease that killed people, then made them live again. She figured she had hours left. She said about a hundred others were infected and had already risen from the dead.

Yeah, that’s right. The goddamn Nazis had figured out how to make zombies.

Well, Jack and I were not sure how to take her story, but big chunks of it fit right into our puzzle. We decided to take Elise and go see Stan and Kate, but Elise said we had to let her go kill herself. She didn’t want to be undead and really, who they hell could blame her?

So we walked with her to an abandoned house, dodging Nazi search parties all the way. Once she got into the house, she told us goodbye and started turning on the gas. She had a box of matches in her hand. Jack and I were four blocks away when the house blew up.

We met with Stan and Kate who agreed that it all made sense. Not knowing what to do next, we just decided to wait on our package. It arrived 36 hours later, at high noon.

It was a water truck and it “broke down” about halfway between out boarding house and Kate’s place. The driver told the cops that it would take a day to get a new gear box and they believed him. They had bigger fish to fry now that a zombie to be had blown up herself and a square block of buildings.

Later that day, we met with the driver who told us that the truck held a weapon that would take out an area a half a mile across. We figured it was explosives and that was okay by us. Kate told us that something big was going down tonight, because lots of brass were in town and going to a meeting at nine that night. Stan said it sounded like zombie reveal time to him.

So at nine that night, we get the truck to within about a mile of the perimeter they had set up. It was tight and the truck was gonna have to ram through a bunch of armed Germans. To make things more interesting, the driver had to arm and detonate the explosive. He’d need one of us to drive and one to fire weapons. Stan told us he’d drive and Jack said he’d be the gunner. They shut Kate and I down by telling us that they were both orphans and we had families back home. We tried to argue, but it was pointless. We did insist on starting a diversion on our way out of the area. They gave us 15 minutes.

So we crept up near the perimeter and took a page from Elise’s book by blowing up a gas station. Then we stole a car and hauled ass to a church outside the blast radius. We broke in and climbed up to the bell tower. We had to see the explosion.

Only there wasn’t one. We could barely see the truck heading for the warehouse and then we heard a hum that got louder and louder and made us dizzy. Then there was a big flash of light and everything in that area just vanished. Gone in a heartbeat. People, buildings, cars…hell, even the trees. All just not there anymore. The whole big prefect circle of the blast or whatever the hell it was, was smooth as glass.

We stared at each other and then heard planes and about a thousand sirens, so we decided to get out of there. Luck got us a couple of miles away when we got stopped by two soldiers with sub-machine guns. We got out of the car all nice like and they dropped their guard long enough for Kate to shove a dagger into one guy’s throat while I shot the other with my pistol. Unfortunately, he got off a shot that ripped an 8 inch line up my left arm, which is why I still have this big scar.

Anyway, Kate and I made it out of town to a safe house, then eventually to London where we were told that we saw nothing, heard nothing and knew nothing under penalty of being shot. We both agreed that we were as dumb as posts, so they gave us some R&R time before I went home and Kate went back to Surrey.

Nope, I don’t know what the hell was on that truck aside from two of the bravest sons of bitches I’ve ever met. And now you know how I got this scar and why your dad is named Jack and your uncle is named Stan. Now how about you go grab a beer for a 92 year old fart?”

Doc & Spike Go To GenCon

…and they might have gotten a few games

 

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The Doclopedia #1,305

How Did You Get That Scar?: The Redneck

New York Times? You come all the way down here to hear the story? You Yankees must be short on interestin’ things to write about. I figured you’d be coverin’ the election. Ain’t Kennedy your boy? Anyway, you paid for it, so here y’all go.

It was Friday afternoon, two weeks ago. Me and my cousin Jessie had just come off shift over at the sawmill and we were sittin’ out on his front porch lookin’ at this little school bus that was parked up by the Baptist church. Damned thing was painted all sorts of colors, all splotchy like. Now, we’d only had a couple of beers, but I’d swear to Jesus that them colors on that bus kept moving and changing, but really slow.

Hell yeah, I know how that sounds. You don’t think everbody in town hasn’t said we was drunk or lyin’ or crazy? But I’m just sayin’ how it looked. Reverend Milford says it musta been the sun moving and causing it, but that damned bus was in shade the whole time!

