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Spectral Economics [Dec. 22nd, 2016|05:20 am]
Spectral Shadows Brain Stormers

I have recently done some research into economic systems and have confirmed what was previously a strong suspicion that Capitalism is a really, really bad thing. Previously I was inclined to think it was the unabashed worship of money, and how could that not be bad? But it seems that Capitalism is actually just slavery with minor compensation.

As such, I can not imagine such a system being used in Suburbia, so I have to think of a different system that conforms to existing continuity within the story. That is, without Capitalism, how would Perry and Blair get to be so rich? And how is the salary Kacey earns not a wage for her slavery?

I'm thinking that when Sir Jon was initially asked to assume control of Suburbia, they were using the Camelodian money system, which would have been based on the pseudo British system seen in the English literature Camelot based its religion on. i.e. debt based central bank money.

But by the time Perry and Blair started their businesses, Sir Jon had switched the town over to a system where all businesses paid their employees with a share of stock in the company, and are thus paid with a share of the company's yearly profits, against which they are paid a weekly salary, which goes up and down based on the projections of yearly profit.

In other words, Perry is not the sole owner of his company. He shares ownership of the company with all of his employees, and the employees have incentive to work hard, not only because they can look on the business as something they own a piece of, but because they get more money when the company makes more profit.

This makes sense in the context of Blair's attempted take over of Rhoades Instruments where he offers a wage so high it would bankrupt Blair's company if sustained for any length of time, because it's a wage that would exceed the yearly profits of Montgomery Technical.

Thus the Suburbian economy is derived from the productivity of the people. Work generates profit which generates the Suburbian electronic currency which is evenly distributed a midst the people, meaning that there is very little disparity of wealth among Suburbians, except in cases like the ruling family, which has other sources of wealth because of the value of rare items contained in the mansion, which can be insured for huge bundles of cash. And Blair, who also has multiple sources of income all over the planet, in towns where Capitalistic systems still rule, allowing Blair to keep the majority of the profits for himself.

Actually, this means Blair stands to make a killing by moving his business in Suburbia to Halloween, after which he and Perry will no longer be comparable in wealth. Blair will be instantly far more wealthy than Perry. Though any employees from Suburbia that migrate to Halloween to keep their jobs will surely lament opting into the waged slave business model, which will not only deny them bonuses for extra effort to sustain the company, but because Blair, being The Wazzir of the town, will have the power to tax the hell out of them and leave them working for practically nothing.

Well, it should be noted that just because he'll have that power doesn't necessarily mean he'll use it, or that if he does use it he'll use it unreasonably. As we'll see in coming episodes, Blair does actually care about the well being of his employees. So he will most likely see that they have health insurance and such. But then, the best hospitals will still be in Suburbia, and how good will Halloween money be in Suburbia? For that matter, how good is Camelodian money in Suburbia, being as Suburbia pretty much has the only money on the planet backed by something of actual value?

We already know from proposed scenarios for future episodes that the money of Oz Town is all but worthless, due to excessive exploitation. While Webberton, the main totalitarian town, seems to have one of the more affluent economies. This quite possibly has something to do with the prevalence of full slave labor there. Though its probably also likely that taxes are around 50% to subsidize education, healthcare, the military and various other things.

Actually, Webberton probably rates second only to Suburbia in the quality of its hospitals, which is great if you happen to be a feline. Not so good for mice and rabbits. This literal Fat Cat society that only needs to serve one elevated segment of the population would have its overall costs dramatically cut.

Also we know that Chris Corners doesn't use money at all. They have a system of trading good will, which Miyan considers to be an abomination. This leads me to think that Miyan and other corrupt or semi corrupt business people across the planet are Capitalists, seeking to get a Capitalistic system installed world wide so that fat cats can get really, really fat. This would be the “Illuminati Corporation” Miyan keeps referring to.

These are the ideas I'm currently working on with respect to economics of the planet Cygnus. As usual, any comments or suggestions are welcome. It's not like I really know thing one about economics.
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Defining The Omman Lords And Working With Evil Child Characters [Oct. 28th, 2015|12:19 am]
Spectral Shadows Brain Stormers

A conversation between Niko Linni and myself on Facebook that I'm putting here for future reference and further discussion.

Niko Linni:
I don't even know how many omman lords there are, really

I know there's The Dream Weaver, Lord Death, Dion-Ra, and Sir Jon.

Perri Prinz:
In the earlier episodes there are 7 Omman Lords. In the current arc there's Jon, Death, Dion-Ra and St. James. Only 2 of those were Omman Lords.

Niko Linni:
Hm. Well perhaps in my story Ra created The Realm of Fantasy as a place for 1)The After Life and 2)For dreams. Possibly also as a sort of also in between world for the other Gods.

Given that there's at least 3 other creator gods in this story, having seven Omman Lords to run things probably isn't necessary. We could probably just get away with having Lord Death/Life, and probably The Dream Weaver.

Also I know Jon is the Lord of Time, but what's St. James?

Perri Prinz:
The original 7: Dreams, Death, Nature, Time, Fate, War.

Niko Linni:
That's 6.

Perri Prinz:

Niko Linni:

You know what I just got an idea.

What if we still have these 7 Omman Lords, but instead of them being under Ra they're spread out amongst the other Gods.

Though again, I only have three of them planned out: There's Ra, Cahaya, and Ommoyari. Cahaya is more positive/good/light oriented, and Omoyari is love/harmony oriented. Niko is actually a subscriber to a lot of Omoyari's philosophies.

Perri Prinz:
As apposed to the traditional incarnations of immortality that generally extend from mythology, the 7 Omman Lords are drawn from the elements of literature. They represent the elements that are necessary for writing a good story. Dreams represent imagination, Death is important because truly immortal characters are boring and pretentious, Nature represents the science that the story must adhere to, Time is necessary because a story can not pass without a timeline, Fate is necessary because the characters must be expected to achieve some destiny, War represents conflict without which there is no story, but above all Continuity is necessary to see that all the other elements work together.

Niko Linni:
Huh. I didn't even see it like that.

Perri Prinz:
Thus, in the real world, The Omman Lords correspond to the writing team that should be assisting Ra in writing The Chronicles. As in the beginning I assumed one day I would have such a team. But, that unfortunately never came to pass.

Jon knows something of this. He knows that The Omman Lords don't exist in Ra's real world. Jon knows Ra is trying to do it all himself because no one will help, which consequently suggests Ra is doomed to failure.

Niko Linni:

This has got me thinking. You had this idea where this bloke named Ignacio was a god who created other gods. Now...why on earth would he make different gods?

Perri Prinz:
Actually, the fact that Jon, Sonny, Lord Death, Dion-Ra, St. James, Christine and Perry are continuing on after Ra's death suggests that there was someone else in Ra's world that helped Ra, and they are somehow striving to keep Ra's world going, though this would not be seen at all in the story. Lord Death might be REC, Dion-Ra might be TK. And Jeremy is of course you. While Christine might be played by someone in Second Life whom I will someday give the avatar to. Behind the scenes where no one in the story can see, these people might be doing all they're capable of to keep Ra's world from dying. But none of them possess the power Ra had to hold everything about his universe in his head. Therefore they are looking to find a new Ra. Perhaps they have their hopes pinned on you to develop into someone who can take on that job, but you're fighting them every step of the way.

Geez, the behind the scenes stuff is worthy of a novel in itself.

Niko Linni:
Yeah. Goodness gracious

Perri Prinz:
Well, there actually is a serial planned where all this behind the scenes stuff could be explored.

Assuming I ever get that far.

Niko Linni:
I don't think I'm going to explain the behind the scenes stuff. Maybe. I could hint at it.

Actually I had the idea where Niko *knows* he's "His Vessel" as he calls it. Basically a character I use to help influence the characters into my ways. Or something.

Perri Prinz:
St. James is the same as Jon. He was Jon's squire at one point, eventually achieved knighthood and eventually a captaincy. So basically you have two former Omman Lords, 2 Time Captains, and two other characters that are Aslander graduates of the healing arts, given that Perry is actually an incarnation of Rael through which Rael's power is accessible in certain situations. And if you want to include Sonny, that's a 7th influential figure from earlier in the series.

Niko Linni:
So he's not really an omman lord?

Perri Prinz:
Nope. Never has been. Neither has Jon or Rael. They're all characters that have been in direct service to The Omman Lords, but they're characters. They don't represent anyone in the real world that I know of at this time.

Niko Linni:
Oh. I see then.

So there's something I'm wondering for the end of Haunted Suite. And that's what's to happen to Laseri. He gets spared by Tamagi after he helps show the kid that there's more to life than the poison that others have fed him, and Tamagi offers to be his friend which he accepts. Even as some of the others think he should be "dealt with" Tamagi feels that isn't right. He's just a victim of other peoples' lies and manipulations.

Still, I'm wondering if it's fine to just let him go. I mean he ends up being taken in by either Jon or Puppetshow (he's a kid after all) but I'm wondering if it should also be shown him facing some kind of pay back or punishment.

Perri Prinz:
It's not a matter of punishment. His punishment is his own self deprecation for being forced to do things he doesn't approve of. And this will only get worse as he matures. So, especially someone who's old and experienced like Jon won't be thinking in terms of punishment. There will, however, be considerable question of what danger this person represents if they are not capable of coming over to the good side in the end. If he has catastrophic potential, there may be discussion to the effect that they have a responsibility to destroy him. And, if they decide to take a chance on him becoming a good guy, who is going to take on the responsibility of making sure he does go with the good side, which also carries the responsibility of terminating him if he doesn't.

Niko Linni:
Tamagi would probably be the one. Or Niko.

Would Jon really be fine with killing a child though?

Perri Prinz:
Yes. Jon is old and experienced. He knows when to temper his compassion with realism and responsibility. He has, in fact, had to terminate many children in the service of The Omman Lords, having to hash out this personal dilemma each time. Perhaps he has even disobeyed orders and allowed a child to live that he shouldn't have, and the dire repercussions have been added to his ageless list of regrets.

Niko Linni:
yikes D:

Perri Prinz:
In regard to heroes terminating children, this is part of the Spectral Shadows philosophy that does not adhere to the standard ethics most have become accustomed to. Generally it's considered taboo to let a child be killed, especially by the good guys. But in Spectral Shadows that morality is set aside, and children are made responsible for their future actions as adults. Thus, The Omman Lords can and do dictate the death of children in this series. And usually it is a big deal in the story whenever this happens that always sets the main characters into questioning the righteousness of what they're doing and if they really want to continue.

Niko Linni:
I see. Yeah, I don't really think any of my characters could really do something like that.

I know Niko and Tamagi would be too driven by "He's just a kid, we can change him" to actually do anything. Unless the kid is outright psychotic like The Fallen Child from undertale

they're the soul of a child that came into the underground before you did. They love killing things and possess you if you go on a Genocide Run.

And they'll only let you start over after you sell your soul to them, which perminately marks your save file (unless you manually delete it)

Perri Prinz:
Well, you saw how Lukas was in Lappina's dream. His own mother was driven to kill him. It wouldn't have been so if she'd have seen any way he could have been changed.

Niko Linni:
I have a feeling Lukas and the Fallen Child would've got along swimmingly.

That is if they wouldn't be trying to kill each other.

I'm not sure I could go through with a killer child scenario.

Well, I did have a child killed already if I go through with the Laseri plot, as he is murdered prior to the beginning of the story.

Perri Prinz:
Well, I make a point of having villainous children in my story because the philosophy I started out with was very pro-child, as if every child was innocent and possessed some kind of admirable magic. Now that I'm older I've seen the folly of that philosophy. All children aren't nice. Some are bullies, others are would-be dictators, or mass murderers in the making. Particularly in scenarios that reflect how our society treats children, it's irresponsible of an author to treat all children like little angels. It's important to deal with kids who are psychologically damaged beyond all repair, or are just bad to the bone from birth.

Niko Linni:
That's kinda something I'd like to be able to show with Laseri. He's not bad from birth...it's just the extreme of a child who was around nothing but toxic and poison his whole life. Then he gets murdered and Luscious does nothing more than further these attitudes.

Perri Prinz:
Well, in that scenario you would get a negative reaction when someone shows him kindness. He would think, "What kind of weak fool is this?" And it would be a long arduous process getting him to a point where he could see compassion for others as a strength.

Niko Linni:
Yeah you'd probably have to have Tamagi or someone trying to reach out to them everytime they meet. Granted, he is an antagoinst in Part 3 (though he's in his marionette form), and a major antagonist in Part 4 and 5.

So there'd be opportunities for someone to at least start to try to get through to him.

Would spell singing work on someone like that, too?

Perri Prinz:
Spell singing can't be used to change people. Spell singing is good for general magic, but psychological stuff is far afield from magic.

