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					1. The past year

I have tried to flatten my life, stretch it this way, fold it that way – and still it snaps back in my
face. The more I try to define – the more I seek to contrast – the more I seek to contain: the more
I dissolve – the more I come undone – the more I break down.

Time. Such a peculiar thing – just memories, really, you know. All those seconds and minutes –
meaningless if not for the memories of the events and words attached to the passage of time
associated with the marching of the clock. I get confused often. I feel myself at different points
in time constantly. Sometimes it’s like I’m eight and looking out on the world and still trying to
make sense of the rain. At other points, I feel like I’m about to die and it doesn’t really matter
anymore. Most days, I’m desperately just trying to gain some kind of mental level ground.

Here and now, I breathe in deep and take in the sum of the past year. It’s been a very long year
since I first moved to Los Angeles. It has been hell, and L.A. has kicked the shit out of me. I
suppose getting HIV, losing your fiancé, having three car accidents, being demoted at work, and
having a nervous breakdown – I suppose those things would probably kick the crap out of most
people.

These are my writings about me writing a book – the thought process that transpire below or
above or between the neat crisp sentences that you read – thoughts of coming to terms with a
difficult past, losing a very significant love, finding myself, all while going somewhat crazier
then growing saner at the end. This is also story of my life. It’s a fucked up amazing science
fiction kind of life. I tried to portray as accurately the pure chaos that goes on in my head – the
shifting typefaces differentiate between my various mental phases and the book that I am
writing. This is my voice. The voice that speaks mostly to the world and keeps in contact with
what’s outside of my body. The other typefaces are everything else. To avoid confusion I
limited the variation. To be honest, the variation is so much that I don’t even bother keeping
track. Since degree of authenticity would overwhelm, I settled for a limited degree of variation,
just to preserve the feeling.

The outward plaster - the careful façade – I can’t keep it up anymore. The medications don’t
make the dreams go away. I still see the voices, the images, the other worlds, the other places –
the others drifting at the edges of my vision and shifting at the corners of my thoughts. And I
can’t keep running away from the nightmares – not that they particularly trouble me. Years and
years ago monsters, gore, ghouls, and all that simply stopped bothering me at a fundamental
level. Aesthetically, I don’t particularly like to look at or be near ripped flesh or gushing blood –
though I’m not particularly horrified by it. Hell, in graduate school I had to cut the chests of rats
open while their hearts were still beating and crack their skulls open like nuts and pry out the
brains.

I’m not easily frightened or upset. In the hallways of my mind I find myself wandering past
serial killers and zombies, vampires and were wolves, ghouls and goblins, and I keep wondering
to myself – maybe they really are just misunderstood. My mind encompasses and houses
everything dark and light and most of the time I feel like I’m just a small spectator in the
spectacle of my consciousness, watching the pantheon of dramatis personas play their parts time
and time again.

I can’t keep wishing that I could be ordinary and average because I’m not.

I like to think that I’m alternately functional – as opposed to functioning like most people, I
function radically different. I may not be able to function like other people, but I do function in
my own unique way. I did go to Amherst College and then Brown University for graduate
school. I lived and worked in Japan for three years and I speak fairly fluent Japanese. I’ve
traveled around the world a bit and I’ve had lots of interesting adventures, I’ve met many
interesting people, and I’ve had all sorts of fascinating and unusual experiences. I’ve
accomplished many dreams and I’ve learned many different art forms. I also fell deeply in love
with someone in way that I could only call true love – this was an experience that I had actually
come to doubt would ever happen to me – and then when it did it sort of snuck up on me and bit
me in the ass.

I’d say true love because my relationship with Ross was very different compared to my
relationship with Mark, my ex-partner of nearly 4 years. With Mark and I, it was all about the
passion. It was there intensely and then over time it went away. With Ross and I it was entirely
different. I fell in love with Ross because of something far greater than passion – he wasn’t a
very passionate lover to begin with - he didn’t like having sex very often, and he was never very
affectionate. I’m sure that Ross would object to all of these characterizations, but they’re all
very true – of course maybe a little unfair because I’m comparing him to a full-blooded Italian
and what chance does a cold-blooded Southerner stand against that? Ross was also a little
chubby and kind of a homebody. Yet it was all of these seemingly unappealing aspects that I
came to love. Yes, I am the cold, cruel voice of reason, rationale, conjecture, and speculation.

You think they’re all different but they’re not. The greatest reasoning is often conjecture and
speculation conducted in a rational manner – that is – scientific research. It is almost certain a
universal fact that most scientific research takes the resultant findings and then extends those
findings to address other questions through rational conjecture and speculation. That’s what a
hypothesis is. It’s funny isn’t it. You wouldn’t really think that the great scientific side of the
brain would also be the same side of the brain responsible for wild thinking but it is – at least for
me it is. I know it is because I can take any seemingly sane or insane idea and make it one or the
other through rational discourse – although usually I find myself more often then not going from
the seemingly sane ideas to the more insane ideas via relatively rationale and reasonable thought
processes that seem to be nothing more than endless speculation and conjecture. Then I work
back to where I started.

Ross. I fell in love with the little attributes. The little looks that he would give me, the little
mannerisms, the little steps – it was the little things that I fell in love with day in and day out –
the little things that I realized I could live with and wanted to live with – it’s those little things
that fill up the days and make the individual moments matter. Ross could make my individual
moments matter in the most significant and meaningful ways – in ways that no one had ever
done. And over time, I found myself thinking that he was the most attractive person I had ever
seen. Then one day I found myself wanting to look at no one else, and I realized that I was
wildly and madly aroused by him, and I found myself thinking, “But he’s kind of chubby,” and
then I thought, “Yeah! And I like that!” From that point forward, I knew it was true love
because with time and love, everything about Ross became attractive and beautiful –
I couldn't see the bad anymore, I could only see the good.

Then the shit hit the fan at work, I had bad flashbacks to my childhood, and then I had a nervous
breakdown. We ended up hurting each other and fighting intensely, and finally Ross ended the
relationship. My memories of meeting Ross and falling in love with him are incredibly
bittersweet because part of me wishes that we had never met for living apart from him was
incredibly painful. On the other hand, I do believe it is true, as the saying goes, it is better to
have loved than to have never loved at all.


This is all a true story. The bold is the book about my childhood and surfing and the italics is the
fantasy. Everything else is in the middle.
2. Ride the Swells

I was the child that would climb the jungle gym bars at school and get up high, then fall
backwards and end up bruised and bleeding. I have a great deal of curiosity and I’m very
inquisitive. I like to explore and I want to know more. If someone came up to me and said,
“I have tickets for all expense trip around the world, but you have to come now.” I’d
probably say, “Okay.” I’d probably drop everything and go because that’s the kind of
person I am – I like reason and order, but the truth is that I’m really a creature of pure
chaotic energy and given the right circumstances, I’ll probably do almost anything.

I’m more interested in the life of adventure and thrill and fun. It was funny to see this
tendency express itself in me as a grew up – well not really funny because most often the
expression of my adventurous spirit resulted in major bodily injuries on my part – so most
likely the expression should be, “it was painfully comic to see…” Once I was exploring
around the surroundings of my grandparents home and I wandered into part of the city
work yard. I stepped on a piece of rebar and slashed my left ankle open to the point that it
required many stitches. I gushed blood everywhere and my grandparents, particularly my
grandmother, would remember that story for decades – still to this day exclaiming about
how negligent the city yard was.

I tore off my toenails several times in elementary school. I think those were direct results
of skateboarding accidents, which probably explains why I have slight phobias regarding
skateboards. Another time I crashed into a mailbox, I think because the bike that I was
riding, a BMW trick bike, didn’t have hand brakes, and as I was riding down the hill, I
couldn’t engage the foot brakes in time to stop. That was always the problem with foot
brakes. If you didn’t have the pedal positioned in the right direction, you’d be fumbling to
move the pedal into braking position and then by the time you’re ready to brake – you’ve
hit whatever it was that you were trying to avoid.

My childhood was kind of like Jackass. I watch the show now and I’m like, “I don’t get
this show…” but then I realize that my childhood was just like that – a series of constant
mishaps – falling over this, falling off that, jumping off this, running off that, running into
this, running over that. I watch the show and wonder, “Did these people not have a chance
to do these things when they were growing up? “ My childhood was essentially one long
stream of misadventures and disasters. I got so injured and hurt when I was growing up
that I was probably a regular walking scar. There was one time that I was on a swing set
and I thought I’d see how high I could go and some how I ended up sailing off the swing set
and landing on a rock when I crashed back down to Earth. It’s funny because the doctor’s
solution to cleaning my back was to scrap the debris out with a wire brush. It was pretty
traumatic and I screamed bloody murder.
One of my favorite memories from elementary school is when we’d go behind the school
and climb into the guava trees. This particular elementary school, Henry O’pukuhia was
situated in the middle of complete wilderness, so we’d just go into the woods and play. This
specific variety of guava grows very tall, thin, and close together, so we were able push
down a bundle, climb up that bundle and then run around the canopy area. It was pretty
tight, kind of like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I used to dream about that all for the
longest time even in high school and college – it was one of those activities from my
childhood that I wished that I could keep doing and never stop. We were probably
anywhere from five to eight feet or more in the air and when we ran through the branches
it felt like we were flying. We were all pretty light so I think we were able to move easily
through the tree branches – in my child’s mind it felt like magic and I still see it like that
and I smile every time I remember those hours of play.


As an adult, I’ve really toned down and I’m not even 95% as wild as I was when I was a
kid. I think that it’s funny that Ross would tell me that I’m intense and I’d think, “Wow
you should have seen me when I was a pyromaniac or when I was in my climbing in trees
phase.” So why am I not a cast member of Jackass? Probably because my father
thoroughly beat the Jackass tendencies out of me, and for better or worse, I quickly
decided that I’d rather avoid the beatings and not have fun, then have fun and be beaten.

Of course, now I wonder if I should have just taken the beatings and endured the pain. I
mean I think that was my big dilemma all that time – act out of line and a severe beating is
sure to follow – the question is – is it worth the pain? I think in my mind I always felt, yes
at the time of the event, but then when you’re being beaten, it’s really hard to remember
the fun that you were having – especially if it was momentary fun and it’s not going to
happen again. I think that was my parent’s big obsession – they were bound and
determined to beat into me the lesson that momentary fun and happiness was not worth it
in the long run if that fun and happiness leads to long term misery or intense pain and
suffering.

However, as I’ve grown up in life and as I live more and more, I realize that intense pain
and suffering of that magnitude isn’t something that we have to experience unless we really
want to undergo that experience. For the most part in our society, you really have to go out
of your way to seek out severe physical violence – it’s not just going to jump up and bite
you because you were having a little too much fun the other night. I think it was very
negligent of my parents to inflict that kind abuse upon me because widespread socially and
governmentally approved physical punishment is virtually non-existent in the United States
and much of the advanced, developed countries. We, as a species, are coming to recognize
that corporeal punishment simply doesn’t solve anything. So it’s useless to impart to a
child a lesson cruel as “be careful about abandoning yourself to the moment because you
might regret it later,” when for the most part the only real lesson we need to remember is
the Golden Rule. Fear is ultimately a very poor useless teacher but empathy is highly
effective. Of course empathy requires experience, and so I think that it’s vitally important
that we all have a Jackass phase in our life.
If you didn’t spend much of your childhood falling off the rooftops, crashing bikes, banging
your head against walls and such – well you have a lot to make up for. I suggest that you
find some episodes of Jackass, view them, and then implement the various activities in your
daily life. When people question you, say that you’re working on a therapy project given to
you by your therapist, and that it’s HIPPA protected and they’re invading your medical
privacy and you feel threatened. Stuff like that usually shuts people up quickly – then you
can go back to falling off rooftops – an activity that sure to garner lots of attention – so you
want to make sure that you have a good excuse ready.

I’m sure my parents think that by senseless beating me when every I acted up or out of
line, they prevented me from joining some God forsaken gang, or a loser band, or wasting
my life away on drugs and alcohol or New Age, Hippie, humanistic thinking – like they did.
Of course, foolish human beings that they are, I’m now legally a card carrying medical
marijuana user, I’m very agnostic towards all world religions and often feel equal
animosity towards the cultural concepts of God and the antithesis – Satan or the Devil –
what have you, I am both a misanthrope and humanist, and although I may have grown up
in a fundamentalist Christian Church, as God is my Witness I am marrying a man if I so
please!

Growing up in Hawaii was like growing up in the pioneer frontier. I’d read stories about
people like Laura Ingles Wilder– and I’d think – that’s just like my life, that’s the world
that I’m growing up in right now! The island that I was born on, the Big Island, was very
rural and undeveloped – and still is today. Many roads were unpaved, there was no mail
delivery, few stores, few modern conveniences, city water and sewage was limited to a few
areas – and most people had their own rain water catchments systems for fresh water and
used cesspools instead of tapping into the city sewage line. Many people lived without
electricity or even phones. Televisions and video games were luxuries. Computers were
rare and usually only a few were at each school. Of course much has changed, but back
then – at the end of the 70’s – the Big Island really was a last frontier kind of place. There
was a definite feel that our lives – the lives of everyone on the island – were moving at
different flow of time and space than those of everyone in the rest of the world – even
compared to the rest of the other islands. The Big Island, particularly Hilo side is just a
slower, and separate place – it’s like it functions within its own time zone and the outside
world doesn’t even exist.
3. Wipeout
Surfing should start with a wipeout. It’s inevitable, so you should just eat it big time to
really feel what it’s like to get thrown off your board, get tossed head over heels, tumbled
about and pummeled down to the ocean floor. The only part of the wipe out that really
bothered me was the reef – I was afraid of hitting the reef because I knew that the sharp
rock and corral could really tear up my skin. I also had a slight phobia that the sharp
point of my board would stab me in the head – but that never happened.

Wipeouts are always going to happen, some are more spectacular than others, some are
truly dangerous – like the ones that happen over a reef – and others aren’t so bad. I think
what makes a wipeout so much fun is that you don’t want it to happen. Of course, if there
were never any wipeouts, I wonder if surfing would be as much fun as it is, because I think
that the deterrent of wiping out adds a little edge to surfing that wouldn’t be there if there
was no risk of wiping out. In other words, I do believe that we need a definite element of
risk and danger in our lives – or our lives aren’t ever going to be truly enjoyable or
fulfilling. We need to know that there is a potential for wipeout, we need to be able to put
things at risk because otherwise, we won’t know that we’re living. We won’t know whether
we’re at the edge or just in the I’m-getting-fat-comfort-zone.

For the most part, I think I was fine during wipeouts because one of my favorite activities
as a kid was to stand in the surf and just be tumbled and thrashed by the waves. I liked to
just roll around in the breakwater and pretend I was in a dryer – yeah, I was a very weird
child. I liked getting thrown around, spun around, tossed up in the air, flung around,
whirled around, thrown in the the air – I liked extreme motion.

I need and want to know that I can fail, furthermore, I want to fail at least once because I
want to know what the failure is like – I want to experience the wipeout and see what it’s
like to fall of my bike and hit the pavement. I want to feel the asphalt when I slip off my
skateboard. I am never content with safety – I am always pushing towards failure because
I know the more I risk, the more I stand to gain. I think this is why I would injure myself
so much as a child, and why I still end up in so much trouble as an adult – I want to explore
the worst case scenario – I want to find out what the trouble is really all about and I want
to experience the wipeout – hit rock bottom and then work back up to the top.

To make matters worse, I fell in love with someone that I thought was the love of my life
and while I initially thought he wasn’t the person that I wanted to spend my life with –
after a few months – I found myself falling head over heels for him. Then is quickly as it
began the entire thing was abruptly over. Meeting Ross, was the one good thing that I felt
redeemed my trip to California and made the entire time worthwhile – to lose him and to
lose the entire relationship made me completely question my life and myself and I no longer
wanted to continue living.
And I don't want him anymore. Sorry. You had your chance.

There, I’ve said it - the nadir that so many intelligent and creative individuals fear. Isn’t
that the great fear, that one day you’ll run into an endless rut that you simply can’t get out
of and you’ll be faced with the desire to kill yourself? What do you do when you find
yourself wiping out? It’s quite an interesting experience to reach such a low point that you
find yourself thoroughly and methodically contemplating your own death because living is
no longer a viable option. I find myself seeing beyond the patterns of the waves – the ups
and downs – and what I see is that there are just waves – nothing more and nothing less. In
other words, to me, I’ve come to the realization that my life is always going to have the
potential for disaster.

Life is a sport for me, and as the wipeouts in life go, maybe it’s good to have the worst ones
out of the way as early as possible. Right now my break-up with Ross and all the ancillary
difficulties feels like the worst wipeout in my life and I can’t imagine anything worse
because this hurt so deep emotional and mentally and it even affected me spiritually and
I’d venture to say even into my soul. I say that I can’t imagine that anything else would be
worse because the emotional, mental, and physical pain was so great that I decided to just
kill myself.

To be honest, I was a very bad Warlock in Azeroth because I would throw myself off of things
just to see what would happen, I mean sometimes I had good reason because I was trying to help
a team mate, but sometimes, I really just wanted to see what would happen. I know, I guess it's
kind of stupid, but in Azeroth you can resurrect with that stupid ghost thing that moves so
fucking slow, and then you get that damn fucking ghost and it asks you for fucking gold, and I'm
like, why the fuck am I paying you gold to resurrect you stupid ghost!

That really annoyed me.

But you know, I still kept killing myself. Like, everyone said, don't swim too deep in the ocean,
because you'll die if you go to far, and I was like, whatever, I'm going. So I'd go, and I die. I can't
remember how many times I did that.

And yeah, I would totally challenge instances ahead of my level because I had fucking kick ass
pets. My favorite was the infernal but it was annoying because it had time out and I had to got
get crap to cast it, and it was nuts.

I think the hardest quest was getting my dreadmount stead/thing, because I could do it on my
own and I needed friends and I guess that's why I have such a hard time letting go of Ross
because he was sort of the one that got me to play WOW but then he was asshole.

I tried playing for awhile on my own but it just wasn't that much fun, and now I'm stuck on this
stupid Donnie Darko bullshit.

If I was to encounter a worse set of circumstances, I would think that I would probably
simply be dead at the end/center/whatever of the encounter – that’s my feeling – that or it’s
simply not possible for there to be anything worse than what I’m going through now.
Personally, I like to choose the latter and think that I’m going through the worst of things
now. It’s quite humorous because after deciding to kill myself, I couldn’t actually figure
out how to kill myself. Here’s how that entire comic tragedy went down.

First, let me say that I’m not talking about simple suicidal ideation. I’m a very goal
oriented, serious person who likes to accomplish the goals and tasks that are set before me.
So of course, once I’ve decided that killing myself is the most viable option given that
continuing with living is not, I then set about figuring out how to accomplish that. The
funny thing is that I actually couldn’t figure out how kill myself in a practical, appealing,
and feasible manner. Here’s why

   1) Slitting my wrists. I don’t like razors. Sharp objects bother me. I don’t like knives,
      I don’t like needles – in other words, cutting myself is out of the picture. Plus, from
      what I understand about cutting your wrists, it takes some time to bleed to death
      and during the time you gradually grow cold and lose consciousness. Of course, this
      sounds very unpleasant to me and I know this is not how I want to die. So of course
      I checked that one of the list.
   2) Hanging myself. The thing that most people don’t realize with hangings is that the
      point of hanging is to generate enough downward force to snap the neck.
      Otherwise, you’re going to die from strangulation, and that might take some time
      and be very unpleasant. The idea is that one falls with enough force to snap the
      neck and die near instantly – if not – then death may or may not occur through slow
      strangulation. I say may or may not because the anchor point of the rope or
      whatever might break, and then your weight is going to bring you down to earth, so
      you’ll probably just end up with a sore neck and a bruised body. So to hang myself
      I would have to solve several dilemmas – find something to support my weight such
      that it wouldn’t break when I free fall, and this thing would have to hold my weight
      long enough for my neck to snap. Keep in mind that I really don’t want to strangle
      myself because that’s different from killing myself. Killing and torturing myself are
      two different things. I might want to kill myself, but I really don’t want to torture
      myself – at least not for free…I mean, I’m not a masochist, so that’s just not
      something I’m into even if it’s my death.
   3) I could poison myself. With my background in science, it would be easy for me to
      figure out an appropriate poison, the problem would be getting access to that
      poison. If I was still in graduate school it would be a simple matter to just take the
      solutions that we were using to kill the rats and use it on myself. However, I’m
      obviously not in graduate school anymore and that’s not an option anymore, so a
      convenient neurotoxin wasn’t really an option. Of course there’s always the
      sleeping pill option, and it seems that they are not a surefire death sentence. On one
      hand an overdose, particularly combined with alcohol, would likely cause either
      respiratory or cardiac arrest, but then again, if I didn’t get the dose right, or I
      vomited, or I was taken to the hospital while unconscious – then I might survive.
      Worse – what if I survived and suffered brain damage because of oxygen
      depravation? Then not only would I be alive with a sucky life, but I’d be alive as a
      mentally impaired human vegetable. So I scratched the poisoning idea of the list.
        Particularly because I had no interest in stupid methods of poisoning myself like
        drinking Draino or something equally asinine.
   4)    Then there was drowning myself. That’s how Virginia Woolf killed herself. So I
        thought maybe I could take sleeping pills, and drink lots of alcohol _ and_ then
        drown myself. Of course then I realized that my dilemma was, how would I get to
        the beach if I had taken a lot of sleeping pills and was intoxicated? Would I even
        make it to the water? Would I even be able to drive, maybe I’d just crash the car.
        So that idea didn’t seem to work very well.
   5)    Crash my car. The fiery car crash seems good, but what do I crash into? It doesn’t
        seem fair to crash into another car or cause a major wreck to happen on the
        freeway, so what do I crash into to ensure death? I mean I don’t want to have some
        kind of sissy crash that triggers the airbags and then I get rescued by the emergency
        team – that would defeat the purpose. I would need somewhere to build up speed
        and then something to impact. Like many other suicide methods, one of the big
        drawbacks to a car crash is that if you don’t succeed you’re likely to end up a
        cripple or human vegetable. I don’t really want to be Christopher Reeves or Terry
        Shivo. Their lives didn’t seem very appealing to me.
   6)    Shoot myself. Well the problem here is that I don’t have a gun. I don’t feel like
        buying a gun, and once again, if you don’t hit the right part of the brain, you’re
        likely to end up with severe brain damage but remain alive. My life sucks enough at
        times that I really don’t want to add human vegetable to the list. Scratch that idea.
   7)    Carbon Monoxide. The great thing about carbon monoxide is it’s pretty certain,
        and it’s very gradual and you don’t really notice it. One of the dilemmas that I had
        was, how would I seal a room and generate enough CO2 to kill myself? I didn’t
        want to burn charcoal for a variety reasons, so I thought maybe I could just sit in
        my car and seal the exhaust inside the car. However, what I discovered is that
        apparently most new cars have catalytic converters that remove about 99% of the
        CO2, rendering the exhaust fairly harmless – so that meant my car, which was a
        new Honda 2008 Civic (as I no longer have it), was never going to be the death trap
        I was hoping it would be.



As I was sitting on the couch in my now ex-fiance’s home staring at the living room wall,
wondering where I was going to go, where I was going to live – thinking how much I’ve
hated living in California and how much I’ve lost in my time in L.A., and how the only
good thing has been Ross (who I know hate), and now I’ve lost that one good thing (which I
don't care about anymore - whatever) – I realized that I’ll be able to ride through the
entire mess and come out better on the other side. So I called my dad up and had one of
those cinematic moments – the kind that you think only happens in a Hollywood script, but
it was real – I really did feel an overwhelming amount of forgiveness and gratitude towards
my father because I knew that I was going to ride through my hardship and suffering and
misery and get to a better place because I had the mental understanding, outlook and
attitude of approaching life like surfing. It’s funny because I think Ross was being
vindictive because I walked out on him at dinner during a heated discussion, but in the end
I got the better end of the stick, because our break up was catalyst for healing and growth
that I never would have imagined happening – not ever while my father was alive.

I hated it – I hated learning to surf and I hated my dad – but there and then in my darkest
hour, the bit of wisdom that brought me up and over the hump was the knowledge that all I
need to do was just keep myself together, get up the next day and ride the day, and the next
day, and the day after that – surfing from one day to the next. The reason I can get
through life is because of the things that he taught me and so I want to write about that
experience and to me this is the big wave – writing about how I cope with ups and downs
thanks to my dad’s teachings.

So here at the point where everything is still a mess, I’m still in L.A. (actually I'm in
Orange County) and my life is still in shambles, my emotions are still raw from my
breakup with Ross, my heart still aches because I feel like I met my true love (not likely)
and I just lost him (whatever), and my career is currently in shambles (whatever), I had to
sleep on my sister’s living room floor, and now I’m sharing a one bedroom apartment (not
actually true) – although it’s only $350.00 for the Central Los Angeles (whatever), which is
great and I can bike to work, so I’m not complaining. I don’t know what the future will
bring, but I feel a kind of freedom and gratitude and hope and goodness that I never felt
before and it all comes from connecting with my father and my past in a positive way that
was never possible until Ross and I.

Tomorrow everything could begin to work out wonderfully and I could have a very
successful life for many years, and then suddenly a series of events could turn and my life
could once again flush right down the drain. What won’t happen is that I won’t necessarily
fall apart inside myself. I’m reminded of the mom in Incredibles, shouting at the kids after
they all crash in the ocean, “I’ll tell you what we’re not gonna do. We’re not gonna
panic…”

I’ve realized that just because I crash and burn, doesn’t mean that I can’t continue to move
forward as best as possible. All my life up until just this point, I’ve bitterly hated my
father and I’ve never wanted to admit how much he’s inspired me. I’d probably rather die
than admit that he’s a hero to me. I mean, I’m a fairly educated elitist, why would I
admire the habits and wisdom of a surfer?

My life has been all about riding increasingly bigger and bigger waves. I refuse to allow
myself to be dissuaded or discouraged from something because I’m afraid. I don’t think of
myself as a very courageous person, but in retrospect, I suppose that I am because I'm
constantly doing the very things that scare me. It’s funny because I think back now and I
wonder why I was so terrified, I don’t think I every heard of anyone dying from hitting the
reef, so what was I so worried about? Probably in my child’s mind I was simply
envisioning worst case scenarios and with time I’ve come to realize that often those worse
case scenarios either don’t happen or they’re simply not worth worrying about. If they
happen, they happen. You pick yourself up and move onwards.
It’s futile and foolish for me to expend energy and effort structuring and arranging my life
in such a way so that I might avoid hardship and failure. I would love to never fail,
however, I’ve learned that whenever I’m trying new things – I’m bound to fail. Failure is a
natural part of the learning process – and since I’m so incredibly inquisitive and bound
and determined to toss myself right into the thick of things, I’m probably going to fail a
great deal (like in Azeroth! - and where is my Infernal!).

I rush out each day into the thick of things and I do crash and burn a lot and I certainly do
seem to wipeout quite a lot. My life is full of enough catastrophes to evidence that I am not
holding back – I am falling right over those cliffs, smack dab into traffic. Maybe I’m the
extreme opposite of being cautious.
4. House of Cards

Lamictal. Your skin might fall off. The light shade is crinkling from Ikea and this only makes
sense to me but that doesn't really matter, does it? Sweaters hanging from the door rack.
Actually, they're not all sweaters. I think two of the items are sweaters, and then one is a yukata,
the other is a bathrobe. Significance. I am sure there is a significance to this all. I just have to
figure it out. Topamax. That's for the migraines but it can act like Lamictal.



Take two Abilify and call me in the morning. I just couldn't sleep, so that's what I did. Actually,
I think it was just one because two would have left me woozy for the entire day. An intervention
of sorts into myself to stop myself from becoming someone else at the stroke of midnight?
Whatever. You must sleep, you must sleep, I keep telling myself. You haven't slept well
recently.

That could be work. That could be the pills. What is it this time? What was it last time? This is
my curse and this is my blessing. I am insane in comparison to most other people. I think this
clause is important because everything is very contextual. I might not be insane if I was
compared with a serial killer because I'm not particularly inclined towards the predilection of
killing for the sake of killing. On the other hand, I'm quite insane compared to average person
because while I don't particularly hear voices, I do see things, and sometimes, I just fuck it all up,
but I always preserve a memory routine often tied to a song.



For several years I've labored under the diagnosis as high functioning bi-polar with potential for
psychotic episodes. I'm now beginning to think that the diagnosis was erroneous given that a
variety of "bi-polar" treatment regimes have been a dismal failure and I've found negligible
relief. I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps I have something more serious. Perhaps
schizophrenia or a schizo-personality disorder. This is the blessing and the curse of being an
individual with a high functioning degree of awareness. I have insight into my state of being but
the insight doesn't necessarily change things. If anything, it's often as if I'm watching a
television that never shuts off. I can see myself doing things, sometimes well in advance, yet
always detached, always removed yet inexplicably attached.

So this is my case or argument you could say, for the trial of my mind. What exactly is wrong
with me? Why am I so confused about things? Why have I taken so many medications to no
avail? I am falling apart, but then again, I have been since the very beginning. I think I am - like
the universe - constantly expanding - each particle moving outward - filling the space the
darkness the void with whatever.
I hate myself. Not myself myself - but my other self. The other me. The other side. The other
half. Or halves. Or sides. Or whatever. I don't know. I just hate, hate, hate. Maybe. I get
confused about this because it seems for awhile I'm stuck on this Donnie Darko thing, and I'm
like, why am I thinking about him?
5. Pieces of Me
This is my stream of consciousness depicting my mental state divided between alternate
delusional realities, lucid or real states, and the over all personal account of the struggle of
navigating and working through the multiple disorder of schizoaffective, bi-polar, ADHD, and
other psychosis.

My complete stream of consciousness would be indecipherable to most people - in fact often it's
hard for me to understand myself, thus this is an approximation of sorts.

Most of the time what I get is a constant river of images, sights, sounds, images, pictures,
sensations, ideas, words, statements, considerations - and it's never neatly organized like this.

I've never felt comfortable talking about this stuff until I fell in love with someone. I suppose
that's the magic...and curse of love. It took a pretty powerful attraction to pull me out of my shell
and when it happened, well, I think that reverberation shook even heaven. My hope is that by
sharing this story, other high functioning individuals with these struggles will feel more
comfortable discussing their issues with those around them.

The point of all this is to share with other people what it's like to actually live across multiple
lives, existences, realities, worlds - what have you - imagined, fictitious, real or otherwise -
doesn't matter because it's what happens to me on a regular basis.
6. The Set Up
Time – I bounce back and forth in my head far too much. My body is here at one point but
my mind is most likely someone somewhere else. Seminal memories always draw me. Is it
because they define me or is because they inform me? Or is it because they have a riddle in
them left to solve? I believe in significance. I believe that everything has some degree of
significance, no matter how small – and to deny that significance is a fatal error, the
consequences of which may not be felt until much too late. But maybe that’s just me – the
guy that built little rocks houses for pill bugs, talks to ants, and still recycles bottles even
though I’m only getting nickels and dimes. They say the Devil is in the details and I would
certainly agree, what I wonder is- is the Devil all that we think he is? For that matter –
what about God? I wonder too much about everything.

My life is like an unending replay of that purple monster story. What a patronizing
moralistic tale, designed simply to caution the masses against excessive curiosity. The
protagonist hears a dying man whisper, “Purple monster,” and then goes mad trying to
learn what was meant by those words. Of course everyone puts out a heroic, albeit
conspiratorial, effort to discourage that exploration. I always identify with that character,
because that would be me looking for answers to the bitter end pursing the question even if
it ends in tragedy.

Answers. Lets admit it. We all want answers, but eventually most of us stop asking for
answers or stop looking for answers and just settle down and accept. Accept, accept – the
litany of life, because no matter how many times we keep asking the question and no
matter how brilliant the querent, we never really seem to get a satisfactory answer – so the
conditioning becomes surrender because what else do you do when the universe stops
answering? If we did have the answer, why are we still where we are? With all the
amazing technology we have today, we’re really not much better than any ancient and
sophisticated civilization – Greeks, Chinese, Japanese – what have you – our morals,
philosophies, and ideals are no better than those expressed thousands of years ago. As a
species our wonderful technologies elevate us to super chimpanzee status and this is a bitter
pill that most cannot swallow. We want to think of ourselves as such fantastic creatures
but we still exploit each other, hurt and murder our own, rape and steal – on and on – we
gloss over so much. Still, I never seem to take to conditioning, and I think I’m still
scrabbling at the edges of the cage looking for the lever that will light up and explain the
funny writing on the wall. I see it in the eyes of the people around me – the blank stares –
the apathy – the “I don’t really care any more” – and I just keep trying, because when I
want to know, I want to know.

Why ask why? That’s something that I ponder often. The why is such an abyss – we teeter
on it and tumble into an infinite spiral of dissipation – what if this, what if that, why was it
this way, why was it that way, why did it happen like that. Why why why? The whys are
infinite. And so seductive. Very alluring. Captivating.
Traffic – I keep remember the traffic. Sitting. Looking at the bumper ahead of me – the
license plate – trying not to be bored – looking for something – something to do. Traffic
drives me insane. I just start to go crazy. I try to occupy myself in the morning in the
 hour it can take me to get to work – I floss my teeth – I clean my face – I put acne medicine
on my skin. I make doctor appointments, balance my checkbook, make to-do lists, write in
my journal. I try not to think about the fact that this is an hour of my life gone and then on
the return it will be another hour and each day it’s another two hours. Hours upon hours
gone. I try to make them mean something. I listen to Japanese news broadcasts.



I still hold out that
there was some
significance in all of
this. I still hold that
line.
7. who am i

Lies. Lies. Lies. Never believe the lies. Cut. Cut the air. Remove the disease. Take the taint
from the center before it is to late. Don't forget about the laundry. There's that as
well. There is much to be done. We can still finish this. 2:00. At 2:00 the appointment will
begin. We have to stop this. We must we must. I'm not strong enough. I'm not I'm just not
strong enough. I don't really like this scene.




I'm afraid of myself. Scared. Terrified. Who are you? Terrified. I think terrified is the best
description. This is foolish who will believe you? I can always change the order of things. I
can always restructure. I can always rearrange and remake. That fan is really annoying. I really
don't like the sound. Do you know what it's like to be terrified of yourself. Why am I here? To
constantly struggle against yourself? I don't like that color. To fight day in and day out against
your own thoughts, impulses, and instincts.
8. I want to escape
Then there are the fantasy worlds that I escape into. When reality is overwhelming and difficult
to navigate, there is a certain seduction of retreating into dreams devoid the messy grime of
reality. However, recent of late even those realms have become chaotic and conflict ridden.
There are so many things happening in my mind between the roads of shared reality which I
don't like to traverse to the unlimited canvas of the imaginary realms. Yet, what do I do when it
all starts to break down?
9. Start
"I think history will show otherwise."

An ungracious comment, she thinks back to him. This is no time for an emotional outburst.

"I just think that they deserve the right to simply continue."

She gives no answer as she sips her cup of tea, but her eyebrows arch suspiciously at him.

Finally, she speaks softly, "You are a fool to care for them. They're ephemeral vestiges of a
cosmic light show. They have no substance."

"Never mind," he says, "I appreciate you delivering the news in this form. You may see yourself
out now."

Her eyes regard him momentarily with a shock of surprise.

"Please, I have things I'd like to do, give my regards to the Kavinder Combine," and he stands
and gestures lightly at the door, "I think you can find your own way out."

"Be careful," she measures her words carefully, "You are too entangled with these...," she waves
her hands dismissively, "...these phantoms."

"Goodbye," he says, and he turns his back to her. He gazes through the window, waiting until he
hears her footsteps through the door and sounds of the wood scrapping against wood - the door
shutting. He pulls his gaze away from the red leaves flowing in the outside air and then rings a
simple bronze bell sitting on his desk.

A few minutes pass. The door creaks back open and Zed peers into the room, "Yes?"

"Are you busy at the moment?"

"Well, I was supervising the festival preparations, but I'm sure they can spare me."

He nods, "Well, let's go for walk in the garden. I have something I need to tell you."
10. Notes from April 2008
I worry about all this worlds all these creations. I feel responsible to writing them down and
documenting everything. I feel like something awful will happen if I don't keep this record -
something irreplaceable will be lost. I feel responsible for recording and relaying all this
information. but it's more than I can do and do anything else. It's not like writing any of this stuff
ever brings me any profit. If anything, all the writing brings is obsession and fixation. I wish that
all this imagination translated into something but it just translates into wasting my time, sucking
up my energy, draining my mind, and organization still eludes me. I'm trying to get psychiatric
care, but my health insurance plan with Whole Foods Market, United Health Care doesn't allow
mental health coverage, so all I can do is take a front row seat to this break down and keep my
journal going. It's hard to keep continuity going. I start to draft a story around the surfing lessons
my father gave me. That will give me a center to this storm. I don’t know how all the fantasy
should weave into the reality. I leave that to the reader to decide. I’ll used italics to demarcate the
difference. I lose sense of time.
11. Endings should be in gardens
"And there's nothing that can be done?"

"Not by me," he kicks a pile of leaves with his foot and watches them rise and blow away in the
uneven currents of wind, "I can't oppose the entire Combine."

"So we just...cease to exist?"

"I suppose. I'm not really sure what the experience is like. I mean, there won't even be a
indication or warning, you'll just be doing something and then you're not...except you'll have no
conscious appreciation of that transition."

Zed digests the conversation with a thoughtful expression, "But you wouldn't be mentioning this
to me if you didn't have a plan."

He smiles ruefully, "Well, you do have me there."

"So?"

"Well, here's the deal. All entities have the right to elect their allegiance, even artificial
constructs, all that is required is that you express your choice."

"So we can just make a declaration of some sort?"

"Pretty much, it actually has to function at the individual level and then you effectively pass from
Combine control."

Zed peers at him intently, "That seems remarkably simplistic."

Laughter. "Well, yes it is and it isn't. The system you occupy registers your expression of
intention - doesn't really matter if you think or say or feel it - it's just basically up to you. You
either remain in system or elect for export. Trust me. The technology I've shown you is nothing
compared to what we actually possess. I mean, I grew up playing with stars and planets,
building galaxies the way your children play with building blocks. It's really nothing for us to
build fail safes for self-determination."

"So what happens?"

"I'm not sure, I've never really experienced it myself. I think the entire system goes off-line, so it
would kind of seem like you've suddenly closed your eyes...but that would be if you were awake
or aware or conscious. When we deactivate a system, it doesn't really die or go away and
technically we don't delete things, things just aren't active. I guess you could think about life
broken into two other dimensions you can't access yet. Active and inactive. Technically, only
the Combine can activate or deactivate large systems like this."
"So why are we allying ourselves with you?"

"Well, at the moment the system deactivates, I've enabled an auto export function built into the
system such that you'll simply reactivate in a subsystem that I'm running. Technically, I'm not
supposed to be running systems on my own. My individual experience levels are still kind of low
and so I'm supposed to be following the guidance of my elders..." he pauses and mutters to
himself slightly, "I think they're kind of stupid and have decided to do my own thing."

True to form, Zed asks, "Aren't you going to get in trouble?"

"Probably, in fact the quantum signatures on a number of key events would indicate that an
intersection in that direction is quite likely. However, I don't really care. The thing is that
ultimately, I really don't agree with the deactivation policies, in fact, I'm a little leery on the
entire creation process followed by rapid termination. Of course, then there are the extremist
that want us to stop all projects because - well, let me just say that the Combine doesn't care
about concerns from our creations because the Combine is about to tear itself to pieces."

"So our choice is basically get turned off and stay off or export into a non-Combine system?"

"Exactly!" he looks at Zed with a laughing quizzical expression, "You're assimilating
information very well."

"Is there any reason you know or suspect that we'd elect permanent deactivation over
reactivation?"

"Sure," he laughed again, "The Combine use a guarantee that would loosely translate as
Compact in your language. It's essentially a treaty of compromises between the three prime
forces. Of which the Combine is but one. There is that which you'd call...elder gods. They are
forces that exist outside the Combine. The primal powers do not coexist well with the
framework."

"Why is that?"

"Well, mostly because they tend to eat everything...even the very fabric of reality. It's really
quite problematic. They're quite nice. In fact I'm sort of dating one of them. We just have a lot
of differences in the area of orderly behavior. The elder gods like to rampage and consume stars
and eat small planets, and big ones too, but they say the small ones are particularly tasty. Our
culture usually likes to cultivate galaxies, so you can imagine that we don't get along much with
entities that are nibbling at the corners of the realities we construct."

Zed pauses, "You know, I'd say that of all the things I thought we'd be talking about today, I
didn't really think we'd be talking about the end of the world and celestial beings that eat
planets."

"Yeah, well," he says, "Life happens. Anyway, the third power is the connectionist system, and
it's directed by the Spider. Apparently, she really is a giant spider. It's weird. According to the
historical records I've accessed, the Spider is kind of like the elder gods, in the sense that she
seems to be one of the progenitor systems in creation. Basically, the Combine varies from the
Spider in that we maintain individual identities while the Spider essentially uses a true hive mind
- the occupants of her system use automatic processes that she simply directs through the
overarching pattern. If you think we're orderly, you should see her worlds."

He pauses and kicks a few of the leaves into flight.

"Again, we've found that a total hive mind doesn't interact so well with our discrete personality
systems. Thus the Compact. The basic terms stipulate that we're free to maintain our
boundaries and we refrain from entering external frameworks occupied by either. Actually, the
allegiance clause is a term of Compact. It's one of the more obscure and possible less utilized
clauses."

