April 2013


Come on down to MAGUS SUSHI & SASHIMI, at the corner of 3rd and East! Everybody knows that in the current economic climate there are more mages than there are magic-related jobs, and we’re putting those savings to work for you with our highly overqualified and overtrained staff of sushi mages filling orders!

Whether it’s getting sashimi to its thinnest cut or rolling a supernaturally tight sushi, our magic chefs have what it takes to deliver a superior dining experience. Nigirizushi, makizushi, temaki…whatever your preferred style, we’ll do it up right using cantrips and enchantments reserved in better times for healing the sick or making life easier for the downtrodden underclasses! And all of our culinary delights are conjured up fresh as you watch.

Check out these selections from our daily menu:
Iku-Tama – Dragon roe nigiri with cockatrice eggs
Kodako – Baby kraken nigiri
Kyatapirā Maki – Raw pegasus & mandrake root wrapped w/avocado
Nori Maki Roll – Seaweed from the Deathsea & rice stolen from the garden of Onibaba the yōkai

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Prosecution Exhibit #47
Fragment from contraband Manifesto of Choice by “Zeitengel,” possession of which is prohibited by City Ordinance 217 §10

We are all products of our choices. It is only through choice and the exercise of a free will that we can impact our environment, and ourselves. Free choice, and free acceptance of whatever consequences those choices bring, are the very foundation of human life and by extension a moral imperative.

Some have said that their choices are made for them before they are born or before they are old enough to choose for themselves. There is an element of truth to this, but it does not negate the central precept. Dealing with the choices others have made is, in and of itself, a choice. This is why some choices have led those of mean circumstance to power and those of wealth and affluence to ruin.

The abdication of choice, therefore, represents a death. Without the will to choose, blindly allowing others to choose for them, the abdicator has no influence and no impact. They are, functionally, deceased–and it is only a matter of allowing the physical reality to catch up with the metaphysical. At the mercy of the choosers and choicemakers, the abdicators must redeem themselves or face the consequences of their actions.

For abdication of choice is in and of itself a choice.

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Here at The Hamster Sepulchre, we understand that childhood and classroom pets won’t last forever, and significantly less than forever if they are dressed up with Barbie clothes or fed a steady diet of leftover cafeteria food. Our founder, the Rev. Holsey McFetridge, was devastated by the loss of his childhood pet Sniffles the Syrian Hamster to eruptive sinusitis, and he vowed to create a safe and welcoming environment for small pets and their bereaved.

Set among an idyllic and scenic 27-acre landscaped park, interments at The Hamster Sepulchre represent a peaceful repose and a celebration of your pet’s short but fuzzy life.

Though The Hamster Sepulchre was initially founded for mesocricetus auratus and its fellow Cricetinae, we now accept interments from all species of small mammalian pets. From rabbits to gerbils to viscachas, all are welcome. No birds, lizards, and especially snakes please; their diets of rodents are disrespectful to our interees. Fish, especially goldfish, are an exception to the “no non-mammals” policy as they are excellent fertilizer.

The Sepulchre offers full open and closed shoebox funeral rites at our on-site non-denominational chapel, as well as memorial ceremonies, life celebrations, and raw materials reprocessing for our customers that are of other faiths, agnostic, or atheist. Cremation and Tibetan sky burial are available for a by-the-pound charge, and thimbles full of ashes may be kept as mementos or displayed in our Curio Shelf of Remembrance.

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“As you know, Dr. Clausius is a licensed cosmologist and cosmological surgeon specializing in thermodynamic surgery and a licensed and bonded quantum mechanic. What sort of procedure were you interested in, Mr. Carnot?”

“I find that I have too much entropy, and that my closed system keeps losing energy without input from an external source. My system keeps spontaneously evolving towards thermodynamic equilibrium.”

“In that case, we have a wide range of surgical options available. There is of course full entropy surgery, which will amputate the second law of thermodynamics. that’s an expensive and somewhat dangerous option, naturally.”

