8FOLD: Mighty Medley # 36, January 2017, by Messrs. Brenton, McClure, Perron, Russell, and Stokes

Drew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Wed Feb 1 19:47:08 PST 2017

Digging myself out of yet another winter hole, and... yay, Mighty Medley is 
there! <3

On 1/28/2017 10:05 AM, Tom Russell wrote:

> "Stealth Mission" Part 3
> One-in-thirteen billion odds for the one-inch teenage anger muffin.

Adorable <3

> "Quest" Part 2
> Tales told and tankards quaffed. The Gardener, Zorgo's Rail Gun Loop,
> and the Dhakisattvor Vow. Worlds outer and inner, true and virtual.

Oooooh, ahhhhh

> "The Science-Blades of Terra Alter" Part 8
> An eye whose iris was a gear and pupil was a labyrinth. An allegory
> that no one understands. Wonders and glories of New Atlantis: the
> elegance of the dancers; the first claim; the electric spark; the
> tall, pale woman in the scarlet dress.


> "Empress of Pages" Part 19
> The return of Mr. Stokes's celebrated serial to our pages.

Hell yeah :D

> "His White Rose"
> The first Featherweight story, and the last. A whisper, defiant.

ohhhhhh. :o

> "The Terrific Visage" Part 5
> Love Protectress Gorgoneion on her first mission! The missing step and
> the turmoil caused by its absence. The glass of water, and the simple
> truth that taking care of someone may be the best way to take care of
> yourself.

I am proud'a this one. :D

> -------------------STEALTH MISSION------------------
>    "Um, Medusa, are you seeing this?"
>    "That's a silly question," says Medusa. "I'm a local instance of a
> group-mind AI who receives visual input by interfacing with your
> occipital lobe. If you're seeing something, obviously I'm seeing it,
> at the same time."


> She'll tell Derek! Derek will tell literally everybody forever.
> And no, I don't mean figuratively. He will send an infinite number of
> versions of himself into the past and tell people in a infinite number
> of alternate pasts that will converge to form our present, a present
> where everybody will have always known about the thing that no one's
> supposed to know about!"

pffff. XD

>    "I'm sure you would," says Rainshade. "And how did that work out?
> Oh, right, the AI went crazy and tried to wipe mankind off the face of
> the earth. Again. Like they always do. How predictable."
>    "Emily was confused," says Cal. "She was in pain! She was lashing
> out! What, is it only tragic when it's a mancer who does it? Because
> that's just as flipping predictable."
>    "The difference is that mancers are alive. But I'm sure the family
> of Emily's victims take a lot of solace in you fetishizing the pain of
> a computer program."

This is... hard to read. x-x; Rainshade sounds, let us say, like a lot of people 
who I've heard arguing against important things. (This is not a criticism~)

>    "...which isn't your fault, I'm going to give you a pass."
>    Rainshade smiles. "How big of you."

This is a criticism: The insult of this line may have been going too far, 

>    "I think we got off on the wrong foot here," says Rainshade slowly.

--this. Like, that line was a little too trolly to make sense of the turnaround? 
But I may be misinterpreting.

>    "But it's Medusa! She's not anything like the Gorgon!"
>    "But she is," says Rainshade. "And that Gorgon code still exists in
> every instance of Medusa. Which is why we do keep an eye on her. And
> she understands that. She insists on it!

I mean, that's a reasonable point, but still, don't be a douchebag >:/

>    Medusa breaks in. "We've ran thirteen billion simulations. In
> almost all of them, the threat is neutralized. But in only one does
> she come back."
>    Oh, that's good.

Oof. @.x Yeah, that makes sense. They've gone for nigh-suicide missions before, 
it fits with their personality, and...

> But if Derek or Kate get word of this, they're not going to
> let me do it. They'll send Melody, or Dot, or Kate. The way I look at
> it, I'm uniquely situated to do this one thing. They're also able to
> do this one thing, but they can also do a hundred other things that a
> one-inch teenage anger muffin can't do.

