Chosen

Alistair,

Last week, while bartending, I found out about an ancient conspiracy to steal super-advanced technology to equip an army to conquer the world. I’m apparently a key figure in some prophecies about this. Specifically, I’m supposed to be killing my way through the baddies and slaying the king. Should I be doing something? Like, pushups, or what?

Chosen in Rhode Island

Dear Chosen,

If I know anything about prophecies, it’s that they aren’t really dependent on your inputs. In the engine room of fate where all of time and space exists simultaneously, events that require outrageously-improbable eventualities need to be set in motion long before the actual acts take place. Hence the potential and occurrence of prophecies themselves. The feasibility of your role in the events that are to unfold has already been ensured. For all intents and purposes, you’re simply along for the ride. My advice is that you buy a GoPro; your grandkids are going to want to see this.

Alistair

Diabolical

Alistair

So, supervillain team-ups: yay or nay?

Diabolical in Manhattan

Dear Diabolical,

Short Answer: Absolutely, if you want the heroes to win. 

Long Answer: Realistically, partnerships require “good guy” character qualities to be sustainable in any way. In the absence of a virtuous purpose to transcend more petty motives, one or both of the partners involved will be planning to end the alliance treacherously from the outset. The only force more capable of destroying a super-villain than a super-hero is another super-villain. If the forces of good could trust them, they’d hire super-villains and fire super-heroes. However, they can’t trust them and neither can you.

Alistair

For a Friend

Earlier this week, Alistair was asked if it was possible to bring a pet cat back to life. The answer was yes: The cat can be readily reanimated because of the soullessness of cats. Another reader is asking for further details:

Alistair,

Does it work for gingers? Asking for a friend.

Simon A.

Dear Simon,

No. While this aspect of gingers has been questioned frequently over the years, the reality is that they do, in fact, have souls. . . Uncanny, complicated, orangeish souls that use different operating systems than those of regular humans, but souls nonetheless. When it comes to the question of bringing a ginger back to life, you can forget it. The process becomes outrageously laborious, dangerous and expensive as soon as a creature has anything soul-like. This is only made more difficult by the fact that you’re trying to replace a ginger soul, which is classified as a specialty OS.

Again, the answer is no. I can’t stress this enough.

Alistair

Grieving

Dear Alistair,

My pet cat recently died. What is the best way to bring Mowsers back from the dead?

Grieving in Key West

Dear Grieving,

 Ordinarily I would tell people to let their dead pets stay dead. Trying to resurrect a deceased animal is usually an unspeakable nightmare of red tape. As it happens, however, cats don’t have souls. Almost every other creature I know of – from cockroaches to manatees – have some sort of primitive Soul OS or another. Cats just don’t. Spiritually, they’re undead; a slow-moving, apathetic apocalypse of soullessness. This actually makes your task easier. Without the necessity of patching in a soul, there’s no need to consult the authorities on making this thing happen. You simply need to find some competently insane biophysicist and have him conduct some old-school reanimation on your cat’s corpse. Will your cat be the same Mowsers as you knew and loved before? Yes. Because when something undead dies and then gets back up again, their personality doesn’t change. They just have more rotted bits.

Alistair.

Waiting

Alistair,

I know you dislike me. Believe me, the feeling is mutual, but I’ve been getting desperate. Understand what it is for me to acknowledge this: you are better qualified to advise me than any other. The point is, I’ve not got good publicity (to say the least), living in an area that violates every principle of real estate, and don’t even know what I’m looking for. I’ve tried cutting a few deals, a few websites, I’ve even asked a few colleagues out. There is one really cute angel, but that’s a match made back home. If you could possibly recommend someone, or a place to meet them, we’ll try and go easy on you when your time comes.

Waiting for you in The Other Side

P.S. We won’t make it easy. Would still be obliged.

Other Side,

Don’t reject a match just because you’re different. Opposites attract; an honest man meets a liar, they fall in love, live happily ever after, then die in heartbreak when the man realizes that she never meant a single “I love you.” Angels only give off a little bit of cleansing light – it’d be barely agonizing for you. Perhaps she/he/it won’t immediately snuff you as the unholy abomination that you are. Perhaps she may grow to tolerate you, eventually making you into a spineless chew toy that your colleagues use as a watchword to warn the few new players off from developing softer feelings.

Alistair

P.S. Easy is for the weak. You can swallow a rock.

Now Right-Handed

Dear Alistair,

I have recently undertaken a great adventure in search for an item of unfathomable power in the name of my honoured queen. It so happens that the legend I was told as a mere babe is true, there is a Guardian. I was not prepared for an event as has arisen. Naturally, I quickly asked YahooAnswers.UK for advice. That was a waste of time and my left arm. So in turn, I looked up someone with advice above that of the average lunatic’s. Your reputation appears most valid; I believe this thing is some sort of mystic God (Twenty-nine heads, three feet, lizard tongue, etc…). What can you offer by way of strategy? Possibly before he – or she; haven’t had the opportunity to ask – takes myself as his supper.

Now Right-Handed in The London Underground

Dear Right-Handed,

This letter arrived on a weekend while I was in Cancun, so you’ve probably been messily devoured since writing. In case you haven’t, and for those of our readers attempting similar feats, here’s a brief list of first principles:

If the massive wealth of treasure you were told of as a callow youth is still where the legends dictate that it lies, there’s likely an excellent reason that it’s still there. Slaying mystic gods and guardians typically require whatever it is you’re trying to get in the first place (incidentally, mechanical gods typically demand nothing more than an unfortunate wrinkle in spacetime to do them in); obvious problems present themselves.

More generally, power is nothing special; powerful artifacts, ancient superweapons, and dirty bombs all give leverage (the problem, incidentally, is that exact principle applies to everyone else). If your queen can’t fetch it out herself, there’s no reason for you to go risking your neck so that an unappreciative overlord can end up killing themselves and destroying their local economy through lack of foresight. Have you considered that you may have been given this assignment – seeking for a legendary weapon hidden behind an immensely powerful creature while armed with nothing more than a webpage for fools seeking the advice of their peers – as an elaborate way to get relief from a likely insufferable personality?

Finally, don’t use Yahoo Answers, you imbecile.

Alistair

Puzzled

Hi Alistair:
I recently had the extreme good fortune of finding a magic lamp at my local flea-market. Ever since I was a kid I thought about what I would pick if I ever did find a Genie so I was ready with my three wishes as soon as I was asked. I put a lot of thought over the years into what my three wishes should be (just in case) and made my choices carefully. 1. A cherry red Ferrari. 2. A lifetime supply of Skittles. 3. The world’s biggest and best collection of Elvis figurines. My dilemma is this, my Genie informs me that due to inflation I get a fourth wish! I never prepared for this and don’t know what to choose. I am leaning towards either the ability to breathe fire or a time machine. What do you advise?

Puzzled in Perth

Dear Puzzled,

Interestingly, there is no requirement for a released Djinn to go about offering wishes in triplicate. The extra was likely because he believed that you would wish him free, being an obviously soft-headed and likely brainlessly altruistic character. Don’t do that. At least, not unless you know exactly what this particular Djinn did to earn such treatment. The last thing you want to do is end up releasing a supernatural serial killer on the planet – heaven knows we have enough of those. On a similar token, don’t wish for ultimate power, intelligence, or something else that could be easily misinterpreted for revenge; at best managing to succeed at something like that tends to make entities take a marked and unhealthy interest in you. I suggest wishing for a small ice cream sundae. You certainly weren’t planning on getting something else anyway.

Alistair