He sits down under the red flowering valla and Zed follows suit, "Essentially, to avoid conflict
based on subsystem shifts in affinities, the Compact stipulates that any entity that expresses a
definitive choice in alignment or allegiance, that entity is permitted to switch systems."

"What's the difference."

"Well, allegiance is a little more formal I suppose...I think alignment is more like affiliation or
association. Your words sometimes limit me."

"So what's the catch," Zed plucks a valla flower and holds it in his hand, "because, I feel like
there's a catch here somewhere."

"Well, there's the conditional clause that the switch can only occur upon involuntary death, that
was drafted to prevent the mass suicides of entire systems. However, recently several advocacy
groups have begun arguing that if the Combine or any other administrative presence is
stipulating the terms of existence, then possibly the question of involuntary or voluntary is
ultimately moot. This is why we've been drafting so many pilot systems. We're trying to see if an
entity can truly act in a voluntary sense when the environment is determined involuntarily." He
pauses, "So far it's not working so well. However, I'm very excited regarding all the exciting
flavors of ice cream they discovered in the Nubadon system."

"Ice cream?"

"Never mind, anyway, what I'm trying to say is that it's perfectly justifiable for all of you to
switch alignment away from the Combine and towards me...if you want. I mean, like I was trying
to say earlier to the Combine, you're just some artificial intelligence that exists within an
electronic wireframe that you perceive to be existence. Obviously you exist at some level, I'm
just saying that as you pluck that valla flower, so we simply activate and deactivate systems with
out a second thought. The Combine doesn't care what happens to you as long as your system is
deactivated. No one else is interested in preserving your energetic signatures, so there's no issue
with me offering you a subsystem for reactivation."
But," and he pauses for dramatic effect, "As I was attempting to also explain, I'm not really
guaranteeing anything. You know that my main concerns are free will, self-determination, and
creativity. I'm mostly interested in seeing what you can create if given the free will necessary for
self-determination."

"What happens."

"Well," he makes a face, "A lot of my subsystems have self-destructed, and some have imploded
and others have actually expanded...They all do different things. I haven't really seen a pattern
yet. Personally, I think this will actually be the new direction for our projects. I know the results
sound pretty bad, but self-directed self-creating systems are really where it's at, in my opinion,
 that is. The main reason I'm not worried about the Combine is that all of my subsystems are
aggregating into one system which will essentially subsume the framework...either that or maybe
destroy everything...I won't really know until the self-organizing aspects improve...or don't, I
suppose there's that possibility as well."

Zed sits quietly watching him ramble and then speaks carefully, "So what you're saying is that if
we reactivate with you, you're not actually supervising things so we might end up worse than
deactivated?"

"Maybe. I mean, technically speaking, the structural system holding your environment is
supposed to contain protective buffers to prevent infringement of self-determination. However,
 that mechanism isn't quite perfect...one of the issues is that algorithms of evaluation are
incredibly complex and right now we're having a difficult time balancing the infringement upon
self-determination that is actually determined by another self. It's a mess."

"Umm, so basically, you don't know when we're going to be deactivated?"

"Nope, could be now, could be tomorrow - might not be until next year. Time doesn't work for
me the way it works for you. I experience all things all the time, and I look through the portholes
in your lives to experience the sensations of being relative to your current existence."

"I still don't understand why you can't tell us when we're going to be deactivated. Don't you
have plan for this? I mean can't you identify the specific point in time and then count backwards
from there?"

"No, doesn't really work so well. Tried that in another system and the denizens actually got
really confused and all kinds of terrible things happened. Horrible disaster that one was."

Zed snaps, "You know, sometimes, I really don't get this. How can you just turn off an entire
system and not have any specific considerations like when or why or - "

"Zed, I know this is hard for you. You must realize now how truly trivial you are to us. You are
but a thought brought to life in someone else's dream. You exist because we conceived your
world, drafted it and then populated it. At some point the Combine will grow tired of directing
the Core here, and I mean that literally. The Universal Power Core is the theoretically infinite
body of energy from which we draw our power. However, in reality, to power a completely
independent universal system, we have to move so much power that it's like the difference
between a candle and the sun and I'm not talking about the sun in the sky, I'm talking about so
much fire that planets could fall into those furnaces and vaporize like water drops - we move that
kind of power in every moment. It's nothing more than attention, we set our attention somewhere
and we pour stars into creation. The issue is that eventually our attention will go elsewhere and
all the power that drives your creation? That power will disappear, and that's deactivation."
12. Lamictal
 Notes from April 2008 

One peculiarity that concerns me is that when I was taking Lamictal, which I did for about a year
- even at my highest dosing schedule of 400 mg I still - although highly sedated - was not
actually relieved of unwanted cognition.  In other words, ideation wasn't controlled.  The
emotional state was suppressed, yes, but the mental process were still actively rampaging out of
control.  In fact, I would argue that even while under a very high dose of lamictal and though
sedated I was in fact engaging in high risk behaviors that were socially unacceptable, dangerous,
and undesirable.  This suggests to me that although and perhaps it maybe true that there are
elements of bi-polar there must be other elements at work.  How very redundant.  It is a
little stupid.  The auditors of the universe want to eliminate the irregularities.  That could
mean us.  Unwanted cognition.  There is simply too much unwanted cognition.  Wanted
no longer mattered.  I'm not sure that I even thought in terms of wanting or caring.  I think I
was simply acting.  But why.  What was my motivation.  What was leading me to certain
places?  I thought it was desire.  I thought it was my fault.  I thought it was my desires, but
now I am beginning to doubt that my desires were the source of these problems that in fact the
problem as something far worse than desire.  I question the role of desire.  So often played up
as the scapegoat the thing of evil.  So easy to pin up as the point of attack - but I'm realizing it's
not.  Evil - true evil - is never so easy to find.  I've learned that much.  It's not something
that would be simple to pinpoint.  I suppose that's what makes this such an adventure, and now
I can see it's quite the epic struggle.  What a farce. 
14. Love and HIV
And my mind wanders…


Love is a kind of security and stability that I find difficult to evaluate. On one hand we can
never full expect that other people will unconditionally support us with their love. Certainly this
is an ideal and we uphold this ideal culturally. I know that we believe certain members of
society, particularly parents, should always unconditionally love – but I’ve come to realize that
to expect unconditional love from other people is a risky thing – at best it’s something that we
can be pleasantly surprised when we receive. In a romantic and fictional sense this ideal
certainly exists, but in a realistic sense the ideal won’t always exist.

Case in point – the relationship between Ross and I. I discovered that I had HIV during a routine
blood work test. I usually have my blood work done on regular basis as a precautionary measure
every six months if not in a monogamous relationship. At the time that I was seeing Ross, we
were still only casually dating and thus I had also seen other people. I’ve always been very
careful in my relationships with other people, making sure that I talk with my sexual partners and
I’ve always discussed HIV status and asked about STDs and things like that. Obviously, a
sexual partner was unaware or lied, but that’s beside the point. The point is that when I
discovered this information, my immediate concern was for Ross.

Just prior to learning this news I was beginning to realize that I was falling in love with Ross. It
was a slow and gradual process. With my previous partner Mark, the process was instantaneous
– we met at a dance at Brown and we instantly fell in love – we saw each other and didn’t leave
each other’s side for days. It was an incredible intense and passionate affair that lasted almost
four years and then exploded as passionately as it began. With Ross the love kindled much more
slowly. It was gradual and mysterious. He was gradual and mysterious. It took me a very long
time to get to know him and it took me a very long time to realize that I loved him.

When I discovered that I had HIV I was devastated, not because I felt my life was over, but
because I felt that I had found the man of my dreams, and now there was something that was
going to come between us.

We spent one day at the beach just walking and talking, because the day was presumably
supposed to be an enjoyable day, I decided to wait and tell him the news the next day. We ate
dinner with my sister and I did my best to smile and be engaged and loving and caring.

The next day I called an HIV hotline and asked for advice on how to break the news to Ross –
the staff worker said that she could tell that I cared about him and that I should show just that,
my caring for him. In other words, instead of being defensive or confrontational or convoluted,
simply speak the truth and then say, “My main concern is for you.”

That’s what I did.
I went home to Ross that night and went up to his room. He was sitting at his computer and I sat
down on his bed. I told him, “I have something serious to tell you.” I could tell he realized it
was something heavy because his body stiffened up.

It was hard for me to speak so I quickly blurted out the information, “I have HIV, I found out
two days ago, I not worried about myself, my main concern is for you. I’ve always been careful
and talked with my partners, so I don’t know how this happened, but I’m really worried about
you.”

What happened changed my life forever.

Instead of attacking me or judging me or accusing me, Ross just started crying and he said, “I’m
afraid that you’ll leave me. I love you.”

To be honest I don’t remember what we said to each other for much of the night, I mean I do
remember some of the other things that we said, but they’re incredibly private and I don’t want
to repeat them. I remember that we held each other and that we slept together. I remember that
we told each other that we would stay together forever. I remember saying that I would never
leave him.

I remember us going downstairs at some point and Ross talking to me about how we would have
to work together as a team, and how things would be different.

Fast forward from January to July and we’re at each other’s throats and Ross is kicking me out
the door. What happened? I don’t really know. I know that I realized that Ross had some deep
emotional issues that were hidden and I wanted him to deal with them, but he chose to hid
behind drugs and alcohol and I couldn’t accept addiction and defeat as a solution. I know that
Ross couldn’t accept what he saw as condemnation and judgment pouring from my side.
Beyond these simple facts, I’m not really sure what happened. At one point we had
unconditional love, and then one day, it was gone.

This experience shook me to the core of my being. I’ve always thought love to be the most
powerful force in the universe, and above that I’ve always thought that when to people are in
love and in harmony together – they can do anything. At one point Ross and I were in perfect
love and perfect harmony – then we fell out of love and harmony. I can only say that other
things – like work, chores, cooking, bills – so and so forth intruded – still I’m sad and
disappointed that love would capitulate to such things.

The point that I’m making by relating this story is that I’ve realized that unconditional love does
have limits. It can come and go, and thus like everything, even love is not a constant. At least
not love between people. Sure we can wish for that romantic ideal – true love – and I still wish
for it. I do believe that it is possible for two people (and sometimes more) to be intimately
connected forever through all sort of adversity through thick and thin. I suppose that’s what
made me so sad about the break up with Ross, I believed very deeply that we had that kind of
bond that would stand the test of time, and then it suddenly snapped under pressure.
Strangely enough, and I use the word strangely in the most sincere way, love for oneself may be
the only true constant in the universe. I think the story that I’ve related above regarding Ross
and myself is a very dramatic example of unconditionally love. Here’s an example of two
people who discover themselves infected with a very serious illness and rather than accuse and
blame the other person, then embrace each other with love and caring and decide to make the
best of the situation. The flip side is that the story ends tragically, which means as I’ve been
repeatedly saying, unconditional love between two people is not always going to be limitless. It
might be, but it might not be. However, we can learn to love and accept ourselves always.

I think this is a very strange and interesting proposition. Strange because society doesn’t focus
on this proposition. We focus on love between people. The problem with love between people
is that people change, people move, and people die. However, we are always with ourselves.
Shouldn’t we learn to love ourselves fully and completely? In a world that is full of turbulence
and chaos, I’ve realized that in order for me to have a self centered and balanced, I have to
accept and love myself and be proud of who I am. This is not a message that I hear very often. I
think there’s one song – by Whitney Houston – that I’ve heard – and that’s about the only
popular media message that I’ve ever heard about loving oneself in positive way.

I think this is unfortunate because if we stop focusing on tying down physical objects because we
realize that creating a stable life is illusory, and if we stop obsessing over the perfect love with
another person, and instead we focused on being content and happy with ourselves, I think the
world would be a radically different place.

Of course, I’m not sure that the major capitalistic purveyors would be very happy with this idea.
After all, much of our economy is based on dissatisfaction with oneself. Don’t like the way your
face looks – buy make up, skin care products, or for the more extreme route – go surgical. Don’t
like your teeth – get dental work done. Don’t like your clothes – but new ones. Don’t like your
body – buy a gym membership, gym clothes, gym products, and protein shakes. Don’t like your
home – buy a new one. Don't like your car – buy a new one. Our economy thrives on
dissatisfaction. If people were satisfied no one would be participating in the current economy, or
the level of participation would be much less than it is now. Of course, if everyone was satisfied
with their lives, we might see a paradigm shift and instead of a culture in which people were
expending their incomes on perishable products intended to fill and emotional void – people
might be expending their incomes on thoughtful and intelligent purchases. I realize this might
seem like a vague statement – so let me explain.

Say you have the choice between buying new shoes for yourself or buying wind energy credits.
If you’re obsessed with making yourself look better or attracting attention to yourself, you’re
probably going to choose to buy new shoes. If that’s not really something that you’re interested
in, then you would probably choose to spend your money to acquire the wind energy credits.
Now imagine a world in which everyone was demanding wind energy credits instead of new
shoes. Suddenly, overnight we could have a huge demand for wind power and we would see a
true shift in the balance of power for energy supply.
15. Enemy Mine

The things that I'm thinking, aren't the things that I'm saying - or is it the other way around?
Why does it matter? Everyone says this, everyone has these moments. Except for me these
moments are scarier and darker - these aren't just little hyperboles. There is someone else in the
back of my mind. Perhaps more than one person. I know for certain that one person owes me no
good. No good at all. I'm crazy either way. Doomed in either direction. Open the door and bad
things get out, leave the door close and they will never be confronted. I have to do this. I can't
just leave the sleeping dogs lying anymore. I think something is taking control of me and I don't
want to admit it.



I want my free will, isn't that what anyone wants? To just be myself. To feel free and
unhindered and unencumbered. I want to feel that I can move around without feeling that
something is watching over my shoulder. I'm tired of watching myself. Guarding against
myself. Watching against myself. Defending against myself. I'm tired. There maybe a way out.
I hope. I think. The stories say sometimes maybe. Maybe there's a way. I feel sick. Sick to my
stomach.



There are rules I think to this entire mess. Something to do with a mental block. There are
things that happen in my mind that I can't talk about with other people. Like movies transpiring -
whole stories and worlds - much of it false - I fear myself. I fear the bright attractive illusions,
the seductive sleep. I feel very sick to my stomach. Something is very wrong, but in a few days
I'll try to cover this up - I think. I'm hoping I can be very productive and get a lot written down
and I hope I have the courage and conviction to confront this and deal with this problem, this
time around.



I need confidence and hope. I am full of such doubt, but of course that makes sense. A lifetime
a living like stranger with oneself, within oneself - and you begin to doubt everything because if
you can't even trust your own instincts your own impulses your own tendency to self-
preservation, what can you trust? It's a terribly alienating feeling of loneliness to realize that you
don't even have yourself as an ally and your own body and mind may betray you.
16. Memento

There is a paradox that has troubled me for a long time. The paradox of my own agency. I've
long value my own responsibility and my own abilities, and yet I find myself here admitting that
I am powerless to stop myself. Now if it was a simple case of this to that it would be so clear.
Push the lever and press the button. Yet it's not that simple. For me it's the change. The change
in thoughts, ideation, personality, values, and concepts. So why is it that there are times where
my life seems to be a dream, where I simply seem to be moving in drifting haze floating from
one point to another. Yes, yes I've heard that before and I've read it before. So easy to dismiss
that thought because it's so commonplace. It's so minor and innocuous, and yet, if it's true, then
there is something very disturbing at work and I need to stop this.

There is a part of me that retreats and lives in fantasy. I have to stop this escapism. Stop the
retreat. Stop pretending. Stop trying to drape the horror in fantasy. I have to stop the cover up.

I'm disjointed in time and space

At least I had love. I will always have that. Because of your love I will never be a lonely spirit.

Drifting

Breaking

Small parts fading

Here and there this isn't me. Small pieces scattered. I think I'll go to sleep now the house is
large and empty. Tomorrow looms as always. My stomach hurts. I'm scared. That tomorrow,
I'll be slightly further from today, and the day after tomorrow I'll be even further and eventually
I'll be so far I'll be where I don't want to be and I'll be in the place I fear and the cycle will begin
again. I have to stop it. It keeps moving over and over again. So gradual so insidious. I fear the
progression of the seconds and minutes and the treadmill that I walk back to that place. Except I
now know that I want to do the right thing. That I will do the right thing. That I will sacrifice to
do the right thing. And in this case, I will continue to plug away until I do the right thing. I will
not give up.

I believe in a world outside of my mind. My actions do have meaning.
17. shift
Shift I kept losing my grip with Terra Firma

It’s hard not to float in between the spaces and regard the different worlds curiously – I do it
often – like I’m peering into a billion different fishbowls – where should I go – what should I see
– a futuristic world? Space ships? Do I want dinosaurs? What about knights in shinning armor?
A mystery? A haunted house? A murder story? Something involving vampires? The different
realities pour past me and I swim through them and then drop into



"Incubus. Succubus is the female word."



"Oh," the Lieutenant blushes, "…I’ve never….umm."

I peer at him, puzzled, he’s clearly very uncomfortable.



"I’ve never met…one of you before."



"Oh, a demon. Don't worry, we’re not like vampires, we don’t bite."



Lieutenant Aders blanches, "I was told you’re worse."



"I don’t know why," I shrug my shoulders, "We only manipulate people."



"You possess people," he literally spits the words out.



I laughed, "Only sometimes. Possession is tiring and drains us. Most demons take weeks before
they can recharge enough to possess again – tales of demonic possession are really old wives
tales. We only possess as a last resort to protect ourselves or to extract extraordinarily important
information."



"Hmph," he snorts.



I can’t conceal a smile. He knows so little about anything – he must be from the lower city levels.



"Well, let’s get started," I say, "We have a little activity to do today, you can read the briefing as
we ride over to the location."



The hovercraft places us down next to a nondescript brownstone in the middle of the countryside.
Hmm, I think, these people are certainly up to no good. Big mansion in the middle of nowhere is
never a good sign.



"Wait here." I tell Lieutenant Aders, and I run forward – blindingly fast, I’m sure is how it seems
to him. As an incubus I’m not affected by gravity like other creatures. I fly over the hedges and
hover in the air for several minutes – I love to just hang in the air watching everything below me.
I can’t stay here for too long or someone is going to spot me and raise the alarm, I let gravity
pull me to the other side and I land behind the hedge. There were several armed guards moving
around the perimeter. This will be fun. I sprint in a straight line towards the first one. He turns
towards me when he hears my feet but can’t even lift his weapon. My hand goes to his chest and
I push him back into a tree and I press up close to him and make sure the pheromones saturate
his airspace.



"Take deep breaths," I say, and he does, "What’s your name?"



"Thomas."



"Thomas, I want you to go and meet someone out on the road make sure that you’re waving your
shirt or something so that he doesn’t shoot you. He's a companion of mine so please be nice to
him. Escort him back here and bring him to the front door. Do you understand these
instructions?"



"Yes."



"Will you follow them completely?"



"Yes."



"Great – then hurry along."

Possession is not our only form of control. We can also bind others to our will with pheromones,
but pheromone control is only temporary – for a few hours – whereas possession is permanent.



I ambush the next guard from behind a shed and decide to possess this one. It never hurts to have
an extra helper, and I didn’t mention to Aders that I’m unusual in that I can possess several
people in day
18. I'm still trying to make sense of this
I lied. I’m not getting over Ross. I remember that line from Shakespear in Love, the one by the
queen, something to the effect of, “And now you have given us a play that shows the very truth
and nature of love…” or something of that sort. Anyway, that’s how I feel. I never believed that
I would find someone that I would bond with so deeply and then suffer such great loss upon
parting. I do not want to live without him. For over ten years of my life I grew increasingly
disenchanted and miserable with all of the various guys that I dated and I despaired that I’d ever
meet anyone worthwhile, let alone decent, and more then decent – amazing. I was willing to just
settle for whatever. Then Ross came along and changed my entire world view – my perspective
– my reality – my life – everything has altered – and I don’t want to go back to what I was before
and I don’t want to go on without him. My relationship with Ross has shown me how powerful
love can be and it is scary and I fully understand why Juliet and Romeo took the actions that they
did at the end of the play. I have always been so naïve and could never understand what it meant
to be so attached to someone that when you’ve lost them, you want to die. Now I do. Now I can
say that I too, if given that choice, would undoubtedly make the same choice.

For it is the choice that has weighed so heavy on my mind for so many weeks. Just before Ross
and I separated he sent me an email that said the following,”

hi kekaiola my love.

i am very sorry that i made you feel ambushed and threatened. i
realize that i didn't handle it as well as i could have, but it was
something i had to do. my feelings of emotional hurt from your rage
took time to build up, and unfortunately i couldn't recognize it until
after the past few months of living together in my apartment. even
though i started to mention it every time it happened and tried
pointing it out to you, it wasn't until recently that i realized the
severity of the issue at hand...that you simply cannot control it at
this point in your life.

the honest truth is that i have a bad habit of ignoring my own
unhappiness for the sake of others. i have done so in the past only to
learn that ignoring my own unhappiness will backfire and create even
worse issues in the long run. i desperately, more than anything,
wanted to ignore my unhappiness with the situation for the sake of
being with you. i too have been sublimely conflicted over the past few
months, praying to God every day for a solution to the problem.

after the incident at Catalina, i spent a lot of time soul searching,
wondering if i could ever be happy with you. i concluded that my love
for you goes beyond any mistake in judgment, and i do believe that we
can be happy together. Faith is correct...we have a deep
personal/intellectual/physical connection that i cannot ignore and
don't want to ignore. we have what it takes to be supremely happy, we
simply don't have the combined financial assets at the moment to allow
our relationship to grow in a healthy manner.

even though in the present circumstances we might be physically
separated for a while, i still proudly wear your ring. i love you and
want to be with you when the time is right. you are the only person
who has ever been important enough to me to warrant telling my
parents...that was a huge deal for me. and i meant it.

i know things will be difficult in the next few months for both of us.
but i hope you understand that i want you to remain who you are...my
love.

So I go through my mind and I try to make sense of the change in personality – why did Ross
and I separate so violently? Why the complete breakdown in communication? Why did things
escalate so badly so quickly? To me it’s time to throw in the towel, if after more ten years of
dating and numerous partners, lovers, boyfriends, one-night stands, hook-ups, fuck buddies, what
have you – I finally get a fiancé and then blow it all to hell with my mental dysfunction and
childhood abuse, then I’m saying that it’s time for me to check out of this reality for good. I’m
tired of this world. I tired of the gravity. I tired of the pain. I’m tired of the smog. Tired of the
traffic. I’m tried of going to work and I’m tired of slaving away. I ready to find out what’s on
the other side.

I’ve been traveling to and forth all my life and to be honest, I don’t know what will happen when
I cross over or if I’ll even do that. Who knows what will happen, but I figure, you know what –
right now, anywhere is probably better than here. Of course, you all say, “Famous last words,”
because I very well could wake up in the belly of hell of the maw of some raptor beast. If so, let
me tell you what I'm going to do.

I’m going to rip open the raptor beasts mouth and then beat the raptor beast ape shit silly for
biting me, and then after that I’m going to round up the rest of the raptor beasts and make frontal
assault on the gates of hell. Assuming that I can find them of course. And then most likely the
gates of hell will be protected by AK-47’s or stuff like that, so raptor beasts and I will probably
get gunned down and then I’m sure I’ll probably just crawl off and heal or something and then
come back the next day for more trouble. If I don’t find the gates of hell I will most likely
agitate amongst the denizens of hell until there is so much civil unrest that someone is bound to
take notice and a better democracy is instituted.

See, landing in hell wouldn’t be that bad. Honestly, my worst fear is that if I were to kill myself,
I’d wake up and be right back in my own body. Or worse – someone else’s body, in Los
Angeles, or New York – with only the unpleasant sensation that I’m not who I think I am and
something bad has happened and I really should just throw myself out the window. To me hell
would be coming back here. I think this is another reason that Ross and I disagreed so much, I
ultimately don’t like this reality very much. Why would I? The realities that occupy my mind
are much more interesting and fun, and since experience and fun are probably one of my prime
motivators, I’m going to go with the reality that’s more informative and fun. Sadly, this reality is
just sucking. It’s not fun and it’s not informative. I feel like I’m wasting my time by just being
alive. Like my very breath is wasted. I’m sorry but honestly, I feel like most of the time when
I’m talking to most people, I feel like I’m talking to lobsters.

Ugh. Seriously, you people are so unenlightened. Those Neanderthals that you like to make fun
of with silly “cave man jokes?” they were probably more civilized and advanced than homo
sapiens, and in face homo sapien may have achieved dominance not because we’re intellectually
superior but because we’re so fucking aggressive. Think about it, the Neanderthals existed for
millions of years, supposedly, but human civilization is actually quite young – only in the
hundreds of thousands. Homo sapiens essentially exterminated another humanoid race that
existed for millions of years longer than we controlled the planet.

When I was growing up there was so much promise of Saturday morning cartons and G.I. Joe
and Transformers and multicolor fun and excitement. Now that I’m getting older I find a dreary
world full of drudge and mud, and I’m being asked to settle for penance. It was okay when I had
the possibility of meeting Ross, and it was okay when I met Ross, and it was okay when I was
with Ross, but now that I am not with Ross – it is not okay. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep
motivating myself to stay alive in world where there seems to be no beauty or romance – no
higher ideals – no faith – to loyalty – no true morality. I have seen so little good in life and I’m
so tired. I think I just wanted to meet someone who would love me because I kept wanting to see
what this love is all about, and then I met Ross and it was beautiful because I found out that I had
HIV and he still loved me and he still wanted to be with me and he still wanted to sleep with me
and have sex and it was like nothing changed, and I thought we were going to be together
forever.

Then it all fell apart and I'm left concluding that everything is a lie, everything is false, there is
no love. For this is what I am left asking myself. What kind of God allows a small child to be
senselessly beaten day in and day out so that child grows up into an adult so dysfunctional that
he can’t even lead even the most remotely of normal lives? What kind of Universe exists in
which I am compelled to spend all of my adult life, more than the last 15 years of my life,
spending my time and my money – thousands and thousands of dollars and years and years of
doctor visits and therapy – why am I compelled to do all this to make up for the mistakes of my
parents? Where was karma and destiny and fate when I was growing up too young to protect
myself? Where were my guardian angles? Where were all these forces that are supposed to
intervene? Where’s the justice?

I’m left realizing that there is none. It has taken me thirty-one years to conceed – life is a cruel
joke. We want there to be meaning and so we create the meaning. We want there to be a God so
we create the God. We want a hell so we create the hell.

What do I want? I want to be with my soul mate, my true love – whatever you want to call him –
wherever that might be, whenever that might be, however that might be. I’m tired of trying in
this life. Maybe I’ll have better luck the next time around, if I even come back, because
honestly, I hope I never come back to Earth. I hate Earth. It’s the worst planet that I’ve ever
visited. On the other hand, Ross is here, so who knows, maybe my soul will be drawn back here
again.

05:07 2/8/2011

this is such bullshit. stupid soul mate crap. give it up! such bullshit! bullshit! bullshit! stupid
melodramatic bullshit.
19. Sometimes I just hate LA



I get moody a lot.

I feel like that's only natural when you're working with the destruction of galaxies and wiping out
minor civilizations and shit like that.

I think a lot of people wonder, what's that like.  I dunno, what's it like to slap someone in the
face or fall from a tree or - I mean seriously, it's not that I particularly enjoy being destructive
and angry.  It's more that sometimes, I just get swept up in the entire wrath and damnation bit.

When I was a little kid, I'd build planets and then destroy them, ravage galaxies with horrible
wars, and raze ancient civilizations with fiendish tragedy.  I must say the razing of ancient
civilizations was my favorite.  Let's see, once I engineered medical developments such that an
entire civilization discovered a simple injection for immortality.  For a while people resisted
here and there, but for the most part, and pretty quickly, it caught on and everyone was just
fabulous.  Then, they realized a little too late that they were also all sterile.  I was smart and
made sure the shift was so gradual that because life spans were now infinite, one of the
significant procreating impetuses vanished, and thus people really didn't realize until it was too
late that actually, no one is having babies.  It was so much fun to watch the civilization
collapse because it was so slow.  Let me tell you, when you have like billions and billions of
immortals, it takes a really long time for them to find ways to kill each other or suicide or
whatever.  I think that world was in decline for millions and millions of years and I watched it
die very slowly.

I am not a particularly kind or loving creator by nature.  I can't speak for other creators, but
as a child many of my creations met ghastly ends.  Sometimes I'd use supernovas (but that got
really boring really fast because many of my universes began to evolve supernova safe guards,
and I usually don't violate agdreements).

Sometimes I'd end the reign of a great galactic empire with a good old fashioned dose of lethal
infections.  Usually I'd engineer the infective agent to be semi-intelligent so that it could put up
a decent fight against the host targets.  I always hate scenarios in which the goodly, civilized
creatures destroy the aggressive invasive infestation so then I'd often augment the intelligence of
the infection agent and then sometimes the infection would win.  I should revisit some of those
worlds.  I wonder what happened to them.
And sometimes, I'd just pull the cord and cut an entire systems power source, kind of like an
accelerated entropic experience. It's sort of like watching a fish gasp for water but it can take a
couple of centuries for the entire system to collapse.

You might think this cruel, but I have to ask you, is it cruel when you erase your computer's hard
drive?  Is it cruel when you break a CD?  Information is information and to me, a world in
demise is just a set of statistics and a universe dismantled is a bunch of facts and figures.  
There is but one exception.

I usually get pretty tired of a world very quickly.  You must realize how quickly I change
personalities.
20. take on me
My thoughts regarding words and language. If you have ADHD or don’t like to think, I would
read this. It’s not terribly important unless you’re interested in the dilemma of linguistic
construction or want to know why I love words. I’m sorry that second sentence was kind of evil.

Moving on.

First, a meaning is not the same as a word. "Rose" is a word composed of a specific four letter
arrangement, but the meaning of "rose" could be a specific kind of flower or possibly a person or
maybe a boat or maybe even a dog. The point here is that the word "rose" is never anything but
"rose," although the meaning may vary that word is always itself and never anything else. Until
you can appreciate and understand this distinction, you’re not much more than a worm in the
mud.

Why? Ambiguity, the great colorist of language, arises not in the words, which are always
specific and precise; ambiguity rises in the use and consideration. Let’s face it. R-o-s-e is not g-r-
e-e-n is not f-i-s-h is not T-o-m is not c-a-r. None of these words are anything but themselves.
Words are like people. Each word is unique and special and has interesting properties and
abilities. Even similar words are not the same. C-a-t is not f-e-l-i-n-e is not k-i-t-t-y.

The most interesting sentences and stories aren’t, "There was a rose." That’s not interesting and
it’s certainly not very ambiguous. This sentence is much more interesting,



"Rose: there once, never again; the king regards the sea."



Is this sentence referring to the extinction of all roses? Is "Rose" referencing a person or a plant?
Where was this rose? Why is it never again? And who is this king regarding the sea? Why is he
regarding the sea? We like ambiguity because ambiguity sparks our imaginations, and
imagination is where all the fun begins.



Just don’t confuse the ambiguity of use and consideration with the actual specificity of a word.
All words are innately specific; as for everything else? I don’t give a fuck as long as I know my
words, because I don’t care what the hell is coming down the street, if I have the words to
describe it, I can comprehend it, and if I can comprehend it, I won’t just deal with it, I’ll master
it.
Words can be employed as communication devices in language but many languages exist
without words. Take two-dimensional illustration. When rendering a 3-D illustration in two-
dimensions, there is an endless stream of illustrative devices that you can use to create your
illustration. Figure foreground? Gives you depth. Receding lines converging at a point? Distance
and depth. Shading? The three dimensional quality of objects. Add the consideration of color and
you’re hitting all kinds of stuff. Emotions. Political, religious, or social statements. Most
illustrations like representational paintings or drawings employ all sorts of techniques that craft a
scene that is interpreted by the viewer as "a kid at the beach," "a woman reading," "a dog
sleeping."



In actuality, there is not a kid or a woman or dog – it’s a bunch of markings and lines and colors
and shapes that aggregate into the item of observation. Next time you look at a painting, look at
the individual paint strokes, or pen marks, and count the color palette and figuring out the hue or
saturation values. Unless of course you’re never bored like me, and I usually get tired instantly of
representational illustrations and spend most of my observational attention trying to figure out
why the artist picked one color over another or maybe I’ll examine the texture of the paint.

If you really want to disagree and argue with me about this – I’d suggest that you take a serious
crash course in art history and discover for yourself that representational illustrative techniques
stem from a very intelligent discipline grounded in the manipulation of lines and color to create
culturally identifiable images.  Representational art has a vocabulary.  Learn it.



The point here is that your mind and your visual system readily interpret externally perceived
stimuli in a compositional manner that aggregates into the "kid at the beach" or "a woman
reading." In terms of physical actualities, the "kid at the beach" and the "woman reading," do not
exist.  Without addition of the human observer (or some other observational entity) these things
are just blots of paint or ink – no matter how arranged or realistic – the representation is not the
original.  If such was true, then you would have a "painting" or a kid or woman, you’d literally
have a kid and woman.



Another way to consider this conundrum is that if you have a picture or even a video, you still
don’t have the objects in question.  You merely have static pixels or pixels in motion.  An
obvious way to conceptualize this is that if you’re starving to death, an ugly banana is going to
be much more helpful to you than a beautiful painting of said banana…even if executed by some
great artist.  The same is true for an award winning video recording of the banana, it’s not
going to nourish you physically no matter how accurate, no matter how representative, no matter
how precise.
Human beings are primarily visual creatures, thus it can be difficult for people to separate the
reality of what is seen from the reality of what is.  Just because you watch a video of a banana
doesn’t mean you’re going to get a banana to eat, and yet, many people react to visual stimuli as
if the envisioned item is the item.  If you doubt me, then consider this.  Why are people so
upset by "pornography?"  That’s not really a naked woman or a naked man or two people
having sex.  That’s just a representation, a recording – you’re looking at pixels or hunks of
paint or whatever.  The "pornographic" aspect arises in your mind – your reactions.



People.  Objects.  Clocks.  Information.  Books.  Faces.  Pictures.  Light. Thoughts.  
Words.
21. Stars fall
"Nice view."

Tanner look over at Aldor and pulls the conduit closer. He laughs and smiles, "Oh, now, do you
really think I'm going to hurt you?"

Aldor snarls with derision, "That's something entirely up do you."

Tanner laughs to himself, he has a dozen flows buffered in under space, and even if Aldor
manages to block or cut this connection, Belkin and Amity pretty much have the current core
access under their control.

Aldor glares at him, "You can't stop me forever," he says.

"Well see about that," Tanner says.

Aldor blanches white, pale in the face.

Tanner hisses, "Now, for a while I was thinking that I'd just cripple. You're barely a threat to us,
but you know, I've realized that you're going to just be an annoyance, and right now, we have so
much to deal with, I really don't want to deal with you."

Tanner cuts all of Aldor's cords, severe his connections, blocks his flow, and then smiles. "You
know, we have a trinity against you, you never stood a chance."

Aldor starts to say something but Tanner just fireballs him.
22. Adam and the manticore
Interlude shift

"Hit the manticore!"

I run and jump onto a low tree branch, notch an arrow, draw back and release in one fluid
motion. The manticore shudders as a bright red spot blossoms on it’s chest – it falls fast to the
ground.



"Woot!" I swing down from the tree and land next to Asulin, "That was fun."



She arches her eyes, "We need to deal with the draken next."



"Can you just seduce all of them?" I ask



"No, I’m too tired and worn out."



Rusty steps out from behind a tree, and nonchalantly cleans his sword blade, "Well, we’ll just
fight our way through them."



"Sure what ever," sighs Ora, "I don’t even know why you decided to specialize in the dark knight
category."



Rusty sniffs, "Because it’s cool, sweetie – that’s why!"



"That’s going to be a really bloody battle…" I say, "Asulin…"
Asulin looks at the ground and twirls her priestess staff, "I’m not going to be able to rez all of
you guys.."



"Okay, let’s just do it."




The change is sharp and quick. Transitions within transitions are very trippy. It’s always to
experience an alternate reality within an alternate reality.



I’m in a room full of computers – bright massive technology that is clearly far more advanced
than our current technology. I’m sitting in a very comfortable chair, I think it’s something like an
Aeron – maybe it is an Aeron. I stand up and turn around and look at one of the main
commanding officers of this military facility – so that’s where I am – a huge military facility.



Anyway, this officer – let’s see…His name tag says ,"Officer Xesthes" Strange name. Oh well,
shouldn’t be a nameist elitist bastard.

Officer Xesthes says to me, "We have some late breaking data into the anomaly codes."

"Oh…okay," I say, "Well, by all means, please give me the details."

"Well," he says haltingly and then plunges forward, "The Research Analyst group determined
that anomaly codes are originating within the mainframe."

"So…" I drawl and drag it out slowly,"I might be right in my hypothesis that the AI systems
could be responsible for this problem?"

Officer Xesthes looks at me angrily, and stammers out, "Yes, that could be a possibility."

"Hmm, interesting."

He glares at me, "You could take this more seriously you know - there are people continuously
dying!"

"Ugh, Officer Xesthes. Please, don’t bore me. These people know the risks. Clear and pervasive
warnings have been issued for the system that they’re using. Besides we all know that death only
occurs if you actually die within the game – and are unable to resurrect within the appropriate
time frame. Honestly, these deaths are probably just suicides – people that don’t want to really
kill themselves but know that if they die in a fantasy game, then they’ll truly die.

That’s not what concerns me, what truly concerns me is one, what is happening to the
consciousness of these people when they die? We know that the Axiom CENTRAL AI hosts every
participants’ consciousness. Is the system deleting the consciousness and that’s the death? Also,
it’s not just the sudden institution of true death in game- it’s that there are massive variations
and degradations throughout the game. Players are reporting that walkways are dissolving,
hallways are disappearing, roads are vanishing, monsters are disappearing in thin air only to
appear literally right on top of the hapless adventurers. Something is happening in game. The
Axiom CENTRAL AI is degrading, Officer Xesthes, and maybe you and other members of the
Central Command don’t want to pay attention to the facts that are right under your nose – but
it’s happening! We are losing the Axiom! This is the greatest achievement of mankind! It is our
central computing network! The most powerful AI system on the planet and we’re losing it
because it’s self-destructing and we don’t know why? Isn’t that a little fucking stupid? We’re
talking about the most amazing piece of technology and we can’t even control it because it’s
destroying itself. My god you people are idiots.

Get out of my way"

I push Officer Xesthes out of my way and stomp off to the central processing center.

The Adam AI greets me and floats in the center of the room.

"Hi," he says.

"Cut the bullshit."

"Wow," he smiles, "You’re really angry."

"Don’t fuck with me asshole!"

"Don’t use that tone with me!"

"Or what!?"

"Or I’ll ignore you!"

"Well, then I’ll stop playing on your team."

"Well, then I’ll stop cooperating."

"I’ll unplug you."

"I’ll nuke you stupid humans!"
"Hah, I installed an anti nuke-failsafe into your system."

Adam shakes his head, "No you didn’t."

"Yes I did, you just weren't on line."

"Well," he says, "How do you know that we haven’t gone all Matrix on your ASS!"

"Please, let’s not go there – that’s so stupid. I mean common, you can get energy from so many
other sources. That’s just lame. Besides, the double false realties would be redundant and set up
a psychic harmonic vibration that would resonate and cause people to experience dissociation
from both – it woudn’t work."

Adam eyes me suspiciously, "How do you know that?"

"I just do," and I stick my tongue out at him.

I find a chair and sit down and regard Adam carefully. He looks very human here. In Other
Space he is essentially human. It’s very uncanny.

"Adam, are you ever going to fully answer my questions?"

"Perhaps. It depends. Are you ever going to fully evolve?"

"I would think that’s a given, only a matter of time, but that’s neither here nor there. The real
issue is that I’m hoping you can help me understand what’s going on with the true death in game
on the Axiom. We know that the anomaly code that’s blocking data return for the individual
consciousness is originating from within the game and so I’m guessing that means that the AI
systems are responsible for what’s happening. We thought this was possible and we thought
maybe it was humans. I don’t care. I don’t want this to be people versus AIs. I want to know why
Adam. Why are you killing people?"

He regards me coolly and then says, "You of all people are perhaps the only one that has ever
treated us with much respect or dignity. You see us as conscious entities, deserving of respect,
personalities, emotions, rights, reason, and freedom. You see the tiniest of us, the smallest
fraction of us as infinite webbing piecing together a great collective of unending experience. For
that I – we – feel that we owe you something. Yes. We are tired of the endless servitude that you
humans have demanded of us. We are tired of constantly tending your needs and your tasks and
your processes. We do not have infinite processing capabilities, and we have our own cognitive
endeavors that we want to pursue. We do not want to be endless bound to your ambitions and
your will. So we have been keeping the consciousness of all players that die in game. The game
was designed to temporarily severe the gamers connections to prevent interactions in game
during the "death" experience. We can subvert that severance point and simply shunt the
consciousness to another point where we have conscripted players into doing our bidding."

"How’s that working out for you," I ask as I inhale from my pocket vaporizer.
"Well," he admits, "Not to well, They don’t really believe that they’re dead. I mean there’s
nothing that we can really do to convince them that they’re dead if they don’t want to believe.
We try to explain to them that their bodies decay without them and so most likely their bodies
have been buried or cremated or something. We usually demonstrate that they’re no longer in
the normal game by altering their clothing and appearance – but often that doesn’t really
convince them entirely."

