The Demon Prince of Technology was not a happy camper.
Not that one could tell at first glance, of course. Even in his
darkest moods, Vapula had an almost infectiously cheerful and caring
countenance. But there were subtle signs that longtime servitors of
Technology could pick up, and those signs were in evidence now.
"Now, Alpheias, where did you leave the relic that I entrusted to
you?" Vapula sweetly asked one of his 'volunteer assistants'.
"T-the r-relic, Doctor?" the Impudite stammered, backed up against
one of the large sparking pieces of machinery in the Demon Prince's
classified labs. "I... I don't remember any relic..."
Vapula smiled. "Why, the relic I handed to you this morning,
before we started the day's preparations. Certainly you remember it,
being that it was such an important part of the experiment..." He
loomed in front of the terrified demon. "Now. Where is the relic?"
Alpheias gulped again. Sweat beaded against his brow, and he
wiped his forehead beneath his horns with the free sleeve of his
Technology-issue lab coat. "You... you handed me -something-,
Doctor... b-but I don't remember where I put it..."
Vapula gave a small smile, and placed a reassuring hand on the
demon's shoulder. "Now, Alpheias, that wasn't very hard, now was it?
You told me what happened, and admitted to your error. That was very
proper of you. Perfectly within procedures, yes?"
The Impudite relaxed, and several of the other 'assistants' in the
lab let out a wary sign of relief. He nodded, wordlessly.
"Of course," continued the Habbalite Prince, "since it is now
obvious that your mental capabilities are no longer up to the task of
assisting me in my Superior Essence Transferal Project, I am
regrettably going to have to transfer you to another section of the
Labs..." He nodded towards two Djinn that flanked either side of the
entrance doors. "The soul furnaces should be appropriate for your
placement, wouldn't you agree?"
"Oh yes, thank you, Doctor!" Alpheias replied, before the reality
of Vapula's words sunk in. "...no, wait, please, Noooo!" he cried as
he was bodily picked up by one meaty paw, and slung over the other
Djinn's shoulders. Other demons scurried out of the way of the
cybernetically- enhanced bruisers as they stomped their way out into
The Demon Prince tsked, and looked to the ceiling with a gesture
of supplication. How long would he have to suffer with these minor
setbacks? Why, oh Lord, had he been saddled with such weak fools?
This was not the first time the Superior Essence Transferal
Project had suffered a "minor setback". Ever since the Demon Prince
of Technology had set upon a way to increase the power of his Word by
the use of long-forgotten Relics, the actual implementation of the
plan had proved more difficult to carry out. Finding the relic alone
had taken five years of careful searching by some of his top
servitors, and each one of them had difficulty determining its trail
across the centuries on the Corporeal plane. At the same time, work
continued on the devices and machinery that would be needed to
transfer a portion of the relic's power to a living celestial being.
Many relics of moderate power (and many demons of moderate power) were
used in the testing process. The results were as to be expected for
Vaputech Labs, but they -were- promising.
Once the relic was found, it had been brought back to Tartarus
amidst much secrecy, which of course drew the attention of several
other Demon Princes who wanted to know what Vapula was up to. Through
a series of thefts, misdirected routings, feints, covert operations,
and double-blinds, the relic spent another year being shuttled between
Principalities, until finally the artifact reached the central
Vaputech Labs. But the troubles didn't stop there. Most annoyingly,
his assistants on the project since then had developed an unfortunate
tendency towards absentmindedness when it came to handling the
artifact and the equipment associated with it.
But, Vapula was undaunted. Certainly, his limitless brilliance
would overcome all the obstacles placed in his path. After all, -he-
was chosen. It was up to him to uncover the secrets of the universe
that Jean hoarded like a miser, to bring new possibilities and
potentials to light as his underlings pushed the bounds of science and
technology beyond mortal and angelic comprehension and concerns.
Now, if he could just find the relic again, all would be ready to
proceed. It had to be around the lab -somewhere-...
