[ASH] ASH #61 - "Genesis Climber"

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at haven.eyrie.org
Thu Nov 3 07:43:39 PST 2005

    //||  //^^\\  ||   ||   .|.   COHERENT COMICS UNINCORPORATED PRESENTS
   // ||  \\      ||   ||  --X---------------------------------------------
  //======================= '|`        ACADEMY OF SUPER-HEROES #61
 //   ||      \\  ||   ||                   "Genesis Climber"
//    ||  \\__//  ||   ||          Copyright 2005 by Dave Van Domelen

     [cover shows Peregryn in a tattered costume, holding a gleaming
      sword while monsters crowd in around him from the jungle, all
      very "sword and sorcery" pulp cover style.]

                       ACADEMY OF SUPER-HEROES ROLL CALL

CODENAME       REAL NAME                POWERS                   STATUS
--------       ---------                ------                   ------
Solar Max      Jonathan Zachary         Spacetime Control        ACTIVE
                 "JakZak" Taylor
Comet          Sarah Grant-Taylor       Superspeed, Ice Body     ACTIVE
Green Knight   Salvatore Napier         Strength, Regeneration   ACTIVE
Contact        Aaron Zander             Psi, Mind-over-Body      ACTIVE
Scorch         Scott Handleman          Pyrokinetic              ACTIVE
Beacon         George Sylvester         Living Light             ACTIVE
Essay          Sara Ana Rodriguez       Gadgeteer                ACTIVE
Peregryn       Howard Henderson Jr.     Elemental Mage           ON VENUS
Lightfoot      Tom Dodson               Velocity Control         RESERVE
Breaker        Christina Li             Telekinesis              ACTIVE
Fury           Arin Kelsey              Concussion Blasts        ACTIVE

[December 14, 2025 - Venus]

     Once again, a small gust of wind deflected an incoming spear just enough
that it merely tore another hole in Peregryn's tattered robes.  A detached
part of his mind noted that this spear was rather crudely fashioned, a mere
fire-hardened wooden point on an uprooted sapling.  In contrast, the one that
had nearly killed him several minutes ago when he was caught unaware...THAT
one had possessed a bronze point and an aged ash shaft.  
     So, on the asset side, his pursuers were running out of ammunition.
Also, being a supernormal with extensive endurance training, Peregryn wasn't
going to be slackening his pace any time soon.
     On the debit side, he had yet to catch even a shadowed glimpse of the
spear-throwers, so he couldn't strike back, or even be sure he wasn't running
headlong into their midst.  And eventually, one of them would get lucky and
throw true enough that the defensive air spirits bound to his amulet would be
unable to deflect it.  Or they'd simply get confident enough to emerge from
the brush and mob him.
     He risked a glance to either side as he ran through the unnaturally
thick undergrowth.  Jungles were normally fairly clear at ground level,
except at the edges of clearings, since the upper stories of the canopy kept
enough sunlight from reaching the ground that low growth was inhibited.  But
there was just enough here at the bottom for his pursuers to hide themselves,
despite the deep shade.
     Another low whooshing sound caught his attention and Peregryn spun to
catch the incoming spear as his winds pushed it to the side.  He didn't need
it as a weapon, there were far better tools in his traveling pouch.  But he
hoped that the sight of the spear being snatched out of the air would give
his unseen enemies pause.
     He threw the spear back the way it had come, and used the hope that his
foes would stop to watch it to take the heartbeats needed to cast a simple
illusion spell.  Pulling a handful of hairs from his braid, he muttered a few
words and turned them into shadowy simulacra of himself, which ran off in all
directions.  Pulling shadows around himself as best as he could on this world
that seemed to hate him personally, he resumed running as well, hoping that
the short-lived phantom images would let him elude his mysterious foes.
     "I can't look for Montreal while I'm being chased," he thought to
himself.  "Even if these are scouts from that city, I'd rather not show up as
a captive...."

               *              *              *              *

[December 15, 2025 - Mount Olympus]

     The honor guard of centaurs tried to avoid looking like they were
leading a captive, but the suspicion in their eyes and the wariness in their
posture gave lie to their attempts.  They moved aside and carefully stood not
too cautiously close to the exits as their charges walked forward to address
the throne.
     "We greet you, delegation from the sovereign nation of Khadam," a
slender and aged man next to the mighty Q'Nos proclaimed.  He was the vizier,
the most powerful human in a nation of mythical beasts, the magus known as
Simon.  The broad-shouldered bull-man Q'Nos sat silently on his throne,
looking vaugely disinterested despite the momentous nature of this official
opening move in the game of international politics.
     Kaliban, silver of tongue and sable of pelt, bowed deeply and then held
out a vellum scroll sealed with a disc of red wax that happened to be
impregnated with an intricate weave of nanowires.  The wax itself was a
symbolic seal, what it carried was the true seal.
     "I present my credentials as ambassador plenipotentiary for the nation
of Khadam," Kaliban introduced himself, somewhat falsely.  He was not truly
empowered to make all decisions necessary on the behalf of his Chancellor,
but in this age of instantaneous communications, it was a mere quibble.  He
could be the voice of Radner easily enough.  "I am Kaliban Kalibos, and these
gentlemen are my diplomatic staff, representing the various and sundry
factions of the interstellar and polyglot nation from which I arrive."
     He gestured one overly long and muscular arm at a Pranir with
elaborately dyed feathery fur and a beak that was straighter and sharper than
those of most of his kind.  "Seeks-New-Horizons is my aide de camp, with
special experience in interstellar trade and the politics of the cosmos at
large.  Max and Dex," his hand swept past a pair of brutes that made him seem
aetherial by contrast, "are not merely honor guard, but also speak for the
Vivarium classes, many of whom have expressed a desire to emigrate to your
fair kingdom.  They are much more intelligent than they appear, and fear not
that I damn them with faint praise."  Unsaid was that each also reported back
to other power blocs within Khadam, a fact that was well known by Q'Nos due
to his spies and Simon's scries, but it was impolitic to state it in such
surroundings.  Max was beholden to the long out of power Technomancers, while
Dex served the interests of the ambitious Rex Umbrae.
     "We welcome our fellow superior beings to our court," Q'Nos rumbled
diffidently.  "May humanity tremble at our presence," he added, with
noticeably more interest.
     "So, that will be the tune Q'Nos will call for this dance of diplomacy,"
Kaliban thought.  Out loud, he replied, "So do they already, for do we not
shake the vault of the heavens?"
     Simon the Magus lifted an eyebrow slightly at the turn of phrase.  Did
Kaliban refer to Venus?  Or was it merely flowery language with no substance?  
     And the dance went on.

               *              *              *              *

[December 18, 2025 - Chicago, Illinois Sector]

     "Good morning, Solar Max."  Dan "Grind" Tracey's image on the tele-
conference system was crisp and clean, as one would expect when the field
leader of STRAFE was actually in his office for once, rather than out on a
mission.  "I'm guessing you're calling about that little bit of celestial
news that NASA finally saw fit to release to us today?"  NASA was now
officially the North American Space Authority, and its portfolio was somewhat
different from that of its TwenCen counterpart, but they'd insisted on
keeping the same acronym.  Pride of continuity.
     JakZak nodded, as did Sarah, who sat to his right.  "They timed it
really close, too.  The first news hit the Net about ten minutes after they
'confided' in me.  They didn't want us finding out from the news services
first, but weren't too picky about how far in advance of the public news they
happened to be."
     "Well, with Venus approaching its closest to Earth, even the grade
school class project astronomers were bound to notice soon," Sarah noted.
"And it's not like keeping secrets from each other is a NEW thing for us and
the government."  She twisted her mouth sourly at the memory of how they'd
been used by Delta Rose back when they were in school, and then frowned as
she considered the blockbuster secrets about China that she was helping
keep.  Oh, a few Senators knew about that now, but still.
     Grind nodded.  "Be that as it may, it's clear that Venus has changed
somehow.  Data from the Galileo II planetary studies space telescope shows
that its albedo has dropped significantly, and its surface temperature can't
be any higher than fifty Celsius.  The spectroscope indicates the atmosphere
has changed from its old acidic nature to something that should be breathable
by humans.  Someone has terraformed Venus."
     "Or Santariformed," JakZak countered.  "They're the only extrasolar
power with the means to reshape a planet's ecosystem that radically, though I
can't think of why even a rogue faction of the Santari would bother."
     "No, pinning it on the Santari doesn't really make sense," Grind agreed.
"This is probably a supernormal effect.  Or, if it's the result of advanced
alien technology, it was likely bought from the Pranir by a Terran faction,
looking for elbow room and a hard to reach bolthole.  Khadam seems likely in
any case."
     "Or it could be someone entirely new," Sarah pointed out.  "I'm not sure
if that's a good thing or a bad thing, though.  I mean, it could be someone
who doesn't have any sinister agenda and just wants to get off Earth and live
in peace."
     JakZak and Grind silently stared at Sarah.
     "Okay, I don't think we're that lucky either," she admitted.

