Monday, April 30, 2012

To the person in the Czech Republic searching for information on Selma Botman


Either there are multiple people in the Czech Republic interested in the goings on at my university, or this is not the first time you've come here searching for information on the Selma Botman no confidence vote.  Either way, if you should come here again to read this, I'm quite interested in your story.

I haven't gotten a lot of traffic incoming from my own country on this issue, but you clearly know about Selma Botman, know that there is a no confidence vote, and want to know more.  Yet you live what is, I'm told, between 1/7th and 1/6th of the circumference of the earth away.

Are you a student or teacher who happens to be abroad?  An alumnus/alumna?  Someone who knows Selma?  Are you considering coming to USM?

What's your story?


As for what you came here about, I've been very tired lately and thus have not been staying on top of all the latest news.  The vote on whether or not to have a no confidence vote passed, which then left the question of how to go about doing it.  Similar things have been done before, but not the same thing.  Thus an entire process had to be worked out.

Selma has insisted on measures that, from my angle, look like attempts at voter suppression.  For example there will be precisely as many ballots as there are votes to be cast so that if a ballot should be lost or damaged in transit it will not be able to be replaced, the faculty member will simply not be able to vote.  An involved process requiring id and multiple signatures has been worked out which seems to be based on the idea of making as many steps as possible in hopes that members will fail to complete at least one of them correctly and thus accidentally disqualify their vote.  Other measures have been taken that appear to be taking aim at those members of the faculty who are currently elsewhere (it is never the case that every faculty member is in the area.)

Once the vote is taken, which will be next month I believe (though I don't remember exactly when, I'm almost entirely sure before the 20th, so some time in the next 20 days) there will be a committee to count the votes, which will include a representative of Selma's and there is some worry that this will turn into one of the recount fiascoes we've grown unfortunately accustomed to in this country these past 12 years or so.  That said, apparently there will be an outside observer (a lawyer of some kind) on the committee, so perhaps that will help keep shenanigans to a minimum.

And that is where things stand as last I heard, but, as I mentioned, I haven't really been on top of things.  Mostly I've been so tired I couldn't do much of anything.

It is especially important to note that my information could be out of date.  Perhaps things changed and the stuff that seemed like voter suppression won't actually happen, or perhaps something worse will happen.  I don't know for sure.


[Added:] For anyone who has no idea what this is about, I've previously brought up the situation at USM (hence getting me hits from people searching for "Selma Botman no confidence vote") in this post. Though not exactly in great depth even there.

My Zombie Apocalypse Team, Part ?: Semi-final Conversation/Confrontation

I should be doing other things, my brain isn't really working, and it's not that good.  Still, this kind of sort of came to me, though it needs work.  Couldn't figure out what JC and Bob Page would say, so I just stole their legitimate lines.  I'm not even sure if Tsukasa is in this scene, and... yeah.

It's something to post here until I managed to make something more interesting.

Also, Bella's speech should be more awesome.  I should probably work on that at some point.

Anyway, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, it is my general belief that Bob Page would still attempt to take over the world, and thus still need to be stopped.  Though, because of the larger problems presented by the zombie apocalypse and temporal anomalies and DVL and whatnot, rather than being the climax stopping him would probably be more of a stepping stone to the final final conflict.  (That's not an error, there are supposed to be two finals.)

So I wrote this, which could use a fair amount of work as it currently kind of sucks.

For those who have no idea what's going on, look hereish I suppose.


JC sarcastically noted that Page would “be the Supreme Enlightened, the Illuminated One.”

Page responded, in what would have been his best Darth Vader impression if he had any sense of pop culture, “Everett has taught you well,” which wasn't actually accurate. Nicolette was the one who taught JC the eschatology of the Illuminati and MJ12, Everett was content simply to tell others what to do. Anyway, Page was still speaking while I was thinking about that and I made note of how even with everything that had changed, hordes of zombies, covens of vampires, revolutions of werewolves, the introduction of magic, and so forth, this conversation was still following the script.

As expected, Page said, “I will burn like the brightest star.”

JC followed with, “You're gonna burn all right,” and then Bella, as she has a tendency to do, knocked things in a different direction. Sort of leftward I think. Definitely off course regardless.

“I've been to the brightest star. There's nobody there. That kind of radiation is hostile to most forms of life and it doesn't have any planets anyway. It's not even all that interesting. Don't get me wrong, it's nice, but if you've seen one blue hyper-giant you've more or less seen them all.

“Is that what you want for yourself? To be a curiosity all alone in the darkness?

“While you hide in this bunker working toward apotheosis the world outside -the battered, broken world outside- is falling apart. If you do become a god you'll be god of a desolate wasteland populated only by the shambling remnants of things that used to be human.  All that will be left is wreckage and the walking dead.

“We're trying to change that, you're trying to stop us. If you stop us what then? What will you do alone in the darkness? What kind of life will you have as the god of a world teetering on the barrier between dead and undead?”

Page didn't really have a response, he was never good at improv, he just said to all of us what he would have said to JC had Bella not interrupted. I tried to remove dirt from under my fingernails as he spoke, “Look at you: You're nothing but little people... little people still living inside bodies. Lose your bodies and what are you? Nothing! You vanish! You die...”

I took a deep breath as the realization that if I was going to say something it had to be now became unavoidable. Then I spoke, “So long as we're having this nice chat before you sic the machine guns on us,” I pointed to the turrets, “there is something I'd like to add.

“I know that you've been trying to kill us for about a week, and Bella and I have been slowly working toward your downfall for about six months, and you've been working on the whole world domination project for twenty two years or more, so it might seem like at this point everything's more or less carved in stone at this point, but that's not true.

“Nothing is inevitable. Your ending isn't written for you, you can choose to change your story. You can choose to help save the world, right now. We have a plan, you don't. You could join-” Bella yanked me toward safety as the the turrets started to warm up.

Once we were out of the line of fire she gave me the kind of look that demanded a response. So I said, “It was worth a try,” even though I had my doubts.

“My speech was better.” I couldn't really argue with that. Hers was.

“If you tell us where Aura is we'll let you live!” I shouted.  No response, not even gunfire.

