Daftwager Aliases:

April 19, 2010
  • Sir Percy de Courcy
  • Arthur Critchit
  • Archibald Sinclair Beachum
  • Clennery Tubbs
  • Sir Cuthbert Ware-Armitage
  • Smythe Farquardt
  • James Franklin-Jones
  • Sir Harry Washington-Smythe
  • Brig. Zachary Zilch
  • Lt.Col. J. Algernon Hawthorne
  • Captain J. (Jeroboam) Barker-Rynde PI
  • Lt. ‘Piggy’ Wigg
  • Cadogan de Vere Carlton-Browne
  • Captain Romney Carlton-Ricketts
  • Charles Boughtflower
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    Twitter Fiction Day 57: Daftwager in the Den of the Dragon

    April 3, 2010

    Day 57:

     

    07:00; ”LIGHTS UP: CAMERA PULLS OUT FROM; Deformed, sweaty, bald, yellow heads of the FEAR ADMIRALS, huddled over CAGE. Establishing dialogue; ‘Its name is Mother Slaughter: glory!’.”

    07:10; “The 6 ADMIRALS – uniforms red, green, blue, orange, purple, gold; Napoleonic – murmur adulation, as the camera PANS DOWN to FLOOR LEVEL. The CAGE; dark, pincer clicking emanates.”

    07:20; “Camera closes in slowly- SOMETHING cries from within the CAGE – teeth at the bars! FEAR ADMIRALS laugh, *CLINK* glasses. CUT TO: DAFTWAGER; classic pin-stripe tails, & top-hat.”

    07:30; “SET: FEAR ADMIRAL’s BLOOD BARRACKS, EXT, DAY; DAFTWAGER is talking to GATE DRONE – SS uniform, full-face gas mask – of the BLOOD BARACKS in German – no subtitles.”

    07:40; “DAFTWAGER & GATE DRONE become steadily agitated with each other. DAFTWAGER attempts to jump the GATE BARRIER – GATE DRONE pulls MATEBUR pistol from its side-holster.”

    07:50; “DAFTWAGER instantly concilatory. Holding hands up, not straight; tilted slightly towards the GATE DRONE. DAFTWAGER holding out his ID in left hand; proffered. Dialogue has a pleading tone.

    08:00; “GATE DRONE leans in to inspect ID. Camera closes in on DAFTWAGER’s left wrist slowly; he flicks his wrist, we see FLASH OF STEEL. GATE DRONE POV: SCALPEL birthed, from the ID.

    08:10; “Camera BEHIND GATE DRONE; DAFTWAGER drops ID, slams palm into the butt of the SCALPEL, driving it deeper then twisting. GATE DRONE jerks; SCALPEL in GAS MASK eyepiece.”

    08:20; “DAFTWAGER withdraws SCALPEL, SPURT OF BLOOD; dark green. DAFTWAGER slashes PIPE of GAS MASK mouth that leads to TANK on GATE DRONE’S back; light green SPURT.”

    08:30; “GATE DRONE is screaming in German. DAFTWAGER is stabbing him in the face, GOUTS OF GREEN BLOOD. DAFTWAGER reaches for the GAS MASK, tears – reveals DRONE’s FACE.”

    08:40; “FACE: Green, deformed, sweaty, bald. Right eye ruined, mouth – sphincter lined with teeth – frothing with whitish-green fluid. Cuts, all along the face. GATE DRONE is furious & in excrutiating pain.”

    08:50; “DAFTWAGER & GATE DRONE struggle for the MATEBUR pistol, falls from their combined grasp. GATE DRONE dives for the MATEBUR pistol, DAFTWAGER leaps onto his TANK back.”

    09:00; “GATE DRONE gets the MATEBUR pistol, struggles to get DAFTWAGER off his back. DAFTWAGER grasps a TANK PIPE, shoves it in RIGHT OCULAR CAVITY, turns the TANK’s valve -”

    09:10; – then the Gate Drone’s head explodes! I wipe the gore off my lapels, steal his pistol, shoot the acid-spitting Ferally-Miscegnated Toad-Horrors. Their cries, like stuck babies, reveal the Rhyme of the –

    09:20; – Dark Officers, the warped brother-sister bred command-class of the Black Royalty. Rhyme allowing me to pass their incestuous ranks unmolested, I ascend the stairs called The Descent of Mankind.

