Carlbenic

If Carl was being honest with himself, he didn't know what to expect, but appearing in the afterlife wasn't what he had in mind.

He also had expected the afterlife to be more of a glorious place to behold, not a one-room office. An admittedly lavish office, however… the walls were made of a mix of bright orange and purple silk, the floor was near-pristine white shag carpet, and the desk was made of the shiniest rosewood Carl had ever seen; even shinier than the Library's bookshelves, he noticed.

It was fairly large for a room with only one desk. Carl wondered if this was God's office, and if he was intruding. His ascension was rather untimely, so Yahweh was probably out at the moment. If it was Yahweh's office, he was surprised the Creator Of All Things had such an… eccentric taste in interior design. Moving up to get a good look at the nameplate perched on the edge of the desk, Carl became confused.

"JALAKÅRA OF THE IMPENETRABLE, HOST AND BENEFACTOR TO MANKIND," the nameplate read. Carl briefly scoured his mind for any memory of a JALAKÅRA in his Applied Theology class, but he came up with a blank. This better not be the god of bureaucracy or something, Carl thought to himself as he circled around to the other side of the desk.

The expensive-looking desk was covered in dark-lavender papers that looked pretty damn bureaucratic, if Carl was being honest with himself. Carl also offhandedly noticed the chair was more of a regal-looking sofa, but he decided to turn his attention to the documents. Reading the four or five papers on top of the pile, Carl learned that this JALAKÅRA was a Deity-For-Hire that presided over a "Postmortem-Vector-44 'Corbenic'" owned by the 🌙🌙🌙 Initiative. Now, the 🌙🌙🌙 Initiative Carl had heard of, but he couldn't quite place from where. He was sure it wasn't from his Applied Theology class, which he was coming to realize might have been a colossal waste of his time. It could have been from one of the Library's books, but Carl felt he had seen something of their's before, not read about it…

Moving some of the top sheets of paper out of the way, Carl found his answer. He had been stargazing in Croatia back in the 90's for his Astronomy class. His teacher hadn't believed him when he'd told him, but Carl was absolutely certain he had seen it: a crab-shaped UFO with three, large crescent-moons on its side. And here its schematics were, right in front of him. On the back of the sheet was an overly-complicated explanation for what it did, and all Carl could glean from it was that it was designed to kill fascists. Carl, after thinking on it a moment, decided to pocket the blueprints; you never knew if the opportunity to loot a god's office would present itself again. Also, a Chronal Paradox Maintenance Anchor sounded like a cool thing to have; maybe he could get a patent…

While ruminating about if gods could sue other gods, Carl noticed a tiny blue light, blinking faintly; it was coming from a small intercom system sitting to the right of the nameplate. It hadn't been blinking when he'd arrived, which meant someone was calling right now. Was JALAKÅRA notified when he had messages? If he was receiving messages in his office from his supposed staff, meaning it was currently work hours, then where was JALAKÅRA? Was he taking a bathroom break? Did gods even need those? Professor Kaethryn could shove it, that class hadn't prepared him for shit! Carl, beginning to realize just how perilous his current situation was, started to panic. How was he supposed to get out of here!?

Oh right, infinita potentia.

Carl got out his notecard and gestured to the sidewall with it, creating a temporary doorway to the next room over; he was thankful the ritual had at least done as originally advertised and created the Focus of Ultimate Power, but he was still peeved it shunted him into the gods' territory. Carl slowly opened the door and was relieved to find it was a normal, human-sized restroom. Well, he was relieved, until a toilet flushed and the stall right in front of him opened. Carl got even less relieved when he saw it was a woman, meaning he was in the lady's.

"PUNCH!" Carl shouted before thinking. His Focus of Ultimate Power interpreted that to mean 'Manifest a giant floating boxing glove and fucking knock her out'.

Carl stood stock-still for a few seconds in shock before whisper-shouting, "Jesus Christmas, what the fuck am I doing!?" He raised his Focus and healed any injury the woman received from the glove, then transfigured his clothes into a copy of the woman's uniform. He didn't want to erase her memories - he'd always been firmly against mental intrusion - so he opted to just leave the restroom and find an exit as soon as possible, trusting his created doorway to close on its own in a minute or two.

The hallways were at least thrice the height and twice the width of a normal office building's, and the walls were almost entirely covered in framed pictures of a gigantic, bearded spider. Getting a look at the closest frame, Carl found that that was JALAKÅRA. Carl didn't know what a giant spider had to do with killing fascists, but that was neither here or there; he was just glad he hadn't been found robbing him.

As far was he could see, there weren't any signs with directions on the walls. Did these Three Moons people just know their way around by heart? Carl decided on heading down the hallway that lead into a T-intersection; maybe there were some signs that way. Well, the right hallway had several doors that most likely led to independent offices (no exit that way), but the left hallway had a 'YOU ARE HERE' map, thankfully. Carl took a look at it and had to very quickly stop looking at it due to it being a non-Euclidean headache and just poorly designed in general. They seriously used Comic Sans…

After managing to stomach the horrendous graphic design and supernatural geometry of the map, Carl could tell he'd just need to take the elevator right down the hall from him to the 1.5th floor and then take four lefts to get to the lobby. He was almost out free… probably; he still had no idea where these offices were, but it would hopefully be a step forward. He still had no idea why the ritual had sent him up(?) here in the first place, or why it wasn't documented that it did that anywhere, and he would like to figure out the reason for his current predicament.

