Me in Comic Books:
The Comic-Book Adventures of Me 2006
Superhuman crusaders have already popped up on the Earth of "Dubya" Bush. Which is to say, on your Earth. They came there from my Earth.
Now, the villains are coming. And new superhumans are arising. And the realm of dreams is starting to get ugly... Oh, shit.
Adversaries of the New Present. Two months ago, the Heroes of the New Present had a conference in Cuba. Their enemies mostly skipped it - but now they're having their own conference. And they're linking Cuba and the heroes with terrorism! Apparently terrorism is the new convenient bogeyman here, because rogue states just aren't vile enough, the way they are where I come from.
Roster. Before we get into another big battle over the fate of our world, let's review the factions, shall we?
- Our Earth never had superhumans before last year. We all came in last November, after a reality shift. At first we were low-powered, but we got better in July after another reality shift. We haven't really started $#@!ing things up on our own yet, but that time will surely come.
- Our galaxy is full of alien races who consider our Earth to be the most exotic place in the universe, what with its profusion of weird lifeforms and its susceptibility to reality shifts. So they secretly grow us like a garden, and harvest us occasionally via flying saucer. They also stand ready to plow the whole place under if it gets dangerous. They have half a base on the Moon; secret renegade humans have the other half.
- The Strategos leads the human half of the secret Lunar base. He's an ancient Greek, made immortal by alien expirmentation or whatever. He swipes Earthlings via teleportation on occasion, and makes them wrestle in front of cameras for his amusement. Andy Kaufman faked his own death to work for him.
- There's a renegade alien invasion force on the Earth right now. They may include the alien killing machine Spanker 4 somehow reactivated from my own feces (don't ask), and/or the dreaded Oversaur which once threatened to eat all superhumans. They're working with reincarnated dire wolves - and with one human Julie Wolcott, who has many links to Earth superhumans.
- The Earth Redeemers are various militiamen and repressive-government heroes, largely U.S. and Argentine, who want to take revenge upon extraterrestrials. So they're invading the galaxy - through the Dreamtime! The strange thing is, the Galactics aren't expecting anything so boneheaded. So the invasion might actually do some damage.
- The Black Mages are gearing up for their 2007 quadrennial competition next year, kind of a Black Arts Olympics. The Dreamtime is a big source of power for them, and figures prominently. One mage may be working for the Strategos.
- Of course, there are White Mages too. I'm loosely affiliated with them, because they're the most sensible superhumans I know. I'll do what I can to help them keep the lid on things.
- The Balance is Earth's first big deal superhuman team. I've recently described their latest incarnation. The important thing about them now, is: One of them's apparently been cursed by a Black Mage, after raiding the Lunar base of the Strategos. They seek a cure in the Dreamtime.
- Total Conversion is sort of an offshoot of the Balance, but has taken on its own corporate life. It has the world's largest and most powerful collection of superhumans at present.
- The Power Patrol has lots of young idealistic superhumans, led by my old friend the Powernaut, who's basically a big boy scout.
- There's a network of vigilantes, centered in New York City, who loosely work together.
- There are some Secret Masters of Evil or something, working their way into Earth's power structure faster than the rest of us can. They're starting to lead a Big Gov reaction to superhumans.
- There are new superhumans arising. Our seed, their soil, as it were. Let's hope they like our brave new world.
Meanwhile, new superhumans are emerging.
- Colossal Murder Theatre Night: My favorite local brewpub has a new dinner theatre of "Fiddler on the Roof", wherein Tevye has an idiot peasant friend. This changes the movie, starting right after the opening theme.
- The show has a Colossal Girl. They say it's an optical illusion done with a special glass pane, but I can still dream of wrestling her.
- It seems I have some extra time, because someone's been murdered here! Police have sealed off the building, to make everyone say if they knew the victim - or sing along.
- This could be tough for me, because the victim has a comic-book name, and I know the comic book. (8 Oct 2006)
- Incredibles Vigilante Night: One of the junior members of a superhuman family is being driven to a facility to cure him of bubble-making powers. The address is 656, but the car gets stuck at 623. A nasty-looking vigilante comes over with a needle. The kid puts bubbles in his bloodstream and knocks him out. So why get cured? (9 Oct 2006)
- Convention of Counterrevolution: I'm at a convention for a seminar about terrorists. If I don't get my own room tonight, I'll be sleeping on the floor. (11 Oct 2006)
- Evil mayor Russell Anvernacht hosted one of the sessions and gave a quiz about threats to America. I didn't do well, but at least he's in a good mood. (11 Oct 2006)
- I'm told one of my seminars is cancelled and I need to find a replacement. So the famous guest meteorologist Steffi comes to the conference room to present alternatives. I have seminars in prophecy and criminology scheduled already.