    09:30; Atop of this turret are architects of terror for the Black Royalty – the Fear Admirals – & their new weapon, semi-spider/half-human hybrid – ever-heavily ‘asexually pregnant’ – called ‘Mother Slaughter’.

    09:40; At this point I assume I shoot one of the Fear Admirals, only for him to catch it in the palm of his hand, little bruised, & reach out, to strangle me. Presumably the others will hum: ‘Terrific Death March’.

    09:50; Working on a sub-audible level, their hum hymn conjures up all my ‘fears & horrors’ – montaged for pathos. Paralysed, I allow the first Fear Admiral to settle his hands around my throat, to throttle me.

    10:00; Then, last gasp freeing me momentarily from my fears, I shoot the lock off Mother Slaughter’s cage, releasing the beast. She devours the 1st Admiral’s colleagues – I scalpel-stab him, in the eye; depart.

    10:10; I assume these events; it was, afterall, a month after my last commission for the Fear Admirals that I came to call, checking on my commercially created charges, that I found the Blood Barracks ruined.

    10:20; Gate Drone 12# – 1 month from retirement & organ harvesting – head was exploded with severe cuts to face & ocular trauma still visible. 1st floor corridors lined with Toad-Horrors – my poor babies!

    10:30; Not my literal babies of course – feral miscegnations – but, still: pricy commodities. The Dark Officers: locked into a logic-loop of copulate/defecate, repeating their revelatory riddle-rhyme all the while.

    10:40; The Fear Admirals I found locked in the topmost of their M C Escher turret with H R Geiger’s nightmare of a spiderbaby. All dead. The Slaughter Mother had eaten most of most of the Admirals, but –

    10:50; – 1 with a knife in his eye, in whose rib-spread chest cavity she had laid her pulsing eggs. Rictus terror on Fear Admiral’s faces; she scared & scarred even they. I did certainly earn my daywage on her.

    11:00; Oh, no fear – she was never designed to eat of & lay in Fear Admiral flesh; human-specific. Mother Slaughter lay poisoned & her young laid dormant. I left, with the eggs & charged the Black Royalty.

    11:10; Never did hear who killed them all or why; not that one really requires a reason to kill things that refer to themselves as the Fear Admirals. I just assume plebs wish to watch ‘movies’ from heroic views.

    11:20; Quite a few media moguls in The Market’s ranks. A tale of the lizardly Black Royalty & their Fear Admirals – bred apurpose for their insane, heretical imagination – is just the thing for age 5 & up, yes?

    11:30; They don’t win, of course. Daftwager wrestles the Tidal Agate from the sea iguana claws of the Darkling King – on a gantry, above a Moon Manipulator, below grave visages of Kappa Captains past –

    11:40; – averting total world flooding, intended to wipe the earth clean of evil humanity & the spiderbabies that decimated them. Practically patriotic – it saves Britain’s Windsor White Royalty of desert lizards.

    11:50; Oh, that isn’t a Market secret; learned it from the Curiouser Gentlemen of Custom, Duty & Excise, the more secretive arm of the Surgeon Generals. I do not personally know The Market’s secrets, yet.

    12:00; Oh, would you forget about lizard-royals! Between the German werewolf blood – bloodsports, yes? – the Russian vampire blood – see above – & the occassional zombie-mummy, one does not notice.

    13:00; My references passed – thankfully The Market has no law, but 1: Thou Shalt Not Waste. I am “judged” tonight, conveyed thither to a ‘secret location’ – “Tally Ho’s” – by Atlas, if this meeting ever ends.

    13:10; A lesser man might think that R & A had failed to grasp that: when unoccupied in high-tech facilities, I steal things. Instead I think: they test me, & their security systems. Facts: both of us are wonderful.

    13:20; The Pearshaped Solutions building: glass partitions, circle-dominant architecture, the Rockefeller Centre’s “Atlas” in the foyer – the feng shui is immaculate! First stop: Atlas’ “Natural-Medicinal Gallery”.

