ArtsForge MultiMedia Project
The Power of 10
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© 1999 Tobin James Mueller, Steven Hägg Ståhlberg, John Spirko, Danny Falch, Ian Brand, Fred Simmons and Kim Vanderhyden.
Detail Plot Discussion
Last Updated:

Note: This project is in the formative stage.
We are presently creating the 3D characters.
Please read and comment on what we've done so far.
Contact ArtsForge.
 

Detailed Plot Summary
NOTE: ALL STORY IDEAS ARE SUBJECT TO UPGRADES AND IMPROVEMENTS.

For a discussion of the Premise, Characters (with illustrations), the meaning(s) behind the Title, and a short Summary of Content, click here.

For a verbal Story Board of Illustrations, click here.

For a list of side plots and scenes not yet integrated, click here.

Contents:
Chapter 1: Trixi & The Idd - Ferd's Room
Chapter 2: Spiraling Out f Control - Dido's Temple/5th Dimension
Chapter 3: Circuit Boards & Sequins - Ferd's school, Janitor's office
Chapter 4: The Din of Hong Kong - Brogdrog's Lab
Chapter 5: No Time Like the Present - Varies places and times (also see Side Stories)
Chapter 6: Star-Crossed Lovers - Brogdrog's Lab
Chapter 7: Timeless Evil - Lokia's Lair/4th Dimension
Chapter 8: A New Perspective - Brogdrog's Lab
Chapter 9: A Race with No Timer - Brogdrog's Lab, various locations
Chapter 10: The Labyrinth of Lower Learning - The school basement
Chapter 11: Return to Normal - Ferd's Classroom and beyond
 
Chapter 1: Trixi and the Idd

Witherferd Fehlter Hardling III has been having weird dreams. Unusually vivid, recurring dreams. Dreams so potent that, well, he's decided to spend more time asleep just to see what will happen next. Like most 16 year olds, his dreams are a lot cooler than the stuff that actually goes on around him (the stuff he notices, anyway). And, like most teens, he doesn't need much of an excuse to fall asleep, especially in the middle of class or in the orthodontist's overheated waiting room. But there's something more fundamental going on: Witherferd's dreams have involved the most beautiful girl he's ever imagined in his entire post-pubescent life. Needless to say, Witherferd has been spending lots of expectant moments laying in bed, waiting for something very special to happen...

But it's early Saturday morning, he's home all alone (he thinks his parents are off on a getting-in-touch-with-their-lost-youth weekend retreat at some ex-hippies' resort... he remembers the brochure saying something like, "Count Your Spiritual Stock at Woodstock U" or something, but he's not sure that wasn't a dream, either) and he can't sleep. Can't sleep! This is making him very annoyed. And stiff jointed. And embarrassed. One more reason to feel like he's just not normal.

Of course, Witherferd spends much of his time embarrassed, so this is actually kind of comforting. You see, Witherferd is the school egghead, the very paragon of teenage nerddom. Of slight build and high intelligence, with just enough niceness to be mistaken for a coward, he's an easy mark. Baring the name Witherferd Fehlter Hardling the Third doesn't help, either. "Ferd the Nerd." "Withered Witherferd." "Hardly Hardling." "Feelly Fehlter"... you get the idea. He also stutters, has a lateral lisp, wears braces, is terrible at ball games, and he's a bit shorter than the other guys. This has made him shy, but resilient. And, in a way, it's made it easier for him to pursue his own interests, like computer programming and cyberpunk novels. He's learned to put a neutral expression on suffering. He's also learned the value of being a good guy, and the evil of causing others pain.

His best friend is his computer, stuffed to it's silicon gills with all the latest software games. He has other friends, people he's met in online chat rooms with nicknames like "Termin8U" and "BlasterBalls", and a whole file with names like "Hot4Luv" and "WetNWaiting",but he tries not to think of them in any concrete terms because, after all, he doesn't even know what gender they really are. The community of the future...

Which is why he's not too bummed when he rolls out of bed, flops in front of his favorite monitor, and hears that delicious ping of the computer booting up fill his safe and quiet room. A satisfied smile forms as he absentmindedly sets to stroking his mouse across an open Playboy magazine.

***************

While ICQ chatting [NOTE: It must be mentioned that he has hacked his ICQ code to work better, never crash, leave cookies with his messages, printout activitiy and chatting partners (cuz he can never remember their emails/handles otherwise), etc., to establish Ferd's ability as a hacker] with some people under the handle "AssKicker", he gets this strange message through his speakers about the Simulcra. He has a short, weird conversation with the voice. Then he realizes it's not his speakers, but a voice in the room. That's when the computer dies and a black lozenge shape appears in the middle of his messy room. The electric light goes, wind starts blowing, lights spiral and fold. Out of the dimensional vortex steps a tall, beautiful brunette all dressed in shiny black studded leather and chains, with strategic gaps here and there, and extremely high heel boots (Dominatrix). She steps into the room, expecting to find Aril, or at least hints of where aAril has run off to, or, if nt that, maybe Idd waiting patiently. She gets a scared and srwany human tennagerr instead.