- Given our history, Steffi isn't eager to see me, but one of Scum Death's followers is there too, and that's even worse for her. It must suck to be a superpowered weather goddess, especially when your powers have nothing to do with the weather. (15 Oct 2006)
- At the convention, a little girl shoots a rubber band to stick onto my nose. So I keep it and restrain her. But she's strong! She must be one of those superhuman kids. And here she is, out-wrestling me. Boy, this is perverse. (16 Oct 2006)
- This all happens in downtown Dallas. Its highway system is much like a centrifuge: it rotates around downtown and flings the traffic out every night. (17 Oct 2006)
- Afterward, I think it might be a good idea to give myself a secret place to sleep. The retail store where I work, has a closet I can work with. But I still have to deal with the neighborhood. Kids like to pretend to play basketball outside, even though there's no hoop, just because the door's a convenient target. They love basketball just like little Hoosiers or Tarheels. (18 Oct 2006)
- Meanwhile, there's a new Zorro with a boy sidekick. They try to rob a church, but a guard chases them around and an alarm goes off. Then the boy jumps ever higher, as a zit grows on his back.
- Which is to say, at least one vigilante is getting powers the same way I did! My friend Karla was investigating that for the Balance. And I want to know about it too. (19 Oct 2006)
What's This About the Dreamtime? It's time for backstory about this Dreamtime thing.
- We all know, our universe is surrounded by Ultimate Darkness, which insulates us from other universes in a multi-dimensional way. The Dreamtime is a layer that helps insulate the Ultimate Darkness from our nasty human thoughts. Which is a good thing.
- The Dreamtime is strange. Sometimes people can enter it mentally, sometimes bodily. Australian aboriginal mystics may have done either or both.
- Godlike beings live in the Dreamtime. The strongest survivors of ancient pantheons seem to have retreated there, when their Earthly worship failed them.
- At least one such being has tried to take over the Earth through a sleeping sickness. The Balance stopped him, in their first year of operation - 1991 or so.
- More recently in 2005, a sleeping sickness was used as a convenient cover for a reality shift. Ellipsis, formerly of the Balance, was involved.
- Assuming you're human, not godlike, the Dreamtime will change you. It will suck away either your ambitions, your powers, or your self. These stay behind, as features of the Dreamtime. Lack of ambition explains some things about the original inhabitants of Australia, in my opinion.
- The Dreamtime changed me. In 1996 during the first Escalation, I was considered North America's leading Dreamtime mage. But the Dreamtime sucked away my ambition. Or so I'm told. Now, I float aimlessly through life, driven by dreams. ... That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it. Until I find an even better excuse for the way I live.
- The Dreamtime changed one old superhuman, Doctor Lithium. He'd once assassinated the governor of South Carolina, thinking the governor was Adolf Hitler reincarnate. Doctor Lithium was actually right, but that was beside the point. In punishment, Ellipsis banished Doctor Lithium to the Dreamtime. Best guess is, his self got sucked away there, leaving only his flame powers. Which is coincidentally the same sort of power Karla has now.
- The Dreamtime changed the heroes of our "old" present. They once left Earth through the Dreamtime. It sucked away most of their powers. They only got them back after the latest reality shift.
- The Dreamtime can get you to alien planets! That's where some of our "old" heroes went when they left Earth. The Earthlings were reportedly not well treated. Some Earthlings have vowed revenge against these aliens. They could try to find spaceships to go back across the universe... but they already know the way, through the Dreamtime.
- And now, the Balance is charging into the Dreamtime too, to find a cure for Karla.
- So, there's a lot of $#@!-ed up side-effect $#!+ that may be going on in humanity's dreams now. That's what happens when you $#@! with the Dreamtime.
Balance Quest. Given all these menaces, I may have to reunite with the Original Balance. Or at least give them a courtesy call. But they may not be available.
- People are gathering around a woman for a laying on of hands. Which is to say, the Balance is making their move to cure Karla, without me. Chances of it not blowing up? Poor. Best to hope, it happens into an alternate dimension or something, so normal people don't notice. Given the nature of Karla's powers, the best place to expect this would be the Dreamtime. (19 Oct 2006)
- But I still ought to find the Balance. This means, go looking in the Dreamtime. I can't find them there... yet.
- But I do find my brother recruiting the super-strong hero "SuperJew" away from Total Conversion, to help my brother become the supreme warlord of China. Conquering China requires subtlety, of course. Most of Total Conversion is not subtle enough for my brother, and neither am I. (24 Oct 2006)
- Since when does my brother want to conquer China? And since when would a former hero of the United Nations peacekeeping forces agree? Apparently something is giving them dreams of conquest. Could it be... something wrong in the Dreamtime?