               *              *              *              *

[December 19, 2025 - Ibiza]

     Timeslip didn't quite make it to a restroom before the violent nausea
triggered by his jump back in time seized his guts and twisted HARD.
Fortunately, this *was* Ibiza.  Even in the daytime, even with much of the
island still being rebuilt after the massive damage inflicted during what was
still the most famous bachelor party ever...someone heaving up his guts while
leaning against a building wasn't a sight that garnered a whole lot of
     As he wiped the last of the bile off his lips with the back of his
sleeve, Timeslip noted that his clothing might garner notice, though.  He'd
picked pretty nondescript stuff, but given the fashion-consciousness of the
average tourist in Ibiza, someone was bound to notice eventually, and ask him
where he'd gotten his gear.  Time to rectify that situation.
     Staggering a bit more than his post-jump queasiness really merited,
Timeslip headed for the nearest knot of "disaster tourists".  They were the
sort of vultures who liked seeing the aftermath of the destruction of someone
else's life, or who even hoped to see a repeat performance.  They'd be
disappointed, though, since as far as he could recall, there were no
supernormal fights on the island again until at least '27.  Anyway, these
were clearly the kind of jerks he had no trouble pickpocketing, and one
semi-drunken stumble later he had a nice fat wallet to play with.  "Have some
of your own tragedy, snakehead," he muttered as he headed for a nice private
place to examine his booty.
     Half an hour later, Christopher Albert Hall, freelance graphic designer
from San Diego, emerged from a dreadfully overpriced boutique dressed in the
latest of upper middle class fashions.  It always paid to load up one's
computer with outdated cracking software when making a time jump, Timeslip
mused.  Stuff from his own time had trouble thinking *down* to the level of
2025 systems, but a moldy old suite from 2029 did a great job of helping him
invent a new identity from scratch....

               *              *              *              *

[December 20, 2025 - Mount Olympus]

     More and more, Simon Smith was convinced that his current identity had
been crafted from whole cloth, that he had been someone else in his youth.
Someone even more important than the vizier of a small but powerful kingdom.
The more he worked with pieces of the old rainbow bridge, the stronger the
sense of this other life became.
     "Eos, lady of the dawn, hear my plea.  Aphrodite, mistress of the
morning star, feel my need.  Hermes, god of the road, smooth my path.  Zeus,
master of the heavens, forgive my trespass," he chanted, lifting his arms to
the sky as the first rays of dawn reached out their rosy fingers.  It was
unlikely the gods were listening, of course, but it made for good public
     It was a pity that the ceremony had to be held in such an open and
public location, Simon thought.  This was clearly the sort of thing that
Kaliban would have been sent to observe.  But the beast-man was clever enough
that he probably could have spied on a sealed cavern in the bowels of
Olympus, so it probably didn't matter all that much.
     Simon felt the power building.  The carefully laid-out shards of Eos's
rainbow were starting to knit together and grow as he fanned the faint spark
of godly power that still clung to them.  The Sun was now fully risen, Venus
itself nearly invisible against its glare, being so close to it in the sky
this day.  The power of Eos was at its strongest now, and he poured his will
into the fragments of rainbow.
     There was a flash of brilliance, and the rainbow lanced out at the Sun,
for the barest of moments even brighter than the daystar, and Simon reeled!  
     Memories flooded back into him, the arrow of the Sun lancing deep into
his soul that fateful day a lifetime ago, the day that his pride had cost him
     "THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE GOD OF THE SUN," a voice had boomed deep within
his very being on that day.  "WHEN THE DAY DAWNS WHEN THERE IS BUT ONE
     Simon staggered back as the assembled crowd cheered.  Hopefully they all
thought he was merely reeling from effort, and he groped for a nearby bench
to steady himself.
     He needed time to come to grips with the torrent of new...yet old...
memories.  But even now, he knew that whatever his old life had held, he
could not reclaim it.  The power had passed to another, and Simon's current
path of study would not let him reclaim it.  Nor, to be truthful, did he want
it anymore.  
     An old proverb states that who the gods would destroy, they first drive
mad.  But Simon had driven himself mad, and the god Apollo had saved him from
his own destruction by burying that madness under the waters of Lethe.
     In the final analysis, though...would he praise Apollo for this
accidental mercy, or damn him?