    13:30; Titan No. 1#: ‘Goliath’. An adaption of the KGB supersoldier serum – increased strength, stamina & invulnerability – but the duration of 1 hour. It crudely manipulated adrenals. A bear-wrestler’s dose.

    13:40; Time limit seen as a feature rather than flaw, given the pyschoses associated with the KGB permanent-state original. Brilliant ingenuity; Atlas’ sum resource was an apprenticeship in a vetrinary practice.

    13:50; Titan No. 2#: ‘David’. Still the supersoldier serum, but inspirationally innovated. All that Titan had before but; faster, cannier – in weapons use, martial arts, tactics – & greatly augmented healing factor.

    14:00; Atlas – selling hunger-crisis hyper-bulls & guard dogs with real bite, was donning sandals & toga – cheap, replaceable & the only untailored thing that fit in his augmented state – to fight crime, save cats.

    14:10; Titan No. 3#: ‘Samson’. Regenerative factor was unprecedented on this one. Back slashes from Death Metal’s 9 inch nails or Kultur Kampf’s neon claws & Atlas would heal, without scar, in moments.

    14:20; Strange side effect which earned the name was the propensity for Atlas’ hair & nails to grow to ridiculous lengths during a fight session. Nails helped him slash as good as he got, & clip his unruly locks.

    14:30; Titan No. 4#: ‘Hercules’. Strong – punched out Mecha Goliath 2. Cunning – outsmarted Lone Clone Napoleon’s maze. Super even without the serum – it altered his baseline biology at the cellular level.

    14:40; Demi-god. Heart-Smart Bio-Mesh leotard under toga, Head-Strong Alert-Streaming laurel-crown over ears. Launched 12-step calisthenic & meditative regime ‘Herculean Labours’. Earns ‘Atlas’ nom.

    14:50; Titan No. 5#: ‘Prometheus’. ‘Specialist serum’ – proof against extreme radiations of heat, light, ultraviolet, x-ray, gamma & general nuclear. Inoculation, not cure – does not affect a metastasized cancer.

    15:00; Designed for dangerous conditions; nuclear reactors & test sites. Atlas made public his possession, charged the nuclear nations quite heftily & gave it freely to the Nagasaki Aid: Temporal Organisation.

    15:10; Titan No. 6#: ‘Chronos’. Refers to the father of the gods rather than the titan of time, this time; sheer destructive capability & the Chronos serum sent sharpened-bone punching-through, at Atlas’ joints.

    15:20; If King-Rat is the 2nd Coming in steel, Chronos is Doomsday, in biology. A swift, furious hulk, its green skin can live off solar energy, regenerate limbs & has mind enough only to mutter ‘Atlas Smash!’

    15:30; The others – ‘Gilgamesh’, ‘Enki’, ‘Spartacus’, ‘Leonidas’, ‘John-Bunyan’, ‘John-Henry’, ‘Thor’, ‘Ymir’, etc – confirmed the creator-titan as the man strong enough to choose life, always, over ‘mere’ might.

    15:40; He revolutionised medical technology: unique; most designs are improvements – his returned to the simplest system; of diagnosing symptoms & extracting causes. A’s medtech made a god from a ‘hero’.

    15:50; Pearshaped Solutions. Computer 1: MentAnt Colony-Computer, circa 1980s. ‘Ant-farm’ as Ant-Silicon Valley. Computer 2: Protein strand computing, circa 1990s. Tablets & a fishtank; cheap genius.

    16:00; Computer 3: DNA computers, circa just-now noughties. The processing power is unprecedented – the non-need for electrical power is unbelievable. Solar/thermal/kinetic power – big in the 3rd world.

    16:10; Computer 4: All-Feeling Eye; Omniscient empath eyeball. 80’s threat-routing hero-hardware. Computer 5: Nexus Nova: mental hub. Offensive psychic firewalls against the 90’s fad for hypno-intrigues.

    16:20; Computer 6: Cognoscenti: 1st computer to experience all 5 senses. Superior number of neural interchanges than that of a human brain. Miniaturised nerve-matrices; fits the poker-night gynoid perfectly.

    16:30; Yet still A, according to his secretary’s cerebellum, attends Psychic Doctor Spock, Bruce Lee Ultima & Errol Flynn Jr. Very well! He chooses the Ulti-Mates over me!? To the lowermost laboratory!!!

