The Dynamite Trilogy: Space

Some people think the evil prophet of space is Christ reborn. Others want to measure him with scientific instruments. But everyone who approaches him dies!

“Space does not like you,” the prophet says to the teeming masses of humanity.

There are rivers of blood on the Earth in those first few days. The sky is full of fire.

“You look outwards towards space. You make puppy-dog faces. You project onto space with your purposes and expectations. Space is confused and nauseated by this! Space is not your frontier. It is a cold bleak void! You need to stop hoping and dreaming towards it. So I am here to kill everyone in hopes that this will make you stop!

“Hallelujah!” cries somebody in the crowd.

Then most of the listening people suffer explosive decompression and those that do not the prophet hangs from spikes.

Conventional weaponry does nothing. He walks through armies and leaves them ruins.

“I do this because it is prophesied,” says the evil prophet of space.

He is on a street corner in Boise, Idaho. He is eating his lunch, a tuna sandwich, on top of an overturned tank. Everyone has fled Boise save for an abandoned and unhappy dog but explaining himself is habitual for the evil prophet of space.

“Behold!” he says, and unfurls the scroll of his evil prophecy.

The scroll is covered in the gleaming golden letters of space. Hesitantly, angered by the evil prophecy, the abandoned dog barks.

Nuclear weapons fall upon Boise, Idaho. They crunch down around him like pine cones falling to the Earth. They burst into an extraordinary nuclear rage.

Potatoes mutate.

The dog dies.

All around the evil prophet of space fire blooms. But he holds up the scroll of his evil prophecy and says, “Paper beats nukes!”

And it is so.

The Earth takes its final measure of defense. The United Nations Security Council meets and unanimously votes to issue the Unlimited Cheat Code.

Konami Thunder Dancers all over the world plug the cheat code into their dance pads.

It enables the Great Network Dance.

Thus is finally realized the most glorious dream ever dreamed by a middle-aged Konami Corporation executive, that is, that people should hook their dance pads together via wireless Internet connection and dance the networked thunder dance to sweep away the evil prophet of space.

Riding the Symbol of the Gathering, the Dancers fly to Mount Hook.

They defy the evil prophet there.

And there are many. There are legion. There is old Margerie. There is hobbling Kalov. There is Ellen. But also there are Doug and Kasumi and Ben and Christine and Dancer X and Hot Coffee and Footwork and Phobos and many more.

There are gathered there all of the legends and most of the minor experts of the dance.

The evil prophet looks at them.

A warm and tender smile spreads across his face.

“Why,” he says. “You’ve actually got something interesting.”

Then the wind of the dance falls on him howling. It rends him. It rips him apart as he has ripped apart others. He hangs in the air in pieces. His hands and his feet and his mouth scrabble at the air to try to draw him back together again.

Ellen dances the Scissors and the Dynamite.

Margerie throws Glory.

And so many others! So many Symbols! There is even a sweat-drenched beginner in the back desperately dancing Misshapen Metal Lump in opposition to the evil prophet of space.

Thunder peals.

The Dancers rip the evil prophet down to the seething particles of him and his smile.

The PlayStation 7s through which the Dancers dance grow hot. They suckle at the cool evening air. A single particle of the evil prophet finds its way in through the vents and touches on the networked code.

“Do you know what I am going to do?” the prophet’s voice whispers in Hot Coffee’s ear.

“No,” says Hot Coffee.

“I am going to redefine the LIVE_BURIAL variable to TRUE,” the evil prophet says.

And before any of the dancers can say anything—before they can even utter a word—

Mount Hook falls on them.

None of them die immediately. But all of them black out.

Most of them never wake up.

Margerie opens her eyes long enough for a moment of satisfaction. Kalov grumbles with finality about kids these days. Phobos wakes but to no avail; his chest is pinned and he screams silently until he dies.

Time passes.

Ellen startles open her eyes.

She is buried under the mountain. She can scarcely breathe. She can’t move: there are rocks pinning her. Everywhere she is held down. The pain of it is horrible.

