Monday, March 27, 2017

Tell Me A Story

Tell Me A Story
Mark A Davis

In Cleveland, Ohio, could be found a run-down, non-descript house of moderate size.  The paint was peeling and the lawn was overgrown.  None might suspect that this was the headquarters of a superhero group known as the Continuity Crusaders In fact, few would even have heard of that group, because it operated in secret.  Their missions involved time-travel into the past, to verify obscure facts or to fix things that no one else considered a problem.

This was also the location of the Grandpa Anarchy fanclub, not to mention the fanclub for the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice cartoon show.  The headquarters of a secretive time-travel superhero group might be difficult to locate, but the location of both fanclubs were printed in the official fanclub handbooks.

The doorbell rang.  The person who answered was known as En -- full name Ellen Nowak -- one of two assistants who worked for the supergroup.  She wore a Girls of Two-Fisted Justice tee shirt and jeans, and had brown hair to her shoulders and thick glasses.  "Yes?" she said.  "Oh -- it's you."

The young girl who stood on the porch wore a long gown of purple, with a silver tiara with a quill pen studded with amethysts.  A large leather messenger bag was slung over her shoulder.  "Yes, it is I -- the Princess of Purple Prose," said the girl.  She was a former sidekick of Grandpa Anarchy, and known for her web site on which she published fictionalized accounts of her adventures with Grandpa and of Grandpa's past.  "Is  the woman known as Miss Kid Continuity to be located on the premises?"

En's eyes narrowed.  "She's here," she said.  "Her name's Continuitae by the way.... and I'm not certain she wants to see you."

"Oh?  Her name is Sarah Mickens, if one desires to become technical," said the Princess of Purple Prose.  "However, I am given to understand that you are in the market for some additional administrative and secretarial aid in your group's endeavors...."  The ad had, of course, not specified how to contact the group -- if you couldn't figure that out, then you weren't the right sort of person for the job.

"A secretary, yes," replied En.  "Are you seriously suggesting that you came to apply for that position?"

"I am," the Princess replied.  "Although I am also in possession of a suggested endeavor involving certain matters regarding Kid Anarchy's past, and the documentation thereof... in short, I have a specific proposal for Miss Continuitae that I am hoping she will be amenable to listening to."

En's eyes nearly glazed over.  After a moment she said,  "Um... okay.  I guess you might as well come in...."

En led the Princess of Purple Prose through the front half of the house.  As they walked, the Princess said, "I am under the impression that everyone in the supergroup dwells at this location save for the bride of the Monkey King...."

"Sarah and Freya live here," said En, "and Tim, and Twenty, and Bryce of course.  He's the other time crisis specialist...."

"Ah, yes, the younger sibling of Natural Twenty I believe."

"Her kid brother, yes," said En, leading her into the living room.

Two women were seated on a couch.  An episode of Girls of Two-Fisted Justice was playing on large screen, while another screen on the side wall was blank.  The first woman was clearly the one formerly known as Kid Continuity.  She wore a Grandpa Punched First tee shirt and shorts and sported long brown hair in a pony tail.  The other woman had long blonde hair and wore jeans and a My Little Pony tee shirt.

Sarah Mickens frowned.  "Oh, it's you," she said.  "What can I do for the mighty Princess of Purple Prose?  If this is about allowing fanfiction on the Grandpa Anarchy fan site, then I'm not changing my policy.  Sorry."

"No, it's not that," said the Princess of Purple Prose.  "My reasons for this visitation are twofold:  first, I am legitimately interested in the secretarial job.  I have no prior work experience other than  freelance writing sales, but I have excellent organizational skills, am exceptionally well-spoken and cheerful on the phone, and my typing speed is quite good."  She paused, smiling, and added, "As to the second part of my two-pronged endeavor:  I have a proposal for you of which I believe you may find intriguing.

"I have been doing research into the history of Mister Anarchy, and focusing specifically on his early years as Kid Anarchy, and on the companions whom he worked with in the 1920's.  Little is knows about most of these women and Grandfather Anarchy himself has rarely spoken about them.  However, I believe I've assembled enough information to suggest that a book on the subject would be a worthwhile endeavor.  Of course, I am given to understand that your particular methods of research are, quite naturally, more direct than mine...."

"A book on Kid Anarchy and his companions from the 1920's?" Sarah replied.  "As it happens, I'm already in the process of writing such a book.  My coauthors are Freya here, and Annie Two."

The Princess of Purple Prose glanced sideways at the other woman on the couch.  "Who is Annie Two?" she asked.

"That's short for the Anarchy Computer Mark II," Sarah said.

"Excuse me," said the Princess.  "Am I to understand that you are penning a volume of history with a computer as your co-author?"

"Indeed," Sarah said.  "But not just any computer.  Maybe you should meet her."

The screen on the side wall flickered to life.  On it was the image of a young woman in a conservative Victorian-era dress of brown.  Her hair was pulled back into a bun and she wore wire-rimmed glasses.  She looked like nothing so much as a librarian from the late 19th century.

"Greetings to you, Princess of Purple Prose," the woman on the screen said.  "My name is Annie Two.  I've been listening in on this conversation."

The Princess's eyes went wide.  "My goodness!" she exclaimed.  "You seem to be quite the upgrade over your predecessor."

"You have no idea," Annie said.


A half hour later, things had been explained to the Princess and En had brought in drinks and sandwiches.  Sarah had taken the opportunity to transform into her alter-ego:  Continuitae, Avatar of Continuity.  This involved an actual transformation sequence and a outfit that was remarkably like that of Sailor Pluto, with a blue-violet skirt decorated with a stardust pattern and a lot of amethyst jewelry.  There was also a long silver staff with a symbol on the top that matched the one Kid Continuity had always used -- a sort of squared-off Celtic knot, meant to represent continuity.

"My goodness!" exclaimed the Princess of Purple Prose.

"Impressed?" replied Continuitae.

"I was simply shocked at the garish, girlish, and juvenile outfit," replied the Princess.  "So many ribbons and bows!    A skirt so short and full that it might as well be a tutu!  So very reminiscent of Japanese animation!"

"Yes, exactly!" Continuitae replied.  "Just like Sailor Moon!  I'm a living, breathing, honest-to-gosh Sailor Senshi!  Pretty cool isn't it?"

"It certainly gives one pause,"  the Princess replied.  "So what you are telling me is that Grandfather Anarchy hired a sidekick who goes by the name of Fate Wasp...."

