Startup Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 A Prequel Cauldron Cauldron II .
Cauldron: Part 1 2 3 4 Cauldron II .
Superhuman World 2010 is a work of fiction. The characters herein and the commentary about them should not be considered "real".
SUPERHUMAN WORLD 2010
Cauldron Part 1
My editor and chief commentator Wyatt Ferguson has taken a leave of absence from his duties on our web site, to work for his government. While he is away I have arranged to publish this story from his nation's news feeds. It seems the United States is in a crisis.
(signed) Katerina Katzmann, Publisher.
Wednesday, November 4, 2010
Last month I was on tour with the dance troop Body Up, when our leader Norma McMillan got a call. Our entire troop had been offered a job with the government - and not dancing.
The call was from Yon Schmidt at the United States Insight Battalion. He wanted us to be spies for them! Well, actually he said "observers".
The Government had been spying on American citizens since 2007, with a combination of public cameras and, well, "street people". This was done by a Patriotic Homeland Corps. (Citation) But the Corps was about as smart as trained monkeys. Vice-President Corrigan wanted to do things smarter. So he wanted some special agents to take a more active role. He'd hired Yon to start hiring others - preferably superpowered.
A bunch of us objected then. We all have enhanced strength and fitness, but only when we're in a group of us. But Yon had an answer: "Insight" suits from our old universe where most of us superhumans came from. They could give us the powers, even one by one. They could maybe give anyone the same powers, but we were already used to that stuff. And we all had some training; we work out with kickboxing.
We still weren't interested in going out alone, though. In Body Up our powers came as being part of a team, and we still wanted to work as a team. So Yon agreed we could work in teams of two.
Some of us objected to the whole idea of spying on Americans. But Yon promised we wouldn't be going inside homes to do it. And when people commit crimes in public, they deserve to be seen and caught.
That's how Body Up signed on with USIB.
Norma split us up into four teams. It didn't much matter to me who I worked with, since we were all friends. But Norma kept best friends together. I got to work with Holly, whom I knew from before Body Up. We were real estate agents together near Seattle. I was senior, so Holly kind of let me lead the team.
Yon had targets he wanted covered. He said they came from a security analysis. Then Norma assigned us. Holly and I got Nashville, Tennessee; apparently no action for us in Washington State. Cherell and Jenn come from Massachusetts, so they got a little town named Douglas which is some kind of militia breeding ground. Liz and Margaret Jean got Lansing, the state capital in Michigan; that's kind of near Chicago where they come from. And Norma and Tanya took North Port, Florida, a sort of Gulf Coast slum city; the Russian crime community gathers there and Tanya speaks Russian.
Yon wanted us all in place by Election Day, because either urban left-wing gangs or rural right-wing militias were going to be discontent once the results came in. Survivalist right-wingers were running as the independent "Tea Party", since the Obama / Corrigan ticket in 2008 proved independents could win. (Citation)
So Holly and I were in Nashville on Monday before the election. We got to stay at a fancy hotel, the Maxwell House. It wasn't named after coffee, coffee was named after it! More importantly to Yon, it was twelve stories tall, on top of a hill, and made a great vantage point for the north part of town where state offices, yuppies, rednecks, and potential rioters all came together. They'd agreed to let up set up on their roof.
On Tuesday we set up our monitor site, on top of the hotel. It was a quiet day. Everyone was voting.
On Wednesday the results were in. The Tea Party had pretty much won. America was now on a three-party system, not counting Obama. Our briefing said, watch out for rioters. But the first thing we saw was a nun on a bicycle.
We checked our briefing sheet. The Maxwell House Hotel was across the street from St. Cecilia's Motherhouse. So yes, there were nuns around. Holly watched that side, which also faced downtown. I watched everything else.
Holly saw stuff first. Around 3 pm, there was a puff of smoke coming up from a corner of the nunnery. She stayed on the telescopes, while I went down the side of the hotel and ran over to investigate. We had rappel cables set up. Quicker than elevators!
I was expecting arson. But the smoke didn't continue. Maybe it was just some leaf-burning.
But then my sound gear gave me an alert. It had heard the keyword "Ellipsis"! If someone in the nunnery was talking about the world's most powerful superhuman while they were setting off fires, it was time to listen in. Probably just some gardeners talking about current affairs. But I figured, if I was on the street and I could hear it, that was public enough for me to listen some more.