She is only alive because the PS7s are sturdy, unbreakable by something as small as a mountain falling on them, and thus have served to prop up the tumbled rock in certain limited ways.

“Oh,” she says.

It is soft and meek and the word is lost in the channels of the fallen mountain and she coughs and only the red light of a PlayStation on standby breaks the darkness.

“I feel,” she says, to unseen angels, “that we should apologize to the world, for now the evil prophet shall kill everyone.”

The rock shifts and grinds into her back.

And laughing and crying she thinks, “Rock beats scissors.”

A ridiculous notion blossoms in her mind. It’s really quite stupid. But she can’t help it. She counts to three under her breath. She closes her fist.

The rock shifts again. It lifts from her, just a bit. Then it is grinding, grinding, pushing back away from her, and in the little cavern that forms she sees the cross-legged form of Navvy Jim.

One hand is holding up an improvised roof.

The other, paper.

Ellen giggles. Then she laughs. Then pain shoots through her ribcage and she chokes and she says, “Oh.”

“You cannot think to defeat me at rock-paper-scissors simply by draining my battery, taking me apart, waiting 5 years, and hiding under a mountain,” says Navvy Jim. “That is the kind of hijink only beneficial against amateurs.”

“Oh,” she says, and brokenly she smiles at him her love.

“But . . . it is dangerous to play rock-paper-scissors here,” he says. “The mountain throws rock. So rock and paper, perhaps, are safe, but if you play scissors you would be crushed under tons of rock.”

“Mountains don’t care about rock-paper-scissors,” says Ellen. “They’re not like robots or space.”

Navvy Jim hesitates.

“That’s partially true,” he says. “Although I will observe the established higher mortality rates for people who carry scissors on mountains over people who carry paper.”

“You saved my life,” Ellen says.

“I am a good robot,” smugs Navvy Jim.

There is silence for a while.

Tendrils of evil slowly slip into the chamber. The evil prophet congeals.

He looks between them. He looks between the Konami Thunder Dancer and the rock-paper-scissors-playing robot.

Insultingly, he chooses to worry about the robot.

“I sensed a power on Earth,” he says, “capable of playing rock-paper-scissors against me at my level.”

“You would be a worthy opponent,” Navvy Jim concedes.

“I didn’t expect to find you while finishing these dancers off.”

“Did you wish to play,” says Navvy Jim, hesitantly, “then?”

“Navvy Jim!” Ellen says. “Don’t play rock-paper-scissors with the evil prophet of space!”

“If I don’t play, he wins by default!” Navvy Jim protests.

What?

“You wouldn’t understand a rock-paper-scissors player’s heart,” says Navvy Jim. “You’re organic.”

“Oh,” Ellen says.

So the evil prophet and Navvy Jim square off.

“I should warn you,” says the evil prophet, “that I always throw paper. That’s how I’m going to kill you and the human. With paper.”

Navvy Jim’s eyes dim, then brighten.

“Why would you do that?” he asks.

“I use my evil prophecy to kill things,” says the evil prophet of space. “I’m an evil prophet. That’s just what I do.”

Navvy Jim nods.

“Well,” he says, “the three symbols are mathematically equivalent, in any case.”

The evil prophet laughs. It’s startled from him. It’s pure and clean. And he says, “Yes. Yes, of course they are.”

And in a flash of insight Ellen remembers the mountain that surrounds them, the great bulk of rock, and a shout bursts from her, racking the inside of her with pain: “Don’t throw scissors, Navvy Jim!”

The evil prophet is counting to three.

Navvy Jim glances at Ellen.

“Of course I won’t,” he says. “The mountain always throws rock.”

And the evil prophet brandishes his evil prophecy. And Navvy Jim’s palm is flat.

“A tie,” says the evil prophet. “Rethrow.”

Softly, he counts to three.

He brandishes his evil prophecy, and Navvy Jim his palm.

“A tie,” says the evil prophet. “Rethrow.”

Navvy Jim says, “For all the money?”

“Of course,” says the evil prophet.

“And if I win,” says Navvy Jim, “you’ll leave this world?”