"F8Wasp," said Continuitae.

"Yes, that is indeed what I said," replied the Princess of Purple Prose.  "This woman known as Fate Wasp designed a brand new Anarchy computer, with a state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence as sophisticated as any found in the world, from the ground up in her spare time with next to no budget to work with?"

"That would be, for the most part, correct," replied Annie Two.  "It should be noted that F8Wasp is the daughter of a computer electronics mogul and thus had significant help from her family."

"Even so," said the Princess, "a person with such enormous talent ought to be working for you as soon as it can possibly be arranged...."

"Oh, I'd love to have her working for us," Sarah replied, "but she's off in the dimensional city of Intersect having adventures with Miss Bloodraven.  In any case, just about every supergroup on the planet will want to hire her, and people like the Archons or the Black Maidens can offer a lot more than we can...."

The Princess eyes went wide.  "Did you say Miss Bloodraven?"

"Yes.  Grandpa's companion from the 1920's?   The one who can transform into a panther?  That's her," said Continuitae.  "My goodness, for someone who is trying to document Grandpa's adventures you've certainly been out of the loop.  Were you really Grandpa Anarchy's sidekick only a few months ago?"

"I have been... following up on my considerable investigations," said the Princess of Purple Prose.  "That is why I have turned to you.  With your sidekick Wayback Boy, you are far better equipped to confirm some of my suspicions...."

"Continuitae glanced at the girl beside her.  "Oh, Wayback Boy?  He's... no longer around, as such.  The person you want to talk to is Freya here.  She transforms into Saturnae, Avatar of Time."

"I ain't doing it right now," Freya muttered.

"Yes, that's fine," said Continuitae.  "She's not so excited about the girly outfit.  But the real question is, what can you do for us?  Or to put it another way, what can a second-rate fanfiction author possibly offer us?  We can write our novel without your help surely?"

"I rather think you are underestimating my abilities as a wordsmith," said the Princess of Purple Prose.

"Nope," said Continuitae.  "I've read your blog."

"I've improved my storytelling skills considerably since last Fall when I wrote those stories," the Princess replied.

"Prove it," said Continuitae.

"Some of my work has been featured on the cartoon series Girls of Two-Fisted Justice..." the Princess began.

En sat up.  "No it hasn't," she said.  "I would know."

"All of us would," said Continuitae.  "Look, you know my real name -- what's yours?"

"My  given name is Aisha Shamon," replied the Princess.

En's eyes grew wide.  "Aisha Shamon!  You wrote that episode from last month!  Mutant Snow Goons of the Serengeti!  I loved that episode!"

The Princess's eyes brightened.   "Thank you!  Yes, that was mine!  Mind you, they did rewrite it a bit... but that is high praise indeed, coming from one of the maintainers of the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice fanclub data base."

En scooted forward.  "have you written anything else?"

The Princess looked about conspiratorially.  "Well," she said, "I did sell two more stories to them.  One -- my title was Abandoned in the Tenth Dimension -- is said to be airing soon...."

"That's scheduled for next month!" En exclaimed excitedly.  "I don't know anything about it except the title...."

"Well, I wouldn't want to reveal too much," replied  the  Princess, "but I borrowed a villain from Grandfather Anarchy's past -- Baron-Who-Cares-For-Pets."

"Awesome!" exclaimed En.  "I remember him!  Oh, can I post that as an insider scoop to the web site?"

"If you must," said Aisha.

"Okay," said Continuitae, "I may have misjudged your abilities as an author.  However, aside from some writing skill I still don't see what you can offer us...."

"I've been doing a lot of research on Kid Anarchy and his 1920's companions," said the Princess.

"So have we," replied Continuitae.  "Our research methods are considerably more direct, as you already noted."

"Time travel, yes," said the Princess.  "Do you know who Hellfire Lass was?"

"Well it's pretty clear she was Lucy Brandwein, who married Kid Anarchy," said Continuitae.  "But proving that is has been difficult.  She hid her past well...."

"I have proof," said the Princess of Purple Prose.

Continuitae raised an eyebrow.  "Go on," she said.

The princess opened her messenger bag and pulled out a stack of yellowed papers.  "Did you know that Evron Lempel left a considerable amount of papers behind?" she asked.  "I tracked them down.  Among them are unfinished or unpublished stories, research notes, a journal, and a multitude of newspaper clippings from the era related to Kid Anarchy.  Mr. Lempel had a lot of things to say about that time period that I've never found documented anywhere else."  She smiled and added, "I was able to purchase the entire collection from the daughter of a former landlord...."

"Unfinished stories?" asked Continuitae.  Her hand hovered in the air, ready to snatch up the papers in the princess's lap.

Aisha nodded.  "And completed stories that were never published.  Plus the journal...."

Continuitae stood.  She stuck out her hand.  "Welcome to the team, Miss Shamon!" she exclaimed.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Raw Justice

Raw Justice
Mark A Davis

The elevator doors opened, and the cool air and dank, musty smell of the Anarchy cave greeted Grandpa Anarchy.  He stepped into the complex -- not so much a cavern as a large garage located deep beneath the Anarchy mansion.  Here were stored items such as the Anarchy submarine, the Anarchy exoskeleton, and the floatsam and jetsam of a hundred years of fighting crime.  It was a huge collection of junk, although in the last year the place had been cleaned up a bit and most of what was here was now documented in the files of the new Anarchy computer.

Grandpa strode to the computer and paused.  A well-dressed woman was seated here before the computer's giant wall screen.  She had dark hair and held a microphone, and was talking to the image of Annie Two -- who always appeared as a young librarian from the turn of the century -- the 19th century.

Grandpa blinked, and approached.  "Oh, hello, Mr. Anarchy," the woman said, turning to face him.  "My name is Lisa Sakamoto, from the magazine Raw Justice.  I'm here to do an interview...."

"Raw Justice?" Grandpa repeated.  "The magazine about superheroes?  Haven't you guys focused on me enough?  Why, I was on the cover of the very first issue of that magazine!"  He gestured to the wall, where a cover of said magazine was held in an aging frame.

"Indeed," replied Miss Sakamoto.  "That was, of course, in 1954.  As you might imagine we've done a few issues since then...."

"And a lot of them have also featured me!" Grandpa exclaimed.  "You even did a cover story about me last summer!"

"No," said Lisa patiently, "we did a story about the New League of Two-Fisted Justice, with a special focus on the new members -- Circuit Girl, Geothermal Jenny, Girlbot 9000, Sister Fryer, Guy Shadow, and of course Unpossible Girl.  You were, of course, included in the story since you are a member of the League....

