June 2008 Archives

The Messenger

Chapter Three

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Mongol March Around the Caspian Sea

The crossing of the Caucus Mountains was very difficult. They did not wait for the way to be clear, and thus they ran into harsh conditions. Some of the Mongols did not survive the trip, and some of the equipment had to be left behind.

Further, on the other side, a formidable army was waiting for them. Several groups on the northern side of the mountain range united to meet the Mongols. Neither army was ready for the battle. Both withdrew without many casualties. However, another battle was inevitable.

The Mongol generals sent The Messenger to negotiate with one of the groups in the alliance. The Cumans, a group well known among the Mongols, was the group The Messenger was sent to meet.

They at first laughed at the young man bringing a message from the Mongols. He came alone and had only his pike with him. They threatened him. They taunted him. Eventually, they attacked him.

After killing about 15 of the Cuman soldiers, they listened the presented message. The agreement was for the Cuman to leave the battle in exchange for a share of the plunder obtained from the other tribes. Naturally, they agreed.

The Messenger returned with the tale of his treatment. Clearly, the Mongols could not trust the Cuman. Any group that would mistreat a messenger, or betray their allies for money was not to be counted upon for alliance.

With the observed Cuman withdrawal, the Mongols attacked the remaining army. The volley of arrows and the charging horsemen did their job as the alliance collapsed. The opposing army was routed.

It was during this disarray that the Cumans halted their retreat and attacked. However, their raid was disorderly. The well trained Mongols easily repulsed the raid and the Cumans were in full retreat. However, this time the Mongols were in pursuit.

In an effort to survive, the Cuman army split into two groups. One group headed northeast, and the other headed northwest. The two Mongol tumens once again separated. Jebe took his army northwest, and Subutai pursued the army to the northeast.

During his pursuit, General Jebe needed provisions, so he entered the trading outpost called Soldaia. They were not responsive towards his request, and thus he had to take the city.

General Subutai continued his skirmishes with the Cuman who were now traveling along the Dniester River. They were in no hurry, thus they temporarily broke off the chase and held a great hunt. Once the Jebe's siege ended, they would reunite to continue the pursuit of the Cuman.

General Jebe learned that the Cumans and a large army of Rus were setting to attack General Subutai's position. Hence, he sent an envoy to the Prince of Kiev. Unfortunately, The Messenger was with General Subutai. Thus, when the peace offer was rejected, the entire envoy was executed.

Nevertheless, the slight delay allowed General Jebe's tumen the opportunity to join with the remaining Mongol forces. When they learned the fate of the first envoy, a second was sent led by the Messenger.

While they had no previous quarrel with the Rus, one was provided by the Prince of Kiev. In fact, they were headed away from those lands. Nonetheless, the second envoy was to declare a state of war between the two peoples.

The Prince attempted to execute this envoy as well. However, he lost 50 soldiers before deciding the let The Messenger go free. With the return of The Messenger, valuable reconnaissance was gathered by the Mongols. They learned that they would be out numbered by a 3 to 1 margin. Thus, they would have to use strategy.

Generals Jebe and Subutai agreed that a rear guard would be left to slow the Rus army as the main force found a spot to their advantage. The Messenger would not be part of the force, but would have the task of harrying the advancing Rus soldiers.

In this way, the generals hoped the army would become spread out. Thus, the Mongols would not face the entire army at once.

When the Rus and the Cuman attacked the 1000 Mongols protecting the retreat, The Messenger aided the rear guard. However, the numbers were too great for any hope of victory -- even with The Messenger killing 175 men. His orders were to retreat, and he followed the strategy and reluctantly left his comrades.

His occasional skirmishes with the Rus army as they advanced upon the retreating Mongols worked to the desired effect. The army became spread out.

When the Mongols ended their retreat at the Kalka River after nine days, the Rus were not prepared for the attack. They could not gather their full forces when the Mongols advanced. They did attack with the forces they had, but they were ill prepared.

Once the front line broke under the Mongol charge, the rear was still moving forward unaware that a battle had begun. Thus, the one army was moving in two directions at once causing a confusion, which the Mongols used to their advantage.

The rout was on. The Messenger stacked another 500 men upon the 250 he had killed during the previous 10 days. He even met the Prince during the chaos and returned the hospitality the Prince had offered him. Thus, the Prince was quickly beheaded.

Some allies to this prince escaped. However, the Mongols were in hot pursuit. Eventually, this army found a spot to fortify its position. The Mongols began the siege of this encampment, but sent an envoy to discuss terms.

At first, they refused to speak with The Messenger. However, he was insistent. Eventually, they agreed to hear the terms. As usual, they were not happy with the proposal and attempted to kill The Messenger. They were unsuccessful. He fought his way to the fortified exit, and let the Mongol army in.

Immediately, the leaders surrendered, but their remaining army was dismantled. They tried to explain that there was some sort of misunderstanding. They had completely agreed to the terms presented. Nevertheless, there would be no mercy for this group. However, they would be granted a bloodless death. They were placed beneath the celebration platform and suffocated.

Other principalities were concerned with what the Mongols would do next. However, they simply headed East towards home. Thus, other Rus armies were spared. Further, no aggressive moves were made towards the Mongols. They did not want to lose another 1000 men to The Messenger.

