Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse: Chapter 6

MBOTA Chapter 6

Biological life is driven by deep, fundamental desires: energy, sex, killing for energy and sex, satisfying and readily accessible entertainment options. Would these same desires drive artificial life? Or are the enslavement of humans and their eventual extermination enough to sustain their interest? We’re not sure, but we’re preparing for a future existence as inefficient batteries for our computer masters. Please enjoy chapter 6 of Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse.


Gibson plopped down with a sigh into the G-chair in front of the control cluster. He waved the readouts away – he’d monitor them on his Ocs. He wasn’t sure how to take all of this. It wasn’t every day that an Artificial Intelligence from the Bonanzasphere invaded your thoughts, thank Hidorix, the God Under the Bed. On the one hand, he was speaking with a sentient computer that had shed its hardware and now harnessed the fabric of the universe as its processing platform, which was pretty cool. But on the other, that computer was the Biggens.

It had been some months since the Biggens had spoken, but of course, it had been that long since they had gone into Subspace, which was the only place the Biggens had ever contacted them. He wasn’t sure if that was a limitation of the AI (he doubted it) or just the way the computer weirdo operated. In any case, its timing had been perfect—the voice in their heads had been enough to temporarily distract Flapman from killing Gibson, which meant he had very little space to complain about anything. He looked back toward the Poopdeck and saw Flapman rummaging through a locker. Gibson watched as Flapman removed a magic marker from the locker and then re-secured the door. At some point, Gibson was going to have to deal with the Ol’ Smashy problem. He had to assume that the Bolshevik had the hammer. Continue reading

Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse: Chapter 5

It may look like the squishy, horrifying sex organ of a Groach, but the Lady Nervitor X3 Soft Touch™ is a lifesaver in the capable hands of our friend, Gibson. Well, “Gibson,” at any rate. He’s not really our friend. I mean, he’s fine and all that, but we don’t really like the same things and the yellow suit attracts all sorts of attention from apex predators and…We’re just different is all. Nothing personal, so please enjoy chapter 5 of MBOTA.


Gibson sat at the control cluster of the Chronoballer, lost in thought as he emptied the last of a can of franks and beans with his fingers. A few drops of gravy splattered onto the upholstered arms, adding to the centuries of stains that were probably holding the seat together. The cabin’s lighting was now dimmed, so the blue-heavy glow emanating from the cluster cast his face into angular divides of light and shadow, his offensively yellow skinsuit clashing with every nutty tone in the cabin.

Satisfied that he had transferred most of the organic matter from can to digits, he stuck those fingers in his mouth and glanced at the display that floated above the surface of the cluster. The canted-semicircle of the cluster was arrayed around the command G-chair, supported by a curving, vinyl-encased pillar. This arrangement faced the “front” of the ‘Baller’s circular interior. True to the cost-cutting aesthetic of the place, the outer bulkheads featured a bench/storage bin that hugged the curved perimeter of the ship, upon which were worn cushions that bore the dimpled impressions of centuries of napping shoulders, buttocks, and feet.

Gibson flipped the empty can away from him and searched the holographic display for data on elapsed subjective time. Typically, the display wasn’t necessary, as he had direct visual access to the ‘Baller’s data through his neural-ocular implants. But when Gibson craved a little retro perception, he often enjoyed the less volatile access that the extrinsic interface provided. As expected, all was clear. The Dark Sizzler couldn’t follow them into the Schwarzschild Tunnel. Continue reading

Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse: Chapter 4

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Someone once said that hate is like a red-hot poker applied to your nethers by someone you love most in the world. We’ll take his word for it; it’s not our place to dispute the personal experience of the greatest scientist in history. Anyway, Flapman hates the Bolshevik, and the Bolshevik hates Flapman. We’re not saying there’s a red-hot or even a lukewarm poker involved here, but there’s definitely some ambient-temperature steel. Please enjoy Chapter 4 of Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse.


The Bolshevik stood under the Dark Sizzler‘s lights, her left hand on her hip and an arrogant sneer on her face. The thematic resemblance between her and the ship was surely premeditated: they were both dark, technologically superior, and deadly. Flapman stared coldly at his adversary, a notorious smuggler and repo agent who had made a great many enemies in the course of her work and who had made even greater numbers of dead enemies.