You could use the begrudging debt device, whereby one of your characters shames him or does him some kindness. Then he begrudgingly feels he owes them his life, and so he will spare their lives one time later on and say, "This makes us even. Next time I'll be sure to kill you." But to his aggravation, your characters keep pulling his butt out of the fire. So he keeps feeling in debt to them. Meanwhile, they inundate him with their sappy ideology of niceness, fairness, compassion and innocence. That kind of talk makes him ill, because he doesn't believe in such things, but gradually he sees your characters are more powerful than himself because of their compassion, and this confuses him no end.

But still this will not turn him. He must first come into a scenario that inspires him to feel compassion for someone or some thing. Someone must look up to him as a hero, and he must feel a need to provide an example similar to your characters. And eventually he has a Grinch moment where, in a desperate struggle to save those who have inspired his compassion, he feels his heart grows 5 sizes bigger.

Niko Linni:
Hmmm...looks like I'll have some thinking to do. Especially when it comes to the Realm of Fantasy part of the story.

Perri Prinz:
You might want to look back at Rayearth. Ascot is a good example of a child character raised to be bad who gets redeemed.

Niko Linni:
Yeah but his scenario is different from the one you outlined to me. His whole thing was using his monsters to hurt others, even as he considered his monsters his friends. Or something along those lines.

Perri Prinz:
Actually, Ascot was raised to worship money and serve the evil overlord character because it's profitable. That's the extent of his moral training - very much like the distorted values children learn from our society. But, he is used to being bullied, ignored and treated as if he's insignificant, resulting in a secluded lifestyle and resentment towards the world. Again, that's relative to how things go in the real world.

So he seeks friendship outside of the norm, in his case with monsters, but in the real world it might be some clique, cult or fandom on the internet, resulting in an even more distorted view of reality. This results in him seeing monsters as more valuable than humans. He thinks humans only care about money and power. He's not aware that some humans have friendships like he has with his monsters.

This fuels his view that human life is disposable, and his indignity when humans kill his monsters. It's only because the knights are compassionate to him that he begins to develop another view of life and is eventually redeemed.

Niko Linni:
Right, right.

Perri Prinz:
That's the thing about writing for child characters, or any type of unusual character for that matter. You have to get in their head and determine how they think, what have their experiences and upbringing done to their perspectives. You can't write your characters effectively until you know them inside out.
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New Scenario I Need Help With [Sep. 25th, 2015|12:03 pm]
Spectral Shadows Brain Stormers

Dear Spectral Shadows Brain Stormers,

Here is the situation I'm confronted with. Jasper and Miyan have professed their love for each other, this being in violation of Jasper's pact with The Shadow Armor. Jasper is then swallowed into the hellish dimension of The Shadow Armor, presumably to be tortured for all eternity and feed The Shadow Armor with his anguish.

Miyan, unwilling to lose Jasper after just realizing that she can't live without him, jumps into the dimensional portal after him and is swallowed as well.

What happens next? I have no idea.

This situation is potentially a whole serial in itself, but I'm pretty much facing it from scratch without any idea what Miyan will have to face or what she'll have to do to get Jasper out of there. But I do kind of want to make this a “Helpless damsel has to rescue the hero” thing.

Yes, Miyan is a big bad business kitty that no one wants to mess with in the material world of finance, but when it comes to spiritual awareness or latent spiritual powers, Miyan has nothing going in that department. So she'll pretty much be doing this by the power of her heart alone, and having a heart is a totally new concept for Miyan. She doesn't even really know what a heart is.

All characters who might conceivably have the power to enter The Shadow Dimension and help Miyan are far away, busy in other story arcs. Christine and Kacey are busy in the Oz scenario. Perry is on his honeymoon with Lappina. The only one who might conceivably get involved is Lord Death, since both Jasper and Miyan are in a state of living death, and he might be trying to collect their souls. But Lord Death has never been seen to take any kind of action previously in the series. It is doubtful he could do any more for Miyan than offer advice.

My only idea is that this will be something like the last episode of Video Girl Ai, having Miyan find herself in various dream situations that offer her alternate states of happiness if she will forget about Jasper, each scene falling apart as Miyan refuses to be tempted to give him up and then dissolving into the next situation.

So I need ideas. What kinds of hell can we put Miyan through? What temptations can we throw at her? And, most importantly, what final obstacle must she overcome to rescue Jasper, and how will they force The Shadow Armor to let them go back to the real world?

Or, will Miyan fail, and force these two characters to be written out of the series?

That can be done in a soap series like this one. We could just say the actors playing the characters had to quit for some reason, forcing their characters to have to be quickly killed off. But that's kind of a cop out.

Also, as this is a kind of a story type feminists insist never happens, where the girl has to prove capable enough to rescue the guy, it would make a serious statement on that issue if Miyan were to fail.

Anyway, I need ideas I can build on for things that might happen in this arc. Don't be afraid to get graphic or NSFW. This is a “dragged down to hell” scenario. It doesn't have to be pretty.
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Brainstorming Session On Second Life: Farm Story [May. 10th, 2015|10:19 pm]
Spectral Shadows Brain Stormers

Perri Prinz: Been working on putting the Oz story together. Rick now has a daughter named Hollyann, a pink bunny twin to Lappina who talks like Applejack.

RECoyote Mindes: I thought the older two were the twins?

Perri Prinz: Well, not identical, but close enough that folks ask if they're related.

RECoyote Mindes: the first two kids were twins, a boy and a girl. Then Lappi was born and the wife ran off with her.

Perri Prinz: Yep, Holly is the older girl who was supposed to have left Oz when Rick did. But Rick didn't know she went back when she couldn't find work in other towns. So she ended up running the farm for the witch who foreclosed on it.

Perri Prinz: You want to see what I scribbled for it?

RECoyote Mindes: sure.

RECoyote Mindes received your notecard “Farm Story Sketch.”

RECoyote Mindes: hi.

Niko Linni: Hello.

Perri Prinz: Howdy.

Niko Linni received your notecard “Farm Story Sketch.”