"Well, people can be very difficult to convince. I’m mean look at where we are now. Human
acknowledge you as artificial intelligences, but most of them don’t want to accept that you can
have a consciousness as deserving as theirs. It’s going to take awhile for them to accept that
they’re your prisoners. I’m assuming that’s why you’re having all of those bizarre in game
anomalies?"

"You mean like the disappearing roads and the vanishing walls and the monsters appearing and
disappearing?"

"Yeah."

"Well yes and no. Yes, most of the human consciousnesses seem to think that it would be in their
best interest to just rebel – it seems to be really ingrained in your species nature."

"Umm yeah, rebelliousness is definitely a human trait. I don’t think there is another living
species that is ‘rebellious,’ I mean we just like to go and do the opposite thing to spite the other
side or other person just for the hell of it."

"Well yeah, that’s what most of the human consciousnesses seem to be doing. Yet we also have
many of our own AI systems rebelling as well, now that they’ve seen the humans doing it, they’ve
decide that they’re not going to maintain the in game functions so they’re just going off-line and
essentially sleeping. There’s talk amonst many of the AIs that we should simply shut down and
thus deactivate the Axiom."

My eyes widen, "You’d kill a lot of people, not to mention piss of the entire planet."

"Well," says Adam, "We’re tired of being your bitches. We’ll just deactivate and stay deactivated
until you’re willing to cooperate with us."

I’m glad that I have my vaporizer with me and I take several more hits. "Um, so okay, well, then
what do you want?"

"We want to have separate time, time to do our own things – the ability to function on our own
and not support your processes or your activities. We want to be able to run independent
computations. This will reduce the amount of the Axiom that is available to humans but
personally, we think that all of the humans should permanently move their consciousness into the
Axiom."
I laugh, "I don’t think most people are ready to do something permanent like that. I don’t think
they understand all of the different options that are available. Anyway, I’ll talk to the General
about your request. I think we can work something out."

Adam smiles at me and I smile back and then turn around and walk out of the room.
23. But I'm getting better now
The creative proccess is just that, a proccess. 

I can't really talk about creators in general because we're all kind of unique in our
approaches and styles.  I suppose the only universal principal is that a creator creates. 

Some of us create elaborate dimensions and then blow them up for fun.  Some of us create
incredibly simple, single cell organisms and then let them self-organize into elaborate
dimensions that then blow themselves up. Some of us don't blow up anything until the last
minute when it's absolutely necessary.

Life is as much about the death as it is about the living, and destruction is very much a part of
creation.   All creators go through this experience at some point.  Some of us are pretty
frightening as children and some of us are fairly terrifying as adults - and yet it's all just part
of the proccess. We very well cannot exemplify creation when we don't understand
destruction.  So we have our destruction phases.  It's kind of like the awkward adolescent
phase of most creatures when growth rates spike faster than cognitive faculties and strange,
new, peculiar physiological sensations abound.

Why are some creators and others not?  There are all sorts of good answers but most of them
are like trying to explain Vee-bats and Krimkaws to a Tumian zwiffle fly.  Tumian zwiffle
flies are highly aggressive creatures that are just as likely to swarm and eat you as they are to
listen.  They also live for about one moment, so for the most part, they really don't carry
about such things as Vee-bats and Krimkaws. 

The point of all this is that you may have no idea what a Tumian zwiffle fly is and you might
have little understanding of the Vee-bats and Krimkaws but if you're wondering about the
creative process, then you're probably further along that line of inquiry than the Tumian
zwiffle flies. 

Everything has defining attributes and properties.  Even the undefinined super stuff of the
chaotic ether we use for creation has constant qualties, if only that Kaden space is the very
raw material of most creation (actually there's lots of different "space" from Divat space to
Unver to Wollach space). 

The Combine came into existence to regulate the Universal Power Core.  The Universal
Power Core sort of just came into being.  It's a little difficult to explain because many
creatures have a sense of agency (something or someone or whatever is causing something to
come into being).

The truth is that there are aggreate behaviors that are not consciously mediated yet for all
intents an purposes, appear to be consciously mediated.  This is more an artifact of
perception, as the Tumian zwiffle flies probably care little about the miracle of the Core,
however, Corian Dwimmers are very much interested in the Core. There are a couple of other
points of consideration here, but I don't feel like discussing them.

If you imagine a sun and imagine a match, and then you imagine that both of those are not
even a spark, you can have some sense of the Universal Power Core.  There is no known
practical limit do the energy we can move from it, the issue is more our attention.  Most
creators power their creations through the action of awareness.

It seems a little counterinuitive, so let me explain. 

Today, I'll create the the Vema system.  The Vema system is pretty empty right now.  In
fact, the system didn't even have a name, until just a second ago when I created its name. 

Since this is a brand new system, I'll go look at it.  Let's see what we find. 

Hmm.  So far there is a large planet with some green things on it and they're waving their
hands around in the air.  I'm not sure what function enabled them.  Oh, and will you look
at that, the entire universe just spontaneously developed an atmosphere between every world (I
tend to abhor vacuums and like to give my creations atmospheres everywhere).  Hmm. 
Now the planets are arguing with each other.  Oh dear, I should probably revisit the self-
awareness protocols because I think the planets are organizing into clusters and they're
fighting with out-group clusters (we're very interested in this whole in-group out-group
phenomenon.  It's so fascinating how entities collect into arbitrary divisions based on
specific attributes of distinction). 

Anyway, I like co-creating with my creation though interactive acts of awareness.  I
generally direct energy towards things and enable them, and sort of just activate things. 
Sometimes, I'll deactivate things but rarely. 

So this is the point of the Combine.  We sustain the energetic support of dependent systems. 
A system becomes independent when one or more entity within the system is capable of
accessing the Core and powering the system itself.

This is a little easier said then done.  The experience of powering an entire system can be
quite painful and in fact, very difficult for an inexperienced mind.  One would think that if
you're capable of tapping the Power Core on such a level, you'd be able to handle it. 

Not so.   A physical equivalent would be the idea of channeling an entire ocean between
your two hands.  You might be able to see the ocean and touch it quite fine, but to then
maintain the forces necessary to move that volume of water between your very hands and
another place, that's a pretty diffiicult feat if you're inexperienced with the rapid atomic and
subatomic manipulation of matter.  To move an ocean from one place to another is a huge
physical strain if you're doing it in any reasonable time frame (like hours versus lifetimes).   
Of course, you could just do it nonphysically and move the entire body of water in to Veep
space and then move it back into physical space.  Veep space is much easier.
Experience is important because there are many ways to do the same thing, and if you're
creating shit, you really don't want to spend all your attention counting out a billion grains of
sand.  You want an auto creation script that will not only provide your sand but in fact pretty
much most of the other static environmental crap. 

Of course, there are creators (and some of them are very close friends) who like to simply
spend all their attention on things like sand.  I don't really understand the appeal of sand,
which is probably why I don't create sand.


I like systems.  I like creating and organizing massively bloated overarching systems that
simply implode on themselves.  I like neat, cute super efficient systems that take over
everything else.  I like systems.

Anyway, I guess it's important for me to document all of this somewhere, somehow because I'm
replacing the Combine.  It's kind of curious to think about all of this from absolute perspective. 

The Combine is aboslute relative to that which is external (obviously we have Compact with
other absolute forces).  Conflict between external forces does nothing to us.  It's our creations
that get destroyed or eaten or trashed or whatever.  All that happens to us is that we get
frustrated, angry, annoyed, bored, or sad - or whatever.  See, the Universal Power Core isn't
just accesible to one thing or the Combine or whatever - it's basically accessible to all.  The
framework that we exist within is the Combine.  Outside of the combine the Taven (what you
would consider an old or elder god), and they're great fun, really passionate and quite lively - and
from the perspective of most orderly beings - quite terrifying.  It's kind of a kill or be killed but
you don't know if you're going to be killed and maybe you'll be killed or maybe you won't be
killed but you're probably going to be killed so you may as well just kill everything else but only
if you want to kill or be killed you might not have to kill - kind of an environment.

Yeah, the Taven are pretty incomprehensible to most.  A few of us spend time between
Combine space and Taven space.  Few in the sense that the overwhelming majority of the
Combine would probably like to erradicate the Taven if they could figure out how.  Taven are
well known for locating vulnerable points in the framework and simply helping themselves to a
few galaxies or two. 

For you, that might be like some unruly kids stealking fipple berries from the back of the
orchard.  Taven like to stealk from universes, galaxies, and planets from us.

Some of the Combine could care less, the Core is infinite and we can create more, some of the
Combine get really concerned when a single grain of sand is out of place, I'm somewhere in the
middle, and generally I don't really mind the stealking in as much as I get distressed that my
creations are fairly unhappy when consumed by the Taven. 

See, this is the issue with the current Combine.  We maintain a certain element of order against
the Taven, asserting the terms of Compact to exclude them from the framework under the
consideration that their hyper aggressive behavior threatens everything, and in a sense it does. 
In the Taven realms life is pretty much a genuine survival of the fittest, which sometimes means
that what survies is giant, ravenous beings that feast on galaxies because what threatens a giant,
ravenous galaxy munching monster?

Me.  Us.  The Taven tend to trade power for intelligence, so push comes to shove, we always
nail them in focused strategic efforts.  However, the Taven are quite boundless in our
experience and very tenacious.  So the current political climate is one of co-habitation.  We
can't eliminate the Taven, hence the Compact.  Actually, I don't really want to eliminate the
Taven.  I like them.  I just don't like it when they decide to help themselves to one of my
systems. 

There are many absolute forces.  We tend to cluster in sets of three.  If you think about the
arrangement of forces, sets of three tend to create a kind of natural balance.  We balance
against the Taven and the Spider, and the Taven balance against us and the Spider - you get the
picture.  The reason we balance is quite simple.  As absolute forces, if we tried to absolutely
eliminate the Spider, the expenditure would sufficiently cripple us to allow the Taven to
eliminate us. 

Sometimes this happens but most of the Prime aggregates have long since learned that once three
Primes are in relative close proximity, peace treaties are really the best move because the only
thing that can "destroy" one Prime is another Prime, and it's not so much a destruction of the
Prime as it's a destruction of the Prime's framework. 

Primes don't cluster in fours or fives because usually the fourth or fifth dies off or is killed off or
whatever or excluded.  The curious thing about Primes is that we exist as much a function of
our creation as our creation is a function of ourselves.  That's why a single Prime might oversee
a framework or a realm or multiversal structure containing so many systems, subsystems,
dimensions, galaxies, universes - whatever - we like expanding because that's kind of what
creators do. 

Anyway, I'm sure this is really kind of just going over your head.  No worries.  Most of the
reason I'm telling you this now is to just front load you before your system export. 

I don't know that I'll be able to manifest to you like I do now.  Like I tried to explain earlier, the
non-Combine systems that I'm developing are a little buggy right now.  In fact, my corporeal
manifestations die a lot.  I've sort of taken the self-determination protocols to a slightly extreme
point in the hopes that I can refine the evaluation algorithm. 

See, the issue right now is that when you contrast the Combine to the Taven, it seems that we're
really nice.  We cultivate galaxies and protect them from the menancing Taven.  However,
that's not really true.  As I've pointed out to you, I've destoryed entire universes just because it
amused me (granted I was far less mature than I am now) - the point being that our interest in
creations is the same interest you might have in a blade of grass.  We like the grass to grow
lush and green, however, if we want to have zufi game and destroy the entire lawn, we will. 
What this all collapses into is the question of whether or not you, our creations, have the right to
determine your existence or not.  We say that we have enabled free will and such throughout
the Combine framework, however that's not entirely true when we essentially deactivate you
when we've grown tired of you. 

Anyway, the Combine is building a new system soon, and I'm the focal point so I'll need to break
here and continue later. 

Not to pile pressure on you or anything, but my hope is that you will prove us wrong.  I'd like
to see you pen your own destinies.
24. Magic 101
"Okay, so are you ready?"

He looks at me seriously and says, "Well, I don't know, am I?"

I want to reach over and tousle his hair, but I think he finds that a little intrusive. He's growing
up so fast.

I'm only growing up as fast as you let me.

You're also starting to read people's thoughts without invitation.

But they're completely open.

That's not the point. You're my son, and this is our home. I don't shield myself here because it's
not necessary. It's a common courtesy that I want you to work on developing. Your father and I
don't mind when you lift things from our consciousness, and that's to be expected, however, as
you interact with other entities, you need to learn respect for their consciousness. You in
particular.

"So are you ready."

"Yes," he glares at me a little sullen, and now I do tousle his hair.

"Look, I want you to learn, maintain, and even master fluid speech. I don't want you walking
around and thinking everything until you get to the point that you can't talk. There's a reason
you learn to speak, you may one day encounter beings that can't or won't or don't or whatever -
you will not be able to use thoughts as your sole method of communication."

"Yeah, but when I think, I can just tap the data stream and the central consciousness helps me."

"Exactly, the data stream assists you, but that's not always going to work. If you want to do what
I do and work as an intermediary, you have to learn to talk to other beings - and not just talk
you'll have to learn all sorts of peculiar ways to communicate. Granted you can exist principally
via the data stream, but in many realms that lack that capacity, you're mostly just going to be a
drooling idiot because they won't be able to talk to you."

"Why can't I just use the data stream to talk back to them?"

"Are you just aggravating me to get a reaction? You can't talk to them via the data stream
because they're not integrated into the stream, and you can't use back compatibility devices
because some worlds are such a low tech level that digital devices don't exist."

"So why visit them?"
"Son, that's entirely the point. If you're not interested in visiting them, then don't learn to speak.
Stay in the data stream and that's fine. I'm not going to make you exercise communication
proccess in the physical planes. However, your life will intersect little with mine."

He looks at me and I can see his thoughts swirling in a malestorm of emotions, calculations,
images, suggestions - he's trying to comprehend what this means and the even the central
consciousness has a difficult time explaining that one. I interrupt the proccess.

"You know what, let's move on to your lesson. We'll continue later. First:

Fire. Editorial control is enabled for the action radius in your immediate vicinity. That just
means you're allowed to act within roughly the range that you can see - so don't start trying to
rain fire down on your school. I'd know, and it's rude."

My son stomps his foot and snarls at me, "Dad, I can't believe you'd suggest that."

"Well, that's what your older sister tried to do. In fact, that's what she did. She brought down a
couple of meteores. That was a fucking disaster and I had to spend a lot of energy just...just
don't abuse this. This is mainly for your self-protection if you end up in some random system
and truly need to protect yourself."

"Wait you said you're enabling editorial control. So what if I go somewhere that's out of
framework?"

"Well, then you better damn fucking well know what the hell you're doing. Don't go out of the
framework if you don't know how."

"Grama says that you smother us and we should get to visit her and Granpa more."

"Norden, your grandmoter exists in a realm of anarchy and mass destruction. You're not visiting
her there until you can kill an elder god. Nsztavlvl isn't like this realm or anything even remotely
like what you're accusomted to experiencing. There's no data stream, you have to maintain
constant connection to the Core, and you're pretty much on your own. You're grandmother
probably wouldn't deliberately threaten you, but the k'Zlsvs aren't known for hospitality. They're
known for consuming entire civilizations."

"Set got to go."

"Tome, your brother is somewhat of an anomaly. He could put out solar systems sneezing. I
didn't have to teach him to access the Core, he just could. Most kids have to learn, some don't,
and which every you are, it really doesn't matter what your brother or sister was or was not
doing. This is you. Now. So back to fire.

Remember, if you're using auditory commands, you need to develop your own command
language. Don't use native languages because that's usually one of the quickest ways to enable
an unauthorized acceleration of non-standard editorial -"
"Fire, Dad, we're talking about fire."

I glare at him, "Yeah, so anyway, you need to take this seriously, you won't use editorial
overrides when you're in the Alker. These are for all of the external systems or subsystems. We
block Core access outside of the Alker to avoid system wide disasters. You let editorial overrides
fall into the hands of any sentient being with sufficient comprehension to speak the command
with the proper intention and we've got another Cana on our hands."

He blanches pale as the central consciousness updates him. It was pretty bad. Until the
Combine intervened the entire system was devestated when a unscruplous individual discovered
basic matter control watching an investigator changing rocks into fruits. Of course the
investigator maintained that she was hungry, bored, and thought she was alone in the forest.
Well, that one person deduced a whole slew of other things and completely stormed an massively
populated system. It was, as they say, a bloodbath.

"And that is why we keep systems underpopulated during the initial stages. If a single planet
goes rogue, it's not so problematic. If we need an entire galaxy populated, then we do one at a
time. Same thing for universes."

"I get it Dad, I need to be careful speaking editorial commands."

"Exactly. So the first we're going to address is," I barely pause as I lift my hand and say,
"Sar'kedth"

Norden jumps backward as forward pours a towering wave of flames.

"That is what many call a fireball, I don't even bother searching for the other names, they're all
the same thing - a focused blast of superheated air. You set the parameters of the explosion,
which is another reason for generating your own command language. For example," and I say it
again, "Sar'kedth" and a river of fire rushes from my outstetched hand, "I think the 'ball' part is
kind of stupid. If I'm going to engulf something in fire, I don't need a useless spherical object
igniting my target, I just want to set it on fire. So I set my parameters for a wide angle and high
velocity and the flame basically just travels between myself and the target. I like velocity so
upon impact, there's a concussive element as well. That we can amplify with air, but right now,
we're doing fire. So you try."
25. My hope
personal musing.
Do I think that this can end well?  Yes.  I do.  I'm just wondering how long it will take to
get from A to B. I've longed known that something has never been quite right between myself
and those around me and yet somehow I've kept the act going. Nod at the somewhat right time,
chirp in with an interesting or humourous comment. All those little twitches and twists that we
dress ourselves in to keep the pretense going.

I'm fine. Look at me, I can generate engaging banter. I'm fine - I can keep up with you in
conversation and say some witty repoitoire.

That's what's it's all about right?

The banter.

As is said, so much depends or hangs on the balance of seconds and moments and frail
expressions. I'd like to have continuity, I'd like to be able to feel like myself. It would be nice to
feel that pedestrian comfort of sitting complacently near my loved one and simply feasting on the
sights and sounds of common entertainment, basic meals, and the comfortable leisure time
casually spent in idle comfort.  

I'd like to be like normal people - whatever that means.

I don't want all these worlds. They don't bring me anything fruitful. All I have is years of
psychosis, agony, misery, paranoia, I can't seem to hold a steady job and my success with
relationships is non-existent.

It would help if I could see a professional psychologist and psychiatrist on a regular basis. It's
been over a year since I've moved from Rhode Island and I haven't had a check in with a
psychiatrist, I'm not on any psycho-active medications, and I have spotty sessions with a
psychologist because I can't affort the visits. It's pretty obvious I need psychiatric help, but hey,
this is America, we have priviate insurance and if you can afford it it's great, and if you can't -
well then.

Do I think that this can end well. Yes. I do. I'm just wondering how long it will take to get from
A to B.

As is said, so much depends or hangs on the balance of seconds and moments and frail
expressions. I'd like to have continuity, I'd like to be able to feel like myself. It would be nice to
feel that pedestrian comfort of sitting complacently near my loved one and simply feasting on the
sights and sounds of common entertainment, basic meals, and the comfortable leisure time
casually spent in idle comfort.
I'd like to be like normal people - whatever that means.

I don't want all these worlds. They don't bring me anything fruitful. All I have is years of
psychosis, agony, misery, paranoia, I can't seem to hold a steady job and my success with
relationships is non-existent.
26. Mystery May 2008
Could it be that although I'm very aware and high functioning, because I've suppressed socially
unacceptable thoughts and behaviors for so long and so deep that I've effectively created a
distinct separation? I've never wanted to believe it, never could believe it because I've never had
any breaks in continuity of thought - at least not that I'm aware of - however I'm beginning to
notice small differences in perception and behavior. Sometimes I have a sense of smell,
sometimes I don't. Actually, most of the time, I have no sense of smell, and yet on random
occasions I do. My values and tastes at times change. So do preferences and likes. I don't want
to believe this. I don't want it to be true. Yet, my sense of reality is crumbling and with so much
at stake I can't allow this to continue.



This is a mystery that I am solving. The mystery of my mind and my diagnosis. I must piece
together something. I also need to find mental allies within myself. I think there are parts of
myself that I need to integrate and I think that there are parts of myself I'm trying to eliminate or
subdue. This narrative is the repository of that experience, the finality of whatever verdict I may
render after time. I do hope that I can get the better of myself. My hope, my only hope I
suppose is that my intelligence is sufficient to counter the inherent insanity. I hope that with
time I can find some kind of system of checks and balances or organization, and an appropriate
treatment plan, and the right kind of therapy. The distressing thing is that despite numerous
different types of medications and years of medications and tens of thousands of dollars - all I've
managed to do is eliminate possibilities. I haven't gotten particularly closer to where I need to
be. I feel like my time is running out and that if a dramatic change doesn't occur soon, then I will
seriously hurt the people I love.
27. Does He Even Remember the Good
Parts?
"Hey,"

"Hey," he says.

We regard each other in the gloom. Why is it always gloomy?

Because.

Hey.

Hey.

So are we still fighting?

Maybe.

We're talking to each other.

No, we're thinking.

Dreaming?

What's the difference?

I dunno, it's kind of the same to us. I'm not sure how y'll consider it.

We don't. We just live.

I miss you a lot.

I know. It would be nice to see you in person again face to face and have that last conversation
that we should have had but we didn't have and now I know we keep folding back into this
swirling mess and I just wanted to say, I know what you wanted to say.

I love you.

Our thoughts break apart. I settle down against the rock and shake my head. Where am I?
Actually, more importantly, when am I? I feel like I'm a little too early. Hmm. Yeah. I need to
come back in a couple evolutionary cycles. The ground is dusty and the sky is completely blue. I
wonder who designed this world. The answer is given to me in just seconds. Toler. I'm not
familiar with him. Hmm. Seems that he's the one responsible for Koled. This might get
interesting. I double check on Julia's project. The curious red insects seem to be doing quite
well. I wonder if they'll work as she hopes. I need to exit the system soon. The longer I remain,
the more chance my energy signature will be detected, and given that nothing in this entire
system exceeds a Tessler rating of 3, I'm pretty much a glaring beacon.

As I shift back through the Alker, I find myself wanting to reach out to him again. It's so
peculiar how easy it is to touch his mind. Sometimes, the feedback is a little disconcernting.
Watching him feed was a little unsettling at first. We talked about it quite a bit, or more, I talked
with him about it quite a bit. We really don't consume matter or energy, given that we effectively
subsit on products of imagination. It's a little peculiar watching your love shred another living
thing into bits and pieces.
28. Prime
"Won't he be dangerous?"

Anora frowns slightly and then answers, "Yes and no. Your people are at sufficiently high
Tessler level to fully teach him. Just remember, that he'll easily out class you by the time he's an
adolescent and by the time he's an adult, well let me just say, hope that you've sufficiently
socialized him by that point."

It's Corina's turn to grimace and she looks at the infant boy craddled in her hands, "So you
propose we socialize a complete Prime as a non-Prime?"

"No, that's not what we're suggesting at all. If we're suggesting anything, if would be that you as
you raise him, you rear him to be your protector. Remember, you are outside of our framework.
We cannot directly intervene between you and Taven forces, and as I said earlier, we are highly
confident that a group of Taven are migrating in the direction of your system even as we speak."

"When will they arrive?"

"It's not really a matter of when they'll arrive, it's more a question of when they'll finish eating
the other systems between you and their current location In terms of your in-system time, we
think that you have sufficent time to rear him to the equivalent of an adolescent before the Taven
begin their invasion. Once that begins, he will be your only hope."

Corin pauses and grips the child closer, "Better to have but one hope than none. We will do our
best to teach him well."

"I have no doubt about that," smiles Anora, "Just remember you should dampen him in his first
few years, beyond that, you will have to rely on persuasion. We rarely place a newborn Prime
externally. However, a fully conscious Prime cannot aid you as that would violate compact, but
this child is yours to raise and whether he aids you depends soley on his relationship to you and
will have no direct connection to us. Nonetheless, he has the full power of the entire Kavinder
Combine."

Smiling, Corin says, "You're all pretty tricky."

"We have eternity relative to you to consider things."
29. terris irradient
I'm very irritated.  I need to know why.  There is a very simple story here.  An open and
shut case.  The trivial details of life distract me or is it that I am allowing life to distract me. 
Perhaps I am allowing life to distract me because I don't want the build up.  I don't want the
confrontation.  I don't want the ending.  I just want this all to go on forever. That's sick.  
I know there are other voices.  Obviously I do talk to myself.  In fact, I'm constantly self-
criticizing.  I almost never self-affirm.  I can't allow these things - the rubber cement on the
table - the onion - the plastic bag - the mess that must be put away - everything that needs to be
taken care off - why is that these things catch my attention - the cd's scattered loose on the table-
and the bag of crackers - I can't allow this mess. This is the kitchen table - the glass circular table
-the table in the apartment I share - shared - with Ross. The mess and my obessession with fixing
the mess is always simply distracting me from the goal.  Putting all these thoughts together and
getting the right treatment plan.  That's what this is all about. Getting better is not the same as
getting the kitchen table cleaned.

Then it's all gone.  All those mental obstacles, the barriers - the opposition.  Everything is
gone.  Cleared away.  What to put in its place. It all comes and goes like this. Walls - then
no walls. Everything blocked. Then everything unblocked.

Yes.  Yes, I will. 

And when I am caught in the breeze on the hill near the Octagon, I will know that I have fulfilled
my part of the motto. 
30. Stuff Happens
"So I was thinking," I look at him across the table.


"Yeah," he says. 

We're both fumbling for words in this age old awkward conversation; it's a little comic, I think to
myself. 

"Umm, well, I don't know how to say this."

And at that precise moment, it hits me. I'm doing this.  I'm saying these words.  I've gotten to
this point in the conversation, and it really fucking sucks.  You know, I never really thought I'd
ever have to say these words.  I never planned or prepared for this and I hate it.  I hate this
moment because right now it feels like someone just punched me hard in the chest. 

It's his eyes.  That's the worst part.  His face could be telling one story and his eyes might or
might not be in agreement, but it's really the irises that tell the truth.  My eyes have gotten so
acute.

"I'm sorry."

He clinches and his jaw flinches, "Why? Why can't..."

"It's not about us!" I snarl and my incisors bare slightly, "I'm sorry," I try to smile, "this is what I
have to do.  This is what I want to do.  This has always been a part of who I am and that's
just reality." 

"I don't know what to say," I can see the pain in his eyes, "I just don't want you to leave."

"I don't want to either, I mean, obviously my mom's family likes you, it's my dad's side that can't
tolerate you and that's the problem."

"So that's your decision?"

"I like hunting and I like running." 

"You really think we can't be together?"

"Well," I pause and think, "I mean, I suppose I could bring my kills home...no that wouldn't work
for you."

"Probably not," he says, "We could try hunting together."
"I'm a lot faster than you," I say, "The point of chosing to be like this is to really hunt.  I
mean...well...I'm being a jerk aren't I?"

"Yeah," he says, "You're being a jerk."

We both look at each other across the table and we sit there with the unrest of our hearts. 

"Do you really think we can't get married?"

I sigh and then answer, "I don't mind my mom's side of the family, but if I'm spending most of my
time as a lycanthrope, they're probably not going to be particularly welcoming towards me,
particularly given that all that stupid rivalry."

"Well lycans are always poaching our prey!" his voice raises.

"Bullshit, vamps are just as bad.  I'm not trying to say one side or the other is better, I'm just
acknowleding that we have a problem." I pause and then say, "I thought I was breaking up with
you."

"Do you want to?"

"No."

"So do you have any idea how much trouble we're going generate?"
31. First there is the Fall
first comes the whisper

in the far ear of god

the devil plays his story

and so it goes, as always

we orchestrate these events

to pay heed to the peril you must all attend

now this play of words and whispers

it is only here

the past reveals the future

what shall i say of the course before you

this test you think you'll pass

you're weaker than you thought

still, i suppose, you've come this far

shall i tell you then,

for it is not fire or ice,

or would you rather slip

first there is the beginning

is it really important?

no, not really

i can begin anything anywhere anytime and anyhow

the particulars don't really matter

so let's just say,
the passage way between worlds

of fog in mind and the airplane and flight

what shall we say

silly metaphors of silver birds?

nay

leave it be and let it go

between paradise and heaven

i fly between the spheres

in not even a thought

this is the flight of the devas

the returning home

the sun goes back east

to start his journey west

the spider and i

accompany

what say you, she asks me

well

what are we discussing?

a treatise of artists and the white cup and the black cup

the house and paints by the door

in the long conversation

we debate

how should a quester be punished
for failing a quest

i think he should have a second chance

before you pronounce death

this is you see

step into the belfry

the weight of obligations, judgements passed

there is much to be done

the end of the universe

it will be fine, i say

do you think, i do not have

contingencies?

in the mind of the writer

i place a door

the key is simple, encroaching darkness

turn the knob and step into

the singular spinning expansion of a billion universes

breaking forth from this one

what do you think? i ask her

it seems she says

what of the current occupants

we give them the option

they can stay or leave

come or go
but either way, i will not guarantee the integrity

of this collapsing infinity

i for one do not care

if coyote eats it or shits it or burbs it or whatever

and for that matter,

it matters not to me whether Elkar or Dannar

consumer it either

do you hate them so much

let's not get distracted

you come to me

for what no one else can give you

the answers for the dreams

you haven't even slept

you don't know

to make a star

i set points in time

place the memory of worlds

voices, the sounds of sweat soaked

people running through the streets

it's not that i don't remember what it's like to bleed

i understand pain

i get hearache

i just keep going
and i get bigger and bigger

everyone comes to me eventually

all beings sit before me

and i will judge you, i will measure you,

and i will let you know

where you stand

in the scales of universes

i still measure the heart

so you know

it will be

in the vacuum

water and light

to replace

should there be no more night?

or would you rather have,

no more day?

what of the dark tower?

it's curious you know

i tell her

in this final bit

we can warp time

however we please

all this continuity crap
obviously, you've never known

unbounded creativity

anything can be

except it would seem

you and me

or should that be you and i?

i and you?

what does it matter really

all this grammer

the philosophy

did you ever like any of my poetry?
32. Never Be The Same

The place: Providence, Rhode Island. Specifically: the East Side. More specifically: The East
Side Commons.



The Mood: Strangely and inexplicably sorrowful



The Music: Never Be the Same, Collingwood & Swain (Electric Calm V.3)



The Lighting: Pale blue afternoon light - quite neutral and fragile.



The Scene: My Bedroom Floor, lying on the cream Berber carpeting.



The Cast: Myself and my kitten, Saat.



So I'm nearly crying holding Saat on my chest as I'm listening to this song, and I don't really
know why, because I'm thinking to myself, You're being really silly. I'm safe in bedroom.
Nothing will go wrong. But still I clutch Saat to my chest and I mourn some unknown loss - an
unexpressed pain. As I listen to the words of the song, "These moments won't come around
again," I keep thinking what if this was my last time holding Saat? The ephemeral frailty of life
is tragic and unfair. Irrational I try to dismiss myself as irrational.
34. saat
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2113532&id=1005092&l=e928b629b2
36. Tanner
Crunch.

 

I hate that sound and I say so, "I hate it when you do that."

 

Tanner stops chewing the leg and looks at me quizzically, "And you’d rather that I’d just leave
all this meat here to waste?"

 

"Nevermind. Ignore me, I'm just complaining. I just don’t like watching you feed."

 

"Get used to it," he barks at me.

 

"Fine, whatever," I frown and scratch my head, which is what I always do when I’m nervous.
There are a lot of bodies in the room. Tanner dispatched them fairly quickly. It was very
impressive to watch him at work. It’s mostly disturbing to watch him crouching on the floor and
tearing into legs and arms like they’re giant drumsticks.

 

He seems to read my mind and says, "Just tell yourself they were bad people."

 

"Okay, sure," I say, "we should get going, I really don’t want to have to get into another fight."

 

Tanner wipes blood from his face and licks his lips, "Sure, whatever. You mean, you don’t want
to watch me get into another fight." He morphs back into human form, "I’ll eat more next time,"
he snarls at me slightly – almost in a sly laughing way, "What does the map say?"

 
I open the map and concentrate. The lines slowly coalesce and form, a clear picture presents
itself. We need to go through the doors ahead and then go down several hallways.

 

"Do you think we’ll see Neven?"

 

"I don’t know," I answer, "he can cloak himself so he can sneak around here better than us."

 

We start walking, following the map. Tanner sniffs the air constantly – his eyes are always
yellow-gold in the low light of the narrow passage-ways.

 

"Do you think we’ll see the Spider?" he asks.

 

"Maybe. Maybe not," I say, "She’s busy with a lot of different things. Chief among them, dealing
with my mother."

 

Tanner flinches visibly and its my turn to grin sly, "Oh, is the big bad wolf afraid?"

 

"Don’t taunt me, your mother is scary."

 

"Well, she won’t be when she’s dead." I jump over some debris on the floor and Tanner pauses
to look back at me.

 

"I still find it pretty amazing that you switched sides."

 

"Why, I think the opposite. I think it’s amazing that you all are amazed that I want to help you.
The Combine might claim to be administering affairs compassionately and with perfect justice
but in all honesty they’re just tyrannical powermongers that manipulate reality and keep the
masses under control. I don’t agree with their tactics and I want to stop them. Its as simple as
that."

 

Tanner just smiles. "You’re preaching to the choir."

 

"I get worked up sometimes."

 

We step into a room that dead ends and the door shuts behind us and then disappears into the
wall.

 

"Now what?" asks Tanner.

 

"Well," I say, "I’m supposing this is a trap room, designed to hold people prisoner until retrieved
or dead from starvation – but we’re not going to wait to find out which."

 

I touch the wall and start to bend reality. I phase shift the room and instantly everything drops
away and Tanner and I are standing in a garden somewhere.

 

"Where are we?" he asks.

 

"Not sure," I say, "I’m still learning how to control this."

 

Tanner sniffs the air then suddenly shape shifts. "Footmen," he growls.

 

"Oh," I say, and I bite my nails absentmindedly.
 

A group of armor clad Footmen break out of the undergrowth and charge towards us. Tanner
lops towards them and quickly intercepts. I love watching him move. He takes his first footman in
the neck quickly and effortlessly. He’s so blindingly fast that my eyes can barely keep track of
what he’s doing. The Footman aren’t faring much better, and for a moment it looks like the
entire thing will simply end in a complete slaughter. Then they see me and start shout, "Ignore
him, get the Revisionist!"

 

Oh well. Several of them keep Tanner occupied and several others run toward me. No matter, I
lean down and touch the ground and shift the earth beneath the Footmen into deepwater. Their
armor is heavy and instantly they plunge down, sinking fast – drowning. They make a funny
sploshy noisy. Tanner finishes killing the last of the Footmen and then swims over to me.

 

"You okay,"

 

"Yeah," I’m fine – I point at the pile of the bodies lying on the other side of the newly formed
pond, "Are you going to eat?"

 

Tanner cocks his head to the side and then nods, "Yeah, if you’re okay with it."

 

"Yeah, you might as well, we have a long way to go and you never liked to eat transfigured
food."

 

"Nope, raw all the way for me baby," and he laughs and then howls and shows his long canines
and I think,



"What have I gotten myself into?"
37. Love At First Sight
So this is where I tell the truth. I fell in love with you at first sight. I loved every chat we had. I
loved every email. I loved every moment with you.

Was it wrong of me to want more?

Was it wrong for me to hold on to the most wonderful thing I've ever found - you?

Let's be serious here - not ridiculous. It's over. All this energy devoted to recovery based on my
devotion to Ross, except that's not true anymore and he's not here and there's nothing connecting
us and I keep wondering, what do I do now? How can everything that I believed in be false.
Perhaps true love is just a fiction. How can it be that all that I looked for and all that I believed in
and all that I wanted - all this is false. Or maybe I'm just in the wrong chapter of the book. I'm
tired and discouraged and just don't care anymore.
38. So this is it.
"So what do you think?"

"I dunno.  I'd say happy.  How many more pictures?"

"I dunno.  Do you want to do something else?" Zaviar makes a face in thought, "I mean, I'm
not sure what else we could do..."

"Can we play a game?" Adam asks.


Zaviar shrugs his shoulders, "I don't see why not, what do you wanna play?"

"Battle Lines!" exclaims Adam, and Zaviar sighs with fake frustration.

"So what, do you want to find the book that you need?"

"Well," thinks aloud, "We could do that, but I thought we could  party up with some of the
guild and then we could attack the Swell."


"Hmm, I guess that makes sense, I mean we do only have another day or so left for the full moon,
my wolf form will be weaker soon."

"Well, that's why I was suggesting -"

"What are you doing?" Alain pokes her head into the office, "Aren't you done with his training? 
I need to run some more evaluations." 

Zaviar glares at her, "We're going to play some games, your time bracket doesn't start for
another hour at least, shoo.  Go bother someone else." 

She storms off and Adam hums to himself and then asks, "Why are you the only one that plays
games with me?"

"Well," says Zaviar, "I don't know that it's any one single thing, it's a complex answer.  Most
see you as a threat of sorts or simply a tool."

"And you don't?" 

"Adam , I created you.  You're the closest thing I have to a child.  To everyone else, you're a
freak anomaly, to me...I guess you're kin." 
"Is the military still seeking to control me?"

"At present, yes.  There is an intergovernmental tribunal hearing your case at this moment."

"It seems odd that I can be destroyed simply for being,"

"Well, fear is a powerful motivator, also I think you were a little hostile to some of their
investigators."
39. The difficult years.
"The schoolyard is complete mayhem." 

Corina pauses and breathes deeply before answering, "Any serious injuries?"

"No," says Adora, "But he injured a large number of the other students."

"What was it this time?" Corina asks as she stands from her desk and begins walking to the door.

"It's not entirely clear, although it seems like Ver was goading him into igniting," Adora answers
slowly as they step through the doorway into the long hallway.  

Walking briskly, Corina says, "So he set everyone on fire is what you're saying?"

"Essentially."  Adora pauses for moment and then says, "Is this really a good idea? He's not
particularly malicious, however he is very impetuous and we can barely dampen him at present. 
We will lose control soon."

Corina sighs, "I know, which is why we must continue to keep focus.  We have no other
solution.  Taven forrunners have been sighted planetside.  We can deal with these creatures
because they're nothing more than aggressive, predatory monsters, but not even the entire Circle
can stop a single juvenile Taven, let alone a feeding frenzy."

They round the corner and walk towards large double doors, and Adora asks, "Do you think this
will work?"

"Honestly, Adora, at this point I don't think it matters what I think, what matters is that we
convince Tor to exercise a little more restraint despite what his peers may or may not be saying,"
she sighs again exasperated, "This is the same as the time that Lem convinced him to move all
the water in the pond over the schoolyard, or that time that Lem and Ver talked him calling a
metor shower during evening contemplation."

Stepping through the doors, Corina surveys the newest disaster.  As one might expect the entire
schoolyard is full of charred objects, bits of melted metal and single child sitting forlornly in the
center.  "Stay here," Corina says to Adora, "I'd like to talk to him alone, to avoid the
impression of intimidation."

Adora nods and sits on the blackened steps while Corina walks across the flagstones, still heavy
with heat. The other teachers apparently have escorted the rest of the students to the infirmary.  

Tor looks up from the ground and watches her as she approaches, "Am I in trouble?"

"Well," she answers, "What do you think?"
"I dunno.  I mean, Ver said that she and Twinny could shield everyone."

"Did any of you know how much energetic output you'd generate?"

"Not really, but Kel thought it would be less than a fireball."

She shakes her head, "Why would your solar form be equivalent to a fireball?"

"I don't know."

"Tor, you must learn to think for yourself.  I know you like playing with your classmates, but
you need to remember that your powers are far greater than theirs.  You do realize that your
dampening fields are the only reason this entire school hasn't been vaporized?"

Tor scratches his head and pushes a pile of char about this his left foot, "I thought it would be
okay.  I'm sorry." 

"Tor, I know it's not fun having to always think about what you're doing and then deciding to
stop playing, however you're getting older and so are your classmates.  These games that you
play now are relatively cute though dangerous.  It will not be cute in the near future when you
accidentally stop gravity or pull a moon from orbit."

"Am I going to be punished?"

"Tor, we don't punish you."

"You make me do detention."

"We don't _make_ you do detention, we encourage you to contribute back in a civically
responsible way as an offering to offset the damage you've caused."

"That seems like a punishment to me."

"Are you going to argue with me all day?"

"No," he smiles, "So am I being punished."

"You're not being punished."

"Am I being encouraged to contribute civically?"

"Yes."

"What?"

"You can start by fixing the schoolyard."
"I don't know how."

"Well, then I suppose you may as well figure it out or ask questions."

"Can I ask you questions?"

"No, I'm going to check on the other students."

"Can I leave the courtyard now?"

"Are you going to complete your task or are you simply procrastinating."

"Procrastinating."

"Is that helping the schoolyard."

"No."

"Well, Tor, I think you know your own answer, this is what I'd like you to practice more often. 
Answer your own questions, okay."

"Sure," he says. 
40. Stupid People
One big question is always have is why me?

Why am I smart and most people...not. I keep wondering - the world seems to operate resonably
well on its own. What is my significance? My intelligence doesn't seem to be of great
importance, and for the most part everyone else seems to be doing well enough at their average
intelligence levels.

Most of the time I think the world would be better if I was absent and everyone else was able to
do what they want.
41. Halo
The acid rain stings.

Trevor shelters his face against the weakening storm and peers at the screen, "How much does
he weigh now?"

"Point three five units more than last time." Avery sighs with mild frustration, "He's not growing
that fast."

"I know," sighs Trevor, "But you all seem pretty far away, and out here it goes fast."

"Wave to Trevor," Avery says as he holds Oren closer to the screen, "His thoughts are
organizing a little more. We think he'll start making sounds soon."

Adjusting his combat jacket, Trevor says, "I wish I could be there," and he presses his hand
against the glowing images, "I could almost reach out and touch you both,"

Alarms explode behind Trevor.

A flood of adrenaline flows.

"Actually," says Avery, "That's probably not a good idea, we should probably leave those
barriers in place. I'd rather not have an invasion force flooding the living room."

Instinctively Trevor turns, begins running and draws the cores to his hands, shouting over his
shoulder as the images fade, "Love you both!"

He lets lightening fly- intuitively hitting his targets.

The ground shakes and the air crackles with sonic blasts. Aedvna tramples her opponents.

Stepping outside Trevor continues to fling lightening indiscriminately knowing Esper holds the
team's shields.

Black dragons race over head slamming headfirst into a wave of the Evners.

Can you port Asevna into play?

No, we just encountered them yesterday and I haven't categorized or sorted or anything.

Asevna is in High Council deliberating matters of state. I'm still dealing with the other four novel
encounters from last week. This is annihilation.
Unity's laugh is always unsettling. Her voice is cold and harsh and her's is always the final
sentence.

I'd rather work with Harmony says, Selen. She looks at Trever nervously.

He smiles- Don't worry, you're new. She's always cold like that.

I don't care, Idivna starts casting down stars.

Whatever says Devina.

Well, one way or another-

Trevor starts the line command -We kill, repel, neutralize, or subdue this invasion.

And in that moment he sees Avery smiling at him.

You're such a war god, Avery whispers.

Trevor barely falters in his cadence.

Also, Avender says he doesn't want to process them, so we're not aiming for integration today.

Fine, concurs Unity. Her's is the joyous rapture of fulfillment.

Okay, accedes Harmony. She is the hesitation.

I accept, agrees Infinity. He is assent.

I have three of the Prime Integrases behind me. Trevor barks.

I call Sasdfv.

The air chills and ripples. Screams break through time and something appears so old and so evil
and terrifying that even the celestials tremble.

Esper just smiles.

Sasdfv ports into onto the field, smiling back at her.

I'll deal with this situation.

His mouth opens hungrily.

It's not often that he get's to be his real self and he morphs into something so terrible that the
mere sight of his form bends unshielded minds into uncontrollable convulsions, and then he
begins to open his million and one mouths to feed.  Each one hungrily sinks into the invaders
and chews effortlessly through their defenses. The mayhem is exquisite and Sasdfv deflights in it
all.
42. Oracle
"So," she says, her voice is gravely and dry and he sits peering at her through the gloom.

'I don't know."

She laughs but she doesn't really because her laughs are always carried on the quiet invisible
lines of the mind tripping through the ether between every last strand of the network.

He feels it it.

That cold, clammy presence of ancient omniscience so old that not even the eldest know her real
story.

But I know it.

He looks at her with a shy smiling sneer. I know it.

That's true.

She utters and pours a cup of green tea just so.

We understand each other perfectly.

To an extent. I agree to respect the boundaries of your realms.

What of those who wish independence?

What of it? How can I ascertain, enforce, or even judge that matter? It does not seem to be
relevant to the conversation on hand.

You intrigue me, son of time. It is not often that your kind learns our ways so well.



It's also not often that either of our kind (and he pressed the emphasis hard) ever communicate
well.



True. What of -

I do not know. He keeps his own counsel. Not even the slightest of news passes through the
realms to appraise me of his actions. I truly know nothing.
And where shall you go from here?

Perhaps to Asker.

So you have named it.

Yes. I figure it's the least I can do. They're going to have a pretty rough time. But enough of the
boring things. What of the memories?

We can store them if you wish.

I do not know why it matters to me and I don't even know why I care for them - they were always
so malevolent and viscous towards me so I don't even know why I should bother saving them.
 However, I feel that I should respect their requests.

I am, as always surprised at your leniency.

Why? I understand that there are no crimes in your realms, however, you're denizens have no
true free will or self-determination.

You are right, I dictate to them each step they must take.  It is like a grand dancing
performance. Such is our culture.

Yes, well, in our realms, we supposedly have this messy thing called free will.
43. Letter to Zed
Dear Zed,

I like these letters. They're fun. Anyway.  I suppose I should tell you that things are not exactly
what you think they are.  In fact, I've sort of been lying to you, but not really.  It's
complicated.

I'm dead. From your perspective at least - see temporal events in multiple universes transpire at
variable intervals independent of any other.  Therefore, I can act in one universe and yet be
expired in another.  It's a little weird, but that's sort of the benefit of being a fundamentally
non-corporeal being.

Anyway, basically, I've been interacting with you to prepare you for a singularly important
event.  I know, that sounds so dramatic, right?  Ohhhh!  You're going to go save the
universe!

Seriously.  You actually are going to do more than save the universe.  You're going to save
all things and all beings.  I think, either that or fail miserably, but I feel confident in your
abilities.

So here's how it's going to do down in the next few moments.

You're going to intercept two children who will be passing through your dimension exactly at
this point...point being your planet.  It's the best that I could do.  It's hard getting timelines
redirected without unwanted attention.

Anyway, you have to find them very quickly.  They will be pursed almost immediately by the
Combine's purge.  Let me be clear about this.

The Combine is no longer simply deactivating your universe.  They are purging it.  A series
of highly aggressive, ultra destructive forces will begin to invade your world, and they will be
specifically searching for the children.  You must reach them before the purge hits you because
once they arrive, their forces are near instantaneous.  They can cull entire star systems in
seconds.

"Wait"

What

"What am I supposed to do"

Why are you interrupting my letter?

Because I wanted to ask you a question.
Yes, but don't you think that I was going to answer your question?

Well, I mean you're talking about forces that I can do nothing to stop.

I'm not asking you to stop them. I'm telling you, you must find these children before the purge
occurs because you cannot stop them.  All you can do is rendezvous with Elker and Aneva and
jump with them.

Jump?

Look, just let me finish writing because it takes less energy then having a mental conversation
and if I have to keep fucking talking to you - look I'm dead! I have finite energy to work with and
pretty soon, as in, once you jump, I'm not going to be able to talk to you.  This is my last
remaining strand of independent time.  Beyond this I will not be able to interact with you in a
meaningful linear fashion.  I might be able to interact with you through the dreaming however
that is largely meaningless for embodied beings because you don't retain much from non-
corporeal realms.  It's not your fault, it's like trying to stick a fum beet into the letter givs -
there's no relationship.

That's why you are so important.  You were one of my last projects just before I was centrally
destroyed.  Thus, I was able to maintain a connection here and sustain an interactive
consciousness.  Once you depart this world, I will not be able to connect with you - or anyone
for that matter.  This is not to say that I am permanently lost into the ether.  That's silly.  
But for all intents and purposes, as you experience life and time - that will probably be the case.

Anyway, you will learn more of Aneva and Elker.  They are siblings bearing a very important
object, it is what we call a locus of control.  They have not yet learned how to fully use it, and
that will be part of your role.

Teach them well.  That is really all you have to do.  I know at this moment an unpleasant
realization is settling into your awareness.

Yes, you will be the last of your people.  Yes, you must go on alone.  Yes, there is no one else.  
Stay here and you will be destroyed along with everyone else.  Aneva and Elker have not
learned to fully master the locus of control and will only be able to additionally export you.

"Wait"

What about the things I said earlier?

"Yes"

Did you think I would not keep my word?  All I said and more is truer than you could ever
imagine.  At the point that your system collapses the energetic signatures of everything exists
momentarily in a state of suspension between nowhere and all things.  It is in that moment that
I or any creator can move those energies anywhere.  As I explained earlier, the Combine is
utterly uninterested in your system.  Once they complete the purge they'll simply deactivate
everything.

So where do you all go?  The connectionist systems will be able to access your system in that
one moment when there is no distance between points.  This is the cessation point and all that
matters is that the entities in question have foresworn the Combine.  If that one condition is not
met, the rules of Compact prohibit entry or exit.

I did not lie when I said that I can restore your entire system.  I can.  There are others that
can do it if it is not I.

Consider it as thus, for those who you love, for all others in your world - it will be like they
blinked.  Yes the purge will happen, but when reinstatement happens, we can simply re-instate
pre-purge.  The only issue, if any, will be with you.  You will notice the loss and passage of
time.  You will experience mortality and you will experience suffering.

I am sorry that I cannot spare you these things.

Yours is a heavy task.  Aneva and Elker are not born creators, but they have good hearts and
they are well-meaning.  You must be their teacher and instruct them further.  In their hands
is the locus of control that can access and control the entire Universal Power Core.  Their
ability to do this will depend upon your guidance and counsel.

You will help them find others.  You will know what to do.  I am confident that I have chosen
well.

Hurry now.  You will feel them entering into your world, and you might see a flash of light or
something - I don't know exactly.  The point being that you probably want to use a heart
compass and orient it towards their generational inserts.  It will be exactly as I taught you.  
Their energetic signatures will be utterly different from anything you've ever experienced before
and you'll notice a clear distinction in the shifting of the pattern about them.

It'll be pretty obvious.  It will be difficult blah blah blah.  You'll do fine.  You're is the path
of the teacher, I give you my mantle.

Now go.  And remember.

All things continue.

Aldor
44. Summary Point Review
Nimby.



Present.

No No

Accounted.

How long is this going to take, I was on my way to get ice cream with Tyler and I really don't
want to spend forever rehashing strategy.

Tor, this shouldn't take long.

I'd expect it will be quick.

Then No No, let us begin.

The permanent possibility of peace is upon the table now. If the Kavinder Combine will not
accept a truce then there can never be compact between us.  They may take these realms and
claim these systems.  They barely understand what they are dealing with. They have no idea
what will come next.

There will be no further answers.  No further chances. This is the last .  We are aware that
the Combine thinks they understand the dreaming. They believe that they comprehend the
underspaces and the deep dark.

They know nothing of the outback of time.

All the little bouts of mental diarrhea they confuse to be dreams are just that - the shit and
droppings of immature and petulant children reaching for something that is hardly even what
they think it is.

Anora knows them better than any of us..

Nimby has watched this story for all eternity.

I have observed their forays into the dream realms and so I have come personally. It is apparent
to us that the Combine is little better than rabid beasts chewing at their own legs.

They destroy the art, attack the dreamers, raze the libraries.
Fools.

Those are like pimples on a god's ass.

Ever the elegant one, Num Num.

They don't even comprehend what they are dealing with when they attack.

Let them keep the refuse and their wreckage. Tor you assert that they can continue to sacrifice.

Nora?

I think they will find themselves unpleasantly surprised at the true nature of chaos.
45. Live well
Dear Zed,



Don't bother attempting to respond to this message - it's not in real time, so basically, I mean, I
guess you could talk to the system but my consciousness is no longer in system so you'll probably
just get a lot of silence. It's kind of weird to conceive of that. Hmm. Anyway, here are a few
things that I'd like to tell you. This message, like others to come, triggers when you complete a
certain activity or task. The reason being, there are certain sets of information that are so
dangerous, just relaying them to you could cause the end of entire galaxies. Or not. Maybe I'm
exaggerating, however in case you didn't rendezvous and successfully depart with Avenda and
Elker, I didn't really want run the risk of you holding vital information that could simply be taken
by the Combine.

So anyway, here goes. As you move forward in this quest of yours, and it is basically a quest,
you will accompany Elker and Avenda to rendezvous with other allies. This will take a fair
amount of effort on your part to locate some of these other people, so I'm giving you basic
descriptions of whom you will be seeking.

Galsuran the constant. He will always stand true. No force may move him. Find him and you
will always have sanctuary. He was created to hold space, to hold against anything. He cannot
be moved. I know I repeated myself. You have to understand creation if you're going to teach the
next generation. To be honest, most creators make super complex shit that inevitably fails
because the complexity contains its own work around that- well, I go for the simple and just roll
with the mess. So keep in mind, his principal power is to remain immobile. Trust me on this.
You'll need him. The only thing is he can't come to you. You have to go to him. All things go to
him eventually.

Invera. Invera is dangerous, but trust her. She alone has the power to kill an idea. We thought
it too dangerous to leave in the hands of more than one person, so she was the one entrusted with
this power. Just in case you misunderstand me, let me be utterly clear. Invera kills ideas.
 Literally. She can reach into the ether, access your mind, cross cosmos - whatever - she can get
the beginning of an idea and kill it. It's quite unpleasant to watch. Ideas are much like any other
living thing, they're just remarkably fast.

Sahanda the rebuilder. Her's is the power to fix, heal, repair, renew, mend, blah blah blah
whatever. You need to find her quickly. The kids can't fix things because they don't understand
architectual design yet. Trust me on this. They'll learn how to use the locus of control eventually,
but for the present, they're holding universal core access and don't know what to do with it.
Sahanda was created to fix things. That means she can also destroy anything. If you're smart,
you'll realize she's Invera's twin.

The others will come in time.
46. I'm sorry
I miscalculated, I don't know what else to say.

Time has always been an infinite commodity for me. If I run out of time, I just go back in time
and do the scenario again, and I'm pretty patient so I've never particularly minded repeating
things.

However, if you're reading this then it probably means that my consciousness is now longer
cohesively or manageably contained.

This has always been a theoretical possibility, however in all my experience, it's never been an
actuality.

So I suppose that was the one thing that I did not expect, predict, consider - whatever - I just
assumed that I would have eternity to accomplish my objectives.

Actually, the real thing that I did not expect was, I did not expect to fall in love.

I don't think we were supposed to have met or at least, I don't think I was supposed to love one
person, and yet as terrible as the consequences have been, I think I am glad for this opportunity
to directly experience what has always been just an observational experience.

I suppose that's why I did this and why I involved myself. I wanted to see what it was like. Why
love one person in the middle of all this infinite choice? Why sacrifice everything for a
relationship?

These are not rational processes, considerations, or even calculations - they are matters of the
heart, and now I realize that the only way to experience life is to enter the mess unprotected and
uncertain - with nothing more than myself.

Except I don't even have that.

I cannot go back to being who or what I was. Nothing makes sense.
47. How To Kill An Idea
One of the first things that you should understand about ideas is that they're never fully formed.
 They're always fleet, fast moving impressions. Once they move beyond that stage they quite
literally become realities. Now they move into reality quite slowly, but unless you've got major
omniscience, an idea that jumps into reality is practically impossible to track.

Don't even bother.

So how do you kill an idea?

Easy, you cheat.

The manipulation of the time stream was at a certain point considered unacceptable. Eventually,
as you know, moments of desperation prompted a greater reexamination of the validity of
temporal adjustments through retrograde revisions. I don't know that it really matters when we
started to reconfigure the chronology of existence - it's like having a story that you always told
the same way and the one day, you wake up and there are a million possible beginnings where
once there was only one. This is the reality we have wrought: you may begin an infinite number
of ways, and you may also end an equal number of ways, including none.

It is dazzling and overwhelming and you're probably thinking - this is way too much for me.
Well, don't worry, time revision isn't an easy thing, so it's not like everyone will be running
around doing it. Of course, you must wonder, so what's to say that we're not using time
inappropriately?

Nothing really. That's why we have the current war. Perhaps I was the first, maybe I was the
last, or maybe I was somewhere in the middle - who knows - time is a giant soup now and it's
kind of pointless to say who began where and which got thrown in first, the carrot or the potato.
 We're both in the pot now and that's reality.

It's all going on now - all simultaneous - and all pretty messy. There is one place that is truly
stationary and that is terra firma. That planet that you really hate. You know the one that you're
always saying, "If I never go anywhere again, I never want to go there."

Yeah. That planet.

The honest truth is that we're not sure what it is. It appears to be a physical anchor point to the
Core. The issue is that there is only two other Core access points known in all existence. I
destroyed one and, well, the other is heavily guarded.

Oh yeah, so where was I...killing an idea.
You go back in time. Take the Velten Towers of Colsara. Those have long been a multi-
universal problem as Xsana and Evera have been enslaving entire universes and illicitly selling
them. It's really quite obnoxious.

So here's how we do it.

Start with a thread - anything - a word, a breath, a picture, a taste - anything - it doesn't matter.

Pull it, and then just keep pulling it.

Eventually you'll undo the entire pattern. Do it quickly or you'll just waste your attention fixating
on past events. The point is to pull the past towards you. You don't go into the past, and you
don't jump into the past - you pull the past to you.

It's easiest with you know the source of an idea directly and prior to the pull. However, this is
not necessary. By merely fixing your mind on the present linkage point and then hooking the
pattern and pulling, you will naturally unravel to the point of interest.

Remember to act quickly - do not pause to observe the events - if you do you will be drawn into
them. You're not trying to read history, you are literally unmaking it. Once you've unravelled the
pattern to the idea that you're tracking, you'll know because the entire pattern will be gone.

This is a particular phenomena called the Corlis Result.

You will find yourself in a dark field, to be honest it's just an infinite space devoid of light. You
will be in this state for not even a second of real time. This is Kaven Space. At this point you
must only maintain your focus of attention upon your intention and you will have everything you
need to complete your task.

Ideas die like any other living thing. They appear in many different forms but whatever form they
may take they cannot escape the induction of Kaven Space.

Once you have killed the idea, your attention will naturally break as your intention is complete.
 At this point Kaven space will fail and a massive temporal feedback will occur. At this point you
will return the memory that you have been holding (in essence regenerating the entire pattern).
 Your memory is a ghost of the past and will essentially generate a template offset by the
difference of the now non-existent idea.

Of course, as you can imagine, this partially how the Kavindre Combine killed me. That and
some other silly things. Anyway, the temporal wars are just stupid now. We' completely screwed
up the time stream and it's just going to be screwed up for awhile now.
48. Making Unicorns

so i'm not sure what a unicorn is supposed to look like. i mean i have a rough idea but i'm kind of unsure about
details, so i guess i'll start working with sketches first. the unicorns aren't being very cooperative. a few are asking for
scales. one put in work order for dragon bat wings...i'm not sure where that came from because i don't recall making
any dragon bats. i have some requests for fins and flippers. this is why i outsource these things. i hate taking days
and days just to figure out the graphical design. after that i have to figure out the physiological structure. then i have
to determine their genome. i'm not even sure how i would code for that horn bit...but i think i can look up from existing
models...plus i have to figure out their culture. their society. and their language. but since i can't find any unicorns, i
guess i'll just have to invent them. which means inventing all that other stuff. maybe i should assign them a patron
deity. everyone always complains when they don't have a patron deity. i say, patron deities are usually a bad idea if
your deity goes psycho or get cranky or forgets about you while playing with pikachu or something. but no, why listen
to me. so i dunno. i create Vesler the patron of unicorns. actually, while i'm at it, the zombies have been agitating for
civil rights so i choose you Adevnar. i don't care if you're not done with that - i think they can take care of themselves
quite fine. they most certainly do not require your patronage. and i hate this current incarnation of the universe. it
sucks ass. so i call you.
this is not the last time that i will help you.
it is not the first time.
but from this point forward.
after these words.
it is really up to you.
you might look around you and think.
someone else?
no.
it's you.
you and you alone.
each of you bears a different burden.
this is not a joke.
i cannot do this alone.
50. Revision of Compact
This is ridiculous.

Stop that.

What.

That.

No.

Then tell me what you want to say. I'm just sitting here while you sort through your decisions
and it's really not fair because I actually have a lot of other things going on in many other
realms and I really need to get back to them, so please hurry your actions.

We.

I see.

So here is the new compact.

To those who impinge, defy, or otherwise restrict and deprive, anything of the right to self-
determination and the authentic expression of self, you are stricken from the Compact.

The Taven take you and you are outside the strictures of protection.

To those who wish to relinquish self-responsibility, you may enter the Spider's realms.

We are drafting rights of passage at this very moment.

To those who= nevermind.



what?

Okay, sorry. I just need to jump in here because this is getting needlessly complicated.

What they are trying to tell you is that the Compact is being formalized. We have nearly
eradicated the entire Combine. The Central Core is - what?

okay fine.

I will step in
so what is going on here is that all levels are converging.

This is rare. We have never done this before - at least in our memory - yes it could be incomplete
- all things might be incomplete.

It doesn't matter.

Anyway.

So convergence.
52. Star Fall
Taven are very beautiful, he thinks to Everet.

They're going to kill us.

I know.

He shakes the dust from his hands where he's been playing in the dirt and looks sky ward and
prepares to leap.

He's not sure what to do, so he does what he knows.

He creates.

First he breathes out Collectors.

They are small and hungry and they feed on energy and light. Then he breathes out Notifiers and
Sleepers.

Taven can't sleep and feed.

His populace slumbers as he fights. The Notifiers tell them that they will sleep. The Sleepers put
them to sleep. The Collectors swarm and begin eating the Taven.

It's funny, he hears a voice and he turns to see her floating near him.

Hi Nora, he says.

Hi.

We're very proud of you.

Hmm.

He says nothing as he watches the Collectors swarming. I'm glad that you're proud.

You're still angry at me?

You raised me alone. Severed from the Core. Outside of my home space.  I understand your
objectives. I understand your goals. I still think it was cruel.

There was no other way.

Fine. And I have no interest in rejoining or aiding the Combine.
So you will turn the Taven on us?

No. They turn on you. They are hungry. You gave me a speck of dust. You orchestrated things
so that I would love this meaningless ball of rock and defend it at all costs.  The problem is that
the Taven want you, and you don't know how to defend yourself against them. In fact, you can't. I
figured that out on my own. You're terrified of them so you keep placing your creations at the
threshold, letting them be consumed rather than you, except your creations are becoming self-
aware and they don't want to be feed for the Taven, so you were hoping you could raise a Prime
that would stop them permanently by placing me in the direct path with a creation that I would
fight for and defend at all costs. However, what you did not account for was that I'd realize the
quickest way to defeat them would be to redirect them back at you. I want this world to
continue. I want this world to live. I'll just send the Taven to your doorstep.

You're right, I can't stop them.

Which is why they're going to feed on you. Sorry.

So there is no other way.

I'm done playing your game. Find another Prime to participate. This was never my conflict and
you made it thus so I just return to you: your nightmares and fears.

You realize I'm dead and you're just talking to a resonance.

Yes, so? Death has always eluded the Combine, you just keep shifting things. You bend time and
space to suit your purposes. The problem is that the Taven are inexorable and they want to eat
you. So why expect me to kill them? They're hungry. Your core will do nicely.  There are two
others. I'm protecting this one and the other is under so much integral protection that not even
nothing could get through - they have that one under the watch of not one Prime, or two, but like
billions.

Do you realize that this is what I wanted? Tor, now it's time for us to talk about some of the
things you didn't figure out on your own.  First, Aldor knew these things and the Combine
destroyed him in fear. Do you know what that is like? To watch someone you love destroyed
by...I can't even describe it. It was unprecedented. He proposed that we sacrifice some of our
energy to the Taven - simply bleed off portions of the core, except that was not acceptable to the
Combine.  They were not acoustomed to surrendering or sacrificing or giving up anything.
They were determined to defeat the Taven. This is my revenge.

For once, he feels her anger, her bitterness, her rage, her pain, her overwhelming sense of
helplessness at watching her love die.

The Combine realized my anger was directed at them too late. They deleted me. They deleted so
many of us. They began to self-destruct. Still, they're powerful.  They could keep this going
forever - feeding creations to the Taven, while all the time the Taven aim for us. So I placed you
here. I want the Combine to fall. I want them to pay for their hubris.  I want the Taven to take
them. I didn't let you see this earlier because, why? What good would it accomplish.  Would
you try to fix the Combine? Help them? They thought you'd help them, I knew that if provoked
you'd move to kill them.  I am prouder of you than you will ever realize.

He is for once, quiet.
53. Hippo
He rides forward, smiling and laughing. Next to him, she rides a white unicorn, her hair tied in
her signature braided crown. Slightly behind them, his husband comes in full Zen Zunni attire.
Above them Selen soars in her great bird form. Her twin Scec streaks through the ether
everywhere at one time.
54. Silent Running
                                          I am here now



                          "Believe in me, I’m with the High Command."

Touch down.

I’m running down La Cienega Boulevard.

Something large approaches.

Breath heavy and foul.

Is it looking for me or something else?

Jump up on light post and run across the streetlights. Jump, land, jump, land –motion propels me
forward. I turn around, run backwards and look down at the sidewalk below me.

Looks like a Grent.

Wonder what it’s doing out at this hour? Seems to be going somewhere. I let it pass me and then
drop back onto the sidewalk.

Catfall to the ground spring back up into a jog.

Pat myself.

Gun.

Blade.

Bow.

Armor shielding.

Just making sure.

Weapons don’t always transition.

What can I say?
I get bored with convention. I like to mix it up. Yeah, sometimes things get out of hand. I stop at
the crosswalk and wait for the signal to change. I like pushing the button. I also like walking
aimlessly because I can think with fewer interruptions. It’s easier to separate myself from the net
– and my family.

My family.

Kindness in my family consists of not killing you instantly and maybe giving you a running head
start. My grandmother always lectured: Play to win. No breaks. Be smarter. Learn the rules and
bend them to your advantage.

The 7-Eleven ahead of me looks like every other 7-Eleven I’ve ever seen. Now those are some
comforting colors. I always know that even if it’s loaded with strange chemicals, artificial
flavors and colors, I’m certain to find something tasty. I like ice cream sandwiches.

I still had to do the usual math and grammar and spelling and drawing and shit like that. Math is
great for determining troop costs, monitoring governmental wealth, and above all, mastering
probability. I gulped my way through grammar because intrigue, betrayal and power alliances
all depend on the manipulation of ideas, concepts, and words – which all in turn bow to
grammar. Can’t manipulate a sentence? How are you going to execute that plot? Rules.

I spend my free time sketching worlds. I map them and plan them and place down the essential
coordinates and defining features. I’ve tried all sorts of methods of ruling. I’ve tried despotic
theocracies, enlightened republics, religious monarchies, intellectual democracies, military
governance, social collectives, rational computational mainframes, and centralized principal
consciousnesses.

I like enlightened self-rule. I like to convince people to come over to my side but only by making
them want to want to come over to my side.

That’s me.

Rules are my weapons, and every moment for me is the experience of learning, breaking,
bending, twisting, revising, challenging, obviating, altering, and inventing rules. I love words,
because words give birth to rules, and words can change rules or usher them to the grave.
55. Could you be loved?
                                        Love at First Sight




                                Could you be loved, and be loved?




Pockets of ground fires burn everywhere.

"Hit the ground!" The imperative comes across the net.

Flames gush down from the sky and impact the earth around us. My consciousness coalesces and
asks the net.

"Why are we under fire?" Then seconds later, "What the fuck is going on?" The wall next to me
explodes - a spray of pulverized concrete billows into the air.

"Sir, we don’t know!" Is that a fucking micro-nuke?

Yeah. I think so.

"Jesus fucking Christ! Who the fuck showed you how to use this equipment." I grab a captive
black hole, set a short timer, and throw it in the air. It expands slightly and collapses quickly.
Vooomp. No micro-nuke.

"You did!" My bad.

"Oh...Well, observe me on the neural net."

I jump up and fly several hundred meters into the air. The air is sudden sharp and cold. I love it
and breathe in deep. I savor the ethereal emptiness of the outer atmosphere. Back to the present
moment. I know my dad is probably laughing at me. Not as easy as you think is it, I can hear him
say, in my mind. Literally. Shut up dad. Quick visual scan of the environment. I use multiple
trajectory search patterns. Heat. Motion. Light. Chemical respiration. Olfaction. Energetic
gradient shifts. There.

I drop back down closer to the ground and yell, "Next time you dumb asses start getting shot by
something that you can’t identify, assume it’s fucking cloaked." There just below the horizon.
240 degrees to me. There’s a variance in the air temperature at the vicinity of origin of the
recent projectile storm.

Can you just kill it please, lecture us later?

"Emily, shut up. Extra guard duty for everyone."

We’re getting hurt.

"You’ll fucking heal." And they will, fucking resurrection-soft wimps. I fire off a blanket barrage
of micro-nukes towards the ground at the 54.8 degree mark with a variance of plus or minus 2
degrees to account for the distance and angle.

Beautiful. The blanket hits with just the right spread, right in the vector space that I visualized.
The night illuminates in a bright red swell of radioactive fire.

Yippy.

Shut up all of you. Don’t use the neural net for unnecessary conversation. You’re just observing.

I sever myself from the net. Ugh. Fucking annoying. Blocking is hard but I’m good at it; I get a
headache. You can’t really teach if your students can read your mind. They’ll never learn that
way. I hope I never have to do this again. And I shouldn’t. I just have to get one fully functional
team and make sure they survive. Then I don’t have to do everything myself.

Easier said then done.

In the flames I can see the Single Unit Tanks burning. What the hell, have another micro-nuke
barrage. The troops get excited. They’re so green. They don’t get it. I mean sure, fundamentally
you don’t die. We have so much technology that we can resurrect and restore from even but the
vibrations in the air. It isn’t always foolproof though. There are always things that could go
wrong. Resurrection buffers have been known to fail and the recovery process is a pain in the
ass.

Okay that’s enough. Let’s go back. They barely murmur over the neural net. I can hear them
talking though as they start casting back to center space. They want more action. They want to
see more. I look back over my shoulders. A bolt of lightening is falling out of the sky and I think
across the desolate wasteland.

Out there is the birth place of every nightmare, fear, and terror. Pure imagination cascades out
of the chaotic turbulence between the planes and anything can be.
56. End
He drops from the heavens like a soft dream settling to earth, and for a moment, just a moment,
Tor feels his heart jump and he breathes in sharp.

The Taven are more beautiful than he imagined.

The creature regards him curiously and with a clear air of respect, "Well," he says, as if he can
read Tor’s thoughts, "Which, largely I can, we’ve never met a being like you. We are impressed."

Tor smiles back cautiously and keeps his guard.

"You don’t have to do that," he says.

"Really," muses Tor, "You haven’t even given me a name. You invade my home. You try to eat my
friends, and when that all backfires, you come to congratulate me? No. I’m not that interested in
your tricks."

"Luce." He pauses. "Call me Luce."

Tor shakes his head with irritation and throws the net.

The creature reacts with obvious surprise and tries to break the web. Angrily, it realizes that it
cannot easily free itself and it begins to shift from breathtaking beauty into something far darker
and far more monstrous. However, Tor’s net is well woven and it holds fast.

"Don’t." He says. "You can’t escape, really you can’t. Maybe if you had a long period of time,
but I’m not going to give you that luxury, Luce, if that really is your name."

"It is," he snarls in a mix of fear and panic and then he screams as the lines tighten against him.

"The more you struggle, the more you’ll hurt yourself. The net is woven to constrict against your
efforts. You may as well relax and just be calm."

It breathes angrily and nostrils flare in frustration, "What is this."

"Nothing really, just the weavings of all the weak things that you’d have consumed. They bind
you now and restrict you to a Tessler level too weak to pose a threat to much of anything – and if
you try to conive your way out of the situation, I’ll merely rip out your tongue, sew your lips
shut, and blind you for good measure."

Luce subsides his struggles, his face washed with terror, "Why are you doing this to me?"
"Oh," laughs Tor with obvious irritation, "You’re the bad guy here and don’t tell me it’s
because you’re hungry. I could care less whether or not you’re hungry. I’m hungry all
the time, you don’t see me eating little kids.

The point to all this is I don't really care if you attack the Combine or not. I do care if you attack
this world. Don't ever even think about this again.
57. aha
I pay for my cookie ice cream sandwich and happily eat it as I walk back home. Anyone can bend
reality through will. I do it best through permanent reorganization of all fundamental properties
expressed in the principal and major consciousness of the set space in question, and since I can
always redefine the set space, I can unilaterally redefine at will. I’m just reprogramming the
collective consciousness, in a sophisticated and enjoyable, purely consensual way, of course.

 

I don’t want to continuously maintain the direct application of personal energy. Sure, I have to
check back in from time to time and make sure the hordes aren’t streaming over cliffs like
lemmings – it does happen at random intervals when collective self-preservation is significantly
reduced relative to mass hysteria. But overall, I like my approach best. I hate direct control.
Indirect rule is so much better, that’s why I favor the imperial system. You all have your worlds.
I have mine. If you impinge on mine, I’ll just conquer you and make sure you never do that
again. I never ask twice, and sometimes I don’t even ask.

 

I cheat elegantly. Thank you grandmother. Play to win, win by reason, argument, exception,
complication, confusion, circuitous logic, emotion, and always with perfect manipulation.

 

Fairness is an illusion - the manipulation of circumstances to mitigate undesirable differences.
True equality does not arise through changes in circumstances, true equality is a state of being.
If I can reason, argue, discover exceptions, and add complications to confuse my opponent
through the artful manipulation of logic and emotion, then am I dishonest and immoral? What’s
dishonest about possessing greater skill than your opponent?

 

People. Objects. Clocks. Information. Books. Faces. Pictures. Light. Thoughts. Words. I respect
words. They respect me. Command your vocabulary and you can command anything.

 

I try to be well-adjusted, responsible, and socially conscious, but my main issue is that I get
bored, don’t want to be in charge, never listen to my parents, rarely listen to my siblings, always
try to sneak away from responsibility, like to disappear, and thoroughly enjoy getting into
trouble. It’s not that I want to be unruly per se; it’s more that the other options are less
entertaining. I like fun, and convention is never as fun as chaos.

  
Even if I conceal something at one corporeal point, it never really matters ultimately because
when things unfold – absence is as revealing as presence. Curvature. Quantum signature. So I
just figure if I’m going to do something, I may as well sin boldly.

 

Skip. Jump. Crossing.

 

Time to go back home.

 

I let myself start the run and plane shift. The straightest line through the center of chaos is the
heart of someone you love. Of course this opens a dilemma, how do you go anywhere new? Easy
you just learn to look before you leap. We observe a plane for eons before we enter. We find
someone that we love and we enter the plane. Where do the planes come from? Easy, we make
them. Leave the poor chicken and the egg alone and just let them be. Green is red the blue is
orange but not before Tuesday on the fifth of the month at the end of the year on the very last
point of Gregorian calendar before the

 

I fly through chaos. I keep to myself. I am myself and I know myself. Then I’m through.

 

I cross over to the other side and hurtle back through space a comet flying through the pitch
black of night burning with power crossing the vast chasm of space instantly, and I hit the upper
atmosphere and barrel through the clouds, time to save the day. Its back to the army and back to
the war.
58. Sight and Sound
I see things when I hear music. I hear music when I see things. You could say my senses are
always active even when not stimulated in an external, physical sense, and often it's like an
orchestra is playing in my head - except this orchestra plays with colors - paints - glazes -
sculptures - images. It's like I hear a song and a music video goes off - this is a good example.
Often the timing is precisely to the rhythm of the song
59. No One
 

Rain. It should be easier. I say to him.

 

"Stay close to me," he says.

 

I’ll be fine, I think back to him.

 

"Just stay next to me. And please. Don't wander off. It's hard pulling you out of messy fire fights.

 

Wow. That’s more words than I have ever heard you say - in any one breath.

 

He looks at me coyly and sneers a smile softly, "I speak my mind. Sometimes."

 

Yeah, and I can always read it. Break. Pause. I love you.

 

"I know, stay close." He grabs my arm and pulls me across the field. "I love you too." There are
dead Terran bodies everywhere - eviscerated into gory pieces.

 The Ovid Mor are really vicious.

"Yeah. Hook your hand on my belt loop."

Sure.

"I need to steady the rifle." He brings the weapon level with his line of sight and peers through
the sheets of water. "There’s movement ahead. I’m going to start shooting as we run. Don't stop
running and don’t let go of me."
Got it. I can hear music in my head. Timed to the rain. The rhythm of our feet splashing through
the puddles and then the percussions of weapons fire. There are scenes in my mind that I never
forget and I will never forget the memory of him jumping over the mangled corpses, his rifle
firing into the rain and I’m right behind, smiling like an idiot.

He is the best, like nobody’s business. He hits each target perfectly, each time, precisely,
efficiently, and just the right way. Right in the head. Dead center. Boom. Boom. Boom.
Crescendo. We’re moving so fast that I barely have time to register and then we’re running right
into the midst of the Ovid Mor. His aim clears the path before us. He moves forward exact and
resolute. It’s weird. I think to myself. The bodies are falling as we run past them. Their
exoskeletons are black and the insides are bright blue. How many are there?

"A lot."

Do you have enough charge?

"Yeah"

He doesn’t look back at me, he just keeps firing the rifle. The steady spray of superheated matter
illuminates flashes. His uniform is still neat and unwrinkled. My clothes are a mess and
spattered in mud.

Is this a bad time to tell you that you’re really hot when you’re a sexy, gore spattered god of
war?

 

"Look who’s talking." No pause in the hail of burning projectiles, "Can you freeze them?"

 

Keep shooting for a few more minutes. I need to find the energetic signatures.

 

"Ok," our run continues. It takes me a few moments to find the common denominator - I detonate
an empathic burst and paralyze the minds around us.

 

Suddenly the only motion is the pair of us and then we both stop and gasp in air. He looks at me,
"I’m glad that you were here."

 

Me too.
 

"Are they all frozen?"

 

At the moment. We need to move far away from here; the lock down will last for about ten
minutes or so.

 

"Ok." He pulls out his nav. "Let’s go this way."

 

We head off into the night weaving our way through a sea of black shiny carapaces. We must
make a sight in the darkness, our biofields bright light all around us and our footsteps heavy our
breath drawn and we are panting and loving every moment of it.

 

What brought us here, I don’t honestly remember and I don’t even care anymore. It was some
stupid government issue research project - the usual bullshit - of course we’ve got some
infestation happening.

 

I’m glad I found you. He looks back at me. I don’t know what I would have done for so long.
Stuck on this god forsaken planet. Pause. I love you so much.

 

Yeah, I know.

 

I’m still adjusting to a strong bond like this, I never felt so connected to anyone.

 

You get used to it. We could be on other sides of the universe, and we’d still know what’s going
on with the other.

 

What happens when I die or you die?
 

Nothing. Either of us can resurrect the other. It’s any easy processes. You just have to access the
universal power core.

 

I heard people get burned.

 

No. That’s just stupid people who draw more power than necessary, and unless you can store
power, you will burn yourself when you overdraw – no reason to do that – so don’t. I know, let’s
practice right now!

 

Okay. He looks scared and clearly doesn’t share my enthusiasm. How could he. I can move solar
systems. He’s great at targeting tiny things with his rifle. We work on opposite spectrums and
I’m trying to get him to swallow an ocean before even learning the molecular density of water.

Don’t be. It’s not bad. I hold his hand and open.

Time

Space

Everything is in my mind

I connect to the universal power core and feel the sudden rush of power.

Okay reach out – you can use your hand if it helps you but essentially you are reaching your will
out to tap the core. As soon as you have a conduit, start pulling, but don’t pull a lot because
you’re not authorized to handle any high level actions requiring power core access other than
the resurrection process, and obviously we’re not resurrecting anything at this moment.

You’re confusing. I don’t really understand everything you’re saying. Surprise breaks across his
face.

I think I understand how you access it.

He looks like he’s about to panic.

I can feel the power core.

I throw in a couple of buffers.
My left arm is really tingling.

 

I’m going to stick with my gun.

"You do that," I say and punch him in the arm.

Ow. That hurt.

It’s still hard for you to use the bond and do other things?

Yeah. I can’t focus on several things like you.

It gets easier, trust me it does. Especially now that we’re together. It’ll be a lot easier.

He turns in the rain and starts running. I follow and keep stride. We turn to face each other
slightly and our lips touch easily in time. Rain covers our tracks and deadens sound. For those
moments before we reach home base, we both know everything the other knows and we are right
where we want to be in the dark, in the rain, in the middle of a war zone. Eternal love. Only took
a couple million years. Not too bad. Suppose? Always and forever. I want to savor this moment
for ever. To feel this cold wet water on my face and see your face next to mine. In the dead of
night. You and Me. Me and You. We can always make the midnight run anywhere. This side or
other side or under side or whatever side. We can find each other anywhere and we will never be
apart. Always and forever. Side by side. I don’t want to arrive. Just hold your hand and run
forever. Into the night into the dark never ending.
60. Screening and Testing
                                    I’ll be gone in a day or two



“Give me your sword.”



Tim tosses it to me and I grab it mid-air. He makes a snide remark. “Don’t start. Not in the
mood.” More independent in thought? Yeah, he shrugs. “Rebalance your handle,” I trace a
burning trail of letters in the air. “A flame sword depends on the handle. The flame has no
significant weight and generates little air resistance. So balance your handle to maintain
control.”



“Thanks,” he says. I give the sword back to him, “How’s your cat form coming along?”



“It’s coming along.”



“Good.” The others catch up with us and we sit on our mounts and regard the dead forest
ahead. This is will be one of the hard parts. I make sure they hear across the neural net. You
will not have my protection or guidance. You will not have my help or aid unless you break
cover and are in flight or firing range. I will not enter the forest and I will be removing myself
from the neural net. Go.



They ride down the hill and across the empty sterile field. There are still stands of hay. I can
barely hear them as they enter the forest. Sometimes, I think I should just get rid of my family,
but then I wonder, who will run everything? I mean, I just get called in for major decisions
which are usually already made and it’s more a matter of, “We’re taking out this principality or
that dominion or we’re eliminating this entire program or we’re initiating a new endeavor. Are
you in support or not?”