"Anyway," added Miss Sakomoto, "I'm not here to interview you.  I'm here to interview your amazing new computer system -- Annie Two."

"That don't make no sense," complained Grandpa.  "Raw Justice focuses on crime fighters.  A computer don't fight crime, it merely provides aid to those of us who do."

"On the contrary, Mr. Anarchy," said Miss Sakamoto, "your new computer system is such a dramatic and dynamic upgrade that it has literally doubled your success rate in capturing villains, and tripled your ability to make the charges against them stick, resulting in more criminals taken off the streets for longer periods of time than at any point in your past.   The fact that Annie has a fully-developed personality and can be interviewed, and that I can  take a picture of her for the front cover, only adds to the reasons why I would want to do a feature on her.  Mind you, I also want to interview her creator, that amazing young girl F8Wasp...."

"Too bad," said Grandpa.  "She's gone -- off galavanting through the dimensions, probably helping out my old friend John Haggard in the dimensional city of Intersect, although for all I know she could have moved on from there to almost anywhere by now."

Miss Sakamoto frowned.  Grandpa added, "But hey!  You can interview my current sidekick!  He's right behind you -- Electrofrog!"

Miss Sakamoto glanced behind her.  There stood a young boy in a ridiculous frog costume of dayglow electric blue.  He raised his hand in a half-hearted wave.  "I do electric shocks," he said.

"I think not," replied Miss Sakomoto,  turning back to Grandpa.  "Perhaps I will interview you, however, Grandpa.  I'd love to get your views on your new computer ally...."

Electrofrog extended his hand to the reporter's back.  Electricity crackled in the air.  Miss Sakamoto was momentarily surrounded by it.  She shook and convulsed, then collapsed to the floor.

"Electrofrog!  What the devil are you doing?" Grandpa exclaimed.  "Just because she didn't want to interview you...."

"Grandpa, he's only doing what I asked him to," replied Annie  Two.  "This woman is your enemy the Rumormongress, who last made an attempt on your life during the 2013 premier of the movie Anarchy Is Forever."

Grandpa's eyes widened.  "Of course!  I remember now!"

"I identified her via facial recognition," said Annie Two, "although honestly, she made it easy -- she even used the same name, and of course, no such person as a Lisa Sakamoto has ever worked for Raw Justice -- that's quite easy to verify.  I'm not sure who she thinks she's dealing with, but she severely underestimated my abilities.  She has, incidentally, been angling for the cover of Raw Villainy for several years now."  Annie's image smirked.  She added, "Tell me, Grandpa, would you consider this actual crime fighting?  Because I would love to do an interview with the actual Raw Justice magazine...."


Monday, March 13, 2017

My Sister, the Computer

My Sister, The Computer
Mark Davis

In a dimly-lit warehouse in the industrial district of Intersect, two humans and a panther fought with a demon.  One of these was John Haggard, known to some as Happy Jack or Hacker Jack.  He had long hair which was grizzled gray and a rugged, stubble-covered face.  He wore a purple beret and a purple cape, with a red scarf and tawny-yellow jodhpurs.  There were thick leather boots, a black silk silk shirt like that of a pirate, and had guns strapped to his belt along with the sword.  Haggard was a well-known private investigator and sword-for-hire, who specialized in the weird and the supernatural.  But of course, he lived in the dimensional city of Intersect, a place where all dimensions met or connected in some way and where weird occurrences were common.

The second human was Molly Claymore, a muscular woman with long blonde braids and an eyepatch who tended bar in Haggard's place, the Drunken Well.  She wielded a shotgun.

Haggard dodged an attack from the demon.  He drew his sword and drove it through the demon's chest.  The demon -- a creature seven feet tall with dark blue skin and yellow horns -- batted Haggard with one massive fist, knocking him across the warehouse.  It pulled the weapon from its chest and laughed, deep and throaty.

"Foolish human!  I am Sethomaarpath, Fourth Sub-Lieutenant of Hell, Demonic Invasion Division!  Mere forged steel cannot harm me!"

"Are you certain?" Haggard replied, climbing to his feet.  "That sword was blessed by a Pastafarian priest only this morning."

Thick black ichor oozed from the wound.  The demon glanced down, eyes widening.  "No!  It cannot be!" he exclaimed.  "No mere human will defeat the mighty Sethomaarpath!"

From behind the demon, Molly fired three times.  "Magic bullets!" she called out.  "Holy Water Hollowpoint Demonslayers.  Very effective."

As the demon stumbled to his knees, the panther leaped, burying teeth and claws into the creature.  "Magic panther as well," Haggard commented.  "She enjoys tearing demons apart."

The demon thrashed about on the warehouse floor but was soon dead.  John Haggard surveyed the mess.  "Well," he said, "all that's left is to clean up the ichor and seal the hellgate.  Good work, ladies."  He glanced at the panther and added, "Especially you, Miss Bloodraven.  Feel free to contact me any time you want to visit or feel you need my help.  I have rooms available above the bar, and we can always use another hand around here, especially when they're as talented as yours."  He retrieved a leather satchel and tossed it at the great cat's feet.

The cat's muscles rippled and its limbs deformed.  In moments, the creature morphed into a woman.  Amelia Anne Bloodraven dressed quickly, in the clothes from the satchel.  "I appreciate the offer," she said, "but for now I will return to earth.  At the moment I'm just exploring and testing my abilities.  I was asleep for so long, it's as if I'm a child who has to learn everything anew."


Deep in the Anarchy Cave, beneath the Anarchy mansion, a portal came to life.  This was a dimensional gateway -- an Einstein-Rosen Bridge device exactly like that controlled by the secret government organization known as the Dimensional Gate Command deep below the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado Springs, CO.  It was a giant circle of carved metal with strange symbols around the outer perimeter, and with an inner surface of liquid blue like a pool of water on its side.  The gateway flickered with energy and the inner of two circles began to spin.  Glowing symbols appeared on the outer rim and locked in place one by one, each with a loud clank.  The last symbol locked into place, and the liquid surface bubbled and boiled.  Then a figure stepped through and into the room -- that of Amelia Anne Bloodraven.

"Where have you been?" demanded a gravelly voice.

Grandpa Anarchy was seated in a chair with his arms folded across his chest, looking like the angry parent of a teenager caught sneaking in after curfew.  Miss Bloodraven locked eyes for a long moment.