Trixi's first instinct is to blame this guy for Aril's disappearance. Ferd denies any knowledge of anyone named "Aril", but his persistent dreams these past days make him seem to hedge a bit about the whole affair. (Anyway, teenagers look like they're lying even when they'r telling the truth, since thye have so little practice actually telling the truth...) [Note: As Trixi mentions names and places like Aril and Diudo and the Temple of Portals and The Golden Simulcra, images pop into Ferd's mind from his lately recurring dreams. This makes it even harder for him to look like he doesn't know what Trixi is talking about, even though he really doesn't, yet. And neither does the reader.]

Trixi decides to wait for Idd the Empath to judge this Earthling's honesty. So Trixi shifts to her second instinct: Kill time waiting for Idd like she usually does...experimenting with local love customs...

Ferd thinks maybe he's about to get lucky, and not just virtually lucky or fantasy-daydreamy lucky, but tactilely and deliciously (and frighteningly!) lucky..

That's when the giant and frightening frame of the inwardly gentle Idd crashes the scene, wrecking Ferd's room. She actually bulges the walls out, crushes most of the room's contents, and blocks the door with her bulk. Out of simple necessity, the rest of the outside wall has to be ripped off. Ferd enjoys this more than he'd like to admit. However, he tries to remain righteous in his anger and wonders aloud what his parents will do to him when they return, or, for that matter, how he will survive without his beloved computer (which is now squashed beyond repair), ruining, among other things, his homework and secret stash of Playboys.

Ferd refuses to cooperate unless the two interlopers set things right. They reply that such charity is outside their expertise and that, at any rate, Ferd is still under suspicion regarding Aril's disappearance. Idd's renown empathic powers are unable to pierce the swirling clouds of confusion veiling the earth boy's brain and can't read his thoughts. But he does not respond to threats or Trixi's inducements. Instead, they offer to fix his speech impediments and physical appearance, to make him taller, slimmer, and handsome (with the use of interdimensional technology), and alter any other personal reality problems he may be having. Hardly knowing where to begin, Ferd opts for the make-over and, amidst the rubble of his totally trashed abode, decides to join them on their adventure. As if he has a choice.

But the make-over will have to wait until proves his worthiness. (By finding better equipment; breaking into the school...)

#####

 
Chapter 2: Spiraling Out Of Control

Explains the Premise, Dido, Aril, etc. A digression for the reader...

 
Chapter 3: Circuit Boards and Sequins (early draft)

In need of some cool equipment, Ferd helps Trixi and Idd break into his school's computerlab. In the process, they run into the school bully, Silvester Coopland ("Sly the Cool"), whom Trixi totally wastes. They also run into the night time janitor; instead of turning them all in to the cops, he leads them down into his basement office and lets them use his impressive communication equipment (which they turn unto an interdimensional telegraph machine).

In discussing the problem with Dido, they decide Aril is not only stuck in 3space somewhere, she is lost in time as well. Dido hasn't been able to locate her. Idd (as a scientist, keeps up with such things) suggests getting in touch with some fellow named Brogdrog, citing a thesis Brogdrog wrote on the subject of time travel recently (which, in the age of intergalactic travel, is a very relative term). However, she's afraid he might be rather hard to locate, since last she'd heard, Brogdrog had been exiled to some backwater frontier world overrun by an upstar species bent on self-extermination. She couldn't recall the planet's name... Trixi exclaims, "You mean the Xrognod Brogdrog? I was his escort; got some nice Vloccok handcuffs out of the deal. That was back when I worked as an Enforcer, before I got my Research Card. If I recall, his fellow Xrognodons thought him quite dangerous." "So, where did you take him?" "Earth. That's where all the intergalactic criminals are dumped."

But she has no idea where he might be now. That was probably 40 earth years ago, maybe more. She dropped him off near a smal village in Siberia known for bad weather, bad borsche, and its excellent psycho-restructuring facilities. The secret facility was run by a native scientist (called Conan the Barbarian by the Reseach Carded scientists back on her home world), which, actually, had peeked her interest and made her volunteer for the job. She was dissapointed when she arrived and found out the fellows name was actually a german psychiatrist, Cohen the Librarian, whom the locals had dubbed a barbarian, merely because he refused to eat reindeer meat during local festivals. A small Jewish fellow, Cohen rehabilitated the illegal aliens by removing all ambition from their minds; then it was an easy job blending them into Soviet society. Not exactly the personality Trixi had traveled 400 lightyears to hang with. Still, Trixi ended up taking a side trip to the Orient with the old guy (he had an Asian foot fetish that Trixi thought had potential as an interesting footnote in an upcoming thesis paper) and, there, was inspired by the beauty of the Asian women. She purchased a very nice drawing from a young Vietnamese entrepreneur (artist/pimp) working the streets of Hong Kong and brought it back to use as a kind of blueprint; the result was her present body shape. As she explains this, she takes the drawing from her bodice and shows the gathering.

