The Last Chocolate Crop Superhuman World Superhuman World 2010
Me in the Superhuman World:
Startup Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 A Prequel New Orbit 2010 A Sequel .

Superhuman World 2009 is a work of fiction. The characters herein and the commentary about them should not be considered "real".

SUPERHUMAN WORLD 2009

Tales of the New Orbit

December

Introduction

As ever, I keep track of events. This is especially important now that the Earth's in a new orbit. For one thing, what's that other Earth doing up there in the sky? But first, we all need one last bit of warm December sun.

(signed) Wyatt Ferguson.

RACC High Concept #5 Winner!
Talk Back!
December

The Mayas Were Right! Commentator: Sylvester Morrow, World Journal Monthly.

WORLD JOURNAL MONTHLY
December 9, 2009     See Our Other Issues!
THE MAYAS WERE RIGHT!
Their Unliving Golem Delivers Their Message!
The Mayas Were Right!

The tourists ran screaming as the wooden statue walked to the center of the platform, pulled a scroll from its chest cavity, and raised its dagger.


The statue was a Wooden Man of the Third Creation, from before the Corn Men of the current age. It drew its sustenance from wood, much as the Corn Men fed on corn. But Corn Men lived quickly like a stalk of corn. Like wood, the Wooden Man never slept, but it lived slowly over centuries.

The Wooden Man served the priesthood of the Corn Men. Though their priests no longer existed, the Corn Men did, so they needed its services.

Its job was to watch the sun every day. Every 400 years at the end of a Long Cycle, the Wooden Man would rise from its crypt, recalculate the holy calendar, and subtract or add a festival day as necessary.

In the 397th year of the 13th Long Cycle, the Wooden Man saw the sun jump closer. The sun had started a new course. The Moon had disappeared, as had Mercury, but two new planets replaced them. The heavens had changed, and the Wooden Man could calculate the impact upon the Earth. So it went out early.

At the end of the last Long Cycle, it had found foreign pirates upon its temple. It drove them off, of course. Its wooden body still held the metal slugs they'd fired at it then.

This time, foreigners again walked on the temple. They did not walk like priests or warriors, but they aimed box-like devices at the Wooden Man. It raised its ceremonial dagger in response.

The intruders fled, and the Wooden Man was left alone. It pinned its calendar to the altar with the dagger, then returned to its crypt to resume its watch.


Serge Reese came back to the top of the temple after the Wooden Man left. He saw the scroll, and recognized it... "My God, it's redone the Mayan calendar!"

Serge was an amateur archaeologist, on vacation to the Mayan ruins. He knew the Mayas observed simultaneous interlocking years of 260 and 360 days. The 260-day cycle marked the typical growth of crops and pregnancies.

The new calendar stopped the current 260-year period after only sixty-five days, so the next period would start at the 2009 winter solstice. From then on, two 260-day years would closely fit Earth's new orbital period. The 360-day year (plus the five Nameless Days each year, plus regular adjustments to fit the seasons) would continue as before, to mark Earth's old annual cycles. But the next Long Cycle would start three years early.

Serge knew the Mayas had not predicted an apocalypse in 2012. If they had, they'd have been wrong. Apocalypse had already come and gone, when the rogue planet Iv went through the solar system earlier this year. But the Mayan calendar was still prophetic, because it was ready for the new shape of the heavens. The Mayas were right after all.

Talk Back!
December

The Warm December, or One Last Bit of Sun. Commentator: Wyatt Ferguson.

I've been told I dash about the landscape like a koala on speed. This is ironic because our world actually has a koala on speed, and I'm not it. But I still see lots of stuff. A few entries from my diary may therefore illustrate how our world is dealing with radical climate change. In some ways it's The End of the World As We Know It, but in others it's business as usual.

1 December: Ginny (a colleague of mine) and I are taking a crypto quiz for a class, with Death watching... yes, the actual real Personification of Demise. Hi, Boss.

  • Actually, I don't work directly for Death any more, but she was always a decent boss. Still, it's probably not a good sign that she's so interested in what I'm doing. We're just trying to meet U.S. Gov requirements for security on our journals until they get published. (That's why nobody's seen this diary until two months later.)

1 December: Total Conversion (the world's most powerful superhuman team) is in tribal clothes and coming under attack. They're doing security for a landing site of The Trillions in the Ivory Coast! They're trying to look semi-native, but nobody's fooled; the locals are rioting. Still, it's nothing that a high-powered team of mercenary superhumans can't handle.

7 December: A certain superhero team from another Earth is looking for me. I suppose I was technically part of their support staff once. So they tell me, our Earth's appeared in their universe!