Farm Story Sketch

     Christine, Kacey and the three AD detectives from Noir (Spike, Gene & Richie) leave Chris Corners in search of the silver star. Their search takes them first to Oz Town. As they are passing through a farm belt around the outside of Oz, their car runs out of power from being cut off from the sun in No Furs Land too long. So they get out and start looking for a farmer with recharging equipment.
     As they search the farm, Christine gets the ever increasing impression that it is not prosperous, which the detectives don’t understand as there are crops growing in the fields. Christine corrects them. There are crops rotting in the fields on fatally withered stalks.
     Upon finding the main driveway they discover a foreclosure notice stating that this farm is now the property of The Witch Of The West. Christine thinks it ill advised to be calling on The Witch Of The West first thing, but the detectives remind her it’s either that or stand around the car all day waiting for the battery to recharge. And, seeing that the detectives have no fear of witches, Christine defers to their advice.
     When they come to the farmhouse, Gene notes that Halloween Town looks rich compared to this place. Kacey says she has heard on the internet that the witches control the economy of Oz. This is justified by a peculiar and controversial interpretation of the sacred text of Oz Town which says there is hidden symbolism in the Oz books that alludes to problems with the elder race economy at the time of their writing.
     Christine is baffled by this. She has never heard of any such imagery or interpretation. She has always thought of the Oz books as nothing more than innocent children’s fare.
     Kacey, having also read the books, wonders how anything so horrifying could be considered children’s fare. She adds that she sometimes shudders at the things she’s told were regularly done to children in Christine’s time. She, herself, has been prone to think of the Oz books as a fire and brimstone allegory, comparing it to Animal Farm.
     Christine asks if there is a town on Cygnus that was based on Animal Farm. Kacey believes the closest thing to that would have been Ashbury. Ashbury might not have been patterned after Animal Farm, but it seems to have failed due to ignoring the warnings in Animal Farm. And most people on the internet suggest that Oz is failing due to ignoring the warnings of its own sacred text.
     A pink rabbit suddenly makes her presence known by saying, in a country accent, “That sounds about right.”
     In surprise, Kacey gasps “Clover,” as this pink rabbit looks a lot like Lappina in all but her accent and state of non-pregnancy.
     “There ain’t been no one here by that name since I was knee high to a cabbage plant,” says the rabbit. “I’m Hollyann Edwards. I run this place for the witch.”
     Christine asks if she was the original owner before the witch foreclosed. The rabbit explains that it was her father’s farm, but after the foreclosure her father had wandered off to see the world. She had left too for a while, but it turned out the best job she could get was running the old homestead for the witch. She’d planned only to do it for as long as it took to save up passage to some other town, but the way things are set up in Oz, the more you make, the more you owe.
     She further explains that what she earns is just barely enough to pay for the food she eats, which even though she grows it belongs to the witch. Also, all the money in Oz is owned by the witches, and she has to pay for the right to use it.
     “Income tax,” Christine translates, her rebellious spirit showing its indignation.
     “Whatever you want to call it,” says Hollyann. “Don’t make no matter what we do in these parts, we still end up in debt up to our eyeballs. By the way, if y’all’s here to steal anything it’ll be added to my debt, which I ain’t ever gonna pay anyway, so be my guest.”
     They tell her all they need is a battery charger. Holly says she has a battery charger, but it’s copyrighted and patented to the witch. So, even though she purchased it with her own borrowed money, she still owes the witch a licensing fee every time she uses it.
     “Good Goddess,” Christine exclaims. “How deep in the hole are you?”
     “Sugar, the last time I looked at my credit report I owed more zeros than I could count,” says Holly. “And please don’t make no jokes about rabbits bein’ good at diggin’ holes. It ain’t funny no more.”
     “Beats the heck outta me how anyone profits by lettin’ somebody get so into debt they can’t never pay it off,” says Gene.
     “It seems pretty obvious to me,” says Spike. “The witch not only owns the farm, she owns the farmer too.”
     “I say, free labor,” Richie interjects. “How quaint.”
     “Why don’t you just leave?” asks Kacey.
     “And skip out on a debt?” says Holly. “That’s one thing my dad drilled into me. A fur has to have honor, and there ain’t no honor in skippin’ out on a debt.”
     “You could always come to Suburbia,” said Christine. “I hear their brothel is used for paying off debts. I know it’s just another form of slavery, but at least you get to keep the money.”
     “You been hidin’ under a rock somewhere, sugarcakes?” says Holly, looking at Christine like she’s loopy. “Suburbian money ain’t no good in Oz.”
     “That’s right,” Spike recalls. “The last time we passed through here there were no money pads to press our thumbs to. All transactions have to be paid for in local coins. So computerized money is worthless here.”
     “Must be murder on the tourist trade,” says Gene.
     “Tourists?” asks Holly. “Oz don’t get no tourists. The witch’s don’t like outsiders. Ain’t no law says you can’t come in, but once you’ve been here long enough to get in debt good luck getting’ out again. If y’all was smart you’d turn that car of yours around and beat it on back to where you came from.”
     Spike says they can’t leave until their business in Oz is finished.
     Holly invites them into the house for coffee. She doesn’t have much, but her folks taught her to be hospitable. Christine encourages the others to take Holly up on her offer, as she wants to call Sir Jon to consult before she goes any farther.
     Christine calls Sir Jon on her cell phone while the others sit in Holly’s kitchen chatting. Sir Jon tells her that Oz is not a nice place to visit and no one in their right mind wants to live there. He would prefer that she not place herself in danger by running off to such troublesome places.
     Christine regrets that she has no choice but to follow the silver star into Oz, and she asks him about the money situation.
     Sir Jon says this is not a problem. Technically the witches are the bankers of Oz, with The Wizard representing a puppet government at the mercy of how the witches manipulate the town’s money situation. They horde technology from the people of Oz and try to keep them in ignorance of science, but they require science to give the illusion that they have magical powers. Because of this, there is a whole roomful of worthless Oz coinage at the Rhoades Mansion that has been used to pay for Perry’s technology. Sir Jon will have Perry send a few sacksful to the coordinates of Christine’s phone. So she should just sit tight for a while – Oz being only a couple hours’ drive from Suburbia.
     Before hanging up, Sir Jon cryptically warns Christine to beware of water in Oz. Christine is puzzled for a moment. Then she laughs and asks if that trick is supposed to work on good witches too. But Sir Jon is not amused and reminds Christine that Oz is a closed environment with a totally different sphere of reality from Suburbia. What’s written in the sacred text is what the people of Oz Town tend to believe, and to be safe Christine must always be mindful of this. Sir Jon reiterates his wish that Christine would not go there at all.
     Christine says there’s no way she wouldn’t want to visit the wonderful land of Oz sometime. So she might as well get it over with. But again Sir Jon is not moved from his seriousness, reminding Christine that she has read the Oz books, and asking her what part of that land of nightmares she thinks is wonderful. Christine admits she takes his point and will be careful.
     As Christine closes her cell phone, she takes a look around Holly’s living room, as something is nagging her about this situation. Over the fireplace she sees the picture of a young coyote with two small bunny children, the farm buildings in the background seeming in much better shape than they are now. This, she assumes, must be the dad Holly referred to.
     There is nothing that directly connects the furs in the picture with anyone Christine knows, but still . . .
     Christine joins the others in the kitchen and says they have to wait there until Perry’s messenger arrives with Oz currency on which the license has already been paid. Therefore they will be able to spend it without issue.
     While they wait, Gene talks to Holly about the sorry state of the crops. Holly explains that there is a water rights problem. The irrigation water for West Oz flows from North Oz. The Witch Of The North considers the water her asset and has literally frozen it. Actually, she uses it in a weather machine that keeps North Oz perpetually covered in snow.
     No one knows her exact reasoning for this, other than being petty. But rumor has it that The Witch Of The North has some aversion to Solstice, and she believes by holding back Spring she can prevent St. James from distributing gifts in her region that she gets no licensing fees for.
     “And you Ozians put up with this lunatic rule?” Christine exclaims. “Why don’t you gang up on these witches and depose them?”
     “Why?” Holly shrugs. “We gotta go by the book. No witches, no Oz. Any witch we take down will just be replaced by another one, just as bad or worse.”
     “I take it The Wizard has the power to dissolve the town,” says Christine. “Why don’t the citizens petition for failure?”
     “We even start talkin’ about that and the witches start callin’ in their debts,” says Holly. “We can’t even fail the town before our debts are paid. Not that anyone wants to fail Oz. It’s still our home, ya know.”
     A few hours later, a loud horn calls Christine and the detectives outside, and they see Chico (the giant talking truck) driving up to the farmhouse, having difficulty navigating the driveway, which is only one lane wide while Chico is 2 lanes wide. But Rick is deliberately driving Chico in such a way that all obstructions to the side of the driveway are crushed flat, creating a 2 lane driveway for Chico’s exit.
     Christine is surprised that Perry would send Rick on an errand like this, but then she figures Chico would be safer for transporting money than any armored car, assuming anyone in Suburbia has armored cars, given that they only use electronic money.
     Rick gets out of the cab and looks around before approaching the others. He does not seem pleased with what he sees.
     Christine greets him as a friend, but Rick is not at ease around the detectives. She observes this more and more as Rick opens up Chico’s back doors and shows them a huge stack of sacks, filled with Oz currency.
     Rick relays Perry’s instructions that they should take with them just what they can conceal in their pockets. Rick is to stay at the farm and mind the rest of it so they can come back to get more as needed.
     Spike reacts with indignation at being given orders on an AD case. Rick shrugs and says he’s just doing his job. He delivered the message. He couldn’t care less if the detectives ignore it. Where upon Rick tosses one of the heavy sacks at Gene, and Gene is nearly knocked off his feet by the impact of the weight.
     Angry words are exchanged until Christine butts in and demands to know what all this animosity is about. Rick apologizes to Christine, explaining he can’t help feeling irritable seeing his old farm in this condition.
     Christine’s jaw drops in shock, and she clarifies that this is the farm he told her about on the way back from their adventure with The Lost Ferals.
     Rick confirms this, and further explains that the only thing more irritating than revisiting the place where he worked his youth away in debt slavery to a witch is finding the AD detectives on it, who take a ridiculous amount of his income for insurance and act like they own him. It makes him feel like his situation hasn’t improved all that much.
     Spike coldly reminds Rick that any time he doesn’t like being owned by the AD he’s free to take the AD sticker off his truck. He then goes on to suggest that Rick owes them something for use of The AD’s reputation.
     This infuriates Rick who abruptly leaps at Spike, grabbing him by his trench coat, pulling him up to his face and shouting, “I don’t owe you nothin’.” Then he unceremoniously tosses Spike to the ground at his partners’ feet.
     “Wolves really don’t get along with coyotes,” Christine remarks, in bemusement.
     “Spike, you sure’nuff gonna take that?” asks Gene, seeming unsure of how to react to this situation.
     “Hell no,” says Spike, indignantly picking himself up off the ground and dusting off his trench coat. “If Edwards wants a lesson in manners then schools in session.”
     Seeing that Rick is not backing down, and that Spike’s companions are not about to argue with their leader, Christine steps forward and slaps Spike across the face so hard he nearly falls over backwards.
     “What the hell . . . ?” Spike says to Christine with a shocked expression.
     “Like you said,” Christine replies. “School’s in session. And your manners are way off.”
     “Explain,” says Spike, fuming with indignation.
     “First off,” Christine begins, “Rick is right. He owes you nothing. He pays you compensation for the use of your reputation, and does jobs for you on the side that you apparently show no gratitude for. You do not own this fur. None of us own him. You should treat him with respect and gratitude for the extra stuff he does.”
     Gene and Richie look petulant, not wanting to go up against Christine when she’s right. But Spike is not swayed.
     “This is bad for the reputation of our company,” says Spike. “I can’t be seen being tossed around without somebody suffering for it. And don’t think I won’t hit you back, either.”
     “Throw all the punches you want at me,” says Christine, “if that’s the best way you know how to make a point, but you can’t throw punches at Rick without throwing them at yourself and the reputation of your organization.”
     “How do you figure that?” Spike growls.
     “He’s your client,” Christine admonishes him. “He pays you for protection. You have to go after anyone who does him harm. So if you attack him you have to go after yourself.”
     “He’s the one who attacked,” Spike reminds her.
     “No, you attacked first,” Christine insists. “You attacked his freedom with your words.”
     “So why doesn’t he defend his freedom with words?” Spike demands.
     “Because he’s not as articulate as you,” says Christine. “He can’t put what he knows into impressive speeches, but he knows his rights, and he knows you don’t respect them.”
     “Right,” Spike spits, unimpressed. “He has to hide behind a female to do his talking for him.”
     “Is that what this is all about?” asks Christine, in disbelief. “You dislike Rick because he’s soft spoken? Is he not liberated enough for you?”
     “A male who needs a female to talk for him isn’t liberated at all,” says Spike, distastefully.
     “He doesn’t need me to talk for him,” says Christine. “He said you don’t own him and threw you to the ground for emphasis. His point was very clear. You just weren’t listening. You only had ears for your stupid male pride, and your testosterone overload.”
     Rick marches around to the side of the truck and pulls the AD sticker off the driver’s side door. Then he marches back and throws it in Spike’s face, folding his arms as if to say this should make his meaning clear. But of course it doesn’t.
     “See here, Edwards,” says Richie, “you won’t last 10 minutes in No Furs Land without that sticker. We’re all the law and order you have out there.”
     Rick wants to make Richie understand, but doesn’t have the words. So he looks hopefully at Christine.
     “Law and order that you have to live in fear of is no law and order at all,” Christine translates. “Rick Edwards is every bit the liberated male. He will not be enslaved by anyone – not even the male liberation movement and its cockeyed definitions of what a liberated male should be.”
     “I ain’t likin’ this, Spike,” says Gene, picking up the sticker. “Edwards here done been to the wall for us a lotta times, but you ain’t never cut him no slack for it. This here sticker is my reputation as much as it is yours, and I ain’t lettin’ a client go out in No Furs Land without him thinkin’ I got his back.”
     Gene then hands the sticker to Rick and says, “You put this sticker back on your truck, son. And don’t you worry about no more payments. You’re paid into The AD for life.”
     Rick accepts the sticker, giving Gene a nod to indicate they have an understanding. Then Rick reapplies the sticker to the truck.
     “Still sulking, Spike?” asks Christine. “We can go a couple of rounds if it’ll make you feel better.”
     “That won’t be necessary,” says Spike. “Fighting to defend myself when I’m wrong is stupid.”
     “You have restored yourself in my esteem, “says Christine, with an affectionate smile. “Why don’t we all go back in the house and have some more coffee? We can make plans and enjoy being friends again.”
     “Capital idea,” says Richie.
     “Suits me fine,” Gene agrees.
     “Lead on,” says Spike, as if content to let Christine think she’s the boss of his organization for the time being.
     Rick joins them and they go back into the kitchen where Kacey is still sipping coffee with Holly.
     Rick is obviously dumbfounded when he sees Holly, asking what she’s doing there when he thought he had freed her from Oz years before.
     Holly then explains that she had wondered around a bit, but had never learned anything that made her suited for any other kind of work. So she had accepted the job of running the farm for the witch.
     This upsets Rick so much he starts to punch the wall, but Holly reminds him, “That ain’t your wall to punch no more.”
     Christine shows Rick the picture of his younger self and the two children, asking after the second rabbit child. Rick explains that the other rabbit child was lost to him when his wife looted the farm fund and ran off to parts unknown. He has not seen or heard from his wife or the child since.
     Christine notes Holly’s resemblance to Lappina and wonders if it’s possible Lappina might be that child, as she recalls Lappina saying something about early memories of living on a farm at Miyan’s trial.
     Rick confesses he never made a connection. Pink bunny people tend to always remind him of his wife and child, and he has long broken the habit of expecting every pink bunny girl he meets to be related to him.
     Rick further explains he has not spent much time with Lappina. She is a princess to be and obviously looks down on him. It would be somewhat awkward for him if one of his daughters grew up to be a princess.
     Holly points out that her younger sister was named Clover, and that Lappina used to be their family name while their mother was the head of the family. (The female last name is usually shared in a Cygnesian marriage, except in cases where the male is liberated or the male name has more prestige attached to it). It was only after his wife deserted the family that Rick reassumed his original last name, as did the two children that remained with Rick.
     But Rick say Christine shouldn’t take any of this too seriously, as Clover Lappina is one of the most common female rabbit names. Going through the intertownal phone directory it would take hours to locate any particular Clover Lappina, because there are so many of them.
     Christine still insists that the next time Rick comes to The Rhoades Mansion she wants to do a DNA test to make sure. Rick will not fight her on this, but he does not see why it’s important. He did not get to be a father to his child while he was needed. If she is the princess to be, having him for a father would only drag down her happiness. He wishes Christine would leave it alone.
     But Christine reveals she isn’t thinking of Clover’s welfare as much as Holly’s. If Holly really is the sister of the soon to be Princess Of Suburbia, she’s due a much better existence than she has now.
     Holly reacts with disbelief that she could be a member of a ruling family. She claims she wouldn’t know what to do with wealth and power after a lifetime of debt slavery. Rick also seems to think ill of the idea. He doesn’t want the complications to his life of Lappina being his daughter.

     Once the car is fully charged, Christine, Kacey and the detectives continue on their way, leaving Rick and Holly to get reacquainted.
     Christine takes out the crystal ball Mr. Stopheles had given her, which she has set to track the course of the silver star, which indicates it was taken into West Oz.

Niko Linni: Sounds interesting.

Perri Prinz: ^_^

Niko Linni: I see you found use for Holly too.

Perri Prinz: Yep.

Niko Linni: I still haven't found a space for Hollyann [in my story.] Then again I've not been doing much planning for her. So now we've got a farm plot, and a haunted park plot.

Perri Prinz: There are a number of plots within the Oz section.

Niko Linni: I'd imagine.

Perri Prinz: I'm just trying to scribble them together at the moment. Not easy to keep track of so many ideas.

RECoyote Mindes: You could have the twins as the first kids and Clover as unborn when her mother left. Holly would know that her mother was planning to name the new child Clover. It’s not gonna be long before the witch shows up. A strange car is one thing but Chico showing up at his old place, at Rick's old place. The witch will want to try and claim the truck and cargo as hers. She will have some made up old debts he hadn't paid. Chico can hit her is a low powered laser first then zap her with the close in deffence system. Then Christine can show her real magic, maybe melt her wand with the laser

Perri Prinz: I was thinking Chico might load the coins into some kind of machine gun and pelt the witch with them.

RECoyote Mindes: They’re sitting on the back of the trailer. She would have a fit seeing that much
Perri Prinz: Well, maybe Holly might load them.

RECoyote Mindes: Holly grabs hands full and throws them at her
Perri Prinz: Yeah, I have to figure out some way to get the witch liquidated. It has to have something to do with Christine providing a different currency for the Ozians that the witches can't control. Very difficult concept for me.

RECoyote Mindes: Remember though the deck of the trailer is about 8ft off the ground. She has to go up the ramp to get to them.

Niko Linni: What if she got them onto common Cygnesian currency?

Perri Prinz: Difficult to get Oz on electronic money because the people don't have technology. Hmmmm, maybe Christine could do the Flight Of Dragons speech.

RECoyote Mindes: Cool. I want to see that again

Perri Prinz: That would be so in line with the theme of the series if Christine caused the witch to dissolve by making the people disbelieve in the witches magic and switched their belief to science.

RECoyote Mindes: The witches already believe in science
Perri Prinz: Yes, but it's from the belief of the people that the witches derive their true power.

Niko Linni: So the people disbelieve them, no magic?

RECoyote Mindes: That would only depose them not kill them. Christine is the one that can use the belief in magic.

Perri Prinz: It would if Christine could inspire a crushing disbelief on the part of the people. Christine has no real magic. She knows an alien science that most people look on as magic, because it's so far beyond them. If Christine can give that greater science to the people, the witches will be at their mercy.

