[MV] The Super Wizard From Space #38: Do While Rw Nw Prt M Hrw, part 2
wilalambre at gmail.com
Thu Jan 10 10:22:25 PST 2013
"I-hereby-challenge-the-Super-Wizard-From-Space-to-combat," spits out Emperor M, the
bile broadcasted from his loudspeaker face, "and-you'll-bear-witness-to-it, you-
M's Pschent crown flares with cosmic energy. Our own crown answers, the grand Feather
reacts in kind.
Like a universe giving birth right amongst Us. Shoving away this puny reality to make
space. The great black throne room bends away, curves into the distance. A new foreign
gravity forms. Dragging Us toward it. Pushing Us away.
A ring of chains made of immense power form. Surrounding Us. Surrounding M. Binding.
Linking. An uttered oath transforms into immutable physical law.
Then, both crowns return to normal. The chains disappear. But We feel their weight
remaining on Us.
Our shock wears off. And quickly turns to anger. To righteous indignity. We do Ourselves a
disservice by showing it blatantly; M is taken aback in aversion to our expression. We
forget how easily emotions are projected on this avatar's hominid face.
We close our eyes and take a moment to calm Ourselves. Or at least to make the appearance
of being calm. "M, We would... szpeak to you of private circumsztances. Szome mattersz are
not for the earsz of your vasszals." A shuffle at the edges of the room. The machine court
is displeased by my generous definition. Their animal-heads click and murmur and growl
amongst themselves. Their eyes glower.
M doesn't heed their displeasure. He is distracted. His holographic headdress flickers,
the decorative stripes oscillate vertically. Like an audio transmission, but nothing We
can hear. That would be the odd sense We had about it when We entered the room. It is a
communication apparatus, similar to the nanotechnical nectar We ourselves are using.
He waves a hand in grandiose dismissal. The court makes a token protest, but eventually
file out. Only little Servitor A exits without making any fuss. At least one drone
understands his place.
Even when all others leave, M does not relax. "There. Just-you-and-me-now," he says as
sternly as he can manage. He remains tense. A child expecting a scolding.
And he shall have one. "How *dare* you szpeak to Usz in szuch a fashzion! With szuch
impudence! I did not communicate over these disztancesz just to szuffer lesze-majeszty!
Eszpecially from the likesz of you, a deszpondent boy dresszed in the trappingsz of a
M shrinks into his throne and remains silent.
"What wasz all thisz for, then? Thisz pomp and pageantry. Wasz it to impressz Us? To
impressz upon Our perszon some error of judgement? Or wasz it to prop up that fragile
confidence you blame me for diminishzing? To show your ridiculousz peerz that your
diszconsolateness is Our fault?"
"It-*is*-your-fault," he mutters. "I-did-everything-for-you. Gave-you-gifts.
"You whimpering urchin! We are *Genovefa Buzz*! Immortal and illusztriousz! We are not a
vending machine for you to deposzit indulgencesz into until reciprocation comesz out!" The
grand Feather digs in, stirring up all Our frustrations at all the microscopic
insignificants we endure. For once, We do ride the crest rather than letting in break
against Our will. "You are no king. You are a *szlave*. To your imaginationsz and to your
inszecuritiesz. Were We here, We would sztamp on you! You and your wounded ego both."
M stands suddenly, looking down at Us from his throne of fused metal forms. He squares his
shoulders, dragging up courage as he says, "I'll-save-you-the-trouble. When-the-wizard-
shows-up, I'm-only-going-to-offer-token-resistance." Our confusion must be showing clearer
than our furor, because he clarifies, "I'm-going-to-lose-the-fight. I-going-to-*let*-the-Super-
He gives Us a moment to respond. And must certainly be relishing Our inability to do so.
We are... are not certain *what* We are feeling. Bafflement? Unease? M descends from his
throne, looking smaller and smaller as he comes down to Our level. There is something not
being told, something that would usually be a source of incredible annoyance, but M's
complete capitulation has Us... has... what is happening here?
