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

Scott Eiler seiler at eilertech.com
Sat Apr 30 20:07:15 PDT 2011

April 10, 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.  But 
two Victorian policemen and a scientist were in front of us, facing them.

The senior policeman said, "What's all *this* then?"

One of the new intruders said, "You intrude."  Flame shot from one of his eyes, 
at all the Victorians!

But somehow the Victorians had defenses!  Their clothes were charred and flaking 
off, but the men weren't dead!  Their scientist said, "Oh, good, my anti-mystic 
countermeasures worked."

"You jest."  All six invaders started spouting flame.

My friend Terri shrieked, "Save them!"

My friend Wyatt said, "I know what you mean..."  The Victorians disappeared!

Wyatt's friend Adu the African warrior raised his spear and thumped it three 
times.  The sound of it echoed through the cathedral.  Then he bellowed, "Evil 
men.  Enemies of humankind.  Identify yourselves."

Their leader said, "What you call evil we are *proud* to call moral.  I am 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."

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 of seven 
artifacts."  The things within his body glowed brighter.  We thought there were 
three, but there were seven!

"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 said, "I do."  Only Terri was silent.  I asked, "Terri?"

"I'm sorry!  Those were real people we met!  I can't vote to destroy them!"

Wyatt said, "Um... Okay.  No Make It Never Was.   Can we give them their world 
back at least, without us vs. the Satanists?"

"Oh, yes!"

"Everyone?  *Our* world comes back.  We go back there.  So do our stupid 
Satanists.  Victorians stay on theirs.  And I put them away from us so our 
villains can't go there again.  But neither can we."

Bill asked, "Can you really do all that?"

"I can't.  But I can *loan* you all the power to do it."

I said, "That seems fair."  Everyone nodded.

"Well then."  Wyatt sat down cross-legged, arms out.  "Let's take this step by 
step.  *Our* world comes back, out there somewhere."

I said, "Yes."  The others agreed.

"Satanists go back there. "  We agreed.

"... Oooh, they didn't like that one.  But they had no choice.  Now *we* go back 
there. "

We all were agreeing ... but not in time.  We had a visitor again.  The 
Victorian scientist had come back, with a police cloak wrapped around his 
charred clothing.  He yelled, "No!  Please stop!"

Terri said, "Oh, I'm so glad you're safe!"

Adu was less enthusiastic.  "What is it you want?"

"Please pardon me.  And allow me to introduce myself.  I am Doctor Joseph 
Biggby-Fisher of the Imperial Academy of Metascience..."

Adu growled, "Get to the point."

"... Right.  You may understand, Her Majesty's Gouvernment is undertaking 
radical measures against radical climate change.  I am about to depart on 
expedition to Polynesia for the Magic Fishhook of Tongafusifonua, to help shift 
the planet even marginally.  But you people obviously have something much more 

Wyatt said, "Yes.   With this power, we could *summon* ... that god for you, 
*and* make him your slave.  I'd really suggest we not intervene, though."

"Oh, my.  I suppose that *wouldn't* be proper.  But could you, perhaps, 
marginally shift the odds of our quest toward our favor?"

I got it.  "Oh!  You want our *blessing*!"

"If you would be so kind."

"But of course.  Everyone, would you pray to your Higher Powers alongside me?" 
They all nodded.

I knew we were multi-cultural, but I had to pray my own way.  "Lord God, you 
hide your glory from mortal flesh.  But you lend your power to it.  Please give 
our brother Doctor Joseph and his expedition success against all obstacles, and 
lead them to their goal."

Wyatt said, "good prayer...  Amen."

Doctor Joseph said, "You have my most sincere thanks.  I'll inform the 
constabulary you have things under control here."

I said, "Thank you, Doctor.  God be with you."

As he left, Wyatt said, "*Now*... we go back home."  We agreed.

The cathedral disappeared.  We were all back in the storefront, and all back in 
street clothes.  Even the witch and the warrior were.  But Adu still had his 

Wyatt continued, "Now we put up the barrier.  We stay back here on our world. 

But Terri said, "Really?  Forever?  Can't I ever see them again?"

"Well, no."

"Could Bill and I go there now?"

Bill said, "Terri, are you sure?  *This* is our world.  I have a job here.  I 
need you.  We *all* need you."

I said, "Bill's right.  We're all in this together.  Magic or not.  Victorians 
or not.  We're still Britannia Beach."

"Awwww...  I can't leave you!"  Terri left Wyatt and hugged me, Jen, Bill, and Jane.

Wyatt said, "That counts as contact... Done.  Over.  This ends the rollback." 
He sagged.  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.  They're gone now.  Really. 
  Forever.  I'll never have to drag my friends into fights for them again.

"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?"


We all walked to the Legion hall.  On the way, I talked with Wyatt.  "You were 
responding to prayers.  Do you think you were *God* back there?"

"I hope and believe something above me had veto power.  But for all practical 
purposes, I *was* God - but only as long as I had you with me.  You must have 
been worshipers...  I'm surely glad *that's* over."

"Me too."


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.  They may or may not be related, and their real names may or may 
not be Richard or Jen.  But these two old friends had some important stuff to 

*  The Satanists:  All returning characters!  Three of them were known Satanists 
as of "Predecessors" just half a year ago. 
(http://www.eilertech.com/stories/2010/predecessors.htm)  Please don't make me 
cite the others right now, but they're all available on a Google search of 

*  The Magic Fishhook of Tongafusifonua:  Has actually appeared before!  Someone 
moved an island with it.  (http://www.eilertech.com/stories/2010/uplift.htm)

*  Make It Never Was.  Wyatt Ferguson knows what it means to sentence an 
alternate world to oblivion.  He once time-traveled and did that against Earth 
2022.  (http://www.eilertech.com/stories/neverwas.htm)  Ironically, a very 
similar Earth 2022 is now looming large in the future.  So Wyatt knows the 
limitations of "Make It Never Was".  On the rare occasions he comes across that 
power, he can easily be convinced to use it sparingly.

This story was heavily revised after review on Rec.Arts.Comics.Collective 
(RACC).  Thank you especially, Andrew Perron.  Putting in more Victorians *did* 
only enhance the story in the end.  But don't expect them to return...

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?  :)

By the way, I saw the weather forecast for Real Britannia Beach on local 
cablevision today.  I'll probably go on vacation through there a week from now. 
  Real Richard and Real Jen will have to get through real church service without 
Real Wyatt.

(signed) Scott Eiler, 29 April 2011  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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