When the Janitor looks at the drawing, he asks, "This signature. 'Truong-Ha Kran.' Did you tell this man of the secret Siberian reorientation camp?" "Perhaps," Trixi replies, "when making love, many things may come out of my mouth... Why do you ask." "Because, I may know this Truong-Kahn fellow. He may be able to lead you to Brogdrog..."

Ah, the amazing coincidences found in truly great epics!

So, the Janitor dials up his "friend" Truong-Ha Kran. Amazingly, he not only knows Brogdrog, but has knowledge of an ancient oriental legend about the Simulcra, which he understood to be a Golden Breastplate, which he would love "to get his hands beneath, uh, I mean, on," he explains. "A priceless artifact. It is the key to a holy sequence of numbers..." he says, in a thick Chinese accent. Idd thinks he says "whory sequins" and impulsively exposes some unusual looking Iddlandian underwear that had been previously hidden beneath her horny platelettes. "Like this?" she asks. "My son calls this a whore's sequins, but he is Odd and still gets embarrassed whenever his Idd nature surfaces." There is an alien company logo on the underwear that gets picked up by the janitor's video camera and braodcasted to Truong-Ha. Truong-Ha gasps and screams: It is the pattern of an ancient Feng Shui symbol portending a Return of the Dragon, and strikes fear into Truong-Ha. Ferd tries to keep Idd out of camera view, since doesn't want others to see his new alien friend; but the damage is done: Truong-Ha sees her and has interpretted the flashing gold as dragon scales. Amidst all the commotion, Idd accidentally tears the underwear, pulling off a portion; this causes a rather Iddlandic scene (until she calms down). She apologiezes, explaining that she now feels quite naked and did not act with the best of manners. Still shaken, Truong-Ha agrees to help find Brogdrog and signs off.

[Note: Truong-Ha uses a new Infinite Dimension ID-PPC device to communiate with Manny.]

Just before Ferd/Trix/Idd leave, Ferd asks if he can sit at the janitor's computer and jot down the directions to Brogdrog's Hong Kong apartments; Trixi says she has a photographic memory and that it isn't necessary...but Ferd insists. As he sits at the terminal (while the janitor is deep in thought), he types in something, secretly. The group then thanks the janitor and departs, after promising to keep him abreast of things and let him know how Truong-Ha is doing...

---------

Out in the parking lot, Trixi asks what Ferd was doing at the terminal. He says he hacked the janitor's communication software so that every time he goes online, it will send to Ferd's ICQ account a report of all the janitor's online activity, complete with emails and URLs. Trixi and Idd are very impressed. They decide to reward him, as previously promised, with a new physical shape, cure him of his stammer, acne, etc. In the many small-framed windows of the school building, Trixi displays some of the infinite choices he has, using her whip as a magic wand / holographic projector. Images of a dragon, a robocop enforcer, a long-haired romance novel cover, a movie star, etc., reflect back at him, with his own face reflected somewhere in between. Just then, Sly reappears (black eye and all) with a whole gang of young thugs, and insults Ferd and Trixi. ("You gonna let some girl fight your battles for you again, Nerd?") Idd (who had been invisible) appears behind Sly's gang and they all run away, all except Sly, who is sure this must be some kind of trick. Idd does something impetuous: She takes the remaining g-string of her ruined sequins and hangs Sly up from a lamppost, near some sort of evidence of a break in, like a broken window. As Sly is hanging there, he is hurling insults at Ferd's appearance, etc. Idd taps him to shut up, making him spin round and round (she's stronger than she realizes, of course). Trixi uses her whip to fire a laser at Sly's head, burning off a portion of his hair, saying "Ferd has hair a girl can get lost him; all you have is premature baldness, a probably a few scars." "Yeah," Ferd adds from a safe distance, "maybe that'l teach ya not to be such a hot head!" After laughs and kisses the stunned boy, Ferd swaggers over to the swinging, helpless Sly and says, "Jealous? Ha, you don't know the half of it!" Ferd decides he's not going to change his looks, but remain the same old Ferd, just to torment Sly - and satisfy his many secret female companions. He flips his bushy hair and swaggers toward home, with Trixi on one arm and and invisible bone-plated giant on the other. [They head off to Hong Kong.]

----------------

As this is happening outside, back inside the school the janitor contacts Lokia, still holding Idd's sequins in his hand. He mentions his guests and explains about the Simulcra, but leaves out Brogdrog and the discussion of a Time Machine. He asks about Dido, saying that he was unaware of any being "higher" than the 4spacer Lokia, which throws Lokia into a social climber hissy fit. It slips out that Lokia is responsible for Airl's disappearnce, that it was a botched kidnapping and that now both the Simulcra and spoiled brat are lost. The janitor says he will help find them, if she would make good on their previous arrangement deliver a 4space processor for him to integrate into his computer system. (How else is he to continue his quest for complete knowledge! How else can he achive the kind of immortality he needs to unlock the mysteries of existence!) She says his imoortality is safe with her, that she enevr breaks her word. Behold: a special 4spacer processor appears in the room, and the janitor, in his greed for processing power, sets to work...

