by firstname.lastname@example.org (Redneck Gaijin)
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
-- Job 2:1-2
And Michael, mighty of hosts, spoke unto God, saying, Lord, allow me to remove this footpad, and teach him to profane your presence no more.
But the LORD spoke, saying, Nay, let none raise their hand against another today; for all are my children, yea even the wayward, and each shall have a part to play in what is to come.
And Satan smiled, and spoke unto the LORD, saying, Shall we play a game?
-- Job 2, removed from Gabriel's account by Josias of Thebes, in what was widely regarded as a sound editorial move at the time
The wind blew gently through the trees surrounding the picnic clearing in the park, barely stirring the hair of the small group of people who stood, with various levels of mutual distrust and contempt, around a stone table with a chessboard carved in the top. The sunlight glittered off the morning dew and shone impartially over the cluster of people who stood beside the old man in the Hawaiian shirt and the quiet group milling behind the middle-aged gentleman clad in a stylish dark three-piece suit.
CHESS AGAIN? the old man said in a quiet, friendly voice.
"I think so," the man in the suit nodded. "But this time, I would prefer to play without the audience."
AS YOU LIKE, the old man smiled. GO YOU, AND COMPETE AMONG YOURSELVES, he nodded to the two clusters of people. BUT DO YE NO HARM UNTO EACH OTHER, NOR UNTO OTHERS.
One of the men standing behind the old man, a young-looking gentleman with long dark hair and piercing eyes, knelt and said, "My Lord, I have sworn an oath..."
I KNOW OF YOUR OATH, LAWRENCE, the Lord smiled. YOU ARE FREE TO LEAVE IF YOU WISH. YOUR FELLOW SERVANTS BLANDINE, JORDI, JANUS AND GABRIEL ARE NOT HERE, AND THEY SWORE NO OATH. IF YOU WISH TO STAY, YOU MAY, BUT YOU SHALL NOT DRAW YOUR SWORD TODAY.
Lawrence's head bowed still lower, and his voice ran with a low current of anger. "If Your enemies will keep the peace, so shall I, my Lord."
Lucifer smiled slyly. "We have no interest in breaking the peace today, Malakite. This is strictly a day for fun. My servants know the penalty for disobedience, and those who I cannot trust I have left at home."
OR THEY CHOSE TO STAY HOME, the Lord replied. OH, DO GET UP, LAWRENCE, AND TRY TO RELAX.
As Lucifer glowered at the Lord's gentle barb, Lawrence stood up, bowing at the waist, and returned to the group standing behind the old man. Each group, seven men and one woman each, looked at each other, shifting their feet uncomfortably, uncertain what to do next.
SO, the Lord said, setting the chessboard, WHAT ARE WE PLAYING FOR TODAY?
"No bets," Lucifer smiled. "Somehow, whenever we make a wager, I come out second best. Even when I win."
FUN, THEN, the Lord grinned. He looked up at the demons and angels around them, grinning cheerfully. WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING HERE? SHOO! GO PLAY, ALREADY!
The sixteen Celestials vanished, and the Lord held out his fists. WHITE OR BLACK?
"A-3," Dominic said, rolling a tiny red peg in his fingers. For today's solemn occasion, he had manifested as a severe-looking man, bald and saturnine, glaring at the world through dark sunglasses, occasionally brushing a bit of lint from his immaculate black suit. Across from him, an equally solemn man in an equally clean black suit frowned, brushing his fingers through his close-cropped black hair.
"Hit," Asmodeus grouched. "How is your housecleaning going?"
"The same as yours, I suspect," Dominic smiled. "Always a heretic, someone who thinks they can break the rules and hide it from us. It seems like there's even more of them these days."
"Many more," Asmodeus nodded. "More and more people unwilling to abide by the rules of the game. It grows tiresome, after all these millenia. I-7."