Oofle. ;-; Caaaaal. I want to give you so many hugs.

> -----------------------QUEST------------------------
>    They went and found Tunhelg's friends at the Cathedral Swan, a
> tavern on the upriver side of town. All the adventuring group was
> there, both the ones that Yulgna already knew from long acquaintance -
> like Acrey, and the merry-faced Tinya -

I want to be described as "merry-faced" someday.

> Unsurprisingly most of them were orcs,
> except for stolid dwarven Acrey, and the fantastically exotic Joram
>the human.

Saxon, I love how much you love orcs.

>    Stories were told and tankards were quaffed. (Not by Yulgna,
> however. She considered quaffing a waste of good alcohol, and since
> she had no trouble holding her liquor she simply drank, albeit on
> something approaching industrial lines.)

Heeheehee. Subtle Pratchettisms. :3

>    "Let's not go crazy with that," warned Joram. "But... yeah. The Eco
> Collapse was, what, three-and-a-half thousand years ago?

More details on this weird virtual-plus world we're in!

> I mean, these
> days we don't even know exactly what 'soul flensing' even means."


>    "I'm a bit dubious about that one too," admitted Joram. "But as for
> what stories were real... Well, the Eco Collapse is the one I'd
> choose. The whole warlocks drain the planets life force, the Gardener
> bashes their heads together, then has to stomp around for decades on
> end trying to repair the damage. On the one hand that sounds epic
> enough to be a story about the Gardener, but at the same time so
> dreadfully tedious that it couldn't happen anywhere except in the
> outer world."

This isn't far from how I determine what news stories are real, so. (Also, "the 
whole warlocks"? Is that a typo or an intentionally weird phrasing?)

>    They argued about that for a while, including how much the inner
> world was a faithful recreation of the outer world, including the old
> chestnut of how much functional magic existed beyond virtual reality.

Oooooh, subtle worldbuilding. :D I love this a *lot*.

>    "And Zorgo's Rail Gun Loop," agreed Yulgna. "So anyway, as you get
> older you get told, no, those aren't fairy tales. We really do need
> people to fight their way to the top of the Towers, and if youngsters
> show promise they get training in how to take on an Aspect of
> adventuring.

Very cool, very cool.

>    "You did more than 'okay'," Acrey said. Like Tunhelg he was an old
> friend, and knew this story. "You made it all the way along the
> warrior path through knight to knightrider."
>    The others whistled. The knight move was tricky. Most people only
> managed a single cycle of the two-steps-forward-one-step-to-the-side
> movement of a knight. To be able to keep going on such a complicated
> vector was an impressive feat.


> And I thought: what's the best
> use that I can put this to? Should I keep trying to clear parts of the
> Tower? Or should I set up shop and provide gear for others to do the
> same thing? What's better in the long run?"

And this is basically the path I've been taking towards Getting Shit Done in the 

>    "In any case, *this* is why I went to Yulgna to get my gear fixed,"
> said Tunhelg. "It's that she knows her stuff."
>    "Well thank you," said Yulgna.  "And here I was worried that you
> were just looking for a good price," she added, provoking laughter and
> Tunhleg to grin and roll his eyes.

Awwwwww. <3 (That's a good chapter-break point.)

> -----------------THE SCIENCE-BLADES-----------------
> -------------------OF TERRA ALTER-------------------
>    Blue and gold banners hung beside the throne, with a symbol of an
> eye whose iris was a gear and pupil was a labyrinth.

Ooooooh. :o Evocative.

>    "Welcome!" said Antinea. Elaine kneeled before the golden throne,
> hoping she wasn't committing a faux pas. "No need for that," said the
> queen. "You are the wife of my husband. Stand."

<3 <3 <3

> It was part
> of a domain covering most of the world, marked by a symbol--a horned
> circle upon a cross standing on a wavy line--which she knew as the
> Monas Heiroglyphica, created by John Dee, the magus, spy and statesman
> who had named the "British Empire."