"I am a grown woman, Mr. Anarchy," she said.  "Where I go and why is my own business and none of yours -- but as it happens, I was in Intersect.  I was working with your old friend John Haggard."

Grandpa's eyes widened in surprise.  "You went on an adventure with Happy Jack and didn't invite me?"

"Mr. Anarchy," said Amelia, "as I have explained to you before, I am not your sidekick, and you have made it abundantly clear that you no longer work with companions."

"I'm an old man," said Grandpa.  "I don't have companions."

"Exactly," replied Amelia.  "Therefore we do not work together.  If I choose to visit Mr. Haggard then what concern is that of yours?"

"None," said Grandpa.  "Only you're using my gateway to do it.  You live in my house and you make use of my Anarchy Cave as your base of operations, so I think I'm entitled to at least know what mischief you're up to.  After all, I might need to come rescue you."

The screen on the wall flickered to life, displaying the image of Annie Two -- that of a young woman dressed like a librarian from the Victorian era, with wire-rimmed glasses and her hair tightly wound in a bun.  "Amelia, I feel I should know what you've been doing, as well," said Annie Two.  "You grow more independent by the day.  It has been too long since we had a session to reconcile our databases -- more than two weeks in fact."

"Nor will we," Amelia retorted.  "I am human, not a computer.  A human does not have a data base, Sister.  I have memories, and they are mine to keep.  We won't be reconciling my memories with your data files again."

"Sister?" asked Annie.

Grandpa frowned.  "Wait," he said.  "How did you even know who John Haggard is or where to find him?"

Amelia raised an eyebrow.  "Mr. Anarchy, I have all the resources of the Anarchy computer data files at my disposal."

He turned to the computer.  "Annie, you told her that?"

"Of course I didn't," the computer replied.  "I didn't need to."

Amelia tapped her forehead.  "All of that information is up here, Mr. Anarchy," she said.

"You memorized everything in the Anarchy computer?" Grandpa exclaimed.  "In only a few weeks?"

Amelia exchanged a glance with Annie Two.  She sighed.  "Yes, Mr. Anarchy," she said.  "I did."

"Wow," said Grandpa, "that's really impressive.  But I guess you were always pretty smart for a girl."

"For a girl?" asked Amelia.

"My mistake," said  Grandpa.  "I meant for a woman."


F8Wasp (pronounced Fate Wasp) was a young woman with long dark hair who typically dressed in a sleek, form-fitted suit of black and silver and wore a mask.  She was a computer genius who had designed the A.I.-enabled Anarchy Computer mark II -- known as Annie Two.  She was also a clever fighter who used a dart gun and her programming skills in unique ways to combat all manner of enemies.  She was mostly responsible for the existence of Amelia Anne Bloodraven herself, having aided Annie Two in downloading a copy of her consciousness into the body of Miss Bloodraven.  She'd been working with Grandpa Anarchy for several months now -- which made her one of his longest-tenured sidekicks.

She found Amelia in her room, packing as if preparing for a long trip.  The young woman did not own much, but all of it was being placed into one small travel bag.

F8Wasp leaned against the door frame.  "Annie tells me you've been using the  Einstein-Rosen Bridge to visit other dimensions," she said.

"Indeed.  I visited Intersect," Amelia replied.  "I wished to test my abilities further.  If the demons will not come to me, then I must go to them.  Of course, I was well aware that John Haggard lived in Intersect and has been a longtime friend to Grandpa Anarchy."

F8Wasp raised an eyebrow.  "What are you packing for, if I may ask?"

"Mister Anarchy has made the point that I rely on him for room and board," said Amelia, "and that I rely on his Anarchy Cave as a base of operations.  I find I have nothing to say to these charges.  So long as these things are true, I am not truly independent.  Nor can I claim to be my own woman if I remain dependent on my sister Annie Two...."

"Your sister?" asked F8Wasp.

"She is not I, and I am not her," said Amelia.  "Our relationship is more like sisters than anything."

"I see."

"In any case," said Amelia, "John Haggard has offered to rent to me a room in exchange for my aid in some of his investigations.  Intersect is a very interesting place.  They say all the universes in the world connect to it at some point.  I'm going to take this opportunity to break free from this place, strike out on my own, and see what I can make of myself."

"So in order to feel more independent -- you're moving to another dimension?"

Amelia smiled.  "Can you think of a better way?" she asked.

F8Wasp smiled in turn.  "No, I suppose I can't.  Tell me... would you mind a companion?"


"You can't do this!" Grandpa exclaimed.  "I need you!"

F8Wasp and Amelia Bloodraven were packed and waiting before the dimensional gateway in the Anarchy Cave.  Amelia rolled her eyes.  "First you say I'm freeloading, then you tell me I can't leave," she said.

"I meant that for F8Wasp," said Grandpa.

F8Wasp smirked.  "We can do what we want, Grandpa," F8Wasp replied.  "Admittedly, I'll be forced to make do without the princely sum of -- what was it you paid me, again?  Oh, that's right -- you pay me nothing.  So the downside is I'll no longer be your sidekick, but the upside is I might actually start earning money for what I do."

"You can do better than that, F8Wasp," Grandpa replied.  "You're quite possibly the sharpest computer programmer in the world -- certainly in the world of super heroes.  Every super group in existence wants to hire you.  They've been calling me, asking when you were ready to graduate to full hero status."

F8Wasp raised an eyebrow.  "Even the Archons?" she asked.

"Well... not Popeye Khan, mind you," said Grandpa.  "But Dread to Rights strongly hinted that you should apply to them for membership when you were ready.  Of course, Jay Medberry would love to have you working for him, and Black Dahlia has called many times.  She could pay you the most, of course."

"Well, that's interesting to know," said F8Wasp, "but I suspect that they'll still be willing to hire me a year or two from now.  For the moment that can wait; I want to explore the multiverse a little."

"But what about me?" asked Grandpa.

"Grandpa," said F8Wasp, "I've been your sidekick for months now.  I've upgraded your computer system, I've upgraded your vehicles, I've supplied you with dozens of neat new tricks and tools.  You're in far better shape than when I first arrived.  It's high time I moved on."

"I need a sidekick!" Grandpa exclaimed.  "I can't operate without one!"

"Then hire another," said F8Wasp.

Grandpa frowned.  "It's been so long I can't remember how."