               *              *              *              *

[December 20, 2025 - Montreal, Venus]

     Jacques looked out the window as lightning flashed and filled the small
room he shared with Tamica with an actinic glare.  It was strange to have
normal weather, even if it was still kept out by the Dome.  He wished he knew
more about what was going on outside, but he'd lost his excuse for slipping
away several weeks ago when the Rouge "kindly" moved him and Tamica into new
rooms together.  Maybe they suspected the two of them hadn't really been
slipping away for trysts, but it was just as likely that they just thought
they were helping cement loyalty by making things easier on a pair of lovers.
     Oh, and they had ended up as lovers after all.  He liked Tamica well
enough, and they managed to get along as well as most married couples, so
things worked out.  But both were frustrated that they had less opportunities
to get away and make contact with the resistance.
     On the other hand, it would be nice to be with something resembling
family for Christmas.  Last year, the needs of just staying alive had meant
holidays in general were cancelled.  And the year before, Jacques had just
been too busy to get away and visit his parents...he still wondered if they
thought he was dead, or hoped that he was only missing.
     A small evergreen wreath over the door still filled the room with its
scent, covering the inevitable odors of the night's activities.  The Sans
Rouge officially frowned upon any expression of religion that wasn't the Cult
of the Twins, but now that people thought they might survive leaving the
city, the Rouge had to ease back on some of the repression.  Less stick, more
     Jacques looked at Tamica's sleeping body, cream-and-coffee skin
glistening in the twilight glow that made it through the clouds, and
considered that particular carrot.  The Rouge was encouraging children now.
With the food crisis solved months ago and the possibility of colonizing land
outside, the official line was that it was time to be fruitful and multiply,
to claim this world as our own.
     Unofficially, the Sans Rouge had somewhat more sinister motives, of
course.  Even if he hadn't heard it in one of his few meetings with a
Resistance contact last week, Jacques would have guessed it on his own.  One,
children are easier to indoctrinate.  Long term, the Rouge hoped to raise a
generation of True Believers.  Two, it was a lot harder to run away if you
had an infant to care for.  Marshal Howard had started slipping some of the
more endangered people out of the city, people who had been working on penal
details where the sentence was "work until you die", along with a few of the
as yet uncaught Resistance leaders who could help protect the worn-down
prisoners outside the walls.  The Rouge couldn't help but notice that their
closed system wasn't closed anymore...so they thought they could chain people
down by their offspring.
     He was pretty sure he and Tamica were being careful, but they'd only
been sleeping together for a couple of weeks.  For all he knew she was
already pregnant.  If she was, what would they do?

               *              *              *              *

[December 21, 2025 - San Francisco, California Sector]

     Geode stood before the window unclothed, the morning Sun glistening off
the myriad facets of her crystalline body.  Even though it was the Solstice,
the day the Sun was weakest, the light felt good.  And it reminded her of
George, though it was golden to his green.
     Whispering a short prayer to Allah, she bowed her head.  The first time
she'd said her morning prayers unclothed, it had been a strange feeling, a
mix of guilt and rightness.  To feel the Sun's light fill her entire being
was just too strong a sensation to deny, it was clearly more than a mere bit
of science.  It was Allah's presence.  And to block it seemed wrong to her.
The guilt had faded surprisingly quickly after she came to that realization.
     Was this heresy?  Probably yes, even by the more relaxed standards of
the Moslems in this country.  Definitely yes by the stricter fundamentalism
she had been raised in.  Her very existence was evil according to the faith
of her childhood, she was an abomination and a spawn of the devil.  Yet, this
no longer weighed so heavily on her.
     However, practical matters meant she dressed quickly after she finished
her prayers.  The apartment may have had modern privacy systems, but there
was still a chance someone might see her.  The dark blue bodysuit was as much
disguise as preservation of modesty, if not moreso now.
     There was a knock at the door.
     "Come in, George," she called out.  He had probably been waiting outside
for some time now, but he respected her and waited until he was sure morning
devotions were done.
     The door swung open, and the glowing green form of Beacon drifted in
before closing the door behind him.  She held out an ungloved hand and he
gently kissed it, sending a thrill through both of them as his light briefly
refracted throguh the facets of her fingers.
     "Good morning," he said.  "And what does the dawn bring you?"
     "Worries," she said, and it was true, suddenly.  Her calm of a moment
ago was now troubled, and she glanced at the nearly invisible morning star
near to the Sun.  "I don't know why, but I feel as if Venus may be linked to
those episodes I've had recently."  Since the time in the woods, she had felt
strange pangs on three other occasions, but repetition had not brought her
any closer to determining why they happened.  Until now.
     "You've seen the recent news about Venus?" he asked.
     Geode shook her head.  
     "Something has changed there.  The clouds seem to be parting," he
paused, as if uncertain whether he should add anything.  Then, as if briefly
wrestling with his conscience and winning, he said, "This isn't public
knowledge, but we think someone has terraformed Venus."
     Inexplicably, Geode's heart leapt for a moment.