Murmuring to himself, the Demon Prince reached into his lab coat
and pulled out a small, pieced-together device. He turned it on, and
it sparked several times as it tried to activate the built-in
display. He hit it against a nearby piece of uncollapsed wall, which
stabilized the display and stopped the sparking.
Smiling at this display of his technological prowess, Vapula began
pacing through the lab, pointing his relic tracker at everything he
could find. Lesser demons moved out of his way as he scoured the
laboratory, overturning piles of flawed dilithium crystals and
alpha-test isolinear chips, rearranging stacks of chromium cogs and
silver sprockets, tossing klein bottle prototypes and defunct
oscillation overthrusters out of the way. The device pointed out the
location of the various artifacts in the lab... all but the one he was
"Hrm... this can't be..." Vapula commented to himself as he swung
the tracker from side to side. "Unless... of course!" The Habbalite
Prince smiled as he made some adjustments to the device, changing it so
that it filtered out everything -except- the non-presence of
artifacts. "There, that should do it..." He waved the device around
the room again, and this time it was silent...
... until he pointed it at a pile of AOL CD-ROMs. A building
squeal emanated from the device, and Vapula tossed it aside as he
approached the pile and started digging through it. A lab technician
caught the scanner by reflex, and was soon Darwined out of existence
by the resulting explosion. The Prince didn't notice as he tossed
"Ah HAH!" Vapula crowed, and he pulled out a small, white,
cylindrical object from underneath the pile. "I have found it!
Another triumph for Science!"
"SCIENCE!" the remaining servitors crowed.
Chortling happily (and madly), the Demon Prince strode across the
lab towards the waiting bank of machinery. It sparked and crackled,
with the occasional discharge from the capacitors that only lightly
singed nearby lab assistants. Really. He approached a special
compartment that was surrounded by scanners and other relics, and
placed the small object he held within the compartment. There the
relic now sat, a single finger bone, supported by a carved-out slice
of crush-resistant foam.
Vapula flipped a nearby switch; a klaster-glass cover sealed over
the compartment, and several nearby energy binders powered up,
throwing an actinic glare over the machinery. Clucking his tongue
thoughtfully, the Prince turned and moved over to another section of
the device, where a Djinn was being strapped onto a recessed platform
by several of Vapula's assistants.
"Now then, Inanis, your role in this is crucial," the Habbalite
explained as a Balseraph and a Shedite, both in lab coats cut to fit
their celestial forms, made sure the Djinn in question was securely
"Uh, what?" Inanis replied. He wasn't exactly the brightest of
Djinn in the Doctor's retinue, but that was one of the reasons he had
been chosen. After all, Vapula needed a captive audience to exposit
to, and the Djinn was as good a subject as any.
"Well, it is quite simple, my dear Inanis! The lost princess was
a Djinn, therefore I need a Djinn to serve as a suitably configured
conduit for the essence of her former Word."
The Djinn blinked. "Oh. That makes sense..."
"Of COURSE it makes sense!" Vapula gestured. "I was the one who
conceived of the Superior Essence Transferal Project! I was the one
who tracked down the Finger Bone of Oblivion! I was the one who
realized the theory of Artifact Capability Transferral! And I will be
the one to reap the benefits!" Amidst cheers from his servitors
(including Inanis), the Demon Prince strode towards a large,
sturdily-built metal chair that was attached to another bank of
"Now then, Inanis, are you ready to contribute to our long hours
of dedicated work?" the Prince of Technology said as he sat down on
the chair, and an Lilim assistant handed him a metal headband with
wires attached to it.
"Yeah..." the Djinn replied, as the Shedite attached electrodes
over its furry body.
"To make Scientific History? To go down in the Annals of
Science?" Vapula continued, placing the headband around his forehead.
"Yeah!" Inanis crowed, getting caught up in the moment.
"And to give your life for SCIENCE?"
"YEAH! ... um, wait a second..."
