[LNHY/ACRA] The Daily Super Short-Short Story #51 [long]

Saxon Brenton saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Sun Oct 31 21:32:09 PST 2004

The Daily Super Short-Short Story #51 [long]
A Devil Came Down to Georgia 33
Last time: Martin and TJ rescued Delroy from Tsurlich.
     "Now what?" asked Delroy as the three of them left the area after 
disposing of Tsurlich's bits as best they could. It was early evening, 
and without quite realising it they were gravitating back towards the 
university where he and Martin were seminary students.
     "We need to retreat to a safe place while we work out which 
superhero group to contact," TJ said thoughtfully.
     "Superheroes?" asked Martin. He had managed to get his morphology 
under control, and his techno-organic encrustations that were still 
showing were again smooth metallic imitations of human flesh.
     "The rescue we pulled off had to be quick, so there was no time 
for calling in help and explaining what was going on," TJ explained 
simply. "Now that we have time, we can call in some heroes, who will 
no doubt be more than willing to eradicate demons. Also, the word of 
superheros will make the police and coroner more likely to listen to 
our story of how Delroy had his face stolen, and that will be important 
for re-establishing his identity."
     Delroy sucked in a breath. He'd been tying not to think about that.
     TJ continued, and to Martin's eye he almost seemed to trying to 
offer Delroy support despite his pragmatic manner. "It should be easy 
enough to prove what's happened by checking dental records, maybe even 
fingerprints." TJ didn't add that it would be easier to prove their 
story to superheros with the clear evidence of a man who had a face a 
noticeably different skin tone to the rest of his body. You could even 
see the line of demarcation running around his neck. Then he realised 
that they had arrived on campus, and sighed. "I don't think this is the 
safest place to stop over."
     "Lisa and her friends have been following you for a while, so they 
know where you live." He paused and added, "Only Damian knew where I 
live, and it's gone now, so I suppose my place would be safer. Mind 
you, Kien seemed to think that if he had enough time he could track 
anyone with his psychic powers, so there might be nowhere that's fully 
safe except for really short stops."
     "Something like that occurred to me, and I've been trying to block 
it," said Martin.
     TJ looked at him. "You can do that? Lisa knew you were powerful, 
but it looks like you're more versatile than she thought."
     They had paused near the dormitories. Martin said, "I... think so. 
It feels like something I can do, and I'm following the feeling, but I 
have no idea whether it's working or not."
     "Mr Wryce!" interrupted a sour sounding voice. "What do you think 
you're doing? "
     Delroy and Martin groaned. It was Sister Garvina, a suspicious-
minded and authoritarian old battleaxe who had developed the style of 
terrorising students when she had been teaching primary school and had 
been unable to change her ways even now that she was dealing with young 
adults of voting age.
     "Sister, I can explain everything... "
     "Oh, I'm sure," she replied sarcastically. "Smugging hoards of 
unsavoury visitors into the dorms for drunken frat parties."
     "It's not like that..."
     "You can just save your explanations for Father Sourdust. Now move!"
     "Sister, we don't have time for that. It's an emergency."
     "Move, I said!"
     And then TJ, who for reasons which will soon become clear really 
didn't like members of institutional religions in general, grabbed her 
by the shoulder, spun her around, and hit her full force with his 
leather-gloved mutant fist. There was a (to him) satisfying crack as 
his knuckles connected to her jaw, and then the nun collapsed 
unconscious on the grass.
     "What did you do that for!?" cried Delroy, sudden visions of what 
sort of discipline would be in the offering when the university's 
authorities found out.
     "We don't have time for this," snapped TJ. "I am going home. If 
you want a safe place to stay while we sort out our next move, you'd 
better come with me." Then he strode off and refused to answer any 
questions until he arrived at his tenement.
     "Okay, look, what was that all about?" demanded Martin as soon as 
they were in the door. He had been stewing over it all the way here, 
and any sense of gratitude for TJ's help or sympathy over his part in 
TJ's castration was fast evaporating.
     TJ rounded on him. "I have seen more than enough bullying from you 
religious types in the concentration camps to last me a lifetime, and 
I'm not going to put up with that shit again! If I catch *any* of you 
trying to push me around again, I'll assume your a fscking Christian 
Terrorist and kill you like I would a Muslim planejacker!"