    16:40; An unfamilar smell & they’ll spray sleep pollen everywhere. I break the MentAnts out with instructions to eat – in minutes the trellis is stripped of sleepy wallflowers. Door: real biometric scanner: quaint.

    16:45; Scraping trace skin cells from the handpanel, I douse them in UNDEAD, forming a thin sheen of approved-DNA skin. Handprint, handsweat & pulse pass the test; ‘science of superior’ sanctum opens.

    16:50; White-room scan; lab risk of biological contaminant. Thankfully; not check-databasing my genes. I am clean; my only biological virus is my DNA – no one has ever caught, or been born with, that but I.

    16:55; Bacteria-gas. Leaves none, but that in your digestion tracts. Atlas could release flesh-eating bacteria: a ‘compliment’ now; the bacteria-gas has cleaned hair, skin, teeth & nails pristine. Still; I’m alive yet.

    17:00; Past the gas & I enter row upon row of animal cages. All those hoops, & it turns out the world’s authority on commercial medicine still uses animal testing. Not entirely surprising; this is just the opening.

    17:05; Ratman’s cabinets: RL field-testing of quantum-tunnelling computers, & micro-wormhole cameras. Atlas’ cages: high-primate trials of anti-Alzheimer treatments, anti-cancer inoculations, anti-aging drug.

    17:10; Ratman Tale: a rock, fueled by gravity engines & filled by satellite info, whose readouts lift strife from 1’s life. Atlas Myth: a tree, lit by solar lamps & fed by nitrogen IV, whose apples free 1 of disease.

    17:15; But that tree would be beyond hallucinogen-interrogations, truth-serum tests & – after all else – an elevator-looking big-being who gobbles 1 up for his afternoon if he doesn’t like the sound of 1’s voice.

    17:20; Atlas arrives at speed. Once alerted to my disappearance, probably in psychic link with his ocular ob-server. He’ll have to go through the chromatic chemical-logs manually to catch me in my invisibility.

    17:25; I sneak out by the cages, return as if this is all new to me. Taking up complex charts clipped to cages, I tell Atlas to remind me to send him some samples some time – but don’t we have a ball to get to?

    17:30; The elevator runs up the literal spine of the Pearshaped Solutions building. Soon Macrohard will be diamond-matter run through with gold thread. This place is already semi-alive, semi-sentient I realise.

    17:40; I can’t imagine overcoming the … immune system, had I not been invited here. The circle-dominant, the sphincter-doors, the room-temperature of every room … it could kill me, with a bowel-bile’s flex.

    17:50; Rooftop: a biomimetic design they call ornithopter. The bombardier-beetle blast of organic jets clear us off the roof. Then the wings extend, oversized feathers acting as rippling flaps. Truly … unearthly.

    18:00; London; so wide to be a lesser city upon its back. I rarely see it so high unless kaiju walk among the rows, or motherships hang over our heads. I remember I can fly now, see this whenever I want to –

    18:05; – then, between the ornithopter & Tally Ho’s, a shaft of heavenly light that so often signals an angelic visitation pierces the clouds! It hits street level somewhere in Notting Hill!! God help all of us – ha!!!

    18:10; The ornithopter banks wildly, its rotors spinning double time to stay in place. Pocket change sparks, metal fillings buzz, prostetic limbs twitch – thankfully I have none of these. Seat is hugging me, close.

    18:15; Relatively few metallic components, aboard; a few displays of ball lightning are all that trouble us. The carry-crate inconspicously containing Eve Austin’s Carter-armour vibrates, more than the others …

    18:20; … a moot remark, as the whole load shifts to 1 side, as we turn. To be in the air is unlucky during a Visitation, but the ground is little better. A mix of clean emp & mass epilepsy, down there, right now.

    18:25; An Angel: they’ll work out who later, by what kind of miracles happen. Michael: would purge the villainous & protect the meek. From an ER view: many miracle cures & several unlikely injuries/deaths.

    18:30; Some will be prophets, some will be righteous, some will be insane – differentiation is difficult in the cults. Some will run from here, some will be drawn by the promise of heavenly en-lightenment & end.