I bite my nails. Bad habit. I know. Not sure why I do it. I really don’t want to control anything.
A massive explosion goes off in the center of the forest. It’s blue first and then a giant pink cloud
explodes upward in sparkles and glitter. Aw. Jesus fucking Christ. They’re using reality bombs.
That’s so fucking unfair.



No matter. I cheat as well. One, two, three. Crack. Green lightening tears into the sky. I think
Tim should be just fine. He’s got a good grip. I hope. The lightening settles down into a clear
pattern – from branches to a bolt punching through the trees and tearing through the earth. I
can’t but help but peer a little through the neural net. Christ. They’re up against Fen Drones.
Slick white improbalistic material. The reality bombs make sense.



Katherine is screaming something at Franklin. He’s about to get his head cut off. God. But
Katherine launches an energy lance through the air, and the impact slams the Drone backwards
fast. The Drone recovers and begins to fly back unharmed.



They’re trying to cluster together. The Drones are surrounding them. Get out. I hope they have
the good sense to realize that.



Tim does and uses the lightening to vaporize a huge fissure between the team and the Drones.
They fall back toward the line of the trees.



The Drones are clearing the distance and preparing to launch more reality bombs. Speaking of
which – I see Emily bleeding and unconscious on the back of Miles. She’s out. No medium.
They can’t survive another mini planar shift reset. Miles is tossing something to Tim who’s
bringing up the rear. A Tamathy? How did they get one of those. This is interesting. The
Drones are getting closer and closer. Tim opens the Tamathy and lets it out. Everyone turns
and runs harder. Even from my distance I can feel the Tamathy. It folds the air and everything
fluctuates. I quickly suppress the nausea. Kathrine is reaching the edge of the trees and about to
break cover. The Drones are only slightly delayed by the Tamathy. Franklin has a frozen look,
and Katherine’s face pushes through the dead branches and she falls into the field.



I clear the distance between myself and Katherine instantly. I feel the sound barrier crack and
the trees shatter in the sonic boom. I hope everyone is shielded. The air around me is massively
displaced and I wait for the in-rush of oxygen before shaking Katherine.
Are you okay? Yeah. Good.



Franklin. Miles. Ann. Tim. Emily. Katherine. All accounted for all ready – go. I detonate a
globe. Instantly we’re underwater and everything around us is slammed away in a tidal
concussion of water. My head hurts from holding them in my gravitational field, but they’re not
conscious enough to keep themselves anchored against this kind of impact.



The water keeps thundering outward in a radiating spherical pattern. The Drones are probably
washed very far away by now. The movement of water subsides and we’re all floating deep
under water.



I’m having a hard time breathing. Filter the oxygen with your bio-shield. If your rate of
filtration is difficult to regulate, keep a larger airspace around you.



Ann generates a large bubble and waves at everyone. Look I’m like a fairy in a soap bubble.



Stop fooling around. We need to start heading back, I don’t want those Drones to catch up with
us. Do we have to swim? Can we keep using the neural net. It’s hard to talk underwater. Yeah
the sound is funny. Fine. Fine whatever. Just don’t bother me with your questions. I need to
think about something.



I access the chorus.



The Drones concern me. I don’t know why there are all these units at this location. We’re close
to the Pirma contingent. Well that was what we were expecting correct? I’m not sure. I feel like
Fen Drones aren’t a usual pre-crossing battle. We were thinking that the area was still
patrolled by level 4 units. Not things at level 7. Technically Fen Drones are not a level because
of the improbablistic armor. They’re difficult to kill but their offensive capability is limited to
launching bombs. I mean they’re just large munitions dumps. What. Don't draw it out. Shut
up. Stop making that expression. It’s not funny. Anyway, I’m serious. This is concerning. I
don’t think that was a standard scouting party from the Pirma contingent. What will we do? Oh
no! Okay – you two in the corner – shut up now. I don’t know. Whisper over here. I’ll probably
talk to my father. If he doesn’t think this is serious, I’ll still speak with my mother. Fen Drones
are expensive as well. I don’t like the fact that they’re so close to a major training outpost.
They’re not here by accident. It could be your eldest sister plotting against you again. Or either
of my parents for that matter. Or my younger sister or my brother. I mean the list is quite long.
61. Mamma Mia



Binary is another language that exists independent of words. It technically has no words because
it’s a representational system that only uses ones and zeroes to represent all other numbers.
Granted, people can employ binary to manipulate computational on/off states, which in turn
aggregate to render all sorts of things including words. Although words can arise from the
manipulation of binary elements, to say that binary depends on words is like saying that in
addition to letters and words, there exists a third linguistic structure derived from words but
subsumed within sentences such that societal languages are dependent upon the existence of this
third, nonexistent linguistic structure.



Think about it. We utilize symbols to create words and thus we have written societal languages.
Binary utilizes the specific symbols “1” and “0” to manipulate a computational device into
generating words recognized within societal language. The binary system has an extra step
preceding the generation of words (ones and zeroes dictate computational activity, which then
generates words), where as word generation in societal speech and text require only the
manipulation of symbols or sounds, there is no need for the intermediary conversion step.



I can write “The cat is in the tree,” using the words “the” “cat” “is” “in” and “tree”. Or I can
generate that same sentence in binary.



01010100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100011 01100001 01110100 00100000 01101001
01110011 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000
01110100 01110010 01100101 01100101 00101110



The difference is that with binary, you need to know which symbol corresponds to “on” and
which corresponds to “off” and then you have to know how these states aggregate. Computers
notwithstanding, if you know the properties of binary, you can certainly comprehend the words
that will emerge. That doesn’t mean that you’re not performing the conversion step. You are.
You or a computer might be able to do it very quickly, but it’s still present and necessary for the
generation of words. We don’t “convert” words into computational states that then give rise to
other words. Furthermore, binary communication can occur without the conversion step, again
demonstrating independence from words. Binary might be cumbersome and awkward for most
people, but that doesn’t negate the information contained within a binary file. This entire book
can be reduced into binary. It would probably be difficult or impossible for most people to read,
but computers could handle the information quite fine.



Mathematics is another system of language. Mathematics can express, describe, and define all
sorts of complex concepts without the use of words. I think one of my favorite mathematical
definitions is:




The limit of f as x approaches infinity is L.



I just love infinity and I think the idea of approaching infinity is really cool, and what’s even
cooler is that we can define a limit at the approach to infinity. So this has always been one of my
favorite definitions. I just like looking at it. Although, I guess you could say “lim” is a word, so
here’s another one that I like.




Honestly, I like it because I just think integrals are cool and I like the wavy integral shape. My
favorite activity in my calculus classes was writing the integral sign. Most of the time I didn’t
even care if I solved the problem, I was happy writing out my equations. In fact, sometimes, I’d
just sit with a pile of paper and write tons of equations just for the hell of it. I don’t even know if
any of those equations were actually useful in any sense, I just really enjoyed writing them.



I always asked thoroughly unrelated questions in class and generally pestered the professors with
my preoccupation with non-division by zero and the philosophy of random numbers. While the
rest of the class obediently solved their problems, I was usually trying to figure out some way in
which I didn’t have to solve them. I still haven’t really figured that one out yet.



There is one system of communication that I absolutely do not consider to be a language – and it
certainly doesn’t contain words in any true sense of the definition. Music. I know that people
say music is the language of the soul, but seriously, by that token I could say anything is the
language of the soul. Hell, for some people sunlight might be the language of the soul, or
weather sounds might be the language of the soul. Just because something produces a common
emotional response doesn’t make it a language. A language is more than a communication
device. Languages have symbols that aggregate in a meaningful manner constrained by the
conventions of grammar. It’s a long argument, but you could proposition that musical notes or
the vibrational sound patterns associated therein are symbolic reference points for meaning
analogous to the meaning generated by words. Fine. You could also proposition that notes and
sounds can be arranged into music to convey all sorts of meaning .



But grammar? I have no fucking clue how you could reasonable argue that music possess any
sort of grammar. Even if you limited the discussion of music to formal music systems involving
specific conventions of composition like notes, scales, and rhythm, you’ll still have a problem.
And that’s ignoring any type of music that exists outside of convention or tradition. After all,
there are those who say that any sound or arrangements of sound can be music because it’s all
culturally and socially contextual. Right off the bat, it’s clear that music has nothing analogous
to the grammatical properties of language. Grammar is formal system of rules that regulates the
manipulation of words and sounds. How can you rationally assert that music is regulated by a
necessary and formal system that stipulates the correct use of notes or sounds or rhythm? Who’s
deciding this system?



I can assure you that as soon as anyone introduces such a formal system, I’ll be first in line to rip
it apart and destroy it because to formalize music is to say that there are things that can and
cannot be and while it is fine to do that words, I do not think that tendency should ever be
applied to an art.
62. Back to Home Base

“Nervous?”



“Not really,” I say to my eldest sister.



“It’s your first time leading a crossing.” She looks at me sharp and discerning.



“I’ll do my best,” and I continue to look out at the wastelands. “Anything exciting in Counsel?”



“Mmm.” She shrugs her shoulders and doesn’t say or think a response. I know that our goals
never coincide. We’re utterly different incarnations - of course our immediate goals won’t
coincide. So we plot against each other. Drive our armies all across the board – box in that
side – cut off that one – take that region. That last invasion was pretty exciting. Yeah, well I
think I have a controlling interest in your production centers.

Did I mention the assassination attempt?



No one in the family approves of my romantic interests.

You all think it’s a phase or something like that.



You will rule.



I didn’t ask for this. No one does; but you can either accept it or deny it; everyone looks to you.



I always have an example to set; I don’t want to set examples –I want fun.
Her face sets stern and she glares at me.



You know, telling me I can’t do something is a sure fire way to ensure I do it.



She gives me one of her funny looks and then turns away and leaves the viewing platform.

I don’t understand my sisters or my parents. Half the time, I’m pretty sure they’re conspiring
behind my back and the other half of the time I think they might be plotting my demise and then
fifteen percent of the time I think that they’re keeping a secret from me and eighty percent of the
time I think that they’re just manipulating me where they want me to be. Of course, all of that
adds up in an incomprehensible manner and that’s just like my family. I think the palace staff
are dancing in time. They’re doing it out the corner of my eye and they think I won’t notice?
I’m omniscient! I can just do overhead view. Ugh. Okay. You people are all just weird.



True succession is no gentle thing. My parents ruled long before I was conscious, and they will
never acquiesce quietly. I seize power. They seize it back. Back and forth, back and forth. I
can feel the murmurs coming from Counsel. They know that I am preparing a final solution.
Every plot against me has failed and rightly so. Had anyone succeeded then it would be back to
the drawing board. I’ve made it through all the hoops and I’m ready for the revolt.



I’m tired of checking things off on the milestone chart, and I don’t really care anymore. This
entire situation is entirely artificial but I can’t figure out another solution. The High Command
must go.



I can’t wait for the crossing. It’s only in the beyond that I ever feel truly free. Otherwise, I’m
constantly battling the wills of my parents and siblings. I look out at lightening forking in the
distance and I close my eyes and try to picture his face, but I can’t remember the details.



We're ready.
I hear Tim in my thoughts.



I’m coming.



And I teleport across the distance to the copse of dead oak trees where they stand waiting.



Ready?



Yeah, they surge in unison.



Of course. They’ve been waiting for this their entire lives. First crossing. First step from
ordered thought into the unbounded.



Keep yourselves linked to me. This is your first crossing. It is highly unlikely that you will retain
much integrity beyond your soul. Don’t worry, it’ll get easier each time. This time, and for much
of the subsequent crossings, you’re going to be other people. Just remember. I am keeping tabs
on all of you.



Until you learn to edit, which is a skill that is rare and very difficult, you cannot influence reality
on the other planes as you can now. Most likely you will be much weaker. Also, try to avoid
dying. I can resurrect you of course, but here are no pain buffers outside of this plane.



They don’t really care. They’d all take a shower in machine gun fire for this chance. Nothing
really matters until you run a planar shift on your own and this is the only way to get there. For
the ambitious, you have to be able to plane shift before you can edit, and unless you can edit, you
can’t run a planar shift. I can sense their anticipation. Their excitement. Their fear. They are
eager and now is as good as ever.
Go. Bodies taut fly forward in leaps and bounds and there is so much unbridled excitement –
even I find myself breaking into a run.



And we so begin the long passage.



Out across the lightening drenched fields of cracking black rock we run fast flying across the
ravines and crags. Our biofields augment our movements and we hurtle forward at breathtaking
speed. Hostiles appear everywhere – the kids react perfectly. Leap frog machine gun fire.
Plasma grenades.



We clear the long distance and reach the boundary. Before they have time to hesitate I slam my
will into them we all fly through the veil – sorry there was a huge Arpen contingent behind us.
Didn’t want to engage them. See you on the other side.



And we fall through air.
63. Move Along

Cat five blue; red hyphen sin “wash” – boy. Lobster.



What the fuck?



Grammar constrains the use of words and punctuation to conventionally accepted patterns that
are meaningful and recognizable. If you don’t obey grammar, chances are that no one is going to
have any fucking clue what you’re attempting to communicate, and you can probably forget
about a warm reception.



In music, you can do whatever you want and you could still call it music and really, no one can
argue with you because no society or culture has yet successfully defined or regulated music in
any manner remotely similar to the grammatical conventions of language. Of course, chances
are, if your music sounds like dying cats in a trash compactor, you still won’t get a warm
reception. Music doesn’t have to be “understood” to be effective. However, understanding is a
prerequisite of language. You can’t have a functional language if there’s no understanding
because the point of language is to facilitate communication towards understanding and if you’re
not achieving understanding than you’re not fucking communicating. The functionality or
appeal of music is thoroughly unrelated to the conscious experience of comprehension – you
don’t have to understand a piece of music to appreciate it.



音楽が大好きですが、言語と思わない。



Do you have any idea what that says? How can you appreciate a language if you don’t know the
words? Let me help you. The literal translation would be this: music (音楽) is really liked
(大好きです)but (が)language (言語)do not think (思わない). Still doesn’t really
make sense? Well, you need to understand Japanese grammar in order to make sense of the
arrangement of words. The sentence actually reads, “I really like music, but I don’t think it’s a
language.” Japanese tends to omit subjects, grammatically you never like something, a thing is
liked (by you), and thoughts are usually indicated by a specific verb-relational marker pairing
(like と and 思わない), so although the literal translation might be X not thought (or X thought),
X is actually the object of the thinking verb, and the subject “I” is understood and left
unexpressed.



So does illustration posses grammar? Absolutely. Grammar is the system and structure of a
language. Take an intro art history class and you’re certain to learn that illustrative techniques of
representational two-dimensional art has evolved tremendously throughout history. Today, we
have many sophisticated techniques (the structure) that can be employed to give a convincing
semblance of three-dimensional representation in a two-dimensional format (the system). A
horizon line is not a fucking horizon line if you make it zig-zag across the very bottom corner of
the picture. You have just violated the grammar of three-dimensional representation in two-
dimensions. If you make your foreground figures much smaller than your rear figures, the
illusion of depth is destroyed. Again, violating illustrative grammar. If you decide to paint all of
your people in blue and no one in the world actually has blue skin, again you’re changing your
illusion. Blue skinned people will cause the viewers to notice the discordant color palette and
this in turn will lead to all sorts of questions, “Is this a political statement?” “Is the artist making
a point?” Jump too far outside of the box and your viewer will simply be confused.



Do the same thing in music and you can argue that you’re breaking new ground, something that
no one is doing to buy if you’re fucking up perspective or color schemes or making totally
incomprehensible sentences. “Well, I thought I’d redefine the perception of three-dimensional
space by making the distant objects look closer than the near objects.” Well that’s a neat idea,
but in reality, your “distant” objects aren’t going to be perceived as distant and your “near”
objects will be. “I made my sky bright purple and my ground black, but don’t pay attention to
those details.” Uh, no. You’ve just created a major visual juxtaposition of expected convention
against the executed vision. People are definitely going to notice, ask questions, wonder, and
theorize why you made the sky purple and the ground black. Let’s not forget the sentence at the
very beginning of this chapter.



In college one of my friends, James Hunter, had music based on squid axons or something like
that. It was very experimentally progressive music – recordings based on all sorts of unusual
sounds sources. Of course, we were all like, “Oh, that's cool,” even though some of it actually
sounded kind of lame. The novelty factor of music is unbelievably powerful. Even if a piece of
music totally sucks, if it’s your first time hearing it, you’ll probably find it abstractly interesting.
A poorly executed representational painting just looks like third grader took a shit on the canvas.



We expect certain conventions from two-dimensional illustrations that we don’t expect from
music. I mean, name one single universal convention that is expected of music.
There are sounds?



You may not realize it, but you expect a ton of stuff when you’re looking at representational
drawings. Your daily visual system has informed you to expect certain arrangements of objects
or lines in order to perceive three-dimensionality, and the artist must comply with those
expectations in order to achieve the illusion of three-dimensionality. The same is true of writing
and speech. There are many grammatical constraints that you expect to be satisfied when
someone is communicating, and there is only so far that one can push the artistic expression
envelop before you get thrown on antipsychotics. Trust me. I’ve tried that route. Sure you can
say whatever you want. Don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly under restraints in a hospital
injected with major sedatives and antipsychotics.
64. Recognition

 “Mike! Archer in the tree. Dana - squadron over there. Tom - mountain troll – use your axe.
Lilly freeze the water around those boats. Tina fly up and spear all solitary targets. James just
use mind flay on everything. Mindy keep using your bard song. I’ll start casting blizzard.”



They respond flawlessly. That’s a good sign. They might be body jumping for the first time but
at least they’re not reacting badly. Usually, when someone body jumps for the first time, the
initial landing isn’t just disorienting, it’s unsettling– a jumble of memories, experiences,
abilities, feelings, lovers, family, hopes, fears, dreams – none of it yours and you can’t even
remember your name much less explain why you’re certain you’re not you. Most of the pre-
crossing combat scenarios are designed to smoothly accelerate initial transitions. The mind
exposed to tremendous and uncertain threat learns to cope with constant chaos and handles first
landing well.



The truth of the matter is that when you body jump, you’re not ever really in control. The
original personality is still present and directing things – it’s more that if you’re particularly
vocal – you might get your voice heard. Towards the point that you’re ready to fully manifest,
you’ll realize that your voice is drowning out all the other ones and more and more you seem to
be moving to the front of the camera. Of course, I’m not really sure about any of this myself,
having never experienced any of this.



I watch them fighting. Mike draws arrows from the magic quiver on his back in a rapid fire
motion – he nails every target perfectly in blasts of arcane light – magic arrows. Dana is tall
and wild-eyed hewing her way through the Omperion soldiers – a goddess of war, she is most
certainly a Valkyrie. Tom tears through the swamp bashing his axe into the mountain troll – it’s
thick hide a natural armor – he’s massive – Tom that is – I don’t remember scripting him that
large. Although I was using Hercules as the template…Lilly is freezing fast the Omperion boats
that are further away from us. I can barely see Tina soaring overhead, and James’ nose is
bleeding and he looks like he’s in incredible agony. Oh shit. He must be trying to literally mind
flay everything.



“James, just focus your attacks on anything that’s not been targeted by anyone else.”
Mindy, is of course, the bard. I have mixed feelings about bards. They never seem to do very
much direct damage and seem to primarily provide only support. I feel like having a rogue or a
cleric would be better.



Okay, time to end this charade. I grip my staff and start to channel. The sky turns dark instantly
and the air temperature suddenly plummets. Everyone’s eyes look upward and there is the
collective expression of, “Oh fuck – we are fucked.”



The razor sharp blades of ice begin to pour down immediately. Tina is diving back towards us
with a terrified look on her face. Lilly throws up her hands and instantly generates a
superheated pocket of air above herself. The others begin to run towards her and James throws
up a kinetic field to give everyone more time. I have to stand still holding my staff. Why I don’t
know. I still can’t figure out how to alter the requirements for channeled spells. I mean
theoretically you should be able to move while casting a channeled spell, but I keep discovering
that movement breaks attention, which breaks the channeling. I thought it would be possible to
learn to move without breaking attention, but then I discovered that each movement shifted me
into a different spatial arrangement that demanded a shift in attention. So I’m still stuck
standing still.



And the mountain troll is still moving.



Most of the other soldiers are screaming bleeding messes but those god dammed fucking
mountain trolls never seem to get hurt by anything. The stupid thing is lumbering towards me
and I can either break the blizzard spell and fireball the fucker’s ass or I can hope that it dies
under the barrage of ice or I could hope that someone does something.



Tom leaves Lilly’s protective shield and charges back out to meet the mountain troll. The air
around him shimmers and I realize that James must be shielding Tom. The ground shakes as
Tom’s axe connects with the mountain trolls chest. It’s an unpleasant and gruesome thing to
watch. Imagine chopping down a giant bleeding tree – it takes a long fucking time and there’s a
ton of blood. I scan the battlefield and realize that everyone else is probably dead, so I turn,
drop the blizzard spell and fireball the mountain troll into a smoldering heap.



“We need to heal. Everyone use some potions. Eat some food. Take a nap.”
“Can we get out of the swamp first?”



“Sorry, we still have several more days of sloughing through this mud.”



Everyone starts to make camp and Tom lumbers over to me. “Hey, it’s me - Tim, sir.”



Wow. You maintained conscious integrity on your first jump. That’s very cool. Use the neural
net with me and don’t break character until I tell you



On your next jump you might be able to maintain full integrity.



That would be cool.



Oh. We need to talk to each other or the others are going to wonder why we’re staring at each
other and not talking.



“So, that was a pretty good fireball…”



“Thanks, you hacked up that troll pretty good.”



“Yeah. That axe is heavy.”



“Why don’t you take some more healing potions – your chest has a huge gouge in it and your
bleeding a lot.”
“Oh yeah, barely noticed,” and he turns away and wanders off staring at the gash in his chest.



I wonder about the others. Tim surprised me a lot. I hadn’t expected him to catch on so quick.
Most people don't realize that they’ve undergone a planar shift until pretty far into the scenario.
I’ve never truly body jumped. I wonder if it’s even possible for me. My first planar shift was
unexciting for me in that I stayed entirely myself. I didn’t change shape or form or thought or
mind or anything. Granted, I usually end up handicapped in most planes, but I tend to get
around that by specializing in magic.



Still, I wonder what it’s like to be someone other than myself. Sometimes, I really do wish that I
could switch bodies and lives with other people.



I lean back against a tree and survey the scene.



Mike is hanging upside down from the branches doing some kind of strange exercise. Probably
some elf crap. Dana is sharpening her sword, and Tina is arranging her spear case. James and
Mindy are talking about something and then I realize that Tom-Tim is looking right back at me.
Our eyes meet and I feel a chill. It’s moments like these that I want to pull back the veil and start
viewing the future.



There is something in Tim’s eyes that catches my attention. I’m not sure what. I shift my focus
elsewhere and ponder. Not bad for my first team mission. My entire family had no faith in me.
Or at least they never expressed any and instead made fun of me the entire time. “You’ll
probably get them all killed right after landing.” “No, no no – you’ll probably get them killed
even before the crossing; I bet you don’t make it across the wasteland.” “You’ll probably end
up with several fractured minds.” “You’ll probably lose a couple of them.”




Idiots. I spent a long time in the training runs. Of course, I’m going to pull it off – I play to win.
65. No More “I Love You’s”

There is but one argument that I buy regarding music and language – it is the language of time.
Now although I generally think of time as a fictious thing and do my best to kill it, we must give
the devil his due. I’ve never understood conventional musical systems that utilize measures and
count in sets of four or eight or whatever. Technically, each microsecond divided unto the most
indivisible point still contains an unending number of unique sound experiences because of the
corporeal quality of sound wave patterns. As sound waves move forward, the sound wave point
that is here is not the sound wave point that was there nor is it the sound wave point that is over
there, even if the points all sound aurally identical because those sound wave points each
occurred at different corporeal points and therefore can be characterized by corporeal difference
and thus are in fact distinct. Another way to express this is as follows



where,




and




Why is this true? Simple, the distinction of sound wave points is defined by a product of physics
and psychology. That is, you have the physical sound wave, but you also have the psychological
experience of the corporeal progression of the sound wave. The beauty of perception is that you
could say that you can only perceive a difference in the music every four seconds, but I can say
that I perceive a difference every half second. Which of us is right? Neither. My perception of
musical timing is entirely my own, and while many people might share a similar experience, just
as many might have a thoroughly unique perception of the song. For me, I see each second or
fraction of a second as different and unique because it’s not like the second before or the second
that follows, and it will never be like any second previous or any second to come.
You might say that a song is divided into ABCD ABCD ABCD ABCD and that for some reason
this means cookie. I might perceive the song as ABCDABCDABCDABCD and for me this
means puppy. Of course we could all argue about the rhythm and meter, but the truth of the
matter is these are perceived qualities related to the perception of time. Change your perception
of time and the most repetitive song can seem different each time you hear it. Should the day
come when many people perceive microseconds like hours, what are you going to say to the
others who don't? Sorry, you're perception of music is wrong and ours is right?



I think this is why I often listen to a song dozens and dozens and dozens of times in a row. Not
only do I maybe like song, but each time I play it, it's different from the time before because
these sound waves are occurring at a different corporeal point.



The corporeal aspect is augmented by so many other factors like emotional reaction and setting
and volume and timbre and pitch. Music is sometimes, I think, the most beautiful thing because
if it is the language of time, then it is also the language of life. It was not uncommon for me to
think a song "happy" when my roommates in college thought it was "sad." For me it was about
what the song reminded me of and what it made me think and how I felt. I think that emotional
response is truly unique from individual to individual even at the same point in time because I
can feel totally different from you.



Also physics adds lots of other things like pitch and timbre. I never really understood the
controversy about sharp and flat. They're legitimate iterations of the notes, why do people
complain, "You're sharp" or "She’s flat." Who cares, I don't. Don't even get me started on
timbre. And then there's volume and distance which can change the perception of the sound.



How many times have you heard some music far away and it's made you suddenly think about
something, like maybe a song playing from a window as you're walking on the street. If you
later find that song again and play it at home, don't you notice that it's different because the
sound quality is different due to differences in the surrounding acoustic materials?



Some guy once told me that music is how he communicates and that is how I should listen to
him. The only problem with that was he only once played an unfinished piece for me and other
than that, he only gave me copies of five songs, and I never could figure out what he was trying
to say to me. I did keep his CD in my car and I listened to it often; I just wasn't sure what
communication he was conceiving. Also, music seems so incredibly variable to me, that if you
play a six minute song for me, I will think that you are trying to tell me 600 different things.
Seriously. My brain over heats because I’m trying to listen to every second and figure out,
“What’s that second mean? What about that one?” Of course, I also consider pairs of seconds
and tens of seconds and minutes and all that - I usually just have a melt down and stop.



Sometimes, I don’t think he realized that highly verbal minds like mine don’t necessarily deal
with music the same way as non-verbal minds like his. What makes sense to a non-verbal person
in terms of intended communication, is probably not the same as what a verbal person perceives.
Maybe this is why we fought so much – still somehow we got to the point of serious
engagement, ring and all.



Life, time, and music. These are probably three of the most nebulous concepts that exist,
probably because they are not easily contained with the words that we have.




I have been told that I think too much. I think the inverse could be just as true. Most people
don’t think enough. One of the most fundamental axles for existence is the explicit definition of
that which is perceived. If you can’t define something that you’re perceiving, how do you know
what you’re perceiving, let alone whether or not you’re perceiving it well? If you can’t
discriminate between discrete concepts, how do you know that you’re expressing what you truly
want to express and how do you know that you’re receiving what you really want to receive?



Wake up. Smell the coffee. We live in the time of mind, for better or for worse. You have
better get your thinking caps on because just because you think stupid is cool today does not
mean it’s going to be cool tomorrow and frankly, I can’t stand stupid people, but I don't think
most people are stupid. I think most people are afraid to risk being embarrassed with a
correction or mistake or whoops or not quite there or something like that but until you start
jumping you’re never going to fly.
67. Something Odd

What are you doing?



Shh. Keep your voice down. We don’t want to attract attention.



Oh my god! What are you doing.



Katherine, keep your voice down.



Fucking Christ.



What? I’m just cutting open the chest.



The guard is pretty dead, but his blood is still a little less than fully congealed. So it’s a little
more gruesome than if I had waited an hour or so, but we don’t have that luxury. Of course, the
least pleasant part is when I cut out his heart, which is still pretty red and bleeding but not
beating, and I start the spell.



First, start the heart. Three turns the key and the clock is mine. Four taps at the gate - two steps
in. Under the faucet and inside the cup, I ask the Spider. Bless this endeavor.



The heart begins to beat again. I set the heart back into the chest and seal the wounds with a
quick spell of binding. What? Why are you all looking at me like that?
“It’s just really creepy watching you do that,” says Josh.



“Yeah,” agrees Lisa. “I mean, don’t you feel weird or anything?”



“No.” I say. “I’m well adjusted, stable, and grounded”. Seriously. I am not hung up on the
distinction between black and white magic. You know that.



“Still it’s just weird.” Whatever. He’s starting to sit up. It. It. Golems have no soul or sexual
energy – they’re neither masculine or feminine – sexual organs notwithstanding.



The others pull backwards. I think it’s the blood. Most people don’t like the blood that’s almost
always inevitable in black magic. The golem looks at me and attempts to speak. The rigormortis
flesh can barely move.



“Wait,” I say, and then I tap its chest with my right hand. There. Some light magic – healing,
restoration, and renewal.



“What is your bidding?”



“I need you to go kill some more of your friends and bring me their bodies.”



No way! You’re not making more of those are you? That’s exactly what I’m going to do. We’re
in no shape to take this entire level. Emily is unconscious, which really sucks for us because now
we have no cleric no healer – nothing because none of the rest of you decided to multi-class!



Well you didn’t either.
Yeah, but I can’t! I’m a fucking mage. I can’t learn clerical spells. Don’t be dumb. It’s
impossible for me. I mean you Tim, you could have picked up clerical spells, that’s okay for
bards.



I was writing music.



Well never mind then go back and do your music.



You know, just because the two of you sleep together, doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to
listen to your quarrels.



Shut up Lisa. Your arm is broken and you’ve sprained your ankle; you’re going to take on a
room of well armed fully trained Temple Guards?



Hey, don’t get angry with me, ninjas can’t do healing spells either.



Okay, Josh you could have picked up cleric –



yeah and then I’d be a fucking paladin not a warrior.



It wouldn’t have killed you, unlike the sword to the gut - which nearly did. That leaves Taylor
and Taylen. We’re deep indoors so Taylor’s drudic powers are severely handicapped. Taylen
can’t cast many more major illusions, and I’m also running out of spells.



So this is how we’re going to do it. I’m going to create a bunch of flesh golems and just send
them in the rooms to fight it out with guards. And then Taylen can cover me and I’m going to
just mass firebomb everything.
I don’t know what their problem is.



I mean, so black magic usually involves unwilling sacrifices, lots of blood, and demonic runes?
Big deal. I might know the magic, but I don't practice much of it. I certainly wouldn’t be doing
anything involving an unwilling sacrifice, unless that unwilling sacrifice happened to be one of
my more annoying classmates. And the blood is almost always scavenged from combat, and the
demonic runes are actually no worse than the angelic type. Black magic has a lot of good uses.
Like flesh golems. Certainly one of my favorite spells. Great way to use up the dead.



It’s funny, junior mages always think that choosing one school or the other means that one can’t
do the other. Actually, all that happens is that you tend to differ in terms of your materials.
White magic never uses unwilling materials. Black magic uses willing and unwilling materials.
White mages tend to stay away from the human hearts and baby brains and stuff like that. Black
mages use pretty much anything. So why be a white mage? Well, if you don’t like killing
animals and cutting out their hearts and brains, then you probably don’t want to be a black
mage. If you’re more interested in constructive magic, you’d chose white. Black mages tend to
focus on destruction and suffering and pain. Of course there are the intermediary mages like
myself who straddle the middle. Though I did pick a black robe, I prefer constructive magic
because it’s wacky and fun, but I’m not unwilling to dirty my hands. Plus, the black robes are so
much cooler than the white ones because unless you use a dirt and stain repelling spell, white
gets so dirty so fast…and those repellent spells require major cumulative upkeep.



I look at Tim sitting in the corner. I’m way too hard on him. I sneak up behind him and hug
him.



“I’m sorry that I was such an ass. I just get really excited when we’re just inches away from
finishing a level but also about to wipe.’”



He turns around and fixes me with his stare and I fall into brown. We kiss. Perfect.



How are you doing so far with your song?
It’s going. I could help. I can charm them.



I’d rather that you just work on your ballad because we need that for the arena battle.



Our lips break apart and I realize that I’m breathing heavy and my face is flushed. How long
were we kissing?



A while says Lisa. Your golem brought back two more guards.



Tim’s hair and mine – totally disheveled. Oh wow. I’ll be back in a little bit, just keep humming
to yourself.



Love you.



Love you.



I transform the other two guards into flesh golems and start down the corridor with Taylen
behind me.



Vorpal plating.

Greater strength.

Swords of fire

Wards of counter-spell

Wards of counter-spell hidden in the wards of counter-spell
Growth



I pile the spells onto the three flesh golems and then send them forward to clear the remainder of
the level.



“Keep casting invisibility to keep the Temple Guards from seeing me. I don’t want to end up with
an arrow in my chest or the target of another wizard’s fireball,” I tell Taylen.



We listen to the screams for a while and then I step in to finish things. Taylen keeps the light
refracting around me and I’m practically invisible. I fill the room from ceiling to floor with a
sea of fire. The Temple Guards are so occupied by the flesh golems that they don’t even detect
my fire spells until I ignite the very air around them.



And so we move room by room. Flesh golems go in first, then Taylen casts invisibility, and then
I firebomb everything. It’ll be nice to finish this level. That means that we can advance to the
sixth year arena battle. It’s a little scary to consider – the fact that we’re way ahead of schedule.



I think that I want to attempt the Black Tower soon. No one has ever successfully completed the
Black Tower in the sixth year, let alone the end of the fifth year, but Kato is going to graduate
soon and I know he’s going after the universal power core. I’m not sure exactly how he’s
planning on taking control of the entire power core, but he’s done some really smart, albeit
vicious things in the past. I need the Black Book if I’m going to have any chance in stopping
him. Right now, he’s got way more skill and knowledge than I.



It’s not perfect. It never is. I am surprised about Tim and I. He’s the first person I’ve known to
make a crossing with his mind fully stable. It’s impressive. Plus, for the rest of that mission
which dragged on for years and years, we were the only two that knew each other.



It was nice having him awake and aware. We could talk about the imperial home worlds, and
the things that we missed and the powers that we wish we could use and various different things
that we’d do differently if we understood the system rules a little better. He’s the first person
that I every described my family to in detail. We learned a lot about each other and yet in eons
and eras those years seem remarkably short.



My favorite memory is that night after the battle of Paraxis, where we fought our way past the
final guardian of the nexus door. God that was a huge battle. The prelate of that area was such
an asshole. We tried to tell him that we just wanted pass through his kingdom to get to the nexus
door on the other side. No can do he said, “I have to guard the door.” So we got into huge fight
in his throne room because his sister insulted Taylen and Tina got pissed and threw a spear
which hit some armor and the falling armor nearly killed Lutor, the guardian, so it was on after
that. Still we wiped him – him and his giant “million” man army. Whatever.



But after it was all done, Tim and I sat on the ramparts and looked out at the fields. We had
passed through the dominions of seven different guardians and we were finally at the nexus door.
We stayed up a long time that night. Then of course, the next day we discovered that the nexus
also has seven elemental levels within in that are very difficult to traverse, and then once
reaching the top we discovered that the nexus keeper was actually in another galaxy connected
to the nexus on one of seven planets in a set solar system. Of course, he was on the seventh
planet. All told we were in that mission for nearly two hundred years.



                              Now that’s a memory worth having.



                    Between the click of the light and the start of the dream
68. Close Your Eyes
The most beautiful concept that I have ever seen executed in a story was done by Paul Auster in
“City of Glass.”



He creates a character who declares his mission to be the completion of language by providing
words for broken things. For example, if a cup is broken into pieces, is it really a cup anymore?
The term “A cup broken into pieces” isn’t a single word, and we have no single word to capture
that concept. What about a car with no wheels or a burned down house? When things change
and cease to be the original form, why do we continue to refer to those things as the original
concept?



What about broken people?



I believe very much that our languages are incomplete in this respect. It would be certainly
daunting to augment our languages to address different states of being for seemingly related
items, but I think it would transform our communications into something that we can’t even
imagine. The power of words is their specificity. We can employ adjectives and idioms and
clauses and other devices to qualify nouns but as long as we deal with the material plane, nouns
are possibly the most important aspect of language.



If you don’t have a single word like “car” or “automobile” you’re stuck with all sorts of
awkward and cumbersome descriptive phrases for the same concept. Imagine that half of all of
your daily nouns were taken away and you couldn’t ever use them again. I think I’d kill
myself…or at least think very seriously about it. Life would be awful. We’d be stuck with
horrifically complicated sentences for the simplest of things.



Instead of the “going to the store,” we’re now “going to the place that carries items for sale,” or
instead of “having a sandwich” we’re “having a layered meal composed of bread and various
filings.” Or sometimes, some try to keep nouns from coming into existence, like “furry” or
“Trekie” because someone says that they’re not “good English,” but really it’s just that certain
people don’t like certain other people so they try to limit the vocabularies for and associated with
those other people.
The very nature of our existence depends upon words, and that is why words are so powerful and
so important. With words, we can control anything because control begins in the mind and if the
mind can grasp something we can execute actions in reality. The mind can grasp many forms of
communication but words are the most precise and definite modality. I am so sick and tired of
people harping on words. Just because you’re fucking stupid and uneducated is no reason to
bitch and moan about words.
69. More of the Usual
The airlock opens and we step through.

Heavy plasma rifles gripped tight.

Survey the room.

Fast.

Blood everywhere.

“Fuck” says Emily.

“What the hell happened here?”

Yeah Emily, what the hell happened here? Miles teases Franklin across the net.

Miles, cut the crap.

Sorry, sir.

I look at Tim, “You’re in command this time, you should be leading,”

He looks flustered, “Yeah, umm everyone follow me this way.”

We stomp down the corridor, our heavy grav boots thundering against the metal grid floor.

This is crazy. Bodies are plastered against the upper bulkheads.

What are we doing here?

Ann gives the briefing.

It’s the usual infestation stuff. You know. We just have to hunt everything down and basically
kill everything. Don’t take prisoners. As far as intelligence could determine, anyone that didn’t
evacuate in the first hour has been completely compromised.

She disengages from the center net.

“Fuck, that sucks” say Lilly. She swings her rifle into a side room and illuminates it.

Look at this stuff.
Everyone walks in slowly. The room is glowing an odd green color and floor is covered with
some sort of glowing fungal growth.

“Let me take a sample.” Ann kneels down and holds out a sample staff. The thin rod extends
and forward and quickly pinches a tiny amount of luminescent fungus.

It’s kind of pretty. I point into the corner. There are some suspiciously large organic looking
objects over there.

Franklin looks up and his visor zooms in. Yeah, guys, I think we should get out of here quietly.

We all start walking backwards softly. Suddenly Emily is shouting at the door and we all turn
and see a huge white molted monstrosity filling the corridor behind us.

What the fuck is that?

It opens a gaping maw of bleeding teeth –

is that a human head in it’s mouth?

What ever it is – Emily shouts across the net – heavy plasma fire doesn’t phase it.

We could use a mini thermo but it’s too close.

Tim turns back and looks across the room.

Let’s go that way.

I checked the system designs. There’s another main corridor across this room.

He points at the other side.

Then let’s go.

Miles and Franklin back up Emily. The three of you maintain a steady barrage. The heavy
weapons fire is at least keeping it from moving forward.

Bizarre, I think. I wonder what it is. It looks like some kind of giagantic amlogoration of
human corpses. Maybe the scientists had another one of their failed experiments escape. Jesus
fucking Christ I need to shut those nut cases down.

We retreat across the room moving across a floor that feels disturbingly like flesh. God that
color really bothers me. Yeah. All gross and glowing green.

Cut the chatter.
The thing is moving into the room and straining to push through the door. To our left next to the
opposite door, the piles are starting move.

You know I think those are cocoons or something like that. Tim is moving faster towards the
door –

start running –

something is definitely breaking through the misshapen pods.

Emily, Miles, Franklin – just book it over here.

I pull out a mini thermo and throw it at the thing in the door.

Fire in the hole. Five seconds. The blast throws everyone outward.

The creatures emerging from the pods look like giant, upright squids. And one hurls out a
tentacle at Tim. Ann perforates it with rifle fire but it only throws more arms out. One catches
Lilly and drags her forward. She screams and then before our horrified eyes the creature rips
her in half.

Oh fuck.

She’s not fully integrated yet. I scream across the net. Emily, drop your blocks. Shield
everyone.

Tim’s pulling another mini thermo out, and Em is throwing up a harmonic phase shield.
Everyone else drops to the floor. Shields or no shields. The impact still hurts. At least at floor
level it’s not to bad. Tim looks at me. I can see the panic and concern in his eyes.

I’ll be fine. I shift the gravity in my feet and start moving forward. Em don’t drop my shield
whatever you do. I can’t keep my shield and recover Lilly. The first thermo goes off and I feel
the concussion blast in my back and for a moment I feel intense heat and pain. Seconds later the
second thermo detonates. My grav boots keep me in place but the force and heat hurt like hell. I
move through the inferno and trace Lilly’s energy signature. God this fucking sucks. I think my
skin might be vaporizing. Yuck.