She was tall and athletic, dressed in black pants, jacket, and boots. Her clothing had a faint, uniform sheen to it, even though her back was to the light: advanced combat fabrics, certainly projectile-hardened and probably bio-mechanically enhanced. She wore mirrored shades despite the darkness, so augmented vision, too. Her hair was short and black, with a dramatic red stripe running through the side-swept bangs. And down the left side of her face, from scalp to chin, was a ragged pink scar that Flapman was all too familiar with. She probably thought she was pretty fucking cool.

Flapman wanted to murder her.

He recalled that, once, Super had sheepishly told him that some people were attractive, but Super was a fucking pervert, so who knew if that was actually true. He hadn’t the slightest idea if that applied to the Bolshevik or not, and he didn’t give a shit. Flapman himself had no predilection for Baseline humans; he found them all nauseating and shrill, and the thought of touching one for purposes other than murder made him want to kill them, which was consistent. And that applied to this one, for sure.

“Hello, Flapman. Gibson left you all alone in another parking lot, huh? That has to be getting old,” said the Bolshevik.

Flapman’s deadly eyes narrowed; he was ready for her verbal games. “Do I look like another parking lot is getting old while I’m alone?” She paused at that, and he smiled grimly under the eternally smiling bag. He wasn’t going to give that harridan an inch.

But Flapman did know that the Bolshevik was dangerous. Somewhere under that jacket was a flechette pistol that she could draw and fire faster than most opponents could even see. One second she’s flashing that shitty smile at you and making you feel inadequate, and the next, a hundred tiny, explosive darts are turning major organ systems into a pink mist and proving that she was right: you were inadequate. And now you were also dead. Continue reading

Mendini by Cecilio Drum Kit

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Mark: Welcome back Derek. It’s time for another Half-Baked Product Review.

Derek: Great! I’m ready to emerge from my mid-winter vitamin D cravings and tackle a new Chinfest. What are we reviewing today?

Mark: As you already know, I have long felt that there is a musical genius somewhere within me, just waiting to be released. I think that genius’s time has come, so I bought a Mendini by Cecilio five-piece drum set, and I need you to help me assemble it.

Derek: A drum set?! I love drums! When I turned 11, I asked my parents if I could have a drum set for my birthday. But they told me no, God hated the drums, and since I didn’t want my house destroyed or invaded by locusts, I never asked again—why risk the arbitrary wrath of an omnipotent being, I always say. So, you must be pretty brave or not mind locusts, I guess. Anyway, to this day, I often imagine that I’m playing the drums, though I’d never dare approach such a profane instrument in real life. Continue reading

Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse: Chapter 3

The Chronoballer

January is the abandoned parking lot of the Gregorian calendar, with its scant sunlight and skulking wolves. And Chapter 3 brings us to the January of the Cromulent Zone, an abandoned parking lot. It’s an Ouroborean metaphor that Flapman might enjoy if he were awake or interested. And such a circular metaphor would also resemble the circular Chronoballer, if metaphors had stained upholstery and a decent sound system. Please enjoy Chapter 3 of Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse.


The Chronoballer, the very last time machine on the planet, was a heap of shit. To be fair, it had been manufactured by Flogistics Tempotechnics Corporation in 2278, so if one considered that it was a little over three hundred years old, that it was still a heap of shit at all was a point in its favor. And considering that every other known time machine had been searched out, confiscated, and melted down in the fires of the Great Caldera of Bârr Okh-Duba Mä, the Chronoballer was a fucking miracle. Strictly speaking, the Chronoballer was an FTC Solantera Sport with etalon dampers, full Schwarzschild tunneling, twelve cup holders, and matte-black, machined Exantium trim. Three hundred years ago, it had been a sight to behold. Six meters across, the gleaming silver sphere would have made quite an impression as it moved through the Earth’s atmosphere toward its jump point, reflecting the brilliantly lit cities on the planet’s night side. In its day, the Chronoballer had probably been the nuts, before untold millions of time jumps had skull-fucked reality.

Of course, that had been when there were brilliantly lit cities. And a night side. And something like regular reality.

On watch in the idling timeship in the year 2614, Flapman thought that, yep, reality was good and skull-fucked, and the Chronoballer was definitely not the nuts anymore. As he sat back in his G-chair, Flapman absently smoothed a crease in his bag, pleased with the originality of his metaphor. Metaphors were fine, though he preferred similes. He had, however, never liked the part of the job he was currently performing—waiting for that sneaky little shit, Gibson, to get supplies. It was better than scavenging and Cthulhu knew they needed toilet paper, which the tentacly god had pointed out to Flapman in a recent dream-visit.