When I turned my sound gear on the conversation, I heard, "Yes, he is in hell right now. But wait, I think we have a guest." Uh oh, they were on to me!
I ran, away from the hotel. I figured I'd disappear before they could take a second look, run around the block, and get back to the hotel.
I went around the corner and kept running. But my suit gave me an alarm. Something was chasing me, fast!
Even though my suit had a rear-view display, I instinctively turned to look. That's where I went wrong. My pursuer was man-sized - and suddenly he was grabbing my throat!
I tried to break his grip. But he had a suit like mine! And he was saying, "Young lady, I see you have one of my old suits. But I have the Legs of Satan and you do not."
But then I heard Holly's voice in my ear - plus a printout in my goggles. "Summer, look out! I'm shooting now!" Shooting? USIB didn't give us guns!
But something crashed to the ground in front of me, behind my captor. It was a flare! I struck then, and broke free.
I ran for the nearest building. It was a post office. I got inside the door. People gaped at me as I panted. I'm really fit, but fighting this guy was hard!
My pursuer showed up outside the door! He gestured - his hand across his throat! I think he meant my throat. But then he ran off.
Holly was watching. My assailant had run away to a nearby grove of woods - and disappeared!
I started getting a "phone" icon blinking in my goggle display! I yelled, "Shut Up!" I was still in the post office. People looked at me funny.
"Holly! Is he really gone?"
"Summer! I can't find him!"
So I had to go out to look. He wasn't nearby.
But a police car showed up. I'd spooked some people at the post office. But I did have government ID. That was fine for police. And at last I felt safe - kind of.
When I finally had a chance to respond to that "phone" icon, we swapped info and learned a lot of stuff.
My assailant was one Russell Anvernacht. He was once the mayor of Maquoketa, Iowa. He'd connected to militias there. But before that, he'd come from where most of our superhumans came from. He still had a suit that gave him superpowers like mine; he ran the company that invented those suits! But now he has more powers from Satan - or something like that. His "Legs of Satan" let him run faster than I could, and they let him disappear without running.
Anvernacht was talking about Ellipsis in hell. We know, Ellipsis went to fight Anvernacht. And we haven't seen Ellipsis since then. It seems Anvernacht won. He'd already defeated the world'd most powerful superhuman. And he wanted me dead.
There was some stuff about who Anvernacht was talking to, some kind of super nun. But I couldn't pay attention to that. I tried to resign.
But Norma said, "Please stay. I know it's hard. We're sending help. Lansing, Michigan can take care of itself. You're more important."
That night, I tried to get to sleep while thinking of all the people who'd help protect me. But I hardly slept at all.
This is the big story of the year. And this year's storyline is the big one for the last three years.
I am for once writing the big story as part of National Novel Writing Month, alongside rec.arts.comics.creative, or RACC.
I am accustomed to writing in response to challenges. Sometimes RACC gives challenges, but I usually issue these challenges to myself, from dreams. Aside from having to write a novel this month, the challenge was absent. So I took a blog post of mine as basis, made a list of all the characters who could conceivably be part of the story, eliminated all my "Mary Sue" heroes, then rolled the dice until it made sense. I think it's working out. I'm not sure how it ends yet... but that is common for my stories.
As might be expected, this story has grown in the telling. It has now assumed serial form, possibly suitable for novel publication, thank you RACC. This serial is technically November 2010 #1 through #4. It will (probably) cover four consecutive days.I've actually written one story as a serial before, in 2004 at election time. Before now I haven't published on any sort of schedule. But RACC gave that challenge, so I'll do it. So I hereby announce, this story will be published throughout November 2010, weekly on Saturdays.
Various characters in this fiction may have been created by various people - specially "Crusher Joe Corrigan" who once came from Joe Fucile. But absent claims from these people, all characters in this fiction and the phrase "Superhuman World 2010" are copyright © 2010 by Eiler Technical Enterprises.
The map of the Superhuman World is based on one from Henry Bottomley's map software which is well worth a visit.
By the way, there really exist a Maxwell House Hotel and a St. Cecilia's Motherhouse.
(signed) Scott Eiler, 5 November 2010.