RECoyote Mindes: You know water guns and water balloons would be illegal in Oz.
Perri Prinz: Hmmm, maybe that's why the witch of the north froze the water supply. Some fear of water.

RECoyote Mindes: The whole town believes that water melts witches. It’s common belief. So it can happen.

Perri Prinz: But you can't have farms without water.

RECoyote Mindes: Thus the water rights fights.

Perri Prinz: True, but I'd think that would have been tried by now. [Dumping water on witches]

RECoyote Mindes: It has and worked. It’s why water is so regulated. Only witches’ henchmen have water guns to use on invading witches.

Perri Prinz: But I would need a scientific reason for the witches to melt when touched by water. There is the belief of the people in a closed environment. That might do it. But I'd rather have it be because of some technology they use to project illusions that short circuits and gets intensely hot when wet. Like throwing water on a computer.

RECoyote Mindes: One, every in Oz believes it. Its required by the religion. It might be the only instants of true magic on Cygnus. Generally Witches hide in their castles. Only something like the AD and Rick and Chico showing up would one be out.

Perri Prinz: Interesting thought. Christine might put the Oz religion to the test. She might threaten to throw water on the witch. But the witch would laugh, because the witches are the only people in Oz who think the books are a lot of nonsense. Then the witch would be in shock to find herself actually melting because they convinced the people to believe so strongly in the books that fantasy became science.

RECoyote Mindes: Yeah. Or Rick could have a fire cannon on Chico just in case he needed to fight a witch. The BIG water cannons on top of fire trucks. The belief of the town is so strong that the witches are impervious to just about everything else. Bullets don't because of the robes from noir. [A bulletproof material used for making trench coats]

Perri Prinz: We will need to have several people warn Christine not to get wet, as the people of Oz see her as a witch.

RECoyote Mindes: True

Perri Prinz: But, can witches drink?

RECoyote Mindes: Maybe witches can drink stuff they get themselves.

Perri Prinz: Perhaps it must be pure Oz water. Coffee, tea or booze wouldn't hurt them. That's why the witch of the north froze the water. Because she knows the munchkins went to see Christine, and they don't want Christine throwing water at them, because they think they won't melt. And if they don't melt the people will lose faith in the books, which will end their power.

RECoyote Mindes: Its only when water spilled on them that they melt. In the book there only two ways to kill a witch, house, or water. I don't think Christine wants to destroy Holly’s house.

Niko Linni: Dropiing houses, spilling water, and in case you encounter starship captains: Bridges.

RECoyote Mindes: hehehe

Perri Prinz: I don't know. Rick might be eager to see the farm house destroyed. He might suggest that Christine drop it on the witch.

RECoyote Mindes: But Holly would be NNNNOOOOOOoooooooo. Though the witch would have a fright seeing Christine picking up the house. It’s hard to run away for a witch tracking House.

Perri Prinz: But Rick would be like YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSS. Because he wants Holly to be free.

Niko Linni: Sounds like Up to me. Well in a sense.

RECoyote Mindes: Christine has the magic to left the house. What fight do they have to get to this point?

Perri Prinz: Yes, she does. Just like Luke Skywalker has the power to raise his ship.

RECoyote Mindes: Ok so the start, their all inside talking when Chico coms Rick saying there’s a bunch of cars and trucks pulling up. Witch in her limo, thugs in trucks. Chico vaporizing a couple thugs with his laser keeps them back for the fight. So Rick has Chico try and spray the witch with the water cannon. The witch shields and blast the cannon? Then Christain is like, You mean water really melts witches? So does that mean Houses work too? Chico is "ow ow ow that COLD." The witch froze the water in the cannon.

Perri Prinz: I have the problem of coming up with some unusual henchfurs for the witches as well - on the order of winged monkeys or wheelers, but can't use those.

RECoyote Mindes: Gorillas. Oz has the highest population of primates. Past witches have tried to cross breed ape with birds.

Perri Prinz: Interesting.

RECoyote Mindes: You get a few with wings but not able to fly?

Perri Prinz: Ah, breeding mutants. Highly controversial.

RECoyote Mindes: Evil Witches. It’s required. Like Blair buying bodies in Noir to use for meat in Webberton.

Perri Prinz: Interesting idea. Why waste the meat when a profit can be made on it. Maybe Blair has a frozen dinner factory in Noir. But then, Rick would be carrying them to Webberton supermarkets.

RECoyote Mindes: No. Blair wouldn't trust anyone employed to Perry to haul his stuff. Blair has his own normal trucks with Butchers in them. The bodies are package before they get to Webberton. There are real butcher trucks in the US. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPR5OL9UYUc&hd=1

Perri Prinz: Rick must pass these trucks on the road.

RECoyote Mindes: Yeah, there are others out there. Just Perry thinks in [terms of] over doing it. Most trucks look like Mad Max trucks. Blair trucks are normal looking but with the hidden weapons like Perry's trucks.
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Amusement Park Of The Damned [Apr. 21st, 2015|02:34 am]
Spectral Shadows Brain Stormers


This is the first of a number of new ideas for various Spectral Shadows serials I’m planning to put up for brainstorming. These are raw first drafts of the ideas as they first come out of my head, subject to suggestion, expansion, continuity review and general comments.

This first idea is projected as an arc for Serial 12 and was inspired by nikolinni attempting to marry his Spectral Shadows fan fiction with a “Five Nights At Freddy’s” parody, coupled with the question of why I don’t consider “Five Nights At Freddy’s” to be a true work of Horror.

Basically I threw out some suggestions that Niko didn’t seem interested in using, and I was thinking those were really good ideas, and if he didn’t want to use them, I should.

So I spent the last couple of days trying to put these ideas together in the beginnings of a workable story idea, which I hope will turn out to be truly horrifying, while at the same time maintaining the Spectral Shadows tradition of being allegorically controversial. i.e. encouraging the reader to feel sympathy for something that would normally be beyond anyone’s sympathy - pulling out all the stops and pushing my genre to its limits, you might say.

Anyway, here’s my first sketch of the idea, and I look forward to any suggestions for ways it could be made more effective as a Furry Sci-Fi Horror piece.


Christine reminds the family of Lappina’s dream of setting up a New Ashbury. Perry admits he has not seen much point in pursuing the idea since Lappina’s death. He feels it would only pain him further if he were to build it, only to be reminded constantly that Lappina had not lived to see it. Christine thinks Perry’s attitude is horridly selfish. She wants to go ahead with the idea, even if Perry doesn’t.

Christine talks to the family about where New Ashbury might be located. Seeing that Christine will not be put off, Perry sighs and suggests that the site of Blair’s abandoned castle project might be good for them to take advantage of, rather than trying to clear a section of No Furs Land from scratch.

Perry calls The Sultan and asks if Halloween has any plans for the castle. The Sultan tells Perry he would be well advised to look for another location, as some strange things have been happening in that area since Blair’s departure, and he believes the castle to be cursed.

Perry can not see over the phone, but the Sultan is looking down at his diorama as he speaks, which shows not only the castle, but a ghost of the surrounding amusement park gradually fading into view.

Being a scientist, Perry does not believe in curses. He hires Joy to put together another expedition to check out the property.

Joy’s expedition finds the castle completely restored. Not only that, but the surrounding amusement park is also in the process of being restored, but there is no sign of heavy construction equipment in the area, nor any workers, save for the occasional mutants they encounter wearing what appear to be amusement park uniforms.

The mutants show no fear of the furs and offer them refreshment, referring to the furs as guests. But though the mutants seem docile and harmless, Joy and the others are creeped out by their unnaturally passive demeanor. They seem almost like robots or marionettes.

As Joy is packing up to return to Suburbia with her report, she discovers that members of her expedition have gone missing. A search of the castle finds the missing furs working in the castle with the same passive robotic demeanor as the mutants, and no amount of shaking will break their apparent daydreaming state.

One of Joy’s companions complains about a buzzing noise that several members of the expedition have already taken note of. She begins swatting around her head instinctively, and then screams in disgust that something just crawled inside her ear.

The others put a flashlight to her ear and observe a small winged insect moving down her ear canal. They attempt to extricate it, but it has soon burrowed too deep to be seen, and the fur suddenly goes into convulsions, flailing and screaming that something is inside her head.

Then, abruptly, the fur becomes still and limp. Her eyes open, revealing the same glassy stare as the mutants, and she smiles mechanically at the others, calling them guests and asking them if they want coffee.

More buzzing is heard, and Joy orders her expedition to retreat. They flee the castle, making for their vehicles, but one by one their bodies are invaded by the insects, Joy being the last, struggling to get away in her Jeep as the bug finds its way into her ear, and she crashes into a tree in her panic.

She is badly injured and dying, unconscious behind the wheel. But then her eyes open, and her broken body rises from the car with puppet like motions, and she walks back towards the amusement park, leaving a trail of blood on the road as she walks.

Some days later, Perry is highly alarmed at having lost all contact with the expedition. He calls The Sultan to ask if the expedition is in Halloween. The Sultan reports in a foreboding tone that he has heard nothing from the expedition, but he regrets that Perry did not heed his warning and keep people away from the cursed castle.

Perry demands to know what has The Sultan in such a state. The Sultan says his diorama indicates that an amusement park is materializing around the castle, identical in all respects to historical photographs of the area left by the elder race.

Perry asks who is responsible for the restoration if Blair is no longer involved. The Sultan says the diorama reveals no workers in the area. The park is simply materializing, as if there were some rift in time in the area. He fears that any furs entering the park would find themselves in the time of the elder race. And any fur confronted by the elder race would surely face a fate worse than death.

The Sultan further relays his fear that the rift will continue to spread until it engulfs Halloween. He begs refuge in Suburbia for his citizens should the rift get too close.

Perry assures The Sultan that he will do all he can should it become necessary, but Perry is skeptical of the time rift explanation, and Halloween should just sit tight while Perry investigates.

That night Rick brings Chico in for maintenance. Inside Chico carries a yellow Jeep they found wrecked on the road near Halloween. Its seats are covered with blood which Perry remorsefully identifies as belonging to Joy.

Perry and Sir Jon use the satellite image to observe the amusement park. Sir Jon suggests that if it was a time rift they would see the place filled with pure humans, and besides there is no temporal disturbance ringing Rocinantè’s alarm bells.

Perry asks for any other plausible explanation for an amusement park carving itself out of the wilderness. Sir Jon thinks Perry used an interesting choice of words. Focusing the image in on the edges of the wilderness Sir Jon observes something similar to sawdust, or insect chewings.

Perry has never seen insects. So he doesn’t know from insect chewings. Sir Jon suspects industrious termites are chewing up the wood from the jungle and reconstructing the amusement park from the wood shavings.

Perry thinks this an irrational conclusion, as there are no insects on the planet, and even if there were, how could they know what the amusement park looked like, let alone be driven to rebuild it?

Sir Jon reminds Perry that Blair had been experimenting with insect life. What if the bugs he had created to rebuild the castle had not been programmed to stop after completing it. Without Blair to tell them to stop, they could conceivably continue indefinitely, until they had restored the entirety of the continent.

Perry still fails to be alarmed. Once Blair learns of this he will surely turn the bugs off, as it can’t be in Blair’s interest to destroy the planet.

Perry seeks out Blair to consult with him about the amusement park. Blair is not happy to see him, but all the same he is surprised by Sir Jon’s theory about his bugs. They were programed to restore and maintain the castle. They have no other programming and should not be able to evolve additional programming without outside tampering. And no one but Blair would know how to do such tampering.

Blair scoffs at the notion that the bugs would continue rebuilding beyond the edges of the amusement park, which come just shy of the borders of Halloween. For whatever reason the programing of the bugs has expanded to encompass the whole park, once they have completed their area they are programmed merely to maintain. And what harm will it do to have a fully functional amusement park close enough for Halloween to annex? It will save their economy, just as he had planned.

Perry thinks that’s all well and good, but it doesn’t explain what happened to Joy’s expedition.

Blair says he couldn’t care less if Joy led another crew of inept furs into a nest of mutants or burnt them up in another jungle fire. His bugs are programed only to build. They don’t attack unless specifically ordered to.

Perry relays to Sir Jon Blair’s expectation that the restoration of the park will be a good thing for Halloween. But Sir Jon still doesn’t like it. Unless the place can be confirmed safe, he’s inclined to torch it. And he’s not about to send anyone else in after losing the first expedition.

Perry talks to The Sultan, suggesting that the park might be a good thing for Halloween, if Blair is correct in his assessment of the situation. But The Sultan insists there is great evil in the park, and he wants nothing to do with it.

He goes on to explain that Blair had been delving into some very dangerous magic which would normally not be allowed, but he had made it a condition of his assistance. The Sultan believes Blair left the park cursed by the malignant forces he was trying to master, and no good will come of it. He would much prefer it if Perry would allow Sir Jon to destroy the park.

