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|Bulk of page written: October 2001|
1. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Belificent's Wedding"
Something like 52-months of pHanta-time have passed since Damnation Day. In terms of the at-the-time seemingly insignificant, teeny-bopper (read puppy-love), crush-contest mentioned ever so briefly in LAST-3, the winner is ...
Thus begins the next installment of Harry's saga. And, as promised, that of O.J. 'Big Max' Maxwell, Belificent D'Angelo, Crystal St Synne, Loxus Abraham Ryne, Ramona Avar now Ryne and, yes, Aranyani Nightingale, who at least according to her birth certificate is also a Ryne. I should forewarn you right at the outset of Rings '60 that, as we progress through what I'll mostly be referring to as Asps One through Six, a number of others will bear special attention.
They include Kadmon Heliopolis, whom Headmistress Virginia 'Ginny' Mannering still calls 'El Draco', his half-sister, Europa, whose now somewhere around fifteen years dead mother was Mnemosyne born D'Angelo, and Kad's Dragon's Teeth (aka 'The Trigon Spartae'). Add to them, as has become relatively regular in PHANTACEA on the Web, a certain little trickster who never seems to grow any older than age-7.
[NOTE: Hush Mannering is calling herself Ali Dodgson in Rings '60. Since she goes by the name of Dorothy Dodgson in the 'Launch 1980' story cycle maybe the real Ali (Alice) was the real Dorothy's mother.]
As for our nominative-Asps, there's three of them in April 1960: Trebleman Johann Schmidt, Sean Smythe and Joan Smith (who I suppose is, nominatively, a Treblewoman). Furthermore, since Asp-1 occurs on the Thirtieth of that month, which is Year 60's Walpurgis Nacht, or Witch-Night in English, please note that a number of other witches besides Hush are in attendance.
One's the Anthean Sisterhood's then-former Superior, Dolores nee D'Angelo now Rivera, a second's its then-current Superior, Morgianna Sarpedon (the Morrigan, also known as the Demon Queen), and a third's Harry's aforementioned Hellion of a Mother Meg. There's also Headmistress Mannering's Headmistress, Bonita sometimes called Maxwell. But, like ex-Superior Sorrow, they're only teachers, aren't they?
Except for those I swear I'll never again mention by name, at least in the synopsis portion of Rings '60, most of those at the Alliance of Man's 35th anniversary party featured in Last-3 are at the wedding. But for Hush, they are of course all four and a third years older. Which means the Summoning Children, the likes of Ginny and Salvatore Dis L'Orca, are 39.
As usual for the Alliance it's quite the gathering of diversity. Then three more arrive. Whereupon some might say, and do (though perhaps not in so many words), it becomes quite the gathering of perversity. One's Caliban Kopf, the enormous, mute but not deaf manservant of another, the so-called Young Baron, Gunther von Alptraum. Aka, for perhaps self-explanatory reasons, Prince Peashooter, von Alp's the apparently Summoning-Aged son of the Old Baron, Tyrtod von Alptraum, and Berchta born Faust always Volsung (who's still alive in Rings '60), they of the Heliodyssey sequences set in 1938.
Von Alp the Younger lives in the Soviet Supra City, which Abe Ryne and his then-fiance, now-wife, Ramona Avar, discussed at some length in Last-2nd. Is also the custodian of the notes, designs and actual blueprints left behind by Ryne's nephew, Jesus Mandam, the Conquering Christ, who was killed on Salvation Island on Xmas Day 1953. Ryne wants these papers desperately. Will go to almost any lengths to get hold of them. And that's all I'll be saying about that right now!
Did I say three?
Better make that four!
As I so often say ...
2. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Merry Harry Marrying"
Asp-2's a tidy little chapter. Fairly straight forward narrative, not too much in the way of fay-saying and, even if I do say so myself, captures an era rather well. Boomers somewhat older than me might recognize the templates for Rollicking Rolly and his back-up band. Torontonians probably won't recognize Massey Hall, though. While I was there something like seven years after the events detailed in Asp-2, I have to admit I made up its innards. Might have looked as described; more likely might not have, however. But, hey, who's quibbling? Not me, that's for sure.
Except for some brief Wayfaring in the Wild Weird way back in Moloch circa early '38, I believe this is the first time Sedon St Synne has appeared in person in any of my Web Serials thus far (February 2001). Which is odd considering Sed-son's such a pivotal character in the overall context of the PHANTACEA Mythos. It therefore behooves us, before we get into the heavy duty foreboding that permeates Asp-2, to spend some serious time with him.
And we do, -- rather, I did and you will, once you read it!
Talk about foreboding. Asp-2's positively fraught with the stuff. That's just a sampler. Here's another one. Make that two or three of them all in one. Not to mention, yet again, ...
It's a party. Folks drink, they argue, they dance. On occasion they even get to waltz with the bride. Which, howsoever short term, sometimes leaves the groom himself looking elsewhere for a prancing partner.
Let's staunch the flow of the bleeding obvious, shall we?
I promise you they won't make it anywhere near long enough to need anything like Viagra!
3. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Leandro Dies Again"
No staunching of the bleeding obvious in this installment of 'Ringleader's Revenge', I'm afraid. It's perhaps past time we got seriously red and we do, -- almost any number of reds, sooth said. Be red-scares, red-hands, redheads, red-baiters, and more than a few red herrings in Asp-3. Mostly, though, it'll be blood red.
In keeping with this synopsis' sanguinary theme, you might recall the Left's old mantra from the Fifties and Sixties: 'Better Red than Dead.' A couple of our characters are about to find out if the opposite holds true. Too bad they won't be able to tell us the answer afterwards.
(Pardon an immediate aside, but we've had carnage incarnadine before in PHANTACEA on the Web, -- notably in 'War of the Apocalyptics' and 'The Trigregos Gambit'. Unlike either of them, however, Rings '60 is akin to its predecessor web-serial, Rings '55 ('Last of the Supranormals'), 'The Moloch Manuoevres' and 'Centauri Island' in that its entirety is not only set on the Outer Earth but most of its major characters have no idea an Inner Earth even exists.
(Certain admittedly self-imposed rules come into play when I write such like story sequences and they apply to Asps One through Six. Suffice to say, therefore, that as a result of these rules those aspects of any Amoebaman who aren't there by end-chapter, end-book either, likely won't be back. As above, these aspects number two.)
And that's about all I want to say about Asp-3 right this minute.
As I've said any number of times before: Good reading!
4. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Belificent's Funeral"
Last time up, primarily as a public service, I went moderately out of my way to avoid too much commentary on the unfortunate, burial-plot-necessary unpleasantness contained in Asp-3. Asp-4's title pretty much let's the proverbial cat out of the rat-bag (not to mention the grave) so, this time up, I promise I'll be as Canada-candid as I dare without ruining the last half of 'Revenge' for everyone else.
(I always try to keep my promises out here in Cyberia. Usually do too. Well, virtually always anyhow. Can't promise you I won't make any more bad puns, though. Especially not when tip-top tricksters are among the main characters in Rings '60. Or Rings '55, for that matter-hatter!)
In Asp-3 we found out WORLD ['The Worldwide Order with the Right to Life and Death'] claimed credit for killing Trebleman Joan Smith. It also claimed credit for kidnapping the newlyweds, Aristotle Zeross and Belificent born D'Angelo.
In Asp-3, we also found out what WORLD, an international criminal agency that was, at least nominally, still around in late 1980 (when the now-completed, four-part 'Launching of the Cosmic Express' series of inter-connected novels took place), wanted in exchange for their release, -- namely, to funnel a great whack of illegitimately obtained ransom money in effect legitimately into various research and development laboratories, mostly of a politically suspect nature, that were already dedicated to trying to decipher the papers, etc., left behind by Jesus Mandam, the Conquering Christ.
The vast majority of this material has been in the hands of Gunther von Alptraum and the still-extant (in 1960) Soviet Supra Supreme since Mandam's death on Salvation Island in 1953. Abe Ryne dutifully paid said ransom (1-million to each of 24 different labs, 24-million in all) and, accordingly, Harry was released. Shockingly, though, Bel wasn't!