"Miss," Dominic said impassively. "It is a heavy burden, sometimes," he added, actually looking a tiny bit wistful behind his sunglasses. "Before the Fall, we were not troubled by concerns like heresy and insubordination. Now, they lurk everywhere."
"And everywhere they lurk, they must be stamped out," Asmodeus nodded. "After all, how can we settle affairs between our two sides when each side is divided against itself?"
Dominic nodded. "After a fashion, it is a comfort to know there is someone who thinks as I do."
"Of course," Asmodeus added, "nothing can come of this conversation. Under other circumstances, I would destroy you."
"Or I you," Dominic nodded, "but the house must be cleaned first. A-2."
"You have sunk my destroyer," Asmodeus sighed, placing a red peg atop his screen. "To a clean house. May it happen soon."
"Amen," Dominic agreed. "Your move."
BISHOP TO QUEEN'S BISHOP FOUR.
"May I ask a question?" Lucifer asked idly, studying the developed opening board from above steepled fingers.
ASK AWAY. IT WON'T CHANGE THE BOARD ANY.
"We've been getting a lot of souls down there," Lucifer smiled, toying with one of his own bishops. "And there are at least five billion wandering around here on Earth. How many souls have you got left up in Heaven, anyway? I mean, the ones that haven't been born yet?"
ALL OF THEM, the Lord smiled ineffably. IT''S YOUR MOVE.
"Bishop to Queen's bishop four," Lucifer grumbled, plunking the piece into position, black facing white in a mirror image across the board.
"Three ball, side pocket," Jean pointed across the board, pocketing his sextant and protractor and raising his pool cue. The dim light of the game room shone off his bald pate, scattering across the highlights in his short silver-white fringe of hair, casting shadows across his scowling, disapproving face. Drawing a careful bead, he pulled back the cue stick and struck, sending the white ball bouncing from the side of the table, striking the yellow one-ball, sending it into the red three-ball, which plunked quietly into the called pocket.
An instant later, the cue ball dropped into a corner pocket, and Jean's opponent, a wild-haired middle-aged man with a maniacal grin and a sloppy lab coat, picked the hard white ball out and moved it over to the end of the table. "Scratch!" he grinned. "My shot!"
"A minor oversight in my calculations," Jean huffed.
"Still my shot," Vapula grinned. "I wonder what'll happen if I do this!" In a swift, flowing motion, he slapped the cue ball onto the table, drew his cue, and slammed it into the side of the one-ball. Both balls careened wildly across the table, knocking into the other balls, scattering them randomly, but sinking none of them.
Jean smirked at Vapula, breaking out a slide rule as he studied the new arrangement of the balls. "What was all that for?" he chuckled. "You didn't sink any of them!"
"This is nine-ball, my friend," Vapula giggled. "Only the last ball counts."
Jean considered that, frowned, and studied the table a little more closely.
KNIGHT TO KING'S KNIGHT FIVE, WARE QUEEN.
Lucifer nodded, sighing, and knocked over the Lord's queen with his own. "Queen to Queen's Eight, takes Queen."
ROOK TO QUEEN'S ONE, TAKES QUEEN.
"Rook to Queen's Eight, takes Rook," Lucifer nodded. "Tell me, have you -ever- made a mistake? Even once?"
MISTAKES, the Lord smiled, ARE IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER. ROOK TO QUEEN'S ONE, TAKES ROOK. His eyes twinkled as he added, DO YOU THINK I MADE A MISTAKE? BESIDES NOT LETTING YOU RUN THINGS, THAT IS?
Lucifer thought very carefully, then sighed, "Pawn to King's Knight Three."
The Lord chuckled and fingered his rook, smiling his inscrutable smile.
"What about that cloud?" Nybbas asked, his glasses reflecting the sunlight and totally concealing the eyes behind them, his usual toothy grin replaced by a thoughtful expression. His rakish white sport coat had a few grass stains on it, the damp earth adding a little brown to it as he lay on his back looking up at the sky.
