Startup Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Cauldron Cauldron II .
Cauldron II: Part 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 .
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 Book II Part 7
What Has Gone Before. By Katerina Katzmann.
Summer Morgan and her friend Holly, along with several others, have been superhuman agents for the United States in Nashville. Holly's been captured. When the U.S. Government said it couldn't rescue her, Summer and all her friends resigned to mount a solo rescue mission. They've attacked the villain, and now he's confronting them.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Lateran arrived at the bus. Outside its door he said, "You will be wanting to admit me."
Agent Ferguson and I looked at each other. We both shrugged. We weren't under mental control ourselves yet at least.
I went to the front of the bus. Mel the driver was kind of squirming and moaning. I guess that was an improvement for him right now... I opened the bus door.
Lateran walked in, right past me, and spoke to Agent Ferguson. "I suppose I now have the pleasure of addressing the commander of my enemies."
Agent Ferguson looked at me again. I shrugged. He said, "I suppose you do."
"Excellent. I could speak at length about how the people of Earth are finally admitting they need saving. I used to work with great men, like Samuel Johanssen. He *did* save the Earth once. But all the great men who might save it today are Satanists. So I have given up waiting for another great man. I shall simply have to save the Earth on my own."
"Well, all right. What's your great plan?"
"I am confident that the people of Earth united under one great man can work together for this. I also know of certain mystic artifacts which periodically surface on our planet, and certain mystic challenges that control the fate of Earth. Those will both happen next year. When the right man controls these, they will focus the power of God Himself to solve our problems."
"So you *just* want to win *both* a Black Mage Contest and a DuoPolarity Challenge, *keep* the Engines of Reality somehow, and rule the world."
"That is an unspeakably crass way to put my proposition. But I see you understand it." Huh? I sure didn't.
But I did hear Mel say, "Toe time." He took off his left boot and his sock. Something started growing out of his little toe. Eww!
Lateran was saying, "I do not require you agree to my plan. I merely require you accept it."
But from the back of the bus, Brett said, "No way." He was back too! He turned some sort of sonic cannon on Lateran.
At the same time, that thing from Mel's toe was fully grown - into one of those toe golems I saw before! It marched through the bus toward Lateran.
But something invisible was shoving through the bus ahead of it! I could hear it walking - and banging into tables. Oooh, super ninja at last - only awfully big, and not so ninja. And he was stuck in here with us! If I could only *get up*, I could maybe win this fight right then!
I saw the ninja shove past Lateran. It made it to where Brett was, and whacked him. Meanwhile, I made it to a standing position... Okay. I'd have to be like a ninja myself, and wait for my chance. I sat back down. But I put my good foot on my seat, so I could at least get one good lunge in.
Then Lateran spoke to me! "Young lady, your commander has disappeared. Tell him to desist his maneuvers or you will be placed in danger." *Him*? *His*? ...Oh, *that* "commander". Agent Ferguson had shrunk or something. The villain was treating me like Ferguson's underling. And he still had Holly in bondage or something...
There was only one thing I could say: "I Hate You!!" I lunged and grabbed the villain's throat! I knocked him down onto the lounge table across the aisle.
He had an iron collar or something under his fancy French tie, so I couldn't choke him. And I knew the super-ninja was still somewhere. So I kept moving. I flipped myself off the table onto the seats, and dragged Lateran on top of me. Then I did my best to slam him to the floor, under the table. We're both small, so we actually fit past the table top. But there wasn't a lot of room to move or to do a good slam.
I got this thought in my head: What am I doing? This could be a great man!... Like hell. Was *that* all the mind control this great man had for me? Maybe he was a mind reader, maybe not, but he could see my face. It must have been pretty obvious what I was still thinking.
Then something ripped that table off the floor, post and all. It was time to move. Just with my arms I got myself off Lateran, where I could grab the next table post.
Then my comms came up. "Summer! Solstice. What we miss?" But the radios were across the aisle from me. I couldn't answer!
Lateran stayed on the floor, while something invisible in front of him held off that toe thing from Mel. Another toe thing was coming by. And something was buzzing around something that could have been an invisible super-ninja's head. Agent Ferguson was probably still on our side, and helping.
Then Liz and Margaret Jean came through the open windows! They needed to know. I dragged my head above the table and yelled, "He's where I'm looking! Invisible bodyguard in front!"
Then I saw, Norma had come in too, next to where I'd left the med kit! She was fumbling around inside it.
Lateran stood up and said, "That will be quite enough." He looked like he was going to try to shut us all down at once! Margaret Jean and Liz were jumping around, but they stopped and went to defensive posture. I started thinking about great men again...
I said, "No $@(%ing Way!" I lunged at Lateran again. Something invisible grabbed my shoulders and pushed me against the wall!
But Norma was on the move. She jumped around the bus, past the ninja and over my teammates. I swear she bounced off walls. She landed on the other side of Lateran. Then she lunged at the villain, and buried a syringe in his neck! Lateran collapsed.
My left shoulder came free. The window next to me blew out. Before I could do anything, the super-ninja was gone.
But first things first. I said, "Norma. Where's Holly!?"
"She's back with us! When she saw us, she started flooding her bathroom tub as a distraction!"
"Thank God... But how did that distract anyone?"
"Well, the *main* distraction was the giant gorilla we brought with Jenn and Cherryl."
"*What* giant gorilla?"
"You saw the gorilla last night. We got the one that grows. The one from the Leno show. Once he grew for us, the other gorillas set us free."
Then I saw Holly coming out the mansion door, supported by Jenn and Cherell! I said, "Norma... *Please* let's talk more later."
"Okay... Oh, Holly!" I stumped toward the bus door.