A second ransom note was grotesquely tattooed to Smith's now-headless remains, which were found alongside a heavily sedated Aristotle Zeross in the back of an abandoned Bedford Van. It had the same conditions, albeit with a million dollars each going to a different set of 24 separate labs, including one run by Aranyani Nightingale Ryne out of the Houston Academy of Man, but the Great Man couldn't, or wouldn't, cave into pressure and fork over any more big bad bucks, -- especially not to big bad, at least somewhat logically probable persons who, unlike me, did not keep their promises.
Neither would (although he probably could) Alfredo Sentalli, the incredibly obese godson of Raphael D'Angelo, Bel's father. The Fatman, as nearly everyone referred to Sentalli, controlled NCE, New Century Enterprises, from his base in Hawaii, a tiny, tri-peaked islet off the coast of Maui called Centauri Island. And where have we heard that name before?
As its implied, NCE was founded at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Was founded, interestingly enough, by Abe's father, Charan Ryne. Ryne Senior died during the Summoning but his body was preserved and, in the late Thirties, the first Moses Callion apparently used, um, aspects of it in an effort to clone him. I say interestingly because among the labs listed in the gruesome ransom note is Moe II's in Switzerland. And, with a name like that, what might Moe II be?
Might as well tell you, here and now, that WORLD filmed Bel's execution, for that was what it was, and as you might have already assumed Abe Ryne's consequent rage was unbounded. Treblewoman was decapitated so that points to Herr Kopf, Gunther von Alptraum's mute manservant who most agree was an at least semi-successful Callion Clone. Voice on the initial tape detailing WORLD's demands sounded like that of Sedon St Synne. Von Alp works for the Soviet Supra Supreme.
Seems obvious, therefore, that all of the above are likely responsible for the Order's actions. And, guess what, chances are they are! Except, for any of them to be at all complicit in any of this evil-doing, it's just as likely they would have had to have been compelled. Because of this there's more talk of blaming the Soviet Supra Supreme but there's an even more aforementioned bleeding obvious suspect, -- the person who was filmed garotting Belificent. That person, if she is indeed a person and not some sort of malevolent possessive spirit that attaches to Anthean witches, was, is ...
That's how Asp-4 begins. So, if Strife is indeed a malevolent spirit being that possesses mind-bending Ant illusionists (ergo 'not-inexplicably faceless'), which witch has she attached to this time? Ordinarily when we reach this point in a synopsis I'd say ... Won't do it this time partially because Rings '60 still has two more chapters to go. Besides, particularly if you're a lover of good old-fashioned, mayhem, madness & mainly manly mindless massacre sequences, you won't be skipping Asp-4 anyways.
So, let's see, thus far this chapter we've got seriously red (two murders for starters), red-scares (the Soviet Supra Supreme), red-hands (those who bear the ultimate responsibility for all this bloodshed), red-baiters (Greygreave Translav), redheads (although Strife's hardly the only one in PHANTACEA who has red hair), and the occasional red herring (all of above, plus little doubt many a more).
We also have Kadmon Heliopolis and his Dragon's Teeth, the Trigon Spartae, the most dangerous men alive in any timeline, in their chronologically first recorded, on the Web, go-completely-crazy demonstration of what, even if they aren't supras as such, they are capable of doing. We feature the duplicitous Maxwells, -- father Jock, son Max, and mother Bonita. (Not that, as we've long known, they're actually blood or even marital relations!) We've Young Life, Young Death, ex-Superior Sorrow, the Ants' current-Superior, aka the Morrigan, and any number of potential, Worldwide Order co-conspirators.
Only thing we're really missing is Ringleader's Revenge. I guarantee that'll come in due course. Aren't missing his rings, though, -- except it isn't Harry wielding them. I'm no mystery buff, and not much of a mystery writer either, so I won't keep you wondering who does wield them. Will keep you wondering who was behind the camera filming Strife/Ramona killing Belificent, however.
No-other-choice compulsion may well be the key to all this. Equally so, I'm here to tell you that the Miracle Key might just be one of those fishy sorts of things I mentioned earlier. A much more productive path to follow, for those of you who are mystery buffs, could be 'glowing riding crop' and 'ruby-coloured beads'!
5. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Meroudys Two Too Many"
Here's another passage from Asp-5:
There are fairy-tales about someone named Meroudys. (That I can confirm; I've read at least one of them.) Apparently she was the beloved of a noble-born troubadour who went by the name of King Orfeo. In Classical Mythology their equivalents would be Orpheus and Eurydice, which does sound a little like Meroudys if you repeat it to yourself a few times.
Ginny and Bunnie can be forgiven for not being able to place the name but we've heard it previously in Revenge, haven't we? (Happens at the very end of Damnation Day, if you missed it. I'd quote the section directly but I'm shy about using that kind of language in a synopsis.)
Recall, if you will, back in Rings '55 Abe Ryne's then fiance, now wife (wife in Rings '60 anyhow), Ramona Avar, has just shot Aranyani Nightingale, Ryne's supposed daughter by first wife Eden, through a closed door. Fortunately for both of them it's non-fatally but Aran's understandably more than a mite miffed at having been so rudely greeted by her latest potential stepmother.
Aran recognized Ray for who she actually was and called her Meroudys (among other things). Who she actually is, was, (apparently is-was anyhow), is, was, ... well, for reasons noted above, I can't quote Hush Mannering directly but here's what I will allow myself copy and paste:
Thus we do indeed have two 'Meroudyses' in Asp-5. One is Meroudys Maenad (the then-current Ramona Avar, who's actually Cybele St Synne's daughter); the other is Meroudys Artha, a Nightingale if ever there was one, -- or two! What we don't have is any sign of Ringleader and only a little inkling as to whom he might ultimately be obliged to revenge himself upon for Joan Smith and Belificent's murders.
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6. Aspects of an Amoebaman: "Hellion Harry Harrowing"
Let's be perfectly clear at the outset of this, my final last time up for 'Ringleader's Revenge', that claiming credit is not, morally speaking, exactly the same as actually being responsible for actions for which you've claimed credit. Neither is it the same as accepting responsibility when you're called to task for the consequences of said actions.
Under the law, though, you instigate criminal activities you should be held accountable for their totality, right? With that in mind I thought I'd remind you that, although plausible deniability may be a relatively recent term, it's not a recent concept.
So, that said, who is the big bad guy behind WORLD[?] Rather, upon whom might Rings ultimately be obliged to revenge himself for Treblewoman and Bel's murders[?] Easiest way to find out is, of course, to read Asp-6. Once you've done that, have some fun and play my version of fill in the [-]. Then, if you're so inclined, enter Anheroic Fantasy's Second Non[-]Contest and score yourself some genuine non[-]prizes!
[-] is killed on [-]. However, [-] has left his [-] behind with the [-] and his uncle, [-], will go to almost any lengths to get hold of them. (Well, almost any lengths[!]) [-] also knows all about these [-]; knows more than that, -- knows where the technology behind them came from originally, [-], and figures they belong to her people as much if not more so than they do to anyone else.
What use are [-], though, if no one can make what's detailed on them work? So [-] and [-] combine forces, just as they had at least once before, and set things up such that some serious, albeit perhaps dubious in terms of their political affinities, definitely financially strapped and, all too often, distinctly whacko-scientists can get seriously to work on deciphering them. First big problem is no one reputable, not even [-], can legitimately justify funding these looney tunes. Hence, it has to be done illegitimately. Hence, again, [!]
As much as professionals can be relied upon, [-] figures [-] should be ensured in case they either somehow bugger up ([-] sort of does and sort of doesn't) or, even though they're extremely well paid from the outset, those behind [-], including [-], get even more greedy. (Which they may or not do.) [-] agrees then goes a step further and seeks to [-] their cooperation.
To do so [-] opts for using [-]-methods, a [-] no less. [-] manufactures a facsimile [-]. [-]brings it, via the [-], to [-] and in doing so may or may not have contracted [-] and passed it/her onto [-] (whom we now know is actually [-]) or, perhaps just as likely, passed it onto a deeply jealous, not to mention dangerously disturbed [-]. Whereupon things started going seriously sideways!
By the time [-] finds all this out, [-] has dispatched [-] to try to sort out [-]. Which is how [-] get involved and [-]'s precious [-] is yet again compromised. Somehow [-] finds out what's going on as well. Decisions are made, [-], such as it is, is exacted, and this is how [-] ends:
|Ringleader's Revenge: Last of the Supranormals|
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