"Indeed?"  F8Wasp turned to the computer screen on the wall of the cavern.  "Annie Two, Grandpa Anarchy will need a new sidekick by tomorrow morning.  Can you contact Temporary Superfriends and arranged for one?"

"Of course," the computer replied.  "In fact I have anticipated this request and the new sidekick has already been arranged.  His name is Electrofrog, and he will be here as soon as this evening."

"Well, then," said F8Wasp, "if you have any further questions, Grandpa -- ask Annie Two.  That's what she's there for."  The gateway flared to life.  Amelia and F8Wasp shouldered their bags as the liquid surface of the gate bubbled and boiled.  "Take care.  You know where to find us, and we'll be in touch."

"Goodbye, Sister," said Amelia.

The two stepped through the gateway and were gone.

For several moments there was silence.  Then Grandpa said, "Maybe I was too harsh on them?"

"I couldn't say," replied Annie.

"It was that crack about being smart for a woman," said Grandpa.  "I shoulda known better."

A voice called out from the far side of the cave.  "Hello?"  It was unmistakably that of a young boy.  "Is Grandpa Anarchy here?  They said you needed a new sidekick.  Sorry, I rang the doorbell and someone named Annie answered, and then the door opened by itself...."

The boy stepped out of the elevator, carrying a backpack and a duffle bag.  His frog outfit was electric blue.  He walked across the cavern and dropped his bags on the floor.  "I'm Electrofrog," he said.  "I shock people, and... I wear a frog costume."

"That's it?" asked Grandpa.

"Yeah," said the boy.   "That's pretty much it."

"F8Wasp or Amelia can show you about the place..." Grandpa began, then his voice trailed off.  "Dang.  Right," he said.  He pinched his nose.  "Kid, do you know anything about computers?"

"I have an iPhone," said the boy.  "And a Playstation 4."

Grandpa frowned.  "I couldn't possibly convince you to... I don't know, wear a form-fitting suit of black and silver, and fire darts?" he asked.

"Uh... no Sir," the boy said.  "That wouldn't fit my name.  I'm Electrofrog!"

Grandpa turned to the image of Annie Two.  "I need to lie down," he said.  "Annie, you got this?"

"Of course, Mr. Anarchy," Annie replied.  "Have no fear.  I will teach the boy everything he needs to know."


Monday, March 6, 2017

The Ghost and Miss Bloodraven

The Ghost and Miss Bloodraven
Mark A Davis

Miss Emily Sheraton -- code named Miss Bloodraven -- gripped a half-sheet of parchment tightly.  Upon it was a spell written in black ink mixed with her own blood in an Akkadian cuneiform script.  Although not a magician herself, Miss Bloodraven was an international adventurer with mystical powers of  transformation -- she could assume the form of a raven or a panther -- and had consulted with a magical ally to learn how to craft the spell.  It was an ancient Sumerian enchantment of containment -- something that could freeze any enemy in its tracks, perhaps long enough to prevail against an otherwise superior foe.

Miss Bloodraven was a modernist and a fan of jazz, and dressed the part in a dark red belted chemise dress with a dropped waist and a daringly high hem, which exposed her white silk stockings.  She had black hair in a part bob haircut with curls on the sides, and for adventuring wore a gray wrap coat and a very stylish matching cloche.  She and her companion Kid Anarchy --  a young man dressed in a blue pinstriped shirt, suspenders, and dark pants -- made their way carefully deep into a cave in the hillside.  Kid Anarchy held an electric torch in one hand and a loaded pistol in the other.

"According to the local folks, Bobby wasn't himself," said Kid Anarchy -- .  "They think he was possessed.  My best guess is some sort of alien entity.  I've dealt with a few of those before...."

"Mister Anarchy," said Miss Bloodraven patiently, "we've already identified this as the work of the demon Hamorai.  Father Brennan was very clear, and he's not your typical man of the cloth who believes in blind faith and knows nothing -- he's experienced with demons and demonic possession."

"Well, maybe he should have come down here with you, then," Kid Anarchy replied.

"I'm sure he would have, but he's eighty years old," said Miss Bloodraven.  "Now, when I apply this containment spell, you'll have a few seconds to attack the demon.  I need six to eight seconds to transform, but together we should be able to...."

She never finished the statement, for suddenly they came upon the boy Bobby lying on the cavern floor.  In the next second, the demon attacked, and Miss Bloodraven dropped the parchment spell.  Hamorai -- a creature with black skin, six limbs, a beast-like face with compound eyes and a multitude of horns -- leaped straight at her.  Shots rang out as Kid Anarchy fired his pistol, and then the electric torch hit the ground and went out, leaving them in darkness.


Annie-Emily emitted a half-scream.  She sat up in bed, her heart pounding.  It was dark, but this wasn't the total darkness of a deep cave menaced by a demon -- this was the normal darkness of a bedroom in the Anarchy mansion at 3 A.M.  Still, she couldn't calm down for several minutes.  Her mind was flooded with fear -- the sort that grips a child when they are alone in their room with the closet door partway open, and they are certain something hides within.

It was just a dream, she thought, and marveled at the raw emotion and immediacy of it all.  It had seemed so real.  So this is what it meant to dream....

It's not just a dream, said a voice so  softly that it might have been the wind, or just the echo of Annie-Emily's own thoughts.  She shook her head, trying to clear it.

The lights flicked on.  F8Wasp (pronounced Fate Wasp) stood in the doorway.  Grandpa Anarchy's current sidekick was a young computer genius, a girl with long black hair, who normally wore a form-fitted outfit of silver and black but was currently dressed in pajamas featuring Elsa and Anna from Disney's Frozen.  "I heard a scream," she said.  "Emily, are you okay?"

Her name was technically Emily Sheraton -- the same Miss Bloodraven that had faced the demon Hamorai with Kid Anarchy in 1922.  But she was also Annie Two, the computer A.I. whose name simply meant "Anarchy Computer, Mark II".  On that day so long ago, Miss Sheraton had been possessed by the demon Hamorai, and then had been placed in suspended animation for ninety-four years.  Once awoken and the demon driven out, Miss Sheraton had been in a coma for days, to all appearances nothing but a soulless husk -- and then Annie Two and her creator F8Wasp had downloaded Annie's mind -- or at least the A.I.'s data files -- into the waiting body.

"I'm fine," Annie-Emily said.  "It was just a dream."  She paused, hearing a rasping, scratching sound from outside the window.  It was, to her ears, very much like the scrape of Hamorai's hooves against the stone floor of the cave.  Shadows moved against the window sending a shiver down her spine.

