SW10/HCC: April 2011 #2: The Satanists with the Silver Skull Machine

Scott Eiler seiler at eilertech.com
Sun Apr 10 16:46:04 PDT 2011

April 7, 2011


Correspondent:  Richard Alston with Noelle LaRue

See Our Previous Story, BRITANNIA BEACH! 


Six people came through the cathedral door, and stood in a line facing us.

Adu the African warrior said, "Identify yourselves."

"Auge von Shaitan.  The Eye of Satan."

"Russell Anvernacht.  The Legs of Satan."

"I call myself Black Brady.  The Spine of Satan."

"Iain Fate. The Heart of Satan."

"Lucy the Pyro.  The Heart*burn* of Satan."

"MANIC 5.  The Skull of Satan."  This one had a silver skull!  Silver hands too.

Wenchy the witch said, "Only six for this challenge?"

Auge von Shaitan said, "Six is our holy number."

My friend Wyatt said, "Well then.  The challenge is over.  You missed it."

"Of course we do not believe that."

"Of course.  But you *must* recognize that seven people have the power right here."

"Of course you must realize we will test this... Heartburn."  Lucy the Pyro 
spouted flame at us!

"Shield."  Wyatt's friend Wenchy spoke.  The flames bounced off, and dissipated.

"Legs."  Anvernacht ran at us!

"Leg kick." Wyatt's friend Adu spoke.  Anvernacht was struck down!  Adu looked 
urgently at us.

"Spine!"  Black Brady charged at us.

My friend Bill said,  "Crack!"  Black Brady fell over.  Heh, going to the 
chiropractor must have been good for Bill - especially now.

"Skull!"  MANIC 5 smirked at us somehow, even with his skinless face.  Then 
speakers popped out of his shoulders.  He was really some sort of machine!  He 
started blasting doom music at us.  It was draining our souls somehow!

But my friend Jane was on it.  Without her leaving Wyatt, the cathedral organ 
started playing!  It restored us, just like church music always does.  Even the 
witch and the African warrior were feeling it.

"Well then... Heart!"  Iain Fate tried to overwhelm us with the knowledge of 
world disasters.

But this one was for my friend Terri.  She cared about them all!

Auge von Shaitan said, "This last one is for me... Eye!"  He looked at me.

I saw what he saw about the future.  It was the world halfway to apocalypse 
right now, with the end in 2022!

I said, "Maybe you're right.  But it doesn't mean we give up yet."

"That's easy to say for you, old man.  What about the future generations?"

"Hey, that's *me* you're talking about!"  My daughter Jen was in this challenge 
with me!  "I'm not giving up either!  Humanity's had famine years and plague 
years before!  We survived!"

The villain blustered.  But Wyatt said, "Well then.  Six challengers up, six 
challengers down.  The DuoPolarity Challenge of 2011 is now over."

Wyatt looked up at Adu.  Adu said, "So say we all."

Adu looked at me.  I said, "So say we all."

I looked at the others.  They said, "So say we all!"

The enemies looked at each other.  Auge von Shaitan said, "We'll see the 
survivors in 2019, then."  They disappeared in a puff of smoke!

Adu breathed a deep breath and said, "Why I came here seems trivial now...  but 
I still came here."

Wyatt said, "Of course.  There is Permanence within me.  It comes with one of 
the power objects.  It's an object only I know about. Now you know too...  Do 
you wish for a rollback?"

"I do."

Wyatt said to the rest of us, "And you?"

I said, "I do."  The others all said, "I do."

"Well then."  Wyatt sat down cross-legged, arms crossed.  The cathedral 
disappeared.  We were back in the storefront.  "Done."

But he continued.  "I know you've all had a hard hour or so, but it's not over 
yet.  Now I invite you all to council."

Adu sat down.  Wenchy sat down.  I sat down.  The others followed.

Wyatt said, "I *still* have great power I can't control.  Only other people can. 
  That's why I came to you.

"I have a lot of friends around the world.  Adu and Wenchy, you're among them. 
But Richard and Jen, you're the ones who came to me when I needed help against 
this same Satanic power once.  That must be why I found you first.

"I was on a mission for the United States, to bring them back *something* that 
could fix the world.  I have that now.  A few minutes ago I thought we'd have to 
destroy it so evil men could never use it.  But you all defended it.  We *won*. 
  For now.

"I've got some idea what you've lived through here, but I wasn't here to see it. 
  December must have been crazy, with winter *and* distance from the Sun.  But 
unless the orbit changed *again* while I wasn't looking, things are getting 
better now.  In May, it'll almost seem like old times again.

