SW10: December 2010 #5: Cauldron Book II Part 5 (of 7)

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Wed Mar 30 07:16:25 PDT 2011

On Sun, 27 Mar 2011 23:10:18 +0000 (UTC), Scott Eiler wrote:

> The car started rocking. The two nearest creatures were climbing up it! I had to 
> get out! But I wasn't fast enough. As I rolled out from under, the car came down 
> on my foot! I must have screamed.
> It rocked back up. I knew I had to move some more; I just couldn't.
> Then Liz was there, dragging me away. No one was shooting; at least the 
> creatures had Imperilus occupied. Margaret Jean was off wrestling one of the 
> creatures or something. I'm not sure what I saw there...

This whole bit, I think, needs more detail and more polish.  "I knew I had
to move some more" should be something with more emotion to it, something
less offhand descriptive.  "I knew I had to get away before it came back
down", for instance, or "I knew I had to scamper out of the way".

> "Arrrh!... What about those creatures? Did they maybe take Holly?"
> Mel the bus driver said, "No they didn't. They're with me. I thought you knew 
> about my toe golems. Norma knows. So do MJ and Liz."
> Margaret Jean said, "We call him Toejam. He was with us before you joined. One 
> of his golems helped protect you. The others beat up Imperilus, with a little 
> help from a sonic gun Brett came up with. So yeah, he's good."

Toe golems. O.o What.

> I said, "Uh, okay... But Holly was nowhere around! How could they give us her 
> signal without her there?"
> "They knew about Brain2Web. Imperilus said he dug that thing out of her brain 
> himself with his own pocket knife. But they must have had a real surgeon ready."

...does that mean he *didn't* do that?  I certainly hope so. @.x

> So Margaret Jean got the job done despite me, as much as she could. And you were 
> already getting ready for what needs to happen next, Norma. I'm so sorry I 
> doubted you.

Awwww.  This is a sweet moment (that also sums up the preceding bit

>      * There's some new sort of plague in Europe. Cargo planes have shipped 
> German Jews to Oregon for clinical testing of a new drug. Denmark's been heavily 
> affected too; they've withdrawn their military and political support from 
> Greenland. Cuba has sent advisers and some military to Greenland to fill the 
> void. The U.S. is too busy to care.
>      * There's a civil war in China, and nobody's quite sure where all their 
> nukes and rockets are. Today, North Korea did a missile test into the Pacific, 
> with a surprisingly powerful rocket - and a live nuke! The electro-magnetic 
> pulse on it blew out fuses in Alaska, and they're starting to look for fallout 
> in Seattle. An aircraft carrier left its base at Puget Sound just to avoid 
> radiation.
>      * There's gang warfare up and down the west coast. Gang lords are blowing 
> up buildings in Seattle... My mom is there. My kids are there, with my 
> ex-husband. I wish I were back home.

Ahhhh, keeping things hopping in the background, I see.  Very nice.

>      * Imperilus the Exterminating Son is also known as Joe Johnson. He's the 
> son of Sam Johansen, commander of the Last Army, a faction of superhumans who 
> fought the world throughout the late 1990s. Sam Johansen's partner was Philippe 
> St. Joseph Lateran.
>      * Imperilus was a sub-commander who helped exterminate a large group of 
> Subhumans. It's odd now that there were two Subhumans in the facility with him 
> in Tennessee... or it might explain it.
>      * Imperilus did not get along well with his father. The Weekly World 
> Journal mentioned how they abused each other once - as observed by Lateran himself.
>      * When aliens invaded in 1999, Imperilus's father Sam brought the Last Army 
> into alliance with the rest of Earth. Good for him. And Sam died heroically.
>      * After most of the Last Army was brought to justice (practically all 
> amnesty), Imperilus spent some time as a professional wrestler, then went to 
> visit his father's old friend Philippe, at a church in Willow Farm, Illinois. 
> Right about then, Philippe's shit hit the fan, because he'd abducted someone in 
> a political plot. Soldiers and superhumans busted the church.

Ahhhhhhh, interesting. o.o

>      * Philippe had no amnesty, because he was a bona fide war criminal... just 
> like Imperilus. But Imperilus escaped. He confronted the Ultimate Darkness at 
> Willow Farm, and then went on a quest for it. He didn't win. But he survived. 
> Now I know, there's not enough power to throw at this guy the next time he's a 
> problem. Now I'm glad he's someone else's problem. And I'm glad we're going 
> after his associate Lateran now.

Wait, wait.  We're doing what now?

> Philippe St. Joseph Lateran is back! His sister Eve St. Marie made a deal with 
> the Devil to get him liberated from the Vampire Pirates of Tuvalu. Now he's got 
> Holly as his personal attendant!

> But Norma's ready for him. We're all here. The town militia will help us. Norma 
> has a couple of superhumans on call too; she won't tell us who, just in case 
> Lateran can read minds (though we think he can't). But his days are numbered - 
> and the number is one. We move against Lateran tomorrow!

Oh, okay.

> I'm bringing some reality merge concepts in, DC 1986 style. Otherwise it becomes 
> too complicated to describe how my superhumans mostly come from one Earth and my 
> humans come from another, thanks to a reality shift of 2005. (DC 1986 largely 
> simplified their own story the same way after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, 
> even though some DC 1985 stories after the Crisis had the heroes still being 
> from different Earths.)

Nuuurgh.  In my opinion, Crisis was a bad idea reasonably well-executed.
There was nothing especially confusing about the multiple Earths -
certainly, nothing compared to how confusing the retcons necessitated by
mashing them together were.  It cut off a huge avenue of storytelling and
made things less diverse.  And then there's the actual destruction of the

I've already ranted about how killing off huge amounts of anonymous people
is a bad idea, but I've been reading Essental X-Men vol. 6 and it contained
a story that really drove this home.  Rachel Summers, using the full power
of the Phoenix, intends to stop the nigh-omnipotent Beyonder by breaching
the M'Kraan Crystal, destroying the universe and creating a new one.  But
when she uses that power, she gets put in touch with people and worlds
across the incredible breadth and depth of the universe.  As Storm says,
"Behold each individual -- unique and special, because it has been granted
the supreme gift, LIFE!"

(Mind, I am aware of how cheesy this sounds.  But it works really well on
the page, due in large part to John Romita Jr.'s stunning mosaics.)

So, yeah.  Basically, making things easier to understand is good, but make
sure it doesn't come at the cost of making the story less

> Regretfully, I might have to delay the final two episodes. They're going to be 
> so big, I might need to use my wargame table to resolve the combat. Currently 
> that table is busy resolving a Superhuman World 2007 plot: How would the 
> American Civil War have ended if Virginia had declared for the Union? 
> (http://www.eilertech.com/stories/2007/raleigh.htm, The Siege of Raleigh)

Oooooh, carefully blocked-out fight scenes are the fun time.

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, isn't good at those.

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