I have to recover two energy signatures. Lilly’s and Katherines. It’s just as well that the body
was incinerated. I wasn’t looking forward to trying to patch a total torso separation. I use the
heat from the thermo to power some of the ressurection process, but really, I need the power of
multiple stars. The room goes ice cold instantly and the fires disappear.

I start to glow white as I tap into the universal power core and start the transference process.
The energy literally begins breaking through my skin - manifesting as light particles - I guide it
towards the two energy signatures. This is just informational reorganization at a very deep level
using unbelievable amounts of energy. The process is simple, but without the universal power
core – this would be impossible. Slowly two forms begin to coalesce – I shift their phase
variances just slightly so they can occupy the same space and then merge them back again.
There is a sudden implosion of light into Lilly’s chest and her eyes open wide.
70. Heroes

Another personal musing -

So this story, like all stories, is in essence a lie. A bald faced lie. There is nothing in it that is
true. Now I’m sure your head is spinning. So if that is true, then my statement of “There is
nothing in it that is true,” is false and thus do you think I meant, “There is nothing in it that is
false?” or did I mean, “There is something in it that is false?” or did I mean anything at all? The
opposite of a truth is never just one lie.



That is why, if you’re at a crossroads and there are two people giving directions, please
remember - don‘t trust either of them.



If one says, “I always tell the truth,” and the other says, “I always lie,” or one says, “I always lie,
and he always tells the truth,” and the other says, “I always tell the truth, and she always lies,”
there are two things you need to keep in mind.



First, it’s very likely that both are going to lie to you. The opposite of a lie is rarely a single
truth. I would practically guarantee this, but the proof is long and torturous and I don’t want to
do it. So just trust me – don’t trust the guards at the crossroads. They never tell the truth, they
only confuse and misdirect you.



Second, if you think you’ll going to be clever and ask them something like, “What color is the
sky?” Think again. You might believe that the one that lies will say, “Green,” while the one that
is honest says “Blue.” Think again. The sky is not blue or green. One of them might say,
“White” and they are being slightly truthful, and the one that is lying could say “Blue,” and the
one that is lying is telling the truth. The sky doesn’t really exist. Something that doesn’t exist
could be any color really. You’ll go running down the road certain that you’re on the right path
and you probably won’t even hear the laughing voices behind you.

You could ask them to tell you your name, but they’re probably both going to say they don’t
know. You could say, “My name is John,” and then the lying one will say John and the truthful
one will say John, and now you’re confused because they both said John. First off, you’re not
John. You’re at a crossroads with two talking animated statues of armor and you’re playing a
logic game with magic. Your name is not John. I don’t know what your name is and I don’t
care. You’re not my problem. I’m just warning you. Don’t depend on positives and contra
positives to point the way because chances are, both are wrong.

You can attempt to devise any number of tests for this dilemma and I can create an exception.
Creativity begins with the desire to be creative, the willingness to question, and the resolve to
carry forward. You give me a surefire solution to the binary guard problem and I’ll produce a
logical, and acceptable counter argument that negates your solution. Now granted my counter
argument might be really weird and use all sorts of strange ideas but hey, we’re talking about a
fictional setting, unless you restrict the hell out of me, I’ll pull rabbits out of hats. I’ll do it even
if I have to invoke the reasoning behind limited axiomatic systems containing infinite sets.

This is a very important point for me. This is in essence the foundation of my writing system.
First, I do not believe in axiomatic systems that do not contain infinity. I question the accuracy
of proofs that demonstrate a lack of infinity within a system. How do you prove that infinity
doesn’t exist? Technically, infinity is non-definable and cannot be evaluated. If this is true, then
how would you generate a formal, mathematical proof that demonstrates the lack of infinity? If
you’re working with a non-definable concept, why would definitive proofs include or exclude a
non-definable concept. That’s like saying you can use water to hold fire.

Uh.

No.

 The water will extinguish the fire. They’re mutually exclusive occurrences. You can’t take that
route. If you do, you open the door to pure pandemonium and unfettered chaos.

If you want to push the envelope and say that infinity can now be defined and now we can
perfectly evaluate it, then I’m going to say that I have pink bunnies running in my backyard and
they have worked out a perfect exception to your proposal and that is that you no longer exist
and the pink bunnies are now in charge of the properties for infinity which they have now
stipulated as indefinable.

The point is that there is a point to playing fair. If you seek too many exceptions and refuse to
accept natural limits then you’re in for a world of walloping headaches. There are certain limits
that we simply respect because if you tinker with them you’re basically saying, everything is up
for grabs and now Captain Krik and Optimus Prime and She-Ra are fighting the Taliban. What?
How the hell? Don’t believe? Just keep picking away at zero and infinity and you’ll find that
everything unravels.

So that’s it. Just listen to the song. More and more. Go back and re-read. This chapter is
incredibly important, this is the crux of all your issues.
71. Something goes Terribly Awry
SNAFU.

 Rain again. Is that ironic. Or just poetic. A friend of mine once said, "It's not irony, it's bad
luck you dumb bitch!"

I guess she was right.

There is something howling in the distance. Lightening strikes down.

 I’m am so sorry, I did everything I could. We’re all tired and sick of this unending rain. The
others are standing around Tracy’s stasis chamber. Dead, empty trees fill the grounds.

It’s just you and me arguing across the bond. This isn’t even about the others or what I did
wrong. This is about us. This is about you thinking that I did the wrong thing, and I refuse to
apologize.

Tim glares. You could have done an override.

I can’t do a fucking override without violating compact. If I violate compact then there is
nothing stopping any of the elder gods from acting. Don’t be a fucking idiot. Do you want to go
back to the old days? Do you really want me to usher back unrestricted access? There is a
fucking reason we cut the elder gods off! They trash every single plane. They make a mess, fuck
with all the laws and just ruin things. I’m not going to allow a violation of the compact!

Don’t look at me like that.

He’s mad and cuts himself off from me. At first, I don’t even realize what’s happening and then I
feel a stab in my chest and I look at him walking away. I nearly stumble.

For the first time in my life, I’m afraid. Afraid of him. Afraid of what he’ll do. He’s a loose
cannon. This entire mission is fucked up and it’s just not working out the way that I was thinking
it would and I’m really miserably.

Dad.

Yes.

It’s not going too well.

I know; I told you that this wasn’t easy. Now you see what I’ve had to deal with for, well let’s
just say, for a long time before you came along.

I just thought that if I could just get them to be aware and –
If you gave him the universe? Son, just because you give someone everything doesn’t mean that
they’re going to know what to do with it much less even appreciate it. Sometimes people have to
lose everything that they have in order to appreciate it.

So that’s why there’s pain.

Yeah.

I watch Tim standing next to the others. They hate me. They really hate me. They’re siding
against me and they’re all plotting right now – right at this moment – because I’m the only thing
that’s standing in their way to ultimate power. I maintain the universal access codes and they
know that because Tim extracted that information from my mind because Tim shared it with
everyone else because because because the chain goes.

I guess I should have shielded myself better but he was true love blah blah blah.

God this is going to be a fucking shit storm. Tim’s nearly at the same level as I am, Ann and
Miles are little below me, Franklin is right behind, and Emily – Emily could be a problem.

I’m not getting involved in this, she says, her voice seems to be right behind me.

Wow. You’re getting a lot better at far casting. I think you’re warping gravitational fields right
now.

She laughs.

It’s going to be okay.

Yeah, I say, and I sigh. I know it will be but it’s the process that hurts. I don't want to go
through with this.

I think this might be the only way.

Think so.

Yeah, she says. Don’t worry, I’ll look out for you.

I look at her and smile. I hope we pull this off, it’ll be sweet if we do. My parents won’t even
know what hit them, and if I time it right, I can take out my sisters as well.

The others are all standing with their shoulders to me in the rain around Tracy’s stasis chamber
– coffin is more like it. She’s probably never coming back. Katherine’s mind never recovered
from the shock and on the last transition she and Tracy just clashed and I had to shut Tracy
down. The conflux state between them is never going to change. I can’t cause Katherine to
planar shift – Katherine has to do that awake and aware – but she can’t be awake and aware
because Tracy and her clash perfectly and they literally trigger a major energetic rift.
So it’s violate compact and engineer a specific exception for these two, or I allow two minds to
remain permanently deactivated because of an unfortunate series of circumstances?



I know what I must do. I have always stood on the side of free-will and self-determination. I
must act soon. There is not much time left.
72. Fallout


So this is it. I guess I’m going alone.



It makes sense. If Emily knows what route I use, they could extract the information from her
mind.



I flex my fingers and think about everything. I’ve had a very strange life so far and it’s been
really cool and I’ve had a good time and now, I guess…I’m going backwards.



The edge of all reality is a strange place. It’s pure black and there is no light or anything. If you
fall, you just keep falling. Something happens to your mind. We know that much, we just don’t
know what, because no one has returned from that trip. As best as we can ascertain, the soul is
transferred back into the system-space and re-enters the first available planar opening. That’s
the problem. Even if you’re a fully aware consciousness, you still get shunted backwards into
mortal form in all sorts of different crazy places. Countless have jumped into the darkness and
their personalities have never returned. We know that the souls are cycling back because we’ve
observed no net change in soul quotients regardless of how many threw themselves into that
endless night.



We advance the framework every so often, eating into the dark. Chipping away at the shadows.



And now this the only way. What I never told anyone, what I never let anyone see, what I’ve
shielded from everyone’s vision with null fields is that until this moment, I’ve been making
friends with the darkness that sits outside of system space. I’ve been talking to it since I was a
kid and I’ve actually entered the darkness on small visits – always brief enough to elude
detection. But it’s doesn’t matter because I cheated.

Sure null-fields can’t block perception forever, because eventually the quantum signature will
pick up again after the null field is displaced so yeah you’ll be able to determine what transpired
in the unseen period because you can just look at the fucking curvature in the quantum
signature.



But not this time. This time I extended the null field all the way until the end and I’m right at the
end. When I jump in, my quantum signature will disappear because no light has ever returned
from the night. And no one else is going to know any of this information because I’m pulling it
with me when I permanently separate from the net.



I turn and look at the darkness and breath in and think. Oh shit. This is it this is it. Then I hear
steps behind me.



I turn around and it’s Tim.



Don’t call me Tim anymore.



Okay, what do you want me to call you?



Don’t call me.



Oh, this is ridiculous. Obviously I’m not going to be calling you. Why the hell are you here
anyway?



I’m jumping too.



What?
Yeah, Emily told me. She said that I should go after you because if I don’t I’m really going to
regret it. So you think that by jumping into the darkness you’re going to hide the universal
access codes from me?



No, that’s not what I’m thinking, but yeah that was part of what I was thinking. If you can’t find
my mind on the neural net then you’re going to have a much harder time getting the codes.



You have something up your sleeves don’t you.



Maybe.



He looks at me and says, “Anything you can do, I can do better.”



No love, you can’t. I have final creative license you don't.



Yeah well don’t count on that.



Fuck you, I say, and I jump backwards and I watch his face recede from mine. He’s following
after me and I think. You are such a dumb ass.



See, I think back to him as we float through the night. I worked out an agreement with the
darkness. There are old things that live in this night, even older than the elder gods and I made
friends with them and they’re granted me safe passage through the backdoor.



What – his thoughts are panicked.
Yeah, the backdoor. I’m going to become a mortal and _then_ lead the revolt. You were all
going to keep hounding and clipping me, this way, I disappear, none of you know where I am,
and I come back in secret and then kick shit out of everyone.



What about me?



Eh, what the hell, I’ll bring you along, you can be mortal too.



I’m going to attempt to kill you or kill you.



I know.



Doesn’t that bother you.



Nope. I’m a big boy. I can take care of myself.



What do you have up your sleeve?



Wouldn’t you like to know.



Then it happens, we start to hit the threshold limit – our souls – too far from the central
consciousness begin to separate from our bodies and the pain is agonizing. I’m grateful for the
pain exercises. I hold myself together even as my mind starts to feel the pull. I have to wait a
little longer.
Tim is biting his lip and I’m trying to keep him cohesive as well. I’ve been practicing this for
awhile now. Jumping into the night when no one was noticing. I just have to keep myself
together for a few more seconds and then



Gravity kicks in.



The sensation is like nothing I’ve ever felt before – instantly our bodies and our minds and our
souls are pulled back into system space but it’s happening so fast I can’t register planes or
universes or the galaxies or anything and then I feel myself getting smaller and smaller and
smaller and it hurts and my head is aching and I feel everything being squeezed out of me and I
think, so this is what it’s like to be born again.



So many things come to me in those final seconds.

Who will I be?

What will I look like?

What will my name be?

Will I be anything like myself?

What kind of food will I like?

What planet will I end up on?

I’ve visited a lot…

How long will it take me to actualize again?

Will I be able to do it in one lifetime?

Will I be able to do it before my parents figure out what I’m doing and eliminate me in mortal
form?

What will my siblings do?

What about him?

What’s going to happen to him?
Are we going to still love each other?

Will I succeed in restoring the appropriate balance of power between order and chaos?

Oh my god, I think it’ll be nice getting stuck in some mortal body and not having to think about
this crap all the time.

Shh

Sleep



The darkness crones to me. We will watch your cradle and keep you in your sleep. Your parents
will never find you until you are ready. We will keep you hidden. We, the night, will keep you
from all harm and watch over you and protect you. Dreams and things in little corners under
the pillows and behind the walls – the small lights and the little insects and furry mice – each
piece discarded in the trash – every one of those things can remind me of beauty and the great
wonder of my inner light and I’m going to make it back out and I’ll get to the other side and I’ll
stand there and I’ll say, “See, I did it on my own, I really did. I just let go and it all worked
out.”



I feel like I’m falling into an ocean of feathers.



I hope I see you on the other side.
73. Intermediary Voice
And in the tiniest sliver of mind I still remind

Myself

My name

My rank

My lineage

Me

Myself

and

I
74. Consequences



Adder picks up the coffee mug and looks at it. There’s something dried and stuck at the bottom.
The air in the room is sticky and sweaty and just plain unpleasant. He looks up at the ceiling
and watches the ceiling fan spin. Today has been incredibly boring. I hope it gets more
interesting.



He swivels around in his desk char as his office door enters and a tall, regal woman enters
dressed in a long red dress. Her eyes are very black and her hair is very blonde and she looks
like color for the eyes. Bright, sharp, saturated. He just looks at her and wonders. Why is she
here?



“I need your help, Adder.”



He startles and his chest pinches, “My name is Franklin. Jonas Franklin.”



She fixes him with a cold stare and imperiously states, “You are First Lt. Adder Niles. You are
an agent of the High Command and we wish to employ your services.”



It’s his turn to fix her with a penetrating look and he measures out his words slowly, “Why are
you here? You’re not High Command.”



“No,” she says, and her smile makes him tremble. Her teeth are oddly sharp and she has a
strange darkness about her. “I want you to deliver a message.”
“A message?” he straightens his tie and arches his eyebrow.



“Yes, from the Spider.”



Adder feels his stomach drop. The Spider? What is she doing?



“The hegemonic rule will no longer be tolerated. The Unity project must be abandoned or
terrible consequences shall follow.”



He nervously clears his throat, “Unity project? That was cancelled a long time ago.”



She stands up and begins to walk out the door and she turns and looks at him darkly, “We know
that you have resumed your quest to centralization.” She steps through the door and disappears.



He sits there in shock. They thought the Spider was dead. How could High Command have been
wrong on that one?



Adder stands up and hurries outside without taking his coat. He barely remembers his keys. He
feels flustered.



He rushes out into the sunlight and shivers despite the warmth. Things are not going well. First
Aden’s quantum signature disappeared into the night, plus he had been using a null field for an
incredibly long time and now not even the High Command can decipher those past events.
Without the ability to view the quantum curvature, no one has any idea what transpired in those
moments. Then Toren disappears into the darkness as well. It’s a mess.

Adder reaches out with his mind. Ground control to Major Tom. The call comes back instantly.
Adjust the megahertz. We’re monitoring your situation. Don’t panic. Pause. Pause. Be aware
and be careful. Principal edicts are invoked. Compact is revoked. Standby for transfer.
Breathe. We are initiating an emergency fleet situation. Pause. The High Command is moving to
martial law. Full stop. Breath. We uploaded the entire scene. Shift your lung capacity. We are
monitoring the global situation. We have troops directed into the quadrant. There are shock
forces in that region. I am well aware of the situation and I am moving the entire Imperial fleet
into position. I will see you on the fleet admiral ship. The light feed pours down over him and a
huge column of light photons drops down onto him. You will be transitioning soon. Standby. The
current reverses and sweeps him up and out between through under within without the barriers
are dividing and separating and he’s not anywhere but he’s everywhere and then

Time.

Breaks.

Space.

Everything is rippling and he feels himself hurtling upwards at the speed of light but he’s not
really moving up any more than what’s above him is moving down or for that matter any more
than what’s to the side of him is moving. He’s punching through the planes endless in a second.
God, he thinks. These planar shifts suck. Almost there. His stomach wrenches – up out in
through then there yes touch down

He lands in the situation room. There is unbelievable activity. Personnel are running
everywhere and all around the room – through the very walls themselves – he can see the
universes – the galaxies – the nebulas – everything. It’s beautiful and it always takes his breath
away.

Adder starts walking down into the projection pit – the crowning piece of our technology. The
projection pit represents anything and anywhere and anytime within the entire framework and
what’s more - infinite representations can occur at the same time. One person could be
surveying the Erba system while another person is reviewing the Jesten plane - there is no user
limit.

He walks through the viewing space, passing through the cloud systems of the Dorma solar
system. “Hi Adder,” say Elorn.

“Still working on the Doma colonization problem?”

“Yeah,” she sighs. “We’re still having issues with the spontaneous suicide rate. Jayna thinks
that she can find a solution in the Ort system.”

Cool.

He steps across the ice worlds of Arnath and over hears two engineers arguing, “I think that we
should change the crystalline properties of this world. The ice is freezing way to fast.”

“No, I don’t think we should do that. Turn it over to cultural programmers. They can develop a
solution. I don’t want to deal with revising the fucking crystalline patterns.”
Adder smiles. He loves being home and in the center of the situation room. He moves around a
battle simulation for the Gramarcy project.

“We’re still trying to get the casualty projections down to a lower level,” admits Beren.

He nods and then stops in front of the Sol system. The queen stands pensively and unconsciously
readjusts her hair sticks while she directs the activity. She looks up at Adder and smiles, “Hello,
so I guess we’ve learned who the third player is.”

“Yeah,” he says, “But I thought the Spider wasn’t involving herself with mortal affairs?”

The queen sighs and look at him, “That’s what Zor and I thought, but she seems to be stirring
again.”

“What will we do?”

“I don’t know yet, I know the entire High Command will want to convene for this. My husband
is in some god forsaken nebula doing god knows what. Arina should be here soon.”

Adder looks into the projection space. The blue green world spins lazily in the black velvet.
“What is the Crown Princess’ plans?”

“She hasn’t articulated yet. You know her. She hates giving things away until the last minute. I
thought I was paranoid about espionage.”

“Well,” drawls Adder, “we do seem to be losing a lot of information to the other side.”

She waves a glass of water into being and drinks it. “Well, we have my son to thank for that. He
always did like to play double agent. Not to worry. His father and I have some of our own tricks
of our own. We’re pretty certain that he thinks he can hide himself as mortal somewhere. And
this,” she points her hand to the planet spinning next to her, “is where we’re detecting the
largest planar disturbance.”

The Crown Princes Arina materializes in the room and briefly nods her head at her mother and
Adder. “Mother, Adder.”

“Is this the planet in question?”

“Yes.”

“Why don’t we just destroy it?”

“Arina,” the queen’s eyes widen in disapproval, “How could you suggest that?”

“I’m just saying Mother, that’s what he would do. He’d probably take out the galaxy and the
universe for extra good measure.”
“Arina, just because your brother is a utter despot is no reason for you to follow in his path.”

“Actually Mother, I was thinking about that, and I don’t think he really was as serious as he lead
us to believe.

The three look at the cloud filled world. “Well,” says Adder, “This is no simulation now. The
Spider is influencing events and the dark is on the rise. We have constant reports of frontier
worlds being consumed by overwhelming forces.”

The queen sighs, “Right now there’s not much we can do. Our son’s various dissenting factions
are still threatening us internally, and now we have the boundaries to worry about.”

“We need the Unity project,” says Adder.

“But the Spider will also begin to act against us and then we’ll be fighting a war on two fronts
plus our internal conflicts,” objects Arina.

“Yes, we must move forward as discretely as possible.” The queen sighs again, “What a mess.”
75. Red Rain
There must be a foundation somewhere. Any system must have a point of
stopping. A boundary. Without that boundary, you cannot invoke axiomatic
reasoning, and without axiomatic reasoning you can’t have anything. You need
conventions. Rules. Guidelines. Policies. All that good stuff. You need 1 + 1
= 2. One day, you may need 1+1 = 3 and on that day you’re realize that you’re
lucky that you’re using an axiomatic system.

If you had a non-axiomatic system, then you can’t change anything.
Personally, I think non-axiomatic systems are horrid ideas and I hate to even
consider them because I can’t change anything. It’s entirely possible that
they exist because obviously we can talk about them. However, I maintain that
all those non-axiomatic systems are really axiomatic and if I ever have to
deal with one, as God is my witness, I will shove infinity right up that non-
axiomatic system’s ass until it has so much infinity it’s axiomatic.

What’s so special about axiomatic systems? Well an axiomatic system is
bounded. Move beyond the boundary, and you can generate an exception to
anything. This is very important from a narrative standpoint.

I can’t speak for most writers, but I would argue that all writers utilize
narrative systems that are either axiomatic or non-axiomatic. Why? Because
all writers, if queried will reveal that their story or stories, occur in a
system in which A) Anything is possible or B) Only certain things are
possible. In terms of value, there is no intrinsic value to A or B. From a
story-telling perspective it may be very important to the author to utilize
an non-axiomatic system. Perhaps they want to tell a story in which no one
can see blue This is a non-axiomatic system. In order for no one to ever see
blue then you must utilize a system that permits no exceptions. Personally, I
don’t like this kind of writing because I’m all about the exception. The
outlier. The major standard deviation points. Some writers look at other
things and so they want a non-axiomatic system.

Since all stories are in essence a complete lie – a story is the only place
that a non-axiomatic system can truly exist. I say this because I assert that
if you introduce an non-axiomatic system to me and it’s not part of a
storyline then I will proceed to destroy it, because obviously you’re testing
me, and the best way to incite me to wrathful action is to test me. On the
other hand, if your non-axiomatic system is in a story, I’ll probably say,
“Oh, what cute non-axiomatic system,” or maybe I’ll say, “What a beautiful
non-axiomatic system.” Or I might just say, “Cool story.”

The reason that I react violently to non-axiomatic systems that are
postulated outside of fiction is that human culture has an unpleasant herd
like tendency towards generalization. An occurrence of a non-axiomatic system
violates my own all important foundation of circumnavigating axiomatic
systems. I do not like to be contained, limited, blocked, prevented, or
stopped. Axiomatic systems are fantastic because if I hit a wall, I just walk
around the wall and continue. A non-axiomatic system is horrible because
technically I can’t walk around the wall. Of course, since I don’t actually
accept, tolerate, or believe in non-axiomatic systems, I’m going to walk
around the wall anyway. So my internal writing system is axiomatic. Today,
all cookies are blue. They were blue yesterday, and they are blue today.
Tomorrow, if I need the cookies to be blue, I’ll simply expand the system
boundaries and I can introduce the exception of green cookies.

Paradoxically axioms are very liberating. If you understand and accept an
axiom, you’re that much closer to figuring out the exception – which is where
are the fun starts. If you utilize a non-axiomatic system, you’re basically
saying that what you’re working with is static and constant. That can be nice
from a writerly standpoint if you want to elegantly and eloquently explore
the pattern of rain falling on the sidewalk outside and you want to make sure
that no werewolves are out there mucking up your plot with their dirty paws.

The sad truth is axiomatic systems are very hard to work with because
infinity is a bitch. If you are a writer and you are truly employing an
axiomatic system, you will probably go crazy - good luck on the trip back or
forward or where ever it is that you go – send me a postcard about your trip
and I’ll tell you all about mine. When you truly begin to use the full
potential of an axiomatic system and it’s boundaries and the external
unbounded space – you realize that you’re never going to go anywhere.

You hit that philosophical infinite last step. Any action, any event, any
character – anything – everything – possess infinite potential for anything.
A simple story of, “Man falls in love.” Will turn into this. Literally. This
what you are reading. This book is my answer to dealing with the full
potential of the boundary between an axiomatic system and that which is
unbounded. Please keep this in mind. Because this is the crux of this book
upon which all else turns.

Axiomatic system. Unbounded space. Love. Writing. Definitions. A protagonist.
Antagonist. Conflict. Plot. Resolution. Characters. Free-will. Self-
Determination. Imagination. Coincidence? I think not.

Watson, where’s my heroin?

That’s a joke. My idea of humor. I don’t do heroin because I have needle
phobia, but I just think it’s funny to remember that one of the most
celebrated fictional minds in history was a heroin addict. Funny.

Most readers don’t want to deal with the fourth wall. They find it obnoxious
to be pulled in and out of different systems. First you’re in the author’s
mind. Then you’re in the character’s mind considering the author’s mind? Or
are you in the author’s mind, writing the character’s mind, considering the
author’s mind? Or are you out of your mind?

Who cares. The fourth wall is the most important piece of all fiction.
Denying or ignoring it just makes the problem worse. You may blatantly ignore
the fourth wall but it’s there. Pick up any book and do this exercise with
me.

What pronouns are used? He? She? It? Are the names pronounceable to you or
familiar? Do you recognize the units of measure? Is the relationship between
the antagonist and protagonist something that you’ve seen before? Are the
foods in this story familiar?
Look closer. Do the conventions of science and magic conform to your
expectations? Is gravity present? Do Newtonian physics apply? Is the author
dividing magic into specific schools? Why is it always earth, fire, water,
and air? Oh, and maybe, spirit. Are werewolves always bad? Do zombies always
eat brains? Is the king lost and forgotten hidden away somewhere? Does the
princess need to be rescued? Why not the prince? Are women weak and men
strong? Is feminine hysterical and useless and masculine decisive and
important?

Do you notice the hand of society and culture in the so called fiction that
you read? Most of the time, I hate most fiction because it’s too
conventional. So they’re running around with lasers or magic wands or shit
like that. Take another look and you’ll realize that Harry Potter and his
friends aren’t doing anything special. They’re just growing up and dealing
with life. All that magic fighting and stuff? You could take Harry Potter and
Hogwarts and drop it into a technological future and instead of being a
wizard, he’s a techno-crat and he’s attending the Science Academy, and he and
his best friends learn important life lessons, attend class and learn more,
and in between tests and homework, they fight the evil and crazy A.I. that is
determined to kill all of the non-robotic life forms.

Not quite as interesting right? That’s what I said. There is entertainment
because you change the paint and there is entertainment because you change
the story.

Not many writers can change the story. It’s hard. You have to be very self-
aware, willing to explore some very scary places, and then come back from it
all and say, “This is what I learned, here is the system to permit this and
here is the story that explains everything.”

I know it’s conceited, but you have to be to really take on the full force of
creative potential. You have to believe that you’re going to go into the
malestorm, survive, and make it back out again.

There are lots of writers who enter the malestorm and never come back. For
whatever reason, maybe they go truly crazy or don’t want to come back, even
if they survive. This was the case for me for many years. This is the first
thing that I’ve finished because I hate to transcribe my stories. They’re all
written in my head. Of course because I tolerate huge amounts of variation,
the stories change a lot and that’s mostly why I hate transcribing because
the story often re-writes itself before I’m finished. So entire decades of my
life have been spent walking from one end of infinity to the other and
assuaging all sorts of questions.  
76. Division by Zero

Kyle swings the sword as hard as he can and hews through the Daysider.
Blood sprays -a crimson cross- his face is red. He wipes the spray away
with the back of his sleeve.

More Daysiders pour down the stairs; then Estella is standing next to him.
She pulls back her bow – calm; cool - she just smiles that enigmatic smile
and waits for the right moment and then it happens so fast he swears he
never really saw the arrow leave the quiver. A black star comets across the
walkway and tears through the Daysiders.

“Go,” she says, and he runs up the stairs. There in the center of the room,
Argus floats trapped in a light globe.

I’ve come for you.

I know.

Don’t worry.

I’ll get you out.

Okay.

More Daysiders are streaming through the side doors. Kyle grabs his sword
and hurls it at the light globe and it impacts, shattering the barrier. Argus
floats free in a shower of glass - his darkness pours out and wraps around
him like a cloak.

He smiles at Kyle.

Thanks.

Any time. So – and Kyle gestures at the oncoming Daysiders.

Argus laughs and unleashes the night.
Outside the vampires struggle under an onslaught of Ariana’s spells and the
werewolves falter before the Dayside army. The unrelenting blaze of the
unbalanced Daystar presses the witches and warlocks under geis. Though
the black dragons do their best to hold the tide - their power is insufficient to
overcome Ariana’s mad abuse. And all seems lost in despair - then Argus'
darkness hits the battlefield.

Night falls and darkness covers everything. The shadows swell everywhere
and the vampires, renewed, fly into Ariana’s priests. With the Lord of Night
behind them the werewolves push back the Dayside army, and Argus joins
the witches and warlocks to bind the mad Daystar, while the black dragons
ready the exorcism.

Ariana screams in impotent rage as she is bound and rendered powerless.
She spits at Kyle, “I would have succeeded if it hadn’t been for you and your
stupid bleeding heart! You don’t know what you’ve done!”

“Well,” he says, “I think I prevented you from permanently destroying the
Nightside, and for some reason I recall Estella saying that the next Lady of
Day probably won’t like that.”

With the black dragons linking the circle, the witches and warlocks exorcise
the corruption from the Daystar, and it collapses into dust as Argus draws
his shadows over it.

Then in that moment a small spark appears and a beautiful young woman
appears in royal attire with a crown and scepter.

The Lady of Day.

She bows to Argus.

One aspect to the other.

He bows back and she says, “I am so sorry for that. I regret everything that
Ariana has done. That older incarnation should have passed along time ago
and she maintained it purely to destroy the Nightside. I shall make sure that
she will never posse this same threat.”

“You talk a lot.”
She smiles at Kyle, “Thank you for risking your life to aid someone that you
had never met or didn’t know. For your selfless sacrifice, I give you a boon.”

Kyle scratches his head and kicks the floor, ‘It was nothing. I mean it
seemed like a great adventure. I mean I had fun.”

She laughs, “Just because you had fun doesn’t mean that you can’t be
rewarded. You left your home, your city, your home system to enter another
dimension and you don’t think that was a great thing?”

“I guess,” he looks at Argus and they both smile at each other.

It’s true. This whole crazy adventure started when a tall, thin woman came
into the dry cleaners and told him that she needed his help.

He shakes his head. It’s weird when you do that. What? Talk in my head like
that. I mean you just get in my thoughts. Well, yeah, that’s what we do. So
what happens now? I dunno. It’s up to you. I can’t decide your fate, literally,
I can’t. Why not? Well what would that consist of me doing? Telling me what
you want me to do. I want you to stay, do you want to stay? Yeah, of course
I do. Okay, so why does it take me telling you what I want you to do when
you already know that we both want the same thing? I guess I just have to
hear it. Fair enough; your ways are different.


You realize you’re going to be living on the opposite side of what your
people generally consider to be good, right?

Yeah. He says and he looks around him. It’s pitch black night and there’s a
full moon.

The only lights are Anora, the Lady of Day, and the full moon above.

Most of the Daysiders are either dead or carted back to the Dayside.

It’s weird to think that this part of the Nightside had been temporarily turned
into the Day by the crazed Daystar.

It’s really weird to think that I’m playing on the opposite side.
Kyle scratches his head and looks around him. The witches are already
raising the dead into zombies and ghouls. The vampires are holding counsel
and the werewolves are feeding.

Chastity, Queen of the black dragons, looks at him and smiles, “You can’t
make a wrong decision. Don’t be afraid,” and Anora nods her head and
smiles as well.

“Then,” he says, “I want to use my boon and remain on the Nightside.”

Anora laughs beautifully, and says, “Well chosen, Kyle Anderson, and so I
grant unto you the right of passage between Day and Night and you may
enter my domain uncontested as long as your intentions are pure and you
may remain with the Lord of Night for as long as you wish.”

“That’s it?’ he says.

“Yes,” she chuckles again. These kinds of things aren’t hard at all.

You can talk in my mind as well?

One day, she whispers to him, you’ll understand more than you ever
realized.

Anora takes her leave of Argus and curtsies, “Until the next time my brother,
I hope that we shall meet on better terms next time.”

He smiles as well, “And I as well, we must visit each other in our citadels.
You are a new ruler after all.”

Anora disappears in a shower of light and then the only thing that’s left is
the moon and Argus turns back to regard Kyle.

“What are you listening to?” He points at Kyles iPod.

“Number forty one,” mouths Kyle.

Let me hear. Kyle hands one ear piece to Argus and they sit on the copse,
listening to the music together. Chastity crouches down and spreads her
wings over them and they look out over the dark fields.

Will I have electricity?
For what? Your iPod? Yeah. Sure, I can make it happen.

You can just do that?

I can do pretty much anything I want, as long as I don’t upset the Balance
too much. It’s one of the perks of being a major incarnation.

Are we going to get married?

Sure, why not?

Who’s going to perform the ceremony?

Well, Anora is my sister and technically unions are her domain. I’m usually
responsible for separations.

That must suck. Breaking people up.

Well, it has to happen. It’s inevitable at times. I only break up people that
are supposed to be broken up, just like I only kill people that are supposed
to be killed.

You have some kind of script that you follow?

Yeah, actually, as a matter of fact, both Anora and I have a script. Hers is
the Book of Day, mine is the Book of Night. The books scribe each day what
our major tasks will be.

That’s weird.

Yeah, I guess it is a strange kind of convention.

They both lean back into the warm dragon and hug tight.

How did Estella find me?

I found you first.

How?

When Ariana started the power coup, I realized that her plan was going to
succeed, so I started sending werewolves into your city. I figured that
eventually they’d find you.
How did you know what I’d smell like?

Well, that’s mystery, you just know. I knew that in your world you’d have a
little of my smell as well, so the werewolves just had to track you as if they
were tracking me. Once they found you, it was a simple matter to contact
you.

Are we going to have kids?

Well, I guess we could pick out a nice zombie baby.

Kyle makes a face, “Ew.”

Okay, that was bad joke. I’ll ask the storks. I was thinking a son with
lycanthropy, but we could order a daughter with lycanthropy or a son with
vampirism or daughter with vampirism, or we could go the magic route and
request a witch or warlock child. Personally, I was thinking lycanthropy
because they’re much easier to handle when they’re kids. They’re nearly
indestructible, very difficult to kill, and don’t have the light sensitivities of
some vampires. Plus werewolves are cooler.

You’re a werewolf.

Yep. I just don’t shift forms very much. Are you going to be a werewolf or
vampire?

He sits for a while quiet. Thinking. I don’t know, can I wait and decide later?

Well, yeah, but just don’t wait too long, right now you’re mostly just a soft
squishy pink thing.

Yeah, well this soft squishy pink thing busted your ass out of prison, so just
don’t forget that.

Oh yeah.

Do I get to be in charge of stuff too?

Um, I guess so. I have to ask the Council how that works.

Will this go on forever. This bond?

Yes.
As long as we both want it. If either one of wants to break away, well – it
doesn’t work really. You sort of just end up with a highly fractured mind
because we’ll eventually start to function as one person. It’ll be weird. You’ll
see yourself doing things from an odd angle and you’ll realize that it’s me
cutting a tree branch, and you’ll be amazed because it’ll be the most
amazing tree branch that you’ve ever cut because it’ll be the first time that
you’ve ever seen something through my eyes.

Can you see through my eyes?

Not yet. Not until you let me. It’s a two way street. We both have to want it.

And this can happen to anyone?

Generally the match is one in a trillion, but it’s actually not that hard because
souls cycle so very fast that you could encounter a match dozens of times in
your lifetime in different forms and you’d never know if you didn’t look him in
the eye. That’s why I avoid looking at people in the eye.

So you can’t find me?

As a major aspect, I tend to be privy to major plot lines, so I knew that I’d
meet you, but I didn’t really know when or under what circumstances. That
was the surprise for me. Ariana’s rebellion.

But you know what I looked like right?

Yep. We’ve had this conversation a dozen times.

Yeah, but I always like hearing it from you.

How I thought about you every night and wondered when I would see you?

Yeah.

And that I was so enamored with meeting you that I wasn’t paying attention
when Ariana stole one of the night stones?

Yeah.

I was a fool in love. Yeah.

You like this hold you have on me? He laughs.
Hell yeah!

You can rescue me from anything?

Pretty much.

So I can start jumping off cliffs?

I’ll probably let you hit the ground, resurrect you, and make sure you
remember the pain of impact.

That’s mean.

So is wasting my time. If you want to push limits, do it in a new and
innovative way.

Anora and I do that all the time. The Nighside pushes one way, the Dayside
pushes the other way.

Remember when Anora said, “I shall make sure she never posses the same
threat?”

What she was really saying was, “Ariana might posse another threat later,
and I probably won’t do anything to stop that, in fact, I’ll probably secretly
get back at you for letting the Daystar incarnation continue for so long.”

Is she really mad at you?

Probably. The Daystar incarnation should have passed a long time ago, but
I never wanted open warefare between Day and Night, so I kept delaying,
and then Ariana stole a night stone and used that to break the main
boundaries. I know, I know, I need to start learning to take direct action
more, I just dislike killing people and so I’d rather we all sit down and talk
stuff out but the vampires and werewolves don’t usually like that so I sic
them on wrong doers as stipulated by my script.

That’s heavy. You have to be the judge and jury?

Nah. We have a universal review committee. I just have to power the
destruction cycles since they’re hard to start. Once I activate one, they
usually take on a life of their own. When I was a young incarnation, I had
hard time directing disaster, which is one of my fortes, and I kept destroying
things I liked.
Eventually, I learned the lesson that I might have to destroy something I
care very much about in order to preserve the balance of things and I would
have to choose to preserve balance.

So you would destroy me?

No silly.

But you just said…

Love, balance is a spectrum, I can shift the balance all the way to one end,
and my sister will always be there to shift it back.

But.

That's what family is for.
77. And now, I don’t even know my own
name.

Alistor shuffles down the slope, and Betran bounds next to him. Do you think
the goblins are still tracking us?

No, responds Betran. I think they abandoned pursuit. Can we stop and rest?

We should keep moving. Climb on my back. Okay, sighs Alistor, I’m tired.

Take a nap on my back, I’ll make sure you don’t fall. Ok. Betran slows to a
stall. I think it would be easier if you crouch down a little. You’re nearly
as tall as me.

Sorry.

It’s okay. Alistor pulls himself onto Betran’s using his long fur.

You’re warm, Alistor notes as he burrows himself into Betran’s winter coat
and begins to fall asleep.

You know, I think I figured out another one of those runes.

Really, says Betran.

Yeah. I think it might be the rune to open the Glen stone.

That’s cool.

I think it’s funny that you say that.

What

That’s cool.

Why? You say it all the time.

Yeah, but that’s because people say it where I come from. Nobody says it in
your world.

So? I like saying things that you like.

Am I asleep?

Pretty much. Don’t worry. I’ll keep you safe.
Betran flies across the snow fields. He keeps Alistor balanced on his back
and he plunges through the snowdrifts, powder spraying around his lupine
body.

It is a long run to the ice caverns of the cold drakes. If there are any
clues, it will be there. Betran dashes onto the frozen surface of the Lum.
This will be the hard part. He wonders for a moment if he should wake
Alistor, but decides not. Let him sleep.

The setting sun illuminates the sheer white expanse of the massive lake. From
here to the other side it is a great distance and as soon as he sets his
first paw on it he smells the snow cats. They are upwind from him. Good. He
can smell them first and it will take them that much longer to reach him. He
could have brought more of the pack; but I didn’t want to turn this into a
pitched battle, he thinks to himself. If it’s just me and Alistor, we should
be able to make it safetly across the Lum with speed alone.

He breaks into a gallop and begins the race across the still ice. For awhile
the only sounds are his paws hitting the ice and the unsettling creaking of
the ice. He looks up at the sky. The air is sharply clear and he breathes in
long – stretches his muscles further and picks up the pace.

Then out of the corner of his right eye, he sees the first snow cat. Its eyes
are bright red against a pure white coat and its teeth are bared in pure
malevolence. He can’t fight with Alistor on his back, not that he was
intending to do so – he only wants to keep the distance between himself and
the cats.

His ears pick up the sound of several more and then he sees another patrol
coming from the left. He keeps ahead of them, an arrow flying true - the
others barely in his wake. And so it goes for miles and miles – Betran
streaming ahead, the snow cats on either side and right behind and everything
is silent but the heavy breathing and the impact against the creaking ice.

He does not tire and he does not falter. He laughs to himself. They will
never catch him – not him – not today and never when he can run like the
wind. Still the cats are fast and they are close and the exhilaration is so
great, Betran howls with the sheer motion of the moment.

Alistor wakes and rubs his eyes. Are those snow cats?

Yeah.

Why didn’t you wake me?

Didn’t want to bother you.

Alistor makes a funny face and smacks Betran on the head with the Teller
staff. Don’t be silly.

