The Astounding Adventures Of Doctor Tempest And The Army Of Steam Giants

…from the July 1893 issue

More Fiction: “Welcome Back, Sally Smithfield”

(Note: This is an excerpt from “The Return Of Sally Smithfield”, the second most popular issue in the series history.)

Sally didn’t immediately open her eyes, because she was pretty sure she was suffering the worst hangover in the long history of hangovers. Apparently, coming out of temporal stasis was a much rockier experience than even the New Years Day hangover of 1934 had been.

She heard the deep well modulated voice of a young man speaking to her. It was both very like, yet very unlike Doc’s voice. Also, it made her head throb with every word.

“Please stop speaking”, Sally said in a low, rather raspy voice. “I’m trying to die of a hangover here.”

The young man chuckled and then Sally felt a slight pressure on her neck. Within moments, the hangover faded away. Sally felt like one of the living now, so she opened her eyes and said “I’ll take a case of that stuff, please.”

The young man laughed. It was Doc’s laugh, but the face was about as unlike Doc’s as could be. Very long wavy red hair instead of Doc’s medium length curly black hair, boyish good looks as opposed to Doc’s classic handsomeness, no facial scars, both ears pierced, lightly tanned instead of deeply bronze…only those incredible turquoise eyes provided a link between Christopher Tempest and his great grandfather, James.

As he helped her sit up, Chris began to introduce himself. Sally waved it off.

“I know who you are, I know it’s 2029, I know I overslept for 45 years…I know it all. See, Doc and I rigged up a sleep learning device. Every day for the last 90 years, people have gone to work at a place called Universal News Transcription, where they read the days papers, popular magazines, novels and scientific journals…lots of scientific journals…aloud into a microphone. What they read was transmitted to me. All done so I’d be up to speed when I woke up. It was supposed to end in 1964, of course, but since I was the one who was supposed to shut that business down, it just kept running. Remind me to shut it down soon. Anyway, Chris, I’m Sally Smithfield and I’m very glad to meet you.”

Chris took her hand and shook it. “I’m Christopher Tempest, latest Doc Tempest in the long line, and I’m honored to meet you, Sally.”

An incredibly beautiful young woman stepped forward from the shadows and aided Chris in helping Sally from the suspension tank. She looked quite exotic and Sally pegged her ancestry as probably Indian and Asian.

“My name is Jasmine Sin, Sally. I’ll get you some clothing in a moment, but I think you should see something first. With that, she pulled a covering off a full length mirror and gave Sally one of the 3 or 4 greatest shocks of her life.

When she had climbed into that tank (and it seemed like only yesterday) she had been just over 40 years old. A very fit and healthy 40, but still showing some of the ravages of time and a life of adventure.

The woman she was staring at could not have been a day over 18. There were no scars, no wrinkles, nothing sagging…it was her 18 year old body all over again.

Sally blinked, then turned so as to check herself out from all sides.

“Damn!”, she whispered. “I’m a young hottie.”

Both Chris (who Sally noticed was just as tall, at 6’4″ as his great grandfather) and Jasmine (who was at least 5’10” and therefore towered over Sally’s 5″4″ frame) laughed.

“So”, Sally said as she put on the clothing Jasmine offered, “how come I wasn’t woken up in 1964 and what the hell happened to my Doc Tempest?”

The new Doc Tempest stopped laughing and looked Sally straight in the eyes.

“The answer to your first question is a rather convoluted tale. The answer to the second is something I’m hoping you can help me find out. We’ll discuss both over a nice dinner.”

The thought of food made Sally’s stomach grumble.

“Sounds good to me, Chris…err, I mean, Doc. I haven’t had a bite to eat in 90 years and I’d kill for a good Chinese meal.”

Doc chuckled again. “Well, since we’re about 3 blocks from Chinatown, I think we can pull that off. Just be aware that San Francisco has changed quite a bit in 90 years and I doubt that sleep learning gadget included pictures.”

That said, the three of them walked out the door and into Sally’s new life in the 21st century.