 

 
Chapter 4:

########

Truong-Kran comes to warn Brogdrog... We either see him waiting outside Brogdrog's hidden lab; or we peer from inside the lab at Truong-Kran waiting there...

Before Ferd and gang arrive (it takes a couple weeks for them to get to Hong Kong, especially with Idd along, even if she can make herself invisible) - Dr. Brogdrog is at work on applied inter-dimensional theory with increased energy, now that he knows his ideas are possible...

Pages from Brogdrog's Journal that illustrate the hypothetical appearance of the Simulcra in 3space (based on the Fibonacci numbers, appearing as an endless spiral of growing rectangles), which, incidentally, looks strikingly like the shimmering entity now suspended in midair in Brogdrog's lab. Could also use Brogdrog's chalk board.

Just as Brogdrog has rigged up some sort of explosively powerful experiment to test his theories, Ferd/Trix/Idd arrive. ROB5 takes to Ferd right away... Trixi takes to Din.

Brogdrog lets them use the time machine (even though it's not ready, but somebody has to test drive it someday), which, according to Lokia's plans, will simply get them all lost (she knows Brogdrog is such a bungler he could never make anything that actually works).

 
Chapter 5:

THE FIRST ADVENTURE(S) (in time and space); they do not find Aril yet, but clues point to something...

 
Chapter 6:

While the heroes were away, Flatlanders accidentally open a portal into Brogdrog's lab; the portal opened there because of the space-time disturbance caused by the time machine being activated. Romeo and Juliet are suddenly in 3space (the lab), yet the Simulcra they were borrowing (per our Flatlanders storyline) is suddenly disappeared.

 
Chapter 7:

Lokia watches our Heroes, plots with Faust... She announces to the Janitor that she has located the Simulcra and he must retrieve it for her or else risk losing everything she has promised him. She shows herself to be evil and he realizes his packed with her is a rather one-sided deal. He must go out and get the thing (which he hates to do, "go out", that is). The Simulcra is somewhere absurd, but I can't decide where. The Janitor goes off to retrieve it.

 
Chapter 8:

The Heroes return to Brogdrog's lab; Idd discovers the ability to "see"
through the Flatlanders when electricity is passed through them. The
Dimensional Lens is invented...and it really works! But where is the
Simulcra? Idd decides to stay behind to study Romeo and Juliet and learn
their language. Din accompanies Trixi and Ferd and Grok on their next
adventure: To get to the Simulcra before the Janitor/Lokia get it.

 
Chapter 9:

The Heroes get to wherever too late. The Janitor already has the
Simulcra. And, in exchange for leaving him with it (cuz Dominatrix could
easily kill him and take it away), the Janitor (or Lokia) offers to tell
the group how to find Aril. Our heroes go off to find Aril, falling into
some sort of trap (wherein Aril is the bait); pPerhaps everyone except
Grok/ROB5, who manages to tail the Janitor back to his basement, thus
discovering the many secret cool rooms Fred Simmons is making and that
weren't uncovered earlier. What is The Mole working on? Something even
Lokia doesn't know about... The plot thickens.

 
Chapter 10:

After a sufficient amount of time caught in the trap (whatever it ends
up being), enabling Aril and Ferd to get to know each other, and Din and
Trixi as well, our heroes escape/are saved by Idd and the Flatland teens
who have arrived via the time machine. Idd explains the social caste
problems of Flatlander life (which she has now translated after learning
the Flatlander language) and how Romeo and Juliet are really starcrossed
lovers that can't be joined because of dumb Flatlander social customs. Idd
says something has to be done to help them, and, since Aril is found, she
opts to go her own way with the Flatland Teens. Who better to negotiate a
settlement than a very scary looking giant empath? Trixi decides she has
found true love and goes off with Din (or stays in the trap some more?)
That leaves Aril and Ferd to go this next part alone...

 
Chapter 11:

Aril and Ferd must get back the Simulcra from the Janitor/Lokia.
Ferd (and Aril? and Grok?) saves the world from nuclear holocaust, foiling
Brodrog's/Flatlands' plans.
The Janitor reforms, meets Dido.
All other afore stated endings occur.