He started down the hall towards the elevator, and was about halfway there when he heard something: a rumble. It was getting louder, and it was coming from where he just was. Carl turned around, and was met with the image of JALAKÅRA stampeding towards him from about a half-mile of hallway away. Holy fuckshit I'm dead

infinita potentia

Before he knew what was happening, the notecard still clutched in Carl's hand glowed a bright blue, and the image of a stampeding spider-god was replaced with an upside-down lobby. Carl had apportated to the 1.5th floor. Several of the employees had noticed, and Carl decided to just get the hell out as fast as inhumanly possible. The card shone again, and Carl's relative gravity changed to the 1st floor. Carl shook the card again, and super-sped out of the front doors-

-right into the security incinerator. Also, since Carl hadn't bothered to look out the windows before running through the door, he hadn't noticed that the offices were hundreds of kilometers above a barren desert. So now, Carl was on fire and falling to what would most likely be his death. Even worse, the Focus had went up in flames - Carl had lost his Focus.

Carl's eyes were drawn away from the rapidly approaching field of sand and back to the freshly-vacated office as a loud roar shook his core; JALAKÅRA was looking down from a broken window, and a line of web was shooting down towards him. The line grabbed him by the calf and yanked him back up, almost giving him whiplash in the process. Insult to injury, he supposed.

When he arrived back in front of the complex, he was seized by the throat by four of JALAKÅRA's mandibles, and a more official-looking employee floated over to him.

"Who do you work for?" the official asked. "Did Grandos send you? Was it the Hanged King? The Starfish?"

Carl struggled for breath in JALAKÅRA's grip and then managed to say, "Think of me as an independent researcher." The official fumed in front of him as he entered into a coughing fit. "I didn't mean to show up here, honestly; it was a mistake!"

"Well…" JALAKÅRA said in a booming yet hollow and raspy voice. "This… is one problem… easily fixed."

The official nodded promptly and turned to order the lobby employees to get out the "soul extractor". That was all Carl needed to hear before he started desperately saying his prayers to the hypothetical Carlist god he'd worshipped for the last year. The employees started wheeling over a cart that carried a helmet attached to a large mess of wires and runes.

It was at this point that Carl truly achieved peak Carlinity.

He saw a vision from the time of the Elder Gods, sent by a faceless figure he knew in his heart to be named Carl. The being congratulated him on reawakening his consciousness from his hibernation, and rewarded him by temporarily granting him reality-bending abilities. Use them well, the being communicated.

What the fuck.

Carl came too and saw he was in a college dorm room.

What the fuck!?

A college dorm room at Deer. As a graduate of ICSUT, this highly disgusted Carl.

"Are you Carl?" a voice asked behind him.

Carl whirled around to see a group of three Deeries, all looking at him with wide eyes. He glared at them and said, "Yes… How'd I get here?"

"Uhm… we summoned you?" the second student said. "We wanted to know how to get Ultimate Power."

That gave Carl pause. How much time had passed since his ascension?

"What year is it?" he asked them.

The third student responded, "2019." Carl noticed that that one was holding a cellphone, pointed at him. He was being recorded.

But Jesus, 2019? He'd been gone for nearly less than an hour, and seven years had gone by? Or did this ritual pull him into the future? Had the Carl god's bestowment been too temporally unstable? Had Carl just not known how to handle it?

"How did you three even summon me?" Carl asked, deciding on the most pressing question. "As far as I know, I'm not a demon or demiurge."

"You can thank Multraes for that," the second one said, gesturing to the first. "He's kind of a prodigy in that field."

The first student, Multraes, ignored the compliment and asked Carl, "Where have you been for the last six years?"

"Seven years," Carl corrected. He pulled out one of the papers he'd taken from JALAKÅRA's desk to double check, and continued, "According to this paper I stole, I believe I was sent to one "Postmortem-Vector-44 'Corbenic'"

"Stole? From who?" Multraes asked.

"JALAKÅRA, a gigantic spider-god," Carl answered.

"Oh, Jesus, we're gonna get SWATed by the god-police," the second student said. "I knew this was a bad idea!"

"Shut up, Barry," the third said. "He has Ultimate Power; we're not getting god-SWATed."

"Speaking of," Multraes said. "is there any chance you could use your Ultimate Power to help us with something? It'll only take a minute, I promise."

"The notecard got destroyed in an altercation with JALAKÅRA," Carl said. "Any of you even know what he's the god of, 'cause I've never heard of him?"

"Oh, God fucking damnit!" the third shouted, throwing his phone down onto the couch. "Of course he doesn't even have it!"

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