    18:35; Can’t see the light of heaven, & live. Standing in the shaft, quite probably in the instant the angel ascends. All body, all past, burns from their soul – bursts; their lives flash in front of everyone else’s eyes.

    18:40; Saw Raguel Visit Cardiff. A remand centre’s worth of young criminals became born-again christians, & a CoE church’s worth of high anglicans were gas-main immolated. The celestial: no middle gears.

    18:45; Still, we should soon be out of this shaft’s way … except that the topography says we are heading towards it. I enquire of Atlas about this, he of the pilot. The pilot – wrestling with the rigid control stick.

    18:50; An ecclesiatical argument solved, here; apparently the bio-mind of this bio-illogical artifice has sufficient soul-sapient insanity as to be drawn to the celestial shaft. It will fly us into a heaven’s fire-judging.

    18:55; No response to controls – it flies unmanned. Overrides overridden, control collar blown out. Was never designed to survive a Visitation, & any reaction to it untested – Visitations impossible to arrange.

    19:00; We cannot kill it; we’re still in it. Need to induce an overriding land-impulse in the brain of the biomind; can now only be done from the exterior. Atlas needs to monitor vitals, from the inside throughout.

    19:01; Yes, I will be operating, on a brain. Yes, this brain controls a body, which has several adjusting rockets. Yes, I am to perform rocket-science-brain-surgery, in the midst of a Visitation revelation storm.

    19:02; This biomind is insufficiently human to read or influence. I need to integrate Saniac’s technomancy! However, as there is no laboratory at 1,000 ft, & the Marquis’ brain is at Agnate’s: I’ll have to wing it.

    19:03; I grab an Atlas-brand med kit. I consult with Atlas on the upcoming surgery. Assume the craft will not appreciate my brain craft; I ask Atlas to provide protection: Captain Carter test-pilot/body-guard.

    19:05; She should be easy to summon from the Pearshaped Solutions building. I don’t mention that no one could fly solo in the angel-storm, that the test-pilot is never at HQ, that Eve Austin is Captain Carter.

    19:10; Consulted with Atlas in 5 mins on a type of brain I have never seen before – more than enough, just needed to make CC’s appearance plausible. A crash; the rear doors opened from the inside, I think.

    19:11; I coo as requisite, goggling at Captain Carter’s outside-opening of the rear doors; locked when this madness began. Big, bulky armour, red & sparkling with LEDs. Inside, she stifles a laugh, I do think.

    19:12; Back when Atlas replaced her nervous system with 1 of his own artifice, the exoskeleton served to regulate her motor control, allowing CC to adjust her new body, learning all movement all over again.

    19:13; It also served to deprive her of her senses, the risk of sensory overload emerging as real concern in the comatose & psychotic former test subjects. Now: Suit augments her muscles, quite considerably.

    19:14; Some would call their love Florence Nightingale syndrome – without contracting syphillis & persecuting Seacole. I would call it self-made buns of steel marrying man-made buns of steel. Hark; science!

    19:15; But, of course I know none of this. A trade secret that was not traded to me. I can’t read their minds. None of the many doctor-engineers saw the whole picture – so I knitted it together by myself, eh?

    19:20; Thrown under her arm with all the subtlety of a political football, Captain Carter finally lands on the nose of this winged behemoth. Friction shield & flight doing all they can to keep me from falling over.

    19:21; CC acts as my windbreaker as I operate & my wingbreaker as my patient tries to kill me. Not the 1st time that this has happened – 1 of the few times they’ve tried it when I’m actually trying to fix them.

    19:22; On the upside, this causes the ornithopter to whirl in circle-dervish, away from the shaft. On the downside, this also causes the ornithopter to loop-de-loop & barrel-roll: neurosurgeons frown upon this.

    19:23; Pried open the biomind-cockpit nose-capsule with a laser scalpel; a pulsing pink mass of mind sufficiently insane to have soul, insufficiently so to be mind-controlled. I will clone Turing just to shoot him.

    19:24; Thank Beezlebub for this ‘cerebral-silicate studding method’ favoured by Atlas & Saniac. Devolves the neural clusters to pressure points I can inject directly. Can’t turn off the ‘fight’; linked to the ‘flight’.