 
Side Stories and Locations:
The ones in bold will be illustrated.
>WW1
>The grassy knoll. (JFK's killers and their escape)
>A most excellent decadent orgy in Caligula's Palace. Ferd matures a lot here as well.
>A Turkish women's bath in Constantinople.
>Meeting Jack the Ripper in a dark alley, accidentally pushing him into another Gate (that's why the murders suddenly stopped).
>An opium den in Shanghai in the 1800's. Meeting a young Sherlock Holmes?
>Alien worlds:
+FrogMan's Lilly Pad Lounge (Trixi is doing "research" here)
>A Star Trek convention!
>Some time in our Earth's future.
+At President Larry Flint's inauguration? w/ VP Chelsea Clinton?
>Amelia Erhardt's disappearance
>Ezekiel seeing the wheel way up in the middle of the air (it's really Brogdrog's time machine).
>Some dinosaur setting, perhaps causing their extinction 65 million years ago (Oops!) - and the saving of a small pregnant field shrew that ends up being the great great grandma to human beings?
>Meeting Great People:
+Galileo, giving him idea for the telescope
+Archimedes, perhaps just before he bathes (and thinks of equation for Specific Gravity)
+Einstein, at a black board, suggesting E=mc2, or at a pool table suggesting space-time
+Newton, apple and the tree
+DeVinci, taking him for a ride...
Copy of February Letter Outlining
New Storyline and Character Ideas:

General Comments:

Our story is fundamentally about 16-year-old Witherferd, his coming of age
and character forming changes within the events of the plot. We should
never loose site of this. But interesting and well developed side
characters should not be discarded. IF the story becomes convoluted, that
may work to a humorous advantage. I think I have skill in writing a story
and won't include stuff that can't be integrated.

Also, we can't give away all the groovy premise twists we've come up right
away in the beginning (as our last plot outline was almost doing). If this
is to be a novel of 20-30 chapters, we have to provide mystery, clues, plot
twists; so stuff like the Janitor's motivations, the Flatlanders' real
agenda, etc., can all come out in due time, stringing the reader along...

Premise alteration:
What if the Simulcra is a device that enables beings to travel between
dimensions. Without it, Dido can't move between dimensions, she can only
see and/or hear through the portals. Then she would be stuck in her Temple
the entire story (or at least until the end), providing an occasional
narrative grounding [we check back with her to give updates, be provided
information she's uncovered, etc.] Thus, we never forget the premise and
are given summaries to help us recall what we've read and where the story
is headed. [Such updates could also happen between Lokia and the Janitor,
in little vignettes. See below.)

Storyline alterations:
What if, in general, the story line is: Dido's 16-year-old daughter (the
same age as Witherferd!), Aril, has "borrowed" Dido's Simulcra to cruise
the main street of inter-dimensional traffic and has gotten stuck or lost
somewhere/sometime in 3space. Dido is worried and calls on Aril's friend
and body guard, Dominatrix, to find her. (Trixi is already in 3space,
engaged in some sort of exotic love research when Dido contacts her for
help; Trixi was expecting Aril on this particular planet and was just
killing time before she arrived, but was getting worried because she hadn't
showed). Trixi suggests the assistance of Idd, a specialist in empathic
communication. Dido uses her powers from the Temple of Portals to move
Trixi and Idd to the projected point in 3space where the Simulcra carried
Aril... but something goes wrong and the duo ends up being transported into
Ferd's room. So Ferd is at first a suspect, then an ally. Upon seeing an
image of the wayward Aril, Ferd falls in love (like Luke Skywalker seeing
Leia in R2D2's com-beam) and wants to join in the quest. Things progress
from there.

So the evolving raison d'etre of the story becomes: Mother wanting daughter
back; daughter discovered to be kidnapped, the Simulcra stolen; pursuit of
daughter uncovers deeper, more sinister plot twists; boy finally meets
daughter and gets the girl; boy looses girl because, after all, she's kind
of inter-dimensional royalty, so he can only hope for a long distant affair
type thing; boy becomes famous, inventing sex drive engine; boy returns to
normal life after it's all over, back to the midwest where no one knows or
cares about his adventure/fame; boy finds he's changed and decides: 1)
either to be a normal guy with more confidence, or 2) to drop it all and go
build a new universe someplace with his new best friend, Grok (ROB5), the
cute little computer...we can decide later. Ideas?

General Storyline contours:
The hunt for Aril takes Ferd, Trixi and Idd (and, eventually, Grok and, for
a while, Din) to many places and times, both in Earth's past and future
history and to 3space planets of exotic natures. The main purposes of these
trips are: (1) Trying to find Aril or pursue other plot twists; (2)
accidental miscalculations in trying to do #1; (3) Creating events that
help build Ferd's character; (4) Creating events that become the catylist
for unexplain historical mysteries (for example, they could push Jack the
Ripper into another universe, accounting for his disappearance; they could
open a portal that Amelia Erhart (spelling?) flies through; they could
screw things up in the Bermuda Triangle somehow; they could materialize,
accidentally, in the air over Ezekiel, and he thinks he sees "The
Wheel"...) Thus, we can put all sorts of fun, fascinating plot twists and
images into the mix. Some events can take up an entire chapter, some can
happen in the course of one sentence.

Initial Draft of THE PREMISE:

The Power of 10 is a humorous, absurd, yet perplexingly poignant and realistically told (and illustrated) story about the struggle to keep the last remaining dimensions from collapsing into an utterly pointless world. It is imbued with quirky characters, the strangeness of the universe, and beautiful women (not necessarily in that order). We hope you enjoy the final "read", as well as watching the creative team as we formulate the text, create drafts of settings and characters, and slowly piece the final product together.