“I don't think he's listening,” Bella said. Pretty sure she was right.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Avenging Jessica

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[Avenging is a participle modifying Jessica, just to be clear that Jessica isn't the object here.]
[Previously: Bella's response to Edward eating Jessica]

(From Jessica's POV)
He was too strong to fight, I'd tried that, I'd failed. I'd failed so badly that any further attempts wouldn't just be hopeless, they'd be tantamount to giving up. If I wanted to live through it I'd need another strategy. So I tried playing dead. I let my body go limp and hoped he'd think his job was done.
I heard someone come into the room, my eyes open but out of focus, looking in whichever direction my head happened to hang, didn't help me know who it was. Then an infatuated, "Hi," told me all I needed to know. Mike and I had been worried about the effect Edward was having on the new girl, if her response to seeing him killing me was simply to say, 'Hi,' then clearly she was too far gone to help.
I ignored her. My thought was, basically, "Let the bastard eat her. I don't care."
The pain of him trying to answer with his fangs still within me was almost unbearable, it was all I could do to stop from crying out. Bella said something, I didn't pay attention. He pulled his fangs from me, told Bella it was nice to see her, and then sank them right back in. Bella asked if he was having a good meal, I decided that when I was elected god I would create Hell just to send her to.
Edward said that I could use more spice, the expected population of Hell doubled.
Some more pointless chitchat, and then I was falling, Edward dropped me to the ground. I was still alive*. Hopefully lovebirds wouldn't notice.
Bella stepped on me. Bastard.
Eventually they left and I was able to assess the situation. Mike was dead as dead could be. I had lost much blood, I was somewhat faint, I was fading in and out of a dreamlike state, and I was in pain that defied description. Though perhaps it didn't defy simile. It was as if someone had tried to give me a blood transfusion, in my neck, but instead of blood they'd gone with boiling water, only actual boiling water would naturally cool down as it come into contact cooler things and thermodynamics did its thing. The pain just seemed to build and build on itself, reaching new heights that seemed impossible to surpass, and then surpassing them almost immediately.
I couldn't unclench my fists and could smell the blood from where my fingernails broke the skin.
I realized that this would be a long day.
I tried to overcome the sensations using things learned from fiction, but I slipped from fandom to fandom. I started with I must not fear, mostly because I didn't know a similar thing for pain, but also because fear is the mind killer, it's the little death brings on total anniliation, you see, but then I was thinking that life is suffering, and suffering is apparently step three of the path to the dark side, so life must lead to the dark side, the inevitable destination of us all, and then I slipped into the question of the value of pain:
You know that pain and guilt can't be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They're the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don't want my pain taken away! I need my pain!
And my response: Screw you, Kirk. This hurts like hell.
I was able to drag myself from the room, crawling mostly on my elbows, and eventually disappear into the woods. But the pain continued for days.
And then I was a vampire.
I returned to Forks under cover of darkness. It took a few nights to figure out what had transpired in my absence. Bribes had gotten larger. There was an attempt to sweep Mikes death under the rug, but it was proving difficult as the rug could only hide so much, dust and absences from school were one thing, bodies were another question entirely.
My disappearance was being largely ignored. Which I suppose was better than, say, having me blamed for Mike's murder. Charlie Swan seemed resistant to the idea of just brushing off a dead teenager. His daughter was doing a pretty good job of manipulating him though.
Tracking Edward revealed that he spent every night in the Swan house. I briefly considered arranging things so that Charlie would discover the little murderer in his daughter's room, but that seemed more likely to work out badly for Charlie than for Edward.
Still, the Swan house was the ideal location for revenge. At any other time, in any other place, Edward was surrounded by reinforcements. His visits to Bella were solo.
I worried, though, about his sister. Three times I was sure that Alice had noticed me, but all three she seemed to decide it wasn't worth looking into.
I broke into the chemistry labs at school, and prepared my attack.
(From Alice's perspective)
The future isn't something you just see. It's a probability distribution, the further forward you look the more muddled things become until it's nothing but an incoherent blur, even so some things can be clear, and it's always interesting watching things come into focus.
I knew that Edward would be arriving in a panic for five hours before he did, and suspected it 37 hours in advance, but it wasn't until 23 minutes beforehand that I knew the exact timing of his panic stricken arrival.
His attitude was, as expected, notably altered from his usual smugness, but the degree to which it was different was on the outer corner of the bell curve and really a rather pleasant surprise.
He was ready to break down the door, presumably because he was in too much of a hurry to unlock it, but I opened it before he could. When he saw me he said, "Alice, you have to help me." So, still an entitled jerk, as if I have to do anything he says, but the tone of voice was sweet nectar to my ears.
"I've told you all along, Edward, actions have consequences. Sooner or later you have to take responsibility for what you've done."
He pushed passed me into the house, called out the names of the members of our family, and only got silence as a response. "Where are they?" he asked me.
"I told them that I'd looked into the future and it was vitally important that they be in Seatle tonight."
"You what?!"
"Funny thing, after I told them that, them being in Seatle went from incredibly unlikely to the most probable of all possible futures. It's amazing how much a small change can alter the course of events." Speaking of which, continuing the conversation was bringing certain outcomes into greater focus while shuffling others off the scale of probability.
"But she'll be here any moment."
"Yes, she will. Maybe you should have thought of that before you bit her."
"Alice, I need help." In fact what was needed was for him to stay just a few moments longer. Strangely, suggesting that he run made him more likely to stay. So that was what I did.
"You are faster than her. If you keep running she might never catch up. Just be aware that she'll never stop."
"There has to be a way out of this."
"You tried to kill her, Edward. Broke our treaty with the werewolves while you were at it. What did you think was going to happen?"
"Nothing! She's a nobody. Her life never mattered, why would her death?"
The future crystallized. "Well, why don't you ask her?" I said, stepping out of the way to reveal Jessica.
There wasn't a lot of space to maneuver inside the house. Edward's speed advantage didn't account for much.
I offered Jessica the blood of a grass fed bull, but she didn't want it. As expected, she was somewhat pissed off at the entire concept of murderous vampires running rampant across the face of the earth. So I gave her the plane tickets to Italy I'd acquired for her earlier, some quick pointers on how to carry out a coup, and wished her luck.
The events in Italy weren't in focus yet, but they were tending toward good.
I lit Edward's body on fire.
* The temptation to have Jessica quote Still Alive was strong, but she's not a time traveler and that was well after Twilight.