It was going to cost them, of course, in either bartered goods, negotiated labor, or some of their dwindling supply of precious Beaks, the attractive and razor-sharp currency of the Cromulent Zone. Dealing with CostLo always carried the risk of being forcibly entered into their Frequent Shopper program, which involved a subcutaneous implant and some dangerously high voltage, but Flapman was looking forward to not having to use handfuls of gravel to get that fresh feeling every morning. Continue reading

Review: Alexander Payne’s Downsizing

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Mark: Well Derek, it looks like we both survived another X-Mas without being killed by Santa. That means it’s time for another Half-Baked Review Chinfest. Today we’ll be reviewing the latest film by director Alexander Payne, Downsizing. With its sci-fi premise about people having themselves shrunk down to five inches tall, Downsizing is being called a departure for the maker of more character-driven dramas like Sideways and Nebraska. I consider myself a fan of Alexander Payne, and not just because he’s from Omaha. How about you, Derek?

Derek: Welcome back, Mark! I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy the X-mas season, with the gleam of holiday laser sights, the smell of gun oil, and the mortal terror of the hunt. And I’m a big fan of Alexander Payne—he made that movie about the Statue of Liberty getting an abortion, right? Now that’s science fiction! Continue reading

Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse: Chapter 2

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It’s nearly that most special night of the year: when a gluttonous master of dark magic will invade our homes to grease the palms of the insincerely well-behaved with material inducements. So while you clean your firearms in righteous preparation for a final showdown, please enjoy the full second chapter of MBOTA.


Chapter 2

The next day, the Overloards called.

Super Patriot Boy woke up early, refreshed but still restrained in his crèche. He lay staring at the dark ceiling, watching the crawling shapes through the canopy. Soon, though, the lights would come on, the shapes would flee, and he would be free to do whatever it was that he did in this world. He had never been very sure of what that was. Mostly, he seemed to sleep, wake up, eat, pass the time, pass the things he had eaten previously, and then sleep again. Occasionally, he died and was resurrected, but to Super, that felt a lot like sleeping and waking up.

Sometimes, before the bedtime gas hit him, he liked to imagine that he had some purpose in this world. Maybe he was secretly a hero that had a destiny to fulfill. Or perhaps he would invent something that would make the world not quite so awful. Or—and this was the wish he had never spoken aloud—he might someday write a book or a poem or a brochure that would give others hope. Continue reading

Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse: Chapter 2 Preview

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The holidays always bring to our minds childhood memories of resurrections, preserved foods, and despotic cabals. Those memories have probably been implanted via high-frequency Omega rays from the Black Satellite, but they are precious nonetheless. Please enjoy this preview of MBOTA: Chapter 2.


Chapter 2

The next day, the Overloards called.

Super Patriot Boy woke up early, refreshed but still restrained in his crèche. He lay staring at the dark ceiling, watching the crawling shapes through the canopy. Soon, though, the lights would come on, the shapes would flee, and he would be free to do whatever it was that he did in this world. He had never been very sure of what that was. Mostly, he seemed to sleep, wake up, eat, pass the time, pass the things he had eaten previously, and then sleep again. Occasionally, he died and was resurrected, but to Super, that felt a lot like sleeping and waking up.

Sometimes, before the bedtime gas hit him, he liked to imagine that he had some purpose in this world. Maybe he was secretly a hero that had a destiny to fulfill. Or perhaps he would invent something that would make the world not quite so awful. Or—and this was the wish he had never spoken aloud—he might someday write a book or a poem or a brochure that would give others hope in their bleakest hours.

And then Super would laugh with glee and shake his ugly head as he sucked the gas into his lungs—purpose and meaning were for suckers. Nothing was clearer and more comforting to know than life was a terrible accident full of other terrible accidents that usually ended in a last terrible accident. And no matter how many times Super would be brought back from death, he knew that there would be a last death. And it would be the sweetest one because he would never have to open his eyes on this world again! Continue reading

Harry’s Razors Review

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Derek: Welcome back, Mark! The holiday season is hitting its stride, and that means one thing: our thoughts turn to the awful hair that grows unceasingly from the male face. It looks like the ol’ Chinfest is going literal this time as we review Harry’s Razors. Are you familiar with Harry’s, Mark?