- My friend Ginny's keeping up with my road bike, even though she's off road on a mountain bike. She can make us stop for soda at a lemonade stand. She must be dreaming... but she's tapping into the power of dreams too. (25 Oct 2006)
This is where I call for help. My power is small, but my connections are great. In particular, I know lots of mystics.
- The current holder of the Thorpower is having Thanksgiving dinner with the king of the trolls. The centerpiece is the Titanic on ice. The Dreamtime is home to trolls - and the trolls aren't observing their ancestral hatred of Thor now. I'd guess, someone's dreams are affecting the trolls' behavior. (25 Oct 2006)
- A friend of a Moslem mystic friend of mine is looking for sanctuary. He fears he'll be prosecuted for his role in the death of Jesus. I find a sofa where he can hide for a night. (Thrift store connection, dont'cha know.) We think he may be having bad nightmares from out of the Dreamtime. (25 Oct 2006)
- At a party my brother holds for his China conquest force, there's a volleyball game later, and a long-haired woman in a leopard-spotted swimsuit. She's come from the Dreamtime! If real people can go in there, it stands to reason, dream people can come out. I'm interested enough to get her name: Nikita! She says she'll call me. Yeah, right. (25 Oct 2006)
- The vigilante leader "Dancer of NYC" has a plan to defeat Ellipsis, but it counts on her opponent staying still while a whistle blows. I'd guess she's dreaming. (26 Oct 2006)
I don't know how this will turn out. But there's another of those Black Mage competitions next year, every four years since 1991. And one can bet, these evil mages are already preparing to manipulate the Dreamtime. Oh, shit, this could be bad.
They Dreamt That Evil Died Today. My world's superhumans have fought evil in the realm of dreams before. This time, the battle ends.
In the winter of 1991, four college students were witness to a sleeping sickness - an attack upon humanity from out of the Dreamtime.
- These students happened to be superhumans, among the first in the world. They fought the power behind the sickness. They wound up in the realm of dreams, dreaming that evil would die. And they won.
- Three of those students yet survive, fifteen years later. They are Ellipsis, Morningstar, and the Mighty Tim, the core of the superhuman team called "The Balance".
This year, those same superhumans are fighting that same battle again. They've been attacked from out of the Dreamtime, and their friend Karla Melhor has been cursed. The Balance intends to reverse this curse.
- The plan of Ellipsis was apparently to storm the Dreamtime's place of power with an artifact, the Siege Perilous. It changes people (as well I know). From there they can reverse Karla's curse.
- Of course, there was opposition, from many factions. Thankfully, I missed most of the details. Suffice it to say, it involved gods and evil mages and aliens and nasty mercenaries. Yeesh. And most of the Earth's heroes have better things to do than $#@! with the realm of dreams, so they're not here helping.
- But by then, I'm involved. I'd asked some mystics to help me investigate all this crap in the realm of dreams, and somehow I'm the point man.
I get there just in time to see the final battle. The Balance is gathered around the place of power, but they're under great assault. Karla's back to normal, but Morningstar's down. And so is Julie Wolcott.
- Julie and I used to work together, so I check on her. She revives easily - then before I can stop her, she charges off for the battle.
- Julie makes it to Morningstar's body - and puts her hand on Morningstar's power stone! The villains are happy.
- But then Julie defects - back to her ex-husband Ellipsis and his teammates in the Balance! Ellipsis and the Mighty Tim are planning a heroic sacrifice play, to let their teammates escape. They needed Morningstar with them - but they wanted her to escape, because she has children back home. Now with Morningstar's power and not her body, they can go ahead.
- By then, I've followed Julie through the villain crowd. So I'm with the junior members of the Balance when they get a mental message: "NOW! GO!" Morningstar screams "No!" But Pam Brown, the famous Bride of the Ultimate Darkness, gets us out.
- Three people don't make it back from the land of dreams: Ellipsis, Mighty Tim, and Julie Wolcott! They stay behind to defend the Dreamtime, and they explode like a nuke! It's now sealed off from all access other than good old dreams.
Then I rescue survivors. Well, actually they already rescued me; I just help them cope with where their rescue lands us. I have some power of omniversal navigation, which comes in handy when the Ultimate Darkness dumps us in the middle of itself, and its favorite human has just gone to sleep.
- Pam's the one the Darkness likes, and she's exhausted. The rest of the Balance isn't much better off. So the Darkness is about ready to smother us all, and give us eternal sleep or whatever it feels like.
- Well, then. I embrace the dark forces in my life. I'm actually galactically famous as a minion of Death! All I ask of Darkness, is the chance to light a few small shiny lights, like every year when December comes.