[Previous][Twilight Index]

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Zombie Apocalypse Team, Part 2: First Encounter

[Previously: Part 1, General thoughts, Timeline.]
[Quick recap of the premise: The idea is that your team consists of you and the protagonists of the last three things you watched/read/played.  For me that means JC Denton, Tsukasa, and Bella Swan.]

At first I didn't notice, but as we walked down the corridor it slowly dawned on me, finally hitting me about three steps before we reached the ladder out. I pointed to the lights, “Are these headlights?”

Bella nodded. She grabbed sort of cylindrical container with a strap on it so it could be worn across one's back. It reminded me of either a quiver or the thing the declaration of independence was kept in in National Treasure. She put it on and I asked, “Is that...?”

She said, “Yeah,” then gestured to the ladder, “Come on.”

We came out of a hatch on the driver's side floor. Getting from there out of the truck was somewhat awkward, the '53 pickup simply wasn't designed to have impossibly large chambers in its floor, and thus not designed to facilitate ease of access to said chambers.

Once we were on actual ground, Bella told me to use the flute-thing, to teleport to safety if something went wrong. I asked where it would take me, and she said, “See the giant hula hoop in the back of the truck?” I looked, and sure enough there was a giant spinning hoop in the bed of the truck with blue light within it.

“You stole the Chaos Gate?”

“I prefer to think of it as salvaged.”

“Was it in open water?”

“Why should water have all the fun?” I had to admit, she did have a point. So I changed the subject:

“What's our plan here?”

“At this moment, or in general?”

I said, “Either,” then quickly amended to, “Both.”

“At the moment we're just trying to show you your first zombie, but in general we're trying to save the world. The truck is stalled out. I mean it'll still operate as a truck, or a base of operations, or a library, or a movie theater, or... well, you know. But right now it'll only travel through time at the usual pace.

“So, we'll be taking the slow road to 2052, when the need to save the world should really take off. Until then we should be on the lookout for automotive parts, and attempt to contain any zombies we might meet.

“Right here,” she gestured to the empty street we were in, “there is, I'm pretty sure, a zombie outbreak.”

I looked around the street, clearly a bigger city than I was used to, buildings that towered higher than I'd ever seen in person, then again, when the QE2 came to my town that boat was about 30 feet from being the tallest building around.

Anyway, big city. Notable lack of people. So I asked about that, “Are the zombies the reason there's no one here?”

“Maybe, but remember that-”
I remembered, and we ended up speaking at the same time, “the majority of the population died off,” which is kind of a weird thing for two people to say at once.

Bella looked around and picked a building, seemingly at random, “Let's start with that one.”


The building seemed to be an office thingy of some kind, and at first glance there wasn't much in it. I started checking the drawers of all the desks.

“What are you doing?” Bella asked. It was a good question because what I was doing was apparently useless.

“I told you, I know this story, checking everything pays off.” I found a drawer that was locked. “Can I borrow your screwdriver?” She handed it to me and I looked it over, it had some definite heft to it, and a sort of asymmetrical charm, not to mention, “is that a spark plug?”

“I worked with what I had.”

I turned it on and asked, “Isn't it supposed to glow?”

“No. It's sonic, not luminescent.”

The drawer opened and I was rewarded with a mini-crossbow. I gave Bella her screwdriver back and offered her the mini-crossbow as well, she didn't want it. “If I'm going to use a crossbow it's going to be full sized.”

“The whole point is that it's easy to conceal and doesn't make a loud noise when it goes off.”

“I don't care, if I'm going to use a bow I want a more impressive one than that. It's a fullsized crossbow or nothing.”

“If you're just going for impressive-looking why not use a longbow?”

“Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to keep a longbow at the ready.”

I didn't, so I said, “No. None at all.”

“Trust me on this one, once you've had to do that you'll fall in love with the crossbow's ability to hold its own string.”

And a zombie came out. Which was good timing because I honestly had nothing whatsoever to say at that point. I pretty much froze up in response to it. Bella bludgeoned it the the cylinder, which she then returned to wearing. “And that's your first zombie.” I took a closer look. It looked more or less like an ordinary person, just somewhat more pale and with the blood of its victims staining its clothes and the area around its mouth. Well, the nasty festering thing that I assumed to be rotting flesh was probably out of the ordinary as well.

Bella said, “We should try to clear this block before they find a way out. If we split up it'll go faster.”

I looked at the dead zombie, I said, “Ok,” in a way that demonstrated a total lack of confidence.

“Use the flute to teleport back to the truck if anything goes wrong.” I nodded. Apparently that wasn't enough for her, “Alright?” she asked.

“Yeah...” I tried to sound less uneasy, “Run and hide is basically my standard strategy anyway.” Of course that was in games. Not actual encounters with the undead.

Bella took the lower floors, I made my way up higher.

At first things were uneventful, a lot of empty rooms, plants being the only things alive in them. On the floor higher-than-I'd-like-to-think-about that changed. I was taken off guard by three zombies, I considered trying to take them on with the mini crossbow and decided that run and hide was a better solution. They were closer than I liked, the odds of me stopping them with one shot each were exceedingly low, and they'd be able to close the gap between us before I'd get a fourth shot off. I should have never let them get that close, and clearly I'd screwed up my first solo-zombie encounter.

So I took out the flute and prepared to flee. When a fourth zombie grabbed me from behind and I dropped the flute. I hit its head with my own, probably hurting me more than it but causing it to let go, and then ran like hell, I turned several corners, got myself lost in the halls of the building, and then ducked into an office with a closet, and hid in the closet. As it turned out, there was a shotgun, called a sawed off shotgun but clearly mass-produced to be that way indicating, to me, an unclear terminology.

Similar to the way that manufacture technically means “made by hand” I suppose.