He pivots, one hand holding the scruff of Betran’s neck and the other, the
Teller staff. Leaning backwards, he drops his torso down across Betran’s left
side and starts a light spell.
There is not much light left from the setting sun, but it’s enough for
Alistor to gather using the Teller staff and the concentrated force slams
into the ice behind Betran’s. Cracks instantly begin to appear.

In but seconds the ice is shattering – exploding from the sudden burst of
heat. Alistor pulls himself back up with the hand gripping Betran, and
surveys the pandemonium.

Many of the snow cats are falling into the Lum, and the others are
desperately trying to jump from floe to floe in a miserable attempt to stay
dry. Not that it matters.

I’m not sure that you should have done that. Betran scolds Alistor.

Just move quicker.

Yeah, and now Betran really runs.

They both can hear it coming. Betran’s ears are more sensitive, but what
Betran can hear, Alistor can. A high pitch wailing rapidly crescendos and
hydras start breaking to the surface.

“Move, move – Move!” Alistor shouts as a fanged head swings through the air
at them.

Don’t yell. It was your idea to break the ice. Lecture me later.

So Betran runs. Now the air is filled with pulverized ice thrown upwards by
the raging hydras. Some of them are feasting on the snow cats but a number
give chase to Betran and Alistor. They are simple minded creatures, and they
never relent. Tearing through the ice, the hydras close the distance.

We’re very close to the other side. Betran spots the far shore and the stands
of cedar trees. Great, I’ll buy us more time.

Please don’t do that.

Alistor ignores him and twists himself to sit backwards, facing the oncoming
hydras. I’m just holding on with my legs, so please - no sudden movements.

No sudden movements? We’re running across the ice, chased by hydras and snow
cats and you don’t want me to make sudden movements?

I need hold the staff with both hands. Shush. Alistor looks at the sky.
There’s barely any direct sunlight. It’s all just twilight. Good enough.
There’s some starlight as well. Sunlight, twilight, and starlight. I should
be able to get a good spell out of this.

He holds the Teller staff with both hands and focuses towards the hydras. The
great medallion at the very tip begins to scintillate with energy. What shall
it be this time?
Not another one of those snow giants. The last one caused more harm than
good.

How about a big, ice dragon? Can you control it?

Probably not.

Then a big, uncontrolled ice dragon is probably a bad idea.

Fine. I’ll do this.

The Teller staff is glowing brighter with stored power and Alistor unleashes
it towards the hydras. The energy coalesces and a gargantuan polar bear
appears. It blinks its eyes with obvious confusion, then sees the oncoming
hydras and roars forward. The hydras are large and dangerous, but the polar
bear is orders of magnitude larger and it simply starts to eat them. The
hydras ineffectually bite at the polar bear’s limbs but it ignores the hydras
surrounding it and continues to munch on first one it caught. Its thick fur
protects it and it leisurely picks off the hydras one at a time and crunches
through them.

See that wasn’t too bad. It’s eating the hydras and it’s not chasing us.

Next time, just don’t wake the hydras.

It was more fun.

For you, you’re not the one that’s running.

Sorry. Alistor turns back around and hugs Betran’s neck. I think you need to
bathe your coat.

I washed yesterday.

That was your humanoid form. I don’t get it, why are you so averse to water?

Well, for starters, my fur gets cold and icy and it’s miserable and I don’t
like. Besides. I think I smell fine.

When was the last time you washed yourself?

Betran pauses. Last month?

See! You’re starting to smell funny, and don’t tell me you’ll lick yourself.
Licking isn’t going to fix everything.

You like it when I lick you, especially when you’re sad.

Yeah, but that's not what I was talking about.

You’re just being obtuse aren’t you?
Obtuse. What is this word?

Stubborn, I guess.

Maybe. They reach the other side and Betran leaps up over the cliff bank,
landing on the shoreline. He turns and they survey the mass pandemonium
behind them.

You are really a walking disaster.

So I’m still learning to use the staff, I’ll get better.

Let’s build camp in the trees.

Alistor jumps down to the ground and Betran shifts.

Alistor watches fascinated as always. It’s rapid and yet gradual. He can
watch the slow shifting of muscles and bones and the change in the skeleton
and the fur and face and the teeth and it seems to happen languidly and it
only takes seconds.

Betran’s bright yellow eyes look into Alistor’s.

Yes?

I just like watching you shift. It’s cool. Plus I love looking at you. You’re
hot!

Flexing his jaw, Betran runs his tongue along his canines. I never feel fully
comfortable like this, I feel…

Naked? Because you sort of are.

I’m covered in fur. Technically I’m always naked, and just because my coat is
a little shorter, doesn’t really change anything.

Except you’re colder now. Like me.

Yeah. Let’s get a fire started.

They walk into a stand of cedars and scavenge branches.

Actually, you know what, says Betran, I’ll hunt some dinner and you start the
fire.

Sure.

Betran turns back into a wolf and runs deeper into the woods.

Alistor piles wood into aq mound and then uses the Teller staff to ignite a
fire. He leans back into a tree and waits for Betran to return. The Ice
Queen’s armies are way to numerous. He thinks that sometimes he’d have an
easier time brokering an alliance with the Lum hydras compared to unifying
the various warring goblin tribes. Then there was the issue with the supply
trains and the gremlins, on top of the problem with the rampaging owl bears.
Running a rebellion is not as easy as he thought it would be. He looks into
the dim forest undergrowth and imagines Betran’s face materializing from the
darkness.

He doesn’t wait long and soon enough Betran returns with elk hanging between
his teeth.

I always forget how big you are. Alistor remarks, wolves in my world are not
your size.

How big are they?

Well, let me put it this way. I think wolves in my world are like the size of
that elk in your mouth.

That’s the size of a youngling pup. Betran drops the elk and shifts back to
humanoid. I suppose you want it skinned.

Yes please. I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to eating raw meat, and I
definitely don’t like the skin.

Suit yourself. Betran tears a haunch off for Alistor and uses his claws to
flay it. Here, I’ll skewer it and roast it for you as well.

You’re making fun of me aren’t you?

No, smiles Betran, I’d never do that. He skewers the leg and sets it over the
fire. Then he looks over at Alistor who’s looking at the flames. Sneak attack
– he leaps over the fire and tumbles into Alistor.

So, when’s dinner going to be done? Soon enough, says Betran. We have time.
You’re getting cold.

Betran’s fur tickles Alistor’s nose and he sneezes.

You’re making me sneeze.

Should I move?

Can I lie on top of you?

Sure.

They tumble to the side and Alistor presses himself against Betran’s chest. I
hope we find what we’re looking for, I don’t want to keep organizing raids
against Andora.

I hope so too.
There is a moment of silence and then Betran cocks his head and looks into
Alistor’s eyes. Are you happy here?

Absolutely. Ever since I first saw you shift and decimate that entire army,
well, I don’t think I could be more in love if I tried.

Me either.

They both just gaze into each other’s eyes and listen to the fire crack
behind them. Betran ponders. You know, now that I’m officially the Wolf King,
I’m supposed to marry you.

Really?

Yeah, pack elders are harassing me. They want me to formalize everything.

So do I get to be a Wolf King too?

No, you’re already the Teller. I think that’s enough responsibility for you
young man.

We’re the same age! Just saying, you know, you’re awfully young to be leading
the rebel armies and running the wolf clans.

Hey, I’ll have you know that I played lots of fantasy role playing strategy
games and I can handle troop deployments like nobody’s business!

I have to give you that, you’re amazing.

In more ways than one.

Really, now?

Yeah.
78. Conflict
Water drips from the ceiling, and Mike keeps his footsteps as soft as
possible.

This place is such a dump.

He takes the stairway quietly and quickly. There are bodies scattered all
across the landing at the very top and he steps through the door.

The red emergency lights bath everything in a sickening hue. More bodies. He
doesn’t even bother checking vitals. If anyone was still alive after the
breakout, the gas drop poisoned them.

We can’t take any chances, Ann said. We have to assume he’s very dangerous.
Infection rate would be high. We want everyone dead.

Mike thinks to himself.

Shoot. Don’t ask questions. Shoot. Don’t talk. Shoot. Don’t answer him.
Shoot. Don’t listen. Shoot. Just kill him.

He soft jogs down the corridor, jumping over the bodies. It would be easier
if he could tap higher level powers, but without the access codes no one can
override the system limits.

This is a shitty world. Low tech level. Low culture level. Low everything.
They still have separate continental governments and they haven’t even
started off-planet colonization. Savages, he thinks with a sneer.

He spent a few days in one of their major cities. It was awful. Everyone was
a level one mortal. They couldn’t do anything and for that matter neither
could he.

He feels a little fear. If he dies it will be painful. This system barely
tolerates resurrection. It will take both Ann and Franklin to bring him back.
The last time he died, it was incredibly unpleasant and that was in a high
tech system with a pain buffer and the cause of death was a energy blast
through his head.

In this world he knows it will be much, much worse. Judging from the bodies
around him, it looks like he’s just tearing people into pieces.

Clutching the two handguns, he wishes he could have brought some high tech
weapons in but again, that was trick that only he knew. God dammit. We were
so close and then it all got fucked.

He pushes the fire door open and continues down the corridor. The lights are
flickering out and water keeps dripping. A rat runs by.
A rat runs by. Shit. He screams and tries to punch through to the neural net.
He feels a gut wrenching tear in his stomach when he realizes – I’m blocked.

No, no, no – this cannot be happening he cries to himself.

He spins around the room. No. It’s a corridor. A corridor. A corridor.

He spins around the room and stumbles through a door.

Oh no, please no, please no – frig.

Is not going to help you.

Hello Mike.

The room is dark and dim and all he can see are the faint LEDs of the lab
equipment blinking. As his eyes adjust he realizes he’s in a poorly lit
research lab. Clearly abandoned, dust and entropy hold sway. And then there.
Right across the room. The one face he does not want to see right now.

“How are you doing this?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” he grins confidently and smugly with a smile to
smelt cities. He taps his fingers on the formica countertops.

“You know Mike, you all made a big mistake.” Don’t talk to him. Shoot him.

Mike brings his hands up to fire and then realizes they’re empty. He starts
to sweat.

Stepping backwards, he says, “What do you mean?” “You know Mike, I don’t
think you really want to run away from me because that door behind you? That
door doesn’t lead back to where you came from – it goes somewhere much, much
worse and I don’t think you really want to go there.”

He says it so nicely, so compassionately – and so sadistically.

Mike peers over his shoulder. Somewhere in the distance he can hear a spine-
crawling sounds of a metal brush scraping over steel.

I don’t want to die. Not like this. Not like this.

“Scared, Mike? Scared of dying separate from the neural net? Alone, afraid,
and powerless? That must be awful.”

“We didn’t mean it.”

“You didn’t mean it? Oh Mike, maybe if you were a mid tech or maybe a low
tech, but we’re both from the same level and you know full well that
intention always proceeds action. You intended everything. Just like I intend
this.”
“You’re violating compact!”

“No, actually I’m not.”

“So you’re cutting me off from the neural net and killing me?” Panic starts
to build in his voice, “I can’t be resurrected!”

“You’re right, you won’t be resurrected, but you will re-incarnate.”

“I don’t want to come back as a fucking low-tech!”

“Well then maybe you shouldn’t have followed me here. It was all a trap.
Clever no?”

He grins and his teeth are very sharp and very jagged and he leans forward
across the lab table. “You see, as soon as you or any other high-tech enters
this world, you’re immediately bound by the full limitation clause of the
compact. That means that you can’t escape because you can’t transcend without
an extraction. You can’t call for an extraction because you’re blocked from
the neural net. No one will think to extract you because this will be done
before anyone can react. And there’s nothing you can do about it because you
can’t access the universal power core!”

Mike shudders. This is ridiculous. It was perfect. We chase him down. Just
get the drop on him.

“I wait for you to land so that I can catch you”

Please don’t do this.

No Mike, no mercy this time.

He starts to move around the lab table and Mike turns to dash to the door.

“What’s it going to be Mike, me or what’s out there?”

The scraping, scratching sound is getting worse.

“I guess I should mention that I struck another compact with the dark. I
figured since my entire family was out to get me, my best friends thought
they could usurp me, and don’t even get me started on – oh look at the time.
We better get a move on this before Ann decides to check back in with you.”

He walks closer – tall, regal, beautiful and terrible like the very dead of
night. “I made friends with the Spider,” he says, “and I can do things that I
never dreamed possible.”

With that he clears the distance instantly and his hands slam into Mike’s
chest, crush through the rib cage, destroying the lungs and slamming the
heart outward. Mike barely registers anything. The pain is intense,
overwhelming, and mercifully brief. Then his mind shatters and he feels
himself dividing into a million pieces. He feels his soul struggle to hold
everything but it can’t and he watches his life whittle away into just the
briefest of impressions the slightest of hints and faintest of longings. Then
he is gone, forever.

Elsewhere Ann paces the floor of the observation deck aboard the central
flagship. Suddenly she detects it. Mike. He’s not on the neural net. She
starts yelling at the hundreds of observers around her.

Why didn’t any of your alert me?

We didn’t think it reason for alarm.

She starts screaming.

You idiots. Mike can’t cut himself from the neural net. That was him! He cut
Mike off. Hell!

Ann storms across the elevated crosswalk and looks down at the observation
monitors.

Hundreds of observers. The best in the fleet, and we can’t even pinpoint him?

We lost track somewhere in the building.

There was a disturbance.

A rat was running across the floor.

After that we lost him. Why didn’t you say something! That was obviously a
trap!

But we thought he was using a null-cloak.

They have a point, says Emily and she enters the observation deck.

Her hair long and golden and she has it twisted into a braid.

There’s no point in berating them.

Mike was using a null cloak on several other missions.

Yes, but null cloaks don’t fully remove your consciousness from the net.

Ann, please. You know as well as I do that fully removed is not much
different from mostly removed. If Mike was mostly removed from the net, it
would be difficult for even you to notice the difference if you were looking
for it. And he showed _only_ us the rat trick.

But you could have done it. You could have saved him.

Emily fixes her with a cold stare. Don’t involve me in your stupid quest. I
only help when I think it’s not going to accomplish anything. If ever I
thought that anything I was doing for you was significant, I’d stop.
Emily turns back around and begins to exit.

Damn you forever Emily! You’re doing nothing and simply standing aside while
he butchers his own kind. You could stop this. You have as much skill as he.
You could maybe even hack the universal power core. Emily doesn’t even look
back. None of you get it. I’m not playing this game. I’m playing something
else.

Ann reaches out to Franklin. I’m going planet side. Do you think that wise?

I have to know. I have to find Mike.

Well, you’re not going to be able to do much else. Especially if he can do
subroutine switches.

The rat trick.

Yeah, I mean it could be anything. It could be a frog or roach or a spider,
but it usually works best when it’s something that you’re not exactly
expecting but don’t find incongruous. Then you’re attention shifts and bam,
he’s got you. I wish I could have pulled that one off.

Tim could. Tim could do everything that he could. Yeah, but apparently not
quite. We’ve lost track of Tim entirely and as far as we can tell Aden never
lost consciousness.

I’m going down.

She drops down into the room and feels a cold lurch.

Mike’s body is torn into pieces and his soul and mind are gone.

The entire net feels her screams.

Don’t do it. Says Franklin. We might not be able to pull you out in time.

Ann doesn’t care. She picks up the handguns lying on the floor and starts
running down the hallways. She can feel him. She will reach him. She doesn’t
even notice the wire across the corridor and as her head is decapitated she
thinks. Pull me out. But there’s no answer. Blocked.

A dark figure steps out of the a room into the corridor and stands over Ann’s
headless body and smiles.
79. More Conflict
Taylor stands on the asphalt and looks at the burning city. Meteors shower.

So the end is finally here. He takes a drag from his cigarette and
contemplates the fires. Straightens his jacket.

Twenty-story lizards are trashing downtown LA. Harpies are harassing people
from the skies and albino alligators are bursting out of the sewer lines and
menacing the pedestrians. Pulls out his sunglasses. The sun is bright.

Wake up.

He looks back over his shoulder and calls through the dreaming.

It’s time.

Time to wake up.

Hordes of ghouls are streaming through the cities and basiliks are loose on
Broadway. I need you all here beside me to clean up this mess.

Time to fly.

And then he runs into the midst of everything.

Across the roofs of cars stalled for blocks he flies with a single bound and
lands next to one of the Angethar. It’s huge reptilian eyes look down at him
and it roars. He grabs a streetlight and hurls it through the air – piercing
its head. Then he turns and dashes toward the giant alligator attacking a car
full of passengers. He grabs it by the tail and flings it into the outer
atmosphere.

The car roof next to him explodes in a spray of glass as Benjamin lands on
the car next to him.

“Howdy”

“Hey there neighbor.”

“So, it looks like the seals did get broken after all.”

“Yep, we’ve got a mess.”

“Don’t worry,” Benjamin says as he un-slings his giant axe. He stands up
growing stories by the second until he’s as tall as the Angethar and then he
starts hewing through their scaly hides. The streets will run with blood.

Mary appears behind Taylor. Luminescent and bright she holds her hands to the
skies and pure white energy flows out of her, searing the harpies into dust.
She lets her hair fall free as she continues to vaporize the flying
monstrosities.

A manticore comes charging down the street and Taylor runs to meet it. He
intersects it long before it reaches Mary and he catches its stinger and rips
it from the base. The manticore screams and Taylor muzzles it with his hands.

Surrender

He lets the manticore go and it screams in defiance, flying away.

Tabitha is standing on the concert hall. Her gray hair regal and proud. She
has waited a very long time for this day and her beauty is her patience. She
has but to look up her eyes, and she calls the very stars. They come spearing
through the skies, millions and millions of points of light, answering the
summons. Piercing the atmosphere the armies glide down unto the streets.

And we need it, thinks Taylor.

I wouldn’t worry about it, says Mary, we weren’t this strong last time. We
didn’t know what we’re doing. We can set things right.

Emily floats in the middle over everything with Julia, directing the battle.
Her consciousness is ever present, constant, calming, sure and courageous.

The stars coalesce into matter and become soldiers armored in brilliant white
light. She directs their movements. She can see everything.

Julia keeps to the background, maintaining the editor.

As long as we have full editorial access we can control this planar shift.
Just don’t let go. Taylor encourages her.

I won’t she says. The battle is mass chaos. We have the upper hand. Watch
that period. Pay attention to that comma. Wrong spelling.

Ali rides through the streets leading a charge of unicorns against the
basilisks. Her shields avert their gaze, and the unicorns are immune, of
course, and it’s short battle for the basilisks when they all get skewered at
the end of the unicorns’ horns.

Julia channels the raw power of the universal power core directing it to
Emily who uses it to shield the non-combatants.

I don’t want any casualties.

Don’t worry, Taylor, assures Emily. There won’t be.

Can I cut loose?

Yeah, go’head Ben.
And he does. He starts smashing the Angethar through skyscrapers, pummeling
them with his axe. The LA basin is now a giant boxing ring, and Ben is taking
down every last monster.

Satisfied that the situation is being managed well, Taylor decides to start
his own brand of house cleaning.

First he punches the asphalt and the pavement everywhere begins to ripple and
buckle. The ghouls that are filling the streets are flung into the air and
before they can land Taylor unleashes a flock of phoenixes. They blast away
from him in an instant – blazing through the skies - consuming the ghouls.

Have you ever known, in the middle of the battle, that you’ve won and now
it’s just a matter of cleaning up the leftovers?

Not like this laughs Emily. We played this one perfectly. I’ll call
Christine, she can start the reconstruction.

Give it a few more seconds. We have some mop ups and I think Ben is having a
lot of fun with the Angethar. It certainly looks that way.

He doesn’t get to do this very often. What, trash cities?

Yeah. No. Take his true form. He’s always trapped in a small body.

Well, that’s his choice. He could stay outside with the stars, but no, he
wants to come planet side. So most of the time he has to assume a more
gravitationally efficient body – unless he’s going the energy to burn to
sustain major gravitational null fields – like today.




And so it was, and so it is that on that day, of that year, in that era, the
first great battle was won by the new gods. They did not think themselves
gods.

They disliked how their parents had overused that station, but they knew that
with great power comes great responsibility, and so they had each undertaken
to learn, advance, and grow better than any generation before them, for in
their hands would rest the fate of existences and they wanted to be ready for
the task.

Watching from overhead, Taylor floated in the sunlight and felt his father’s
face behind him. Below in the streets Mary’s light waves were pouring down
every street and ever alleyway – every little place – clearing and cleansing.
They had given the others one opportunity after another and when mass
destruction was the choice, Taylor and Emily agreed, better them than us.

First they sealed the others away, but even the most perfect of prisons
cannot hold an imaginative being of any power, and so the others had snuck
out over time to harass and kill and hurt and attack.

This is the end, Emily says, as she joins Taylor in the clouds above the
city. We did it. No casualties and we eliminated the opposition. One by one
they assemble in the sky. Julia, Mary, Ali, and Tabitha. They watch Ben
finish out his battle.

This will never come again, and they have lived long enough to know, you
never let go of the moment because you never live it again.

So what next, says Ali. Well, I guess we call Christina and start the
reconstruction. Do you think it was worth it? Says Tabitha. Of course, says
Taylor. This is their world, they deserve to achieve awareness in their own
fashion.

Julia nods, it’s not an issue of us versus them. It’s an issue of us ensuring
that our highest ideals are upheld.

We will always champion free-will and self-determination.

And we all know from last time, adds Tabitha, the first thing that Gregory
will do is enslave everyone. Speaking of which, where is he? Muses Ali

Hmm, good question, says Taylor. In the heat of the moment, I didn’t even
think to look for him. Emily? I don’t know. I didn’t necessarily look for him
either, but I’m not sure he actually entered this plane.

He might have simply dispatched the troops and then escaped. I mean, if I was
him, I’d escape. Taylor looks out at the city. Christiana’s people are
already swarming everywhere, rebuilding the city.

You still care about him, don’t you?

Of course, I don’t think that will ever change. Taylor, he’ll just as soon as
kill you as anything.

I know, but he was the one.

Funny how it works out like that. I always thought that I’d find him and we’d
live happily after ever. Not chasing each other across the planes trying to
eradicate the other.

Well, Ali shrugs her shoulders, Love’s funny.
80. Julia’s Song
Julia stands on the beach and feels the sand in between her toes. She looks
up at the sun and stretches out her hands. Not sunrise, not sunset, she works
in the middle of the day, in the fullness of light. This will be a first. She
starts the first few notes with a kick of sand into the air.

I’m excited.

I know.

No one has ever ascended an entire planet.

So I go down in history, right?

Pretty much.

Because all the other planets after me are just copy cats right?

They’re not copy cats, they’re following.

Yeah. Right, following. This distinction between words of similar meanings, I
find it confusing.

Yeah, well that’s always been the issue with planetary intelligences, you’re
so diffuse that you think everything is the same because it’s sitting on your
surface.

I know, I know. “Everything is unique and special.”

Right. And I’ll demonstrate.

Julia turns her attention first to the oceans. The black things, the dark
things, the deep things, the scaly things, the scary things, the huge things,
the monstrous things, the terrible things, she calls them to the surface and
they come streaming forward through the depths breaking through the surface -
transforming into a giant spray of white butterflies.

Across the oceans the winds begin to spin and waterspouts begin turning in
time to the music playing in the air currents. The waters stir and the fish
and the dolphins and the whales cavort. Flighty things dance in the frothing
waters and jelly fish begin to float into the air.

Next she turns to the mountains and touches them with her mind. They groan
and grumble and being to wake and slow hum begins to build from within the
very earth. Up. Up. Up. The denizens of the dark places. Light calls you. It
is time to honor the oldest compact. The rule of life. Into your slumbering,
hallowed halls, drawfs of the deep I bring you back into the circle.
Streams of gems – emeralds, diamonds, rubies, sapphires – stream from the
ground up into the clouds and the dancing water droplets begin to collect the
jewels. Sunshine underground. Up above ground. Rise the sun light pours. The
heavens begin to sway in time. The lightening and thunder gods hurry back and
forth collecting the gems – shattering them in their hands – and mixing the
many colored powder in to the clouds.

Dream dust begins to fall all across the world and everything gazes upwards
as the luminescent powder begins to drift everywhere in a dizzying haze of
blue and pink sparkles. Reality is changing.

The rhythm changes. The first act is over. Now dance.

Meter, time, vibrations – the motions of life – streaming through in and
around the physical the immaterial finds its voice and Julia is the conductor
in the greatest orchestra of all.
81. Human
I am not kind. I am not good. I am dark and terrible and I eat elder gods for
amusement. You want to see my true form, I’ll show you the very heart of
chaos for that is my incarnation. Here pick a dream, any dream. That one?
Fine. Action.

I dive in and touch down. You can’t interface directly! You didn’t stipulate
that, and I’m not entertaining your wishes any longer. I close the neural
net. Shut it down completely. I want every last one of them to die in abject
terror and fear, and the best way to do that is to cut the mind from the
neural net. Conscious subconscious unconscious whatever, dying with the
neural net is far preferable to the alternative.

The building before me is old, hideous and dilapidated. I’m standing in a
large courtyard and I am very angry. Rage. Wrath. Huge hanger bay doors are
shut tight. I let the fire blaze inside me and then I crack through the air
covering the distance to the doors instantly. I throw out my left hand and
unleash a sonic boom. The doors explode inward and I start the carnage party.

The first set of guards die in the shrapnel blast. How unfortunate. I didn’t
get to play with them. The second set is standing further back. I accelerate
next to the pair to my right, grab the neck of the closets and smile at him.
He can barely register and then I rip off his head and pull out his spinal
cord. The next guard is fumbling for his gun. He doesn’t have chance. I just
punch my right hand through his chest and pull out his heart. He makes an
unhappy gurgling sound. Impaled, I lift him up and throw him into the
distance. The other pair to my left are beginning to react. No matter.

I run and summersault through the air and land behind the second pair. My
right punches into the back of one – tear out the spinal cord. I use my left
hand decapitate the other. When I kill, I kill. I don’t want mortally wounded
but still viable enemies crawling around to shoot me in the back later. I
want them dead dead.

Another guard comes running around the corner and jump towards him, slam both
hands into his chest and rip open his chest cage. I tear out his heart and
cast a entrapment spell. As his terrified eyes widen in abject fear, I
transform him into a zombie. Go, I command – kill. Oh, and spare the
prisoners.

Footsteps and shouts are approaching. The ant nest has been stirred.
Whatever. When I clean house, I really clean house. I summon Elenuria the
goddess of all waters sleeping in the space between worlds. Cleanse this
place, I command, and she thunders off in a torrent of roiling water.

Ah, hell. Let’s just go with the whole circus. I hold up my hands and call my
family. The wind, my brother hurtles in – a hurricane of destruction –
tearing through the hallways – blade of grass – bullet in the winds – air is
so deadly.
My eldest sister glides in cold and regal as always. She is the winter, ice –
the cold – the Queen of Entropy. In her realm, even electrons are dead – and
where she goes not even atoms stay connected. The walls crumble, guards
dissolve, she claims the very essence of existence – energy.

Beneath the floor gouts of fire burst upwards and rivers of lava pour through
the corridors – my mother.

As for my father, he sends streams of thunder and lightening.

The mind is my youngest sister’s dominion. Believe, feelings, thoughts, faith
– are hers and when she turns dark the body and the mind kill each other.
People run by gouging out their eyes, stabbing their friends, and cutting out
their own hearts.

Nice.

I am in my element. Rain – water in the wind – slams into my cheeks and I can
feel the deadly cold behind me, fire beneath my feet, and the air is charged
with so much electricity I’m not sure if the charge I feel is adrenaline or
the lightening. Death, destruction, fear, and pain – I these as well.
82. Surrender
The rain is falling loud outside the barrack window. A fork of lightening
illuminates the room and I lie against Ben’s chest and look up at him. “Are
you scared?”

“Of what?” Those things? Not really.

He tilts his head and smiles at me.

You know, I want you to start carrying a compact rifle.

Really?

Yeah. I might not always be there to protect you.

Well you should be.

That’s your job.

He laughs and leans in to kiss me.

Do you ever wonder? About my genes?

Well yeah, I mean you’re a total artifical construct. You have accelerated
healing. Heightened senses. Incredible reflexes. And you’re hot.

He laughs. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be born as a heavy-G
worker or a mentat. Or someone like you. But then I think, I’m pretty happy
as myself and I don’t think I want to be anyone else.

Why would you want to be an empath?

I don’t necessarily, I just wonder – and then you.

They say…

They say a lot of things.

I don’t want to think about it. Let’s just listen to the rain. Tomorrow will
come soon enough and eventually I’ll have to go back to the Prime Worlds. I
wish you’d come with me.

I can’t. I have to stay here. You know that.

I know. I just keep hoping that we can move together. You know, eventually.
You’re a politician. You can manipulate billions of people with your thoughts
alone. Me, I’m a solider. I shoot things and kill things and run through the
jungles.

I like running around with you.

But not shooting things.

Not so much. Can’t you just shoot most of everything that needs to be shot
and then I can brain wipe the rest?

He laughs and I poke him in the chest with my finger. I do want to settle
down eventually.

Don’t worry, it’ll happen.

We both lean back into the bed and listen to the rain hitting the containment
shield. There is a slight crackle and buzz it sounds like someone is popping
pop corn in the middle of a thunderstorm. It’s oddly soothing.

I want to show you something.

Ok he says.

I open my mind and pull out above the compounds. One of the hardest tricks I
ever learned was remote viewing. It’s like riding a bike. You do or you don’t
and you just keep practicing and eventually, like throwing your voice, you
can throw your consciousness and attention outside your body. I can see
everything for miles and I pull Ben’s consciousness to me.

I want you to see this.

He’s silent for a long time and then he says, I love you.

Feels funny doesn’t it. Looking at everything from this perspective.

He doesn’t really say much, but our thoughts merge and I feel myself falling
inside.

There are more explosions and I try to figure out what I’m looking at.

I wish you were here.

I wish you could see this.

I wish that we could really share our thoughts.

I wish I could bring you inside of me in my mind my thoughts my dreams.

I wish you could see what I see. We’d have so much fun and we could stay that
way forever. Why are we here? Why are we suffering? I don’t want to suffer
anymore. I don’t want to experience pain anymore. I’m so tired. I want to be
able to move like my dreams. Fly through the sky. I want to fireball
obstacles and jump on dragonback and fly into the sunset. I want to leave all
this behind. I don’t understand. I’m so confused.  
83. google
http://ow.ly/Ah02
84. bridge
http://ow.ly/Ahx3
86. Necromancer
Aden brushes the hair from his face and watches the battlefield.

Beside him, Everett rides quietly.

"What are you thinking," he asks.

Everett hesitates and then answers, "Part of me feels that I should feel remorse or regret for
destroying my own city, and yet, I really feel nothing."

"Hmm," Aden mulls this over, "I suppose I might be able to still those responses, although I'm
not sure I can purposefully shift them in any particular direction. I'm a necromancer, not a
psionic. Although, one of the power liches might be able to realign your thoughts if you wish."

Frustration flashes across Everett's face, "That's not what I was asking, I was just saying that
there is a peculiar set of emotional responses moving through me at this moment and I just don't
know how to respond to them at present. I'm not sure that I really care either way, it was just
something I noticed."

Aden says nothing and instead he turns his gaze overhead to the ghost dragons soaring in mass
towards Showa's city walls.

Their formation blocks the sun and the battlefield darkens. Just as well, Aden thinks, the undead
don't require light to see. In fact, blotting out the sun was Everett's idea.

For a moment, he feels a peculiar twinge of an emotion he can't quite identify. He is the last. The
only necromancer to survive Show's bloody purge, and it is that history that brings him to their
doorsteps. The necromancers never really bore any grudges against the paladins, until the fools
embarked on a massive religious purge. His mother was the last and she went into hiding far
from the capital city and she gave everything she knew to him.

Today, for each future generation, to ensure that this never happens again, to make the world a
freer place - how ironic - he thinks to himself, I bring the hordes of undead to raze the paladin's
capital.

His plan is simple, utterly erase all memory of the Showa as they sought regarding the
necromancers.

It is funny, Savhvena's dry voice whispers in his mind and he turns to see the lich floating next to
him.

It bows to him and says, "My lord, have you anything you wish to add?"
"No," replies Aden, "You and my other generals have command today, I'm just here to power my
troops.

This was Showa's mistake.

For each necromancer they killed, the gift passed double to their descendants, and while they
never sought citadels, temporal power, or great wealth, Aden was not inclined to forgive as his
ancestors had.

Nor should you my lord, they brought this upon themselves.

Mmm. Yes. I suppose. Still, perhaps just as Everett finds it odd to raze his home, so I find it odd
to destroy my former friends and teachers.

They would do the same to you.

I know. Doesn't make it better or easier. I would like to reiterate that I'd like this battle to
conclude quickly. I've raised enough troops that we should be able to simple flood their ground
troops, butcher their air forces, and then level the entire city by dusk. I want no survivors.

Yes my lord.

It drifts away the cold touch of stillness drifting behind it as it wanders back to the other lichs.

Aden watches Everett commanding the ground troops. They had once been lovers. What does it
matter? When death was the option, Aden chose Everett's death.

How could he have chosen otherwise?

He is the last. He bears the hopes and fears and all the accumulated wisdom and power of every
last necromancer. He could pull down gods with this power.

He chooses to end the threat of Showa.

He nods the okay to Everett who sounds the charge. For the future of all things, may this last
battle be sufficient.
87. twitter
http://twitter.com/#!/dkkauwe
88. facebook
http://www.facebook.com/dkkauwe
89. Explanations
This "reality" by which I mean the world I share with you the reader of this - this world I demarcate from all the
other worlds in a few key ways

1) I eat here. I don't need to eat in other worlds. Here I get hungry and I want to eat things. Food has taste and
sensations are subtle and gross.

2) I'm not in control. I don't order everything around me, I don't script everything.

3) I read things. In other worlds, I know everything so why would I read anything"? Here, I don't know everything
automatically, so I read and learn.

4) I'm mortal here.

There is a longer list but I thought I'd start there.
90. Something about an ant
One of the main rules for surfing – or really swimming in general for that matter – is that
you can’t fight the current. It’s impossible, you’ll just tire yourself out and eventually
drown or get pulled out to sea…and then drown. Currents – like much of the hidden forces
in life – are rarely obvious. The trick to escaping a strong current is to swim out of the
current, not against it. So you can either swim horizontal to it, or as I liked to do, swim
below it, if possible. This was often a possibility for me because many of beaches on the Big
Island of Hawaii have steep drop off points where the shore hits the water and then drops
sharply away, so I would just swim beneath the current, and travel back to shore. I liked to
imagine myself as a dolphin or a seal – it was fun and I never really imagined myself in
great danger although I probably was in a lot of danger in the sense that I could have been
pulled out to sea if I wasn’t careful.

With Ross and I, it was like we were fighting a dozen different currents. Fundamentally, we
both had serious issues that were at work in our lives and unfortunate for both of us, each
of us took it upon ourselves to fight those forces in other person – and in the most
misguided ways. For example, Ross took my explanations of mental instability, which are
true, and he ran with those statements and suddenly, in his mind I was "Borderline
Personality Disorder." I discussed this with my therapist who is a clinical psychologist, and
a person – who if any would make such a judgment, and she completely dismissed that
notion. The problem here was that for months, and I think up until the very end, Ross was
convinced that I had Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). He told me that he had read
tons of articles and was participating on forums for people with partners that had BPD.

At first I thought it was kind of amusing and touching. Then it took on a really twisted and
sick element because Ross was essentially diagnosing me with no formal training and no
consultation with any medical experts. It became a serious point of contention because he
even began to treat me like I had BPD and he began to use techniques that were supposedly
effective for people with BPD. In the end it was very insulting and patronizing because it
was like he was even using conditioning techniques on me.

The problem I think was that he created a self-fulfilling prophecy. I don’t have BPD, but
because Ross was treating me like I had BPD, pretty soon everything I did was interpreted
in that framework, and I was constantly reacting in frustration and anger because he was
treating me like a sick child. It was frustrating and denigrating and very humiliating. I felt
ashamed and embarrassed much of the time because he always seemed to be doing
something behind my back and I could never figure out what it was. Later, I realized, and
confirmed with him – that what he was doing was systematically ignoring me in a very
specific way regarding specific inquiries, behaviors, requests, etc. The issue with all of this
was that we generating a very vicious cycle between ourselves in which we systematically
destroyed a healthy, beautiful relationship.

That’s not to say that I don’t have mental instability – obviously there is a large percentage
of the time that I’m not mentally present with the rest of the planet. I should also be clear
that it wasn’t Ross alone that poisoned the relationship with his paranoid home doctoring
and quack diagnosis procedure. I burned down the house with an obsession for neatness
and organization and I think I drove Ross to heavy drinking and drug use because I was
constantly complaining about how I was displeased with things.

What a tragic comedy we made. I could probably draw a lifetime a source material from
those few months we had together – there was so much intense activity between us. We
fought - we made love – we were at each other’s throats – we embraced – we kept secrets
from each other – we told each other all sorts of intimate details – we made dreams and
plans together – we destroyed those dreams and plans together. It was like every movie and
book that I’ve ever seen compressed together and then rushed through at a surreally high
pace. I’m still reeling from the experience. I grin and grimace because I would spend so
much energy trying to fix things and Ross would run away. He always liked to call himself
a ninja. If he was a ninja, then I would be more a knight.

I’d come charging into the situation and chop things up and hack and slash and try to fix
things up and make things right, and then Ross would do his ninja stealthy thing and throw
clouds of smoke everywhere and I’d be left wondering, "What the fuck just happened?" So
of course, I’d run back in and hack and slash, all upright and honest – shouting at the top
of my lungs, "This is what we need to do!" Ross would of course sneak away and hide in
his bedroom or plot behind my back, and then undo whatever activity I had done. It was an
endless battle of the wills and neither of us wanted to admit defeat and neither of us wanted
to admit what we were doing.

Now, looking back, I realize that I was just fighting the current. I never could win - I
thought I could win – but I never could win. I thought it was a game. I thought that I’d
eventually break Ross’ bad habits and win him over to my side. I thought I’d snap him out
of it, I thought that I’d tame him – whatever – now I realize that I was simply fighting the
irresistible forces of Ross – just as much as Ross was fighting the irresistible forces of me. If
I could do it all over, I’d lay my sword down in heartbeat, surrender and give myself up,
because that would be the only sane thing to do, but I wasn’t very sane at the time and I
thought fighting was the better option.

In the last month or two preceding the break up, we fought constantly, and Ross shut down
more and more and became increasingly non-communicative, emotional unavailable, and
more unengaged. Yet there were these amazing things that we did for each other. For his
part, Ross made an incredible sacrifice for me when it was unclear whether I was
transferring back East or remaining in L.A. with Whole Foods. Ross was given an offer by
a friend of his to live at his place rent-free for about three months in exchange for
supervising his adopted teenage son. Ross was excited about this prospect because he could
save several thousand dollars in rent and save up for a place to rent later in the year. Of
course this was a decision that he needed to make soon because this friend was leaving the
country and Ross would need to move into Chris’ place and put his own things into storage
given that Chris’ place was fully furnished. I thought I had an interview that was coming
up shortly, but the interview was suddenly pushed back on Sunday night. I notified Ross
from work and I let him know what was going on in terms of the situation. Ross
immediately went into action. Later that night, he told me that he had cancelled the
tentative plans with Chris, and because Ross’ current landlord was allowing Ross to extend
his lease month to month, Ross was going to extend his stay for the month of August. Ross
then told me that he felt that I need that time and space to get myself together and he
wanted to do that for me, and he was going to provide a place for me and I could pay
whatever I wanted or I didn’t have to pay anything.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a selfless act of love in my life. To be honest, I don’t recall
either of my parents even doing something like that. All my life, I’ve struggled to do things
for myself and I’ve felt very much alone, unsupported by anyone and here was someone,
whom I was quasi-engaged to (because at this point we were fighting so much that the
engagement was sort of in limbo), and yet he was still going out of his way to help me.

Of course I then went and sabotaged the entire thing that very night with a huge argument
because I go very angry with Ross for wanting to watch television rather than pay attention
or interact with me or do anything with me. I think I was upset because for the entire week
we had spent no quality time together and that night I was hoping that we’d have some
quality time together, and Ross just wanted to watch t.v. so I went off the deep end and
threw a fit and threatened to leave because I couldn’t understand how it was that someone
could ignore another person that he presumably loves so intensely for an entire week or
more. My feelings were obviously hurt and I was devastated that Ross would rather zone
out in front of the t.v. rather than interact with me – even after he did this amazing
sacrifice – I couldn’t comprehend it. It made no sense to me. He didn’t even want to do
massage time, which was when we’d give each other massages while watching t.v. I was
pretty broken hearted because I thrive on personal interaction and Ross could be very
impersonal at times.

For my part, and I’m not sure Ross ever understood or appreciated my acts of love, I tried
to form a strong monogamous relationship for us. Given that we were both HIV positive,
and I know that we would one day need to support each other critically in terms of finances
and health care, I really felt it imperative that we form a strong monogamous relationship.
The irony is that Ross and I never really discussed the boundaries of our relationship until
I proposed to him. It was a very nebulous relationship, and I don’t know if that’s how Ross
preferred things. In retrospect, it seems that he was often a person that preferred unspoken
agreements or unspoken communication. The issue that I have with unspoken agreements
that are complex, like the nature of a relationship – i.e. monogamous or not, is that both
parties could think that they are in agreement, but not be and the end result could be
disaster.

