Missing Life

Alistair,

A while ago, I accepted an invitation to join a small group of men seeking to be elevated to the status of divine. As one of the requirements, I was to renounce mortal pleasure. I’m starting to rethink that, though, as there’s a few mortal pleasures that I really underestimated. What’s the best way to decide, especially given that I’ll have to spend the rest of my life on the run from the brotherhood?

Missing Life in Bangkok

 

Missing,

The key here is: what mortal pleasures are you missing? Is it love? Because believe me, that’s not worth falling out of the ascension bandwagon. If, on the other hand, what you miss is, say, canned whipped cream, let’s be perfectly honest: What’s the point in living forever if you’re banned the pleasure of a sugar coma?

Alistair

P.S. I recommend avoiding sugar comas while you’re on the run. Secretive brotherhoods are notorious for showing up at inopportune times.

Chocolate and Roses

Alistair,

I’m in love with a really great girl. She’s sweet, funny and undead. Not like vampire-undead…. she’s a zombie. My question is, how does one woo a zombie?

Chocolate and Roses in Bangkok

 

Chocolate and Roses,

Zombies are among the few humans who truly like you for your brains. In severe cases of zombic decay, this manifests in the zombie’s desire to break your head open like a little melon and snack on your actual brain matter. In cases of minimal zombic decay, you’re basically dealing with a dead human who might as well be alive for all the difference it makes… except that they still like brains. Fortunately, they like them more in a attracted-to-intelligence sort of way rather than the going-to-kill-and-eat-you sort of way.

So until you figure out what sort of zombie you’re in love with, try your best to always look and sound clever while keeping a baseball bat handy.

Alistair

Feeling Futile

Alistair,

I’ve been condemned to rolling a boulder to the top of a hill. Every time I get this boulder to the top of the hill, it rolls back down again. What’s the big idea?

Feeling Futile in Corinth

 

Feeling Futile,

Stop asking me this.

Alistair

Loyal

Alistair,

I am head of Security for a specific and ruthless royal family. The family’s prize winning and much-loved pedigreed Great Dane has been taken by a group of revolutionaries and is being held in demand for a large number of social reforms, including the immediate abolition of the token powers still held by the family. Given that my duty is to maintaining the integrity of the royal family first and foremost, I am prepared to make a deal with any given entity to recover Malamutt. I am not, however, willing to make an unnecessarily bad deal. When making a soul-scarring deal, what are the standard precautions to be taken?

Loyal in South Moldova

 

Loyal,

That’s the kind of dedicated, can-do attitude that you really don’t find around anymore. Of course, you don’t find it because everyone who copped it tended to die in the inevitable revolution, if they survived the self-sacrificing behavior immediately prior.

Other than that, your standard precautions apply: Make sure your face, brain, and unmentionables remain intact. And as often as possible, try and make the deal someone else’s problem. It will inevitably bite you later, but it’s good form.

Alistair

Summoning

Alistair,

I’ve got a bad habit of mowing more or less randomly, instead of in straight lines. Last Sunday, I accidentally opened some sort of portal, and a bunch of things came out. They kind of looked like people on horses, but bigger, and with sort of banner kind of things coming off of them, and they screamed so loud they shattered every piece of glass in the neighborhood. That includes, it turns out, glasses, spark plugs, light bulbs, and watch faces. The neighbors are all annoyed, especially since the things are staying in the area and hunting the pedestrians for sport. Any advice on how to make amends?

Summoning in Seattle

 

Summoning,

First of all, promise to never do it again. That should be a source of some relief. Also, buy snacks and useful gift cards for survivors of The Hunt. When they see you serving them like that, then they’ll really know you didn’t mean for this to happen. Especially if you fall Prey while going door-to-door with your gift baskets. I mean, rough conclusion but amends would be made.

Alistair

Sixth Ranger

Alistair,

I’m a sleeper agent assigned to break into a top secret NGO. Turns out it’s actually a bunch of ragtag friends trying to take on the world with nothing but pluck and courage. I’m genuinely befriending a few of them, and possibly even more with one. How do I balance this newfound work/life balance?

The Sixth Ranger in [EXPUNGED]

 

Sixth Ranger,

It’s famously difficult to serve two masters. A lot of people have commented on the struggle.

The pipe dream here would be that you somehow make your precious friends and their cause indispensable to your original employer so that they all find themselves working together toward a shared goal, with you remaining a member of that merry band as a liaison. Like I said, pipe dream right there.

There’s a 98% chance that you’ll have to choose either your government or your friends while betraying the other. There’s a 1.956% chance that your “friends” are already on to you and are hoping that you’ll choose them so that they can milk you for government secrets. Hence siccing their hottie on you to increase the odds of your turning.