               *              *              *              *

[September 22, 2024 - The Amazon Jungle]

     Photosynth drowsed fitfully in the darkest hours of the night, what some
called the Hour of the Wolf.  Her lord and master had not communicated with
her in months, not since she fled the disaster at Skyhaven.  This silence
caused an ache in her very soul that a year ago she wouldn't have thought
possible.  Of course, a year ago she was a sack of meat, selfish and shallow,
so how COULD she have felt such profound pain?
     She had the plants for company, of course, but it was like a bandage on
an amputated limb.  She had the vaguest of awareness of the other surviving
pure beings, but she knew at least one had done the impossible and betrayed
her lord...she had no way of knowing if others had turned as well.  So she
secreted herself far away from meat and light alike.
     The stone mocked her, though.  A piece of the Berlin Wall, it would let
her travel nearly anywhere in the world if she dared.  But she neither dared
to use it nor could bring herself to wander far from its hiding place.  Every
day she hated herself more for her cowardice.
     <<HELP ME!>>
     Photosynth jarred to full awareness at the sound of her lord's voice in
her mind!
     "Lord Doublecross?"
     But there was no answer.  It had been the briefest of bursts, but it had
been enough to leave her no doubt where her lord was, and that he was
entrapped.  Something had let him send out a single, desperate message.  And
she would answer it.  But she wasn't one of the pure ones who was able to fly
like light itself, so she needed another way.
     Racing as fast as she could, Photosynth went to where the stone was
hidden, cursing herself for every minute it took her to work her way across
the jungle.  She had strayed too far from the stone after all.  Finally, she
reached it, then formed the patterns that would give her access to the
WorldMaze.  She entered the twisted paths of that construct, picturing the
Giza plateau.
     Then the universe tore apart around her....

               *              *              *              *

[December 22, 2025 - Venus]

     Peregryn awoke from his trance, a look of grim determination on his
mud-streaked face.  Had Photosynth acted a moment sooner, she would have
joined the battle at Giza.  Had she acted a moment later, the stone she
sought would not have been there, transported to Venus along with everything
else tied to the soul of Yvan Viau.  But she had acted precisely when she
did, and he had yet another tally to add to the list of his inadvertant sins.
     "You trapped me here," the wind whispered through the leaves.
Peregryn's spell had not only let him contact the spirit of the plants, it
had fully awakened that spirit.  Photosynth was fully aware for the first
time in over a year.
     This brought danger, but also opportunity.
     "Yes, I did," Peregryn nodded.  "I sought only to rid myself of the
Viaus, but my overconfidence was to the pain of millions, including you.  I
did not intend to hurt you, but that is no excuse.  There is *so much* I did
not intend, but that happened nonetheless, and I will be long in atoning for
it.  But I may be able to free you."
     "Then do it!" the branches rustled menacingly.  "I am one of the pure
ones, I should not be tied to pulp any more than to meat!"
     "It is not that simple.  I can feel more than my own magic at work
here.  I may have sent you to this world, but it was Claudette Viau who bound
you to the land.  Perhaps she saw a need for your power but not the need to
ask you for help.  It will take time to unravel her spells."
     "I cannot bear to wait any longer!  While I slumbered, when it was just
a bad dream, I could endure.  But not now!" 
     Peregryn sighed.  She was likely to be completely mad as a result of her
traumatic forced conversion to photonic life.  Her imprisonment in the flora
of Venus would not have improved matters.  To free her would be to unleash a
mad goddess...but she was not exactly harmless now, either.  
     "I will need time to determine how to free you," he pointed out.  "I
cannot do that while everything living on this world hunts me."
     "I will cease my attacks while you work."
     "That is not enough.  There are men on this world...or things that are
much like men...and they seek my death as well," he explained.  He had not
yet caught a clear glimpse of his two-legged pursuers, but he suspected they
were spawn of the Leviathan, caught up as he was in the banishing.  "You must
also protect me from them."
     The wind blew with no pattern for a long moment, and trees seemed to
huddle in consultation.  "We...I will do this.  But how can we be sure you
will keep your end of the bargain?  That you're not just looking for
protection and are lying to me to get it?"
     Peregryn drew a small dirk from his belt and scored it across his palm,
leaving a bloody line.  He pressed that hand against a tree bole.  "I swear
by my blood that I will seek a way to free you from your prison if you swear
to protect me while I do so."
     "I so swear," the leaves crackled.  There was a subtle, electric thrill
that passed through Peregryn's hand.
     "It is done.  I must sleep now, I have not slept in a long time, and I
will need a clear head to counter Claudette's magics," Peregryn explained.
     "We will watch over you," the trees replied.


