Me in Comic Books:
The Adventures of Me 2006
E.T.s Go Home!
Our world has hidden superhumans, hidden aliens, secret inhuman cultures, fantasy visitors from parallel Earths, and paranoid governments, all in a precarious balance so far. Here's where it starts to get out of tilt.
And to mark the occasion, I take lots of road trips.
The Dark Maneuvers II. I went through a lot of self-destroying crap last year, starting about the time my old rival Ellipsis deported me through time. I got better, else I wouldn't be writing this.
But thanks to widespread reality shifts, others went through the same sort of crap too. And they have yet to recover.
- For instance, Ellipsis himself went from being a mutant energy-blaster supergenius to being a techno DJ. But DJs rock. For instance, now he's recruited the female superhuman dance squad "Body Up" as his task force! Plus a hanger-on named Toejam, as their bodyguard, as if they needed one. Most of Body Up say, Toejam did well in the last battle, even if he smelled bad. (10 Feb 2006)
- But meanwhile... I'm in a Bible game with a youth group and some old friends, wherein we pretend to be slaves. We're going on a river trip later, and I need to go back to my room for my camera. Now, are those river guides Tsarist agents? And why are there Tsarist agents still?
- ... Well, that gets us into what the aliens want.
- The aliens want to talk with legitimate successor governments of the ones they first met! Which is to say, they want to meet the new Roman Emperor. By their standards, the Tsar of Russia would come closest, if there were still a Tsar of Russia.
- And some Russians are taking advantage. The Internet may not know about this, but it does have some reports... With the crappy quality of rulers Russia has had for the last decade or so, there's reportedly some sentiment for bringing back the Tsars.
- But the neo-Tsarists are having to look far and wide for convincing candidates, even unto the redneck heart of America. Which is to say, where I am. Think of this as "Anastasia" meets "Deliverance".
- After I get out of the river trip... My brother's on a mission in the Wisconsin countryside, to sing "La Grange" at rednecks. But he doesn't even like rednecks! He doesn't even like granges much, after his years in Texas. What gives?
- Well, I'm not surprised at him singing. My whole family is chorally trained.
- But he's noticed this neo-Tsarist plot. And he's a U.S. government agent. And ever since last month, I work for him.
- But he's also noticed someone going around, attacking rednecks with music! There was in particular one incident at a Wisconsin "gentleman's club" near where the neo-Tsarists were operating. The dancers' DJ put subsonics into the music or something, and drove the crowd into a stupor. My brother's trying to interview people and reproduce the effect.
- I say, it sounds like Ellipsis Z and Body Up to me. Surprise surprise, I'm right!
- So I find my brother and me a cheap hotel room, but more expensive than planned because the town is crowded.
- After we go investigating rednecks, I find... Someone wants to blow up the local high school! I saw him drive up in a van with a tire missing. Now he's trying to peek through the windows where I live. Oh shit, I've been dealing with rednecks, now I have to beware the consequences. (15 Feb)
While I'm busy surviving all that, our targets are a step ahead of us. Ellipsis Z and his companions from Body Up have hijacked the Occulator Compuplex alien hive mind! We pick up a mental distress call.
- The aliens are hanging out in the conference room of a shopping mall in Appleton, Wisconsin. They like the human mental ambiance of shopping malls, as long as the aliens aren't out there in the concourse.
- Ellipsis Z apparently wants to drive the aliens off Earth! Body Up is sympathetic, because they got sent to prison camp by aliens and the enigmatic "X the Unknown" last year.
- They went after rednecks first, because rednecks are working with the aliens. Besides, rednecks can be especially annoying when you're a dancer and you have to take a job at a "gentlemen's club". But the rednecks were useful too, because they gave leads to where the aliens were hiding.
- The Powernaut has decided to intervene, and he's fighting Ellipsis now. My brother and I follow.
By the time we get there, the Powernaut has failed to impose his steely-fisted idea of justice. In fact, he's just standing there.