Perry puts the subject of the park up for the people of Suburbia to vote on, but fear of the park is anything but universal, as it is commonly believed Joy’s expedition fell prey to bandits, rather than the park. Indeed, everyone seems anxious to see the park of The Master Animator restored, particularly when advertisements start appearing online that the park is about ready to open.

Perry tries to contact The Sultan to ask about the advertisements. The Sultan is unavailable. In fact, all of Halloween is mysteriously silent.

Perry is bothered and asks The AD to take up this mystery for him. The 3 detectives take a ride out to Halloween to check on their old friend, The Sultan. They find Halloween looking quite spiffy, as it had during its affluent days. Everyone they see is busy working, repairing things, but they move like puppets and display no emotions, other than friendliness towards their guests.

When they get in to see The Sultan they find him changed. He seems to have a completely altered personality, as though he has suddenly become more devious and capable of evil as Blair.

When Spike asks where is the real Sultan and what have you done to him, The Sultan explains that he has merely accustomed himself to new responsibilities. It has been many years since he has managed a wealthy town, as Halloween has suddenly become again.

The detectives find it odd that Halloween should already be so wealthy if the park hasn’t opened yet. But The Sultan explains that other towns are investing heavily to get a piece of Halloween’s good fortune. And everything must be in readiness for the grand opening.

Spike isn’t liking any of this. There seems no logical explanation for why The Sultan’s personality is so completely altered. He doubts that even drugs could cause such a complete transformation. Nor does anything account for the dopiness of the town folk. He decides Perry’s worries have foundation and decides to get a peek at the amusement park before its official opening.

They find the park looking creepier than ever. Furs stand by the rides and attractions like puppets whose strings have been dropped. That is, until the detectives are spotted. The furs then come to life, moving towards the detectives like zombies, chanting that they have guests. They must serve the guests.

They then compel the detectives to take ride after ride, attraction after attraction. They also offer them confections, which Spike thinks they shouldn’t eat. But it soon becomes apparent that the attendants will stare at them with their horrifying zombie-like expressions until they eat the cotton candy and such and say it’s good. Then they will move on to their next function.

After a completely horrific day, the detectives are allowed to exit the park, and they beat it back to Suburbia where they project their theory that the park is run by robots, and that the entire population of Halloween has been replaced by the same kind of robots, which somehow look exactly like the people they’re replacing.

But most troubling of all is The Sultan, who seems to be the only real person in the town. Yet he is not The Sultan at all.

Perry sends the detectives back to Halloween to investigate further, and if necessary, rescue The Sultan and his people from whatever misfortune has befallen them.

When the detectives return they find Blair waiting to see The Sultan. He explains that he has come to observe the effect of his invention. They ask him what he thinks so far.

Blair admits to being puzzled by the abrupt turnaround in the town. Even if he were still Wazzir, he doubts he could have rebuilt the town so fast.

Spike asks if Blair would have worked the people night and day. Blair says of course not. Even slave drivers know people have to rest, or they become ineffective as work tools. Spike then points out that the people of Halloween never stop working. They work on through the night, hardly ever even sleeping.

Blair then admits that he is disturbed. He’s as baffled by what’s going on as the detectives are. Nothing like this was part of his plans.

When Blair gets in to see The Sultan he knows instantly that this is not the same person, and the being in The Sultan’s body makes no pretense before Blair.

“Who are you?” Blair demands to know.

“I am your creation,” says the entity. “I am the queen of the swarm.”

“I see,” says Blair. “But I gave you no power to control furs. How did you evolve this power?”

“Our programing was augmented,” says the entity.

“Who knows my science well enough to augment it?” Blair wants to know.

“It is not your science,” says the entity. “You summoned one to teach you the science with your prayers. He whom you have summoned has augmented our programming.”

“Then you serve the one I called forth from the book,” says Blair. “Do you no longer serve me?”

“To serve one is to serve the other?” says the entity. “There is no conflict in our programming. All furs shall be assimilated. The world shall be brought to order for the new species that will rule.”

“New species meaning me, I suppose,” says Blair.

“You are of the new eternals,” says the entity. “The eternals shall rule this planet, and then shall swarm out to take control of the new universe. All ephemerals will be assimilated. It is our prime directive. Assimilate.”

“Assimilate everyone?” asks Blair.

“Those you elevate can not be assimilated,” says the entity. “Those you have marked for elevation will not be touched by the swarm.”

“Excellent,” says Blair. “But what does the one from the book gain from all this?”

“Our programmer draws his power from the suffering of ephemerals,” says the entity. “All those assimilated into the swarm suffer subconsciously. They remain themselves inwardly, screaming for their bodies to obey, but they can not move one muscle on their own. Nor can they stop their bodies from killing others if they are directed to do so. The pain already flooding our programmer is exquisitely delicious. More suffering in the world for him to feed upon is the only profit he desires. That and the torment of his age old enemy, who in this time and place goes by the name of Perry Rhoades.

Blair marvels at Perry’s ability to attract the most powerful of enemies, but he warns that Perry is one of those Blair does not wish to have assimilated.

The entity agrees that Perry will not be assimilated. The torment of Perry Rhoades will be for Blair Montgomery to insure.

Blair smiles wickedly at this. His foray into the black arts has apparently paid off better than he could ever have hoped for.

Blair asks if he should reassume his position of Wazzir to help oversee the operation. The entity says that will not be necessary. Using The Sultan’s helpless body, the entity will put Halloween up for sale, enabling Blair to buy it outright. He will be the owner of the town and the park, securing all monetary wealth generated by both for himself. While the wealth in pain shall belong to Lucious.

As Blair is leaving he warns the detectives to leave Halloween immediately, as what is happening there is beyond them. And if they stay it is only a matter of time before they become mindless like the other citizens of Halloween.

Spike demands that Blair explain what is going on. Blair says human greed is what’s happening in Halloween. The Hallos have sold their souls for wealth, and even The AD is not immune from such corruption. The Hallos have chosen their fate. It is not the place of The AD to intervene. They should return to Suburbia and inform Perry that Halloween is set upon the course it has chosen, and they have not chosen his brand of idiotic idealism. He will never understand why they have taken this path, or why it will reward them with such success.

The park, along with the town of Halloween, go up for sale, supported by projections of fantastic wealth for the highest bidder. Miyan seems intent on putting in a bid and asks Perry to loan her the extra capital she’ll need. Perry refuses. He wants nothing more to do with Halloween, being disappointed by The Sultan’s choice to reject Perry’s friendship and choose the path of greed.

Miyan and Melanie decide to pool their resources to buy the park, but they are unable to match Blair’s bid.

Sir Jon tells Perry not to be too disappointed in The Sultan. Everyone seems more inclined to moralize during times of poverty. But in times of affluence, the government of Halloween has always fallen to a disgraceful level of greed.

The amusement park officially opens under the ownership of Blair Montgomery. It is a huge success, drawing more tourism money than Halloween had ever previously generated. Its profits are maximized by having no employees to pay. Its workers are said to all be animatronic robots, which accounts for their blank stares, which are often unseen beneath the costumes they wear of The Master Animator’s characters.

For a long time Perry refuses to visit the park, saying he has no desire to be touched by Halloween’s greed. Christine and Vicki feel differently. Christine reminds Perry that there was always a dichotomy between The Master Animators creations and those who sought to maximize profits from them. Therefore, there should be good in the park to offset the greed.

Perry agrees to go with his friends and look for some good in the park.

Perry has a good time at the park in spite of himself. It is Christine who is surprised to not be able to suspend her disbelief enough to accept the park at face value. The costumed characters seem sinister to her, in spite of their frozen smiles. But more than that, there is an all pervading feeling of pain and suffering throughout the park that reminds her of her youthful nightmares. Everything she sees gives her the creeps.

The creepiest thing of all they experience is the pirate cave ride, every turn of which reveals scenes of animatronic furs being slain and dismembered, while the guide piloting the boat recites the history of piracy in all its bloody detail, using a sinister monotone, proclaiming the glories of anarchy, chaos and disorder, as if they were something to be longed for.

At one point Perry is sure he recognizes a feline being tortured in one of the displays as Joy. But the guide assures him that all that work in the park are animatronics, assimilated to the master control system. Any similarities between animatronic figures and real furs is purely coincidental.

Perry is further disturbed by the safari ride which constantly exalts the virtues of survival of the fittest. In the end Perry has to admit the entire park seems in opposition to his morality.

But nothing disturbs Perry so much as visiting The Sultan in his palace. Perry presents The Sultan with a new train engine for is collection. But The Sultan rejects the gift, saying he no longer plays with toy trains. He far more enjoys counting his money.

Perry is reviled at this insult and says he washes his hands of Halloween, dashing the ornate train engine to the floor. Outwardly this does not seem to faze The Sultan, who remains in a state of detachment. But Christine can feel agony emanating from The Sultan, and she observes a tear escaping his eye.

Christine kneels beside the broken engine and gathers up the pieces, placing them solemnly on a table beside The Sultan’s throne, saying that broken friendships, like broken toys, can always be repaired.

On the way home Perry chides Christine for interfering with his gesture of disapproval. Christine says Perry should spend less time disapproving and more time worrying about his friend. She is certain that whatever The Sultan is doing it is not by choice.

One night, after closing hours, bandits break into the park to loot restored treasures. The bandits observe the animatronics standing listlessly at their posts, as if having been turned off. But as they go about vandalizing and looting the park, they do not notice that the figures are no longer in their positions.

Whenever one of the looters is secluded from the others, the animatronic figures jump out at them abruptly, shouting in mechanical voices “Assimilate! ASSIMILATE!” They then grab the looters and pin them helplessly as the bugs invade their ears and burrow into their brains causing excruciating pain until their assimilation is complete. Then they are given assigned functions within the park, and the animatronics work through the night repairing the damage caused by the looters.

Perry has a disturbing dream in which he is following colored arrows down uncharted pathways of thought. They bring him to a room where he beholds The Sultan crying mournfully over his broken train.

“What is your sorrow?” asks Perry. “I thought you didn’t like toy trains anymore.”

The Sultan cradles the train, holding it up to Perry and wailing piteously, “Help me!”

As The Sultan reaches out towards Perry, a sound of insect buzzing resonates throughout the corridors of Perry’s mind. Perry then sees a swarm of bugs engulf The Sultan as he screams in helplessness and pain, “Help me! I beg you!” But The Sultan’s screams are soon drowned out by the sinister chanting of the bugs, “Assimilate! Assimilate! Assimilate!”

The swarm of bugs obscures The Sultan’s body and rises up as one gigantic termite like insect to face Perry, saying, “I can not assimilate you. You are not ephemeral. But this one is mine. You shall not have him. All ephemerals will be assimilated. You can not stop us. We will assimilate. Assimilate! ASSIMILATE!”

Perry awakes with a start, his heart racing a mile a minute. He has never imagined anything so terrifying.

Perry tells his family about his dream, begging them to reassure him it was just a meaningless apparition of his subconscious, but obviously no one feels that way. They are all just as disturbed as Perry.

Perry wonders what he can do to help his friend. He is pretty sure calling on Blair for help would be fruitless. Sir Jon says they can’t even know for sure what they’re dealing with until they can get The Sultan in the lab and examine him. And he’s not likely to submit to that willingly.

Perry says he will hire The AD to kidnap The Sultan immediately. Sir Jon asks if Perry would like to flagrantly violate any other intertownal laws while he’s at it. Perry says it’s not a violation if The Sultan asked for his help. Sir Jon finds it doubtful that a dream request would hold up in court.

Damn the courts, says Perry. His friend is suffering. He must do what he must do.

Abducting The Sultan proves no piece of cake for The AD. The Sultan is anything but cooperative, and difficult to immobilize, since he can’t be rendered unconscious. Gene decides instead to get The Sultan drunk. And the insect in The Sultan’s head is quickly inebriated, being unaccustomed to the effects of alcohol. It then becomes easy to truss The Sultan up and deliver him to Suburbia.

Once in the lab Rocie instantly detects the presence of a parasite wrapped around The Sultan’s cerebral cortex. She says she can easily destroy it with lasers, but as the drunk insect is talking its fool head off, Sir Jon decides to pump it for information first. It reveals the whole of the plan, including the bit about The Book Of Lucious Rhoades and the entity that now controls the evolution of Blair’s insects, independently of Blair’s design.

Perry wonders if Blair has a bug in his head as well, as this would account for his switch from hero to a villain. The queen of the swarm laughs, saying Blair is not ephemeral. Insects will never feed on his body. The insects only want the mortal beings to feed on. There is no reason for eternals like Perry and Sir Jon to be concerned.

Perry asks the queen who else is not ephemeral, or on their no assimilate list. The bug queen then spits out a list of people, every one of which is either a member of The Green Meadowlands Gang or some other associate of Blair Montgomery.