    19:25; It knows. Damn. Damn, damn, damn, damn, damned.

    19:26; It ignores Carter, engages the jets & mainlines for the shaft. Slightly smart before; methodical in its madness. Rushing into the place where only angels tread is the pride that God deems worthy of a Fall.

    19:27; Oh yes, one can go straight to Hell, if the shaft deems the supplicant unworthy. It is all flames, just the good & bad kind. But. Not today. No. Would be so easier if I wasn’t clinging on for dear life solo.

    19:28; Ornithopter struck a strong shot during jet jeopardy; Carter spun like the cricket ball under the Wolf of Kabul. Clicki-ba! G-force, Accleration; heaven’s light warms my turned back, as it always has …

    19:29; Teleport not an option – never was. If I could trust intrinsic field & location equations of Elohim to hold up under Their Visitation – which I couldn’t – my velocity, even with friction shield, would kill me.

    19:30; Grip slips. Flight will hold up only so long as the Visitation doesn’t turn my cane to dust – not long. Mental note: counter encoding for Elohim useful, should anyone find & read this falling BORE of mine.

    19:31; Hells!, with this moaning. Should I care to outwit Saint Peter I will – man probably has the brains of a rock. Also; I know for fact that Croc of Gold & Alexander Hamilton are up there. It will be Cake.

    19:32; Cake, which should always be prepared in advance & on one’s own terms. I release, cane of flight going from floating to flying smoothly. True, the air explodes around me – but I am still independant!!!

    19:33; Then Carter catches me, loops the ornithopter with her jetpack & shoots out the plasma jets with wrist-mounted goo-guns. As decceleration begins to set in, she smacks it about until it knows its place.

    19:34; Got the story out of the surgeon-engineers before mind reading, with the truth serum I called ‘gin’. Suit; smart-mesh wired directly into her nervous system. Clothes make the woman, into someone else.

    19:35; Her operation – reversed – & mixed with Major Nagi’s procedure, will be what I use to insert Saniac/de Made’s silicate-studded ‘brain’ into a new body, & to inculcate ‘land’ in the biomind, before me.

    19:36; Where is it, where is it, where is it? Blown control collar, the framework fragments still lodged in several ports, all in my way. If I just had a moment to test reflexes on a neurochemical reaction level-

    19:37; – I hear choirs sing! Harpists at my back, Rogers & Astaire dancing wingtip to wingtip & not-quite-all the Beatles. MERCY –

    19:38; ‘Land’ lobe found! Insert syringe into the port & press down on the plunger. Coded protein strings & neurochemical stimuli release manually, as they would have on auto had the control collar survived.

    19:39; As the brain shifts from flight to defeat I hear … regret. Of a curious birth from a cast-iron egg on a cast-iron cooker. Of life in metal eyries, building tungsten nests & eating big mechanical mealyworms.

    19:40; Yes, all quite as dully dour as it sounds. Still, as in teleportation to the bar below it is in flying above; velocity cannot be flouted & we probably will fly into the centre of the shaft, still. Here we go, now-

    19:41; -& there it went. Disappeared at the last sec, the life of door-to-door salesman-to-saint Kwami Ngugi before my eyes. 1:40; it was Raphael, so. Probably purified the Thames & purged the prostitutes.

    19:42; The smell of burning is in the air. Below several steam stations have exploded, broiling skin off those not killed by shrapnel. No worries – it was Angel Raphael; they must have done something, right?

    19:43; Sure, I hate supers. Prep: for hatred, of God. Afterall; if God granting powers of indiscriminate death-dealing to those unworthy is bad, then, surely, granting powers that make them unworthy is worse.

    19:44; His influence on genetics is a blind man’s argument. But, His creating a race of messengers whose transit into this mortal world cannot avoid causing chaos is odd. Also: I hear he has the face of a cat.

    19:45; I hate the smell of people-bacon baking at 19:45 in the evening.

    19:50; We land in a recently plane-friendly-terraformed Hyde Park: a straight, flat section cut by the shaft’s sojourn through London. The bed of dead leaves the ornithopter lies in are crisp, crunchy & aflame.