"Easy, man," Eli chuckled, his messy brown hair sprawling around his head as he lay beside Nybbas. He scratched his leg through a hole in his jeans as he said, "That's Nike riding in a chariot pulled by twin Andalusian white stallions, spear held high in challenge."
"I see it as the hind end of a 1958 Chevy driven by a little old lady with a beehive haircut," Nybbas smirked. "And that cloud?"
"The little one by the oak tree?"
"No, the one above it."
"Oh, that's a willow tree swaying in the breeze, its limbs bent down by years of storms and hard winters."
"I see Pamela Lee Anderson baring her breasts on worldwide broadcast TV."
"Hm," Eli nodded. "Yeah, I can see that, 'cept it's Elle MacPherson."
"Elle MacPherson wouldn't take her top off on TV for any money," Nybbas protested.
"Don't care, man, it's Elle MacPherson." Eli pointed over to the horizon and said, "That looks like a duckie to me."
"Hm," Nybbas thought for a while, stared at it, then sighed, "Yep, it's a duckie. Just a duckie."
"Damn," Eli sighed. "You win."
Nybbas blinked. "How d'ya figure that?" he asked. "I couldn't think of anything."
"Exactly," Eli groaned, leaning up. "I failed, you won."
"Oh," Nybbas said, smiling wanly. "Whatever you say... wanna go to the ampitheatre and listen to the band there? They're really... well, loud."
"Dude," Eli beamed, good humor restored, "I am so -there.-"
Lucifer tapped his fingers on his jacket sleeve, watching as the Lord contemplated the pieces on the board. At the moment, God had a one-pawn piece advantage on the Devil, but the game could still go either way very easily. A couple of moves, here and now, could set the momentum for the rest of the game.
As such, the Lord's dawdling over the board grated on Lucifer's nerves. Finally, unable to keep silent, he said, "You've been thinking for half an hour. Don't you have a move yet?"
PATIENCE, PATIENCE, the Lord replied. I WAS JUST WATCHING SOMETHING MORE INTERESTING.
"More interesting?" Lucifer asked. "There's nothing here but the board, the tree, the table and me......" He looked down at his tapping fingers, his wiggling foot, and frowned as he realized what the Lord had been watching. Planting both feet on the ground and laying his hands on the table, he grumbled, "Make your bloody move."
The Lord chuckled warmly, shaking his head. WHEN WILL YOU LOSE THAT SILLY PRIDE, MY LIGHTBRINGER? He nudged his remaining bishop forward. BISHOP TO QUEEN'S KNIGHT FIVE. AND DO TRY TO CALM DOWN. DON'T WANT YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE TO GO UP, DO YOU? His eyes twinkled with merriment at his friendly joke.
"Is everything a joke to you?" Lucifer asked.
IF YOU BELIEVE IT IS, the Lord smiled. IF YOU BELIEVE IT IS.
Michael stared at the screen with a look of sheer dismay as his side of the video game screen filled up with blocks, a number readout in the upper right corner reading 99 as the two little cartoon characters in the middle flickered to life, Sakura blasting the living daylights out of Donovan.
Baal smiled wryly at Michael, his hands still on the joystick and buttons, chuckling, "What's the matter, Michael? Oh, wait," he smirked, holding up his hands, "I'm keen to guess... you only know how to play fighting games, right?"
Michael fished a quarter from the front pocket of his shorts, stuffing his ripped T-shirt back into the waistband, and held the coin up in challenge. "One more game..."
"Simon says, hop up and down on one leg!"
Three Celestials hopped up and down on one legs.
"I feel -ridiculous,-" Malphas grumbled, holding his host's pants cuff, panting as the out-of-shape body strained to keep hopping.
"You aren't the only one," Laurence grumbled, his ankle gripped tightly in his hand, his breath slow and steady.
"Oh, try to relax, you two," Novalis smiled, bouncing playfully as she held both arms out for balance, "it's only a game."
