Pangloss Lives -- Synopsis

Donald Kenney (
Last Update: Tue Dec 27 09:02:52 2011

Pangloss Lives!!! is the story of the travels through the afterlife of Liz -- a college student and her companion Satan. Liz is in fact dead, but her records have been scrambled by a computer malfunction. After determining that the administrative section in the afterlife dealing with garbled records is hopelessly backlogged, Liz sets out to get a new set of papers.

On her way back to the transit station, she encounters Satan. Satan has experienced a coup d'etat and has left Hell in a hurry. He is looking for a place to hide out while he reorganizes his affairs. He offers to help Liz with her paperwork problems.

Satan and Liz attempt to travel to the transfer station where papers are created, but are sidetracked into a network of tunnels that connect everything in the aftelife. After getting hopelessly lost, they manage to find their way to Hell where they come upon Alice's Rabbit Hole. They, along with Rex the Wonderdog -- an intelligent and articulate mongrel take up residence in an abandoned command and control bunker accessible via the rabbit hole.

Rex and Liz entertain themselves while Satan tries to work out a plan for restoring himself to his proper station in Hell. There is a slight digression when Rex and Satan develop a concern that the Red Queen is working on secret project. Since the Red Queen is not noted for her balanced judgement, Satan and Rex fear that her weapons building might have unpleasant effects for those in the neighborhood -- which, unfortunately includes their bunker. Liz and Rex execute what is intended to be a surgical mission to install surveillence sensors in the Red Queen's bastion in Wonderland. However, the mission is aborted when a manifestation of the Universal Feminine Force interrupts their activites. At this point, it becomes apparent to Rex, Liz and Satan that the UFF has serious concerns about Liz and her hopelessly jumbled paperwork.

Satan, Liz and Rex retire to the bunker where Satan eventually determines that any realistic plan for restoring his authority in Hell is going to require his recovering a ring of power that is hidden in his old office ... in Hell. Satan asks Liz to accompany him as he feels that he can not safely transport the ring.

After consulting with the UFF who, surprisingly perhaps, have no objection to Liz couriering the ring, Satan and Liz plan a quick expedition to retrieve the ring. Satan and Liz disquise themselves as maintenance workers, slip into Hell and merge with the morning crowd of office workers converging on the Pentagram Building. They enter the building without incident. They are able to gain access to the executive office area where they discover that Satan's old office has been converted into a cafeteria. Satan clears the cafeteria via a ruse and he and Liz managed to recover the Ring of Power. Unfortunately, Satan's presence in Hell is revealed to the current management in the process. Satan and Liz escape the Pentagram Building, but find that the exits to Hell have been sealed and that door to door searches are being conducted throughout the domain.

They attempt to leave via the classical entryway, but Charon the Styx River ferryman informs them that the Styx Ferry is under surveilance. Satan then suggests that they leave via the "sets" -- a seemingly endless complex of simulation sets once used to lead the virtuous astray via their dreams. After a number of adventures, they eventually manage to rejoin Rex in the bunker.

Satan now sets out to more or less single handedly execute a hostile takeover of Hell. To exacerbate things, he must operate within several severe constraints. He can not use strong magic for fear that his hiding place might be revealed. He can not himself use his Ring Of Power, and neither can Rex or Liz except in extreme circumstances. He has no desire to subject himself or his friends to the fate of Sauron and Gollum. He has few resources and no allies. And finally, no one other than Satan and the folks who displaced him actually cares who runs Hell.

Despite the limitations, Satan slowly works up a plan to seize control of Hell. He is about to implement it when his college roomate the angel Moroni turns up bearing a message from Jehovah. Although Satan rejects Jehovah's proposal, he sits down with Moroni and goes over his plan. As they work through the details, he becomes increasingly skeptical about whether he actually wants to run Hell.

The finale wherein: .Satan realizes that, given any luck, hell is a state of mind, not a place. He can, if he wants, run Hell (or anything else) from anywhere he chooses. .Rex decides to return to his pack and see if he can persuade them to undertake a modest literacy program, work out some sort of truce with cats and squirrels and otherwise set them on the path to a better and brighter future. .Liz is revealed as yet another manifestation of the UFF -- one who has already fulfilled her mission by sidetracking the Red Queen from a course of action that would have had serious consequences in heaven, hell and earth. .Moroni decides that the Latter Day Saints can do just fine without his questionable assistance.

Liz, Satan and Moroni stop by the bowling alley in Elysium, drink a number of beers with Karl and the real Alan Quartermain and end up singing maudlin celtic songs until the wee hours of the morning. Marks and Quartermain are invited to join Liz, Satan and Moroni on their road trip, but both graciously decline. The evening ends when a mysterious masked stranger with a flowing beard dressed in white robes interrupts a rousing rendition of "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen" to suggest that Satan really ought to destroy the Ring of Power that Liz is carrying on a chain around her neck. After some discussion of ways and means, Satan allows himself to be hypnotized. The next morning, acting on post-hypnotic suggestion, Satan uses the ring to cure the party's hangovers, disable all the other rings of power, and casts the ring into a fiery pit.

Final clean up:

In the final paragraph, Satan, Liz, Satan and Moroni board a ship for the Plieades.

The story can be found at

Copyright 2006-2012 Donald Kenney ( Unless otherwise stated, permission is hereby granted to use any materials on these pages under the Creative Commons License V2.5.

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