Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


The Chrome Girl

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Sheep which is mid-afternoon.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I remember the Chrome Girl.
She was a Gift-Giver and I was a Quester. She had magic and I wanted it, no matter the price.

It was the Summer between my Freshman and Sophomore year of college and the Magic Plague was still new. People were changing as fast as the times. Magic was everywhere. There weren’t any laws to limit it yet, so anyone who had any magic threw it around pretty carelessly. But, it was something that mankind had dreamed for for centuries, so we embraced the changes with out thinking of the dangers.
I was no different. I grew up reading comic books. When I was in the lower grades, having super powers was all I thought about. I always wanted to fly. Wings, no wings. It didn’t matter. I just wanted to fly like a superhero.
No one can remember when the first sorcerer showed up, but I can remember the first time I saw magic in person. It wasn’t the Chrome Girl. She came later. The first was a guy juggling fire on the library quad at college. He didn’t even move his hands. Just held them there and the balls of fire danced around in a circle.
I was hooked.

By that time, everyone knew how you got the magic. It was like the Clap or herpes. I guess you’d call it a down-side, but it didn’t seem that way to a college kid. Magic as an STD? Hey, that was just a bonus. Get lucky one night and you might walk away with the power to read minds.
Of course, no one talked about the guy who was always on fire. Or, Mister Midas who, like his mythological namesake, turned everything to gold. His heirs didn’t even end up with much, since it wasn’t even real gold. Just pyrite. Fool’s gold.
In the end, I guess that’s all it was for any of us.

But, I was young and stupid, so I started hanging around with some of the Changed. I got to know some, but none that wanted to share the Gift. They tolerated me, though, as long as I bought more than my share of the drinks. Then, the Chrome Girl showed up. She didn’t seem to mind that I was just a Quester. That’s what they called guys like me back then. Those fools who chased magic thinking we understood the risks. Hell, back then, no one understood the risks.
But, the Chrome Girl didn’t care. She was willing to share the Gift. We had sex three times before I caught it and started to change. She didn’t even mind that I wasn’t very good in bed. After I caught the Plague, she told me about her life before she changed. She even showed me a picture of herself taken at her prom the night before she caught it. Her date had blue fire instead of hair and his eyes were silver. She was sort of plain, though. Just another mousy brunette. Nothing all that outstanding about her. Not bad looking or homely or anything, but not spectacular, either.
“My God, if that’s how she started out then what’s going to happen to me?” That’s the last thing I remember thinking before the pain started.

Three hours later, I was in a coma that lasted a week. When I woke up the first clue I had that I was “different” was the forced smile on the nurse’s face. Underneath her smile, I could see the fear. Hell, I could smell it. Literally. I tried to reach up and touch my face, but my arms were in restraints. My hands had changed into claws. I had paws like some kind of demonic monkey.
Once the nurse understood that I was still human, she tried to talk to me. It was hard for me to talk, at first, but I got used to the extra teeth and the jutting jaw pretty quick. It took me a few minutes to get her to understand that I wanted to see my face. She hesitated, so I knew it had to be bad, but she got me a mirror anyway.
While she was away, I found that my back hurt. Like there were too many muscles knotted up under my shoulders. I started to panic a little wondering how horrible I really looked. Was I going to be like the Elephant Man? What had I done to myself? What she showed me in the mirror was better than that. And, worse, too.
I was a demon. At least, that’s how I looked. Horns on my forehead. Sharp teeth forcing themselves out of my mouth. The whole thing. It was pretty bad. Then, I saw the wings.

Well, I got my wish. I can fly now. Of course, I usually only fly at night, thanks to the fundamentalists. They use my picture all the time. The horrors of the Magic Plague, they say. They point to me as the Anti-Christ. Idiots. My lawyers are always busy suing one group of them or another. Defamation of character, slander, or whatever else they can make stick.
So, I take my little night flights and I remember the Chrome Girl who made me what I am today. You know, she joined one of those fundie churches. Every so often they show her screaming for my blood. I try not to be bitter, but it’s kind of ironic, isn’t it? She gave me the Gift, but now she calls me evil.


SciFi Haiku?

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Science Fiction Haiku?