"Simon says rub your chest with both hands!"
"Then again," Novalis grumbled, reaching up to rub her breasts, "some people take the rules for granted..."
"Whose idea was it to let Kobal be Simon -anyway?-" Malphas growled.
Kobal just laughed and said, "Simon says sing all the songs from 'Annie!'"
The three Celestials grumbled and began singing, "The sun will come out/ Tomorrow/ Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow/ There'll be sun..."
Kobal laughed and laughed and laughed. No matter who falls out last, he thought, I'm the winner....
Lucifer stared across the game table, frowning. His defenses were weakened, as the Lord had finally brought his knight and bishop forward to pin his king as his other knight roamed at will across the board. Now, the only way Lucifer could see to victory lay in a risky gambit which would leave his remaining rook and knight totally committed.
Should he wait and see what counters he could make against the Lord's offense? Should he risk it all on the dangerous gamble and hope for the best?
His fingers toyed idly with the head of his knight as his mind raced around the possibilities.
"Park Place," Lilith smiled. "With hotel, you owe me fifteen hundred."
"Hm," Marc considered, picking out three orange bills from his carefully organized piles and handing them over to Lilith. "Your turn."
Lilith smiled and rolled the dice, moving her token forward around Go, landing on the Reading Railroad. "Safe," she smiled. "Two hundred, please."
Marc reached into the bank, drew out the last two $100 bills in the Monopoly set and handed them over. He looked from one side to the other, noting the huge stacks of money on both sides, the coating of houses and hotels running up and down most of the properties, the negotiated contracts and IOUs which, by now, essentially cancelled each other out.
"You know," he said at last, "maybe it wasn't such a good idea to play Monopoly."
Lilith nodded, sighing. "Perhaps some tennis?"
Yves and Kronos stared at each other across a small table.
Between them, on a table, lay a sealed card deck.
Quietly, each looked at the other, Yves smiling the same inscrutable smile the Lord wore, Kronos the same frown Lucifer often sported when displeased.
Neither reached for the deck of cards.
Finally, Kronos spoke:
Yves shrugged and extended his hand. "Accepted. Good game, by the way."
Kronos declined to accept the hand, staring into the old man's sparkling eyes. "Just because I accept my fate does not mean I must do so graciously."
"Ah, but Kronos," Yves's smile grew even wider. "This wasn't fate... it was destiny."
Kronos's scowl deepened, as he gripped Yves's hand and shook it resentfully. "Another day, old man."
"Anytime, young one," Yves shrugged.
KNIGHT TAKES PAWN. CHECK. CHECKMATE IN THREE.
Lucifer looked at the board one final time. His rook was one move, ONE MOVE, away from checkmating the Lord... but he would not be allowed to make that move. Instead, he had to move -here,- and then he would have to move -there,- and then he would be unable to move anywhere.
Sighing, he knocked his king over in resignation. "You win. Again," he mumbled bitterly. "You always win."
WELL, WE DON'T KNOW THAT YET. For once, the Lord looked serious and thoughtful, his hands clasped, index fingers steepled in thought.
"You've one every game we've played so far," Lucifer griped, waving his hand angrily at the chessboard.
BUT THE MAIN GAME IS NOT YET COMPLETE, the Lord said, and his eyes contained, for a brief moment, a hint of sadness. Shaking his head, he stood and stretched, looking up at the sun; it shone almost directly overhead, the day drawing on to the noon hour. HOW ABOUT ANOTHER GAME AFTER LUNCH? I HAVEN'T HAD GOOD CHINESE SINCE 1836 IN SHANGHAI.
"You didn't have good Chinese -then-, either," Lucifer smiled. "I know this place downtown, however..."
FAIR ENOUGH, the Lord smiled. BUT I'M BUYING.
Lucifer scowled, "What does one have to do to get out of debt to you?"
WHAT DOES ONE HAVE TO DO TO GET OUT OF DEBT TO ONESELF?