Feel free to come back again and again, sign up for updates, or write any of the creative team. We'd love to hear what you think of our progress...

NOTE: ALL STORY IDEAS ARE SUBJECT TO UPGRADES AND IMPROVEMENTS.

In order to accomodate the differing styles of various artists, this story takes place on many worlds, in many times, and among many dimensions.

The title, "The Power of 10", comes from the idea that by expanding (or contracting) one's point of view by the power of 10, one's perspective changes to point of being able to see "worlds within worlds". A solar system looks like an atom orbited by electrons - from far away. The inside of a cell can look like a galaxy when magnified. Also, a tiny black hole can actually provide the new dimensional time-space for an entire universe (as in Hawking's "Black Holes and Baby Universes"). In addition, it is accepted theory that our Universe is made up of perhaps 10 dimensions; all of which were "active" a moment after the Big Bang, but have since "collapsed" into the 3 we now inhabit (plus time). Imagining oneself in a "higher" dimension is much like imagining oneself so large as to be powers of 10 larger than our ordinary world. Our title combines these congruent ideas.

You see, the different dimensions didn't exactly collapse. They curled - and shifted. By expending great energy, you can uncurl dimensions and "space shift" from place to place, dimension to dimension, if you know the right tricks (or "science", if you insist). In fact, a few beings have been born in these "higher" dimensions and, by virtue of the accidents of their place of origin, pose unique abilities and perspective. Beings who exist in the Higher Dimension (4space and up) are called "Spiralists". Of course, some beings have also developed in the "lower" dimensions, and are called, "Flatlanders" (2space) and "Monos" (1space).

The Premise: Dido Titania is the beautiful keeper of the Portal, a 5th dimensional being able to communicate among the many dimensions and Powers of 10. [Note: How a 5-space being can be "beautiful" in 3space (something that only nearsighted physicists might wonder over) is that she is able to manipulate her 3D silhouette (or cross-section) by sliding a bit in 4 and 5space. Of course, her 3D image does appear morphically wavy at times, but Spiralists are very sinuous beings, as Ian's illustration portrays.] Dido has uncovered a plot by devious Flatlanders to "collapse" the universe into 2 dimensions, by blocking inter-dimensional energy flows, thus destroying the universe as we know it, and making Flatlanders the Masters of the Higher Dimensions (since they adn the "Monos" would be the only surviving beings). Dido enlists a group of heroes to stop them.

But she has lost her Simulcra, the famous Golden Breastplate (a kind of Dimensional Armor) that enables her to actually travel between dimensions. (Without the Simulcra, she cannot retain her shape and would sag and stretch endlessly between worlds, something a beauty like Dido would find too abhorent to contemplate). [Note: The Simulcra is actually known in 3D religion and mathematics as "The Golden Sequence", related to the Fibonacci numbers, appearing as an endless spiral of growing rectangles in our dimension. However, in this story, Ferd (our hero) misunderstands the phrase and ends up wasting a great deal of time trying to find the "Golden Sequins", although several interesting episodes result.]

Dido enlists the help of her 3D daughter (a product of the 5th dimensional beauty and the coyly Flatlander, Snood Snopik - the physics of which has yet to be explained; suffice it to say that Dido was very young at the time), named Aril Lolunia, who is already beyond the portal in 3space. Dido promises to deliver to Aril a group of great warriors, but something goes wrong. (It is later found that other Spiralists have interfered, with a plot of their own…) Instead of sending great warriors to help her daughter, Dido's actions send a collection of quirky wannabes from various worlds, all falling into the otherwise boring life of an overwhelmed 15 year old nerd from Earth. Which, by the way, is where the story begins.

The Power of 10 is to be a humorous, absurd, yet perplexingly poignant and realistically told (and illustrated) story about the struggle to keep the last dimensions from collapsing into an utterly pointless world. Of course, mainly it's about quirky characters, the strangeness of the universe, and beautiful women. Not necessarily in that order.

But she has lost her Simulcra, the famous Golden Breastplate (a kind of Dimensional Armor) that enables her to actually travel between dimensions. (Without the Simulcra, she cannot retain her shape and would sag and stretch endlessly between worlds, something a beauty like Dido would find too abhorent to contemplate). [Note: The Simulcra is actually known in 3D religion and mathematics as "The Golden Sequence", related to the Fibonacci numbers, appearing as an endless spiral of growing rectangles in our dimension. However, in this story, Ferd (our hero) misunderstands the phrase and ends up wasting a great deal of time trying to find the "Golden Sequins", although several interesting episodes result.]

