Cauldron The Last Chocolate Crop The Opposites The She-Ra Fight Club The Rise of Cap-Macaya Uplift Day Predecessors The Sinking Cauldron Superhuman World Superhuman World 2010
Me in the Superhuman World:
Startup Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Cauldron Cauldron II .
Cauldron II: Part 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 .

Superhuman World 2010 is a work of fiction. The characters herein and the commentary about them should not be considered "real".


Cauldron Book II Part 1

December 2010

Talk Back!
Cauldron Book II, Part 1. Commentator: Summer Morgan for the United States Insight Battalion.

What Has Gone Before. By Katerina Katzmann.

Summer Morgan and her friends Holly, Liz, and Margaret Jean are superhuman agents for the United States. Last month, Summer and Holly dealt with rioters and militias in Nashville, Tennessee. Since then, they've all been on station there to provide reports on urban unrest.

United States Insight Battalion
Operations Report
Thursday, December 9, 2010

President Obama dialed in to our briefing today. The President stated, he still believes in his policy to let all Americans come to consensus without the intervention of national forces. So we had a national summary to cover the outcome of that policy among the United States Intelligence Battalion since we started our mission.

In Massachusetts last month, religious militias were assembling. Jenn and Cherell saw that. But local gun club members told them, "No, you don't mess where we live." Anywhere 30 miles from Boston, there are gun clubs. The President's policy there does not need intervention at present.

In Florida last month, Russian gangsters were a concern. They've agreed to work with authority - or at least under their radar. But now, there is new unrest. The state depended on a U.S. governmental program to give extra sunlight to the citrus crop. The program failed. (Citation) Florida's economy is about to collapse. Our agents Norma and Tanya are now watching Miami. The President's policy may need intervention soon.

I gave the report on Nashville. The rioting ended last month. A group named the Nehemiah Covenant has helped quiet things down. Among other things, they've publicized a guide to urban survivalist cuisine. People eat stewed nettles here now. There's even nettle sauce in our hotel box lunches now. (Back home in Seattle, I hear people are eating slugs. God, we're eating weeds and worms like North Korea does.)

Nashville is still an assembly point for militiamen. We've been watching them and looking for their sponsors. I'm not ready to call for intervention yet, but we may need it soon.

Outside our watch areas, Yon reported that Tucson, Arizona might be the place to watch next, due to contention over border security. U.S. citizens are trying to go south from there to help harvest Mexican crops! Mexico did not accept the U.S. crop forecasts which led to U.S. crop failure. That does not mean Mexico has crops near Tucson, but people still come through there. Mexico says they might impose cross-border security like the U.S. imposed on Canada in 2007. (Citation) So Liz and Margaret Jean were going to be transferred to Tucson.

Then the President gave us status. Ellipsis had returned! I'd heard he was in prison in Hell, or wherever Satanic Mayor Anvernacht puts his enemies when he captures them. But Ellipsis reappeared in west Australia two days ago. Other heroes were with him. The President considered this hopeful. But I think Ellipsis is setting up his own survivalist compound.

There'd also been a new incursion of the Fine Green Paste (Citation), but it was gray now. At least something other than Ellipsis was adjusting to life on our famine Earth.

Obama closed by being inspirational, just like he does to the general public. "I know your job is hard. But you are the defenders of a free society. You defend it by not cracking down on dissent. The nations which do crack down, have had or are having civil wars, as you can see in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and China.

"The economic crash is temporary. The food shortages are temporary. But the world is sound. We will survive. And the free people of the world will show the way. We will face the rogue nations that threaten the world with prohibited weapons while their own societies collapse. And we will prevail.

"Agents of USIB, the prayers of a grateful nation are with you."

After the President signed off, Yon gave us our orders for the day. Liz and Margaret Jean would prepare to be shipped to Tucson. Holly and I would continue surveillance around town, concentrating on the cement plant which doubled as the major militia facility.

Outside the meeting, Holly and I decided: We had just one day left to get something before Liz and Margaret Jean left. It was time to do stuff, not just watch.

Our best lead was the car Holly saw last month, going to the meeting at the sports pub. (Citation) USIB traced its license plate... to the Tennessee state motor pool. The car matched several in the pool, as far as we could tell without vehicle ID, but the state's records didn't have that license number. So we had proof of someone using a fake plate, but we didn't know who. We'd gotten permission to stick tracers on all the cars. One tracer had just been disabled. That meant, when we saw the car, we'd have legal cause to run the plates and detain the driver! That doesn't sound like much, but it's better than nothing. Real detective work is boring.

But there are things that help make our work more exciting. In USIB, we can call in live satellite imagery! It doesn't always work; the satellites aren't always in the right place. But today we got 90% reliable images for Nashville! Good enough.

Animal husbandry specialists were having a conference at Opryland, about three miles east of downtown. Nashville didn't actually have the Opryland amusement park any more, but it still had a conference center near the new Grand Old Opry building. The conference center was convenient for the specialists to talk about how not to let the livestock herds go extinct. And it was pretty secure, almost surrounded by a bend of the river. So they hadn't called off the conference after the riots last month.

We stayed at base and tracked our car to the conference. When it stopped, USIB HQ people kept tracking while we went to look in person.

By the time we got there, the car had moved half a mile east. It was at an unoccupied old brick mansion. There was a van there too, but it was already driving out a back entrance, back toward the conference. Here at the mansion, people were unloading a body out of the trunk of the car!

Since last month, our teams had been equipped with bomb sniffers. Holly said, "Bomb in the van!" She had the sniffer and our EMP gun which took out the last bomb.

I said, "Winter. Take the car and go get them. Wait till it parks, then get the good shot."

"Summer! What about you?"

"I'll be good here. I sent the distress message, so they know we're here and there's trouble. Now go!"

Holly went. I stayed and watched the people dig a grave for the body in the garden. With only myself to worry about, I finally remembered: USIB doesn't try to save people, just watch and warn. What had I gotten Holly into?

Then my suit told me, an EMP device had gone off in the area. I was pretty sure it was Holly's. If it had been anyone else's, it would have blasted the whole area and my suit wouldn't even be working. So Holly got her target.

But then the body next to the grave blurred - and ran at me! Aw, crap, I'd only assumed it was a dead body! Instead it was an ambush!

... To Be Continued.

Me in the Superhuman World:
Startup Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Cauldron Cauldron II .
Cauldron II: Part 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 .

Author's Notes:

I declared the story complete at the previous installment. And it is a complete story, though admittedly only of novelette length and depth. But I'll admit that story has a lot of open ends. So it's time to tie some up. If I do it up right, the whole thing could be a novel.

Occasionally I get a visit from a story idea which kicks down the door and demands entry. This time, it was a dream about Holly - Story Holly, not Real Holly. Obviously the time to continue Holly and Summer's story had come.

After discussion with the very few people who actually read my stories, I've decided to ignore their recommendations on what to call this story. This story is therefore not Cauldron Part 5, an appendage to a previously complete story. This is Cauldron II Part 1, the start of a new story.

I write stories almost entirely by plot challenge. I have admitted as a challenge my old but increasingly prophetic Earth 2011 story. In that story, the game of "Earth 2011" starts with a world much like Real World 2010. So, I'm declaring that Earth 2010 has mostly held together. Then it all falls apart.

The Superhuman World has other subversive concepts, like rebellion within China and the autonomy of parts of Saudi Arabia. I've included these concepts as grounds for Superhuman World 2011.

Given the story concepts of Earth 2011 and the inspiration of Real World 2011, it's pretty damned scary to write this story. Shit.

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, February 2011.