Ah, man, Atlantis, John Dee - we're getting deep into theosophic territory. :D

>    "That is the Everlasting Empire of Amarantine," said Antinea. "For
> thousands of years it has endured, longer than any empire of your
> world, not founded on magic, ever could.  In its eyes the existence of
> our city is illegal. Sometimes they have tolerated us, at other times
> they have sought to destroy us. For the last two hundred years, there
> has been peace between us, but it has been tenuous and I fear it will
> lost soon, especially with the new emperor on the throne.

I love this sort of acknowledgement that political relationships are as fluid as 
any other kind, though often on longer scales.

> It is likely the portal affected him
> somehow. He may have changed, in mind and body."

Sounds perilous! `-`

>    "Okay." Elaine took Antinea's warm, bronze hand in hers and squeezed it.
>    "Don't worry. I have faith in him. And you." Antinea smiled--she
> really meant it, or seemed to. Which meant she had more faith in
> Elaine than Elaine herself did.


> She stood in a place of
> honor beside the queen and watched a sort of masque, which seemed
> extremely convoluted and allegorical. Antinea whispered to her that no
> one really understood what it meant, including its writer.

Metafiction meets mystery rites <3

>    After the masque ended, it was time for the dance to begin. She
> felt lost in the sea of bright costumes and elegant dancers. The queen
> took her hand again, and she felt something like an electric spark. "I
> think you have the first claim on me."

ohhhh *my* :D

>    Then someone approached her. It was a tall, pale, dark-haired woman
> in a scarlet dress. She smiled a knowing and inviting smile. "May I
> have this dance?" she said.


> ------------------EMPRESS OF PAGES------------------
>    The other daemon snarled a wordless reply, his body shimmering as
> the glossy black carapace of the Netherguard slid over it - smoothly
> and (more importantly) very quickly, Meredith noted with a tiny pang
> of jealousy. He'd never quite mastered the art, but his opponent had
> had plenty of time to practice, it seemed.

Somehow this reminds me of the Homeworld Gems on Steven Universe.

>    'So we shall,' Meredith returned with a smirk of his own, and
> shivered a little as he donned his own carapace, the Library's wires
> squirming and flexing beneath his skin to get settled and positioned
> just right.

So creepycool.

>    A simple wordless acknowledgement was all Meredith could spare now,
> his whole being devoted to dancing across the sands, avoiding every
> strike the Guardian sent his way with sinuous grace. It would have
> been a delightful pastime, had he been unafraid of losing and failing
> his Empress ('death' being an impossible outcome).
>    As it was, it was exhilarating.

Just the kind of feeling you want in an action scene. :D

>    "Coward," the Guardian spat, bristling. "Did you come to fight or to dance?"
>    He wasn't approaching, Meredith noted with interest, simply
> blocking access to the Pillar - even moving sideways to match him.
> "Neither," he replied with an insouciant smile. "I came for the
> crystals. You /are/ a fine dancer, though."


>    "Don't play the fool with me, Lesser filth!" the Guardian all but
> shouted, his claws glowing and sparking ominously. "The Sun is
> /touched/, the Throne tells me to be wary, and then you come - /you/,
> of all the slippery little pests. Fn'ordh the Lesser, the weakest, the
> most forgettable, and yet here you are, disrespecting the Throne in
> the most /egregious/ way possible. What else am I to think?"

Just how you want your enemies to talk about you. :3

>    Meredith suppressed a snort. "I'll answer your question with a
> question.  Why do you serve the Throne?  Is it out of duty, or simply
> fear of the consequences? Or is it perhaps something else?"
>    "I don't need to answer that." There was only the slightest
> hesitation before the Guardian responded, but it was there
> nevertheless, and it made Meredith smile.

Yessss. Subvert. :D

>    -Do you think to turn him?- the Library mused. -I fear this will
> not be easy.-
>    'Unsettle him, perhaps; no more,' Meredith thought back as he
> slowly paced to the side, the Guardian following tirelessly. 'Any
> advantage I can seize, I must.'