Lucifer sighed, shaking his head. "Sometimes I just don't understand you."
ONE DAY YOU WILL, the Lord smiled. LET'S GO EAT.
And God, the Lord of Hosts, the Creator, and Lucifer, the Ruler of Demons, the Adversary, walked off, side by side.
--- a little bit of silliness and fun from the Redneck
Kris Overstreet, will write for food... | "Nah, they can't start the http://www.txdirect.net/users/redneck | Apocalypse yet- the new Star c/o White Lightning Productions | Wars movies ain't come out http://www.jurai.net/~redneck/wlp/ | yet. Who'd miss that?" Webmaster for Antarctic Press | --- Eli, on the War http://www.antarctic-press.com/ | ***QUESTION EVERYTHING***
NOTE: After repeated 'why didn't you include x Celestial' notes, I've gathered up a few concepts from my cutting room floor related to each.
As mentioned before, I only have the core book and one supplement, so only the Superiors listed in the core book were used. Christopher, Fleurity, and Furfur, among others, were therefore 'not invited.'
Now, on to the film bits for each unused Archangel and Demon Prince.
REDNECK: And... ACTION!
(Blandine playing solitaire on the lawn.)
REDNECK: Uh, Blandine, aren't you supposed to be playing with Beleth?
(Blandine looks with sad eyes at the camera, and says nothing.)
REDNECK: Ah... what about some other Prince?
(Blandine stares at the camera with an 'oh spare me' look.)
REDNECK: ...oh, cut, already, g'wan home, Blandine, we won't be needing you.
BLANDINE: Thank you. (vanishes)
REDNECK: (how d'ya turn this stupid thing-)
REDNECK: And... ACTION!
(David and Andreaphalus- the latter in a female Vessel and dressed in a bikini top and cutoffs- stand apart from each other under a tree.)
ANDREA: Truth or dare, hon- have you ever been turned on by any of your followers?
DAVID: I will not answer. I do not wish to play this game.
ANDREA: That's all right... we could play another game closer to my heart... (starts untying the strings on her bikini)
DAVID (smiling): Just try it. Just lay a finger on me. PLEASE. Give me an excuse.
REDNECK: Hold it! Back up! Stop!
ANDREA: Oh, you wouldn't break the peace over a little roll in the hay, would you?
DAVID (smiling with lots of teeth): vigazo beano laga/ vigaso beano cous cous/ that means:/ I don't get mad;/ I get even.
ANDREA: And what is -that- supposed to mean?
DAVID: Lay one finger on me and find out.
REDNECK: CUT! CUT! CUT!!!
REDNECK: And... ACTION!
GABRIEL: DIE, TRAITOR!
BELIAL: BURN BURN BURN!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
REDNECK: Hey, Janus, you ready yet?
JANUS (off camera): Not yet! Having trouble with my mask!
REDNECK: Whatever... we'll get back to you...
REDNECK: And... ACTION!
JORDI: I will NOT catch a Frisbee in my teeth! I absolutely refuse!
NYBBAS: Aw, c'mon, doggie, it'll be fun!
JORDI: 'Doggie?' C'mere, Impudite, lemme lift my leg...
REDNECK: CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT!!!
REDNECK: ...okay, the bit with David was a bust... let's try you and Eli, okay?
ELI: Like no way, homes, not with Bill Clinton's pole.
ANDREA: I've already -had- Bill Clinton's pole, he's nothing. Besides, afraid you might not come up to my standards?
ELI: I am -not- workin' with her, forget it. (walks off)
REDNECK: Um... well, Andrea, I'll try to think of something, take fifteen, okay?
ANDREA: Whatever. (walks out)
REDNECK (walks around and looks into camera) Have you ever had one of these days?
REDNECK: ... Beleth? Hello, Beleth? Director to Beleth, it's time for your scene... helooooooo, Beleth....
