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From The *Somewhat Twisted* Mind Of Dulux-Oz

Solar Power - Part 2

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“A Mr Sharashta to see you, doctor.” Feizenbaum nodded vaguely; his head still hurt badly from the 140° liquor the night before and he still had to face the fact that his hallucinated devil had left some disturbingly tangible evidence of its visit. He hardly noticed the handsome young man in the Games Workshop T-shirt slip into his office.

“Ah, Dr. Feizenbaum. If I may use a motoring simile here, I think your brain is still in neutral. Try engaging it into bottom gear. Do you mind if I unpolymorph myself?”

Feizenbaum was beginning to get the hang of this by now. “No, of course not”, he replied with a trace of hysterical grandiosity. “This is about Norbert Parkinson, isn’t it?”

“Uh-huh”, replied the angelic creature opposite, comfortably folding his wings around the back of the chair.

“You’re a planetar?”

“Been reading the game books I see. No,” this with displeasure and a trace of tetchiness, “I’m a solar, actually. The point of my visit is that Norbert Parkinson must not be released. He is too powerful a Reality Mutant. Your world couldn’t handle it; you’re mostly evil and almost without exception chaotic and there’s no doubt the other side would gain the advantage. The devils would like it because they could rule a chaotic world with little trouble and the demons would make lots of converts too. So we in Elysiunm consider that Norbert should stay here in the bin.”

“I can’t do that. He’s not dangerous; he’s here as a voluntary patient.”

“Like hell he is.” said the solar sarcastically, “Come on, doc, I’m a supra-genius – don’t waste my time. He’s here as a voluntary patient because you’ve told him that it’s either that or a sectioning job under the Mental Health Act. Like most people, Norbert doesn’t know the legal limits on your powers and you certainly don’t tell him. So he can be a ‘voluntary patient’ for some time… I mean, we don’t want him to suffer. Lay off the electro-convulsive stuff and the drugs and the psychosurgery – although I gather that the lobotomies aren’t so easy for you to get away with these days.” The solar broke off to inhale from a tastefully gold-handed menthol cigarette it had lit. In desperation, Feizenbaum tried to change the subject.

“You shouldn’t do that. Think of the health risks!”

The solar looked contemptuously back at him.

“Don’t be dumb. What’s that to me when I’ve got a Wish every day? Smoking’s one of the fringe benefits of being on this miserable plane. That and the sex, drugs and rock and roll. Definite deficiencies of that sort of thing in Elysium.”

“But… aren’t you Lawful Good? Isn’t that out of line?”

“Not at all. Fertility deity, very into intoxications and passions and all that sort of business; by the way, do you mind if I date your nurse tonight? I could only get tickets for U2, but it’s better than nothing and these Prime Material girls really go for a guy with a 24 Charisma. Oh, and it’s Neutral Good actually. You didn’t read carefully enough. Well, I’m glad you’ll be keeping Norbert here. I must be off now.”

“What am I going to do when the devil turns up? He’s going to incinerate me. There’s no saving throw. He’ll kill me.”

“No he won’t.”

“Yes he will.”

“Oh no he won’t.”

“Oh yes he will.”

“Look, doc, this is not a Punch and Judy show. Baazerath had a minor accident on the way home last night and he won’t be leaving his home plane for 666 years. You’ll be quite safe. But if you really feel it will make you better, I will cast a wish to protect you. But I was rather hoping to keep that for your nurse…”

“You foul chauvinist! How can it be right to coerce someone with such magic?”

“Well actually there won’t be any coercion. I have the psionic ability of precognition, so I know that. Don’t lecture me on ethics, Feizenbaum. Oh, and don’t drink so much either. That’s a health risk too and you don’t have wishes. Bye now.”

***

The freckle-faced girl smiled back at the handsome young man as he weaved his way to their table with two colourful ****tails in his hands. They sipped them appreciatively as they relaxed in the soft leather chairs.

“I didn’t enjoy presenting myself as a Pit Fiend first time round, I must say. Still, all’s well that ends well. Feizenbaum won’t he any worry now.”

Feizenbaum? But – Norbert Parkinson…?” The girl looked very surprised.