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Being A Good Neighbor…Yer Doin’ It Wrong

…based on real life

A Bit Of Fiction: “Goodbye, Sally” (Epilogue from Doc Tempest and the Werewolves of London)

The room measured 30 feet on a side, with a 12 foot ceiling. The stasis generator took up nearly half the room and it had taken Doc and Sally nearly 3 months to install and test it. A third of the remaining space was occupied by the Tesla Engine that would power the generator. In the center of what open space remained was the stasis tank. In marked contrast with every other workspace of Sally’s that Doc had ever seen, this one was spotless. He mentioned that fact to her as he filled one syringe with the innoculant and another with a sedative.

Sally chuckled. “Yeah, well, it wouldn’t do to wake up 25 years from now in a pig sty.” She slipped off her robe and stood nude in front of Doc, extending her arms for the injections. Anyone seeing her like this would have been surprised, but Doc had been her friend as well as her physician for almost 20 years now. She had no secrets from him.

The first injection was a touch painful, owing to the larger needle, but the second was over and done with before she even realized it. Almost immediately, she began to feel relaxed.

“You’ll be ready to go in a couple of minutes”, Doc said as he put the syringes away. He didn’t ask her if she was sure she wanted to do this or if she was afraid or anything. Everything that could be said between them had already been said months ago. Even then, he had understood and not tried to dissuade her. He had known how hard Carol’s murder had hit her…how angry she had been at the world and the people who couldn’t accept other people’s choices. He had been there for her. But then, what else could you expect from Doc Tempest?

“Feelin’ a bit woozy, Doc”, she drawled as she walked towards the stasis tank with him. “You’ll have to help me get inna tank.” She giggled.

Doc smiled. “Not a problem. Let me just give you a once over to make sure everything is ok.”

He checked her pulse, breathing, heart rate and pupils. Everything was fine. Her skin, in reaction to the innoculant, was covered with what looked like pale pink sweat, but was actually the interfacing hormone she was exuding.

Doc was supporting her now, one arm around her shoulders, his other hand holding her left arm. He looked at the now dreamy expression on her face and quietly said, “It’s time, Sally.” Then he picked her up and placed her in the tank. As her body sank, he held her head up long enough to put the breathing mask over her face.

Just before she completely submerged, she looked at him.

“G’night, Doc. See you in nineteen sicksy four”

And then she was out and fully submerged. Doc closed the lid of the tank and walked over to the stasis generator. After checking the lone meter on it’s side, he flipped the lone switch next to it. The generator began to hum, the pitch getting higher, until after just over a minute later, it leveled off at a point where only dogs and Doc Tempest could hear it.

Ten seconds later, electricity crackled around the stasis tank and the fluid inside instantly crystallized. Doc inspected the tank in minute detail. When he was satisfied that nothing was amiss, he stood there, looking at Sally Smithfield, perhaps the most unique scientist he had ever met, as she slept so peacefully.

“I promise you, Sally, that the world you’ll wake up in will be a more tolerant and accepting place. I’ll make it that way, whatever it takes.”

And then Doc Tempest left the room, shut the door and left Sally to her long sleep.

Not Responsible For Random Genital Failure

…so try not to have random genitals

Just got back from seeing Iron Man. As all the reviews have said, Robert Downey Jr. absolutely nails the role of Tony Stark. Best movie portrayal of a superhero ever. The ever delightful and blue jeans tightening Gwyneth Paltrow is excellent as Pepper Potts. The story, overall, was damned good as origins stories go. The action scenes may not have been as flashy as in some recent superhero flicks, but they were not as overpowering, either. And the scene that comes after the credits? Yeah, it’s an “Oh, yes!” moment.

Go see this movie.

In the inevitable “other news”, I have not yet assaulted the garden today. However, seeing as I found 8 bags of saved flower seeds from last year, I reckon the assault will begin soon after I post this.

Petfinders shows a female Basset Hound up for adoption at the Sacramento City shelter. It’s probably good that Grace and I cannot afford the adoption fee:) Still, she looks like a very sweet doggie.

I’ve recently been thinking up an RPG series that ends with the Earth being unable to support human life. The main thrust of the series would find the characters searching for ways to save at least some of humanity by either getting them off planet, getting them out of our time, getting them to another dimension or making them unhuman enough to survive. I envision this series playing out over a couple of dozen sessions, which would equal about 6 years of game time.

Damn, I make a really tasty Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. Alton Brown would be proud of me:)

And now, I go forth to make the world in general, and my garden in particular, a greener and more beautiful place. “Sally, hand me that atomic compost spreader!”