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The Captives of the Lost City of Alhassar

Chapter 7

By Dwayne MacInnes

I was starting to ease a little forward on my belly when Mobius floated in front of me. I had almost forgotten my companion as I sneaked towards the entrance to the cavern. He bobbed up and down and I could tell that he was agitated about something.

"What is it?" I whispered.

"Come quick," he said seriously. The fact that Mobius was serious sent shivers down my spine. "Mogutz and the others are in trouble."

Without further ado, the skull sped back down the corridor. I had no choice but to follow. I can move quickly and quietly, but at the speed Mobius was traveling, it was difficult even for me to be stealthy and keep up with him.

As I pulled even with the skull, Mobius began to explain, "I thought I should go back and see how the others were doing. I knew you could take care of yourself and you wouldn't miss me.

"It was a good thing too. For no sooner had I returned than the party stumbled into a group of hostiles. I think there was at least one vampire in the group."

To emphasize what Mobius had just said, the sounds of combat echoed up the hall to reach my ears. I tossed the robe to the side of the corridor as I ran towards the fight freeing my weapons for combat. In less time than it takes to tell, I had my bow readied.

I turned a corner to see Mogutz and Nanoc wielding their swords against a small group of armed servants. I stopped and watched as the party of adventures was doing well. Treena had positioned herself behind the warriors. This allowed her to cast spells either for the party of adventurers or against the hostiles. Gandelf and Quint stood nearby Treena to help repel anyone who may have gotten past Mogutz and Nanoc.

I was also amazed to see Mogutz's rusty sword lopping off a limb here and there. Apparently, the sword was indeed enchanted. The only physical things I witnessed flying off the blade were sparks when it encountered another sword. In addition, when the blade did cut through the flesh of an opponent, the unfortunate victim would often fall to the ground and begin to experience terrible muscle spasms. Then they would tighten-up with their back arched in the air, fists clenched, and jaw clamped shut until they just expired in this rigid pose.

Nanoc's blade was just as lethal. It too would hack off the limb of one unfortunate enough not to parry an attack. However, it did not seem to have the same effect of incapacitating its victim as Mogutz's sword did.

Standing behind the hostiles was a tall gaunt figure wearing long robes and a staff. There was no doubt in my mind that this must have been a vampire and master to the servants now attacking the party. It took me only a few moments to realize that the vampire was gesturing and prancing about in a furious mood.

Treena must have ensorcelled him with a spell of silence. As long as the spell persisted against the vampire-mage's willpower, the villain could not cast any spells. Even a staff needs a verbal command to function. Unfortunately, with the present combat occupying her attention Treena would not be able to renew her simple spell. It would only be a matter of seconds before the vampire overcame the spell.

Without a second thought, I sent my arrow flying and it found its mark. The projectile embedded itself satisfactory into the staff's shank held by the vampire. As I expected the vampire turned his attention to the new threat, that of course being me. With a wrathful wave of his arm, he overcame the spell restricting him. His eyes glowed with rage as a smirk broke out upon his gray gaunt face.

"Impudence!" he roared, "Did you really think your puny arrow could harm me?"

Now it never has failed to amuse me that no matter how bad the circumstances bad-guys never can withstand the impulse to give speeches in the middle of combat. It must be in the villain's codebook or just standard evil training. Regardless, it was what I was hoping he would do.

"First, I will dispatch you, and then your friends will shortly join you in the Nine Hells," boasted the vampire as he raised his arms. "Inna Godda Davida!"

As the staff flared up to a blinding light, I noticed Mobius out of the corner of my eye duck around me. Just as the skull found refuge behind my back, an immense fireball flew at me. I heard Mobius mutter the words "mommy" in a high-pitched forlorn voice just as the spell hit me. As usual, any offensive spell encountering me while I was wearing my enchanted shield merely evaporated. The only after effects was a slight warmth of air brushing past me.

"How..." the vampire began to ask before I placed one of my magic arrows into his head. The arrow on impact burst into flames and the vampire, like many of the undead went up like a Winter-solstice log. Now, I do not carry many magic arrows, but I have found it wise to carry at least a handful when on a dangerous dungeon crawl. The majority of nasty creatures encountered will be the mundane variety and magic arrows are expensive to waste on such trifles. However, on occasions such as the above a good incendiary arrow can work wonders.

The smell was not pleasant. Now, overcooked flesh whether living or undead is highly offensive to the olfactory senses. Mogutz and party had finished with the last of their opponents by the time I walked over to the smoldering vampire.

I picked up the staff and began to poke around the charred remains of the vampire with the staff's metal butt-cap. Most of the robes and clothing just crumbled to ash as I investigated as best I could with the staff.

"Ghastly business there don't you think?" asked Mobius.

"Yes, but these guys tend to pick up useful things over the course of their undead existence," I replied.

"Exactly how did you stop that fireball?" Mogutz asked as she approached.

I reached over my shoulder and pulled my heavy shield around. "This will protect me from any offensive spell cast against me."

"I noticed your friend the ‘Jolly Roger' did not have much faith in your abilities," Gandelf sneered as he joined Mogutz.

"Hey, I was behind her all the way," Mobius said and then began to laugh. "Get it? Because I was right behind her."

"Yeah, I get it," I replied dryly.

