[LNHY/ACRA] The Daily Super Short-Short Story #42

Saxon Brenton saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Thu Oct 21 00:39:24 PDT 2004

The Daily Super Short-Short Story #42
A Devil Came Down to Georgia 24
Last time: A doctor's consultation.

     The two students were walking back through Net.ropolis after the 
Martin saw Dr Telzan in mutant town. Delroy was flicking through some 
information pamphlets that they had picked up.
     Martin said, "You know, when the nurse was doing the physical, he 
said that he couldn't detect anything on the mutant detector."
    Delroy nodded without looking up. "That wouldn't surprise me."
Martin raised a quizzical eyebrow, which Delroy missed because he 
still had his head in the pamphlet. Then he added out loud, "Would you 
mind explaining that?"
    "Sure," said Delroy, finally looking up. "Most of the talk about 
mutant detectors being foolproof ways of uncovering metahumans is bull. 
There isn't one single 'hard' factor that a detector can search for. The 
general description of people having 'powers' or being 'different' is 
too nebulous and abstract for a machine to deal with."
     "Then how do they work at all?"
     "Like anti-computer virus software, actually. You get a scan of a 
particular condition and keep that on file, and then combine it with all 
the other scans of all the other particular conditions you're searching 
for, and keep your fingers crossed that that will be enough. But if 
something new that you don't have on file shows up, then you're not going 
to get a positive reading. Which means that just like an anti-virus 
software package, you have to keep your profiles of mutant genetic 
sequences and energy signatures up to date." He shrugged. "It wouldn't 
have put money on you developing something that was so new the scanners 
didn't recognise it, but it's always theoretically possible."
     Martin's face took on another rueful look. .oO( Which means that I 
may have given away an advantage by letting myself be scanned. Tsk. Wish 
I'd known that before I came over. )
     A few moments of reflective silence passed as Martin mulled over 
this and a few related topics, and Delroy went back to the pamphlets. 
Eventually, Martin said, "What would you think if I said I don?t think 
I'm a mutant, exactly."
     Now it was Delroy's turn to raise a quizzical eyebrow. "What do 
you mean?"
     "I've got a suspicion that my powers may be supernatural in nature," 
said Martin gravely.
     "Okay then. Just for the sake of argument, what makes you say that?"
Martin hesitated, then said, "There have been two times recently, 
Thursday afternoon and night, when I've had what are either hallucinations 
or visions when I've fallen asleep. St. Christopher told me that I've 
actually inherited two sets of powers, both of them supernatural, one 
that comes from God and the other, ultimately, from the Devil."
     Delroy stared at him.
     Martin sighed uncomfortably. "If you want, you can put the whole 
thing down to stress."
     "I'll keep that in mind," said Delory, deadpan. "In the meantime, 
do you believe they're stress related hallucinations?"
     "No," he admitted. "The advice he gave me was spot on in dealing 
with that demonic sock." And even as he said this he wondered how Delroy 
would react.
     "You didn't say anything about a demonic sock," said Delroy accusingly.
     "Yeah, well, you know. There was a lot of weird stuff going on, and 
I kind gave you the edited version."
     "Uh-huh," said Delroy neutrally, making Martin feel even more guilty. 
Fortunately he was saved from further conversational grilling when there 
was an explosion nearby, sending debris flying about the street. A 
sinister sound of stringed music instruments could be heard.
     "Wha? Oh no!? went Delroy, as he recognised two competing music 
     "What?" demanded Martin.
     "We've got to get out of here! Look! It's the Duelling Banjo Kangaroos!"
Tomorrow: Hah. Betcha weren't expecting them. A team-up. And the 
Diabolicals will probably be using the confusion to do stuff.
The Daily Super Short-Short Story series created by Arthur Spitzer, and
used with belated permission. The Duelling Banjo Kangaroos are Usable 
Without permission creations of Arthur.
Author's notes: The stuff about mutant detectors is something I made up 
for the LNH mainstream. It sounds much more plausible when it's being 
explained by a character who can brake the fourth wall.
Saxon Brenton University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
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