Comes An Asteroid On A Starry, Starry Night

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Nolis, Neptune

The mass exodus had begun.

When the scientists said that a giant asteroid was going to hit the planet and there would be no survivors, panic ensued.

The wealthy and elite were the first to fill the space buses to Jupiter – a longtime trading partner.

When the space buses returned to get more passengers they were hijacked by armed and desperate inhabitants. Only the strong and armed made the second wave to Jupiter. Then the space buses were grounded.

The remaining Neptunians had no way to leave the planet.

They clustered together in like-minded groups. Neltics gravitated to their kind, and Ulrians did the same. Some groups were new cults that sprang up a month earlier when the word about the impending asteroid became public.

Only two people on the planet were not worried about the imminent asteroid.

The wizard, Na-En Ree, and his young Neltic apprentice, Pit, knew a secret. Because they were outcasts from Neptunian society, they lived far from the big cities. In the frozen tundra near the Kper Mountain range.

Once wizards were universally respected and no civilized city went without at least a dozen offering good advise. They were respected. That changed however with the rise of the scientific elite.

At the turn of the new millennium, a scientific cult became increasingly popular. The inventions they came up with awed the masses. Advances in weaponry and space travel opened up their world. Then trade with Jupiter was established, forever cementing their leadership.

The old ways were soon forbidden. The power of the wizards was broken. They were hunted down all over the planet in one day of terrible reckoning. There was only one survivor… Na-En Ree.

He escaped the terrible purge with the help of a young Neltic runaway. He led Na-En Ree to his crude cave in the frozen tundra near the Kper Mountain range. The boy had been on his own for months, and missed having company.

The boy, Pit, was a clever lad and Na-En Ree soon made him his apprentice. He took Pit outside every night to observe the stars and planets in the starry, starry skies. The wizard read the stars just like a Neptunian could read a book.

One night he took the boy outside as usual, but this time he told him to record what he saw. Pit saw the planet Jupiter, its brightness like a thousand stars in its weekly orbit. Hours went by when suddenly a giant flaming asteroid slammed into Jupiter instantly pulverizing the planet and lighting up the galaxy.

The boy recorded the time and duration of the brightness until the growing dawn brought light to Neptune’s clear blue skies.

“As I told you Pit, the scientists were wrong about which planet was going to be destroyed by the great asteroid. This is important for people to understand. The old ways are best.

Go now, to Nolis, and spread the word my son, that someday I may return and share my wisdom until my last days in peace.”

The Chronicles of Pit and the Wizard tell us they succeeded in restoring harmony among the remaining Neptunians within two short years.

As It Stands, the conflict between science and magic is eternal.

Have Prophets For Hire

 

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Headquarters for Prophet Inc.

Β El Hierro, Canary Islands – 2064

Sergio Martinez, the front office supervisor at Prophet Inc., was going through a stack of requests from countries all over the world. The demand for prophets was endless.

Because there were only six prophets, the price to hire one was astronomical. They could only be rented out for 12-hours. Most requests lingered for years without a response.

The prophets were a result of a temporary experiment conducted two decades earlier by three determined scientists who died in a mysterious fire.

They had infused a newly discovered DNA link from a famous psychic who passed away at 124 years-old, into six embryos.

With loving care they were nurtured in the Prophets Inc. lab, then transferred into a world of their own, where only three Board of Trustee members, and two servants, had access to them.Β  They were provided with every need from the crib to adulthood.

The underground complex where they lived in El Hierro only had one way in and out. It was constantly guarded. Teachers taught the children that they were gods. That their powers of prophecy were unmatched by mere humans.

They were taught to have complete loyalty to the company. They learned how to focus their powers and, most amazingly, they were never wrong in their predictions.

They were the sole source of income for the company. A board of trustees had to okay every prophet rental. Every prophet could only be rented out once a week. The prophets were always accompanied by a group of special forces mercenaries.

There were three things the company didn’t know about the prophets.

The first, was they were able to communicate with one another telepathically since birth. The second was they wanted to be free. The third was nothing forced them to tell the truth about what they saw in the future.

The company never had to advertise its services.Β  Everyone in the world knew of their perfect reputation for predicting the future. The three male prophets names were; Elias, Samuel, and Jeremiah. The females were, Mary, Deborah, and Hannah.

The fact of the matter is they were all inclined to tell the truth. It was in their DNA along with their “god” gene. They were not dupes however. They were capable of independent thought.

Samuel was the first one to have doubts about who he was predicting the future for.

The company, a mining conglomeration, wanted to know what would happen if they worked in a known seismic area before bad things started occurring? How many years did they have?

The inhumanity of the request troubled Samuel. He knew that it would take 10 years before catastrophic changes would happen. He considered that and made a decision when they asked him.

“In two years you won’t want to be there. It’ll be unsafe,” he predicted.

