From: (Johnny Mayall)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: Arcana: Cutting the Deck
Followup-To: misc.test
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 1997 09:02:51 -0600
Organization: Eye-OOF!
Lines: 59
Message-ID: <>
Keywords: Prelude / Background
X-Newsreader: Yet Another NewsWatcher 2.4.0

First Contact for humanity wasn't exactly what we expected.  Oh, sure, the
Kriil[1] were incredibly advanced and relatively peaceful.  They were also,
however, extremely possessive of their technological advantage.  And
apparently, our scientific evolution was advancing along a path that the
Kriil feared might cause them competition in a few centuries.  Not wanting
to leave things to chance, yet unwilling by their nature to simply commit
planetary genocide, they compromised by setting up some sort of
interdiction field around the Earth.  Overnight, all advanced technology
ceased to function.  Nothing but the simplest machines were of any use. 
Anything more complex simply would not work, without any rational
explanation.  Electricity existed only during violent storms, in textbooks,
and in the finger of mischievous sibling with wool socks.  Most of what we
arrogantly considered to be 'laws' of physics and nature were turned on
their ears to become nothing more than occasionally amusing anecdotes.

Strangely enough, the technological paradigm was almost immediately
replaced by what humanity collectively called magic.  What remained of the
scientific community after the suicides and the gibbering descents into
madness theorized that the intense radiation emitted by the interdiction
field mutated humanity, allowing those attuned to it to manipulate the
natural forces of the Earth as well as the energies of the Kriil field. 
Religous leaders proclaimed that their gods had granted mankind the ability
to work miracles as a reward for giving up technology to rely upon faith. 
Occultists and their ilk merely smiled and dusted off aged tomes. 
Regardless of /why/ humanity could suddenly tap into forces perviously
considered susperstitious fiction, the fact remained that magic was real
and accessible to those with a will strong enough to make something of it. 
The Kriil, if they even noticed the change, seemed content with the fact
that we were completely planet-bound and left us alone.

The largest global problem resulting fromt he failure of technological
implements was that of food production and distribution.  Within a year,
much of the world was starving.  The Troubles started first as local riots,
but they quickly led ot regional conflicts, and eventually to global
warfare.  When the dust finally settled, over two-thirds of the world's
population lay dead to one of the Four Horsemen.  Feudalism replaced the
shattered national governments as whoever controlled the food controlled
the region he or she fed.  Humanity moved back to the European Medieval
period in regards to technology and government.  After the fighting, the
mentality of most wasn't much more advanced.  Those few who chose to
remember the world as it used ot be while choosing to adapt to the world as
it was were the seekers of knowledge.  These were the men and women who
fought against the backslide into ignorant and bigoted barbarism.  These
were the people who learned more than the cantrip necessary to light a
candle.  These were the willful few who would strives to become witches,
wizards, and warlocks.  These were the individuals who would stride across
the world with the steps of giants.

Ridley Waters was one such man, a man who would become more than he once
was.  A man whose candle would burn brightly the world round.  And this is
his story.

[1] ObHomage: Forbidden Planet


 But the lies we live will always be confessed in the stories that we tell.
                                          -Orson Scott Card