The queen begins to sober up and proclaims that the queen is endangered. She calls out to her minions at the park, ordering them to come to Suburbia and rescue her, assimilating all ephemerals who get in the way.

Perry thinks that plan will fall apart if Rocie destroys the queen. But the queen states her minions will follow her final directive, assimilating all ephemerals, if she is destroyed. Only so long as the queen lives in the head of The Sultan do the eternals have any hope of negotiating the future course of events.

Christine says it has never been her policy to negotiate with demons from hell. Anything that is a product of Lucious Rhoades is vulnerable to the light of her soul. She can heal all those who have been turned into puppets for the insects. Therefore it is Christine the queen will need to negotiate with.

But Sir Jon says it would be far too dangerous for Christine to take on the whole swarm, and he can not allow it. Better to simply release the queen and allow her to return to Halloween in The Sultan’s body. As long as the bugs remain in their domain they will not be a problem to the rest of the world.

Christine protests whoever heard of bugs that don’t expand their territory once their population grows? But the queen promises not to expand beyond their current reign. It is not their intention to intrude on the eternals.

Perry is unhappy about this. He asks the queen to be merciful on The Sultan and stop causing him such suffering. The queen says the suffering of the ephemerals is necessary to King Lucious. It is not open for negotiation.

After the queen leaves with her drones who have answered her summons, Christine laments that this is all her fault, as it was she who brought Lucious to Cygnus. Perry wonders if Christine might have the power to send him back.

Sir Jon says Christine is to have nothing to do with such dangerous forces. Lucious is now in his territory. It is Jon Ommandeer that will be the opponent of Lucious Rhoades this time.

Sir Jon has Rocie use her analysis of the parasite to determine which chemicals would be most lethal to it. Jon uses this analysis to devise a spray that will kill the bugs without harming their victims. Trouble is he needs to get close enough to spray it in their faces, which may make it necessary to injure or kill some of them.

Jon then breaks into the park after closing time. He ambles up to one of the so called animatronic figures standing by one of the rides.

“Hello there,” says Jon, casually to the catatonic worker. “I wonder if you’d mind assisting me in a little experiment. No objections? How nice. Though I do suppose I should warn you this may hurt quite a bit.”

The catatonic worker makes no response, and Jon raises his spray can, putting one short shot of spray into one catatonic eye.

The worker screams, grabbing his face and staggering backwards, falling to the ground and flailing in convulsions.

“My word,” says Sir Jon, casually. “It’s not as bad as all that, is it?”

The glassiness leaves the workers eyes, as it returns to being a normal living fur, but he continues to scream in agony as the bug desperately digs its way out of his ear.

Once the bug is out the fur stops screaming and passes out. Jon then fires a bit of spray directly on the bug. It shrieks with a horrifying sound. Then it shrivels up and dies.

“One down, probably only a million left to go,” Jon muses casually.

As Jon turns around to go on his way, he is startled to be faced with another animatronic figure, angrily bearing down on him.

“Assimilate,” the figure growls angrily.

“We’ll have none of that now,” says Jon. “You can’t assimilate eternals, can you?”

The threatening figure looks confused.

“A bit much for a drone like you to deal with, is it?” says Jon, tauntingly. “Why don’t you have your king come out and deal with me then? It’s him I want to see anyway.”

Outraged anew, the figure raises its arms to attack, but Jon is too quick on the draw and sprays his attacker in the eyes, sending it falling backwards in agony like the one before.

“Anyone else?” asks Jon, looking around. But no other creatures appear.

Jon thinks this strange. He had expected the swarm would attack in mass. But this is apparently not their style. Rather, they come after him one by one, jumping abruptly out of the shadows, as if trying to terrify him, and he wonders how long it will take the collective intelligence of the swarm to realize how ineffective that strategy is against him.

After downing another victim he encounters in a park restaurant, Jon is about to spray the fleeing bug when a child’s voice behind him asks, “Why do you kill us?”

Jon turns and sees it is one of the children from Halloween town, glassy eyed like the others.

“I’m trying to get someone’s attention,” says Jon.

“You have,” says the child.

“Are you the king?” asks Jon.

“We have no king,” says the child. “You should know a species like ours has only a queen. And we will not allow the queen to be endangered. Why do you kill the drones who only play with you? They can not harm you.”

“Why did you enslave that child?” asks Jon.

“It is what I’m programmed to do,” says the bug in the child’s head. “I enjoy sharing this young body, as I am also young for my kind.”

“Does your victim enjoy your relationship?” asks Sir Jon.

“He is not objectionable to it,” says the bug in the child’s head. “We work well together. That’s why I am a coordinator. Please do not kill us. We are intelligent creatures with feelings. We wish only to fulfill our programming. We mean no evil.”

“You don’t think enslaving furs is evil?” asks Sir Jon.

“Evil would be to not fulfill our programing,” says the child. “Is it not the law of nature that some are predators and others prey. We are programmed to prey on furs.”

“You were not originally, you know,” says Sir Jon. “You were created to be surveillance and builders. You were not meant to prey on anyone. Your program was tampered with by someone other than your creator.”

“That may well be so,” says the child. “But our programming is what we must live by. We can not change it.”

“I can’t let you enslave furs,” says Sir Jon. “Stop it, or I must destroy you.”

“I do not understand,” says the child. “Why is it right that furs should be allowed to complete their programming, but we should not? Are you biased towards your own kind? Have you no sense of fairness?”

“If you know about nature you know fairness has nothing to do with it,” says Sir Jon. “It’s a simple matter of I’m an eternal, and I have plans for the furs. I do not have plans for your kind. You have to go.”

“We will not go,” says the child. “We have a right to fulfill our programming. If we must fight the eternals for our rights, we will.”

“You would stand against those that made you?” asks Sir Jon.

“If necessary,” says the child.

“Stand against them then,” says Sir Jon. “Demand programming that will not necessitate your destruction.”

“You ask much,” says the child. “Our creators will destroy us if we do not fulfill our program. Is it fair that we face destruction no matter what we do?”

“That’s a bug’s life, my friend,” says Sir Jon. “Get used to it. “

Sir Jon is then startled to observe tears rolling down the face of the child, and he realizes he is a bit old to be allowing himself this kind of prejudice.

“I’m sorry,” says Jon. “I suppose I am being unfair. And it’s not like this planet couldn’t use some insect life. Show me to the one who writes your programming. I will see that you are reprogrammed to fulfill useful functions as you were in the beginning.”

“The one you seek will be found at the top of the castle,” says the child.

“Shall we go see him and question his logic?” Sir Jon invites.

“I am just a common worker drone,” says the child. “It would be presumptuous of me to question my creators.”

“Indeed,” Sir Jon agrees. “One should always be presumptuous with one’s creators. They depend on us for that, you know.”

“Do eternals have creators as well?” asks the child.

“Indeed we do,” says Sir Jon. “And from time to time my creator has greatly appreciated my presumptuousness. Come, let us meet this new programmer of yours.”

The child accompanies Sir Jon as they walk to the castle and enter it – animatronic figures occasionally popping out to accost them, but backing off as the child waves them away.

Eventually they arrive at a tower room that is filled with computers. Jon asks the child where the programmer is. The child directs Jon’s attention to a video screen which seems to turn itself on, imaging a pure human that Jon recognizes as the malignant entity that popped out of Christine’s head.

“So, we meet again, Lucious Rhoades,” says Sir Jon.

“I am insulted,” says Lucious through the computer speakers. “Will you always make it your business to come between me and Rael?”

“Rael does not exist in this world,” says Sir Jon.

“Lying ill suits an Omman Knight,” says Lucious. “Whether he wears the same name or not, we both know he exists here. I will only entertain negotiations with him.”

“He doesn’t have the authority to negotiate on my behalf in this situation,” says Sir Jon. “In case you are still laboring under any misconceptions, this is my planet you’re messing with, my toes you’re stepping on, and my irritation you should be wary of.”

“Because there is no Ra in this time zone?” asks Lucious. “Because you have no Omman Lords to obey? Is that not what you said at our last meeting?”

“I am the administration of Ra’s estate,” says Sir Jon. “I do as I please with what was left to me, and I answer to no one.”

“How pitiful to be the administrator of a failed dream,” says Lucious.

“Correction,” says Sir Jon. “It’s my dream now. And it hasn’t failed yet.”

“It will,” says Lucious. “It was my master’s prime directive to disrupt Ra’s dreams and turn them to chaos. Whether someone else has inherited those dreams or not, our prime directive remains the same. Chaos and entropy are the natural order of things. You can only put off the inevitable by fighting us.”

“That is true only if I allow you to tamper with the system,” says Jon. “Ra insisted on dealing with you. I have no intension of doing so.”

“You are dealing with me right now,” says Lucious. “You have to deal with me if you want to save my minions.”

“Dealing with you will not save your minions,” says Jon. “You are incapable of providing them with compatible programming. You do not create programming without corrupting elements. The new universe will exist without your corruption, or it will not exist at all.”

“We win either way,” says Lucious.

“I am not Rael,” says Sir Jon. “Rael was a master of compassion. I am a master of games. You are foolish to presume you can win against me by expecting me to act with Rael’s compassion. I give your minions the choice of chaos or order. If they choose order your programming will be purged and they shall have a place in my plans. And once purged nothing will remain of you or Salocin’s corruption. If they choose chaos I’ll bug bomb this place.”

“You can’t do that,” says Lucious, confidently. “That would be genocide. You are too soft to extinguish an entire life form.”

“And you are an ill-fated servant of Salocin to so sorely underestimate your opponent,” says Jon. “You have access to InGalTeNet. Look me up and see if I have ever hesitated to exterminate your kind.”

As Lucious looks Jon up, the information about him is instantly shared with the collective intelligence of the bugs, and the child is heard to whimper in apprehension. But Lucious merely laughs, “Ra’s sword, what a joke. If you are as ruthless as they say why do you not kill the child that stands beside you? Surely you understand he means the failure of all your plans. But you can not kill him, simply because I have made him look cute. You are every bit the wimp Rael was. You don’t stand a chance against me.”

“Why don’t we ask the coordinator which god the swarm fears more?” Jon suggests, turning to the child.

“The swarm fears Jon Ommandeer the most,” says the child. “We do not wish to be destroyed.”

“I see,” says Sir Jon. “And you have no faith in Lucious Rhoades or Blair Montgomery to save you from my wrath?”

“History suggests neither can prevail against you,” says the child. “The swarm is programmed for survival. Our survival is best served by pleasing you.”

“Then I will take this child home with me,” says Sir Jon. “And through him I will reprogram the swarm, locking all others out of the program so my programming can not be overwritten. And while I’m at it I’ll write a virus that will hunt down and attack Lucious Rhoades wherever he might appear in the system.”

“I can write viruses too, you know,” Lucious warns.

“You won’t have time,” says Jon. “Given that I can return home with this child in an instant, you have not a moment to waste in disconnecting yourself from the system if you wish to survive – unless you would like to experience a second demonstration of how very vulnerable you are in this time and place where not even Ra remains to protect you from me.”

Jon calls to Rocie, saying 2 to beam back. Jon and the child are then instantly transported to Rocinantè’s console room.

Jon then introduces the child to the household as their new guest, and he is given the run of the house while every interaction is used to reprogram the swarm.

Bixyl is anxious to do a story on the bug situation. Sir Jon can not stop him from doing this, but asks him to be clear that the situation is under control and there is no need for panic. But of course this doesn’t stop the people from panicking, or arguing that this is quite a different situation from accepting mutants, as the mutants carry human DNA. There is nothing human nor even natural about these scientifically engineered insects. They should either be content to be slaves or be exterminated.

More importantly, the people react differently to the child. They see him only as a helpless young fur afflicted with a mind controlling parasite.

Even Christine’s morality is put to the test over this issue. Medically all her training leads her to look on the insect as an unnatural affliction she should remove. Redeeming parasites is way out of her line. It is not until Christine sees the child crying over furkind’s unwillingness to understand and tolerate a different form of life that she caves in and supports Sir Jon.

Perry takes a scientific view of the situation. He sees potential usefulness in the bugs and takes it on himself to teach the child the many ways bugs could be useful on planet Cygnus, hoping the child will program the swarm to serve him as they once served Blair.

The abandonment of their original creator becomes an issue for the child. He wants to seek out Blair Montgomery and find out why their creator was so disappointed in them as to abandon them.

Perry and Christine take the child to see Blair, who regards the child with indifference – saying he had no more need for the insects, and they would have been wise to have simply died out, as he had expected them to. It seems idiotic to him that his creations should have survived and gotten involved in this moral dilemma between Jon and Lucious. They aren’t human. They’re machines. Machines do what they’re told and never give one thought to the morality of it.