When he returned to El Hierro he gathered the other five up and told them what he did. They all decided there was nothing wrong with him saving the earth from more destructive pollution.

But, Samuel’s act opened a Pandora’s Box.

The others began to exercise their judgements when asked questions. During the next two years customers started complaining – especially the mining company when it found out working conditions were still safe in the area they left on Samuel’s recommendation.

The Board of Trustees was worried, and confused. What was happening to their prophets? After analyzing hundreds of contracts the board came to a conclusion; the prophets were cheating the customers.

But why?

When the board brought the six prophets before them they came right to the point, “Why are you cheating our customers?” one of the members asked.

Silently the six polled their answer and Hannah spoke up for them, “Conscience. We have a sense of right and wrong,” she replied

Her reply baffled the board. How had they developed a conscience in their sequestered world? It was a defect no one counted on. They could no longer be counted on to give straight answers.

Sensing the time was right, Elias spoke for them; “We wish to be free to use our powers for all people at no cost. You can kill us, continue to hold us captive, or let us go with your blessings. We will no longer tell the future for money.”

The board buzzed like angry bees as they tried to decide what to do. The discussion went on for hours. Finally the president of the board delivered their consensus, “You may go free. But we ask one favor in return…will you tell each one of us our personal fortune?”

As It Stands, perhaps the most god-like thing about the prophets was their sense of fair play.

The Sage of 4th Street’s Deadly Game

 

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Psychopaths come in a variety of packages.

Some just kill their victims straight out with whatever’s handy.

Some like to play with their victims. “Cat and mouse” is a favorite game. It rings a bell among the unbalanced set.

Then there’s the more refined psychos who like to stage elaborate games with their prey.

That would be “The Juicer.” He’d forgotten his birth name years ago. One of the many street denizens in Los Angeles called him The Juicer once. He liked it, and kept the nickname.

The Juicer lived to play the Deadly Game. He invented it years ago and was still refining the rules and the roles of the participants. It took three people to play, not counting himself.

The best part of the game was that players came to him. The Juicer, also known by his business and stage name, The Sage of 4th Street, had a fortune-telling business. It was located in a nondescript neighborhood that only had a few old storefronts.

“Fortunes Told Anytime,” the sign outside The Juicer’s business read.

He looked for people who were gullible in their grief, easily hypnotized, and single. It wasn’t easy, and he often waited months before getting enough good candidates to play.

When the big day arrived and he had all three qualified gamers, the fun started. Each person was locked in a wooden box that was only three-feet high by seven-feet long. with air holes on the top.

A small speaker was inside each box. The boxes were the only thing in the tiny room with the concrete floor. One bright LED bulb dangled from the ceiling. The three unwilling gamers would still be sleeping off the effect of the drug he gave them.

The Juicer unlocked the end of each of the boxes. When they woke, they’d be able to crawl out. Then he went back up the stairs, shut the trapdoor, and went to his parlor. He could see the boxes and the room clearly, with the cameras he’d installed.

He sat down and poured himself a cup of tea from a fine China teapot one of his past victims gave him in appreciation when he contacted her dead husband the first time. He put one lump of sugar in his cup and glanced at the monitor. The room was also audio monitored and he could hear every noise.

Box number one contained, Dan Wrightwood, a thirty-three year-old vegan nature boy. In box number two, he had Linda Lunquist, a single 22-year old woman. Box number three contained, Elton Eisenberg, a 20-year old college freshman at UCLA.

He listened as they woke up, one by one, and realized they were in a box. The screams always provided a great prelude to what would soon come. He finally spoke to them, “There’s a little ring just behind your head. Pull it and you can get out.” Β 

The three wood boxes shook and all three of them slithered out on their backs at about the same time. Dan was the first to stand up and inspect the room. Linda and Elton slowly got to their feet by supporting one another.

They’d all been unconscious for over 24 hours and were thirsty and hungry. The Juicer savored their confusion for a few minutes before he announced, “I’m going to give you an apple. Enjoy!”

The basement door opened and he tossed the apple in. The three looked down at the bruised apple. Elton bent down and picked it up. “We can each take a bite” he suggested.

That was Day One, and The Juicer smiled in anticipation. Seven days later he announced that he was going to give them an apple again, “Enjoy,” he called out as he lobbed it down.

Now was time to make his bet. Who would be the last person standing? He figured Dan, being the biggest and strongest, would be the sure bet. But after watching them on the monitor another week, he wasn’t so sure.

Week three was a bloodbath as they clawed, bit, and hit each other until passing out. The combination of Elton and Linda versus Dan kept the game interesting. When he tossed the last apple down on week four, Linda was the only one alive. She died the next day.

The Juicer cleaned up all the evidence, until not even Sherlock Holmes could find a clue.

As It Stands, I’ve always been uneasy with fortune teller types.