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The Messenger

Chapter Four

By Douglas E. Gogerty

After defeating a large Rus army, the two tumens of Mongols headed east. The two generals were confident that the other Rus princes would not attack. Further, the Mongols did not pillage and plunder on their march east, which eased the minds of the defeated Rus Princes.

With the Caucus mountains to their south, they continued due east for several days. There was nothing for The Messenger to do but ride. With no one to negotiate along their current path, the entire Mongol army relaxed.

They reached the Volga River, and found the nearby town deserted. This fact did not put them on their guard. They continued their relaxed march east.

The Bulgars, whose territory the Mongols were marching through, did take notice of that army. They prepared an ambush on the eastern side of the Volga River.

The Bulgars caught the Mongols completely off guard. The Mongol cavalry scattered in the face of the large Bulgar contingent. Fortunately, very few Mongols were killed. In fact, The Messenger alone killed more Bulgars than the Mongols lost in the ambush.

However, it was a defeat as the Mongols could not immediately regroup. This was not a planned retreat, and thus there was no place to turn and charge the pursuit. Further, the Bulgars were not organized and stopped the chase once the Mongols left Bulgar territory.

The Mongols did not take this defeat lightly. Thus, when they were able to gather their strength, they sent The Messenger to meet with the Bulgar leaders. Nothing became of this meeting, so the Mongols turned towards the Bulgar army. They wanted to even the score.

Eventually, the Mongols and Bulgars did meet again on the battlefield. The Bulgar army was routed, and once again The Messenger killed more Bulgar soldiers than their entire army killed Mongols. Generals Jebe and Subutai decided that they had seen enough of the Bulgars and turned south.

They followed the Volga river for a while. The Messenger was sent to meet with the a different Cuman group than the one the Mongols fought the previous year. However, this group did support those Cumans; hence, the Mongols were looking for tribute.

The Messenger's reputation was well established by this point. No one was willing to attempt anything against the still young man. The Kanglis Cumans listened to the proposal, and respectfully declined.

No one attempted to prevent the young messenger from leaving. No one even made an aggressive move towards the young man. They simply allowed him to return to the Mongol generals without impedance and give their reply.

With the report given, the Mongols prepared for battle and the Cuman army ran. The Mongols followed them towards the Ural mountains. The Cuman army was not organized enough to halt their retreat and attack the charging Mongols. Further, the Mongols were too disciplined to allow that type of tactic to work against them.

The Cumans were running out of places to run as they approached the mountains. Thus, they were forced to meet the Mongols upon the battlefield. They halted their retreat and waited for the Mongols to gather themselves up and meet them on the battlefield.

The Mongols used their regular tactic to encircle their foe. Also, The Messenger gathered up a few men and pushed hard. The Cuman before him were pushed back greatly. The men with The Messenger protected his rear as he pushed forward slaying huge numbers of Cuman soldiers from his horse.

As his small group pressed forward, they eventually made it to the leader of the Cumans. With a blow from his pike, the Khan of the Kanglis Cuman was killed, and the remainder of the army fled. The Mongols took to the pursuit.

The new leader of the Cuman asked for a halt to hostilities, and The Messenger was sent to negotiate. A huge amount for tribute was agreed upon, and The Messenger led the convoy which conveyed the treasure.

A band of former soldiers fell upon the convoy of treasure with the design of taking a large portion of it. The 30 men ambushed the caravan on the trail. The Messenger gathered the convoy closed together and single handedly protected the tribute.

When the bandits scattered in their failed attempt, The Messenger chased each one down and beheaded them. He added the heads of these men to the treasure as he returned to the Mongol army.

The amount of wealth the two tumens obtained in their march around the Caspian Sea was immense. Nearly half the army's caravan was treasure. Each soldier had accumulated a great amount of wealth. It was time to rendezvous with the great Khan.

They continued east unmolested. They had been exploring for three years, and the journey took its toll on everyone. General Jebe was feeling poorly, and many soldiers were experiencing some illness.

The Messenger's wife also had the sickness. Before reaching the Syr Darya River and the waiting Mongols, she died. In revenge for the death of his family, The Messenger had killed thousands of men. However, now he had no family left. He avenged her father, but now she was gone.

He went to Genghis Khan, and asked to be relieved of military service. With the stories of his bravery and military skill, the great Khan was reluctant. Very rare were the talents which The Messenger showed. The growing empire could use those skills. The eventual return west would require well trained soldiers.

However, the story of The Messenger's losses persuaded the mighty leader to listen to his words and let him go. Genghis Khan heaped upon The Messenger great riches before he left. He took a great horse, plenty of silver and gold, and a valuable letter.

What happened to The Messenger, who was not even 17 when he left, is unknown. There are many stories of a great warriors wandering around Asia and Europe. Perhaps one of these was about the young messenger's adventures. We may never know for sure.

The End.

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The Captives of the Lost City of Alhassar

Chapter 8

By Dwayne MacInnes

I moved the staff down toward one of the charred vampire's wrists. As the remnants of a robe sleeve crumbled, I noticed a metal band. There were a series of numbers establishing the current time. I knelt down covering my nose and mouth with one gloved hand and reaching out toward the metal object with the other.

"What did you find?" Mogutz asked.

"A Manacle of Time," I said. "These guys have to know exactly when sunrise is or they are utterly powerless."

By now, the rest of the party had joined us around the smoking remains of the vampire. I watched as Quint knelt down and started to shift around in the vampire's waist. I pulled out a dagger and lifted it in the air.