“Oh, Norbert was just the instigating problem. Feizenbaum might have taken him into psychotherapy and after a while Norbert’s stories just might have altered Feizenbaum’s thinking. Feizenbaum was the Reality Mutant: he was the danger. Although he has not yet taken up roleplaying games, it has crossed his mind to do so. But now, while he currently believes that devils and angels are real, he is so utterly confused that he will be incapable of effecting any major Reality Shift by constructing that dangerous reality altering game he had inside his mind in latent form. And after a while he will come to believe that it was all just a hallucination: idiots always do.” He sipped at the potent ****tail again, relishing the mixed flavours of the 13 alcoholic ingredients. “I must get the recipe for this to take home.”

“Are you sure about this?”

“Oh Yes. I didn’t explain in detail the key fact – that gating into this plane would be a lot easier, so far as this world goes, if that Reality Shift we were worried about took place, and he never asked. He may have inferred it, but I don’t think so. But keep an eye on him. Can you arrange to get Parkinson transferred to another ward?”

“No problem – I can get him transferred to another hospital next week.”

“Fine. Feizenbaum’s going to spend the rest of this week in an alcoholic stupor so that deals with everything perfectly.”

“So can we go and see U2 now?”

“If we must. You owe me twenty bucks for the ticket.” The girl protested. “Come on, these are the liberated teens. I’m a bit short until Friday. Anyway, look,” continued the solar, checking his digital wristwatch, “the concert starts at 9 but U2 won’t be on until 10 – 10.12, to be precise. Arsenal kick off at 7.30 and I’d rather like to see the first goal for Manchester for real – you never do get the fine-grain detail with precognitions. And the second-half brawl is a beauty. I can teleport us to the Wembley in time to see U2. The support band are awful anyway.”

“It’s a deal if you treat me to the concert”. The redhead looked big-eyed and persuasive.

“Oh, alright, let’s go.” The solar got up disconsolately, and walked off into the night with the 16th level cleric on his arm.

“So I was right to Gate you?”

“Oh, sure, the problem needed looking at. Anyway, visiting the Prime Material has its good points”, the solar said, cuddling her close.

“Beast. But what about poor Norbert?” He’s quite cute and completely harmless.”

“Oh, no problem. He’ll be released in 14 days; no harm done. Actually, his hospital experiences will have shocked him so much that he’ll give up roleplaying games for good. He’ll end up as a chartered accountant.”

“Poor little sod.”

The solar and the cleric meandered off towards the river, secure in the knowledge that the vast majority of humanity remained totally ignorant of extraplanar reality.

***

This story contains numerous Very Long Words and a helpful glossary is provided.
  • Consensually Perceived Reality: What gets published in the tabloids.
  • Drugs, Brain-damaging: See major tranquilizers (qv).
  • Electro-convulsive stuff: The technique of passing electrical current through the brain in the hope of putting it right when it isn’t working properly (well, more or less). Cf the time-honoured practice of kicking the television when it doesn’t work.
  • Epistemology: (1) Theories of knowledge acquisition. (2) The study of people affected by polish raw spirit (qv).
  • Hallucination: A veridical perception other people are too stupid, stubborn or unobservant to notice.
  • Liquid cosh: See major tranquilizers (qv).
  • Major tranquilizers: Chemicals of the phenothiazine class (but also newer substituted benzamides, thioxanthenes, etc). Used in the ‘treatment’ of persons with Serious Problems usually involving hallucinations (qv) and failure to observe Consensually Perceived Reality (qv).
  • Meso-cortico-limbic circuits: Interesting and complicated bits of the brain which connect the frontal bits to the bits in the middle, usually linked with emotion, perception, cognition and other Impressive Terms ending in ‘ion’.
  • Pharmacological arsenal: See drugs, brain damaging (qv).
  • Polish raw spirit: See drugs, brain-damaging (qv).
  • Prime material girl: Madonna in the best of health.
  • Psychosurgery: Lopping bits off the brain in the hope that this will put it right when it isn’t working properly (cf electro-convulsive stuff (qv)).
  • Psychotherapy: The practice of extracting large sums of money from people in return for mystifying conversation. Pioneered by the famous Viennese Sigmund MacLaren, known for his summary formula ‘Pounds from Platitudes’.
  • U2: A rock band liked by people taking major tranquilizers (qv).


***

This article is a blatant plagerisation of an article by Gary Holland that appeared in White Dwarf 78, June 1986, and it as been used without even considering asking for permission (but with many thanks).

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  1. LordEntrails's Avatar
    Thanks for the laughs

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