Dido enlists the help of her 3D daughter , named Aril Ariana, who is already beyond the portal in 3space. Dido promises to deliver to Aril a group of great warriors, but something goes wrong. (It is later found that other Spiralists have interfered, with a plot of their own…) Instead of sending great warriors to help her daughter, Dido's actions send a collection of quirky wannabes from various worlds, all falling into the otherwise boring life of an overwhelmed 15 year old nerd from Earth. Which, by the way, is where the story begins.

As with many premises,

has uncovered a plot by devious Flatlanders to "collapse" the universe into 2 dimensions, by blocking inter-dimensional energy flows, thus destroying the universe as we know it, and making Flatlanders the Masters of the Higher Dimensions (since they adn the "Monos" would be the only surviving beings). Dido enlists a group of heroes to stop them. (First among these heroes, of course, is Witherferd Hardling, an unsuspecting teenage nerd from the Midwest, USA.)

Scene One: a descriptive draft - ongoing -

Withurferd is the school's biggest outcast ("Ferd the Nerd", "Witless Withered Withurferd", "Feelly Felter", "Hardly Hardling" - you get the idea), and not only because his name is easy to ridicule. He's fat and he stutters and he's terrible at ball games, and he's a bit small for his age. This has made him shy, but resilient. He's learned to put a neutral expression on suffering. He's also learned the value of being nice to people, and the evil of causing pain. As consolation, he's turned to books, mostly escapist stuff like science fiction and fantasy. He's alone at home one afternoon (actually, his parents are off on a "Getting in Touch with their Lost Youth" weekend retreat held at some ex-hippies' resort called "Woodstock U"), and is ICQ chatting with some people under the handle "AssKicker", when he gets this strange message through his speakers about the Simulcra. He has a short, weird conversation with the voice. Then he realizes it's not his speakers, but a voice in the room. That's when the computer dies and a black lozenge shape appears in the middle of his nerdy room. The electric light goes, wind starts blowing, lights spiral and fold. Out of the dimensional vortex steps a tall, beautiful brunette all dressed in shiny black studded leather and chains, with strategic gaps here and there, and extremely high heel boots (Dominatrix). She steps into the room, expecting to find Aril. She gets Ferd instead. Oh well, one person's loss is another's gain…?

Ferd thinks maybe he's about to get lucky, and not just virtually lucky or fantasy-daydreamy lucky, but tactilely and deliciously (and frighteningly) lucky.. It's not that Trixi desires him personally, but she appears constantly horny (at least in the eyes of a 15 year old boy) and, from what she says, will try anything once... or twice... or - you get the picture. (She actually turns out to be a love android and runs off with "Din" the worrying robot in a later chapter.) Trixi is from a different world and has never seen anyone like Ferd; she decides to "experiment" with him before she calls the other(s).

But Idd, impetuous as always, has taken matters into her own hands and pressed the Self-send-button herself on her porto-portal vanity mirror and crashes into the scene, wrecking Ferd's room. She actually bulges the walls out, crushes most of the room's contents, and blocks the door with her bulk. Out of simple necessity, they rip the rest of the outside wall off. Ferd enjoys this more than he'd like to admit. However, he tries to remain righteous in his anger and wonders aloud what his parents will do to him when they return, or, for that matter, how he will survive without his homemade computer (which is now squashed beyond repair), ruining, among other things, his homework and secret stash of x-rated jpegs (which, by the way, were stored in the same desktop folder).

Ferd refuses to cooperate unless the two interlopers set things right. They reply that such charity is outside their expertise. However, they offer, instead, to fix his speech impediment, make him taller, slimmer, and handsome (with the use of interdimensional technology), and alter any other personal reality problems he may be having. Hardly knowing where to begin, Ferd opts for the selfish make-over and, amidst the rubble of his totally trashed abode, decides to join them on their adventure. As if he has a choice.

 

 
Flatlander Premise and Plot

Flatlanders accidentally discovered interdimensional travel as an outgrowth of their sexual evolution. Their desire to blow up our world turns out to be an entirely innocent attempt at exploring new spacial dimensions while achieving better sexual climaxes. They don't realize they're bad guys until just before the happy ending.

Flatlanders USED TO BE asexual, like amoebas, crawling over each other without sexual harrassment laws bothering their alien workplaces. But somehow our atomic bomb tests in the 1950's poured radiation into their world, causing mutations and speeding up evolution. Now sexual Flatlanders have displaced their asexual buddies. In fact, sexual evolution has become the highest priority in New Wave Flatlander society. (After all, sex, to them, is associated with heavenly bursts of light ripping through Flatland space, thunderous voices echoing from "On High", and other religiously significant events. Also, it should be noted that Flatlander sex involves subatomic radition, quarky discharges, and other energy releasing phenomena that help perpetuate this notion of the paranormal, as well as future populations). So, the New Wave Flatlanders (distinct from the asexual Old Guard) are busy perfecting sexual activity, trying to duplicate critical mass with each new climax.