Mwahaha. <3

> ------------------HIS WHITE ROSE--------------------

Oh, man. Interested in how this is going to turn out, given the summary.

> Possessed of gloves that reduce the weight of even the heaviest
> objects to a mere ounce, professor Kelly Chen becomes the daring
> gentleman-adventurer FEATHERWEIGHT!

Lovely! <3

> Hotspur throws a tank at them, but Featherweight nimbly plucks it from
> the air, balancing it upon a single gloved finger.

Oho. A reasonable extension of the gloves' powers.

>    The pretty brunette smiles back, and uses her eerie powers to draw
> Hotspur's fire. No matter where Hotspur's lasers are aimed, they curl
> and twist in mid-air, all homing toward her; she darts and dodges them
> with a practiced ease that belies her fleshy frame.

Ah, an evasion tank. Don't see enough of those~

>    Vedette gives Featherweight a celebratory high-five: at the moment
> of impact, her fingers and palm become ephemeral. He curls his fingers
> between hers, and with his other hand, finds a place at the small of
> her back. He pulls her close, and pulls her up, balancing her
> weightlessly on his fingertips, and then lets her float gently back to
> the earth. Before he releases her hand, he steals a kiss just above
> her knuckles.
>    He tips his hat, and bids her adieu.

daaaaaaaaamn. Smooth as *fuck*.

> It isn't a ritual. Yes, he does the same things every time, and in the
> same order, with the same deliberate care and slowness. It's always
> the hat first, followed by the cape. But it's not a ritual.

Heh heh heh.

>    All that's left is the layers of tight bandage that flatten her
> breasts. As Kelly unwraps herself, she wonders again if the bandages
> are really necessary. It's not like her breasts are all that
> noticeable.

Genderfluid representation fuck yeah!

> As
> she pulls on a pair of jeans, she catches sight of herself in the
> mirror. It's weird; Featherweight is actually quite feminine for a
> man, all delicate features and careful poise, a pretty man, like the
> guys in shojo manga. Whereas Kelly is a tomboy if ever there was one:
> she hasn't worn a dress since she had any kind of say in the matter.
> In fact, sometimes she feels more feminine when he dons the top hat
> and cloak, and more masculine when she's Kelly.

Oooooh. A rather lovely feeling, IMHO.

>    Kelly used to feel uneasy about all that, about who she was
> (Featherweight never gave it, or anything else that troubled Kelly,
> much thought; everything for him is breezy fun and adventure). She
> felt better about it, a lot better, after she started talking with
> Medusa. The other Daylighters Featherweight has met have helped as
> well, the gender-queer ones anyway; he hasn't told most of the others,
> and that includes the various hyper-feminine heroines he's romanced,
> like Vedette. But she's more comfortable being who she is.

Awwwwww. Excellent. <3

> What's wrong with that?
> With adapting? With giving and taking? With being more than one thing?


>    Just as she's getting home with her dinner, Kelly gets a call from
> Medusa. They'll need Featherweight to go to Cradle Tech HQ tomorrow
> afternoon, hiding the Mighty Inch in his lapel. (Another covert,
> off-the-books mission Medusa has initiated herself. Medusa's been a
> true friend, and Kelly has no qualms about helping her out.)

Aw. <3

>    Kelly shifts her eyes toward the sound. The woman is only visible
> out of the corner of her eye. She can't make out much about the
> figure, but the umbrella gives it away.


> But I'm going to do you a kindness, instead. I'm
> just going to wipe your memory. Of this conversation. Of Cradle. Of
> Vedette, of the Daylighters, of Featherweight. You'll just be Kelly.
> Who you really are. No more pretending."


>    "She," whispers Kelly, defiant, and then everything goes black.

awwwwh ;.; Man, I wish we'd gotten to know her before this story. Getting the 
rad genderfluid character and then taking them off the table immediately is Sad. ;.;

(Also putting this right before my story is a fascinating bit of editing. :3)

Drew "curation!" Perron

This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.

More information about the racc mailing list