…if Marvel had written the fairy tale
The Doclopedia #208
Lawmen: Inspector Nick Douglas
Nobody wants the Faerietown beat. Dealing with Pookas, Brownies, Elves, Gnomes, Sprites, Trolls and the dozens of other species of faerie that live there is enough to make a cop give up and become a farmer. Which is exactly why Nick got the job. The brass was hoping that he’d say “screw it” after a few weeks and leave the force. The brass were wrong.
Instead of letting the faeries make him crazy (he has 2 ex-wives for that), Nick learned everything he could about them. Before long, he had trusted contacts among the faerie community and was busting crooks right and left. He even got a commendation from the King of Faerietown. Of course, he did make some enemies, but that’s what cold iron bullets are for.
Meanwhile, the human bosses in the police force and city force are trying to deal with Nick’s new found celebrity, much of which he owes to newspaper columnist and close friend Gabe Castillo. There isn’t a week goes by that Nick doesn’t get at least a few lines in My Town: Day & Night. This drives Police Commissioner Anderson crazy.
Nick Douglass is 5’11” tall, weighs 185 pounds, has black hair and brown eyes and walks with a slight limp. His favorite radio show is “Dragnet”, his favorite drink is scotch on the rocks, his favorite food is Chinese and his favorite gun is a .45 automatic. Nick lives in a small apartment with his cat, Abigail.
AFTER THE CHANGE CAME
An Evening For Posting Long Articles From 10 Years Ago
The following entry is from a series of articles I did over the years that appeared in the Times of Luna. This one was the first and appeared in 2000.
The First Year
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 at 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 (which is pretty good, if I do say so), plus the ability to speak via telepathy. Plus, Grace & I were 18 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, while I knew all about my Mutant powers), 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 18 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.
I’d like to take a moment here to explain to you fine space folks that Wizards are wonderful folks but, in most cases, oddballs. A few might even be called crazy.
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. The gas station owner was a troll, but a rather friendly one who told me that he and his family would soon be giving up the gas station for a farm. Many trolls are farmers and darned good ones, too.
Phone calls let us find out that most of our family members had become gnomes, with the exception of those who had become giants (my sister and brother in law), Mages (or, in the case of my cousin Wendy, a witch), centaurs (my brother, Kelly, and my cousins Randy and Rob), Mutants (my sister in law Lauren, a couple of cousins) or other New Races (my brother in law, Steve, is a werewolf and my niece Molly is an elf ). A few remained human (both my nephews and my niece, Megan) and everybody seemed to be ok, or at least what passes for ok in our families.
Over the course of the next few days, 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. All of them were human, including both of my nephews
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. When Grace and I built our large 12 room farmhouse, the cost of materials came to about what you’d pay for a good cow. Labor was just a bit more expensive, thanks to our gnomish kinfolk.
While science was still with us, much technology had been changed or just rendered impossible. Computers were now organic and alive and had to be fed every few weeks. Ours is a vegetarian. Nuclear weapons were gone and even if you could have built one, it wouldn’t work due to Wizardly Decree. Petroleum products were limited and will eventually disappear entirely, but solar power was much more efficient and cheaper than ever before. Cars were still around and didn’t look much different, but the got great gas mileage. Buses were now alive and looked like strange mixes of buses with dogs, cats or rabbits. Trains were also alive and looked like some strange offspring of a train and a multi legged lizard. All of them were very friendly, comfy to ride in and fast. People really took to travel by bus and train and in a few months, they became the most popular form of travel..
If you needed to go where trains or buses couldn’t go, you could travel by airship (huge zeppelin like craft), Wizard Portal (nearly instantaneous and fairly inexpensive, but not widely available), teleporting (if you are brave or just like taking risks), seagoing ship (like buses and trains, they are alive and have a sort of giant turtle look) or the new solar powered airplanes (slow and, at that time, expensive). Jets airplanes were gone, but if you could get on good terms with a Dragon, they might give you a lift. Most Dragons can hit about 400 miles per hour. Not very comfy on long trips, but great for short hops.
The Wizards 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 2 years to go, at which point most fish populations will be booming. The climate, once on the verge of man made change for the worse, has begun stabilizing.
In most areas on land, the enchanted borders (Ring Roads) of Towns & Cities are mostly there to keep out large predators, both normal and magical. In California, where I live, that mostly means the no longer extinct California Grizzly Bear, which are huge (largest non-magical land carnivores on Earth) 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 pretty much 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 real 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 anyway. It works out pretty well.
As for religion, in some areas the religious fundamentalists that still survived rejected the entire Change as the work of Satan or America or whatever other thing they could point a finger at and cling to hating. 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. Most of these places are will slowly die out because the young people will start to leave
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. Well, ok, we sometimes have to deal with ogres or giants or other folks who get liquored up and rowdy, but it’s no big deal.
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 soon, 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 giv 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. The Democrats are just kind of sad, since nobody needs social programs or the like anymore.
Earning money is actually 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. It also helps that the herd mentality humans used to have is dead because, hey, it’s a mixed herd now.
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.