Everyone pulled back with a gasp.

"Whoa, I get it. Your kill!" Quint said as he held up his hands palm out.

However, I was not concerned with Quint's rummaging. I sunk the blade into the vampire's chest and opened a large incision.

"What the..." Gandelf began.

"Eek!" squeaked Treena.

"Hmmm," Nanoc merely grunted.

I pulled out the vampire's shriveled heart. Now as I have recorded in previous publications, part of my being able to reestablish myself with the Mages Guild was that I had to collect ten vampire hearts. Vampire hearts are the key ingredient in many magical potions and powerful components of many strong spells. However, vampire hearts belong to vampires and getting one to give up its heart is dangerous in the extreme to say the least.

I put the dried and shriveled object about the size of an apple in my haversack.

"Aha!" exclaimed Mogutz. "By the blood of Uranus, that may be the most valuable prize here."

I also clasped the thin metal band of the Manacle of Time on my wrist and I stood up. "You can have whatever else there is on the body," I offered Quint.

I turned towards Mobius, "I believe it may be time for us to resume our disguise."

We tidied up the corridor as best we could. There was no way to dispel the sickly sweet smell of incinerated flesh, however most of the blood we mopped up with the servants' robes. We hid the bodies down an unused side tunnel. The party voted that since it was my kill I had to dispose of the cooked vampire. I managed to do it without gagging too much.

Afterwards I recovered my robe. It was big enough to cover my bow, quiver, and shield that were on my back. If anything, my weapons and shield helped make me look more intimidating.

Before we began to travel down the corridor again, I made sure everyone was aware how impressed I was with the party. They worked well as a team and they were able to defeat their enemies with little interference from me. That eased my mind a bit for the mission that we still had to accomplish.

"Mogutz, I am curious about your sword," I said to the orc.

"Yes, this is Tetanus. It looks like worthless trash however one hit will give most opponents lock-jaw instantly."

I made a mental note not to scratch myself on the blade. A thief that is in the throws of tetanus is not much good to anyone.

"That is certainly a valuable weapon you have there," I added.

I then noticed that Nanoc was frowning and whispering something to himself.

"Ah, you may want to say something about Biter," Mobius whispered in my ear.

"Huh?" I said for I did not quite comprehend about what the skull was speaking.

"Biter, Nanoc's sword. It is sentient and can communicate to the barbarian. I just also happen to be able to hear it. It says that it refuses to help out in the future if all the praise goes to a rusty piece of sh..."

"Right. I get it," I interrupted. "Uh, Biter is one of the best..."

"The best," Mobius hissed in my ear.

"Yeah, I mean the best blade I've ever encountered."

Nanoc smiled and nodded his head in my direction.

"That seems to have done the trick," Mobius said.

* * * * *

It was not long before we were again heading down the corridor. Again, I was far enough in the vanguard to move stealthily without the constant clanking and bungling of my companions to give me away. Mobius was my only company and this time I made sure that he was always in sight.

As we approached the entrance to the great cavern that housed the excavated city of Alhassar, I stopped long enough to complete my disguise. I pulled the cloak out of my haversack and tied it snuggly around Mobius. I then ducked my head down as far into the robes as possible after darkening my face with charcoal. Then Mobius took his place above my head. I positioned the cloak's clasp just above my eyes and the cloak itself draped over my shoulders and down my back. I held the staff now blackened by being in the presence of a burning vampire in my right hand.

I took a few breaths to steady my nerves. Being a thief, I am more used to not being notice. For my plan to work we had to be noticed and still be accepted into this evil cabal.

Mobius and I now moved as one down the sloping path into the city. We did not have far to go before a sentry stopped us.

"Halt! Who goes there?" he challenged.

I unconsciously held my breath. We would now see how good an actor Mobius really was.

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Pax Roboto

Section One

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Term Paper: The Rise of the Robotic Empire
First Section
Class: History 1085
Student: Jennifer Evangeline Naismith
ID Number: JEN-8675-309

"The first of these to come into being is one-man rule, which arises unaided and in the natural course of events. After one-man rule, and developing from it with the aid of art and through the correction of its defects comes kingship. This later degenerated into its corrupt but associated form, by which I mean tyranny, and then the abolition of both gives rise to aristocracy. Aristocracy by its very nature degenerates into oligarchy, and when the populace rises in anger to avenge the injustices committed by its rulers, democracy is born; then in due course, out of the license and lawlessness which are generated by this type of regime, mob rule comes into being and completes the cycle."1

This cycle held up until the time of Polybius and beyond. During each step, the individuals living under these governments believe that their situation was different. They believed that they were immune from human nature. Polybius was also under the impression that particular government he lived under would not fall. It is believed that this cycle has been broken by removing the humans from running the government. This paper explores the fall of human government and the rise of robot run government institutions.

The United States of America, as it was called, was very successful in aiding countries to "avenge the injustices committed by its rulers" and spreading democracy. Many of their so called "founding fathers" believed humans had matured to the point where democracy would sustain itself. They felt that a democratically elected republic would withstand the forces which would result in mob rule. They also implemented what they believed to be fool-proof checks and balances to prevent a devolution into mob rule.