Next Issue:

     Forces converge on Montreal, and they're not all players you have seen
before!  Meanwhile, Timeslip continues on his mission...when ASH discovers
it, will they want to help him, or stop him?  Be there for "Serpents In


Author's Notes:

     Sorry about the long delay between issues.  August is a busy month for
me, and then I got slammed by ragweed allergies for most of September and
part of October.  Took me a while after that to get back in the saddle.
     This arc is called "Time and Space," but unlike recent arcs, I don't
have a fixed length in mind.  Probably 3-4 issues, enough time to resolve the
Timeslip plot and get a reasonably satisfying amount of stuff done on Venus.
The Venus plot will certainly NOT resolve in only a few issues, but I hope to
set things up sufficiently well in this arc that other writers can start
using Venus without worrying about giving things away.  Presuming I ever
*get* other writers.
     The new Max and Dex have never appeared before, but the idea of a pair
of brutes by those names has run through versions of this setting for ages.
Max and Dex were originally a pair of cats owned by one of my gaming friends,
and for a while, my Battletech pilots always included a Max and a Dex.  In
the original ASH campaign setting, Max and Dex were a pair of cops with a
mad-on for superheroes who bargained with Khadamite geneticist Doctor Pue for
the power to destroy the original ASH, but got killed.  Their brains
survived, however, and were installed in the bodies of killer robots from the
future (that were essentially Bubblegum Crisis-style Boomers who were pulling
a Terminator in order to assure their own timeline), and got blown up a few
times before becoming vengeance-driven ghosts who possessed minor
supernormals and used them to kill heroes.  They were finally put to rest by
the Wanderer and Tymythy Twystyd.  Their names and reputation survived among
the villainous set, though, which has resulted in a number of Vivarium
mutations naming themselves either Max or Dex (and at least one is known to
call himself Maxandex).
     In case anyone's wondering, I do consider this issue to be giving away
Simon Smith's Big Secret.  But I'll spell it out more clearly in a future
issue for the benefit of newcomers.
     Jacques Dumont and Tamica Higgins first appeared in ASH #57.  Why return
to them and not to any of the other characters I introduced during The
Romance of Three Republics?  I dunno, I probably could have written the scene
just as well with most of the others (although the Christmas reference
wouldn't have worked so well with the Moslem group).  I suppose the fact that
they're explicitly tied to the resistance, but still at the periphery, makes
them worth going back to.  Writer Trick #424 - Pick viewpoint characters who
know something about what's going on, but can be expected to not know the
whole story.  That way, you can maintain a sense of mystery and uncertainty,
plus you can contradict yourself later with the excuse that the viewpoint
character had been misinformed.  :)
     I will admit to a great deal of ignorance about the practices of Islam,
but I'm pretty sure that worshipping skyclad is not part of mainstream
practice.  :)  Mind you, when you're made of crystal and have less definition
than a Barbie doll, being unclothed isn't exactly immodest, but it's a state
of mine sort of thing, not a "banned by the FCC" thing.
     Photosynth's flashback scene takes place during Capstone #1's first
scene, as the cat's cradle manipulations bent the optical fibers just enough
to allow a tiny bit of signal out.  The "Skyhaven disaster" took place in CSV
#12.  WAY back when Tony Pi and I were first discussing the idea of the Venus
plotline, the original plan was to have Yvan use the Worldmaze to shunt
several Photonics there during the battle in CSV #12.  Photosynth would cover
the planet in plantlife, and Mothflame in insect life.  Then Tony decided to
go a different way with that conflict, and Venus got shelved.  But since
Photosynth never showed up again after CSV #12, when I revived the Venus
Plan, we decided that Photosynth would still be along for the ride, allowing
for unnaturally fast growth within the domed city and thus explaining why
everyone didn't starve to death.  This unnatural growth was alluded to in CSV
#25, and then expanded on as I brought Venus on stage as a subplot during
Romance Of Three Republics.


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