USIB took custody of Lateran. Fine with us. But we got Holly back. Tanya even made it back, though with huge bruises to both her front and back at her right-side ribs. Possibly those were cracked. Norma said she should really be in a hospital, and we couldn't get Doc Help into a war zone. But Tanya said, "Please don't make me miss the victory party." Norma couldn't argue with that.
We parked the bus back at the Douglas campground. We broke open our tequila stash, turned on the blender, and declared Margarita Night. The militias brought the juice. I think we were using rhubarb juice instead of lime juice, but no one cared. We toasted all the militiamen who helped us. Twice. Then we had a final cocktail inside the bus. We'd run out of juice, but we still had tequila.
Norma said, "Thank you, ladies. You too, Brett and Mel. Our job is over. We're all going home. Jenn will see her family tonight. The rest of you are welcome to camp out at my pony farm until we get you flights home. We're holding out for first class all the way, because we got paid by USIB for first class service, and you've all earned first class. But if you want to stay here in the campground instead, that's probably better. I'll come see you every day."
The others looked to me for some reason. I said, "Here's fine."
"Thanks. You must have questions..."
Jenn asked, "Is this Agent Ferguson related to Wyatt?"
"He's Wyatt's brother."
I spoke. "Who's 'Wyatt'?"
"He's an old friend. He was there at the start with me, Jenn, and Cherryl. And Karen Bodil too. Margaret Jean, Liz, Vince and Mel know him too. He even lived in this Ferg Hotel for a while."
"Okay... Hey, Mel. Where'd your toe golems come from?"
"Um, my toes."
"Not the Greek God of Toes or anything like that, 's'far as I know. The boys in high school just thought my toes smelled. My toes decided on their own to argue with them. Well, okay my toes."
"Uh... Unexplained Power. Got it... Hey, Brett. How do you like that Ellipsis Z gear?"
"Pretty damn sweet. I'm only just scratching the surface with all those sound effects he had on file. I think I might have to call myself Doctor Dubbed if I use it again."
"Okay... Hey, Jenn. I didn't hear all that during the toasts. What happened in back of the mansion?"
"We slogged through the woods. It was mostly dry, but we got our feet wet once. The woods in Massachusetts are like that..."
"Aside from your feet!"
"Wait for it, Summer... There were gorillas in our woods, like there were in yours. We had our own gorilla, though. We'd hoped he was their leader. But they just growled at each other.
"The Granny Sphere was with us. It was watching us, but doing nothing. Until the militiamen drew their guns, that is. Then it went 'Rrrrr' and vibrated the guns out of their hands! It kept saying 'Rrrrr' just at us. The gorillas could grunt and growl, but we couldn't even talk!
"Then Norma dashed in our woods. She could talk! She pointed and said, 'Granny Sphere! Rrrrr!'
"Then that thing put a light on the gorilla. It must have said something, because then the gorilla grew giant! The other gorillas just followed it then."
"So, Norma. Why'd we bring Granny Sphere anyway?"
"It knew what to do about the gorillas. It didn't interfere in their dominance fight. Once that went the right way, nothing could stop us from rescuing Holly. I just had to go check on it, when Jenn and Cherryl didn't report in."
"And then you came to save us in the bus?"
"Yeah. Militiamen found Holly, but she was about to jump out the window herself to help us by them. Margaret Jean, Liz and Tanya were recovering from mind control too. Something or someone must have been *really* occupying Lateran's attention. The others were way more mind-dominated than we were, so they were still zonked out then."
I had a good idea what Lateran was doing at the time. Next question... "Who was that super-ninja?"
"Best guess, he's an Argentine mercenary named El Cero. Lateran had him as a bodyguard. He's probably finding his next job right now, because we just busted this one, and I doubt he's loyal enough to hold a grudge. USIB can track him. We've all got lives to live."
"Who were the guys in the bronze?"
"New Israelites. They came from the past in 2007. They're great bodyguards for religious people who can afford them."
"Lateran was saying something about magic challenges. Know anything about that?"
"Evil magicians have a contest every four years. Every eight, a bunch of heroes go on some kind of magic treasure hunt. That's all I know."
"Great. We've rescued Holly now. We're safe. We can go home. Now have we actually *achieved* anything all this time?"
"We already earned those secret medals last month. Holly, Summer, Liz, and Margaret Jean, you probably changed the history of Tennessee then. Its governor was in shady dealings with secret masters about some underground refuge, and he's being impeached now. And today we all probably saved Massachusetts from secret dealings just like that. As a resident of Massachusetts, I thank you all."
"You're welcome... Oh, dammit. I feel like there's so much more I could ask. But I can't think of it now. Just... Cheers!"
Norma said, "Everyone, this drink has to be to Summer. She was wounded, but she's the one who fought the master villain when the rest of us had to recover. Without her, he'd have taken over our bus - then probably Massachusetts. Cheers, Summer!"
And everyone said, "Cheers, Summer!"
This story is online at http://www.eilertech.com/stories/2010/cauldron11.htm.
Well, all right. I think I can finally close Superhuman World 2010. I am inclined not to delay.
It is not my place to say how well the combat sequence turned out. But it absorbed my attention for six consecutive nights, ahead of a month's worth of comic books *plus* NCAA championship basketball featuring my hometown team. Whenever I was about to say "good enough", I found more things to not ignore. Now I'm finally tweaking, and I've tweaked. Good enough.
Credits: Sam Johannson is a character created by "Crusher" Joe Fucile. Agent Ferguson (Wyatt's responsible and sensible brother) comes from Mark Eiler (my own sensible brother), by much the same rules as others in my world. But oddly enough, all the other characters seem to be mine! They are therefore © copyright 2011 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.
(signed) Scott Eiler, April 2011.