"Natrix! FLIP ... THE *SWITCH!*"
The Balseraph nodded, and reached over with its tail to pull on a
gigantic scissors-switch, ignoring the frantic protests of the Djinn
in the "hotseat". There was a loud spark and a *BANG* as the master
circuit was completed, and a building thrum as the power flowed to the
transferal devices. Jacob's Ladders and Van DeGraff generators
powered up, sparks playing along their surfaces as charges built up.
Vapula grinned. Even from here, he could feel the surges of power
around him, the inrush of Essence flooding through him as the
dissasemblers within the Finger Bone's compartment broke down its
physical substance, freeing what forces remained of the dead Princess
of Oblivion. Dials and graph displays swept into the green as
transferal subroutines engaged, routing the energies towards the
Djinn and the Demon Prince.
"It's working! IT'S WORKING!" Vapula boasted as he could feel the
power flowing and shifting around the laboratory, building and
swelling towards an orgasm of technological and spiritual brilliance.
That is, until several of the dial needles began to slip into the
One of the assistant-imps noticed it first. Reacting quickly, it
flipped several dials and levers in succession. "Doctor, we're
getting an imbalance in the essence flow!"
"Don't bother me with petty details!" the Habbalite replied, still
sitting in the large metal chair. "You know the emergency routines;
carry them out!" Technicians scrambled to obey, but even with their
best efforts the imbalances within the machinery began to domino out
of control. Electrical discharges built across the circuitry, sparks
flew as capacitors exploded, and Inanis's body, held in place by the
restraints crossing his body, attempted to buckle and scream, but no
sound issued forth from his lips.
In fact, there was a pronounced -lack- of sound, as if somebody had
pressed a cosmic 'mute' button on the scene, even with all the
overloads and yelling demons scrambling about. Vapula casually noted
to himself that he would have to investigate this phenomenon
after this experiment, before a twisting sensation within the heart of
his Forces let him know he had much more serious things to worry
The Demon Prince reached out with his Will, trying to restrain the
Forces that were being siphoned away from him. His efforts slowed the
flow somewhat, but did not halt it, and he watched as devices
continued to self-destruct, their colors reversed or oddly skewed from
the norm. The pace accelerated, machines shattering or crumpling in
on themselves, and the fields of debris flew towards the growing
darkness that was surrounding the restrained Djinn, vanishing within.
Within moments, the entire laboratory was filled with the antithesis
of an explosion, the rising tides of blackness pulling the eye and
soul to a single point in the center of the room and the mind was
filled with a sudden, all-encompassing
The first noise to return to the room was that of one of the Van
DeGraff generators falling over and crashing to the floor. The sound
rang out as the metal sphere hit the floor with a loud clang, and the
glass containment vessel that surrounded the static drive belt
shattered into a million fragments. Vapulans began to extricate
themselves from whatever damaged shelters they had found, and the
internal air systems back flushed, releasing smoke and dust.
Vapula opened his eyes, and looked out across the devastation.
The laboratory was in shambles; imps, gremlins, and demon assistants
were strewn everywhere -- pretty much SOP for the labs of Tatarus.
Nodding in satisfaction to himself, the Demon Prince removed the
now-charred metal headband from his forehead and tossed it aside.
Singed circuit boards cracked under the Habbalah's feet as he got out
of his chair and walked across the room.
"Hmmm..." Vapula scratched his chin, and pulled out a PDA and
scribbled on it, regarding the last known location of the 'volunteer'
Djinn. The demon and his table had vanished; in its place was a
formless area of blackness -- pure void -- that appeared to be just
sitting there. "Hmmmm," the Prince repeated, taking more notes on his
Vaputech PDA. "Very interesting..."
An imp cautiously creeped up to the area of blackness, and tried
to repress a shiver at the encroaching cold it felt. "What do you
suppose it is, Doctor?"
Vapula considered the dark mass, and how it seemed to draw light
into it. "Let's find out, shall we?"
So saying, he picked up the imp by the scruff of its neck, and
tossed it into the center of the darkness.
The black void rippled as the imp vanished.
Vapula made another note. "The negatively-photonic spatial
anomaly appears to react to the intrusion of Forces across its domain
boundaries. I hypothesize that more Forces will cause the anomaly to
react even more." He clucked his tongue. "We shall now test this
hypothesis by procuring another test subject..."