- The Occulator Complex has with it one mage, Elaine Matthews. Mages seem to have made a deal to work with the alien hive mind. One of their White Mages always serves with them.
- But Ellipsis Z has a mage with him too: Vince Cortez, late of the FERG by way of Basra, Iraq! Vince is one of Body Up's boyfriends now. And he's apparently more devoted than most of the boyfriends, because here he is on a mission.
- With mages and a hive mind involved, the conflict is mental. Too bad for the Powernaut, poor physical lug that he is.
- Ellipsis Z seems to be driving this, with techno music: a blistering guitar version of "La Grange", only with thunder and earthquakes instead of guitars! So that's how rednecks got tortured by an old ZZ Top song. Ellipsis Z is a deejay, and he makes his music out of what he damn well pleases. And it's working for him. He's driving the hive mind now!
- So he forcefully asks the aliens, "Why are you here?"
- And we all get a response! And none of us can break out of it!
(from many of Body Up)
We maintained them unaltered and transported them as you arranged.
Yourself went to own planet to drive away extradimensionals and counteract shift. But Designate Spanker-4 drove shift to you. You were shifted from Designate X-the-Unknown to Designate Ellipsis-Z.
Ourself followed to counteract shift, and worked with Deathbringer Designates Wyatt-Ferguson and Powernaut. Stayed on to monitor and establish regular contact.
- Doombreaker Designate Stephen-Wolcott, your memory lacks. We shall restore.
- Yourself and associate-Designate Onslaught confronted others of your planet, and suffered personal defeat and separation. You fled and roamed universe and beyond .
- There you found reality shift coming. You fought others to defeat the shift, but it was no use.
- Yourself invoked our aid when shift came. Yourself led humans to us as Designate X-the-Unknown!
I have to complement the aliens on their mind-fighting strategy today. To me that was like one of those boring travelogues you get at the U.S. national parks, when you'd rather just go look at the geyser or something. But everyone else seeks kind of agitated now. And thanks to the hive mind we're all in, we all involuntarily speak at once.
- From Vince Cortez: "But then you're X the Unknown."
- From one of Body Up: "You stole us?"
- From my brother: "And you were fleeing from something."
- From Ellipsis: "What have I done?"
- From me, just because Ellipsis asked, and someone ought to remind him: "Do you remember Stan Levitz?"
And suddenly, because we're in a hive mind, everyone here remembers 18-year-old Stanley T. Levitz, ward of Stephen Wolcott a.k.a. Ellipsis, abandoned and left to die in Greenland in January 2005. Stan considered me his next of kin.
Silence falls. There's no good way out of it... until the aliens speak again.
- Humans, this offense was in a different universe. With a different designate-Ellipsis. The universe has shifted since that time. From what we know of Earthling justice, you cannot judge this situation.
- Plus: We have reason to believe, your designate-Stanley-T-Levitz suffered this offense despite the shift, but survives in this universe.
Oh, Stan survives? Well, I'm not crediting the reality shift with any survivals worth mentioning. But Stan was the Champion of Death, so I guess he could make a deal with Death. And of course the hive mind knows my guess now.
Ellipsis responds first. "Still I must ensure it. I must leave you."
But Body Up's leader "Mistress" Norma McMillan speaks up, "Not so fast! You signed a contract with us! We need you too!"
- (she continues against hubbub) "Listen to me!"
- "Ladies. We get powers from each other and from music. We need a DJ." (murmured agreement)
- "Mr. Wolcott. Stephen. Ellipsis. Z. You're a DJ now. We need you."
- "Maybe you tried to kill someone, maybe you didn't. So he's not really dead, and judges can't catch you. But we can."
- "You've got a lot to make up for. You owe a lot of people. That includes us."
- "But your heart's in the right place now. If you work with us, we'll work with you. We'll look for Stan Levitz with you."
The aliens had a lead on Stan. They say he's a force of weather now. The Gorilla Sheriff Mormon Quest video and roleplaying game was apparently based on him!