  • They're having another crossover with superheroes from yet another Earth. For now their archer's dressed up as me and gone out with their thunder god; he's trying to fend off incoming fire with just arrows, not bow.
  • Meanwhile, Judy and I are riding our bikes to retrieve one of the Engines of Reality. These are reality-altering items that appear in different universes in different forms. The visitors were talking about some evil eye, but I last the Engines as cardboard boxes.
  • One human-but-commanding hero from each team is collecting the Engines. I figure I can at least tag along until I see all of them in one place, then maybe get them used to restore our Earth to its previous orbit. But ultimately they have their stereotypical big confrontation and then all disappear. Aww!
  • These heroes aren't quite the same as I remember. One of them is 45 years old; he had to admit his real age to his arch-rival as part of a sex dare to sleep with his wife. The rival says he's not bitter... I'm not sure I like these heroes' new direction.
  • But what's this about other Earths seeing us? Apparently part of how we saved our Earth from the impact of Planet Iv was, we shunted ourselves into an "imaginary" dimension at right angles to reality. Now our orbit goes through different universes. Hey, maybe it always did; aside from a few planetary probes that are full of glitches, how would we ever know?

8 December: Gaah. That superhero stuff lasted just one day. Judy and I wind up in a farmhouse in Tennessee, waiting for Hitler to come downstairs so we can have some cake for his birthday. I really should take a picture, but nobody would recognize him.

  • Adolf Hitler time-travelled to the present the hard way. Now he's a city councilman in south Nashville, Tennessee, under the name of Arnold Wolf. Reportedly he fits in nicely with the constituency there. He sports a respectable full beard and mustache, of course; not even Hitler can get away with a Hitler mustache nowadays.

11 December: I'm on my own, in New York City for Second Thanksgiving observance.

  • One guy I meet thinks we should buy dynamite and blow up George W. Bush. Yeesh. I decide not to. Instead I stay out late.
  • I get back to hotel around 6 am. I'm rooming with Mikhail; he's been out late too. There's a nice outdoor breakfast, but I think we'll miss it.
  • We make it to job interviews later. They want follow-ups two days later, but Mikhail wants to head home.
  • As he goes in, they notice me pulling splinters from my hand. The boss sends me to my room for a bath. One guy says, I have a cusp on my chest... Huh? I suppose there is a growth there... but I'm used to that. I used to have intelligent blood cells that would build little clubhouses for themselves on my skin. This is no different.

12 December: It's Tropical Replica Speedway Night!

  • I go walking around a mockup of the Town of Speedway-Indiana. People are having a foot race, but most of them are lost.
  • One guy named Fred Myers and two Arab allies of his are there on a rescue mission that involves pipefitting. But they're cornered in a building full of terrorists... It's an exercise down in Florida. They've picked a semi-typical Midwestern town with lots of tourist traffic to simulate unrest in.
  • I'm working with the Gov as a consultant, because I grew up near Speedway. I'm staying in a hotel by the highway, even though it's full on Friday nights. The fields are drying out, because the warm December sun hitting the ground makes it 90 degrees.

21 December: My lady Judy says she saw The Trillions make a new friend.

  • Judy's been on Trillions Watch, mostly at their California landing site. She knows now, they have strange elevators. This elevator has a fence. This building only has 16 stories, but if you press 24, it'll go 24. Grab on tight, or you'll be flying without it! (9 Dec)
  • Today's more boring, just sitting by the Trillions ship waiting for a story, watching the droids scurry around. Judy's colleague Max is talking to her about addiction. He says there's something inside him that makes him do all those bad things. Judy talks him into trying Jesus.
  • Suddenly a spider-droid shoots out a web, hits Max, and pulls him in! The spider hangs in midair off a high-rise building, and starts a riot. But Judy can feel what Max does by telepresence. He's still inside the spider!
  • A security droid tries to rescue the spider without the crowd noticing. He tells Max to crawl up the wall. Max says he can't make it, but the droid says he can do anything he wants to. They pull him in near the top.
  • Later Max appears by broadcast. He says he's going to stay with the Trillions and live a new life, as part of their security class. That class is a bit "alienated" from their main body, and more likely to either "go native" or recruit from the natives. Earthlings are evenly divided among disbelief, outrage, and desire to sign up.

22 December: Magic Johnson finishes an American Gladiators tournament. I try to see the action from inside a bus full of new heroes. Culture is the same as ever, but the guy who can cover Key West in cheez whiz might be worth knowing for the next world crisis - if only because cheez whiz is supposedly edible.

23 December: Judy and I have been invited to the U.S. Northwest. The waves are freezing into sculptures on the shore, but the sun is sparkling and the tropical birds and plants are thriving. Like I said, the weather is weird; really cold water is coming in from the sea, because the sea knows December shouldn't be this warm. But Judy turns to me and says, everything's going to be all right. At least someone has faith.

24 December: Our friend in Portland is a restauranteur; he has buildings he hasn't even used yet. As the sun goes down at 9:15 pm, a band is playing in the lounge. I can sleep on the restaurant side if I put up screens; it's open air.