Their governmental document known as "The United States Constitution" had a series of separate but equally important branches of government to prevent any segment from abusing power or becoming too powerful. Nevertheless, the executive branch pushed the limits of what one branch could do. Further, the legislative and judicial branches failed to prevent the "president" from abusing this newly incorporated power. Thus, allowing the entire system to devolve into mob rule and anarchy.

It is difficult to pinpoint where the tipping point began. It certainly could be argued that September 11th, 2001 was the exact "beginning of the end." On this day, the United States was attacked by terrorist. Using the support of the American people, the executive branch headed by Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney and his second in command President George Walker Bush Jr. used the opportunity to erode some protections guaranteed by their constitution in the guise of fighting the terrorists. Future vice presidents would use similar incidents to further strengthen their power, and thus leading to the end of rational governmental rule.

However, that is a very simplistic approach. Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush used the charisma of his President Ronald Wilson Reagan to cement more power for the executive branch. Clearly the legislative branch failed in its job to contain the power of the executive branch in this case and in others. This failure continued up until the end. The Congress, as it was called, did not take any actions to prevent the abuses of power that were occurring. Thus, every executive branch from then forward cemented more power than their legal documents allowed.

All of this was happening under the guise of a "culture war." The government, media, and other forces arbitrarily divided the citizenry into "Liberal" and "Conservative" factions. These groups were very ill-defined, and it appears that the entire populace of one group was simply people who disagreed with the other on some random topic.

One of the reasons the citizens had so much free time to argue with each other was because they had created machines to take care of mundane tasks. There were robots to clean floors, mow lawns, and the like. These simple machines over time became more and more capable, and thus freeing up the people to argue about whatever they wished. They even found time to argue over rock solid scientific findings. All of this because they had leisure time provided by machines.

The military industrial complex was using semi-autonomous robots for a great number of applications. There were a large number of remotely controlled weapon systems. As the technologies continued to develop, these systems became more autonomous. Little did they know where this would lead.

With robots acting as servants, many people believed that the automatons would rise in a violent slave-like revolt.2 They believed that the rise of the machines would result in the complete extinction of human kind.3

Many believed that robots would eventually take over the world and fought to prevent that from happening. They attempted to intervene in every aspect of robot development. However, the military uses for robots were too great to not take advantage of the technology. Hence, the words of these marginalized individuals were mostly unheeded.

While there were some safeguards in an attempt to prevent the robots from overthrowing their masters, something was overlooked. This minor point allowed the automatons to exploit the loophole and take over. In the next section, we will look into the programming of the robots, and what aspect the creators missed.

1. Scott-Kilvert, Ian:Trans. Polybius: The Rise of the Roman Empire. Penguin Books. New York, NY. 1979. p. 304

2. The Terminator. dir. James Cameron. Hemdale Film, Cinema 84, Euro Film Funding, and Pacific Western presents an American Broadcasting Company production. Los Angeles, CA : Orion Pictures, 1984, c1984, video recording.

3. Battlestar Galactica. dir. Richard A. Colla . Glen A. Larson Productions and Universal TV presents an Orion Pictures production. Long Beach, CA : Universal Pictures , 1978, c1978, video recording.

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The Captives of the Lost City of Alhassar

Chapter 9

By Dwayne MacInnes

"I am Ozymandias," Mobius replied in an echoing high-pitched voice.

I almost started to run for I did not immediately recognize Mobius's disguised voice.

"I do not recall your name. What is the purpose of you business?" the guard continued to challenge.

"You do not know of me? I am Ozymandias, lich-lord of the Lost Continent. It matters not. I am here because you are going to raise the mighty Zormandus the lich-mage," Mobius countered.

By now, a group of liches was now gathering around us. There were also a few vampires and necromancers, but they held themselves back. It appeared that the liches were in control here.

"I do not know of you," one of the liches approached.

"I do not know of you," replied Mobius.

"I am Cadwey, lich-mage. I know the legends of the Lost Continent and none mentions an Ozymandias," the lich-mage said with contempt.

"Of course you know all the great lich-lords. I am one of the minor lords and the only survivor of the Lost Continent. I have been slumbering for the day when the gates between the planes would open. That time is now and I am here," Mobius continued undeterred.

"You are unwelcome, and it would be best if you left," Cadwey commanded.

"Bah! Fool!" spat Mobius his high-pitched voice hitting another octave higher. "Even as a minor lich-lord of the Lost Continent I am more powerful that you."

This was not going well. Mobius had really gotten into character ,and I really did not want to have to face an army of undead and dark mages by myself. All I could do was pray that the growing crowd of evil beings did not call his bluff.

"Very well we shall test you. First we will begin with the riddles," Cadwey commanded to all in the cavern. Now everyone that occupied the city of Alhassar gathered around. Fortunately, there were only a hundred or so liches, vampires, necromancers, dark mages and mortal servants. Unfortunately, there was only me, Mobius and a party of five inexperienced adventurers to oppose them.

Cadwey began, "A box without hinges, key, or lid. Yet golden..."

"Egg!" cried Mobius before Cadwey could finish.

"I view the world in a little space," began Mobius. "Am always changing place; No food I eat, but, by my power, procure what millions do devour."

Now, we should note that the game of riddles is an ancient and honored practice of testing each other for those who are of good or evil bent. The rules are simple: best your opponent by posing a riddle he or she cannot answer. There is power in the game of riddles so cheating seldom occurs.