    19:55; Ms. Austin reappears. Atlas does me the pretense of telling her what occurred after turbulence rendered her unconscious – they’re both laughing before he finishes. Then they waltz, knee deep in leaves.

    20:00; Times like these make me want to start smoking again. Not cigarettes – patently unhealthy! No, I used to have a pyro-proof suit; splashed cooking sherry over it, set myself alight, then – just wander

    20:10; We arrive at Tally Ho’s after a few stops; Atlas & Eve to rescue survivors from a building’s collapse, I to liberate pearls from a jeweller’s window. The wine, to help get smashed, got smashed in-crash.

    20:20; Tally Ho’s: Stuffed animals, yes; stuffed & mounted. Coloured rugs & scented candles, yes; tiger-skin rugs & blood-scented candles. Statue of Artemis, Picture of Echidna, the Horn of the Great Hunt.

    20:30; I give string upon string of pearls to Ho after Ho in apology for not being a bearer of good wines. Despite the ‘Ho’ title, men are welcome; expected, along with a bottle of wine, & book of spells. Tally!

    20:40; In a curious Fat Tuesday tradition, I meet one of the Fly girls. February, if I recall. Heavily pregnant – end of the week, I’d estimate. No husband. I knew her … great-grandmother: she would approve.

    20:50; Her family’s obstretrician has recently died. While her mother will midwife the birth, February asks if I can attend the birth, in a medically-accompanying capacity. As I say, I know the family: of course.

    21:00; Hark: its The Tigrrrl Ten & Jungirl Jen! Tom Cat, Persian, Cat’s Eye, Top Hat Cat & Il Gato Diablo Magnifico! Lioness, Paw, Kitty Galore, Sabre Tooth Tigeress & Feline Felix Devilicus Demonatrix!

    21:10; Varied origins & transformations into a cat cult community most magical, they sing in impossible upper scales & bear beat-beating vestigial tails. They primarily work a musical whose name escapes me.

    21:20; Tom Cat: Plays with boy kittens. Persian: Actually Iranian. Cat’s Eye: Sees in near-perfect darkness. Top Hat Cat: A cat wearing a hat made of cats. Feline Felix Devilicus Demonatrix: Hellfire clubber.

    21:30; Lioness: Queen of the Jungle. Paw: Mother to a 1000. Kitty Galore: Citizen of Ulthar. Sabre Tooth Tigeress: Extinct & acting on her instincts. El Gato Diablo Magnifico: Il Grande Tigre Libre’s partner.

    21:40; Jungirl Jen: Other Queen of the other Jungle. Animal princess from abandoned youth grown. Likes: Animals, Adventurers & Hunters-and-Gatherers. Dislikes: Pirates, Farmers & Slashers-and-Burners.

    21:50; They’ve made sung against do-gooder Dream Radio Martone in his Key of B Sharp, out-harmonised Viola Violent & Clarence Clarinet in their own tone & beat the “Love Handel Choir”, in a sing-off.

    22:00; To pass the time, I engage Senor Czeslaw Lucre in conversation. Apparently his wife has been badgering him to engage in the sport of her homeland, the football of the Americas. Example: term ‘sack’.

    22:10; ‘Sack: E’un termine del football indicia quando un quarterback e’ placcato dietro alla linea di scrimmage: La linea di scrimmage e’ una linea immaginaria trasversale che sepera l’attacco dalla difesa’. Yes.

    22:20; Of course I know the rules of the colonial’s crowd-killing passtime. True, it isn’t the sport it was in the early 1900s, with players smoking like chimneys, drinking like fish & 25+ deaths on field per year.

    22:30; Picked most of up while on retainer, to the Vaquero Majora, consulting on his brainwashed Cabellero horde. Picked up the football lingo in training the cowboy ranks, to avenge The Alamo, as a team.

    22:40; I explain: “Il football lo trovi ovunque in Texas. Football professionistico, football universitario, football liceale, football under 15. In effetti puoi trovare ogni forma di football tranne l’originale, quello …”

    22:50; “… europeo che si gioca coi piedi. Che molti texani considerano solo una macchinazione dei comunisti …” The Cabelleros: perfect. The MinuteMen, infintesimally small & many opponents: much better.