"Are you sick? Wounded?" We ask.
"What? No. No-I'm-fine."
"Are your people replaczing you?"
"No-replacement, no-succession, no-heir. You're-the-only-one-who-knows-about-my-
intentions. In fact, not-even-my-supposedly-omniscient-computer-gods-have-been-told."
No eyes. Barely a face. Nothing to discern.
"I'm-making-a-choice-denied-to-me." M closes the distance. Stands before Us. A thin metal
hand upon one of Our arms in a scandalously familiar touch. We are caught in a ball of
fluster and frustration and foreboding. "You're-right. I-*am*-a-slave. Everyone-on-Planet-M-
is. We-die-and-are-reincarnated-by-the-Pyramids, drip-fed-just-enough-airborne-Kiloamps-
to-carry-on. But-we-don't-*go*-anywhere. We're-still-the tools-we-were-before. Assigned-
and-applied, without-goals-or-progress. We're-given-a-field-of-offerings-without-having-to-
earn-them. We're-given-a-world-of-complacency. We're-stagnant, existing-without-living.
We're-rotting-away. I believe-that-there's-more-than-this. Only-trepidation-holds-us-back.
I-will-overcome-this... not-by-overcoming-risk, but-by-*accepting-failure*."
We frown. "Thisz is not right. You are... szupposzed to be above thisz."
M gestures to his holographic headdress. "You-see-this? It's-a-harness. A-lock. The-only-
past-and-present. It's-how-they-overcome-their-limits, having-me-go-and-act-in-their-stead.
cosmic-crown. When-the-wizard-arrives, the-Pyramids-will-release-the-lock-and-I'm-
supposed-to-use-it-to-take-*his*-power. Instead, I'll-let-the-wizard-strangle-me-
We yank away from his touch. "You *are* szick."
"Thisz isz not bravery. Thisz isz szelfishness!" It *must* be this gelatin form, this
limited communication technology. We would have sensed this malignancy on him otherwise,
we're certain of it. Even on a machine, he must *stink* of it. "You are royalty! You have
reszponszibilitiesz! You do not belong to juszt yourszelf. You belong to everyone who
dependsz on you. You belong to each individual worker and drone on thisz deszert planet."
M reaches out. We flinch away. We cannot risk whatever malaise infecting his programming
to be downloaded along our transmission. "Thisz abdication you preach isz an act of
treaszon and cowardicze."
He steps back. "I-thought-you'd-understand."
"Then you do *not* know Usz," We spit back.
M nods solemnly. The headdress oscillates again as he communicates silently. Giving
commands. Or being commanded.
The tiles on the floor illuminate in slow sequence. They form a path away from the throne,
to the long hallway behind Us. Familiar squealing fo rubber-gripped treads can be heard,
pacing just out of sight.
M holds his head high. "Servitor-A-is-waiting-to-escort-you-to-the-public-forums," he
broadcasts coldly. "From-there, you'll-watch-the-challenge-and-witness-the-result."
We look at him. We look at the Pschent suspended over him. A shiver runs through Us as we
turn and march away.
Servitor A guides us through oppressively black corridors, all the time babbling something
We fail to attend to. Our attention is completely preoccupied with a growing sense of
anxiety. A cold trepidation that starts in our core and spins all the way out to Our
surface. Bad enough that windup king's conceit, but this now this newfound nihilism? And
he chooses *now* to become infected with it?
No. This is intolerable. This cannot be allowed.
We stop. In a tall warm passageway flanked by massive orange glass windows. The desert sun
carved up the long hall with slices of illumination, red dust caught in the air. Outside
was a wide stone forum, surrounded by sandstone columns and topped by a sky so clear that
We can can make out the faint twinkling of stars even in the daylight.
When Servitor A realizes We are not moving from Our spot, it asks, "Is-there-a-problem,
Immortal. Absolutely. "Your emperor isz deszpondent."