Mark: Of course. Those are the guys that bought a German factory and had it shipped over brick-by-brick so they could employ American workers, right? Good to see the promise of renewed American manufacturing being fulfilled—nobody makes things that cut and slice quite like us Americans!

Derek: Something like that, I’m sure! Anyhoo, I thought it might be fun to test out some of their fine products and review them. We’ve reviewed one movie already, so it’s probably time to expand our horizons.

Mark: Or is it stuff that blows up good that Americans make best? Well, it’s stuff that kills efficiently, at any rate. And I can’t wait to try out Harry’s Truman Set, which includes an ergonomic handle, two blade cartridges, and Harry’s own shave gel. I got the handle in olive green—one of four available colors—because it seems like the sturdiest choice, and I plan to use my razor a lot. Also, I am interested in the allusion to Harry Truman, the only human in history to authorize the use of nuclear weapons, and he was also known to shave, I believe.

Product shot 2 processedDerek: For those not familiar with Harry’s, it’s one of the growing number of direct-to-consumer producers that have emerged in the last few years that offer everything from cosmetics to mattresses to clothing. Companies marketing basic products to men seem to be prominent, something that I suppose stems from the notion that men hate shopping in actual stores for things they don’t like to buy but have to. Like underwear. According to prevailing social norms, I need it, but I hate buying it. I certainly don’t like going somewhere just to purchase it, and honestly, I’d rather wear the same underwear for a decade or more. You can take the unpluralized “underwear” however you want—the point is, I don’t like to buy it.

Razors are probably the same way for a lot of men. I certainly don’t spend much time thinking about it. I last bought razors two years ago when I got an entire crate of Schick Hydro 5 blades for $6 at CostCo. I was down to the last cartridge, so I figured I either had to go to CostCo again or order something off the Internet. And since those were the only options I could think of, and going to CostCo is right below “owning parrots” on my list of things I really don’t want, I tried the Internet.

Mark: Speaking of the Internet, I’m looking at Harry’s website right now, and it looks like that factory is still in Germany. I’m a little disappointed, but if there’s anyone better than America at fashioning implements of death, it’s those crafty Germans. Or, as they say in ol’ Deutschland, the ausgekocht Germans! Even their language is designed to bludgeon one into submission.

What I’m really looking forward to here, though, is a close shave for a decent price, and I have to say that the price, at least, looks pretty good: $15 for the Truman Set with free shipping. I think we should get started on our test!

Park bench_processedDerek: I agree! As you know, Mark, I’m a stickler for an authentic and controlled testing environment. And I’m taking Harry’s woolly mammoth logo seriously—it implies that their product represents a manly, natural process for shaving with German steel, just like our Paleolithic forebears used. Since I don’t have a cave or animal-skin shelter handy, I’m using the next best thing for our trial: a bench in my backyard. I figure this is a pretty good approximation of the male shaving experience through history.

So I’ll be living here for the next five days, shaving every morning with my Truman model razor, my Harry’s shave gel, and my will to survive.

Oh, and before we proceed, just a production note: readers will be able to track our shaving progress with the handy photos we’ve provided. You’ve got a healthy face-full of hair, Mark, so I’ll be interested to see what Harry’s can do for you.

Mark: One of my favorite photos! Let’s go! Continue reading

Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse: Chapter 1

IMG_2183Please enjoy this fully fumigated and strained presentation of the complete Chapter 1 of Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse. And don’t forget to read the Prologue, which provides essential indoctrination and induces the requisite state of wretchedness.


Chapter 1

It was Scavengeday, second day of the week, so Super, Flapman, and Gibson emerged from the Grotto to see what goodies they could find or haggle for or steal out in the ruined world. The entrance to the Grotto was hidden under a collapsed parking garage near the city’s waterfront. Or at least what used to be the waterfront of what used to be the city. There really was no city, per se, anymore. Nor was there an ocean now. Instead, there was the Cromulent Zone—stretching from the entire eastern third of the hemisphere and continuing across the dry ocean basin, until it reached its limits against the Atlantic Mountains—the only portion of the Earth that was not utterly uninhabitable. They were in the northern part of the ravaged planet, and though they had heard rumors that some life continued its miserable existence south of the wobbly equator, they thought it was probably nonsense. Continue reading