“What else have you got?”

“Well, there’s the standard entroplasty, which disguises local entropy over a galactic span of time through that appears to be a perpetual motion machine. Then we have the entropic bypass, which is a bit more involved but less expensive and dangerous than the full entropy surgery. The EB will alter the flow of energy through your closed system so that you feel ordered with much less heat, energy, work, or input from an exterior source.”

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It was kind of a love-hate thing, really. People saw it on his resume or on the internet that Simon Mullins had worked on Megabot 3, the third and best-received in the long running Megabot series, and they invited him to conferences and other events, often with an honorarium. It was tough for someone who only made web design money to turn the offer down, even if the same thing inevitably happened.

Someone would ask a specific question about Megabot 3: “Did you know about the endless hitbox bug when using Seabot’s Salt Trident on Professor Wild’s third boss robot?”

Simon would answer: “Well, I worked on the PC version of the game.”

“There was a PC version?” That was the most common response. If anyone had actually heard of it–which, thanks to the internet, an increasing number did–the comments were usually along the line of “The PC version sucked.”

And that was it. The actual designers of Megabot 3 lived in Japan and spoke no English (in addition to using pseudonyms like “Pan Pan” or “Nobuo-Kun’s Daddy” in the credits). So there was no chance they’d ever show up at Nerdicon. And the PC version of the game was notorious for its perceived low quality, if anyone had even heard of or played it.

No one ever asked or wanted to hear about how Simon had wrangled the Megabot license out of Kapcami Ltd by spending half a day on a long distance phone call to Honshu and sending a cashier’s check for ¥49,065 (about 500 bucks). No one wanted to know how he had carefully, and legally, copied assets from a frame-by-frame study of a Megabot 3 cartridge. No one wanted to know how he painstakingly coded–by himself–an engine that would produce a comparable effect to a console game, with original levels and Botmasters that would work on DOS-based machines.

In that era before multiple platform releases and emulators, the Mullins Laboratories Megabot 3 had been the only thing close to a Megabot game on the PC. It had even reaped about $10,000 in profits, enough to pay off one of Mullins’ student loans. But that wasn’t enough to keep him from being tarred as the “guy behind the crappy PC port.”

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December 1, 1941
Arrived Cocatris Island with detachment of 10 contractors. Contract is for a small base to serve as the nucleus for farming and development, and to reinforce US claim to island in the fact of Japan and UK counter-claims. Equipment offloaded from Clemson-class destroyer USS WoodburyDD-309 provided by US government. Anticipate work will take approximately one month.

December 9, 1941
The Woodbury has failed to arrive for its scheduled stop. It’s a bit worrisome, as they were our sole means of communication and resupply. Luckily, we have built a dock and a number of shelters including a hut with emergency supplies, and should be able to last a while until the ship returns.

January 2, 1942
We’ve been able to pick up Radio Tokyo and the BBC on our shortwave, but without a transmitter it’s not much better than reading the newspaper. Found out what happened to the Woodbury, at least: it’s been confirmed sunk by both the Japanese and the Brits. It’s possible that the government thinks it was sunk before we were dropped off on Cocatris, since we were were ahead of schedule…

February 15, 1942
the freshwater lens is just too damn unstable and we’re drinking it too fast…even with rations we’re running low on water. eidelman volunteered to take the skiff and a crew to becker island to try and contact the crew there

February 29, 1942
goOd ridDancE…EidelmAn was aLways a Plotter…no wAter lEFt, moSt of the cRew deaD…but ilL be fIne…tHe iSlanD wilL proVide

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“Not so fast,” the bouncer said, lowering his newspaper. “What would you say if I offered you a million bucks?”

“No,” said Sen.

“What direction does a rocket go?”

“Down.”

“And how do you get a car to go?”

“Empty the gas out of the tank.”