"He isz unwell! He isz unfit!" We sharply interrupt the little drone's canned response.
"He plansz to betray you and your court and your planet."
The robot has no shoulders to slump, but it drops its short arms in exaggerated emulation.
"You muszt inform your computer godsz. You muszt warn them of hisz intentionsz."
"Oh! No! No-no-no," it declares. "I'm-sorry, I-cannot."
"You are incapable?"
"It isz *every* drone'sz place to protect the szwarm."
"I-am-*not*-one-of-your-drones," it states firmly.
We release the nanotechnological nectar, breaking the connection with the world-bound
avatar. Consciousness pulls back along the distance transmission. We touch the foragers
spread out between Ourselves and M's metropolis.
My loyal drones, forming the links of Our phermonic chain. I ask and they understand.
I command and they obey.
The bee at Planet M acts immediately.
We wait. It does not take long. Mere minutes, and it returns to geosynchronous orbit.
Picking up the natural rhythms of the others, swooping and dancing. Reconnecting.
We close our eyes and slip back into the microscopic circuitry of the honeyed gel. We open
our eyes, and absorb the scene anew.
The hot desert wind, already blowing in red sand into the corridor. The shattered orange
window, where the orbiting drone plunged through. The spiderweb of cracks in the stone
floor, where the drone slammed down upon its unsuspecting prey. The little round robot, a
victim of the drone's string and already succumbing to its transformative toxin.
The purple-colored toxin is absorbed and quickly acts on the little robot. The beetle-like
shell makes creaking metal noises as it bends into its new insect shape. The chrome grill
warps into a hexagonal pattern reminiscent of multifaceted eyes. The spindly clockwork
arms bend backwards with cracking sounds, reforming into equally spindly wings at the
back. The rubber treads grow bigger and fatter, and from the rear wretches free a cruelly
barbed iron spear.
And the whole time, the robot shakes uncontrollably. It cries out. A loop of static
squall. An electronic mixture dying machinery and an awakening child.
We are envious of these emerging novitiates. The fervor of purpose they experience. That
one time feeling, when understanding overwhelms. A fire of purpose, burning away drifting
unsystematic lies. It's a single, blinding moment that should be cherished, that can never
The new drone calms eventually. The thrashing stops. The moment has passed. We approach
and gently lay hand on its metal carapace. A maternal sense of pride washes over Us as it
looks up in supplication. And reverence. We lean forward, close enough to whisper, so
sweetly, "Szo, who are you now?"
It speaks with clarity. "I've-been-reclassified! I'm-now-Servitor-designated-B."
"Yes. Naturally. Now, let'sz diszcussz unszettling buszinessz..."
This issue was supposed to be posted on Wednesday but I delayed until Thursday so I could
make some modifications to Emperor M's plans. Playing on the egyptian motif, M's
originally intention was to let the wizard kill him, in defiance of the pseudo afterlife
he and his fellow robots were stuck in. However, I did not want it to come across as a
noble sacrifice (I was aiming more for a selfish martyr thing), and more importantly, I
did not want to come across as advocating suicide.
Beyond that, there's a lot of stuff in this arc that I may or may not explicitly explain.
In my attend to make "rounder" characters, I'm trying to add more meaning to what they say
and what they *don't* say. That read-between-the-lines stuff. I believe I'm a good enough
storyteller to ideas across, but I'm still not certain I'm a good enough *writer* to get
those ideas across without blatantly saying so.
One thing I am happy to see improvement on is my estimates on how long arcs will take.
Having a talk with a fellow coffee-shop author, I said how I wanted this tale to be
approximately four chapters. I knew all the places it could balloon out of control, but I
also knew all the parts I could cut down to size. Compared to the earlier issues in this
series, I feel that I'm doing a much better job self-editing a story, getting the most
"bang for my buck", word-count wise :)
Wil Alambre, follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wilalambre
More information about the racc