Well, why not? I was looking for something on haiku online today and found, indirectly, It’s a relatively new form of haiku that is inspired by, obviously, science fiction. There are some differences, of course. Traditional haiku usually has a reference to the seasons and nature, but scifaiku refers to something science-fictional. The site has some examples and a bit of the history. It’s neat. Check it out!


Dolphin Soldier

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Military Fish.

Well, actually, they’re still mammals, but you get the idea. William Gibson created a character for Johnny Mnemonic that was a military veteran who happened to be a dolphin. Jones, who showed up again in Neuromancer, if I recall, had advanced sensors and software hardwired into him that was useful for extracting information out of people’s electronic heads. His background was military intelligence, specifically RECON. He found, and tracked, enemy submarines and mines. At the time I read about Jones, he seemed like pretty far-future fiction. But, then I saw this… View image on MSNBC News.

So, military dolphins. I wonder what they’re paid? What kind of retirement benefits do they get? What’s their length of service? Do dolphins have conscientious objectors? The possibilities are mind boggling. And, it’s interesting to see that it’s not as far-future as I thought.

But, isn’t it ironic that we’re using marine mammals in a desert war?


Holistic Pet Health

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Herbal remedies for pets?

Recently, we got a new puppy, and it started me thinking. With all the “natural” medicines for people, why not for animals, too? We’ve been domesticating animals for quite some time and have pretty advanced medicine to help heal them. But, what about when alchemy was the science of the day? Did we “bleed bad humours” out of animals, too? Did the local “witch” concoct herbal remedies for the local farm animals and pets? I suspect so. What about other cultures, though? Did the ancient Egyptians? How about the ancient Chinese or Japanese? I don’t know.
But, when one thinks about it, it makes sense. These domesticated animals can represent a significant investment that a farmer would want to protect. And, quite often, what works on people works on animals, too. Especially dogs and cats. Of course, there are cultures that would not think of animals as “companions” at all. For instance, the old Arabic view of dogs as “unclean”. Certainly, these are important things to think about for a well-rounded, fictional world. These are things we tend to take for granted, but how do people really feel about pets? The answer to that question, of course, raises many more. All of the answers, though, can say quite a lot about a created world or culture.

Something to consider the next time you pass by a petstore.


Dick Tracy here I come!

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

The wrist computer comes of age.

Finally, one of the promised future technologies arrives. Remember the Dick Tracy cartoons? They always had these wrist communicators complete with visual interface. Well, guess what? Fossil is set to start making them!
Well, they don’t let you see other people yet, but they do let you take advantage of wireless communication to get all kinds of interesting data. They actually seem to have two models, depending on what you want to get done, but either way it’s cool. Now, this is what I call a Personal Digital Assistant!


Ars Magica for FREE

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Get the Fourth Edition rulebook for FREE!

Yep, that’s right, you can get the Ars Magica Fourth Edition rulebook for free from Atlas Games Ars Magica website.
It’s a pretty cool game and a great concept. This is the entire rulebook, not an introductory booklet, mind. Their idea is to get you hooked on what a great game it is and then get you to buy the bound copy and the supplements. I hope it works, because it beats the normal RPG model for profitability.

Good luck guys!


Sleep Deprivation

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I think I’m starting to see things.

No, seriously, I’m so tired that I think I’m starting to hallucinate. Oh, just little stuff, really. Shadows that aren’t there. Creepy crawlies that are just at the edge of my vision, but disappear when I turn my head. Just little things. It’s not like I’m hearing voices or anything.
You’d think having visions would make me more creative, though, right? Nope. Not at all. In fact, I’ve been less creative this week than I normally am. And, I don’t see much relief in sight because we’re adopting a puppy this weekend. Though, I might be inspired to write a dog story or two. I’m so excited about it, I baked dog biscuits last night.

Ah, well, sleep and creativity are both over rated.


Happy Birthday, Bill!

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is a Full Moon

Today is William Gibson’s Birthday!

For those of you who have been hiding under a rock, or are freshly hatched from the Great Egg, William Gibson is the father of the cyberpunk movement. He’s generally credited with coining the term “cyberspace” and popularizing a somewhat more realistic, or bleak, view of the future.
He also ran away to Canada in 1968 to avoid the draft. Which is the only bad thing I can say about him. I otherwise admire his work and thought processes. Certainly his literature is beyond compare.

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