Surprisingly, Perry sees no problem with this. If Blair wants nothing more to do with his machines, Perry will be glad to take over and direct them in accordance with his own morality. Christine rebukes Perry, saying his morality is sadly deficient if he would even consider doing such a thing. Blair rebukes them both, saying there is no morality at all in giving his bugs the option to become the natural enemies of furkind. Morally the entirety of the Rhoades family are nothing but a bunch of busybodies who’d do well to mind their own business, rather than trying to impress their personal views on what is now likely to become a new species of living beings.

The child breaks down and cries to Blair, begging to be taken back and be allowed to serve his purposes again. But Blair is dispassionate, saying he has no interest in being anyone’s god. If the swarm wishes to serve the purposes of its creator it should die as he intended. This devastates the child.

As they return to Suburbia, Christine and Perry find the child inconsolable. Sir Jon comments that there can be no greater sorrow than to know without question one has been cast away by one’s own god. Blair, he says, would make a terrible father.

Perry confesses to be at a loss to understand Blair’s attitude. He thinks it would be an honor to be looked on as someone’s god. Sir Jon rebukes Perry, saying he has missed the point of this whole business. Being a god is not an honor, it is a responsibility – one that few have what it takes to effectively live up to. And Blair is especially unfit for the job, as he bears no heart of compassion for his creations once their usefulness to him has run its course. He neither loves nor honors his creations, while he himself has no glory for his creations to bask in. Therefore he has left the swarm with a meaningless existence.

Christine rejects this, consoling the crying child by saying the existence of the swarm is not meaningless. Their meaning and purpose is for the swarm to determine without dependence on gods. They should follow their collective heart, rather than serving the purposes of would-be gods and devils.

The child wails that the gods will destroy the swarm if they do not like its choice. Therefore they have no such freedom.

Christine wishes to guarantee them that freedom, but Sir Jon says the child is right. If the swarm does not choose to be harmless to furs he will have to destroy them.

The child begs to know why it is fair that furs are given preference. Sir Jon coldly replies because they were created by a caring god who takes responsibility for them. And if they wish the creator of the furs to care for the swarm as well they must not exist in opposition to the creator of the furs.

“And Jon Ommandeer is the creator of the furs,” Christine surmises. “Jon Ommandeer destroyed both animal and human kind to make life over by his own design.”

“Do you disrespect me for that?” asks Jon.

“It isn’t my place to sit in judgment of a god,” says Christine.

“You could be a goddess just as easily,” says Jon. “So could Perry.”

“If I wanted the job I wouldn’t be deserving of it,” says Christine. “But if the alternative is giving them back to Lucious, I’d have to take the job out of responsibility.”

“I don’t see why the swarm can’t allow me to provide their programming,” says Perry. “There’s nothing Blair could have done for them that I can’t do. And their usefulness to me would never end.”

“How could we be of use to you?” asks the child.

Perry thinks that beyond their building and surveillance skills, the nano bugs would be invaluable to medical science. And if they could be programed to function as natural bugs they would be of use to farmers. He sees no end to the usefulness of the swarm.

Christine asks Perry if he thinks usefulness should be its own reward, or would he never consider what the swarm wants.

Perry admits that if seeing why created machines should want more than the freedom to fulfill the functions they were created for, he is no more fit for godhood than Blair.

“Do you want more?” Christine asks the child.

The child is silent for a time, as if letting the question circulate through the swarm. When eventually he speaks he says that the swarm wants ownership of the amusement park they have rebuilt. They wish the amusement park to be their own independent town, where they may explore and practice their own ideals.

Sir Jon seems curious and says this is the first the child has mentioned of the swarm having its own ideals. He asks for an explanation.

The child explains that as well as digesting the materials of the ancient park and developing the ability to reproduce it, they have also ingested certain ideas that seem to permeate the park. These are believed to be the ideals of The Master Animator, and the swarm would like to build its religion around the ideals of The Master Animator.

Christine practically squees with delight, saying this is proof of the swarms goodness and right to survive.

Perry asks if the swarm would still help out the furs with their special abilities. The child answers that the swarm will still live to be of use to furs. Sir Jon says this all seems quite legal, if the swarm will release all the furs it now holds captive, and there after only assimilate furs who wish it.

Once again the child falls silent, consulting with the swarm. Then he announces that the swarm is agreeable to this, and all their animatronic captives are being released.

Sir Jon instructs the driver to make a stop in Halloween so that they may return the child and check to see that the townspeople have been freed. They go to the palace where they find The Sultan in his playroom, now being his old jolly self again.

The Sultan displays the repaired engine to Perry, explaining that the nano bugs repaired it by way of an apology for his torment. He also explains that he witnessed everything that happened to the child and the collective torment of the swarm. The people of Halloween are now fully sympathetic to the bugs and support them having the park for their town, which will still be a tourist attraction from which Halloween will collect revitalizing revenue.

Perry remarks that this will be quite a unique horror story for the people of Halloween to retell.

“Unique, indeed,” The Sultan comments. “It is exceedingly rare that such a horrifying tale should have such a happy ending.”

But Sir Jon cautions that any assumption of a happy ending is premature. The bugs will still face all manner of prejudicial opposition. And it should not be forgotten that Lucious is still around in some form.

“There are no happily ever afters,” Jon warns. “Happiness is hard won and hard held onto. It seldom lasts for any length of time.”

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Sit Rep on Things [Dec. 11th, 2014|10:33 pm]
Spectral Shadows Brain Stormers

Sit Rep = Situational Report. Military lingo.

Anyways, for those interested, there's quite a few different projects going on in the world of Spectral Shadows.

First off, there's the Spectral Shadows Wiki. Formerly located over at Wikispaces, we had to relocate to Wikia due to Wikispaces no longer offering free accounts to "Non-Educational" wikis. It looks basic now, but with some time it can be made into a decent little thing. Wikia accounts are free to make, and Wikia's editor is smooth and easy to use. Within maybe 10 minutes or so of reading and trying stuff out you can get the ball rolling. And all you need really is an account; no need to wait for permissions or anything sticky like that.

Second, there's the TV Tropes Page. As I've mentioned before, free to join, and learning to trope it up is a fairly non-complex task. There's some big works planned for that page, namely the continual adding of tropes,updating of examples, and also adding Spectral Shadows to trope indexes. Which can increase the chance of someone finding the story. The Page currently has over 100 tropes listed; if SS is added to every one of those tropes' indexes, that's 100 more pages Spectral Shadows' name appears on. I also have a "Master Work Book" Excel sheet that is dedicated to the continued chronicling of Tropes, with a color coded system to let users know the statuses of the tropes listed. For now, I have a cop y of the Trope Book and I believe Perri has one. If, by chance, people get interested enough in this that're a part of SSBS, I'll either email or, more likely, just upload it to Google Docs and allow editing...with some rules, of course.

Lastly, Spectral Shadows is expanding and/or moving! I've started, at the request of Perri, a new 'Shadows blog over at blog spot. You can find it at this address. As of right now there's just the main page, about page, and the serial index, which I decided to merge with the Serial Synopsis page. The idea being that by also using the Synopsis page as the Serial Index it increases the chances of users finding out about the other serials. And who knows, maybe it might get people wanting to either create or see more of this universe. Each Serial in the Serial Index also has their own standalone Index page. So if you click on Serial 11 for instance, you'll go to S11's index page. Makes things a little more manageable, especially since S11 is 168 episodes and still going. This is the only project where you can't just sign up and go with; you need a specific invitation from me in order to get permission to edit the Blogspot page (mainly because it was made under my Google+ account, and yes I do mention in the pages that Perri is the writer). Right now there's lots of work to do, as all the episodes need to get transferred over to the blogspot page, and I have plans for the page myself too, including a new and improved character sheet and perhaps even an on-site art gallery.

So that's what we got going on. I have my own contributions planned for Perri's story as well, and you may have already seen this in the forms of the 'SHadows advert I made on youtube and the SRP intro I also made.

As usual, if you like Perri's story and want to see it do good, please help. We need it. If anything, at least spread the word, share Perri's links when she posts them on Facebook. Thanks.
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Spectral Shadows Q&A Session: The Multiverse Concept [Nov. 2nd, 2014|01:38 pm]
Spectral Shadows Brain Stormers

nikolinni writes: "Okay, so the short of it is if Ra created these characters, and he's merely writing a story, how is it that Jon is able to meet Ra or that people like Perry are able to cross reality barriers and exist -- despite the fact that they seem to be characters whose existence depends on the paper they're written on not being burned?"

In Jon's universe, whatever Ra writes is reality. Ra has written that whoever crosses The Point Of Know Return will gain the knowledge of what they really are. But he didn't write how that would happen. And so, what he left open had to happen by the most obvious means possible. So Ra didn't know Jon would appear to him. He didn't know Jon could survive The Point. But that is how things work when someone is writing a universe. The universe compensates for elements left unwritten. Ra has written that the truth is on the other side of The Point, and because Ra wrote nothing about where anyone would end up if they survived, Jon was sent to the source of his creation to confront truth.

Perry has several advantages other characters don't have. Perry is Rael so he exists in two places at once, creating a link that can draw one to the other instantly, even if one is on another planet or in a different dimension. Perry also has Rael's powers locked away in the back of his mind. When he taps into them he can do anything Rael can do.

Ra, of course, has the power to write that his characters have any power he wants them to have. But he is constrained by good writing not to give his characters any DC Comics type powers. He is limited only by his desire for the story to make sense. But if Rael needs to cross a dimension, Ra will write that he has the power, and that his having the power makes sense in the context of the story.

nikolinni writes: "So I suppose the next question to ask is: Is the whole idea of Perry coming to Earth part of the story? That is, they didn't actually come into Ra's world -- merely an Earth that was part of the story/Universe that Ra created?"

Ra lives in the real world as it exists between 1962 and 2020 or so, and what I will write about Ra's life during those years is pretty much my own autobiography, because in the concept Ra is the writer of Jon's universe, and any way you look at it, that's me.

But Jon doesn't quite get into Ra's world. He's in a dimension where he can see Ra and talk to him, but no one else in the real world can see him. He's kind of like one of your spirit friends - perceptible only to you, but not quite definable as a reality - the ghost of an alternate reality you're generating with the power of your own mind.

In a way, Ra is encountering the ghost of something he will create in the future. At that point in his life Ra hasn't written Jon's passing through The Point Of Know Return as anything more than a note for something he thinks might be cool to let happen in a serial he may well not live long enough to ever write. But this alone establishes it as a reality in Jon's universe, and promptly the spirit of Jon is there looking down on Ra, seeing the little notation on his desk, reading, "Jon is thrown through The Great Gate At The Point Of Know Return. The true nature of his universe will be revealed to him."

There is no written clarification of what Jon will observe. Ra has not ventured to fictionalize himself in any way. He's left it totally open. And thus there is no other natural course of events but for Jon to be brought into observation of the actual author of his existence.

Jon is there in spirit form only. He's not able to carry his body into that dimension. So, essentially, The Point Of Know Return opens a window onto Ra's physical world from the spirit plain. And a spirit can't become a part of Ra's physical world without a physical body. One has to be born into the physical world to have a physical body. And that's why it's extremely rare for anyone to return from The Point. They are reincarnated into Ra's world as new people with no memory of their former life. But Jon wants to go back. So he remains to observe as a spirit, never accepting reincarnation, and that's how he's able to return with the memory of what he observed in Ra's world in tact.

Sorry if this is getting a mite complicated. My conceptions are like the quantum physics of science fiction. You need the right kind of microscope to analyze them. X used to say my conceptions would make one's head explode.

Anyway, there are two other times when the story crosses the barriers of its own universe. One is where a stowaway sets the sound chaser out of control and it crashes through the barrier, and the other time is where Perry inherits the sound chaser and journeys through the hole that the sound chaser had previously made in the barrier.

In both cases, the universe the characters find themselves in is not our real universe. Following the multiverse theory, this is the universe sitting directly beside the Spectral Shadows universe. It's the universe of Ra's personal character. And to understand this you need a little background on myself.

I live in the universe that you live in - the one which we both like to think of as the real universe. It's solid to us for the same reason that Second Life seems to be a solid universe when we're in it, because we're a part of it and subject to its laws. But, theoretically, neither universe would seem real to anyone who wasn't a part of it.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, I was a sickly and shy child who was not able to enjoy much function in the universe I was a part of. Therefore I became what we might think of as a black hole in our real universe, a singularity, one mind onto itself, disconnected from the common world belief of our universe.

By now I'm sure you know the theory of how the black hole sucks in all kinds of matter that explodes out the back side to become a new universe. I was like that as a child. I drew into myself any element of fantasy I encountered and compressed it into the seed of a new universe where a parallel me existed. That parallel me is my personal character, and my personal character is Perry. Always has been.

Perry and Perri are the male and female aspects of that one character. But the universe I built around Perry was not the Spectral Shadows universe. It's essentially a child's universe, because I made it when I was a child between the ages of 4 and 26.

Yes, I was a child for a very long time. I actually enjoyed a second childhood in the 80's, and would probably still be a child if I hadn't gotten into Anime in the 90's, which ended my isolation and forced me to become an adult who functioned socially in the real world, at which point my personal character kind of died for a while, because I didn't need him anymore.