So we watched that bus and drank another beer and pretty soon the door on it opens and out comes this old boy with long hair. I mean long like a girl. He’s maybe 60 or so. Had on sneakers, dungarees and a t-shirt with a picture of a dragon on it. White beard, mostly gray hair, pot belly, wearin’ glasses. Looked a little like one of them mountain men from back in my grandpa’s day.

He was walkin’ one of those short legged long eared dogs…yeah, a basset hound…but he wasn’t usin’ no leash. The dog just walked along next to him and he was talkin’ to it just like it was a person. Me and Jeff could tell by his accent that he was some sort of Yankee. We saw that the dog wasn’t lookin’ right, neither. It was fat as a pig and had a hunchback. Didn’t seem to hurt it none. It was just trottin’ right along, stoppin’ ever so often to sniff somethin’.

Well sir, when they get up close by us, me and Jeff decided to poke a little fun at ’em. Jeff said “Hey, are you a boy or a girl” to the feller and I said “Man, that there is one ugly damned dog”. The guy and dog both stop and look at us a second, then the he says to Jeff “Why don’t you suck my dick and find out, you halfwitted hillbilly”. Yeah, I know you can’t print that, but it’s what he said. Pissed Jeff off, too. I could tell there was gonna be a fight.

But before Jeff can even get up outta his chair, the old boy turns to me and says “You’d better apologize to my dog, dickhead. She’s very sensitive and might get mad and kick your ass.” Well, I just started laughin’ and Jeff come flying off that porch fittin’ to land on that long haired bastard and kick his ass.

Except that Yankee just sorta steps to his left, grabs Jeff as he’s flying by and tosses him into the side of my pickup. Knocked Jeff out cold and put a dent in my truck door. I jump up and yell hoe I’m gonna whup his ass and that’s when that dog started changin’.

Lord Jesus, I don’t ever wanna see anything like that again. That hump on her back and them rolls of fat changed color and turned into a damned OCTOPUS! Yes, I said octopus and I mean it. It had four of them arm things…yeah, tentacles…wrapped around the dogs body and the other four tentacles was grabbin’ me! Two had my arms all pulled out wide, one had my throat and the fourth arm started slappin’ me around. HARD!

I ain’t gonna lie, mister, I was scared like Satan was draggin’ me to Hell. That dog was strong, way stronger than me. And then she started in talkin’! I ain’t ashamed to say I wet myself then.

That dog said “Listen up, you fucking hairless ape! I’m a goddamned scientist and a respectable bitch and no fucking redneck loser like you is going to get away with insulting me!” Then she slaps me a half dozen more times before she lets me go. I took off runnin’ and didn’t look back.

I ran a couple of miles, until I was clean out of town. Then I just fell on the ground and shook and cried. I ain’t never been so scared. It was maybe an hour later that Jeff come walking up and tells me the old boy and his dog are gone now. Just got back on that bus and left town.

Now, Jeff wasn’t scared or nothin’, so I asked him what was up. He just said the guy had shined a light in his eyes and told him to leave the area, go get an education and lead a good life. He musta done that, because the next morning he packed everything into that old ’48 Ford of his and drove off. Me? I stayed drunk for three days. Been answerin’ peoples questions since I sobered up.

Nope, I don’t know who or what that old boy and his dog were and sir, I do not care to find out.

So there’s your story. What? Oh, this scar on my forehead? Well, seems that when I took off runnin’ and screamin’, I run smack into a tree. I don’t even remember it. Yeah, it does kinds look like a basset hound, don’t it?”

Swamp Gravy

…it’s almost yummy

The Doclopedia #1,304

Assorted Trolls: Common Forest Trolls

These are by far the most common Trolls one might encounter. Although they are usually found in forests, as the name implies, they have also been encountered in bogs, prairies, scrublands and even the fringes of deserts. They are very tough, have the best regenerative powers of all trolls and are thoroughly evil.

Forest Trolls are often found as solitary individuals, but once in a while a mated pair will go on a rampage, usually to provide fresh meat to their 2 to 6 young. As the young mature, they will go on hunts with the parents, much to the dismay of any other lifeform they meet. When the young reach about 5 months old, they leave the family group to go off on their own. The parents often part company at this time, but not always. If hunting is good, they may stick together.