So either hold out hope for that .044% chance pipe dream or… do your dang job.

Alistair

Picky People Eater

Alistair,

Is there a way to put in requests for what kind of undead you’d like to be?

Picky People Eater in Kailua

 

Dear Picky,

Yes, there absolutely are a number of forms to be filled out, though a lot of them involve stacking bones and lighting things on fire. Don’t count on anyone paying attention to them, however. Not only is there a very long waiting list for the preferred forms of undead (generally: sentient, at least marginally powerful, and typically benevolent), but the entities in charge of the assignment rarely take them into account. When they do, there’s a very high likelihood that they will instead shuttle you to the most similar form currently short-stocked, which may or may not have the specific traits that you were interested in. As in most things, your best bet is to try and put in a good word with someone in a clerical position and see if they’ll pull some strings. It’s practically guaranteed not to work, but the word ‘practically’ is included, so it’s at least worth a shot.

Alistair

Small God

Alistair,

I’ve found and conducted an ascension rite, elevating me to the status of a deity. It turns out, though, that taking proper precaution waters down the effect. Rather than being a physical avatar of some universal constant, it turns out that I’m all-powerful only as long as I’m affecting the third copy of forms printed in triplicate.

Now what?

Small God in Quebec

 

Small God,

Well, as far as human beings go, you do have a superpower, so that puts you in the 4% of humans who can do physically impossible crap… it makes you special. However, you aren’t human anymore. You’re a deity. As deities go, you suck. Not only are your powers fairly limited, but with the rapidly digitizing trend of our increasingly paperless world, your powers are only going to decrease in scope of usefulness.

Here’s the pro tip. Don’t tell anyone you’re a god. Just be a human who has a cool talent. The people who care what happens on the third copy of forms printed in triplicate will find you quite impressive.

Alistair

Glad I’m Not a Dad

Alistair,

Since I was young I have only ever dreamed on a very rare basis. I do not feel shortchanged, however, because my dreams – though simple and infrequent – have all come true. When I was ten, I dreamed that our dog would be hit be a falling airplane part and the next day, Peaches was crushed by landing gear. When I was twelve, I dreamed that I would win a spelling bee that I was entering, and two weeks later, I did exactly that. When I was fifteen, I dreamed that my brother would become unemployable, and that very weekend he got a neck tattoo. Two years ago, I made a fortune by buying low-key stocks that spiked shortly thereafter, making that decision based on a dream. Last night though… last night I dreamed that my wife is actually a killer android sent from the future to bear my child and then kill me like a psychotic, blond praying mantis. Do I assume that this is just an ordinary dream (such as normal people have, where outlandish events transpire that have no bearing on reality) or. . . What do I do, Alistair?

Glad I’m Not a Dad in Pontycymer

 

Glad I’m Not a Dad,

The phrasing of your question implies that you believe this last dream to be somehow on a different scale of plausibility from the others. It’s not as though backstabbing females are a groundbreaking concept. It’s also not as though pseudo-females are brand-new territory.

You seem to have abandoned the main detail inside your question: Why the dickens would anyone want your child? Is there a family prophecy? Latent genetic abilities? Just a general lack of average humans in the future? In short, what you need to do is find a reasonable substitute. There’s no shortage of Prophesied Ones, powerful individuals, or – by definition – average schmucks. Someone, somewhere, would be thrilled to sire a child with a robot who then killed them. It takes all sorts to make the world go ’round. Apparently.

Alistair

Standing Alone

 Alistair,

There’s a dragon and he’s invisible to all but me. I saw him crash-land in a field near my house where he sustained some minor injuries. Since then, he’s been licking his wounds while circling our village in a predatory manner. I’m certain that he’s planning an attack. It turns out that the local constabulary doesn’t take my story seriously and everyone I speak to on this troubling subject shares their skepticism. How does one raise an army to battle an invisible dragon?

Standing Alone in Kirkwhelpington

Standing Alone,

Your approach to this seems to be vaguely speciesest; logic begins and ends with ‘Oh, a dragon. That’s to be slayed.’ This approach to an injured creature is unhealthy and borderline xenophobic. Social norms are likely the only reason you can be bothered not to make comments regarding the belonging and lack thereof of those who are shorter, lighter, or more Asian than you are.

However, as it is a circling dragon, it’s probably gathering its strength to begin devouring the weak. Lone knights are a long tradition, and there’s a glut of precedence for charging directly at the dragon, sword in one hand and reigns in the other.

Just keep in mind that there’s also a precedent for armor littering the ground where the true hero walks. Definitely keep that in mind.

Alistair