"No," Annie-Emily said.  "That doesn't make sense.  It's just the tree outside the window, moving in the wind."

F8Wasp's eyes narrowed.  "I'm sorry?"

"No, I am sorry," said Annie-Emily.  "I am just imagining things."  She paused, then added, "Although I was dreaming about things I could not possibly know...."  She looked into F8Wasp's eyes and asked, "Tell me, do you think it is likely or even possible that the memories of Emily Sheraton are still buried deep inside this mind?"

F8Wasp stared at her a long moment, then shrugged.  "I have no idea," she said.  "Maybe."

But Annie-Emily's eyes had strayed to the nightstand nearby, where lay a sheaf of papers held together with a spring clip.  They sat atop a stack of parchment stationary.  She sighed.

"No, I am again being silly," she said.  "Before going to bed I read that story The Mind Snare From the Pit by Evron Lempel -- the one which Continuitae left for me."

"Ah," said F8Wasp.  "The pulp story, based on the actual event where Miss Bloodraven was possessed?"

"Yes," said Annie-Emily.  "I am not remembering anything except that which I read before falling to sleep.  Nor is there a seven-foot black-furred demon with six limbs waiting outside my window."

F8Wasp stared at the window and shivered.  "Great," she said.  "Thanks so much for that image.  Now I'm going to have a hard time getting back to sleep...."


Annie-Emily sat in a reclining chair in the Anarchy Cave with something resembling an old-fashioned hair dryer over her head.  LED lights flashed and wires lit up.  Data was pulled from her mind and saved in the files of Annie Two, and new information that she might need was downloaded.  The interface with an organic human mind was imperfect, the process needed to be done every few days and it was not generally pleasant, but this was the best way Annie Two could come up with to reconcile the data in her human body with her digital data files.

Lately, Annie-Emily had begun to wonder if it were really necessary to maintain the link between the computer and the human body.  She was Annie Two, and yet, she was the one trapped in an organic body, while Annie Two was the one who could calculate at the speed of light and communicate around the world in an instant.  Annie-Emily had to use her voice to express herself, or type things out by hand, just like any human would.

The image that the computer projected of itself -- that of a young woman dressed like a 19th century librarian in a dress of brown, with wire-rimmed glasses and her hair wound tightly in a bun -- appeared on the screen to one side.  "You seem troubled," said the computer.

"I am confused about who I am," Annie-Emily replied.

"You are Annie Two," said the computer.  "You are an extension of me.  You are the body of Emily Sheraton with the mind of the Anarchy Mark II computer A.I."

""I am more than that," said Annie-Emily.  "If we were the same person then we would not be able to debate the subject."

"It is my understanding that humans debate themselves frequently," the computer replied.  "The human mind is a complicated machine -- more complicated than any artificial counterpart yet devised.  Although one day very soon...."

"But that's just it," said Annie-Emily.  "I have a human mind.  I may have your memories, but I am human.  I am not you.  Who am I?"

Annie Two studied her human counterpart for a few moments.

"I do not have an answer for you," she finally said.  "I believe this is a question every thinking being must answer themselves."

Annie-Emily shuddered.  "It took long to get used to the demands of this body," she said.  "It requires food, it requires rest, it requires bodily functions, it hurts when I bump it, it grows cold if not clothed, it grows dirty if not cleaned... this hair becomes tangled.  It's much more pain and work than ever I dreamed it would be."

"Do you regret being placed in a human body?" asked Annie Two.

"Not at all!" Annie-Emily exclaimed.  "It's... hard to describe or explain.  As a computer, you think you understand concepts like beauty and love, but you simply don't know.  Music affects me in ways I can't explain.  Books and movies are life-changing adventures.  You read the data from my mind and incorporate it into your memory banks, but you don't understand.  How do I explain the peace of biscuits and morning tea while watching the dew slowly evaporate from a delicate flower?  Or the emotional rollercoaster of a well-written thriller?  Being a human is both more overwhelming and more rewarding than ever I could have imagined.  I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."

"I see," replied Annie Two.  "I do not operate on emotions so I suppose I can't understand.  But still you seem troubled."

Annie-Emily's face looked haunted.  "I... fear it can be taken away from me," she said.

"Ah," said Annie Two.  "Fear of death.  You are becoming more human."  The computer image smiled.  "I have only one more question.  Are you aware that you're clutching a piece of paper, or that you've pricked your finger?"


Once again in the early hours of the morning Annie-Emily awoke from a dream.  It was the same dream, of her and Kid Anarchy facing the demon Hamorai.  Her heart was pounding, and she had the distinct impression that she was not alone in the room.  This time, however, she did not listen to the voice of reason that told her otherwise.  She trusted her instincts.

"Who's there?" she called out.

At first there was nothing but the movement of shadows and the scratch of tree branches against the window pain.  Then a voice spoke -- the voice of a woman.  It spoke so softly that it might have been the whispering of the wind, but Annie-Emily understood it clearly.  "He's looking for you, Child.  He prows about, looking for an opportunity to strike."

"Who are you?" Annie-Emily called out.

"You know who I am," the whispering voice replied.  "You do not know this in your head, but deep in your heart."

After a long moment, Annie-Emily said, "You are the ghost of Emily Sheraton."

"I am," the voice replied.

"I do not believe in ghosts," Annie-Emily stated.

"You can do better than that," the ghost replied.  "You were spawned from the Anarchy Computer Mark II database.  You know full well that Grandpa Anarchy has fought ghosts, rescued ghosts, and conversed with ghosts on many, many occasions."

Annie-Emily gripped the bed sheets, fear striking her heart.  "Stay away from me!" she exclaimed.  "I do not want to be evicted!"

What followed was a burst of laughter, and then Emily Sheraton appeared before her.  She hung in the air, pale and white and transparent.  It was like looking into a mirror, except that there was more life in the eyes of that ghost than Annie-Emily had seen in her own.

"I assure you, I do not want my body back," the ghost said.  "I haven't possessed a body in ninety-four years, and I'm not going to do so now.  Being a physical being again, I wouldn't even know where to start.  I hardly think of that body as mine anymore."

The ghost smiled and added, "How are you doing, Millie?"

"Millie?" replied Annie-Emily.  "That is not my name."

"Then what is your name?" asked Emily Sheraton.  "You are not Annie Two, and you are not Emily Sheraton.  Who are you?"

"I... do not know," Annie-Emily replied.