The bouncer nodded curtly. “Welcome to Moontown,” he said. He flung open the door into a world of blacklights, neon, and madness.

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“If I regret anything,” coughed Grandpa, “it’s that I didn’t use the keys that God and circumstance handed me. There were plenty of doors to open, but I never turned their locks.”

“What do you mean?”

I knew there were vikings in the old barn…I could hear them rattling around in the hayloft on windy nights. But I never opened that door, never went in to see for myself. I knew that the typewriter on my desk had worlds inside of it for me to unlock; I could see them. But I never turned those keys. If I’d pushed for it, I might have got a better job than the cannery. But it kept you and your mother well enough, and I was comfortable there, so I never pushed for it.”

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Her poem “Of the Labyrinth-Women” remains highly anthologized, with its haunting and lyrical language oft-quoted:

for they are the labyrinth-women
twisted within as twisted without
bent inwards upon a mockery of a path
forward to dark and darkward to death

– M. Alethia Markridge, Of the Labyrinth-Women (1935), third stanza.

For all the success and fame that her poetry brought, Alethia Markridge did not live a happy life. She increasingly turned to alcohol and isolation, to the point that her daughter Olive was all but abandoned with her parents in Montauk. “I feel a husk,” she wrote in a 1937 letter, “squeezed-out dull as the name I hide behind full-stops before my true self.”

In the later years of her life, and especially after the publication of A Thousand Strands to the Present in early 1938, Markridge became increasingly obsessed with her first name, Marie, by which she had rarely been called but upon which her devoutly Catholic grandmother had insisted. She called it her “true self” in many letters, and wrote of her fear that it presaged a domestic mundanity to which she was doomed. “To return to the washboard and the oven, the husk-party and gossip-mongery…that is what I fear the most,” she confided in a 1939 note to her sister. “I say return because I feel that all I have ever done and will ever do is but a postponement of the destiny inherited by a million Maries, the destiny they’ll pass on to a hundred more.

Markridge’s final collection, tentatively titled Love-Serenade to the Maries of the Universe, was never completed.

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FROM: Lilian Thompson

I know you can embarrass get this m ail, but please do not ignore it. After going through your pro file, I feel I should tell you about it.

Oh, I can embarrass what ails you, all right. Thanks for noticing! And I really have more of an amateur file than a pro. Might go pro someday; live the dream.

My father was a poison in his business associates in one of their outings on a business trip.

So if your father was a poison, that makes you half poison? And if he was a poison in his associates, then that would mean that your mother…well, let’s just say it would be an interesting inheritance law case study.

My mom died when I was a kid, so I orphaned children.

You orphaned children? That’s cold. What, since you don’t get parents, nobody gets parents? Or were you, as an orphan, trying to make more of your kind the only way you knew how?

I request the transfer of the inherited money US $ 5.5 M and I come over there.

Too much information! And honestly I think $5.50 would mostly be eaten up in fees.

My father left him in a bank before he dies as a result of eating poison, I’ll give you 15% after the transfer, I will tell you how and why to choose you, and you need to know, but, as you may be already aware, at present, my country is currently in a State of war due to political crises.

So your father locked somebody in a bank before eating himself and dying. Your family history isn’t really selling me on this whole thing.

The rebels have already captured the entire North of the country and efforts aimed at seizing the country’s commercial center, where I am now.

Also, what country where people are named “Lilian Thompson” is currently in the middle of a civil war? Not exactly a Syrian name…

Meanwhile I choose because of the familiarity of the name, and secondly, I choose you with faith as a Christian and pray for it and believe in it.

I’m glad you have faith and all, but the familiarity of one’s name doesn’t necessarily indicate trustworthiness. Joseph Stalin and Bernie Madoff are familiar names.

Finally I love your country and its my dream, because it’s a peaceful country: reply through My Email; [redacted]

Wait, my country is your dream? Doesn’t that mean that it’ll disappear when you wake up? Maybe sending the money isn’t such a bad idea after all…

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