     "What!?" exclaimed Martin. He glanced at Delroy, who looked 
equally shocked. "You were in the camps? You mean you're an *atheist*!"
     "Yes," snapped TJ, with a mixture of anger, pain and stubborn defiance.
     Hmm? What's that, you were expecting TJ to have been in a 
concentration camp for MUTANTS? Tsk. Yes, well, I'm a naughty Writer for 
pulling a bait-and-switch like that, but admit it, you wouldn't have 
fallen for that trick if you hadn't been soaking up the cliches from all 
those X-Men comics and movies, now would you?
     Sigh. Now I suppose I'd better offer up an explanation. I'll try to 
keep the infodump from getting too dry.
     As you recall from the first arc set in the Garden of Party Time, 
in Looniverse Y God the Obnoxious Father - the God of Abraham of the 
Hebrews, Christian and Muslims - is an overbearing pain-in-the-arse. This 
has certain inevitable effects on the nature of the faiths that worship 
him. Now, it's nevertheless True that Jesus the, Like, Totally Mellow Son, 
and various angels, archangels and saint have tried to ameliorate this 
but that simply means there's a slightly schizophrenic dichotomy between 
those people who believe that they're obliged to be good and help make 
the world a better place, and those who consider their faith as a tool 
for consolidating their own authority. After all, there is a *reason* 
why, in Looniverse Y, Lucifer succumbed to pride and rebelled; and that 
reason is the Hermetic principle As above, so Below'.
     In August of 1988 the then president George Bush Sr said that as 
far as he was concerned atheists didn't deserve citizenship of the United 
States. We will be generous and assume that, as far as Real Life is 
concerned, he was posturing for the benefit of the group that, in any 
universe, TJ would characterise as the Religious Reich. Bush Sr's 
motivations in the mainstream Looniverse have yet to be hashed out 
in-canon; and while it's the type of dark theme that would sing to the 
hearts of the Omega Writers, that story universe is more or less in 
indefinite hiatus. As for the ASH universe, well, there's no mention of 
it in the Causality Wars FAQ, where you think it might be mentioned as 
part of a conservative backlash against the return of pagan gods - but 
_Academy of Super-Heroes_ #11 had some details about President Quayle's 
shadow government, which, when viewed with a jaundiced eye...
     In Looniverse Y Bush's Net.publican administration quietly handed 
out authority to various conservative groups for the creation of concen-
tration camps for the internment and political re-education' of those 
known to profess to not have any faith. There wasn't any fanfare, but it 
wasn't exactly secret either  and the denials and lies wouldn't come 
until much later when the whole things was falling apart.
     Even under Clinton's Dir.mocrat government, the camps persisted. A 
conservatively stacked Supreme Court, combined with cowardice among 
congressmen and senators, made it seem that they could not be closed down. 
It would take the greed of those involved to destroy their own creation.
     Different camps were administered by different denominations. It 
eventually came to light that they had separately but collectively began 
to plan to use their institutions to advance their own dogma at the 
expense of all others.
     The political stink that arose when it was shown that the ultra-
conservative Christian groups weren't just trying to suppress atheists 
and non-Christian religions, but other Christian sects, was enormous. How 
dare they try and do unto us before we get the chance to do unto them!? 
The camps were outlawed and closed (although rumours persist...), the 
participants blustered or denied everything (the Catholics fell back 
into invoking Papal Infallibility; the Mormons recycled Bingham Young's 
methods of trying to keep bigamy a secret and simply lied about their 
involvement; everyone else fell somewhere between those two), and 
perhaps most concretely, the conservative religious vote was split 
along sectarian lines, thwarting George Bush Jr's 2000 bid for the 
White House.
     And that was how Hexadecimal Luthor became the Usenetted States 
president in *this* Looniverse.
Tomorrow: Not sure. There's a fire bombing due in the next issue or so, 
but I think tomorrow TJ will go and get some takeaway dinner.
The Daily Super Short-Short Story series created by Arthur Spitzer, and 
used with belated permission.
All main characters created by Saxon Brenton are Ask First Before Use
for the duration of this storyline, then they'll probably go to Usable
Without Permission.
Saxon Brenton University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
The Eyrie Archives of Russ Allbery which collect the online superhero
fiction of the rec.arts.comics.creative newsgroup can be found at:

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