Anyway, I was hiding in a closet, with my new gun, shaking from the adrenaline, and listening to the zombies, who had clearly caught my scent or something, make their way toward me in spite of my best efforts to lose them in the maze of halls. And generally assuming that I was going to die.

But I did have on thing on my side. As I told Bella twice, I knew this story, even if not the zombie parts, and if there is anything that my knowledge of the conspiracy riddled 2050s had taught me is that there's never a problem with just one solution. If I was utterly unconvinced of my ability to survive a fight, there was surely another way to survive this.

I looked around the room, through the mostly closed closet door, as the zombies made their way closer. Not a lot there, but then I looked out the window and had a plan. Not a good plan, but a plan.

When the zombies entered the room it wasn't just the four I'd bumped into before, it was probably every one on the floor. I definitely wasn't up for a fight, even being better armed. So I ran from the closet and used the shotgun on the window, from there I was on the fire escape and quickly taking that as far as it would go, which wasn't that far because the damn thing was broken but I was able to connect from there to a ledge, and then use that to walk across a sign, and pretty soon I was on top of another building.

Which was likewise infested with zombies. I guess they preferred to stay inside.

Now as it happened Bella was on the street for some reason, so I called down to her and asked her to save me. She asked about the teleportation flute, I said I dropped it and pointed to more or less where I figured it was. She asked how I expected her to save me, and I threw her the shotgun. Not all at once mind you, I didn't think it all that safe to throw a loaded weapon off a building so I unloaded it, threw her the gun, shouting, “Gun” and then threw her the ammunition (which had come with a convenient box) yelling, “Ammo.”

Bella suggested the roof of a third building as a place for us to meet, and I tried to head in that general direction.

Shortly after I started making my way there an entire floor of the first building exploded. I suppose I should have been worried about Bella, but my reaction was more of looking over my shoulder with a single eyebrow raised in what was doubtless an incredibly stupid looking expression of curiosity, amusement, and surprise. It seemed like overkill is all.

Getting to our meeting place involved me climbing the outside of a building, not something I'm used to doing. At a sumer camp I climbed a rockwall on occasion, the principal is largely the same except that the holds are better and there's a rope to stop you from dying on a rockwall. Someone once remarked on how quickly I went up said wall, it's not a reflection of skill so much a necessity.

See, I have an irrational fear of heights. The rope doesn't help much with that because the fear is, as noted, irrational. Sometimes it doesn't kick in, other times it does. If it does then any pause has the potential to send me into climb ruining panic, so I have to go fast because anything else will allow me to think about the fact that I'm doing something that scares me.

In the absence of a rope, I definitely had to go fast. If I'd stopped to think about what I was doing there'd be no way for me to actually do it.

As it turned out, the top of the building wasn't as zombie free as it at first appeared, and I did eventually put my minicrossbow to use.

When Bella arrived I apologized for being less than useful, she returned the teleportation flute to me (and tried to tell me that I wasn't that useless, but she's not a good liar) and we worked our way, together, through that building and the others on the block.

When we returned to the truck we had an unexpected visitor. I believe my exact words were an, “Is that...?” to Bella, and a, “Tuskasa!” to Tsukasa. He ran away. Or warped away. Teleportation-fluted away is the point. When I said, “He ran away,” disappointedly to Bella she said:

“What did you expect? You, a total stranger, ran up to him shouting his name like a fan from Hell. I would have run away too.”

“What was I supposed to do? I can't just meet him by appearing semiconscious inside of his truck.”

“Why not?”

“He doesn't have a truck.”

“I can see how that would be a problem, but charging up to a character you don't actually know is not a good solution. Why do you want to meet him anyway?”

Because I love the show he's in with an unhealthy passion and would like to give him a hug and tell him that everything will be alright, moreso if I can actually mean it. I didn't say that. I said something else which was also true but not a primary concern: “Because he's a really important thing and the world may hang on what he does.”

“And that makes him different from everyone else how?” Again, she had a good point.

She showed me to one of the guest rooms inside of the truck. I slept reasonably well.


[Some of this written while half asleep or more, if it doesn't make sense, that's probably why.]

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Zombie Apocalypse Team, Part A: Timeline

[Story fragment here, explanation here.]

Before the dawn of Civilization – Volturi founded.

1090 Hassan Sabah founded the Order of Assassins or Hashishim. This is the earliest organization to which the Illuminati can trace their lineage.

1118 – The Templars are founded.

1307 – Templars arrested across Europe.

1312 – Templars officially dissolved, surviving members go underground, forming a long lived conspiracy group.

1776 – Adam Weishaupt starts the modern Illuminati from scratch in Bavaria.  (Thomas Jefferson will independently do the same thing in America a few years later.)  This organization will survive unbroken until the secret war of the 2030s.

1901 – Edward Cullen born.

1918 – Edward Cullen vampirified.

1936 – Cullen clan moves to a town near Forks Washington, makes a treaty with the local werewolves.

1940 – Illuminati begins using smallpox vaccinations to collect genetic data on the population, this data will later be used in the breeding program to create a subject compatible with nano augmentation.

1950s – The Illuminati found two new branches: The Bilderberg Group and Majestic Twelve (MJ12).

1953 - Model year of Bella's truck.

1980s – Original Echelon system created.

1987 – Bella Swan born.

1989 – Bella's parents separate, Bella's mother takes her to California.

1993 – Bella and her mother move to Phoenix, Arizona.
   Estimated birthyear of Tsukasa's player.

2003 – Bella stops visting her father in Forks.
   The Cullen clan moves to Forks

2005 – Bella Swan moves to Forks, gets truck, becomes disillusioned with her story, goes on a long drive, meets an alien, becomes a traveler of time and space.

2006 – A genius named Harald Hoerwick creates a game called Fragment, which is picked up by the CC corporation.

2007 – Fragment, renamed The World, released to the public as a MMORPG.

2010 – Tsukasa becomes trapped in (the platonic ideal of) an online game called The World. Six months of (the platonic ideal) of the internet from this year were linked to the period from, roughly, mid Octoober 2051 to mid April 2052.