    23:00; In return, Senor Lucre tells me something of his own inscrutable card hobby. An interest shared by Tally Ho’s Witches of Wick, engaging in a game, with cards bearing colourful charicatures, & names.

    23:10; Senor Lucre says: “Guerreiro ganha de Troll, Troll ganha de Elfo, Elfo ganha do Espirito D’água, e basicamente qualquer coisa ganha do Coelho Encantado – A menos que tenha o Poder da Cenoura.”

    23:20; Mistress Til strikes: “Certo, Georgetta jogou seu Guerreiro Fantasma e vou reforcá-la com minha-Vinha Estranguladora.” Lucre counters: “Certo, entáo cortarei sua Vinha com minha Espada de Rubi.”

    23:30; Ah! “Náo tem chances de ganhar. Observando as cartas que já foram jogandas, Maiza só pode yer pocóes de invocacáo, que só tem efeito sobre espectros e vampiros, e náo há mais nenhum deles.”

    23:40; Unfortunately Senor Maiza is on Lucre’s team. Even worse: “As cartas que restaram na pilha: 4 Armas de Fogo, 1 Troll, 2 Ogros e 1 Joia de Osíris”, none of which could beat the witches. Lucre loses.

    23:50; Lucre is understandably emotional about my revealing his doom, aloud. Asking how, I tell him “Tenho uma memória eidética.” True – I do have an eidetic memory, but I mind-read to discern the cards.

    00:00; I then scribble down a system tailored exactly to defeat the witches. Some game theory true but, mostly, the habits I read from them. Oh, & off the back of that humiliation, the witches will bet very big.

    00:10; Witches of Wick wave slyly: they think I betrayed my Spanish associate for their approval. & these maroons are to decide whether I’m business savvy enough to join their little “bake-sale” association?

    00:20; No. They aren’t. Tally Ho’s Upper Rooms bustles with the earth-movers & world-shakers that deign to oversee such matters as my approval. Unapproved, I will be wiped from being, like an ink-stain.

    00:25; Ratman & Atlas are there & it is nice to think they’ll be voting my way. Nice, but wrong. They could have introduced me to The Market just to wield its full force to crush me, when I am rejected. Sigh.

    00:30; Templar & Spartan: known for their respective Public & Private Security monopolies. Like A’s & R’s Medicine & Weapons interests, T’s & S’s are so status quo as to be of House, as well as Market.

    00:35; Solely Market are their computers. Templar’s Aethernet is the foremost in magical computing, from using ghost programmers to abusing undead desk staff. Aethernet runs on flesh, & blood – not spam!

    00:40; Saintware is best operated by virgins; apparently there is no shortage of these in the computer industry. Alternately, Portal’s use of Damned processing rules but holes in the Fire Wall can result in trolls.

    00:45; Spartan’s DeLux, alien open-source code of the stars, from macro-circuit litho-computers seen from space, to binary quark calculus on subatomic scale. DeLux has all invading mothership virus codes.

    00:50; Insectile: Coccoon-computer’s acid-blood: proof against infections, except those they inflict on their owners. Reptoid: Egg-consoles code on a heat-sensitive system, in a version of the language: PERL.

    00:55; Here too, is the Bilderburg-Group representative. The Pope, the Queen, the EU, the UN, the merchant bankers, the stock brokers, the fairy gold reserves, the real-futures investments & Possibly God.

    01:00; In other words, The Money. He is quite nondescript, being well-but-not-showily-never-showily dressed. He speaks, quietly, to heads of fallen banks as to ones who have suffered a great bereavement.

    01:05; &: The Dragon of Germany, varied Benelux Dwarven cartels, a Vault-Keeper of Switzerland, the Godzilla Yen-Kaiju, sundry Red Collective Cells & a sentient S African diamond with bipolar conflict.

    01:10: The Upper Room bows to the Highest Common Height of The Dragon & The Godzilla, making this place truly a Dragon’s Den. With one tail-swish or flame-fwoosh I am dead. So: do they accept me?

    16:35; Telepath-clams spread around the lab’s entrance. A stray thought & they send a psychic shriek shivering up the building. A tap of my hat; I am mentally invisible. Trickier; scent-trained red-rose’s trellis.