So Ellipsis is on his own penance quest now. With a troop of beautiful athletic women, on a magnificent customized tour bus. Most men would cream their pants to be him right now. But he wouldn't, and I know it. He's probably hating the obligations, and the lack of control and solitude in his life. So I'll take my little bits of vengeance where I can. (16 Feb 2006)
But I'm getting ahead of myself...
When we emerged from hive mind, my brother's pager was going off. He had a text messsage from our sister: "Come home quick, the house's been bombed!"
Our Neighbors the Aliens. The Powernaut offered to fly me and my brother across the continent to Connecticut where my mom and sister live. From Wisconsin. Imagine several hours of head wind at hundreds of miles per hour, when it's February in the North anyway, and you get the idea of how pleasant that would be.
So instead, we booked a charter jet flight from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, near the alien outpost in Appleton. Oshkosh is actually a hotbed of civilian experimental aviation, so it was damn near optimal to fly from. The Powernaut satisfied his need for action by flying escort.
- Mom's all right. One little thing my sister neglected to mention was, it wasn't our house that was bombed, it was the neighbor's! My sister has a tendency to be less than sensible when she panics.
- But we're all surprised when Mom sees our little old neighbor lady across the street. Her house was cratered by a suicide bomber who got aliens to sign a $35M check for him - just before exploding. It seems other Earthlings besides Ellipsis want aliens off Earth... but they aren't above bilking them first.
- But the aliens have counterattacked.
- Two paper plates have been accelerated to lightspeed from Earth surface, as a demonstration. They created exit craters on the Moon's far side. (27 Feb 2006)
And the aliens are sending mental broadcasts of how they mass-produce super-creatures named "Solarians", who can sculpt the Ultmate Darkness and eat suns. Apparently these broadcasts are so subliminal, they only show up in human consciousness weeks later. (13 Mar 2006)
- Despite all the power of the aliens, there's still a crater at my mom's neighbor's house. Now, two government agents are arguing over which of them gets to step into the little room at the bottom of the crater.
- Outside the crater, our neighbor admits, the little room produces clone bodies - for the spindly little saucer aliens to inhabit! The saucer aliens need these host bodies, because our sun drives their native bodies crazy.
- Our neighbor is an alien clone body. After her old (and her former) body got blown up, she moved into a new 80-year-old human body. (27 Feb 2006)
After all that, my sister and I have to decide which of us gets a white and orange sports car that's been shipped to the two of us via Barrow, Alaska.
- Apparently this car is a gift from the aliens! They appreciated my family's intervention in the latest Occulator Compuplex crisis, so they sent something exotic that we might appreciate, by the longest route possible so we could appreciate the effort. Gotta love that alien thinking.
- My sister gets the car, and I get a ride to the dentist with Mom. Somehow that figures. (27 Feb 2006)
Going South. A tour bus filled with superhumans. Plus a rogue alien, an apocalypse, and a knight from another Earth. Welcome to a relatively quiet period of life in my world.
- The superhumans are quiet and well behaved, for the most part. I left the superhuman ladies of Body Up kind of abruptly... but we're not quite done with each other yet.
- They're going on a quest for the superhuman personification of cold. Just like the Gorilla Sheriff Mormon Quest game. There must be another game in there somewhere. And on behalf of the FERG, I've been offered the exclusive design franchise from Body Up!
- However, to do it up right, I'll have to measure the bunks on their double-long tour bus to figure out how the ladies and their boyfriends fit there. So, I'm going on tour with them! (6 Mar 2006)
- Their tour bus picks me up in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa. It's snowing there, and the roads eastbound have weather advisories, but the tour bus is making a run for it. They're going south! That's not where I'd look for the living cold, but maybe their mutant supergenius DJ knows something I don't. (5 Mar 2006)
- The rogue alien was relatively quiet, because he surrendered to the U.S. Gov years ago. We read about him on the tour bus. But it's not good news. He's one of those sun-eater aliens. They're real!