2012 – Increased instability resulting from Bella's attempt to cross the 2010-2052 barrier resulted in a handful of internet users, notably facebook users, from this year being bodily transported into 2051 on the leading edge of the anomaly.

2018 – Paul Denton is born, the most successful product of an Illuminati breeding program intended to create people compatible with nano augmentation.

2020s – Mechanical augmentation becomes widespread.

2023 – Paul Denton found to be compatible with nano augmentation. He is cloned. Clones will be experimented on for the next 26 years.

2028 – Testing on the first Paul Denton clones has some promising signs, the decision is made to create a clone in the same womb as Paul.

2029 – JC Denton, a clone of Paul implanted in Paul's mother, is born.

2030 – AIDS is cured
   The entire west coast of the United States is devastated by an almost unbelievably large earthquake.

2031-2032 – Midpoint of the anomaly. Entities from the (platonic ideal of the) internet began to materialize at this point, but before 2051 their impact was largely irrelevant.

2031-2035 – Several secessionists groups spring up throughout the United States, civil war breaks out. Mexico invades with assistance from Russia, the US teeters on the brink of collapse, but eventually stabilizes. MJ12 (led by Bob Page), believing that the Illuminati's non-response to these events is a sign of weakness, rebels and, by 2035, overthrows the Illuminati.

2035 – The biological parents of Paul and JC Denton are murdered by MJ12, because Bob Page believes that they are a bad influence on the brothers. The brothers are adopted by MJ12 employees. Paul heads off to college. JC is sent to a Swiss boarding school.

By the end of the 2030s the global population was reduced to 2 billion via a series of plagues. Vampires, immune to the plagues, were forced to adapt to a sudden reduction in their food supply. With the human population reduced to a fraction of its former size, but the vampire population unchanged, grazing patterns were altered. Some simply made use of the chaos to grab meals they assumed no one would miss, but others, particularly those who depended on tourists, were forced to abandon their old ways and look for better pastures.

The resulting instability caused a series of minor squabbles and wars between vampires, the casualties from which reduced the size of the vampire population to one more in line with the human population. As a result the existence of vampires did not become public knowledge, but in areas where battles took place it was a poorly kept secret.

2040 – Paul Denton joins UNATCO, the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition.

2042 – The NSF, originally the Northwest Secessionist Forces, is re-founded as the National Secessionist Forces. Most separatist groups in the US unite under its flag.
   Believing that the nano augmentation project is a waste of resources, and mechanical augmentation too clunky and conspicuous, MJ12 scientist Arthur Donovan begins to look for other means of human augmentation, investigating claims of individuals with superhuman strength and subhuman compassion.

2043 – Arthur Donovan's research brings a coven of vampires to his attention. He will spend the next three years chasing them.

2045 – Leon Woods, founder of the NSF, dies in an infamous last stand. So the story goes. But rumors abound that a ghostly white apparition of the Washington native was seen some days after the battle. Tales that he sparkled are assumed to be the result of inebriation.

2046 – The Upper West Side bombing takes place. The grid zoning laws are passed in response, sections of New York are walled off so that travel between blocks can be controlled via checkpoints.
   The Ambrosia project begins.

2047 – The Aquinas project, an effort to route all electronic communications through a single hub controlled by MJ12, begins.
   MJ12 first encounters reference to a highly advanced AI that existed in Japan almost four decades earlier.  It is hoped that information on this AI can help them combat Daedalus, a rogue AI MJ12 created that doesn't like their worldview very much.
   Arthur Donovan's team captures Edward Cullen. Research begins on how to give others Cullen's strength and durability.
   JC Denton graduates from the Swiss school.

2048 – Advancements from the Cullen research are incorporated into the physiopharmaceutical augmentation project, specifically the Series L agents. Initially it was believed that the only downside was the pale white skin and red eyes that the augmention resulted in. However when the first agents stepped from the artificial light of the lab into sunlight, Series L was declared a failure. The exact words of the assessing scientist were, “Let us never speak of this again.” Subsequent series would remove the strange reaction to sunlight. The albinism and red eyes would persist.

2049 – Nano augmentation perfected. Most Denton clones were destroyed.
   In the shattered remains of California, the first recorded case of a “sparkling zombie” was observed. Subsequent research indicates that it was the result of a vampire beginning to feed on an infected individual and then leaving in disgust because she “didn't like the taste.”

2050 – Paul Denton becomes UNATCO's first nano augmented agent.
   MJ12 is able to trace references to the Japanese AI to a game called The World, created by the CC corporation.

2051 – UNATCO bombs the Statue of Liberty as part of a successful ploy to use a terrorist attack on the US to make the US a member nation. UNATCO is rechartered, and Liberty Island is donated to it as a headquarters.
   The adoptive parents of Paul and JC Denton are murdered when they object to JC being recruited
   JC Denton joins UNATCO.
   The first significant, if relatively small, wave of the zombie outbreak begins, though it largely goes unnoticed as sick incoherent bitey people are nothing new to the world.
   Characters (notably Tsukasa), items, and monsters from the 2010 online game The World, begin appearing in reality as a result of the anomaly that will be started in the next year.
   The Templars are declared a terrorist group and (mostly) slaughtered. Zombies present during the operation infect several interpol and UNATCO members. These individuals are then sent to various MJ12 labs for study. This is MJ12's first contact with zombies.
   The Voluturi are declared a terrorist group and slaughtered. This occurs without incident. The bodies of the Voluturi are sent to various MJ12 labs for study.
   A group of MJ12 scientists under the leadership of Gary Savage quit their jobs at Area 51, steal everything in their labs smaller than a paperclip, blow up everything larger, and found the group X-51. They are, naturally, branded a terrorist group. They are not yet slaughtered.
   The Gray Death, an nano-tech virus, is unleashed upon the world. MJ12, which released it, is also the only entity with a vaccine, Ambrosia, which they use for political leverage.
   Beth Duclare, a former Illuminati leader, is assassinated.
   Bella Swan's attempt to push through the anomaly creates temporal instability throughout the entire period from 2010 to 2052 and results in her becoming stranded here. It also results in several people being pulled from near one side of the anomaly (circa 2012) to this point in time.
   Walton Simons, second in command of MJ12, is appointed to be head of FEMA.