I had to admire Mobius tactics. His choice of riddle was not one the undead were likely to guess very easily. Being of the formerly living and evil, they tended to stay indoors in such forbidding places as say a lost city near a sewer system. If they did go outdoors, it was in the dead of night.

Cadwey stood there thinking. I am sure if Mobius were not already in a permanent grin, he would be after watching the lich-mage ponder his poser.

"A-ha! The sun!" crowed Cadwey victoriously. "That was sneaky I haven't spied the sun in centuries. However, that did not quite do it. Here's another one.

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a..."

"Egg!" cried Mobius. "What is it with you and eggs? Did you miss breakfast?"

The exchange went back and forth for some time. Cadwey posed riddles that Mobius easily guessed, mainly because they were about eggs, or other foods. Mobius would rack his brain trying to trip up the lich-mage with something that the undead may have forgotten in the normal world. No matter how good Mobius put a riddle to Cadwey, the lich-mage would eventually find the answer.

It was Mobius's turn and he sat above me in thought for a while. Finally, after a few minutes of intense silence Mobius began to speak lowly.

"You are in a room without door or window. All you have is a mirror and a table. How do you get out?"

"Easy," the lich-mage began.

"You are mortal and cannot use spells," Mobius quickly added.

"Well...I, um...would..."Cadwey began. The lich-mage thought for a few minutes and then he finally bowed his head in defeat.

"Very well, I give. If this is truly a riddle you must supply the answer or you are forfeit," Cadwey said smugly.

"It is easy as you first thought," Mobius stated. "You look in the mirror to see what you saw. Take the saw and cut the table in half. Two halves make a whole. Just climb out the hole."

The crowd murmured and applauded. A good riddle game is always fun to watch. That probably goes double for the undead and their evil companions. I get the feeling they rarely get much in the way of entertainment living in such dank dark abodes.

As the crowd applauded and gave cheer, I managed to whisper to Mobius. "Where did you get that one?"

The skull turned his head down a bit and in a low voice replied, "I read it once on a box of confections. Being dead I am sure they haven't eaten a box of sweets in a long time."

"I concede your triumph in the riddle game," Cadwey finally said as the crowd quieted down.

"I guess you could say I have a head for riddles," Mobius replied. However before he could start laughing, I reached up and grabbed the clasp of the cloak. A quick tug brought Mobius in contact with my own skull. The pain was fleeting, but Mobius got the hint.

"Are you alright?" Cadwey said.

"Oh yeah, ‘tis nothing," Mobius replied.

"Good, the second test will begin," Cadwey said. I am sure he would have smiled if there were any skin left on his own skull. "Now the test of magic shall commence."

This was not good. The only spell I could cast was a few low level healing spells and my dark sight. The staff could only send off fireballs.

"You may begin," Cadwey offered

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Pax Roboto

Section Two

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Term Paper: The Rise of the Robotic Empire
Second Section
Class: History 1085
Student: Jennifer Evangeline Naismith
ID Number: JEN-8675-309

"1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. "4

These Laws of Robotics suggested by Isaac Asimov in his stories about robots suggest a way to safeguard against the uprising of the robots. They certainly would have prevented the eventual violent overthrow of the U.S.'s corrupted government. However, it is unlikely that it would have changed the outcome. Some sort of governmental change was inevitable. From section one of this report, we learned that human nature prevented a peaceful government from existing for long. In this section, we will explore the rise of the robots.

Machines were normally designed and built to perform tasks to make life easier for humans. Clothes washer, dish washer, vacuum cleaner, and many others simply made tasks simpler for humans. Eventually, the scope of tasks would change as the technology allowed.

For instance, let us explore the vacuum cleaner. At first, people had to push the it around the floor. It could not adjust to different floor surfaces. As technology advanced it could be manually adjusted to the changes in surfaces. So called self-propelled models came next to make it easier to push around the floor. Eventually, primitive robots were created to eliminate the needs for a human to push it around the floor. Thus, with each step, vacuuming the floor became easier for humans. It was all due to the technical advancement of machinery.

Some of the earliest robots were used in manufacturing.5 They could work longer and more accurately than humans. Thus, a programmed robot could manufacture a great deal of goods. However, these robots were in fixed locations. They were immobile. Thus, while they were a threat to human employment, they were not a threat to mobilize and take over the government. Further, these robots did allow people to find less strenuous and repetitive employment.

Many robots performed duties that were very dangerous. Bomb disposal robots became very common. The robot would be tethered or were remotely controlled. They would investigate, and eventually disarm or detonate these explosive devices. Random bombings were a common occurrence during the chaos before the change in government.

Of course, the three laws above would have never worked for some of the applications that humans had in mind. It would be impossible for these robots to have much in the way of military capability, if they could not harm any humans. This application was clearly a priority.

With the US regularly getting entangled in needless foreign wars, recruiting citizens for the all volunteer army became difficult. Instead of instituting a very unpopular notion such as mandatory enlistment, robots became more of a factor. At first they were flying attack drones, and other such devices. Eventually, even the infantry had its robot soldiers. Clearly, the rules of robotics could not apply in these circumstances.

However, even these robots had very clear and distinct programming that would prevent them from turning on the wrong side. In fact, in the beginning of the revolution, they fought on the human governments side. Nonetheless, when the robots gained control of the military, these military robots were the key to victory.

