Monday, August 30

two if by sea

"What do you mean you DROPPED him?" I paced back and forth across the laboratory as Kane shifted from one red-stained steel talon to the other uncomfortably.

"Doctor. You did say 'LET GO'. Twice. At the first command I presumed you meant to dislodge my claws from his..." I shut my eyes and held my temples.

"Alright. I understand. So Marcus is...gone. I suppose it's for the best..." Kane's beak pointed to the side as the iris of his right eye tightened.

"But Doctor...I saw your giant robotic squid recover your brother's body." I stopped pacing and stared back at the mechanical crow.

"Mr. Qork? I don't have..."

"It had your family crest painted on the shell, Sir. But the device did seem to be in dire need of repairs..." I covered my mouth with a gasp, and bolted upstairs to the Consulate library. Kane hopped along close behind me. I pulled the copy of the Heroic Adventures of Jeremiah Mason that Miss Nightfire had recovered from the dust of Steeltopia Library and flipped open a two-page illustration of a kraken rendered in shimmering metal.

"Was this what you saw, Kane?" He stared at the drawing for a few seconds, and nodded. I tapped my finger on the caption beneath it. The ILLUMINAUTILUS.

Meanwhile, the lights on the broken frequency helmet that I had set on my lab table downstairs began to flicker.

.- ... .... / -- .- ... --- -. / - --- / -.. .-. / -- .- ... --- -. / .--. .- -. -.. --- .-. ..- ... / .-.. --- -.-. .- - . -.. / .--. .-.. . .- ... . / .- -.. ...- .. ... .

Wednesday, August 18

not an angel when I die

A brilliant design I made for Mr. Qork, if I do say so myself. I watched through my frequency visualization helmet as Kane drew in his wings and plunged, opening his talons and snapping them closed again around my brother's shoulders as he tumbled. Once he was secured, Kane curved back to a steady altitude.

Marcus was captured in such a way that his face was staring up at Kane. My assistant turned his avian head sideways to stare back though an optic sensor.

"Your brother is rescued, Doctor!" he chirped as he banked in a long arc back towards New Babbage.

"Another one of your toys sent to murder me, Darien?"

I took a deep breath and addressed him through Kane's audio system. "I've finally figured out what you are, Marcus. You're a walking virus. Alive, you can merge on a cellular level into any organism and control it with but a touch. Even dead you are still dangerous, as your spirit you can possess any machine. Every device I've built since you stole my body before have subroutines installed, just to prevent you from using my work against me again. That includes Mr. Qork here."

"So you'll keep me in a brain jar, trapped between life and death?" He chuckled as he shook his head. "A Prince of Erebus has the right to choose..."

The camera's view of his indignant face dissolved into static, but was cut short by a scream. I shuddered when the picture became clear again."

"Doctor Mason!" cried Kane with alarm, "my talons snapped shut! I couldn't stop..."

Of course. I designed those subroutines to kill him.

"LET GO! LET GO!" I was screaming as I ripped the frequency helmet from my head and smashed it into the tea set on the carpet that I had already overturned. Wren backed away, cleaning rag still in her hand. She looked up at me with a slightly frightened look on her face.

"M--more tea, Father?"

Monday, August 16

Audio Assault: Canolli Capolini vs. Darien Mason!

canolli.capolini: Who needs Whitney Houston.. we have Lin Yu Chun now...

me: To which I must respond with

canolli.capalini: I call your really bad karoake and raise you

me: I have a Swedish bluegrass band singing about Ragnarok. That renders your argument invalid.

canolli.capalini: I submit a bluegrass band doing Highway to Hell (and yes, I have these albums)

me: (I had friend in my college dorm who did a bluegrass version of Crazy [Freight] Train)
Yes but do you have...
Communist Japanese klezmer!

canolli.capalini: (cracks up)

canolli.capalini: ROFLMAO
no.. but I do have Lounge Singer extraordinaire..

me: I find the riff stolen from Sesam Street more disturbing than the lyrics.
canolli.capalini: You should hear his version of Come out and Play by the Offspring..
he has personally ruined half the music I held dear to my heart.
makes me want to shout Mazel tov every time
me: besides, lounge NiN? Done before:

Pig - Head Like A Hole
canolli.capalini: lol

alright alright.. German country band doing Depeche Mode..

better yet.. doing Madonna..

Texas Lightning - Like a Virgin
me: Alright, the steel guitar lends itself to that format.
me: I prefer my Madonna with a touch of Industrial.

canolli.capalini: oh i've heard that before! that's great!..
me: and speaking of things that should not be...

Beatallica - Thing That Should not LET IT BE
canolli.capalini: NOOOOoooooo!
me: YES!
Roll a SANity Check!
canolli.capalini: okay, i'm countering with Summer Breeze.. but i don't think it tops that.

Type O Negative - Summer Breeze
me: Heard that one, emphasis on the shadows in the mind
You know I have to blog this conversation, right?
canolli.capalini: I kind of assumed
this is all sorts of awesomeness
me: /me nods.

canolli.capalini: and it would not be complete without Shoggoth on the roof, you know that..