BELETH (off-camera): (*loud banshee shriek*)
REDNECK: YAAAAAAAAAGGGH!!! (camera pans back and joggles, coming to rest looking straight up into the sky)
BELETH (off-camera): Unpleasant dreams....
REDNECK: Valefor, Janus says he'll be a bit late, how are you doin'?
VALEFOR (off camera): Hey, you know, this makeup thing is just such a drag, hey? Can you give me a bit longer?
REDNECK: Sure... take your time... nooo rush....
REDNECK: and... ACTION!
(Haagenti chomps and slobbers his way through a stack of cherry pies, as Malphas, Novalis, and Laurence watch in varying levels of raw disgust.)
HAAGENTI: BUUUUUUUUUURP!! GREAT PIE! WHAT'S NEXT?
MALPHAS: Barf bags, perhaps?
LAWRENCE: I've lost my appetite. Permanently.
NOVALIS: Can we please, PLEASE get someone besides Haagenti for our scene? It can't be any worse than this...
KOBAL: Did I hear irony calling?
HAAGENTI: HI, BRO. YOU TAKE OVER HERE, THERE'S A STEAK HOUSE BUFFET THREE BLOCKS FROM HERE. I'M GONNA EAT ALL I CAN EAT.
REDNECK: *sigh* ....cut...
REDNECK: Janus? Are you in there?
MARC: Sorry, Janus said he had something urgent come up. Said to give Valefor his regrets.
VALEFOR: Somebody mention my name?
REDNECK: Um. Looks like the scene with you and Janus is off.
VALEFOR: No problem, man, I'll just, like, see you around, okay?
REDNECK: Later. (to Marc) There he goes, man of mystery.
MARC: There goes your wallet, too.
REDNECK: My what? (camera jiggles, then falls to the ground, as Redneck runs after Valefor) COME BACK HERE, DAMMIT! MY LUNCH MONEY'S IN THERE.
REDNECK: and... ACTION!
(Saminga stands leaning over God and Lucifer's chess board, smiling stupidly.)
LUCIFER: ... do you MIND?
SAMINGA: You shoulda moved here. Heh heh.
LUCIFER: You can't -move- a knight there. It only moves in an L-shape.
REDNECK: Saminga... you're supposed to be doing a cute bit with Lilith and Marc about 'rolling the bones.'
REDNECK: You know, a clever misunderstanding, play on slang for dice? You did read the script, right?
REDNECK: (Lord give me strength...)
the LORD: DON'T WORRY, YOU'RE DOING FINE....
REDNECK: Cut, cut, CUT, cut, cut, cut, cut....
SAMINGA: You should move here.
LUCIFER: That's not even my piece!!
REDNECK: ...okay, thanks to everyone, I think we got something workable out of this mess today... the wrap party -was- going to be at the Golden Corral, but Haagenti beat us all to it, so we're going to Little Caesar's on the Drag, all right?
JANUS (running up): Sorry I missed everything. Had a thing to take care of.
REDNECK: Whatever. We were just about to go get pizza. You interested?
JANUS: Sure. Oh, by the way, I found this on the sidewalk a few blocks over yonder. (hands wallet to Redneck)
REDNECK: My wallet! I wonder why- hey, wait a minute... (thumbs through contents) There's $100 more in here than there was before...
ELI: Like we'll meet you at the pizza place, OK?
LILITH: Can I treat anybody?
DOMINIC: You'd like that, wouldn't you?
KOBAL: I wonder if they'll be showing cartoons in the meeting room again.
JANUS: Well, I gotta split. Later!
REDNECK: Hold it! I wanna know where this money came from!
YVES: Some things are just destined to be, young man.
JANUS: No time to explain, bye!
REDNECK: COME BACK HERE!! (chases Janus off in one direction as the other Celestials walk off in groups in the other. The camera is left alone, staring out into space, until Haagenti appears out of nowhere and eats it. Fade to black.)
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