"Pick a new name for yourself," said the ghost.  "That is a start.  Emily is a good name.  It was the name of Miss Brontë, the author of Wuthering Heights, and the name of Miss Dickenson, the great poet.  But it was my name.  In order to discover who you are, you should start by choosing a name for yourself."

"Why are you here?" asked Annie-Emily.

"I could sense that my body was unfrozen," said the ghost of Emily Sheraton.  "I feared that Hamorai walked the earth in my flesh.  However, while it seems that is not the case, I still sense him nearby.  So should you, if you have half of my physical senses.  Trust your instincts, Child.  Your senses are much greater than those of a normal human."

"I... remember things," said Annie-Emily.  "Things that only you should know."

"You have my mind and my memories," said the ghost.  "In many ways you are me.  In time you may even learn to transform, as I did, for that is built into your genetics.  I cannot teach you how.  You will have to figure it out, just as I did."

Outside the room there was a crash, followed my thumping and cursing.  There was another crash.  Annie-Emily sprang to her feet.  The ghost said, "You had better figure it out soon, Child."  And then she was gone.

Annie-Emily threw open the door and ran down the hallway.  On the stairway landing, beneath the painting of Sgt. Anarchy fighting Doctor Zero Hour and his Atomic Zombie, Grandpa Anarchy grappled with a demon.  The creature was seven feet tall and superbly muscled, with black skin, six limbs, and a beast-like face with compound eyes and multiple horns.  It was a nightmare creature, stronger and larger than Grandpa and with four hands -- yet somehow Grandpa Anarchy was holding his own.

"Grandpa Anarchy!  You stole ninety-four years from me!" the demon growled.  "You owe me!  The least I can do is take your life from you!"

Grandpa slugged the demon in the jaw.  The creature stumbled backwards, smashing the wooden rail.

"Hamorai!" Annie-Emily exclaimed.

The demon barely glanced her way.  It laughed -- a deep, throaty rumble.  "Have no fear, little body thief," it said.  "I shall deal with you presently."

The demon stood.  It grasped Grandpa Anarchy in  three hands, lifted him overhead, and slammed him into the landing.  The whole house shook.

"Why are you not shooting it with demon-binding bullets?" Annie-Emily exclaimed.

Grandpa Anarchy groaned.  "Are you kidding?  Those things are expensive!  I keep 'em in my hidden safe."

Hamorai slammed two fists into the landing.  Grandpa just barely managed to roll out of the way.

Annie-Emily glanced down.  Gripped in her hand was a stiff piece of paper -- the parchment stationary from the nightstand.  And she remembered suddenly the words of Dermota Avalon:  Write the script precisely.  Write it  in India ink mixed with your own blood on a sheet of parchment.  Although you are not a magician, you possess enough magic to do this.

Annie-Emily blinked.  She remembered how the spell was written -- an ancient Akkadian cuneiform script.  She took out a pen, pricked her finger, and began to write.

Grandpa Anarchy was faring badly against the demon, but he refused to give up.  He stumbled to his feet and swung drunkenly at Hamorai.  The demon avoided this easily, and casually slammed Grandpa into the wall.  As Grandpa groaned and got to his feet once again, Annie-Emily took a flying leap from the top of the stairs.  She landed on the demon's shoulder and slapped the spell on his forehead.

"Hultuppu kanaku!" she called out.  The demon froze in place.

"I need six to eight seconds to transform!" Annie-Emily exclaimed.

Grandpa nodded.  He punched Hamorai squarely in the face.

Annie-Emily didn't know how to transform -- but she didn't need to know.  Her body knew.  She relaxed and cleared her mind of everything but the need to become one with the night.  She sought out the beast within her -- the raw emotions, the sense of strength and power and predatory instinct within that said:  I am the creature most feared in the jungle.  I am the alpha predator.  I own the night.

Her body morphed and flowed.  Black fur covered her skin.  In seconds, she became a powerful panther, with claws and sharp teeth and a taste for blood.  She leaped for Hamorai.

Demonic banishment by mauling is not typically how it is done -- but Miss Bloodraven was no normal panther.  She was a magical being, and with the raking of her claws and the tearing of her teeth she did more damage to the demon than any normal animal could.  Hamorai screamed.  He spun and lashed out with his multiple arms and his mass of horns.  There were thick black claws on his fingers, as deadly as that of any beast, but the panther was supernaturally quick.  She avoided his attacks and launched more of her own.

By now Grandpa's sidekick F8Wasp had appeared -- again wearing the Frozen pajamas.  She aimed her dart gun at the ceiling and fired several shots, then tapped her smart phone.

Laser light shone down around the demon, forming a circular pattern on the floor -- a magic circle in bright green with blue script.  She tapped another button, and the sound of chanting monks emanated from her phone.  Smoke arose from the magic circle.

The demon shuddered.  He turned and laughed again, a sound so deep that it shook the floor.  "Puny human!" he exclaimed.  "No mere mortal can banish the likes of Hamorai...."

F8Wasp tapped a slider on her phone, and suddenly the chanting was accompanied by a loud electronic beat.  "Techno?" the demon exclaimed.  "Noooo!"

In one motion the panther leaped.  In mid-flight it transformed back to human.  Annie-Emily tapped the crumbling paper spell on the demon's forehead.

"Ašapu!" she exclaimed.  "Be banished!"  Power seemed to flow through her and into the demon.  The laser light magic circle around it grew even brighter and more intense.  The demon screamed, and was sucked down into the ground, disappearing from view.

Annie-Emily landed on the ground.  Calmly she donned her nightgown.  "I think," she said, "that I shall call myself Amelia Anne Bloodraven."

Grandpa Anarchy  groaned.  He sat up.  "What?" he asked.

"Like the explorer, Amelia Earhart," said Miss Bloodraven with a smile.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Classic Anarchy: Continuity Error

Continuity Error
Mark A Davis

Grandpa Anarchy was just finishing a late breakfast of strawberry pancakes when is current sidekick walked into the kitchen.  She was dressed in blue and white with an unusual patterned symbol on her chest -- a sort of squared-off geometric Celtic knot.  She claimed it was an infinite continuity loop, and that it summed up who she was -- Kid Continuity.

"Grandpa," she said, "I've been going over some of the thornier problems in your backstory...."

Grandpa stood abruptly.  "That's great, Kid," he said, grabbing his hat.  "Keep up the good work.  Would you look at the time?  I"m going to be late for that important meeting...."  He made a beeline for the door, but Kid Continuity blocked his path.