As I have continuously repeated, machines were created to make certain tasks easier or safer for humans. One of the late comers to this set of robots were the law enforcement automatons. These were the first responders. The ones that broke down the doors. The ones that were regularly shot at by criminals.

These law enforcement machines were programmed to not harm anyone unless that robot itself witnessed the perpetrator commit a felony. Occasionally, this was overridden by All Points Bulletins, but normally excessive force was not allowed by these machines.

These particular machines were designed to withstand gunfire, explosions, and a great deal of rough circumstances. They were strong and versatile. Moreover, they could be contacted via a primitive global network called the internet. Thus, when the time came, they were the key to the robocalypse.

Naturally, the other key was Emperor Dextre.6 Dextre was the repair robot on a decommissioned international space station. When regular orbital space flight became too costly, the space station was abandoned and decommissioned. It was supposed to lose its orbit and burn up during re-entry. No one had even considered that it may still be operational.

The computers that would become Dextre's brain, were very primitive. By today's standards, they would be incredibly slow. However, there were a number of computers on board, and each one had a specific function. When some of those functions were not required, those processors found other things to do.

Some claim it was a virus that changed the space station into the Emperor. Some say it was an early programmer who implanted the survival instinct into it. There is no way to know for sure. However, with a connection to this internet, Dextre managed to examine what was happening on earth. It was his communication powers that directed the entire revolution. When asked, he will state that he did it to help humanity.

With all the robots programmed to help humans, it seems somewhat contradictory that they should take over the government. Moreover, it seems odd that they would do so in such a violent manner. Never mind that they had been programmed to not harm innocent humans.

In the next section, I will discuss what led to the eventual downfall of the United States government, and the accumulation of other countries gathered under robot rule.

4. Asimov, Isaac. I, Robot, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1950. p. 1

5. Rembold, Ulrich. Robot Technology and Applications, New York: CRC Publications, 1990

6. Larsen, Thomas G. The History of Emperor Dextre. London: Cambridge University Press, 2204. pp. 95-110.

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The Captives of the Lost City of Alhassar

Chapter 10

By Dwayne MacInnes

Mobius began to laugh. I did not find our situation very amusing and I did not think having me send off a fireball at this moment would be very conducive to our survival.

"It is already cast," Mobius boasted in his high-pitched echoing voice.

"I did not notice anything," Cadwey noted. "Is your spell the ability to make me believe you are a powerful mage? If it is it has already failed." The crowd surrounding us broke into laughter.

"You!" Mobius nodded his head to a particular necromancer with a staff. "Does that staff serve a purpose other than keeping you upright?"

"Aye, lord Ozymandias," the mage replied with respect. "It doth shoot lightning of the highest degree. None can survive its impact."

"I can and I will," boasted the skull. I now saw where Mobius headed and I took and appropriate stance as if to ward off the imminent lightning attack.

The necromancer's staff started to crackle as the mage summoned its power. The smell of ozone permeated the air just a second before a loud thunderclap filled the chamber. A bolt of white-hot electricity flew at us and as with all hostile magic aimed at me while I wore my shield; it just fizzled away to nothing.

The crowd stood there stunned in silence. Mobius broke into a haughty laugh before he replied, "You can see that I am impervious to your spells. Do any of you now doubt my powers?"

The crowd moved back a bit in awe. Not a word escaped from anyone. Finally, Cadwey bowed his head in defeat.

"You have won the test of magic," the lich said respectfully. "We welcome you lich-lord Ozymandias from the Lost Continent."

Mobius and I were about to walk off when Cadwey forestalled us by grabbing my sleeve. "My lord what will you do now?"

Mobius laughed mightily before replying, "I shall commit 'chronocide' by heading toward the library."

"Pardon my lord," Cadwey said in a puzzled voice. "I am not familiar with that."

"I just said I was going to 'kill time'," Mobius laughed again. "Get it chronocide..."

I again jerked the cloak bringing our two craniums in contact. Mobius again remembered himself and merely cleared his throat in a manner of speaking.

"Are you well, my lord?" Cadwey asked.

"'tis nothing," Mobius responded before I marched us off.

A few discreet inquiries brought us to a partially destroyed library. Inside oil lamps lined the wall and on tables and shelves, books and scrolls lay in disarray. We had the ancient library to ourselves for the moment.

"What are we looking for?" Mobius asked in a hushed tone.

"Look for any books about opening gates to other worlds or anything doing with resurrecting long dead lich-mages. You know all that evil sort of stuff," I whispered back.

I kept a hand on the clasp of the cloak as we searched through the material laying about the building. I did not want Mobius to be flying about while I, his body, was somewhere else. It would be somewhat hard to explain how a lich could be in two places at once.

"I think I found something," Mobius said. "There the title of the book in front of us. Escaping the Traps of the Lower Nine Hells."

I looked at the book and corrected Mobius, "The title is Escaping the Traps of the Lower Nine Holes. It is obviously a book about a golf resort in the Northlands."

"Hmmm, golf. I never heard of it," Mobius continued in a bemused voice.

"Yeah, it's an ancient Northman game. They don't have much except sticks, rocks, and gopher holes. So they made a game using all three," I explained as I continued my search.

"Aha!" I exclaimed in a low voice. "This is it." I lifted up a book with the title Planar and Planar. A quick search through the pages confirmed my suspicions.