2052 – A global coalition of resistance groups attempt to steal barrels of the Ambrosia, the vaccine for the Gray Death, so that it can be sent back to Hong Kong to be analyzed by the resistance scientist Tracer Tong.
   UNATCO plans a global raid on resistance groups to crush the resistance once and for all.
   JC Denton becomes an active duty agent.
   MJ12's attempts to retrieve information about the Japanese AI by accessing archives from 2010 results in them linking not the the archives themselves, but to the ideal of the archives, which, being timeless, is the same as it was in 2010. This, and an unfortunate incident involving Coca Cola, a control panel, and a fusion power generator, creates the anomaly.
   The second wave of zombies arise, in much greater numbers than the first. They come from two sources.  The first is that the anomaly didn't limit itself to The World, but also managed to bring in some contamination from a Capcom game. The second is that MJ12 base security really, really sucks, and several of the zombies they had been experimenting on escaped.
   Several vaccines to the zombification are developed, both by the resistance and the conspiracy groups, but none see widespread distribution.
   Order breaks down across the world. In the US, UNATCO and NSF troops find themselves fighting side by side against zombie hordes. Bob Page's plans for apotheosis will have to wait.
   DVL begins small, but overt, tests of her power over the earth.
   Bella Swan, attempting to return to her home time of 2005, encounters the anomaly. She attempts to force her way through it, becoming stranded in 2051.


[Previously: General Thoughts on getting the team together][Next: Story, Part 2]

My Zombie Apocalypse Team - Part Alpha: General thoughts on getting the team together

[Previously: Part 1: Boring Exposition]
[To recap, one's zombie apocalypse team is composed of the protagonists of the last three things one read/watched/played, thus for me JC Denton, Tsukasa, and Bella Swan.]

So the thing about my zombie apocalypse team is getting everyone at the same place at the same time. Now you might think, “That's not a problem, some people have characters from different universes on their team.” You'd be both wrong and right. For a lot of characters that's simply not a problem you just stick them together without explanation and go with it, but for some you'll need somewhat more thought than that.

So, for example, one person had Avatar Aang, Batman, and Katniss Everdeen/Twilight Sparkle depending on how one defined terms. Take all four of those characters, put them in the same place, and there's no explanation needed really. You probably wonder how they got there, but there's not a lot of problem with them being together.

Now imagine putting Flipper, Liet Kynes, and Neytiri together. Flipper is an ocean creature, take him out of the water and he dies. Liet is, as he said with his dying breath, a desert creature. Neytiri cannot breathe earth's atmosphere, and she's a forest creature. Put those three together and you've got serious questions about what it even means for them to be in the same place at the same time.

Are they in Flipper's domain, with Liet and Neytiri swimming and wearing breathing masks? Probably more likely that if it were going to be an ocean setting they'd sort of meet halfway by having a boat, with Neytiri in a mask, unless they're on Pandora in which case both Flipper and Liet are going to need something to breath through. Bigger issue that there's a pretty decent chance that Neytiri has never seen a boat, and Liet definitely hasn't.

Or are they on land with Flipper in some kind of mobile tank? And if that's the case, how much can Flipper really do from inside a tank?

Unlike Twilight Sparkle and Batman you can't simply say that they're in the same place at the same time. You have to come up with some kind of an explanation for what it means for them to be in the same place at the same time.

Tsukasa, JC Denton, and Bella Swan are sort of like that. Bella and JC have no problem being together. In fact, they have less trouble being together than the guy in a bat suit and the talking unicorn. You could assume that canon Bella just happened to bump into JC 48 years after she became a vampire. JC only ever seems to be out at night anyway, so sparkling wouldn't be a problem.

Tsukasa is where the problem lies. Tsukasa is not in the real world, his whole story is about being trapped in a videogame. He's inside the computer, though not the actual computer so much as the ideal to which the computer program points. (He's in the place where the game is real.) Even so, he's definitely in a game. Tsukasa's player (the person outside of the game) has a different name, different abilities, a different appearance, a different gender, and so forth. If we're talking about Tsukasa we're talking about the character trapped in the game while the player lies in a coma.

So how can Tsukasa and JC and Bella (and I, my understanding is that I'm supposed to be on this team too) all be in the same place? In theory the non-Tsukasa people could log in, but then does that mean that the Zombie apocalypse is only going on in the game? If it is only in the game then that's not really what I tend to think about when I think about a zombie apocalypse. If it isn't, then why do people have the luxury of logging into a game?

Further, if a zompocalypse happens I expect that The World (the game Tsukasa is trapped in) will quickly become depopulated as people find that they can't afford to take the time to play while their neighbors try to eat their brains, and as the internet is killed off as a side effect of the the disruption a zompocalypse tends to create. Plus, at some point the CC corporation is going to stop maintaining the servers as employees flee.

It is possible to imagine a situation in which a character on a computer could be a member of a zombie fighting team, but as the electronic infrastructure collapses that's going to be more and more difficult, and more than that Tsukasa isn't interacting with the computer in a way that seems all that useful. He's not Tron, and will not be able to fight for a revolution inside of, say, Umbrella Corp's computers. He's inside the game, not free to ride a lightcyle through the mainframe. (And can't break free by making someone else crash their lightcylce into a wall. He doesn't have a lightcylce. He tried crashing a grunty into a wall, but that doesn't work the same way.)

No, to get Tsukasa, Bella, and JC in the same place at the same time requires some kind of crossover between the real world and the internet such that things from the internet, such as Tsukasa, end up in the real world.


Tsukasa's situation gives us the beginnings of the way to do that. He's not in the program The World, he's in the actual world that the program is meant to approximate. Like someone who was sucked into a book and didn't find herself surrounded by words but instead the things the words describe, Tsukasa is not interacting with the artwork but the idea behind it. He's in the ideal. He's in the place where the things imagined by programmers have physical reality. The program only allows for sight and hearing, but he can smell and touch, he can feel pain, he can bleed.