In battling these wicked creatures, fire is the preferred weapon. It takes them much longer to regenerate damage done that way and damage done by magical fire cannot be healed at all. Cold spells will slow them to half speed, but won’t do any damage.

ROCKET G-MEN! EPISODE 4: GIANT RABID VOLES!

…as if regular giant voles weren’t bad enough

 

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The Doclopedia #1,303

Assorted Trolls: Deep Cavern Trolls

These blind and deathly white creatures live only in the very deepest of cave systems. To go any deeper would risk stumbling into Demara, the Demon World. Even barely sentient Deep Cavern Trolls know to avoid that.

Nobody knows how the common Cave Troll migrated into the Deep Dark, but they did and are now supremely adapted to living there. Though blind, their hearing and sense of smell are acute. Their spindly bodies mask astonishing speed and strength. Finally, like many other types of Troll, they regenerate lost limbs and damaged organs.

Although precious little study of the species has been done, we do know that Deep Cavern Trolls average 6 feet tall and weigh about 120 pounds. They appear to be sexless most of the time, but can in fact manifest male or female genitalia in a matter of minutes, should they meet another of their kind. No sub-adults have ever been encountered.

These Trolls eat almost anything, but prefer fresh raw meat. Fortunately, they are almost never encountered at depths of less than 2,500 feet. Conyrary to popular belief, that are not harmed by bright light. Fire does affect them, as does magic. Non-magical weapons do little damage against their tough skin.

 

The Clever Girl Who Set The Trap

…for three not so clever boys.

 

The Doclopedia #1,302

Assorted Trolls: Blue Trolls

The smallest of all Trolls, Blue Trolls are by far the most intelligent. Known to the Forest Elves as Night Trolls, they are indeed nocturnal, seldom venturing forth from their burrows during daylight hours.

Blue Trolls live in extensive burrow villages in forests. From 40 to 200 of the 4 foot tall Trolls can make up a village, which might run for several miles in a twisting turning design. There you will find shops, inns, taverns and all of the businesses you would find in a human village. You will also find very tight security. This is not meant to protect against humans or other races, but against other Trolls, who all seem to hate Blue Trolls. This hatred stems from the jealousy they feel toward their smaller, smarter and much more popular cousins.

The primary trade between Blue Trolls and other races is in the rare artifacts that the burrowers often seem to find when they go exploring ruins. Since they burrow using a spell that removes only earth and stone, anything else is left behind. It was, in fact, a Blue Troll burrowing team that found the long lost Helmet of the Iron Emperor.

Both male and female Blue Trolls average around 4 feet tall and have fairly normally proportioned bodies. Their skin is a dark blue, as is their hair. Their eyes are a lighter blue. Blue Trolls seldom have more than 2 children. The average lifespan is 90 years.

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Junior Muskrat Catches A Snake

…but not a big snake

 

The Doclopedia #1,301

Assorted Trolls: Red Mountain Trolls

These are the largest and most dangerous of all Trolls. They hate all other forms of Trollkind and pretty much every other humanoid race. They aren’t very big on the non-humanoid races, either.

The preferred living area for Red Mountain Trolls is the area in mountains above 3,000 feet but below the tree line, where they live in villages of up to 100 individuals. Since their society is matriarchal, females call the shots. This is a good thing because males are always less intelligent than females. On the other hand, males are larger, tougher, and pretty much go berserk in battle. Only the largest Giants and fully adult Dragons will take on a group of Red Mountain Trolls.

Roving bands of males patrol the borders of their home mountain ranges constantly. This means that any kingdom with mountains along one or more borders is pretty safe if Red Mountain Trolls live there. In fact, many such kingdoms will send tribute of foodstuffs and weapons. While this does not insure that the Trolls won’t kill anyone passing the 3,000 foot mark, it usually does mean that they won’t attack trade caravans that might come close.

Male Red Mountain Trolls stand 14 to 16 feet tall and are heavily built. They are covered with rusty red hair and have brownish red skin. Most males also have tusks.

Females of the species have brighter red hair, less ruddy skin and only stand about 10 feet tall. They are also much more eloquent in their speech and, if encountered alone, are somewhat less inclined to outright kill other, smaller humanoids.

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