- This one calls himself Dom-Ra. He came to our solar system in 1999, to fight one of those other alien invaders. The other alien ate the sun first and pre-empted Dom-Ra, though.
- (In case you're wondering how humanity survived the sun being eaten in 1999, it required a reality shift. Much like the one we're recovering from now.)
- During the battle, Dom-Ra came down to Earth, to cooperate with humans as best he could. And he kept cooperating. The U.S. Government now uses him as a weather control device to keep Chicago O'Hare Airport relatively free from precipitation. The farmers nearby are having a drought. Oh well for the farmers.
- Dom-Ra lacks the full powers he would have if he were resident in the sun, the way he was designed to live. If we met him then, he'd be roughly sun-sized.
- But even here, absorbing solar energy 93 million miles from the sun, he can still burn the rain and most of the snow out of the sky. Here I thought it was the spirit of Odin making my winters snow-free, but the U.S. Gov was on the case all along! Uh, thanks, I think. (13 Mar 2006)
- The apocalypse was quiet too; it's only a pretend apocalypse. Though I'm always glad to share it with my travelling partners and my reading public.
- It's the famous game Earth 2011, which describes the halfway-downfall of society.
- As a game designer who's willing to work in an Open Source environment, I added the part about camels in Texas two years ago.
- On the tour bus, I find out, my submission finally got in the release version! (14 Mar 2006)
- The knight wasn't quite so quiet...
- I was out on a date, sort of. Yes, I know how strange that sounds. But it just sort of happened. And it happened with one of the ladies of Body Up! They're superhumans from the old world, and they're surprisingly open to making friends from that world. Friends like my young friend Vince, who's now the boyfriend of young Liz. And like me.
- Margaret is one of Body Up, and I'm with them on tour. Margaret's a bit closer to my age than young Liz is, and she and I both liked Southern lemon cream pie (not Northern lemon merangue), and we'd got to about Memphis by then, so we went out for dessert. And we talked.
- It seems she really liked the way I stood up to Ellipsis the last time! Not that this was particularly heroic of me, because for once I have power and he doesn't. But still, Ellipsis is typically an asshole who needs standing up to. Which opinion I'm glad to share with Margaret.
- But then, a knight on a horse rode up to the diner, strode in, and challenged me to a duel! And this was the infamous White Knight, who's gone around the world picking fights with its remaining superhumans. He was picking on vigilantes just two months ago.
- But why me now? It seems his mystic realm does database programming for the U.S., and he needed to settle a root cause issue on a program I once worked on. Well, I could understand that, but would my powers protect me?
- Not my problem, really. This realm's king sends knights to handle his issues of force. I send the Powernaut. His morality is much more simple and trustworthy than mine, so when it comes down to a fight, I refer my issues with superhumans to him now.
- Suffice it to say, the White Knight and the Powernaut had their duel, they both survived, and honor was served. But romance wasn't.
- Margaret thinks I should have spoken up for myself against the knight more, like I did to Ellipsis. I don't agree, because the knight had obviously gone past the point where speaking was any good. Oh well, I guess this means Margaret and I won't be a hot item any time soon.
- Indeed, I think I'd best leave the tour. Surely they can protect themselves and me, but it's not polite that people come looking for me and endanger them.
- Besides, I just got an invitation... My brother says, our Grandpa has invited me and my brother up to his cabin in northern Canada!
- Okay, it's time for a vacation. It's either that, or ride on with the tour bus to see how well the gentlemen's clubs of Houma, Louisiana have recovered from recent hurricanes... Let's face it, there's nothing to hold me with the tour. I've got my game details now. And like my sister is fond of reminding me, famlee comes first, yada yada.
- And maybe I'm afraid of commitment. And argument. ... Goodbye, Margaret. (14 Mar 2006)
Going North, or The Dark Maneuvers III. There are still people who have yet to recover from the reality shifts. And their recovery may not be to everyone's taste.