So we're already in the weeds of metaphysics and thinking about platonic ideals. It's just a matter of how we link the platonic ideal of an internet game from 2010 to the real world of 2052 so that Tsukasa and JC can be in the same place at the same time. Once we do that it's simple enough to bring Bella into things, if one goes with Snarky Bella, because anyone with a time machine that's bigger on the inside can't help but find themselves at the sites of temporal anomalies.

Now MJ12 has an AI problem when JC comes onto the scene. Based on stuff from the Illuminati they created an AI called Daedalus, who doesn't like them very much. At first they thought that they failed (for Daedalus was smart enough to not say, “Hi, here I am.”) But at some point they recognized that they'd managed to create a sophisticated distributed AI that was about the size and shape of the internet and thus somewhat difficult to combat. By the time that Deus Ex takes place in late April 2052 they're putting the finishing touches on the Icarus project, which is basically a modified version of Daedalus intended to be loyal and lack those pesky moral qualms that Daedalus had. But until then they've got this AI out there that's managed to (as a result of their own design) infect every net connected computer on the planet thus allowing it to effectively be everywhere and nowhere.

Surely they'd like to do something about that, the quicker the better. Now, as it turns out, Tsukasa was involved with two incredibly powerful AIs (and at least one other that, while not necessarily incredibly powerful, was at least an AI worthy of the name in 2010.) One of those was a sort of everywhere and nowhere deal. So if MJ12 found out about that of course they'd want to look into what had happened, and again we come to discussion of ideals.

In all likelihood, the AIs, like Tsukasa, weren't in the code. They were in the ideal that the code pointed to. (Which would somewhat help to explain how there were AIs in 2010.) So an attempt to access them would mean an attempt to access the ideal, even if MJ12 didn't know that's what they were doing.

And then we have a question of what the platonic ideal of a record of goings on from 2010 actually is. A record, like a story or a game, is something that points to something else. A record points to what actually happened. So if one accessed the ideal of a record, wouldn't that mean that the accessed what actually happened?

Probably not, but I need to get Tsukasa from the platonic ideal of a 2010 online game into the same place as JC Denton and Bella Swan. Thus the answer I'm going with is: yes.

MJ12, through fiddling with forces they did not understand, created a bridge between the real world of 2052 and the platonic ideal of the internet of 2010. Thus Tsukasa. Which brings up another question, what else might come through? Well of course DVL probably would, perhaps Macha as well. I'm not sure if the other player characters from .hack//Sign should (presumably that would throw their players into comas as well) but what about other games? Could that explain the zombies?

So I took a quick look and found a zombie game from 2010, and I figure I'll blame the zombies on that.

Thus, my concept of what happened is this:

MJ12 tried to access DVL and/or Aura by breaking into 40 year old records from the Tokyo servers of the CC corporation (they had to break in because Japan resisted MJ12 control) and in doing so managed to end up fiddling with ideals unbound by such things as time, space, causality, or refrigerator logic. This had the unintentional effect of bridging roughly the six month over which .hack//Sign takes place in 2010 with the six months between the Deus Ex intro cinematic and Deus Ex itself in 2051-2052.

This also picked some other things on the internet from 2010, most notably Dead Rising 2 (unless I find a better zombie thing) which resulted in major zombie outbreaks in 2052 with smaller but still significant ones extending backward to 2051.

This is the situation into which Bella Swan traveled and, not realizing that what was stopping her was a knot in time, tried to force her way through. (She thought the truck was just having some trouble.)

That attempt further destabilized time and space, causing several internet users to be bodily transported from one end of the bridge (approximately 2010-2012) to the other (about 2050-2052). This also had the effect of extending the active sections of the rift until they met around 2031-2032 such that while most of the bleed over from the internet to real life originated in 2010, and most of it ended up in 2051-2052, a small amount originated from 2011-2031 and a small amount ended up from 2032-2050.

This accounts for, amoung other things, minor zombie outbreaks dating as far back as the period of poltical instability following the events of 2030.

And that, more or less, covers it.

DVL can be assumed to be working toward world domination, the zombies can be assumed to be eating brains, Tsukasa can be assumed to be depressed, MJ12 can be assumed to be trying to find a way to turn this zombie plague thing to their advantage, and one can probably expect these two exchanges to take place:


Walton Simons: ...the rioting is intensifying to the point where we may not be able to contain it.

Bob Page: Why contain it? Let it spill over the schools and churches, let the bodies pile up in the streets. In the end they'll beg us to save them.

Waltom Simons: The bodies aren't piling up. They're walking around. Biting people.


I said, “I want you to consider what we're about to ask carefully because the fate of the universe may well depend upon your answer,” then gestured to Bella, who asked:

“Do you have a carburetor for a 1953 Chevy pickup truck?”

Nineteen fifty-three?” He asked.

“Yes,” Bella said.

“The fate of the universe hangs on a hundred year old engine part,” I added.


I meant to work this in somewhere above, but the opportunity never really arose.  It is extremely easy to find a lot of differences between Deus Ex and .hack//Sign, but if one wants to find similarities they too exist.  A great example can be found in the lyrics of one of the songs in .hack: "auguries of destruction be a lullaby for rebirth," you could not ask for a more poetic description of Deus Ex or or .hack//Sign.  Well, you could ask, but you know what I mean.

Largely unrelated, I'm not sure if I'll ever actually be able to write the zombie apocalypse team in action because I don't know if I can write either Tsukasa or JC Denton.


Next time, a timeline that I've already mostly written.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Zombie Apocalypse Team - Part 1: Boring Exposition

[According to Shiftercat, "The protagonists of the last three things you read/watched/played are the members of your zombie apocalypse team."  Which means that I have JC Denton from Deus Ex, Tsukasa from .hack//Sign, and Bella Swan from Twilight.]

[I'll put my initial response at the end, what immediately follows was supposed to be an attempt to get them in the same place a the same time, and in order to do that I went with Snarky Bella, master of time and space, because she has a time machine which really seems the only way to get everyone together.  Unfortunately it all got bogged down in boring exposition.]