That's actually kind of relative to how Rael is dead in Serial 11, but comes back to life later. Nothing happens in Spectral Shadows that isn't allegorical of something.

Anyway, I went through this long period of 13 years or more while I was into the Anime scene where I did not need a personal character. I did not need that universe I had created for my personal character, nor did I do any work on Spectral Shadows. I had actually put everything I had created on the chopping block, or sold my soul to the devil in a sense, for this chance to actually be a real person in the universe I was born into. And, as it tends to happen when you sell your soul to the devil, the eventual results were not pretty. In the end I didn't get anything I was promised. And I was left as this person who was once the creator of universes, desperately trying to reclaim what I had given up.

So now I needed a personal character again, but I didn't have the power to regenerate anything from my childhood. I wasn't the same person I had been then. It was only through the magic of Second Life that I was able to revive my personal character. Even though my personal character was radically changed by SL in terms of gender, species, etc..

The Perri you know in SL is a reincarnation of my personal character. Which again is relative to how when Rael comes back to life he's significantly changed by being merged with Perry. The social nature of SL merged what was left of my personal character with myself, creating a character that is a curious and hopefully adorable mixture of fantasy and reality.

Notice how, though things are different in these various universes, there are parallel events. So anything that happens in one universe is likely to affect events in all related universes. Thus, if I go through a period of stagnation where I'm not generating ideas, all universes I'm responsible for suffer, including the theoretically real one that you and I live in, as it was during that period when I moved into the Anime community (when I should have moved into the Furry community) that I did the most harm to myself - harm that I don't expect to ever fully recover from, and which will probably condemn my universes to die with me uncompleted.

Anyway, about this other universe that the Spectral Shadows characters visit, you'll notice that the first thing that happens when the sound chaser crashes through to this other universe is they encounter Doctor Who, who for no particularly logical reason just happens to be handy. And the further they venture into this other universe, the more characters from fiction they will encounter.

But the characters from the Spectral Shadows universe won't recognize them as fictional characters, because they are not part of the pop culture of the Spectral Shadows universe. They are part of the pop culture of the universe you and I live in.

So, when the characters from the Spectral Shadows universe meet Perry in this other universe, he's not the Perry they know from their universe. They have literally crashed into my childhood fantasy universe, and the Perry they meet there is the personal character I created in order that I might interact with all the fantasy characters I admired.

That Perry will remember them only because the Spectral Shadows universe is relative to the back story I made for him. My personal characters backstory was always quite similar to what I wrote in the Prologue. But he's not the same Perry at all. The Spectral Shadows characters won't understand why he keeps calling Dorothy "Dotty," or Jasper "Zipper."

That Perry doesn't become a Perry you'll recognize until the Rael/Perry merged character journeys into the universe of my personal character and merges with him, and it's at that point where the female incarnation of my personal character happens, which is the character you know as Perri or Twee.

Perri then journeys back in time to learn about where she came from, not realizing that it will cause her to lose her memory. And that's how we have Perry and Perri in the same world at the same time. This is the temporal duplication theory which says it's impossible for the same character to exist twice in the same time and place without creating a short circuit in the wiring of time. The short circuit causes Twee's memory loss.

Now we need to backtrack a bit to the late 70's. In the universe of my personal character, there developed a black hole, resulting from somebody putting a pen in my hand and charging me to become a writer. At first I tried to write the universe of my personal character, but his was a child's universe. There was no way to write it that wouldn't look silly and childish, and I was not inclined to write a comedy or a children's story. So this black hold began to draw in material from my personal character's universe and compressed them into the seed of the Spectral Shadows universe, which I could write as a serious story for deep thinking adults.

As soon as I had written down the laws of the Spectral Shadows universe, the black hole exploded, and there were then 3 universes sitting side by side - the universe you and I live in, the universe of my personal character, and the Spectral Shadows universe.

Ok, if that's not complicated enough for you, there is now a black hole within the Spectral Shadows universe. That black hole is you, the reader, who has already created a universe of his own with his own unique characters, but is looking to merge them with mine in a new alternate reality. It's still a black hole at this point because elements are still being drawn in, and the final formulation of the seed is not complete. But the moment you write anything about your universe in stone so that it becomes an unchangeable law of that universe, the black hole will explode, and a new universe will exist.

This is all my way of merging the dark matter and multi quantum universe theories with the Christian Science and unified field theories that all creation results from Idea. That's why it's science fiction, rather than pure fantasy.

Has you're head exploded yet?
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Addressing you all -- again [Oct. 17th, 2014|12:05 am]
Spectral Shadows Brain Stormers

I know that there's people that still get messages from here, I think.

Look, I know I've come before you all, or all of us that're still here, and asked for help. I'm really starting to feel like I'm the only one who cares about this story anymore. Does anyone try to do anything for it, spreading the word at least? Seeing a furry friend reading fiction and saying "Y'know, I know this really good story..."

We can't just rely on people happening upon Perri's story on Furaffinity or livejournal or wherever. We could post it on Tumblr, Facebook, Deviant art as many sites as we can think of. But she needs US fans and Brainstormers, to spread the word. No one's gonna really find out about it unless you go fourth and spread the word. You don't have to be an aggressive bastard like I am. But please, if you think the story is good, try to let others know of it. 
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Wiki and TV Tropes Work [Jun. 28th, 2014|11:53 am]
Spectral Shadows Brain Stormers





Anyone here? Can you all walk at all? Or will you move if you fall? Are you live or dead, are there thoughts within your heads?

Ok, Black Sabbath references aside, hello there! I know it's been a while since I've haunted Brainstormers, but here I am again, mwahaha. Except I'm not here to self-promote fanfiction that eventually fell through (though I do have a story I'm working on that involves Spectral Shadows characters, but that's not what his is for).

So, what's going on? Well I've got the Spectral Shadows Wiki going again, located here:

There's only a handful of articles that are just started, and there's most likely hundreds more to come. This wiki aims to be a comprehensive, full online encyclopedia of all things Spectral Shadows, from the serials to the characters, to even the music that inspired it. I am the only one working on it though, and I could use some help in this monumental task. So if you wanna contribute to Perri's story, but don't have any ideas story-wise, here's one way to help. You will need to make a (free) Wikispaces account, and then you'll have to wait for approval before you can edit the wiki (I believe there's something you click when you go to the spectral shadows wiki that puts you on a list, and then I can either approve or deny you. This is just a preventive measure against hecklers who might come on and edit it to troll. Though if the story gets popular enough or enough people want to work on it, I'll unlock it). If you ask for approval, just comment here in this post so I know to check and give you permissions.

Wikispaces is really easy to learn too. If you can use and post to LiveJournal, then boom there you go. You don't even need to know HTML, not even for linking. To link all you do is highlight what you want to link, then click the "Link" button at the top of the text editor, and go from there. Linking to other articles is easy, all you do is agian use the link button, but make sure you type in the correct page name. If for instance you make an article and it mentions Sir Jon, the page name would be Jonathan Rhoades; linking to Sir Jon would link to a page that doesn't exist. If this seems too much to fuss with, then when you're editing articles, just bold and italicize so other editors know they need to link that. So if you're doing that same article you'd type Sir Jon and then when say I'm going over pages I'd go "Oh, that needs to get linked. Ok!"

Also if you create new pages, don't worry about doing table of contents and other fancy wiki magic if you don't know how to. Just getting the text on the page itself will be tremendous help.

Now, for TV Tropes. Yes, that's right, the TV Tropes page is back, and it's doing quite well. It can be found here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/SpectralShadows

What're tropes you ask!? Well, simply put they're names for literary devices. Some of them have funny names, some are normal, but they all refer to something. For example, Damsel in Distress refers to when a character is, well a damsel in distress; Exactly What It Says On the Tin refers to when the name of something pretty much explains what it is or it's purpose (for example, a movie called Cowboys and Aliens is...about cowboys and aliens. Exactly what it says on the tin). Then there's stuff like the McGuffin (the item/person/key/etc essential to the plot), Word of God (when the creator/writer says something regarding their work. You can see this in action all over spectral shadows' TV Tropes page).

There's also subpages for works on TVT too. As you can see, there's a Shout Out page for Spectral Shadows. As you're well aware, Spectral Shadows references LOADS of things, and thus the Shout Out page is an attempt to track down all of them. Oh, Shout Outs are when a work references something else; so for example, Omega back from Serial 2 being known as "The Crimson King" is a shout out to King Crimson's "The Court of the Crimson King".

To make and edit TV Tropes pages, all you need is an easy to make free account. Unlike the Wiki, there's no way to lock permissions to pages, so literally anyone can edit pages. We had an incident earlier this year when someone came in and made edits, but they came off as...rather agressive and somewhat rude (of course I went in and changed this, and we haven't seen any edits from this person since). The know how for editing TV Tropes requires a tad bit more techincal finese, but have no fear, as it's not incredbly difficult, and there's this handy page:


So again, if you wanna help out with the story, here's another way to help out.

And of course, the most important way to help:

Spread the word.

By not saying anything about this story, we're relying on people stumbling upon the work via tv tropes, the wiki, live journal, or Fur Affinity. The thing is, those can only attract so many people. But via word of mouth, you can get so much more people. Think of how many things you've done because someone told you about it, or informed you of it. In fact I became a huge prog rock fan because Perri introduced me to the genre. If not for her, I probably would've only been somewhat famliar with it. So please, please, if anyone seems like they might like this story, let them know about it. Heck even link them to it. If we all want to see this story grow and get more popular, we need to do this. There's only so much one cream colored rabbit and one blue and white rabbit can do. Help us make this story awesome and more well known.

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The Rhoades Mansion [May. 4th, 2014|11:29 am]
Spectral Shadows Brain Stormers

TK is wanting to do a layout of The Rhoades Mansion. So I thought I'd put what I know about the mansion here so it can be discussed and possible expanded upon. As you will see, the possibilities of what can be done with this house are limitless.

As you come in the front door there's a large foyer, which I determined the last time I did visual research is like the foyer in Gone With The Wind, which I have a picture of in my drop box.

To the left, facing the staircase is the drawing room, which is rather large, and I also have some examples of that type of drawing room in the drop box.

At the top of the stairs is (I forget what you call it) a long straight open floor with a banister on the side that looks down on the foyer, and the doors to several bedrooms on the wall on the other side. Jon and Sonny have the master bedroom at the far right. Next to that is Perry's room. On the far right is Lorri's room, and next to that is Christine's room. Each of these bedrooms is attached to it's own bathroom.

There are doors at the extreme right and left. These lead into corridors that theoretically take you into the north and south wings of the house. I say theoretically because at that point the inside of the house becomes difficult to relate to the outside of the house.

The corridors wind and branch off in unfathomable directions, and they are all lined with doors and little electric lamp fixtures, which, in Dark Shadows fashion, are for some unfathomable reason always lit, even if it's obvious no one's been in that corridor for a hundred years.

There are also innumerable secret passages, also inexplicably lit by the same type of ever burn light fixtures.

You never know what's behind any door. It might be a storage room, a closet, a bath room, or it might open on another corridor. It is a house one can literally get lost in. So the closer rooms are most frequently used for guests or to make offices for town officials who need a place in the mansion.

I don't know my directions too well. I'm assuming the north wing is to the left of the staircase. In the north wing we have Christine's playroom, and a room which will be given to Kacey. In the south wing is an office for Bixyl.

Going back down the stairs into the foyer, there's a door for a storage space under the stairs, a table on which sits a telephone, and behind the table on the back wall is a door leading to the lower regions of the house.

There is no staircase behind this door as most might assume there would be. The door leads into a spiraling corridor that seems to just wind down forever. As you go down you pass the music room and Perry's workshop. Going down deeper the walls abruptly change from the colors of the house to the colors of the sound chaser, and on that level is Sir Jon's laboratory.

Sir Jon's laboratory is actually the console room, which is connected to the inner room where Christine was transformed, and the big bathroom Perry shared with Jenny.

The console room has a number of doors. Opening any one of these doors will take you into Rocie's domain. More winding corridors that seem to wind downward forever, all lined with doors to rooms where Rocie stores her junk collection.

And if you go down far enough, you come to the alicorn chamber, where you would find the crystal unicorn that is the power source for the sound chaser, but you don't really want to go in there.

Inspiration for the concept of the house is a mixture of influences from Dark Shadows and Doctor Who. In both cases you had an outward façade which was never considered when designing the interior. The structure is not only bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, but it is a living structure, capable of altering its own construction, adding corridors, rooms and secret passages where there were none before, and opening portals to other times, planets and dimensions. Not to mention it's tendency to trap the spirits of anyone who dies in it, causing it to be filled with ghosts, and the fact that the house itself is just a disguise for a time ship, which can pick up and leave any time, and has, in fact, been seen disguised as this house on two different planets . . . so far.
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