In previous adventures, it's been established that I have been:
When I consciously wrote my own adventures, I wrote about #1. When I let my subconscious take over, it wrote a little about #2, and lots about #3. At first it barely touched on #4. Oh, it had its moments. I designed "Omniverse the Card Game" in dreams, and premiered it at a casino to a celebrity crowd. But mostly I didn't have time for that stuff; I was too busy confronting the likes of Thanos and the Teknophage, in a time of my fictional life I call "the Escalation".
But now the Escalation is over, and I'm back to what passes for a normal life. For now. But normal life still includes some weirdness, like:
I travel as much as ever. I make it to Little Rock, Greenland, Labrador, Ontario, Indianapolis, and Texas this year. Plus a secret resort in Africa which only the Queen of Atlantis knows about.
I've moved from the Marvel Universe to the world of the Balance and Total Conversion, two sets of fictional heroes I myself once wrote stories about. As near as I can figure, this happened when I opened the Stamp of God to escape from Vinalhaven. But it might really have been during the big cross-time merge, DuoPolarity in 1996. As opposed to DuoPolarity in 1988, which I went to also. In any case, DuoPolarity was when I first saw these heroes.
We have fictional heroes in this world, but not really the long-underwear, power-blast type:
All this plus The Mad Scotsman, Groinstorm, and any number of others.
We also have actual superhumans in this world. They don't usually wear Spandex or long underwear, but they can power-blast with the best of them. But they're usually more scary than entertaining. Hence, people where I live turn to the sillier fictional heroes for entertainment.
Chief among Our Real Heroes are The Balance (American freelance superheroes) and Total Conversion (an "offshore" superhuman foundation in the Bahamas). In 1995 Total Conversion came within eight seconds of bringing the Judgment Day down on New Jersey... and, believe it or not, the records say I stopped them. But I've still had vivid dreams about the Judgment Day... as if someone might still summon it.
We have other differences in popular culture:
Speaking of which, I'm something of a celebrity myself. In my world, we have teams that play for world championships at role-playing. I'm on one of the best. My teammates have included:
We have mages in this world. They consider me one of them, because I seem to have magic powers that can't be explained otherwise. They generally don't dress up like wizards; in fact, most of them have other hobbies. Lucianus Autonomus Championis Federus is the leading example of a well-adjusted, or "white" mage; he's a championship boxer. Vara Hosea is publicly a famous pianist (like Tori Amos in another world) and secretly a mage.
The non-well-adjusted, or "black" mages, like to go overboard with displays of power. In 1991 and 1995 there were "black mage competitions", which got numerous small sections of the public involved. "The Escalation" coincided with the Black Mage Competition of 1995. It's 1999, so we're due for another one. Judgment Day for sure this time!
And the mages got me into an adventure:
A bunch of us online chaos mages decide to have an exercise of power, just to see what happens. We are chaos mages, after all; we like to see what happens when we play with magic. I may be a wholesome chaos mage, but I'm still a chaos mage.
The plans get so elaborate and wide-ranging, Lucianus himself goes online to ask us to tone it down. And I'm ready to heed him, because I've seen what almost happens when mystic ceremonies get out of control. That is to say, the Judgment Day.
But a guy named Bob Valsi is spearheading this ceremony. He's gotten a lot of people into it, by sheer force of will. And he says, no quitting, or it all falls apart. Which is kind of the point of quitting... but he also says that we will be traitors to the art of magic and he will pray to his Higher Powers for us to be beaten to within an inch of our lives while bystanders watch and laugh. I consider such prayers to be bad form for a mage, but I don't feel like an argument, so I stay in the ceremony.
We hold the ceremony online, although several of us have travelled to San Francisco to join in person. There are five of us who are coordinating the online operations, and nine of us who have taken on powers for the purpose. Someone else has one of my favorites, Thorpower.
The ceremony, of course, includes music. Bob is a blues musician, so he gets a "jam group" playing. And I can at least fake a harmonica, so I join in. We start with some cosmic stuff from Yes (which sounds pretty strange with harmonica), and go on to a Stone Roses song, "Breaking Into Heaven".
That's about when we start shifting realities. My own power for the day seems to be "Reality Shift". Coincidence? I think not. And it looks like we're going up through realities.
Eventually, we get to something that sure looks like the gates of Heaven. "Thor" and Bob almost get the gates open, until Heaven sends out some Holy Grails filled with soup. In short, the Maker has honored our efforts. Good enough for me.
Bob, of course, swears vengeance on me if I dump the group now. Too bad, Bob.
Meanwhile strange things start happening offline. In particular, one of our online number, a guy named Paul from East Lansing, goes offline. � Using the mystic energy of the ceremony, I go investigate.
It seems that extradimensional beings have invaded the campus of Michigan State University. They call themselves "Grelb", but "Ebonati" would be a better name. � And I'm powerless.
Luckily, humans throughout the campus are picking up the mystic power that's floating around. There are some dweebs who hang out in the Science Fiction Society, and want to use their newfound power to terrorize the mundanes. But Paul's linked up with a theatre class of his, and is leading a resistance. He even manages to send the aliens back through the hole they came from.
As you may have guessed, this is Paul's story much more than mine. Maybe he'll tell it for us sometime.
There's one other big story to tell this year, but it starts as a bunch of little ones: