Startup Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 A Prequel Predecessors A Sequel .
Superhuman World 2010 is a work of fiction. The characters herein and the commentary about them should not be considered "real".
SUPERHUMAN WORLD 2010
I suppose I should have known this would happen. Really, this is only the start.
When Our Heroes get deep enough in trouble, is it time to roll back to the previous versions?
(signed) Wyatt Ferguson.
Crops are failing, even more than usual. There could actually be not enough crops for the whole world.
In the United States, some grocery stores are planning to close their major branches in September. There is still some produce to live by in farmers' markets, but the corporations of the Western world do not want Internet photos of Communist-style queues for produce. Or at least that's their excuse. Could be, they're actually losing out to the local producers... those who still have produce, that is.
In our world, superhumans are powerful enough to try to control crop fertility - even when the Earth's orbit has been shifted to be colder. But crop control isn't working. So there's popular demand for reversion of superheroes.
A lot of us superhumans have predecessors.
We superhumans all have enemies now, in much the same way every U.S. President has during midterm elections, and for much the same reasons. Now that the Earth is swinging away from the Sun and the crops are failing, the current administration is getting the blame, along with every superhuman who tried to help.
A lot of our enemies are militiamen. I once worked with militias, but we separated. My old enemy Evil Mayor Anvernacht has joined the movement, though. He's out on bail for trying to beat up a lawyer who once indicted him. Anvernacht candidly admitted, "I would have defended myself better, but I'm recovering from an operation." (9 Aug; RACC HCC #12)
It seems our enemies are trying to summon our predecessors. Our world has evil magicians who can do this. They congregate online. Auge von Shaitan has volunteered to lead this project, with Black Brady and some other "black mages" assisting.
We have a very public superheroine named Morningstar. (Hi, Julie!) She has a very public predecessor, also named Morningstar, who goes back to 1991. (Hi, Laura!) But the predecessor's a bit too recent for Our Villains, so they ask for something farther back. Auge von Shaitan is only too happy to oblige.
On Wednesday August 11, in the remote town of Cut Bank, Montana, a ceremony is performed in the cemetery nearest the center of town. Other cemeteries ring the neighboring communities, like an amphitheater. Auge von Shaitan says, this is significant. So the militiamen flow in from much of the U.S. Northwest.
I'm there to watch, incognito. I care (negatively) about people who ^*(% about with magic. So does the United States Government. The Vice-President and I actually go way back, because we both cared first. So I am now a National Security Advisor ... I can't believe I'm actually saying that.
As a Federal operative, I have to be more careful than often I am. Mystics doing spells will quickly recognize me, and so will militiamen and evil politicians - unless I blend in somehow. Unfortunately, biker dudes aren't having any convention there today, so I can't get protective coloration from them. But a troop of Shakespearean actors sanctioned by the state of Montana is visiting town. (Really.) They've heard of me.
On the day of the ceremony, it was approaching 100 degrees outside. During all this magic, someone figured it might be a good idea to make the Earth warmer since the crops weren't getting enough sunlight. Auge von Shaitan was perfectly willing to grant this request along with the other one, at least during the ceremony.
Some World War 2 sidekicks were taking turns addressing the crowd like they were Captain America... What's this about sidekicks? Well, Auge von Shaitan got what he could. He couldn't bring back any of the righteous heroes who'd gone to Heaven. But he got some of their hangers-on.
Auge von Shaitan then promised the greatest predecessor of all: the original Morningstar! He then plucked out his own eye, and held it up. (In German, his name means "Eye of Satan". He's acting like that's literal.)
The Devil had been summoned. Gah! I've just seen The Devil! Or some thing that claims to be the Christian concept of Lucifer, anyway. But it surely looked real.
Then there was a commotion at the edge of the cemetery. A local church was protesting the ceremony! They weren't saying "God Hates Fags", just "You Dishonor the Dead"; they didn't like public relation stunts around ceremonies, and this surely looked like one. I didn't see much of the protestors, though; the actors were keeping well away from the churchlings based on general aversion, and I was with the actors.
Militiamen usually just keep protesters away from cemeteries during ceremonies. But The Devil said something, and the militiamen came out. They grabbed three protesters, including the pastor. The rest ran away.
In the confusion, I got a little closer and heard more dialog. The Devil started speaking: "Your flock seems to have deserted you, shepherd. How like Jesus. Are you ready to die like him?"
The pastor mumbled something. He seemed a lot less defiant after seeing The Devil up close.
"Well then. Would any of you die to save this man?"
Uh oh, this was getting ugly. As the senior (only) Federal agent on site and as a former dead guy, I figured I might have to intervene. So I started uploading my usual-format report - because that's what I was really there for. In my world, when someone's paying me, the job comes first.
But one of the boxers spoke before I could react. "You demon. I wasn't the best person, but I didn't get to be Championis Federus by backing down."
"Oh, a challenge."
"Yep. Take your best shot."
"I didn't say this was a boxing match. Back to Hell with you." The Devil gestured, and Pug Nelson the Championis Federus went Poof.
The Devil turned back to the crowd and said, "This worm didn't actually give up his life for anyone. He lost only what I gave him. Who among you would truly die to save someone?"
The other resurrected boxers yelled, but The Devil said, "I wasn't talking to you. Who else?"
By then I was finally ready to join in. But I couldn't be heard above the crowd. Militiamen weren't expecting The Devil, and they were not standing still when they saw violence in a cemetery against a war hero.
The Devil said, "Enough." He swept his arm. Everyone except his body donors fell back - all the way to the edge of the cemetery.
"Ungrateful slugs. I spit on that you offer me, even the child bride you brought me. Everyone offers me that much, even though I already own all your world. I like it just as well cold. I will harvest you all as you die by ice."
The Devil then walked down the line of body part donors. Each took their own part back - Mayor Anvernacht last, because he got the Legs of Satan.
The Donors of Satan then walked away. The crowd started yelling again. But Auge von Shaitan said, "No. My Master said this is over." He gestured, and the Satanists disappeared in a cloud.
The actors and I went away in the confusion. We resolved to let it go... but with a bit of online commentary from each of us. Here's mine, thank you.
The actors think the whole thing was special effects. Perhaps they may be forgiven for believing in special effects. But they didn't get close to this Devil. I did.
The pastor who was closest to The Devil is claiming it really was Satan. Practically nobody's believing him. Superhuman beings are usually well-documented when they act in our world. But this was a spiritual superhuman being. If people could ever agree about what those ever do, the Bible would be scientific fact.
Militiamen are still arguing over what happened. They've pretty much splintered. Militiamen do that often. Five days later, one militia got bad publicity because one of their student members and a Chinese businessman seduced each other for gay sex, then tried to blackmail each other. Oddly enough, that scandal was bigger news than actually summoning Satan. But at least militiamen look silly.
The surviving "Predecessors" went away with various factions of militiamen. A couple of Predecessors wanted to go find descendants, but they had no way to get there without help. Still, some descendants may be in for a surprise. Yes, it's good to support our returning soldiers even beyond the grave... but I think there may be some issues.
I know something about what Auge von Shaitan can do, so I think he summoned something that claimed to be the Christian Satan, authentically enough to convince Satanists. And then it totally refused to do its summoners' bidding. Satanists, Fail!
I wonder what Auge von Shaitan was thinking. Of course anything as powerful as The Devil has its own mind, and won't just do what you want it to when it's summoned. But now that I think about it, there was absolutely no effort to confine The Devil in a circle. (It probably scatters its body parts to avoid summoning, which explains all those mystics with Satanic body parts.) Maybe von Shaitan just wanted an excuse for a Satanist gathering.
I'm glad to not have discovered my grandpa in this. When last I met him, he'd retired to Labrador and didn't care how cold the Earth may get.
As for everyone else who got dragged back for this: Welcome back to life. You may find our world really is being dragged down to Hell.
This story is technically August 2010 #1.
I wrote this story for a fiction-writing challenge. For once, I wrote like I wanted to win. I took advice from others about throwing some extra challenge into the mix. I also took my own advice about not being afraid to let one's own character be a major prick. Some people write sympathetic Devils - but if The Devil can't be a major prick, who can?
Various characters in this fiction may have been created by various people - especially "Crusher Joe Corrigan" who once came from Joe Fucile. But absent claims from these people, all characters in this fiction and the phrase "Superhuman World 2010" are copyright © 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, 22 September 2010.