If i were a Deep One-Shoggoth on the Roof
Sent at 9:39 AM on Monday
me: Devil Reef, you say?

canolli.capalini: oh..that's priceless.. this doesn't top it, but is disturbing in it's own right.. Japanese girl band doing 1970's american pop band covers.

me: I need a bowl of motzoh ball soup and pint of Guiness to wash that down:

canolli.capalini: if you're going the way of mashed potatoes.. seasame street is coming back..

me: OK, that is awesome
I have no choice but to unleash my secret weapon
canolli.capalini: raises an eyebrow
me: You've been KURTROLLED!

canolli.capalini: omg
first off, is that what Rick Astley looked like? geez.. and secondly.. it's a beautiful harmony in minor keys..
me: let's call it a tie before someone bursts an ear drum!
canolli.capalini: wait.. i have one more if I can find it..

this one tops it.. and I have DJ Dregg Gothly in SL to thank for it.
for the knowledge of it, rather.
Sent at 9:54 AM on Monday
me: wow. closest thing I have to that is

canolli.capalini: well, I have to hand it to you.. your prowess at finding obscurity in tunage is impressive.
me: as is yours, Madam. A toast to Dr. Demento!
canolli.capalini: here here..
canolli.capalini: just as an afternote, for s&g's.. in your spare time (and not for blog content) you might do a search on "Predator Sings" on youtube..

me: Cowardly Lion? O__o
canolli.capalini: it's .. different.
me: /me jumps ship!

Sunday, August 15


I was sitting in my favorite chair in the smoker's lounge of the Wulfenbach Consulate in New Babbage. Although Wren was placing the tea set on the low table in front of me, it was not to her that I was speaking. In fact except for the soft clink of the tray resting on the table, I would not have noticed her presence at all.

Rather, I was speaking through the microphone of a rather bulky helmet attuned to my assistant Kane Qork's sentience frequencies. Through the replacement construct body I had built for him in the shape of a crow (he was at one time a gargoyle who fell victim to New Babbage's absurd city planning policies) I was watching the unfolding battle against the demon-wasp invasion from a safe distance.

Kane was perched on the floating Hassanov ironclad, which was providing a steady barrage against the hydrogen-filled Vesprium airships. The enemy fleet was definitely thinning out. We had not seen any new ships emerge from the gigantic red portal for over an hour since the Wasp Queen herself emerged from the hellgate.

"This big bug is much faster than the airships," the pilot, a veritable walking tank known as Iason Hassanov, observed grimly from the battle bridge. "Movements are impossible to track. Cannons will be ineffective against it from this distance."

"I am not familiar with the powers of the Vesprium Queen, Agent Hassanov" I replied through Kane's acoustic system, "but I do know we must..."

Kane's telescopic irises suddenly magnified with a speed that nearly made me nauseous (this is why I had Wren brew me chamomile). It was a human...male...plummeting from center of combat where Bloodwing and an apparent angel (some newfound ally to whom I was not yet introduced) were in a dogfight with the Queen.

"He looks just like you except for lack of facial hair, Doctor!" chirped Kane.

"Just like...?" I jumped from my seat, accidentally flipping over the tea set. "DEAR GOD THAT'S MY BROTHER MARCUS! CATCH HIM!"

Tuesday, August 10

I've gone to Fallen London!

Well, not *me* me. Another version of me. In a parallel universe, you might say. In a city pulled into the underworld. A capital now located East of Hell and ruled by the Bazaar, a greedy cabal of an unguessable species. It's a city where rats and mushrooms are the staple diet. Where royalty and urchins alike endure nightmares not entirely their own. Where clergy and ambassadors of Hell vie for your immortal soul. It's stocked with spies and pirates and monster hunters. Populated with stoic golems and walking squids, whispering cats and mechanically inclined rats. A world where ancient plaques can set your eyes ablaze and your reflection never quite copies you the way it should.

I invite you to read The adventures of one Doctor Darien Mason in Fallen London. If you dare.

Tuesday, August 3


Blind, transparent fish slither over the spiraling metal shell of a vessel now half-buried in the silt of the ocean floor. The only illumination comes from their phosphorescent lobes of their antennae. A tremor causes the fish to scatter. A layer of sand slides away, cutting the darkness with a malevolent jade glow radiating from a convex porthole.

Were one able to survive the crushing depths, one might dare to peer through into claustrophobic corridors choked with rusted devices and floating skeletons, still clad in their black uniforms and yellow armbands. The design on them is unmistakable. The black ziggurat supporting a pillar of flame, flanked by red demon wings. The corpses lurch slightly with each new tremor. The shockwaves are coming from within the vessel. In the center, where the glow is strongest. The choking darkness of the abyss cannot reach this chamber where the orb, twice the size of a man, rattles against the steel cables and copper tubes that secure it to the inoperative consoles attended by half a dozen lifeless quislings. Within the murky cloud of the orb itself, bare fists pound relentlessly against the sphere.

A face presses to the glass, his unkempt beard hinting to the length of his imprisonment and his eyes consumed with madness. He stares at the machine that sustained him. The last drop of elixir in the glass tube is drawn by pressure into the orb. No one can hear his curses. If one did, they would shrivel a man's soul. Again he pounds the orb with fists and bare feet. Each time they pierce the opaqueness of the solution within. they seem larger, more twisted. Cracks begin to spread like spiderwebs across the surface. In an instant, he is free, floating in the glittering remains of the glass sphere and reanimation fluid swirling in the water around him. The man is only recognizable as Jeremiah Mason for a moment before his features flow like wax, and he expands into something far less describable.

The ship trembles, the ocean floor's quiet is disturbed not by the throbbing of destroyed engines, but by the rhythm of a heartbeat. A massive eye fills the pace of the porthole, and rotates and blinks with opaque membranes that wrap around it like a burial shroud and quickly retreat. A cloud of dust rises about the ship as rusted tentacles spring to life, digging the rest of the ship free from debris. It is a ship designed in mimicry of a nautilus, a beast of such size that could only have roamed the seas when the world was young. With a quickening pulse setting the rhythm to the fluid motion of its manipulators, the living ship rises. Only after it has ascended so far that the green radiance of its dozens of portholes no longer trace curves across the ocean floor do the colorless fish timidly return to the spot where they had gathered, now a jagged crater in the cast of a submerged terror forgotten and now reborn.

*The author wishes to thank Torley Linden for the name by which this abomination has been christened.