Several of the minor demonlings heard this, and against their
better judgment and self-preservation instincts, they attempted to
scamper out of the way of the dread Doctor's view (they were Damned
anyway, they just were in denial). This proved to be in vain, as first
a gremlin, then several frotlings, and then another imp, were tossed
into the slowly shifting dark mass.
Vapula blinked, and then grinned. Had that been a sound? He
picked out one of the more stunned lab-assistants, and regarded him
with a pitying eye. "A pity he was not strong enough to withstand the
implosion..." Before the demon realized what the dread Doctor had
said, he too was plunged headfirst into the void.
//...... ? ......//
Vapula watched, still taking notes as the darkness rippled once
more. The anomaly seemed to draw in on itself, becoming thicker and
more coherent, lengthening vertically. Slowly, the shape became
approximately bipedal, but details were impossible to make out, given
it was still wreathed in the shadows it drew around itself like a
//.... am i ? ....//
"Hmm?" the dread Prince of Technology queried the whispering voice
emanating from the blackness, directing his attention towards the
column of rippling void that moved slowly, pulling away from the edge
of the room and the destroyed machinery. "Yes, yes, you are, you
exist, you -live-, thanks to my infinite brilliance, of course."
//... -how?- ...// the voice breathed, a note of cold urgency
entering into its tones. It directed what could be considered its
eyes towards Vapula, black against the darkness that made up its body.
"Why, it's quite -simple-, for one of my limitless intelligence,"
the Prince extemporized. "By using one of my servitors as a focus,
and a relic from one of our 'dearly departed' former Superiors, our
apparatus -triumphed- in its functioning and caused you to exist."
//... a ... Superior? ... i was... //
"Yes, yes, a Superior," Vapula confirmed, curtly. "The Fingerbone
of Oblivion was all that remained of Mariel the Demon Princess after
she was consumed by Haagenti, the uncharasmatic bore of a Calabite..."
//... hair and teeth and ravening hunger ...//
"Yes, yes, that's him in a nutshell!" the Habbalite Prince nodded.
//... he ate me. I remember ...// the dark voice continued, never
rising above a whisper but somehow conveying a rising awareness.
//... He -ate- me ... He ate -Me- ...//
Vapula quirked an eyebrow. "Am I to understand -you- believe
yourself to be Mariel?"
The voice hesitated, gathering its thoughts. //... Mariel ... is
familiar, yes ... And you are? ...//
"Why, I am Vapula, the Archangel of Technology," Vapula boasted,
ignoring the glances his servitors were giving him (which was
fortunate for the servitors). "All things that are the fruits of
human labors and craft are under my purview."
//... Why did you do this thing? ...//
"Why -not-?" the Demon Prince gestured, pointing at the upright
'figure'.. "-That- is exactly that sort of attitude that limits the
minds and power of those who dare not reach to grasp it!"
//.. Clarify ..// the voice replied, the emotional temperature
dropping around the room at its words. Several demonic lab assistants
backed further away, just in case something bad happened (the lowering
physical temperature around the figure was also a reason).
"It's quite simple, really... even the -least- of my servitors can
grasp this," Vapula snorted. "In Hell, Power is Everything,
especially when it comes to Words. However, the power of a Word waxes
and wanes with its prominence in the Symphony, courtesy of the actions
the humans take on their environment. Naturally, we have made some
strides in influencing the 'talking monkeys' towards the acceptance
and promotion of certain Words, but sadly our combined efforts have
not been as fruitful as we have desired in this iteration," he
continued, as if explaining his theories to a wayward child.
//.. I am aware ... of the nature of Words, Vapula. ..//
"Ah, -good-. Then you can surely see the path that I needed to
take, yes?" the Habbalite queried, pointing at the figure of darkness.