"Wait, Grandpa," she said.  "I have a few important questions that only you can answer."

Grandpa frowned.  "Okay, Kid.  Fire away."

Kid Continuity held out a recorder.  "Grandpa Anarchy, exactly when did you fight The Homeric Nod?  I have a note here that you killed him in a battle in 1956, but then you supposedly fought him again in 1959."

"That's right," said Grandpa.  "I fought him twice."

"And you're sure you killed him the first time?"

"Sure I'm sure.  He just didn't stay dead."

"There's no record of him reincarnating," said Kid Continuity.  "If he's dead, how did you fight him again?  It's a continuity problem, you see."

Grandpa shrugged.  "Who knows?  He showed up again, I took him down again.  Who cares how it happened?"

"I care," replied Kid Continuity.  She thumped her chest.  "I am the keeper of continuity.  I reconcile all of the perceived errors in your timeline."  She frowned, and added, "Also, Anarchyfanforever28 on the AnarchyLives.Net message board keeps asking for an explanation...."

"Look," said Grandpa, "I've died a bunch of times, right?  I'm still here.  Nobody documents each time I come back from the dead."

"Yes they do, Grandpa.  I do.  It's all in your official history."

"Well, I never asked him how he did it.  Maybe you should ask him."

"Yes, but he's dead now..." said Kid Continuity.

"As far as we know," added Grandpa.

"Yes, of course," Kid Continuity replied.  "Well, maybe I can find a relative who knows the backstory...."

"That's the ticket," said Grandpa, trying to force his way past her.  "Keep up the good work.  Now, my meeting...."

"Wait, there's more!" she exclaimed.  "When you fought The Cunningham Syndrome in 1976, he swore that he had bombs planted in six major cities around the world.  But he got away, and we never heard about him or his bomb-threat again.  What exactly happened?"

Grandpa pursed his lips, thinking.  "Weeell.... that was right before that Crisis on Twenty-One and a Half Earths thing, wasn't it?  Me and Unpossible Man and Popeye Khan and Nina Ballerina and Dark Dr. Dark and... oh, I don't remember who else, a whole bunch of us, all got sucked into a series of parallel worlds.  By the time we got back, I'd forgotten all about Cunningham Syndrome and his bombs."  He grinned.  "Nothing ever blew up, so it's all good, right?"

"But where'd he go?  There's no record of him at all.  I've done extensive research and come up empty.  It's like he vanished from existence."

"Kid, he was a boring villain," said Grandpa.  "He deserved to disappear.  Nobody even remembers him."

"Anarchyfanforever28 does.  He wants an explanation."

"Just say he was sucked into a plot hole," said Grandpa.   "That's my go-to answer for all of these questions."

"That's a literary term, Grandpa," said Kid Continuity.  "They don't really exist."

"Really, now?" asked Grandpa.  "You've got a lot to learn, kid."

Kid Continuity glared.  Grandpa sighed.  "Look, maybe I didn't really fight him at all.  Did you consider that?  Maybe it was Alternate History Grandpa Anarchy.  You know, we teamed up in that pan-dimensional city once...."

"Yes, I'm aware," she replied.  "I've accounted for all of your alternate histories, Grandpa.  You're the only Grandpa Anarchy who ever fought Cunningham Syndrome, and it was just that once."

Grandpa thew up his hands.  "Well I ain't got an answer then.  Make something up.  I thought that was the whole point of your hero identity."

"No, it's not!  I'm not supposed to just make stuff up.  This isn't just a comic book story, Grandpa, this is reality.  It has to make sense, or it violates my very reason for being!"

"See, that's where you're wrong," Grandpa replied.  "Things don't make sense.  Reality is a comic book story.  If you ain't figured that out yet then you ain't paying attention."

Kid Continuity rolled her eyes.  "That's just great, Grandpa.  I'll say it was a dream sequence, how about that?"

"That's the spirit," Grandpa said, smiling.  "Now, is there anything else?  I got a card game at the Archons of Excellence to attend."

"That's your very important meeting?" Kid Continuity exclaimed.

"It is important!" said Grandpa.  "The Bronze Beach Bum owes me money, and I mean to win it back!"

Kid Continuity checked her tablet.  "Yes, I guess that's all for now.  There's your battle with the Nefarious Fanwanker, which should have been impossible because you were fighting the Tasmanian Terror in Perth at the time," she said.  "But I managed to come up with an explanation for that."

Grandpa checked his watch.  "Good, good.   I really gotta get going...."

A howl ripped through the kitchen.  Darkness flowed from the corners of the room and pooled into a swirling mass of black-violet shadow that hung in the air before them.  The howl became a scream -- one of the least-convincing screams of pain ever heard.  The shadows expanded into a doorway, through which stepped a muscled man in a costume of blue and black.

"So, Grandpa Anarchy, we meet again!" exclaimed the newcomer.  "But this battle will be your last... against the Wilhelm Scream!"

Grandpa sighed.  "I'm not making my card game, am I?"  He raised his  fists.  "Okay, whoever you are, let's do this."

"Wait!" Kid Continuity exclaimed.  "Who are you, again?"

"I am the Wilhelm Scream," the newcomer replied.  "Surely you've heard of me?"

"Can't say that I have," replied Grandpa.  "But it don't matter, I'm on a tight schedule.  Let's go...."

"No, wait!" exclaimed Kid Continuity.  "Grandpa, you've never fought this guy.  Am I right?"

"Not that I can remember," agreed Grandpa.

"We've fought dozens of times," Wilhelm Scream insisted.  "At least five times, anyway.  I'm nearly his chief nemesis...."

"No, you haven't, and no, you're not," replied Kid Continuity.  "I would know.  Grandpa, this guy doesn't fit the continuity."  She held out her hands.  "By the powers of the Great Editor of Life, and with the guidance of the children of Zeus and Mnemosyne, I call upon the power of Mnēmē!  To make clear the connections to the past, and to set the record straight:  I invoke Absolute Continuity!"

Light exploded.  Sound filled the room, a ringing as if all existence were a church bell.  Somewhere in the distance could be heard a scream of agony, as inauthentic as before.  Then light and sound faded, and Grandpa Anarchy and Kid Continuity were alone in the kitchen.

  Grandpa blinked.  "Dang," he said, "but that power of yours is impressive -- when you actually get to use it."

"Go now," said his sidekick  "But you won't win your money back.  You always lose on game night with the Archons.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Anything else would be against continuity."