The course of Flatland history is altered when a Flatlander Prophet mysteriously comes into possession of the Simulcra. [We find out how and by whose hand later (it's probably rival 5spacers plotting against Dido)]. The Simulcra acts like a 2001-style monolith, or at least resonates powerfully with the New Wavers' sex-released energy waves, achieving such a moment of ecstacy that the energy explosion warps space…and the Flatlander glimpses a holy and new 3 dimensional world. This transcenedtal aspect to New Wave sex sparks a revolution of activity. It also sparks a population boom.

This is compounded by another unforeseen event: Two Flatlander teenagers (the Romeo and Juliet of Flatland), in the midst of their first sexual liason, "borrow" the Simulcra from under the Prophet's nose (or whatever) to use as an aphrodesiac. Something about their highten exhuberance, their contact with the Simulcra, and their positioning in relationship to 3D space makes it so that they not only glimpse 3psace but are TRANSPORTED there, taking the Simulcra with them, or, at least, part way. Romeo and Juliet end up in Dr. Brogdrog's lab (the experiments he was conducting at that moment contributed to the dimensional jump), with the Simulcra stuck between worlds, suspended in mid air.

For the Flatlanders, this opens up the new possibility of moving between dimensions, space travel, etc. However, try as they might, no Flatlanders can duplicate Romeo and Juliet's jump. And now they have only the half of the Simulcra still stuck in 2space. Something must be done.

Both Old Guard and Newe Wavers agree on one thing: Flatland needs more elbow room (or whatever the Flatland equivilent would be). To achieve this, Flatland scientists and sexual gurus believe the answer lies with a resumption of 3space atomic explosions. They theorize that they can open the rift created by the stuck Simulcra by using a combination of nuclear explosions and syncronized religious orgies. Thus, they contrive to get us to blow ourselves up, or, if we're too clever for that, to trip the detonation themselves.

Romeo and Juliet are, by necessity, the Flatlanders agents on the 3space side. The Flatland Teens can communicate "verbally" through the corked rift between the worlds. But only the mental biowaves of the Flatlanders passes through. Brogdrog can't. So Brugrdrog is handed all sorts of misinformation, garbled through equally bad translation of Flatlander elctrospeak sign language, making him an unwitting Flatland stooge.

Once Ferd and Gang show up, Idd the Gaint discovers something: By positioning the bodies of the two Flatlanders in just the right way, the slight dimensional refraction achieved when photons move through their infinitely thin bodies shifts dimensional perspective just enough to enabling 3spacers to see into Flatland (albeit, thru a fuzzy, distorted lens). In other wqords, Flatlander bodies, when layered together, become a "Communication Lens" between the two dimension! (Idd, you see, never looks people directly in the eye, since she is very shy, except during those moments of Iddlander impetuousness. It was this trick of looking out of the corner of her eye that enabled her to see through the Flatlander lens.) While Brogdrog hooks up a makeshift Communication Lens, Din accidently knocks him, pulling taut one of the Flatlanders taut. They find they can gain some control and can fine tune the lens to see into several other dimensions' like a crystal ball or distorted camera (this way, we get to 'sort of' see into the other dimensions).

After the lens is working, Idd discovers that she can understand the thoughtwaves of the Flatlander Teens. (Hints of this have been happening all along.) We learn that Flatlanders abhor mechanical devices (most are Flatlander Luddites, in fact) and that their entire technology is based on a kind of utilitarian biogenetics. They grow the devices they need by shaping fellow Flatlanders into organic bio-machinery. This has created a kind of caste system - which made the Teens' love laison illegal, against Flatlander strict moral code. (And you thought their orgy-based culture was without morals.) (In fact, Romeo was a Flatlander cable television set and Juliet was an apprentice laptop computer, which may explain why they made such a good lens together. It might also explain why Flatlander law prohibited their union.) The growing bond between Idd and the Flandlaner Teens results in the Teens helping the humans in the last climactic moment...saving Earth from nuclear holocaust.

So, everything works out in the end. Trixi goes off with the Flatlander Prophet to explore the infinite potential of sexual ecstacy. The Flatland Teens Rome and Juliet go to Iddland where everyone is equal and free. Ariel the heroine (who we've yuet to write into this story!) is provided special biogenetically grown Flatlanders that act as phase-shifting armor, enabling her to sidestep into another dimension at will. (This comes in handy during the FINAL SHOWDOWN in which Dido confronts the REAL bad guys in the last chapters.) And Ferd invents the "sex drive" engine, an interdiminsional space vehicle that enables humans to warp space and move through the universe with ease (as long as the Flatlanders inside the machine keep up sufficient libido).

A byproduct of this new age of dimensional travel is that all New Wave Flatlanders imigrate from old Flatland, leaving the homeworld to the Old Guard. Then, in an epilogue, a strange retro-virus infects the Old Guard, an asexual virus that only infects those who have been reproducing in public washrooms. The virus spreads unabated, wiping out the Old Guard. A sad footnote. And food for thought for us all.

Please comment, amend, edit, expand on and help complete the Premise Discussion.

To go to the main Contents and Characters Page, click here!
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