- The Darkness finds my request reasonable. So, our lighting is not shut down, and I can navigate. I'm used to travelling through darkness while I'm lit up like Christmas; I do it on bicycle all the time.
- Aside from me, our party's pretty poorly off. Karla Melhor and Adu Asantemantse are still walking, but they're not good for much except helping me get Pam Brown and Laura James around. Adu can carry Pam himself, because he's heroic. Karla can help me drag Laura. But I have to lead them.
- Okay, I know one way out: The City of the Dead! I never wanted to go there again, but with the way we came here shut down, now the dead are astride the best way home.
- Thankfully, we don't get harassed the usual way among the dead. I'm not just dragging superheroes through the dead, I'm dragging Ultimate Darkness! The dead do not mess with The Darkness From Before Creation, because the Darkness will grant them "Never Was".
- Our party lands in the real world - near a shopping mall on the east side of Indianapolis, as it turns out. While the others of my party stand aside heroically and guard themselves, I arrange a motel suite of four beds. Plus a separate room for me. I've been filled with darkness and am feeling especially antisocial.
- Then we all crash. Well, they crash. I call Laura's husband and tell her what just happened. He says he'll bring Laura's whole family soon.
- Then I go unwind from communion with darkness in a different manner than usual: not at the nearest bar. Like I said, I'm feeling antisocial. Instead I retreat to my room, with almost all the lights off, and some beer from the nearest gas station.
- Then I contemplate how I'm infected with intelligent blood cells (really!), and I'm an disease upon humanity, and all humans are just a contagion on the skin of the Earth, and Earth is a pimple on the skin of the universe, and all the universes are just warts on the skin of the Ultimate Darkness. And I wonder, what higher life form does the Darkness infect? I'm thinking, either up to God, or back down to my blood cells.
- Then I crash.
When we come to, Laura doesn't take it well. She wanted to make herself a heroic sacrifice, alongside her friends. But her friends knew better than to let her do that, because she's got a family to live for. And, thanks to that phone call I made, her family's come to save her! It's like bouncy nephews... but that's what Laura needs. We leave her alone with them, while we discuss the future.
Laura James formerly a.k.a. Morningstar lives, beyond the loss of her powers and the apparent death of her oldest friends and teammates. But the team lives on, because they each hand-picked a successor.
- Dr. Karla Melhor a.k.a. Senhora Valkyrie succeeds Ellipsis.
- Prince Adu Asantemantse of Asante-Ghana a.k.a. Warrior Ashanti succeeds the Mighty Tim.
- Pam Brown a.k.a. the Bride of the Ultimate Darkness succeeds Morningstar.
I like this new version of The Balance. I won't sign up, but I will work with them, as much as I can.
I was tempted to call this story "Their Journey Ends Here". But when three mortals install themselves as iconic powers in the realm of human dreams, one has to doubt they've died the True Death. I have some knowledge of Death, so I'm confident in this assessment. They are not now in Death, they are in dreams. And this gives them power over dreams. For one thing, I'm already starting to think more like Ellipsis when I dream. Eww! (8 Nov 2006)
When it's over, the survivors of the Balance invite me to stay around. They've noticed, I'm a force of chaos, but I'm inexplicably good at helping in emotional healing.
But I'm wanted in a witness protection program! My own brother and sister come to recruit me. Of course, they can track where I'm staying; I paid by credit card.
- The U.S. Gov is claiming jurisdiction over its citizens in the Dreamtime. Such citizens include me and half the Balance. (Karla's a Brazilian and Adu's from Ghana, of course... and Stephen Wolcott had chosen the Bahamas for his residence of record. But the others come from Michigan and California.)
- As a U.S. citizen in Dreamtime, I was witness to some heavy $#!+. Some of the Earth Redeemers have been recruited by the Gov to help my relatives take me into custody.
- The surviving Balance offers to fight to protect me. But I spare them that burden, and go with my relatives. Most of the Balance trusts their relatives more than I trust mine, so they let me go.
- Where my relatives put me, I have to shower in jury-rigged stalls. My relatives help maintain the house, because they're government contractors. My sister helps build the showers, but my brother takes them down, so we argue. Meanwhile, three men want me to be their wife. Wow, it's just like being in the Safehouse system again.
- Okay, that will be quite enough. If I can escape and rescue people from the Ultimate Darkness, I can get out of this Gov crap.
- I don't even have to use any superhuman powers for my escape! I'm not officially a prisoner, so I have Government-mandated social time. So I just make friends at a bar where people are willing to say, "He went thataway!" And I can disable the Gov's monitors, because I've helped program those monitors alongside my relatives.
Back to normal life and its dangers for me. But I think under the circumstances, I'll keep moving. (9 Nov 2006)