- Grandpa has a winter cabin in Labrador! That is to say, the "Province of Newfoundland and Labrador" in northeast Canada. The cabin's near Churchill Falls, a little hydroelectric dam town. It's two hours drive from Labrador City, which is in turn six hours drive from anything other than Churchill Falls, even if the roads weren't snowed over. So, Grandpa is kind of a hermit. Yay, Grandpa!
- This being March, one flies in to Churchill Falls and goes to the cabin by snowmobile. Grandpa picks us up, along with some provisions. I propose bringing along some beer, but Grandpa sensibly says, whisky's much more portable.
- At the cabin, Grandpa keeps a well-stocked whisky bar plus lots of caribou sausage. So there's no reason for me to go anywhere else as long as I can drink whiskey sensibly like Grandpa does. Whisky slushies for me.
- Grandpa has stories for us. He knows about the reality shift!
- He knows the shift brought a generation of dead people back to life. Which is to say, my mom and my dad. Grandpa was still alive, though. One could say, he's really vigorous.
- The thing is, my dad was only presumed dead. Males of my bloodline can enter a healing coma and recover from their first death! As well I know; I've done that too. So did Dad, once; I saw him rise just before his funeral.
- But when the reality shift came, most of my dad's children wished him back along with the other dead. The thing that got brought back to life in Dad's place, got part of his soul! Dad had to reunite himself with it. And he's still not feeling sociable.
- Well, I have stories about the reality shift too. I came out of the shift the hard way - just like Dad did, with a claimant to my soul, except I was the claimant! It kind of sucked at the time, but now it's great fireside fun.
- ... And that's the way it went for several days.
- Grandpa had lots of stories about the American Civil War (like I said, he's really long-lived and vigorous) and artifacts and women's suffrage and Amazons. And he kept them in a diary.
- I couldn't top his stories, but I have a huge web site of my own stories, and it fits on my cell phone, so who cares if the Internet is functional in Labrador.
- I would have typed Grandpa's stories down by the fireside, but he was insistent. Oral tradition! Typewriters have no place at the campfire. So, maybe someday I'll put a Grandpa segment on my web site, but not today.
- Even with whisky and sausage and stories around the fireplace, it was hard to get my brother Calvin to ignore the outside world, even though he has to go to the post office back in town to check for messages. Cell phones and pagers just don't work here. Our sister Lauren might miss us, but why worry? Or maybe Calvin's just uncomfortable about the stories, because he hasn't died the first time yet.
- One evening, Calvin came back with a passenger, a friend of our sister. Lauren sent her friend up here, just to make sure we got the message. Mom's dead! ... Again.
- The first time Mom died, it was lung cancer at the age of 65. She smoked. Heavily enough to coat the living room at Christmastime, which was the only time I could be coerced to spend more than an hour with her at a time. Go figure.
- Since she came back, she gave up smoking. But now, she being 78, heart disease got her. Her most extreme form of exercise was gardening. Go figure.
- Yes, I know I'm callous. But I also know, Death is inevitable. It's always something. And this is definitely my mom's way of recovering from being wished back to life.
- I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Death isn't a Final Barrier around me, it's more like an air conditioner that can't quite filter out those outside smells. So, I am not as observant of death customs as many people are.
- But still, I had to go back to Connecticut and appear to be the dutiful regretful son. For my mother's second funeral. I respect Death, so I won't say Death sucks... but most Earthling observances of Death leave a lot to be desired. (17 Mar 2006)
So, I'll be busy with Earthling ceremonial death observance, and may have to leave the story to others for a while.
But where do I leave off? Alien occupiers are still here, and people are still willing to blow things up to get at them; there's a mutant supergenius on the loose again, and who knows what he's up to by now; the U.S. Gov's on the prowl even more than before, and we have alternate-universe Earthlings to screw things up even more.
In other words, I'm sorry the world hasn't really progressed while I dealt with personal stuff, but it's still fun and games as usual.