"If one cannot influence a Word via the humans and their interactions
with the Symphony, then one must take -other- means. Destroying those
whose Words oppose yours, or conflict too closely. Promoting those
whose Words are a subset of your own, supporting your own Word while
testing the weak below you of their worthiness to hold it. And
finally, -incorporating- the aspects of other Words into your own to
increase your own strength."
//.. Of course. ..// the voice replied, its words as cold as
"Regrettably, as of late, there have been recent encroachments by
the humans in what has been colloquially termed 'Outer Space'." Vapula
wore an expression of distaste towards inaccurate nomenclature on his
scarred features. "While this has enhanced the scope of my Word,
since of course the improvement and enhancement of Technology is a
base -requirement- for any sort of extra-terran expansion and
exploitation, it has increased the scope of Lightning's Word -- not
that he appreciates what the humans are capable, of course."
//. What sorts of... 'things'? .// the living, upright void
The Demon Prince snorted, and gestured as he walked around the
laboratory, images springing to life from hidden holographic
projectors. "Exploration. Expansion. -Colonization-! The humans
have somehow, despite their limited minds, managed to leave the
gravitational pull of the Earth in force! Orbital colonies. Lunar and
planetary -settlements-! Their potential is only just beginning to be
realized, but of -course- that old fogy Jean would -restrict- them
from becoming truly one with the machine, the technology that they
have created and which I promote!" Vapula whirled on the void and
stared into its depths. Somehow, his gaze was matched by something
within, but he did not pull away. After all, he was strong. "Only
-I- should have the power to test them of their worthiness to even
-try- to prosper in outer space, Mariel." The Habbalah's voice
dropped to a whisper. "All other concerns are secondary. Hell, and
I, -will- control the humans and their technology once more, through
whatever means I devise. Oblivion is the Void, 'outer space'
distilled into a pure concept. Through that, power and control is
//. Power. Control. Yes. Your concepts have merit, Vapula .//
"Well, of course. -I- came up with them," he boasted.
//I will reflect on this, Demon Prince of Technology,// the
rippling void that was Mariel replied in a voice that would have froze
helium. //You can be assured that I will not forget your words.//
"... I am an -Archangel-," Vapula muttered through gritted teeth,
but his complaint landed on deaf ears. With a sound that was the
inverse of sound, Mariel's form pulled in on itself, the central
column of darkness contracting to a sphere and then to a microscopic
point in the middle of the lab. And within a heartbeat, that was gone
"Hmph," Vapula snorted. "Not even time for a -proper- dismissal.
Oh well." His dour expression vanished in an instant, as he went over
in his mind what had just transpired. Grinning, he pulled out a log
recorder and spoke into it. "Personal Log Archive 778-477-631-Alpha :
A Superior-class celestial has just been recreated, thanks to the
power of SCIENCE! And not only has it been reborn, but it has come
back into the world aware of its surroundings and fully cognizant.
Clearly, my 'Superior Resurrection Project' has been a success!"
Cackling to himself, Vapula began to rapidly dictate plans and
candidates for other resurrection attempts, his servitors gathering
around him to take rapid notes. Certainly, for one of his infinite
genius, the rebirth of other princes would be a trivial matter, and
the gratitude that they would owe him in being a part of their
recreation would show that he, and Technology, had true power over
them and the cycle of life and death that had purportedly been put
into motion by an absentee God. The Habbalite Prince wandered out of
the demolished lab and into the depths of Tartarus, to put his new
experiments into motion.
One thing was certain after all of the events of the day...
The Demon Prince of Technology was a happy camper.
A Story of In Nomine 2070
Written by Philip J. Moyer
Completed on 4/26/2000, 16:06
The In Nomine art, characters, and concepts presented
here are I and my friends original creations, intended for use with the
In Nomine® system from Steve Jackson Games. This material is
not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.
Nomine" and "flaming feather" graphics are (C) 1997-2000 Steve Jackson Games, Incorporated.
In Nomine® is a registered
trademark of Steve Jackson Games, and the art here is copyrighted by Steve
Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used
here in accordance with the SJ Games online
Philip's World / Philip
Moyer / pmoyerFNORDFNORDjuraiFNORDnet