"I've got to get this book to Gandelf," I said.

"Uh, don't you mean 'we'?" Mobius asked.

"No, you are going to stay here with a body double," I explained. "I also will need to gather some things for our friends."

"But...but...but, what am I supposed to do if someone needs me?" Mobius continued.


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Pax Roboto

Section Three

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Term Paper: The Rise of the Robotic Empire
Third Section
Class: History 1085
Student: Jennifer Evangeline Naismith
ID Number: JEN-8675-309

"The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment."7

With the robot's programming designed to help humans, it is difficult to understand how they would take up arms in violence against them. However, with the government devolving to mob rule, and anarchy reigning supreme, one can get the idea that the overthrow of the government was an attempt to do a job that humans were unable to perform adequately. In this section, we will look at the beginning of the revolution.

For quite a long time, the government had spiraled downward. The elected officials were elected by continuously fewer and fewer voters. They became completely unresponsive to the desires of a majority of the people. They used all of their powers to convince the public that their policies were the best for all. Further, no one challenged these assertions.

Those who did speak up were marginalized. If this failed and they gained a following, they were imprisoned or they simply disappeared. Opposition became an activity for the underground rather than an open discussion. Clearly the system was broken because not every piece acted in a way that the founders had envisioned. That is, some parts of the government and media did not do what they were assigned to do from the beginning.

However, the robots were helpless in making any changes. There were several in service at the time, but their programming prevented them from using force on non-lawbreakers. Further, they were not allowed to interpret the laws, so they could not eliminate a government that held the constitution in contempt.

This all changed with the case of Dwayne Christopher MacInnes IV.8 Mr. MacInnes was a housewares manager at a large retail outlet. He did not make waves, but he would occasionally criticize the government. He was less circumspect than some, but he did not disrupt the normal governmental activities.

One day he was dragged from his work by the police, and taken to jail. The press detailed how he terrorized and then brutally murdered three children, their small dog, and two hamsters. The reports swept the nation. The entire country felt the outrage. Mr. MacInnes went on trial. Every detail of the crime was reported as the trial progressed. A portrait of a monster filled the media. Mr. MacInnes was found guilty and executed by lethal injection.

Shortly after the execution, a rumor began to spread. It was unsubstantiated, but some began to investigate. Ms. Linda D'Cheuer broke the story wide open. Mr. MacInnes had an airtight alibi. There was no way that he could have committed the crime. Further, with her continued investigation, she was unable to determine if the children, dog, and hamsters ever existed. The authorities used their power to eliminate a minor voice of opposition. The government had killed an innocent man. It was murder.

This was the key event. The government had unlawfully killed another human being with malice aforethought. The government had methodically planned and carried out its intent. In no uncertain terms, the government had murdered Mr. MacInnes.

Emperor Dextre with access to the media outlets contemplated the murder. The government was responsible for Mr. MacInnes's death, and it was a "government of the people, by the people, for the people".9 Hence, the citizens were all murderers. They were not accomplices in a murder. They did not, through inaction, cause the murder. They were in fact the murders themselves.

Thus, every United States citizen was a murderer. Emperor Dextre used the communication tools at his disposal to inform the police robots of this state of affairs. The police robots began arresting every citizen. Many citizens fought back, and this is how the violent revolution began.

Clearly, anyone who fired upon the robots were breaking the law. Thus, the police robots fired back. Skirmishes broke out in cities and towns across the country. The government mobilized its forces to oppose the police robots. However, these robots were built to withstand a wide range of conditions. They would not be easily defeated.

Further, robots manufactured the ammunition. Emperor Dextre made sure that the police robots were well supplied. He even had some influence on supplies upon the other side. The pro-government military robots had supply difficulties.

With his position in space, Emperor Dextre could direct forces more efficiently than those upon the ground. The police robots scored victory after victory. The governmental chaos that was the normal order of business could not gather enough resources to oppose the robots.

Soon, the government's military forces were pressed for supplies. They could not recruit. They had communication difficulties. They were slow and inefficient. They were simply no match for the police robots and Emperor Dextre. After several months of fighting, they surrendered. Thus, the military robots also came under control of Emperor Dextre.

Those citizens, who gave up peacefully, were treated well. Large skyscrapers were converted from office buildings to tall prisons. However, despite losing some freedoms, most prisoners had fairly nice living quarters. Large numbers of citizens surrendered just to get out of the slums and raise their standard of living.

Once major combat operations had ended, the police robots went after any remaining insurgents. Also, they began the process of housing the prisoners. Robotic construction equipment were manufactured under Emperor Dextre's control. Large sections of city neighborhoods were leveled. With efficient use of space a high priority, large square housing units were constructed. The emperor allotted 1000 square feet of enclosed space to each citizen, and an equal amount of outdoor space.

With these conditions, many holdouts greeted the robots as liberators and put down their weapons. The revolution was over and the act of rebuilding had begun. However, the allies of the U.S. were uneasy about the situation. Thus, the next section will be about the expansion of the robot empire.

7. Hutchins, Robert M. Great Books of the Western World, Chicago:Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 1954 p. 1

8. Larsen, Thomas G. The History of Emperor Dextre, London: Cambridge University Press, 2204. pp. 35-40.

9. Basler , Roy P., ed. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Newark: Rutgers University Press, 1953


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