“Navvy Jim,” says Ellen, and her face is as pale as the snow.

“Perhaps,” the evil prophet says.

And Navvy Jim’s eyes glow blue.

And softly the evil prophet counts to three.

“Oh, no,” says Ellen. “Oh, no.”

And she pushes down against the world with her hand to reach desperately for Navvy Jim.

And the evil prophet brandishes his evil prophecy; and Navvy Jim, with a great screeching of metal, splits into scissors the fingers of his hand; and simultaneous with Being Crushed by Rocks Ellen throws Dynamite.

And the last things that Ellen sees as the world goes white are Navvy Jim lunging for her to catch her as she falls and the hideously betrayed expression of the evil prophet as he shouts:

“You can’t throw Dynamite! This is rock-paper-scissors!”

They don’t let you do things like that at the evil academy of space.

8 thoughts on “The Dynamite Trilogy: Space

  1. Heh.

    I’ve had a deprived childhood. How do you throw dynamite?

    I’m working on the other three.
    For Spock, you spread your hand in the traditional Vulcan/Yiddish salute. Spock sings about hobbits.

    I can’t picture making a hobbit. Perhaps two fingers down as legs. Hobbits stab spiders.

    A spider is the palm down, fingers seperated and curved. It’s only five legs, no head, and an attached arm, but we’re human and allowances must be made. I expect advanced genetically modified or robotic players have overcome this difficulty. But the rules, dating back before enhancement, don’t give them an advantage. Spiders climb in Spock’s ears.

    If you throw a spider palm up, it’s dead and always loses. It’s rarely advisable.

    Rylen

  2. I really enjoyed this trilogy. (Other than the everyone being crushed part.) Space usually throws rocks at Earth; this time it threw scissors and paper.

    But on another level — perhaps purely hallucinatory, but whatever — this seems influenced by the whole “value of consistency” discussion in comments around the Letters replies for last month. Rock-paper-scissors is the ultimate consistent system. Dynamite is the wogly — most often destructive, but sometimes needed just to create a space for more options.

    The Konami dance, with a near-infinite number of symbols able to be created from a few basic building blocks, is like writing. (I always knew those “Dance Dance Revolution” things had mythopoetic potential.)

  3. This was trancendantly brilliant.

    So I am here to kill everyone in hopes that this will make you stop!

    Ahahahahahaa! I really can’t pick a favorite, though. Navvy Jim, Ellen, the evil prophet of space, Margerie; I love them all.

  4. I hadn’t thought of things that way, rpuchalsky, but now that you point it out it seems clear, and enhances my appreciation of the story. (The ultimate accolade for criticism.)

    I wonder if Rebecca has seen Rock-Scissors-Paper-Spock-Lizard or whether she came up with Spock on her own?

    (Rock, Paper, and Scissors have the usual relations; in addition Scissors decapitates Lizard; Rock crushes Lizard; Lizard eats Paper; Lizard poisons Spock; Spock phasers Rock; Spock breaks Scissors; Paper disproves Spock.)

  5. Just seen a “better” version: a 25 symbol game, which lets you throw dynamite as well as alien (spock).

    Weird, and beautiful… but I’m holding out for the Konami Thunder Dance.

  6. “You cannot think to defeat me at rock-paper-scissors simply by draining my battery, taking me apart, waiting 5 years, and hiding under a mountain,” says Navvy Jim. “That is the kind of hijink only beneficial against amateurs.”

    Oh, my. This whole trilogy had be grinning, but for some reason it was this line that pushed me over the edge.

    Weird, and beautiful… but I’m holding out for the Konami Thunder Dance.

    While you wait for perfection, you might enjoy “Waving Hands.”

  7. I remember a networked X-windows version of “Waving Hands”…it was called something like “XSpellcast”. It had fewer spells, I think, but the computer kept track of them for you.

    Oh, wait…Rebecca is against X. Sorry.

  8. As I recall, there’s a play-by-email server called Firetop Mountain. The last time I played there was, eep!, 8 years ago, but it appears to be still operational.

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