[ASH] REPOST: ASH #119 - City of Night Prelude

Drew Nilium pwerdna at gmail.com
Sun Oct 31 20:35:15 PDT 2021

On 10/11/21 1:30 PM, Dave Van Domelen wrote:

Okay, gonna read all the way thru this and--

>       [The cover shows a city hall flying a blue and red striped flag with a
> single white star.  The scene is dissolving from the lower left, with only
> blackness in that corner.  In the upper right is the copy, "A Multiverse
> DIES!"]

oh no I remember what started this, I'm old X3;;;

>   '|`  /|(`| |   City of Night Prologue: Heropolis Delenda Est

But at least I can appreciate that title now

>       /-|.)|-|        copyright 2012 by Dave Van Domelen

noooooooooo X3

>       The world caught its breath for a moment.  If he had escaped his prison,
> it could well mean the end of everything, especially with the world still
> reeling from crises that included an interdimensional invasion, the
> resurgence of an ancient god of death, and the demise of the world's foremost
> hero.
>       No one was expecting what happened next, nor did anyone think things
> could possibly be made worse than they already seemed.
>       "I am sorry," the mad god said, casting his gaze downward.  "I have
> failed, and because of that, everything that is will cease to be."

The pentient world-devourer is a great concept.

> Two hundred or so had been granted sanctuary on the farm, protected by
> the monstrous owner of the property and a bizarre mix of his allies and
> former enemies.

I also enjoy the dancing around trademarks. X3

>       "Look, I'm just saying, it doesn't pay to make holiday plans around you
> guys," Darran shrugged.  "In '22 you caught the Template Killer on Christmas
> Eve.  In '23 there was Kasca's attack here, plus the CSV debuted a few days
> after Christmas.  '24 was amazingly quiet on Christmas, but now we know
> Doublecross was setting up his Paris Mirror about that time.  And last year,"
> he looked over to where Nancy Balzer was scolding her adopted son, whose face
> was smeared with frosting from the double handful of Christmas cookies he'd
> crammed into it, "well, it was pretty busy too."

Shades of Doctor Who! o3o

> We need to feel like
> normal people sometimes, and not just soldiers constantly at war.  And if
> that means offering up a softball pitch to Murphy by holding a Christmas
> party, so be it."

Heck yeah. <3 <3 <3

>       "SEE?  SEE?" Darran pointed at the young mage.  "It's a Thing.  Soon
> it'll be a cliche.  Now we're going to get a horde of vampire Santas coming
> down the chimney tonight, or a floating island full of superintelligent
> hamsters, or super plant bombs, or the second coming or TYMYTHY TWYSTYD!"

yesssssss :D

> no one was completely happy
> with the fact that as Poniente, Esmeralda served a semi-divine wind spirit
> out of Lakota myth.  Eya existed in that uncertain zone between mortal and
> divine, much like the spirits ruling China these days did, but what if the
> true gods who once associated with him were drawn back to Earth by his
> activity?  The attention of the gods had nearly destroyed the world a
> generation ago, after all...even "good guy" ones like Wakinyan was supposed
> to be.

Man. In retrospect, the basic concept of the Causality War is... really Western, 
huh. o3o

>       "Merry Christmas," Darran hoisted his mug of mulled cider.  "Hope you
> survive the experience."

Love it. X3 <3

> The weathermen blamed it on the Project
> Winterlight thing.  On average it was returning things more or less to
> normal, but weather was always chaotic, and some places were still too cold
> and others too warm.  Covering up the Sun for a while and then compensating
> by detonating something or other in orbit might make all the numbers add up
> to normal, but....

Yeah that's relatable. @-@ At least the Cataclysm interrupted the progress of 
global warming...

>       People started staggering out of the glowing symbol, haggard and looking
> like they'd been walking for days.  Some still wore heavy coats which they
> now started to shed, others had tied the coats around their waists or simply
> abandoned any heavier outfits they might have once worn.
>       Many were falling to the ground and kissing it, and only the general
> weariness of the crowd seemed to be keeping them from whooping with joy.

Good shit. <3

>       The agent was interrupted by a disturbance from inside the main cordon.
> The flying woman was arguing with a group of agents led by one of the
> Marshals, and was gesturing at them as if she expected it to have some
> effect.  Surprised that nothing happened, she was quickly subdued by the
> Marshal's shock baton.

Oof. ^^;

>       Poniente exchanged a look with the mystic portrait of Peregryn that
> allowed the exiled mage instantaneous communication from Venus, then nodded.
> "Names have power in magic, they are a large part of defining reality.  If,
> as you've told us, your reality has ceased to be...then all of the names have
> as well.

Also, the Iron Curtain of Trademark!

>       Poniente shrugged, choosing to leave aside the point about population
> density.  No need to tell the refugees that they'd come to an Earth with
> barely a third the population of the one they'd left.