28 December: I've gone into NYC for a meeting. The bridge into Manhattan is partly out due to rising sea level. Some of us try to row a raft across the gap rather than wait for the ferry. Fortunately my important stuff and I both dry off quickly... I'm in city for advertiser training. Apparently I'm really stylish and marketable now that I'm getting married.

29 December: We're up for 5 am exercise, but the clocks are wrong. Now that each day is fifteen minutes shorter, the clocks all have problems... I think I'll go back to bed and then watch TV.

.So... The weather is weird. The aliens are still coming. There's unrest among Earthlings. Other Earths are interfering. Death is watching.

... Yep, next year could be interesting.

Talk Back!
December

The Book of Ends, or, What Have We Learned This Year? Commentator: Wyatt Ferguson.

There are giant tankers in the Atlantic, and swimming M&M-shaped robots that threaten to interfere with them. The Book of Ends uses the robots to instruct how to avoid injury, and it's funny.

  • ... The Trillions have landed in El Jadida, on the mid-coast of Morocco. Their ship is not from Mercury; the Trillions ship from there landed at the Ivory Coast after it escaped from getting knocked into the Sun. This ship is new to the Solar System. That means the immigrants are coming, despite the failed colonies. Two of their colonizer robots roam the world to prepare the landing points. There used to be five robots, but three of them ran into damage early on.
  • The Trillions have started using their robotic tech to mine Earth's oceans. Their small robots look like M&M cartoons, only they're white.
  • They've started training their colonists to interact with Earthlings. Their instructional video uses the robots to show all the ways people can die here. They called it "The Book of Ends". Someone got that video and put it on YouTube. It's a hit. Some paranoids think The Trillions are a threat, but so far they're just cute bumbling things that don't quite know how to live here - kind of like the Pilgrims in colonial Massachusetts. (18 Dec)

This time of year, I usually try to tell us what we've learned. The Trillions and their enemies have tried to trump our species. But we've survived. Indeed, things have barely changed so far.

  • The Earth day is now 23:45 hours instead of 24:00, so mornings creep up. As a species we seem to want longer days, but we seem to be used to days that are too short. So far, people cope by resetting their watches every morning.
  • For the moment, the Earth is closer to the Sun than usual. Everyone's celebrating the Warm December right now. Next year, we'll see what happens when June and December are both out near the orbit of Mars.
  • We might need an old-Earth 365-day calendar alongside a new-Earth 520-day one. Mayas did that, so there's precedent. I sense a really big holiday coming along in 520 days... that is to say, May of old year 2011, New Year's Day of new year 2.

I'm much like The Trillions, because I have my own Book of Ends. Back in 2004 I saw a doomsday scenario where 2011 was important. The world has changed in ways we could never have foreseen, but doomsday seems to be on or ahead of schedule.

Now, how's the rest of the world reacting?

  • The Russian Federation wasn't keen on cooperating with The Trillions. Oh well. Malcolm Dunevoy, ally of Russia but enemy of The Trillions, now resides in Russia in the New Russian style. Russia 2010 looks much like U.S. 1870, only with spaceships and Russian mafia to help the robber barons thrive.
  • Iranians are officially as obnoxious and disregarding of civil liberties as ever. But they quietly released and exiled their imprisoned superhumans during the approach of Planet Iv. The rogue nation of Tuvalu also loaned their superhumans (mostly pirate vampires) to the world survival effort.
  • The rogue nation of Vojvodina was not at all confident in their planet's survival. They've dropped off the face of the Earth! They're probably not back in the realm of dreams; Vojvodina's status came from dream personnel expelled from there. Best guess is, their leader the Vojvodar took them through their mystic portal back into time to the glory days, just to kick more Turkish ass.
  • Other time travellers are kind of stuck, because they don't have a new target programmed yet. The old target led straight to Pancho Villa. They're waiting for a new target until they see what the Vovjodars do to history now. Being stuck, they and their political minions have joined Earth's survival effort. My own boss Symmetria San Giacomo has done likewise; she's made an arrangement with The Combine.
  • Mary Mystery is about as powerful as ever. Unlike most women, she didn't sacrifice her power for piddly stuff like saving Earth. But she's related to my fiancee. If Mary Mystery goes off the deep end, I'll probably find out first.

Next year we'll see how well Earth survives when it goes out toward Mars and the crops don't grow the way they used to. Let's hope we get some comic-book super-science going - and for once use it to save us all.


Me in the Superhuman World:
Startup Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 A Prequel New Orbit 2010 A Sequel .
Author's Notes:

Starting this year, the Superhuman World website has accepted concepts from the Usenet group rec.arts.comics.creative, and responded with stories in their contests. The "constructed sleeping being" concept came from Dave Van Domelen; this led to The Mayas Were Right in Contest #5.

All characters in this fiction and the phrase "Superhuman World 2009" are copyright © 2009 - 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.

(signed) Scott Eiler