[Plus I'm not sure exactly what to do because Tsukasa takes about six months to get going, where JC Denton is the sort of person who saves the world in a week.  Though he did take 6 months of training between the intro and the start of the game, so I figured one could have the incident start concurrent with the intro, and thus have Tsukasa approach readiness at the same time JC was ready for his first mission.  But then that means that the story has to last six months.  So... who knows?  Not I.  Boring exposition to follow:]


My brain hurt, as it often has a tendency to do. I couldn't decide if it felt like a, 'You've let yourself get dehydrated to the point of physical pain again,' headache, or more of a, 'God hates you today,' headache. I was sure that it hurt. I managed to move passed that little tidbit and get in touch with other parts of my body. It became clear that I was on a hard surface. Metal, paint, rust.

I groaned. It seemed the thing to do.

“How are you feeling?” someone asked. I didn't recognize her voice.

I opened my eyes, the room I was in was a very weathered red, looked as if it had somehow been left outside for a few decades. I pushed myself off the floor and twisted to face whoever had spoken. It took me a while to process what I was seeing. She seemed familiar, but the connection didn't come, then I asked, “Kristen Stewart?”

“Please, I have emotions.”

I pushed passed the feeling I might be going insane and asked, “Bella Swan?”

“Yeah. How are you?”

“My head hurts and I think I'm going nuts.” I looked around, a cavernous room, Irregular apparently useless spires obsured the shape, but in the center was an unmistakable hexagonal console, which appeared to be adorned with controls from the early 1950s. “Is this your truck?”

“It is.” She helped me to my feet.

“When are we?”

“That is an interesting question. I was on my way back to two thousand five when I sort of smashed into this weird link between twenty ten Japan and and twenty fifty two Nevada. I tried to power through it an ended up in, I think, twenty fifty oneish New York and the Santa Clara facebook servers from two thousand twelve or so. I'm pretty sure you got sucked in from the serverside.”

I thought that over for a moment, concluded it was six kinds of impossible, and said, “That is, hands down, the worst exposition I've ever heard.”

“I blame you.” She gestured for me to come to the console.

“Fair enough.” I followed her to the console, which seemed to predate color television but had a very nice laptop hooked into it via a tangled mass of wires sliced together and eventually ending in a USB cable. I looked over the laptop, discovered it seemed to be full of all kinds of information none of which made sense to me, and finally asked Bella what I was supposed to be looking at.

“Do you want more exposition?” She asked, and I was forced to admit that, yes, I did want more exposition, however bad it seemed to be at the moment. The story simply couldn't continue until we got passed it and my headache wasn't helping me in my attempts to figure it out on my own.

She punched a few keys and said, “As you can see, MJ12 made several attempts to hack into a-”

I interrupted, “Actually, I can't see.”

She pointed to the screen, “How can you not see?”

I looked at the screen, there were numbers, and letters, and more letters, arranged in a way that seemed to have some sort of structure but no discernible meaning, “That means nothing to me.”

“You're from seven years in my future, how can you not know this?”

“I just don't.”

She made a guttural sound of frustration and then said, “Fine,” somewhat angrily. She took a moment to compose herself. Calmer, she said, “Sit down. I'll tell you a story.” She sat crosslegged on the floor, I did the same. “Once upon a time there was a conspiracy called the Illuminati, but they got to big and complacent so they were killed off by MJ12. MJ12 wanted to control everything, but the internet proved too difficult to deal with as the volume of informaton exceeded their abilities to analyze so they tried to build an AI to do the work for them.”

“Called, 'Daedalus'. I know this story.”

“Yes, and after Daedalus escaped and began to work against them they worked on projects to contain and combat him.”

“Icarus,” I said.

“Not just Icarus.” That I did not know. “In their labs in Area 51 they searched for a way to combat Daedalus.”

“See, I would have guessed Hong Kong.”

“You're ruining the story.” She seemed like she was going to go back to it, but then said, “No. Hong Kong is where they're experimenting on Edward in an attempt to make vampirism into a viable form of human augmentation for their brainwashed agents. At this point in time,” She looked up at the console, but apparently couldn't see what she was looking for and gave up, “depending on when exactly we've landed, they've probably already removed the sparkling, though they'll never quite manage to get rid of the albinism.”

“Edward is being experimented on?”

“For a few years now.”

“Are you going to rescue him?”

“It's not high on my list of things to do.” She stared off into space, at first I thought she was looking at something behind me, but when I turned there was nothing there. Whatever she was thinking about seemed to amuse her somewhat. “Are you ready to return to the story?”

I shrugged.

She resumed, “Scientists from Area 51 discovered that a powerful AI had been involved in some shenanigans revolving around an online game in Japan in 2010, and believed that it could be used to defeat Daedalus. So they... I'm bored. Are you bored? I'm bored.”

I was somewhat bored. I said so.

“Then lets just skip the rest of this. I'll give you some excerpts: The AI wasn't actually in the code. Discussion of metaphysics.  Platonic ideals, yada yada, yada, an accidental bridge between the platonic ideal of the 2010 internet and the real world of the 2050s, so on so forth, some game called Dead Rising 2, da da da, now there are zombies.”

“Zombies?” I did not see that coming.

“Zombies. Would you like a sword?”

“Where did the sword come from?”

“The game that they were trying to hack into wasn't the zombie game. It was a sword and sorcery MMO.”

“It has sorcery and the best you can offer me is a sword?”

“I also have a teleportation flute,” she held out an instrument whose shame reminded vaguely of a raygun from a very old movie. I took the teleportation flute. “Come on, I'll show you the zombies.” She led me from the room.

[Continues with Part 2: First Encounter]


[My original response:]
JC Denton (Deus Ex), Tsukasa (.hack//Sign), Bella Swan (Twilight). Bella will date the
enemy, Tsukasa will slowly overcome depression with the help of his friends eventually reaching the point where he can stand up to the god of whatever world we happen to be in, JC Denton will save the world in less than a week. 
Even with Bella I think it'll be fine. 
Actually, if Bella learns from Tsukasa (they start in very similar places in terms of mental health) she could be a capable ally as well. And if we're going with Snarky Twilight Bella then it probably ends up a race between her and JC to see who can save the world first.

[Other things on this topic:]
   [Some general thoughts on getting everyone together]
   [A timeline of events]