> Jed and I had been mainlining the power of creation
> lately, which was how we could be used to power the gate that brought us
> here."
>       "That answers it, then," Peregryn's portrait replied.  "You must retain
> a tiny portion of that power, seeds of your old reality linked to your
> spirits.  The other superhumans among the refugees...they lost their powers?"
>       The medic consulted her compad.  "That's the strange thing.  While none
> of them trip any of the Tesla Index tests, they do still have powers,
> sometimes.  The powers come and go."
>       "I reckon they come when Miss Venturi or me 're nearby?" Jed asked.  "I
> mean, it'd make sense.  If we're all that's left of the wellspring of power
> from our home, then being near us might let some of the others use their
> powers too."

Nice and consistent, makes sense. <3

>       "Our reality has been shielded until recently by a powerful barrier
> against interdimensional travel," Peregryn's portrait explained.  "Most
> likely, your gateway latched onto the closest spot where the walls between
> realities had weakened enough to allow entry.  The year 2012 was nearly in
> the middle of the interdicted era."

That definitely makes sense. @. at v

> I mean, we've had a few nasties come through, like TerraStar, but no
> invading armies."
>       This was, of course, when the screaming started.


>       "We all died, I tell you!" the screaming now could be made out as
> words.  "But R...the ravager lied, hell wasn't destroyed!  We're IN IT!"


> "Not only are Miss Venturi and Mister Smith
> the 'batteries' for the supernatural powers of the other refugees, they are
> in fact the only thing maintaining the reality of their fellows, powered or
> not.  If anyone strays too far, they start to lose contact with their own
> reality.  It manifests first as a mental dissociation, but in extreme cases
> could result in physical dissolution."

Oofda. D:

>       "Technician Dawes, I believe I can tap the remaining spark of your
> native reality's power and use it to bind you all to our reality.  It might
> cost the superhumans among you their powers, or it might 'translate' your
> powers into something our universe understands.  But it should link your
> spirits to this world and prevent your dissolution," Peregryn said.

Ahhhhh, very good.

> Some more of the analogies should bind in place
> to compensate for missing names...for instance, when you think of your city
> of heroes and villains,

Eh? Ehhhhh? :D

> "You were once a god of death, that much I can
> tell, even if you're not any kind of god I've ever encountered.  But that
> puts your power outside the games played by my patroness.  Absorbing you
> would give me power that even she cannot detect or counter, diminished as it
> might be.

Oh I love that sort of shit. :3 A crossover meaningfully bringing something new 
to the narrative long-term.

>       "Ohhhhh yesssss," she whispered, holding the smoke in her lungs as long
> as she could and drawing in the essence of an alien god.  It wasn't enough to
> put her on a par with even the greater servants of the gods, but it was quite
> impressive nonetheless.
>       And to test it, there was a plan she'd been toying with for months, but
> never seemed to have the resources to enact.
>       She had them now.


> This is one of those arcs I've been sitting on for a
> LOOOONG time.

And even longer now. o3o

> Of course,
> others are welcome to their own explanations in-story of how (or even if!)
> the world ends.  A happier view would be that the reality goes merrily on and
> we simply lose our window on it, but for the purposes of my story...well,
> happy doesn't work as well.

Yeah, uh, definitely not where I would have gone. X3 <3

> After all, in a world where all the superhumans are
> twenty-somethings, an octogenarian farmer from rural New England would offer
> a rather different point of view.


>       Because I expect to get some readers for this issue from the City of
> Heroes side, I tried to be a little more comprehensive in my exposition, at
> the expense of sounding a bit stilted in places.  There's still loads of
> backstory I really couldn't fit in without it being totally awkward, but
> hopefully there's enough that anyone who hasn't read any previous ASH stories
> isn't totally at sea.

It definitely helped with not having read it for a while. X3

>       Darran, who still has no last name, first appeared in ASH #47.  All of
> his speculative disasters are based on stores in ASH Holiday Special #1
> (although the floating island is shamelessly ripped off from Narbonic).


> Hsiang, Doctor Clancey and
> Technician Dawes aren't imports of any specific City of Heroes characters,
> they're meant to be the sort of "named generic NPC" you see in repeatable
> content missions ("Get the Dragoon Balls and defeat Hsiang," or "Rescue
> Doctor Clancy from the Rikti," that sort of thing).

Ahhhhh, makes sense

>       The repeated references to everyone looking the same comes from the fact
> that most NPCs in City of Heroes draw from a pool of a couple of dozen
> faces.  There's even a few cases of mission-granting contacts differing only
> by the color of their tie.  This would seem perfectly normal to the natives,
> who would be able to tell each other apart based on subtle cues below the
> resolution of the game's graphics, but to a non-native it would be kinda creepy.

Ahhhhh, okay - I was wondering if it was a side-effect of being separated from 
their world and running out of power.

>       And in case anyone cares, Lady Sable's new toy is a recently defeated
> god of death from a pantheon that got itself banished, if you know what I
> mean.


Drew "glad I remember most of the CoH stuff" Nilium

More information about the racc mailing list