"People could use me to put the Earth back on its old orbit.  The U.S. 
Government probably *will* do that if I give them the chance.  But you've seen 
the power here.  My question to you is:  Do we mess with things now?"

I said, "Seems to me, it's all just the same problems, different year.  We can 
move the Earth around, but we can't fix man."

"Probably I *could* fix man.  That's how powerful these things inside me are. 
But that's just scary."

Adu spoke.  "Wyatt.  You are wise and so is your friend.  I agree, there is no 
good fix for the Earth here."

Wyatt said, "I sense a consensus.  Anyone else?   ...  Well then.  Next item of 
business.  Do I hide somewhere, or do we turn the power off?"

Wenchy the Witch spoke up.  "Off seems like a good option."

"Just for now, or forever?  I hesitate to destroy the root password to reality."

I said, "Shouldn't God be the only one with that power?"

Wenchy said, "Or Goddess...  But definitely not us."

Adu said, "It's tempting to keep the power for later.  That alone makes a 
compelling reason to destroy it."

Wyatt said, "Well then.  The next step is yours.  Come to me and wish to turn 
the power off.  I'll make that wish permanent."

I said, "Let's do it."

We all gathered around Wyatt again.  I said, "Turn it off, Wyatt."


"Do it."  "Turn it off."  "I agree." "Yes." "Yep."  "Do it now."

"... Done."  Wyatt sagged.  "Well, that's a relief.

"Now...  This last hour's been hard for all of us.  I've had quite a lot of the 
same before it.  Richard, is there a place around here I can get a beer?

"The Legion's serving this afternoon.  Royal Canadian Legion, that is."

"Good enough.  Are we all invited?"

"You are."

"Well then, will you all join me?"


Author's Notes:

I almost wrote this as an instant story.  But it was big enough to spend two 
days on review.  Still, I think it's time to shove it out.

During review, the next RACC High Concept Challenge came up:  Secret of the 
Silver Skull Machine.  At first I was going to pass, or at least give it its own 
story, because no machine would be the most powerful thing in *this* story.  But 
then I realized, I'd already put a machine in!  It knew the risks.  And it could 
have won.

I used to track my other concepts with date tags in story.  Now I'll just put 
them in Author's Notes.

*  The Condos:  Purely my own invention...  There must be *some* holiday condos 
north of Vancouver.  I bet the next town up the road has them.  But when the map 
showed a real-life town called Britannia Beach, I put the condos there.  That 
town's name got the story started.  So the story bears its name.  (22 Feb)

*  The Reality War:  I've had treasure hunt stories since before Marvel Comics 
had an Infinity Gauntlet.  (http://www.eilertech.com/stories/duopol1.htm)  Any 
relation between it and my Engines of Reality is therefore mostly weird writing 
on Marvel's part.  :)  But this year I came up with the concept of swords and 
dogs at the finish.  Kind of a DC touch.  (22 Mar)

*  The Ashanti Involvement:  I have a brief concept of African dominance. 
(http://www.eilertech.com/stories/1988/index.htm#africa)  That concept is 
arising on its own in soc.history.what-if this year.  (Look for "Mali's New 
World".)  So I considered having Adu show up in time to split the wish, but 
opted for the simpler story.  Still, he earned a place in story.  (7 Apr)

*  Wenchy the Witch:  She's actually a long-time character. 
(http://www.eilertech.com/stories/wave4.htm)  There's a real Wenchy, who lives 
in Canada and worships in the Wiccan style.  So when Adu needed a magic 
consultant, she earned a place in the story too.  (24 Mar)

*  Richard and Jen:  Also returning characters!  (Reference in story.)  I put 
other new friends in the story.  Richard and Jen also have some new-friend 
elements.  For instance, I'm on my second Real Richard and my second or third 
Real Jen now, even though their real names may or may not be Richard or Jen. 
But these two old friends had some important stuff to contribute.

All these characters are copyright 2011, Eiler Technical Enterprises.  Yes, I 
just copyrighted a bunch of my friends.  Wouldn't *your* friends appreciate that 
as holiday gifts?  :)

(signed) Scott Eiler  8{D> -------- http://www.eilertech.com/ ---------

Only their myths concerned peace and contentment, and that in such a
coercive, sullen package it was obvious that the Earth humans resented
the very idea.

- from "Passing" by Elaine Radford, Aboriginal SF, May/June 1987.

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