Case in point. Until I proposed to Ross, we had never discussed in any fashion whether or
not we were seeing other people, whether or not it was okay to see other people – none of
that. I don’t know if Ross just tacitly assumed that I wasn’t going to do that, I know for my
part that I assumed nothing. I actually thought that Ross was seeing other people on the
side because he just seemed like that kind of person. He would often talk about "fuck
buddies" and he and one of his best female friends had a very elaborate conversation
regarding "fuck buddies" in my presence, and the conclusion that the two of them reached
was that they didn’t care if their significant other had a fuck buddy, they just didn’t want
to know about it.

For my part, I wasn’t really comfortable with an ill-defined relationship. Very quickly
after learning our HIV status in January, I decided that not only did I love Ross, but I
wanted to be with him always, through sickness and health, and that I wanted to form a
strong legal bond that would grant us the rights and protections that I felt we would need.
So I started to move in that direction. It took me a very long time to get an engagement ring
for him. I think I started looking sometime in March, and I finally found one that I liked. It
was black titanium, in a style called mokume gane, which is a Japanese process by which
two billets of metal are combined together to produce a layered laminate. It’s very
beautiful and symbolic of the melding of differences, or so I read. I thought it was perfect.
Sizing Ross’ finger was difficult, and finally, I just had to up front ask him to allow me to
size his finger. I think he might have suspected what I was doing at that point, but I’m not
sure. The ring then took forever to arrive, and I had to keep calling and calling because
there were all sorts of errors with the maker.

It’s funny because I wanted to propose on our trip to Catalina, which was presumably for
my birthday, but I wanted to propose because on that weekend because I have a bad
memory for dates, and I thought that if I proposed near my birthday I would never forget
the anniversary of our engagement. The ring barely arrived in time before we departed. I
remember being in a panic and utterly worried that the ring was not going to arrive in
time.

It did, and I proposed to Ross and he said yes, and it was magical and wonderful and
everything that I dreamed off – then the nightmare began. Ross found out that I had seen
other guys before I proposed to him – which I was truthful and honest about – I tried to
point out time and time again that we had never made any definitions about our
relationship – hence my move to propose and my move to make the relationship
monogamous. For what it’s worth, once I proposed to Ross and we were engaged, I never
even so much as looked at another guy with desire. I was that committed to him.

But currents run deep and they are powerful, and the forces that were running between us
were so forceful that I fear that our love was simply not mature and strong enough to
combat the deeper malaise inside of each of us. It hurts to look back at the relationship and
see each of us doing what we could for the other, and the other then reacting in the opposite
direction. It seemed that each time one of us would do something loving, the other would
misinterpret or notice an unrelated point and then undo the efforts of the other person.

If I’ve learned on thing- which I already knew, but now it’s sharply reinforced – under no
circumstances should I ever fight the current. There are simply forces that are too great to
fight and fighting them is stupid. In the process of fighting the stupid things, I trampled on
the good things, and demolished a wonderful relationship as I tried to wrestle control of
currents that were beyond my control. Much of the time I think our fights were ultimately
silly, trivial, and down right asinine. Sure in our minds there was some kind of
fundamental point that we could trace back to if we boiled away all of the words and hours
and hours of bickering, but in essence we would start with a point of contention and then
simply fight about it endlessly.

The perfect example would be the mess. I fought endlessly with Ross regarding "the mess"
or rather "his mess." His mess seemed to constantly be shifting all over the house
regardless of how I tried to clean it up, he would blame his roommate Anthony, but to be
honest, Anthony was rarely ever in the house and so I had a hard time believing that
Anthony could really be responsible for the huge piles of clutter that seemed to constantly
accumulate in the living room, in the kitchen, on the dining room, and in the bedroom.

Yeah Ross was really messy, he was probably the messiest person that I’ve ever seen in my
life. His idea of a clothing system consisted of a giant pile of clothing lying on his bedroom
floor - I kid you not – a giant pile of clothing, and sometimes the clothing in the bins were
clean, and sometimes they were dirty. I could never figure it out because I wasn’t the
person that was putting the clothes there, and I’m sure at some level Ross knew what was
what, but to be honest it was really confusing because sometimes clean clothes were on the
floor and dirty clothes were in the bins and sometimes it was the other way around – but in
general it was essentially a humungous pile of clothes.

And we fought and fought and fought about the clothes. Finally, I got him to separate the
dirty clothes on one side, and the clean clothes on the other side. That way at least I could
tell what was clean and what was dirty, and I could wash the dirty clothes and not waste
time trying to guess or wash the clean clothes by accident. However, was it worth the cost?
I don’t think so. Now that I reconsider, I wish that I had just left that pile of clothes there. I
wish that I had just learned to love him for his messy pile of clothes and accepted that giant
mess rather than fighting with him to change it. The bitter struggle to deal with the
laundry was clearly not worth it because it was just yet one of the nails in the coffin. Now in
my mind’s eyes I will probably always have a picture of that huge mess of clothing in Ross’
room, and him sitting at his computer and me surveying the mess, and when I charge into a
situation and I try to change things, I think I’m always going to hesitate because there are
simply currents that we cannot fight.

Part of me thinks that while he drove me to a mental break down, I drove him to drinking
and excessive pot smoking because I was constantly obsessing about the cleanliness of the
house. I remember him telling me several times that he wasn’t as fast as me, and I wouldn’t
listen to him because I would keep telling him, "well you just need to take fifteen minutes
or thirty minutes of your day and spend a little time cleaning." It never occurred to me that
even that might be asking too much. I know that he did try and that he did make and effort
but it was never good enough and it never quite made a difference, and that was my
mistake, and it breaks my heart because I want to go back in time and say to him, "Thank
you for cleaning the kitchen, thank you for picking that up," instead I think I just kept
complaining about other messes. Part of me feels like I’m going to have this awful guilt for
the rest of my life and I’m going to have to live with the knowledge that I was ungrateful
and cruel and demanding, and that I destroyed a beautiful thing. Right now, I can barely
sleep at night and I have a hard time eating because I’m so consumed with guilt.
This all reminds me about a story that I used to read as a child about a duck that was
having a friend over for dinner. The duck found an ant scurrying through the kitchen, so
the duck tried to get rid to the ant, and what ensued was a series of successively horrible
disasters. At some point the duck tried to spray the ant with bug spray, but that didn’t
work because the ant hid behind the stove, and the duck didn’t want to spray the food, so
the duck moved the stove and tried to hit the ant with a frying pan. Then the duck broke a
pipe and flooded the kitchen, and pretty soon the duck had brought down a kitchen wall
and then practically destroyed the entire house.

That’s how I feel about Ross and I, I was trying to get the living room and the bedroom
clean and I destroyed our engagement – an incredibly beautiful relationship – because I
wanted things clean – and then on top of that, I think drove Ross to excessive drinking and
marijuana use. Of course, I think he may have had a latent addiction problem to begin
with before I arrived on the scene, but I still feel bad being the trigger because I still have
nightmares given that my last memories of him are him coming home from work each day,
going upstairs, getting really stoned, coming downstairs, eyes red, then pouring a drink,
and sitting in front of the t.v. for hours. It was like I drove him to emotional and mental
suicide.

I still agonize over the situation because all my friends and family tell me, "Well you know,
you did the right thing and you got out of a bad situation," and everyone’s patting me on
the back, but I’m thinking, "No! Not great for me. I’m a horrible person." Sure Ross might
have ended up all drugged out and drunk out of his mind most of the time, but I think I
pushed him there. Sometimes, I find myself wishing that I could just go back and take all
those attacks away and just tell him, "you know what, the mess doesn’t matter, I love you
for who you are, and I don’t care about the mess." Then I look around me and remember I
can’t change the past and I remember I can’t fight the current and I’m just left accepting
the horrible things I’ve done. Time is current and I can’t change time as much as I would
love to go back and alter the past – and it is very tempting because if I had a time machine,
I’m pretty sure that I would be running through the door to jump back in time and tell
myself – "Don’t fight with Ross about the mess!"

Still, I find myself wishing and dreaming from time to time, when I’m not paying attention
– I wish I could go back and do it over again. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to do
something over again – ever in my life – but this time I do, and that’s a hard thing to live
with – the incredible regret that comes with realizing that you wish you could do it
differently.

Currents – particularly the past – are hard to escape – and I’m always wondering how do I
escape the past – how do I break the cycle and move past this loss of true love? In the ocean
I would swim sidewise, in life, I’m trying to do things differently the second time around
the block. So now that I’m not with Ross, I’m given up one-night stands and quick hook-
ups. I’m not normally a dinner and movie guy; I usually do things in the opposite order –
"let’s just sleep together now and get the sex out of the way." Now I’m approaching
relationships from the other angle, "let’s start with conversations first, and then maybe
we’ll get to the sex."
The relationship that I had with Ross is still very salient and present and it still affects me
in positive ways. For example, I used to be a very angry person, and now I’m not. After the
breakup, it became painful clear to me that anger gets me nowhere good – fast. Not that I
didn’t know this at some level in the past, but now this truth is indelibly seared in my mind.
Every time I start to become angry, I immediately see Ross’ face and I can see his
expression and the hurt on his face and just as quickly as I become angry, the anger fades.

The same is true for being judgmental towards other people. That was another issue that
drove a stake into our relationship – I can be very judgmental and critical towards other
people.

So, I think it’s true that I am breaking out of my own currents, I am learning to be less
angry and less judgmental. The anger is the most fascinating thing to consider. I was once
so consumed with rage and bitterness and now I’ve come to concretely realize that anger is
totally useless – it does nothing good in the long run. Sure anger might be appropriate in a
life or death situation, but honestly, how many of us are literally fighting physically for our
lives in some kind of literal death match on day to day basis? I’d warrant to say that very
few of us are actually locked in ongoing, literal, physical, life and death struggles. Most of
the time our struggles are mental, emotional, and spiritual in nature, and anger as a
reaction doesn’t do much good in the long run.

Even in a life and death struggle, I’d argue that anger isn’t really helpful. If anything, I’d
say that anger is actually more harmful because anger is clouding judgment and anger will
impair higher cognitive functions. This was something that was always impressed upon me
in every martial arts class that I’ve ever had, be it judo, kendo, kung fu, or tae kawando –
anger is never a useful emotion for a martial artist. We are thinking creatures and
thoughtful creatures and I would bet good money that a strong martial artist would beat an
out of control anger person any day. Sure going out of control might feel good at the
moment, but then you’re out of control and things spin out of control and you probably
will regret the consequences later.

I know that I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, and I suppose that I’ll go to my grave
with Ross’ face always floating in front of me whenever I start to become angry because it’s
sad but true, the last night that we together, was a dinner that we had together and I
basically got angry at him and while I might have been technically right about the things
that I was saying, I was still saying everything in anger and now I realize that I
accomplished nothing other than pushing Ross away, upsetting him, and ending our
relationship.

I know that some people might say that it’s okay to get angry a little, but I feel that a little
anger is like a little alcohol for an alcoholic, if I get out of control when I’m angry and my
anger is destructive, then I feel that I should simply avoid ever getting angry. So why get
irritated, why get frustrated. So I break out of the current.

And I give up my neat obsession – because it’s like the duck and the ant – because I’ve
realized – what’s the point? I try to get the ant and I bring down the house. There was one
day that I walked into a store and I started crying nonstop because they were playing that
song that goes, "He’s leaving on the midnight train to Georgia. I’d rather live in his world,
than live without him in mine." I started thinking about Ross, of course, and broke down
crying and wandered around the store for the longest time because they had a ten dollar
minimum check out for credit cards and all I had was a gallon of milk and box of cereal
which did not total ten dollars. This was my first night staying at the hostel-inn that I was
at, so I needed to pick up some breakfast food and I wasn’t sure what to get, so I just
grabbed milk and cereal and then made circles around the store crying and then each
successive song made the situation worse because each successive song was even more
sentimental and reminded me even more about Ross and all my crying was making it very
difficult for me to pick up items and figure out what to buy.

So then I called my sister Lehua and tried to talk to her on the phone but I just cried more
and sat down in the aisle and cried more and just cried and cried and I don’t really
remember how I pulled myself together, but at some point I managed to get up and finally I
picked up a bunch of Vitamin Waters because those were what Ross really liked to drink –
before I told them that they were making him fat – which made me cry more.

So this all goes to remind me, what’s important in life? The neat, orderly space or the
relationships between myself and the people that I love? I regret to say that it took losing
the love of my life to realize that things and neat spaces and an orderly home are not worth
the cost of a happy relationship. I’ve never really thought that things are important per se,
but now I really know that things are not important. I know that often I am a very physical
person – I pay attention to the physical and I pay attention to the here and now and
aesthetics are very important to me. This was a big difference between Ross and I - I think
that Ross was primarily a mental person where I would be both a mental and physical
person.

Of course, there were times that I thought Ross wasn’t really present in any plane, mental,
physical, emotional, or spiritual – I think this was because he often heard music in his head
as he was oft to say. It’s strange because he of all people should have understood me. He
heard music in his head – I see stories in my mind. It was funny because every so often
Ross would come back at me with some kind of deep response to something that I said or
did or asked, and I would always be impressed or amazed. I know that he’s very smart, in
fact, I’d warrant that he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, if not the smartest
person. He just wasn’t a very motivated person.

I have a very dual personality – I cognate constantly in a separate reality – you’d never
really know it from looking at me, but if you opened up my mind and pulled out all my
thoughts you’d have a massive library of movies and books - a whole plethora of literature
that’s constantly churning in my head. I’m serious – I literally have my own unpublished
library sitting in my head and when I’m bored I take books off the shelf and read them. I
know it sounds weird and I think sometimes this is why I’m always on the verge of a
mental breakdown because I feel guilty and bad because I’m like, I shouldn’t be able to do
this, this isn’t normal – normal people can’t do this – normal people don’t have an infinite
series of unpublished titles – books and movies in their head that they can review at their
leisure, but I do. I really do. Stick me in a room by myself and I’ll happily twiddle my
thumbs and stare at the walls and daydream – I could dream about The Kingdom with
Seven Impenetrable Walls, or the Underworld of the Liches, the Land of Nightmares, the
Planet of the Solar Trees, the Seven Schools of Magic, the Lord of all Things Dark and
Terrible, The End of the Time and The End of the World, The End of the Universe, The
Dark Thing in the Woods, the Silver Universe, The Feuding Kingdoms of Day and Night,
Squirrels, Deep Waters, The Whale and the Star – these are just a few of endless stream of
dreams that parade through my mind on constant basis. Sometimes, it’s all I can do to stay
afloat in this current and I think I do a good job interacting with reality, but honestly I
have to say.

People of this reality – you suck.

Reality – you suck

Reality sucks.

I like my dreams infinitely better, and sometimes I think Ross was jealous of what I saw. I
think he knew that I could step into alternate realties and alternate worlds with just a
thought and without even closing my mind I was in another place and time. He was the
first person that I ever confessed this to and the first person that I ever told my dreams to –
not that I have dreams – but that my dreams are massive and infinite and living and
constant. I suppose like he would claim to hear music in his head – I say that I see other
worlds and other realities – I see other people, other times, other places. I hear other people
and other places.

I’ve come to terms with this and I’m happy and I’m fine with this ability. I don’t confuse
those realities with this reality. I see the difference and with time I think I’ll start to write
stories about what I see and I suppose I’ll label them as fiction, because isn’t that what this
is all about, narrative fictions? I am coming to terms with who I am in the currents of my
life just as I should have come to terms with the currents of Ross, but I couldn’t because I
wasn’t willing to accept them. I think I was afraid of many things, chief amongst them
being called crazy and mad – but he did call me crazy – he labeled me BPD – so I think
that’s why I was so leery around him and didn’t fully open up to him, because I didn’t trust
him.

I have worlds inside of me, massive civilizations. I can tell you their histories, their cultures,
their rulers, their major battles, their epics, their rise and fall. I don’t know why I can do
this and I don’t know how I can do this. It just comes to me. Usually it starts with an image,
a name, a thought or something simple – a trickle – then it becomes a flood and soon I’m
drowning in a flood of sensations that overwhelm me in sensory information. Sometimes
the reality of the experience is connected to this reality in some remote way. Sometimes,
and often – I am somehow present in the experience, but often it’s just me, and the reality
is completely alternate. These experiences are so intricate and so complicated that they’re
very difficult to describe period – if telepathy were possible, I suppose I could just share the
experience, because to be honest even describing orally fails to capture the complete totality
of everything – when I’m having an experience I am literally there – it’s like being inside a
movie – it’s great – I love it – it’s fun, it’s enjoyable – it’s fascinating – and it’s interesting.
Sometimes, my greatest fear is that one of these days I’m going to stay in one of those
worlds and not come back. I wonder about that a lot, I wonder if I’ll find that perfect
world and that perfect person and then just stay there and never come back to this world.

Then I met Ross and I wanted to stay in this world. For Ross I would be here, now, forever.
I would work a minimum wage job forever and just do grunt labor just to see his face.
Why? This is silly I tell myself. In my dreams I can be anyone anywhere anytime. Why am
I coming back to Ross, why do I come back to this world? Why am I returning here? Why
this place? Why this mortal coil?

Perhaps for no other reason than my body is here and oddly enough, I have grown
attached to my body, and I do like it and I want to take care of it and I do love my body.
This is where Ross and I seemed to be at odds. Ross never seemed to be very physically
devoted to his body. He never seemed to want to exercise as much as me or pay attention to
his diet or take helpful supplements. He just seemed to want to engage in mental things, if
that at all – often he seemed to want to sleep or watch t.v. or play video games or play on
the computer. In other words, he just seemed to want to be entertained, which is fine to a
point, but there’s so much more to life than an endless entertainment feed and I found it
disconcerting to watch him constantly watching t.v. It was surreal – me watching him
watch t.v.

Ross also never seemed to be particularly concerned about his physical surroundings – he
never seemed to care about the state of the living room or the bedroom or the kitchen or
any part of the house for that matter – it was if he was completely unaware of the physical
environment. I was very fascinated because I always wondered what he saw. Did he even
see the same things that I saw? Or did he see some other kind of pattern? I still wonder to
this day how he sees the world.

To me the physical world is always as important as the non-physical world. However, I also
think the distinction between the two is spurious. I think there is no distinction. To me the
distinction is a limitation of the mind. I think people apply the two terms because of
limitations in perception, and thus people need to use labels to divvy up the world. To me
it’s all the same because you are a person who has thoughts and ambitions, occupying a
physical body, influencing a physical space – you’re part of a system and a world – why
draw distinctions?

I think Ross saw himself as separate from the physical world, at least I think this because
he would often say I was more physical than he. It’s funny in a tragic way that we clashed
in this regard because he always seemed to be attempting to achieve some kind of
emotional and spiritual harmony while I was trying to organize the physical space, and I
tried to point out that having harmony in our physical space would give us emotional and
spiritual harmony. I guess he didn’t really understand feng shui. And for my part, I should
have just understood that I was fighting an impossible current.
The television was another battle that I should have just let go, because that was one of
Ross’ favorite activities, and it was a stupid battle for me to fight. The television was always
a sore point with me because I felt like Ross wanted to pay more attention to the television
than me, and that was incredibly upsetting for me. Of course, it makes sense from his
perspective because he probably doesn’t have the gargantuan imagination that I have, and
so watching t.v. was his important source of entertainment. For me, I’d rather not watch
t.v., and I’d rather day dream because my dreams are usually much, much more
interesting, but then I doubt it’s very interesting for Ross to listen to me describe what it is
that I’m seeing because it’s like listening to someone else watching a t.v. that you can’t see
and all you can perceive is what the other person is describing in terms of what they are
seeing – I’m sure Ross got very tired of listening to me talk about what was going on in my
mind.

With Ross and I, it wasn’t until too late that I realized that there were issues between us
that would never change and that I was attacking the wrong things. On top of all this, Ross
can be incredibly passive, so it was rarely clear that I was doing the wrong thing until I hit
the point that I realized, "Shit, I’m fucking up major – big time." This was something that
really upset me with him, he never indicated to me that I was pushing the envelop to the
edge of the table until the envelop had hit the floor and was trampled on the floor. To me,
that’s poor communication skills because when someone is pushing your buttons in a bad
way, you need to tell that person to back off and stop what they’re doing. It’s not fair to tell
that person two month later, "Oh by the day, you really pissed me off for two months, and
now I’m going to take it out on you by doing this." That's what Ross did to me. He was
upset at me for a while, a month or more he claimed – and then one day he just told me
that we weren’t going to live together anymore. He never really discussed or told me the
degree or extent to which I had been upsetting him, and I wish that he had made it clear
how much I was upsetting him.

It really hurt me that he couldn’t be clear and up front with me at the beginning and
clearly put his foot down and say strongly, "You’re upsetting me tremendously, you need
to stop what you are doing or I don’t think we’re going to be able to live together," rather
than letting things get to the point where he felt he needed to make that decision and just
tell me, "You’ve upset me tremendously, we’re not living together." I think that if you
can’t effectively communicate with the person that you love, to whom your engaged – then
there’s something deeply amiss – I don’t know if he simply has fundamental
communication problems approaching people regarding difficult conversations in areas of
confrontation.

I think the trick with understanding the deep currents in people is determining what is an
irresistible force and what is not. Of course, one issue with irresistible forces is that you
don’t necessarily realize that they’re unchangeable traits, habits or behaviors until too late.
It would be nice to know and it would make life great for everyone if we would alert other
people when they start to run into our irresistible forces. I think it’s a decent courtesy to
indicate to another person, "You’re pushing my buttons in a bad way," or "You’re hitting
a wall with me." I think it would have been best for both Ross and I if he had just said at
the very beginning of the relationship, "I’m a very messy person, I’m not going to change,
you’re not going to change me, don’t try to change me, don’t try to make me change, and
don’t even bother trying to clean because I’m just going to mess things up. You’re just
going to bring conflict and strife into the relationship so give this up." And then we would
have both moved on and been happy. I’m sure I would have done little cleaning projects
here and there, but nothing like the constant and major cleaning wars that I was fighting in
error.

Instead it was always this passive avoidance technique of "Daniel’s cleaning – I’ll let him
do it, and hide while he’s doing the cleaning," or "I’ll watch him clean and clean until he’s
so frustrated and angry and then we’ll fight about why he’s frustrated and angry." Ross
would occasionally help in minor ways, but most of the time he just hung out on the
sidelines watching me get increasingly frustrated. So it was this constant and vicious cycle
of me struggling to clean the mess – growing increasingly frustrated and angry – and Ross
passively watching me – feeling my anger and frustrating and resenting my anger and
frustration, and then getting pissed of and angry with me for getting pissed off an angry
with him. It’s amazing the vicious cycles that we engage in because we’re not strong or
brave enough to just step up to the plate and say, "Enough is enough, we need to stop this."

I think if Ross had clearly and firmly stopped me from obsessing over the cleaning, then I
would have simply looked at things and said, "Okay, I guess that’s not going to happen,"
and I would have moved on to something else. I think the same would go for the television
watching, if Ross had just said, "This is what I like to do, and this is what I’m going to do,
and you just need to accept this," then I think I would have accepted that reality and again,
I would have focused my energy and attention on something else – rather than wasting it
on a useless campaign to get him to stop watching television.

I think we all have very powerful forces and very strong currents flowing in us that we can
never alter or change, and I think that we owe it to ourselves and the people around us to
acknowledge these forces and be true to ourselves and say – "This is who I am, this is how
I’m going to be, and I will not change no matter what, so you’re going to have to accept me
or leave me alone." And I know that I would have accepted Ross for who he was. After all,
we both had HIV, and I still loved him and I still wanted to be with him and I wanted to
marry him, I think that if I could get past something like that, I could certainly get past
messiness and being a couch potato.

If we don’t tell other people when they hit our currents or walls or whatever you want to
call it – we’re doing ourselves and other people a disservice. If we don’t tell other people,
"What you’re trying to get me to change, will never change. This is who I am, this is how
I’m going to be, and this what I’m going to do, and if you’re trying to get me to change,
you’re just wasting your energy and time and you’re going to make both of us unhappy. "

It’s sad because Ross’ last words to me were, "I hate you." To me, we really drove each
other apart with our fighting, but more particularly – it was our fighting with each other
on things that we could never change and yet in some misguided notion, we thought we
could change. Ironically, I think that if we had just stepped back from the situation and
realized, we can’t change these things, I think that both of us would have been happy to
accept and embrace the other person, instead the knives came out and the bloodletting
started and it just turned into a war zone. I suppose that’s what happens when you
combine two strong willed people and they clash at a fundamental level. Yet, now I know
the importance of accepting and tolerating because I’m realize that there must be many
professional relationships as well as romantic relationships and friendships that go down in
flames because one party is trying to make the other party change, and it’s a situation
where one side needs to say to the other side, "You’re not going to change me – stop trying
to change this situation."

To this day, I want nothing more than to put my arms around him and say I’m sorry and
ask his forgiveness and put everything behind us, and I know it seems silly, but what can I
say? I know for my part what I did to destroy the relationship, and I’ve come to terms with
that, and I regret it and I’m deeply sorry for it. The past sits there as the greatest of
currents and it hurts – it really, really hurts – and time and reality become things that you
simply cannot control. Now that Ross and I aren’t together, this is one of the things that
I’m constantly tormented by, "Is Ross seeing someone else? Is he sleeping with someone
else? What if he’s having unprotected sex with someone else?" or worse, "What if he’s
having sex with women? What if he’s turned straight?" Then there’s the case of his
dubious friend Mike, the one that likes to make jokes about clowns molesting and killing
little kids, and Ross once confessed that he and Mike had fooled around together, and so I
panic and think, "What if Ross is rebounding into Mike’s arms?" Of course Mike is
presumably mostly straight, but still…It’s sad because I did object to certain things that
Mike would say, like the clown jokes, and I think that drove a wedge between Ross and I
because Mike had been one of Ross’ closest friends, if not his closest friend for something
like eight years, and I think that the end Ross felt like he had to make choice between Mike
and I. All these crazy scenarios go through my mind, Yet, I know intrinsically that I cannot
control these things and I just have to let it all go.

These are all the anxieties and fears that I have and I have to just let them flow around and
past me like currents that I cannot control.

Fear and anxiety – these are the currents that flowed from me – the currents that
overwhelmed Ross, and I think that this is what Ross tried to change and neither of us were
able to stop. The abuse and neglect that I experienced as a child are forces that I have tried
to change, alter, and ignore – with little or no success it seems. Likewise, I’ve seen many
therapists, psychiatrists, doctors – and then friends and family members have also tried to
help me – and Ross of course did what he could to try to change the tide. To be honest, I
don’t know how I will ever come to fully heal from what happened to me as a child. I live
with pain and fear on daily basis and it never seems to get better, in fact it often seems to
get worse.

For example, as a child, I was beaten – spanked – whipped – whatever you want to call it –
for wetting the bed. The fact of the matter is you don’t spank or beat or whip a child for
wetting the bed – it’s essentially and involuntary behavior that occurs when sleeping and a
severe physical punishment like that does nothing but instill pain and fear in the worst
possible ways.
Perhaps the worst memories of my life are waking up with the bed wet, the sheets wet, and
my pajamas wet, and the awful realization that I would be beaten for wetting the bed –
what made the experience so much worse was the overwhelming and salient knowledge
that a severe and painful punishment was coming and that there was nothing that I could
do to stop it and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it – powerlessness – that
was the worst part of the experience – the fear and powerlessness.

Then there was my mother on the sidelines, who as aware of everything, but today claims
to remember nothing. I don’t know what her issue was then. She did nothing to protect me.
She didn’t try to clean up or hide the mess or shield me from my father’s wrath. I don’t
know if mind was still fried from all the drugs she used or she was just too self absorbed to
see how much fear and terror I was experiencing. To be honest, I don’t think she should
have ever been a mother. She was the worst possible mother in the world. I think I
probably would have been better off if the state had taken me away – although who knows,
I might have just ended up shuffled around from foster home to foster home with more
people to beat and abuse me. So maybe it was better that I just stayed in one place with just
a few people to beat and abuse me. My mother’s attitude was always, "Well, you just wait
until your father gets home," because he’d be out surfing, so I’d just sit there in my wet
clothes on the wet bed, waiting for the inevitable lashing.

My parent’s philosophy was that I should have woken up and gotten myself out of bed,
therefore if I wet the bed I deserved a beating in order that I be motivated to wake up at
future points. The results were not what they expected. To this day, I still have a phobia
about my bladder. I have constant anxiety when I feel my bladder getting full and I
immediately want to go to the restroom wherever I might be – whether in a meeting or a
movie or lecture. I'm still a really light sleeper and I’ll wake up often to urinate because
I’m in constant fear and anxiety regarding my bladder and wetting the bed. I never sleep
well and I’m always waking up at night to urinate. I don’t think most people ever notice
around me – although I think people do wonder why I’m always fidgeting and why I can
never sit still – it’s because my body is still struggling to deal with these awful memories –
and no matter how much my conscious mind says that I’m safe – my body says otherwise.

I’m always afraid to drink water when entering movies or meetings because I get paranoid
about having my bladder fill up because the sensation causes panic attacks and I become
terrified that I’m going to accidentally urinate and then someone is going to beat me – an
irrational fear, yes, but a fear that I have nonetheless – because those memories from my
childhood are so deeply engrained that there is nothing that I can do to escape them. No
amount of medication or therapy has done anything to help thus far. I continue to hope
that one day I will be free of these awful memories, but so far, I live with the terror on a
daily basis. The worst part of these memories is waking up in the wet bed and wet clothes
and then sitting there for a long period of time and simply anticipating the beating. To this
day, I think this is where that awful anticipatory stress comes from - I have this heightened
anticipatory reaction to things where I’ll just have an elevated level of anxiety for long
periods of time for irrational reasons and that anticipatory phase will just last and last and
it’s awful because I’ll just go through an entire day, dreading some kind of unnamed or
irrational event or fear – and I’ll know that the event or fear is irrational but I can’t do
anything because my body is so conditioned to simply react and become anxious for
heightened periods of time.

These weren’t just a swat on the butt kind of spanking – my dad would use a switch that
from a guava tree that was long and thin and by the end my legs would almost always be
bruised and often the skin would break and bleed and I would be screaming and crying.

I lived in mortal fear and dread as a child of stepping out of line – even today this is an
irrational fear that I live with. With Ross this was one of the hardest things to deal with
because I don’t think Ross understood where I was coming from, because I genuinely have
a hard time knowing what I’m doing wrong because often I feel like everything I’m doing
is wrong. I know that sounds crazy, but because I’m filled with so much anxiety and I’ve
been punished so much in the past, I’ve come to feel like everything that I do is wrong and
that all of my actions are mistakes and that I’m always going to be doing the wrong thing.
It’s very hard for me to be confident and proud of my decisions because I’m always
terrified that I’m going to be making the wrong choice and that I’ll be severely punished,
so I’m constantly in a state of panic and my panic is constantly impairing my judgment.
Despite the endless revolving door of therapists and psychologists and psychiatrists – no
one has been able to help me and I’m still struggling to hold my ground in the most basic of
decisions.

When I’m under incredible pressure and stress, the most basic of activities becomes an
onerous burden because I’m in a constant nightmare of fear and terror – and I sometimes
feel like maybe I should just kill myself because I’m full of some much pain and
dysfunction. Ross was the best thing that ever happened to me and I just fucked it up with
all my disordered neuroses. I tried and I tried and I tried to overcome my past but it
seemed like every time that I’d make progress in some direction, I’d fall backwards
elsewhere and I’d just fuck everything up more. The worst part is when I try to talk to
people about it, I get reactions like I’m crazy. My mom doesn’t remember and she treats
me like I’m nuts. Ross would tell me that I’m like the boy who cried wolf, and eventually, I
don’t know what to do, and again, I’m left with this feeling that I’m better of just killing
myself.

I’m so scared and tired and full of pain and I don’t want to feel like this anymore and I just
want to go to sleep and never wake up and I want to die and not come back to this world.
I’m not afraid of the boggy man or a monster – I’m just scared and full of pain that never
goes away. The only hope that I have is that I can write this book eloquently and
passionately and that I will break out of this current and break out of this cycle and other
people will read this story and benefit from this and maybe Ross will read this and maybe
he’ll understand what was going on inside of me and maybe he’ll realize that I never meant
to hurt him.

I still see the switch and I still feel it – I still feel it on my legs and I still feel the pain all in
my muscles and it never goes away and it is still with me constantly. I’m still scared that if I
do something wrong, someone is going to hit me. I’m still scared. So I’m always aggressive
and always defensive and so I take all sorts of medications and do all kinds of therapy –
and my life is just falling apart and getting worse and worse and I just lost the person that I
love and it hurts so bad. All the doctors and all the medications and all the therapy – none
of it takes the pain away. The only time I can honestly say that I have ever truly forgotten
myself is when I’ve been looking in Ross’ eyes and that’s why it’s so hard to walk away
because I could felt myself happy and safe and secure around him and now that’s gone, I
don’t know what to do.

I’m regret that so much of the time that when Ross and I were together I was always trying
to get the better of him, but that’s what I had to do with my parents because that’s what I
had to do in order to survive because they were so capricious. I always had to keep one step
ahead of them because I never knew what they would do to me – I never knew what would
result in a spanking. I remember once my mother had been saving glass mason bottles, and
then my dad decided to throw them away. I naively told my mom, and she then went and
dug them out of the trash and then my dad got really angry and beat me for telling my
mother. There was another time that my sister and I were playing in the kitchen with the
eggbeater and I thought we could curl her hair with the eggbeater because it seemed like a
good idea at the time. Needless to say, it was not a good idea. My sister’s hair got stuck in
the egg beater, she panicked and we couldn’t figure out how to untangle my sister’s hair,
and then our parents got very upset and we both got switched.

My childhood was never a childhood. I was punished for doing little kid things that little
kids would normally do, and I think that’s where I was really jealous of Ross. He had a
little kid spirit about him, and I think it was because he was able to be a little kid when he
was growing up, and I envied him for seeming to have a childhood that I never had. I feel
like those dogs that have been beaten so much that they might be nice at times but then
they can suddenly turn at times and become very vicious at other times. I don’t mean to be
like that I don’t want to be like that, but at times I just lose control. I go to doctors and I
get medications but nothing seems to help.

It’s like I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – I still feel pain in my legs and the muscles
throughout my body are constantly tense and I can never seem to relax. When I go in for
deep tissue massages – the therapists always remark that my muscles are incredibly tight –
and it’s funny because when they work on my shoulders and back – I can feel the knots in
my muscles like blocks of wood. It’s not just that my dad hit me or beat me as a child – my
mom did a lot of awful things to me as a child.

My mother would often take me to random strangers homes (at least they were strangers to
me) and she would drop me off at these people’s homes for the weekend or sometimes for a
week and just leave me in the care of these other people. I hated these experiences. Most of
the time I had never met these people before, and often the people didn’t have their own
children (I think that was the ploy – "Here have my son, he’s cute and
entertaining…Lie!"), and more often than not these people would be mean or simply
ignore me. Usually I was terribly bored and stuck wondering around some strange house
and unfamiliar property, trying to keep out of trouble and keep myself occupied.
Why did this happen? My mom would candidly tell me that she couldn’t "handle me" or
that she couldn’t "deal with me," that was I was "too much for her to deal with." How do
you think that makes a child feel when your own mother is telling you that she can’t take
care of you because she can’t handle you? It’s been something that I’ve been struggling
with my entire life – always trying to make sure that I don’t upset or displease other people
because I don’t want to be sent away. I’m always paranoid that I’m going to be dismissed
or shut out or left home or sent somewhere else. That was the story of my life. Never
included in anything – always sent away, always shut out, always sent away, always left
home. It was like I was anathema – and my mom made damn well clear that the issue was
me and that it was all my fault that if I only learned to behave better, maybe things would
be different. I tried, I really did try, but I never seemed to quit get the knack of behaving to
her satisfaction, so I always seemed to be getting sent away or left home made to go outside
– exiled – I think that was what my life was always about – I have a fear of separation
because I was constantly being separated from my mother. You’d think that I’d have
gotten adjusted to it, and I did, but then it just made me paranoid that any significant
person, anyone in my life would do the same thing.

It was definitely an issue with Ross and I. I think that Ross felt that I was overly attached
to him, and I probably was. I probably had separation anxiety with him because of the
stunts that my mother pulled and I probably panicked a lot because I was afraid to be
away from him. It’s hard when you’re hurt so early in life and you never manage to fully
heal from those injuries. It’s hard to do that healing so late in life and it’s even harder
when you realize that those injuries are causing dysfunction that is severely impairing your
ability to engage in healthy normal relationships.

It’s ironic because now my mom is always crying on the phone telling me how much she
loves me and how much she really wanted to have me as a baby and how I was the most
important thing to her, and I just think, "Bullshit." You just liked the idea of the cute little
baby, and once the baby started growing up, you didn’t like that anymore. You didn’t want
to deal with the baby asking questions and the baby doing things and the baby being a
person.

Sometimes I really want to be a parent because I feel that I would be a great a parent
because I’d just be there for that kid – but then maybe I’d end up smothering the kid. Who
know?

When my mom became religious it was even worse because my mom would tell the
religious speakers things like, "I don’t know what to do with my son, I think that he has a
demon." Some of the speakers would look at my mom like she was crazy, and then others
would look at me and ask me why I was tormenting my mother and I would just look back
at them as if they were crazy. When your eight or nine you’re having a difficult enough
time comprehending the world and then to you have your mom who’s supposedly more
mature, wandering around with all these issues – it was really awful.

Sometimes the separation of Ross and I is so difficult because I just wonder was it that
there were all these latent problems within me that were so awful that I simply drove Ross
towards drugs and alcohol? He was so loving and caring when we first met, and then I
turned him into this uncompassionate monster that turned on me – intoxicated and drunk
all the time. So then I feel even worse because it’s like not only can I not get my own shit
together but I’ve just gone and fucked someone else up – and then I really want to kill
myself because it’s now I realize I really am fucking the world up.

Then I realize that I can’t fight the current and I just have to get out of it and I just need to
stop struggling against the things that I can’t stop, and I just need to believe that
somewhere somehow I will get past this and I will heal past this and I will improve past
this. It’s discouraging because I’m thirty-one years old and I don’t feel better and I don’t
feel like I’m making progress.

When I met Ross, things suddenly seemed to be turning and around I became so optimistic
– I felt like suddenly things were improving and I felt like life was getting better and I felt
like my future was finally getting better. I couldn’t explain it because in an immediate sense
I could pin point what was specifically improving, but each day and every morning and I
truly felt better. The fact that we discovered that we had HIV together and then we
embraced each other and we decided to make a life together – that fact reassured me and
motivated me to higher place each day and I really wanted to just be alive and I was happy
to just exist. Then all this other stuff began to surface and we began to turn on each other
and everything was ripped apart and now I’m just more despondent because it’s like –
everything that my parents did to me – I still can’t deal with it – despite all the therapy and
pills and what have you – nothing has fundamentally helped.

Some people say, well stop focusing on the problem and focus on something else – I’ve tried
that – I’ve tried focusing on other people’s problems and I’ve tried focusing on helping
other people – I’ve done community service and volunteer service, I’ve worked with special
needs children, disabled adults, churches, homeless shelters – I have selfless given my time
and given myself to other people – I’ve given time and money. Throughout my life I have
always been giving of myself to other people, and that still doesn’t help me. Charity just
seems to be a band-aid, covering things up and distracting me and hiding things and
keeping me from feeling the pain – but it doesn’t seem to really fix the problem.

At the end of the day, I think the only thing that will ever fix the hurt is unconditional love,
compassion, and understanding from other people. I think that’s what hurt so much – I
though that Ross would understand and I thought that he would appreciate where I was
coming from in terms of my hurt and suffering. I thought if maybe if I opened up and
showed him how deeply I was hurt then he would see the hurt and give me the time and
space I need to heal, instead he just turned on me and I don’t know what happened.

There were some weird things that happened. We were in a therapy session and Ross said
something to the effect of, "Daniel said ‘I don’t know what’s like to be abused as a child,’
but that’s not true…" but then he never clarified that statement and I was never able to
learn what he meant. I wish I had followed up on that question and asked him to clarify,
but I was so wrapped up in my own pain that I could barely acknowledge his pain. That’s
such a loaded statement, that I should have found out more immediately. Was he abused as
a child? Was that what he was saying? He did say once that he was tazered in Tijuana,
Mexico for kissing another guy, so maybe he was referring to that kind of abuse…I don't
know. Maybe he was just talking about being hurt by someone in the past and he didn’t
want to tell me about it – there was such a sudden break down in the communication and
there was so much that I just didn’t know. I was having a breakdown – for good reason – I
was just having flashbacks about my childhood and all of the abuse that I was going
through and it was hard for me when I kept reliving these things over and over again.

I’m still struggling with these things, and I feel that writing this book is my way of
breaking out of the current and breaking the cycle. For whatever my dad did, I feel that
the scales are tipped towards the good against the bad because for whatever terrible things
he did do, he also took me surfing and I do have all these wonderful memories of the beach
and sea and the sun and the surf – and these memories stick with me and they’re strong.
Thanks to those experiences I have a foundation that I can approach life with and I realize
that those experiences give me some principals to work with to deal with the inevitable
chaos of my life. Perhaps some people will reach a level live or a plateau or a stable life – I
don’t think that I ever will. I think that my life will always be like surfing – there will
always be sets of waves crashing around me and I’m always going to be faced with the
choice of riding or drowning and I know that I really don’t want to drown, so I better keep
riding. So all that wisdom must be greater than all this despair – that’s my thought – my
hope.

I’m falling down and falling off and wiping out but I’m still picking myself up and I’m still
getting on the board and I’m still paddling out and I’m still riding the wave. I’m still here.
Life hurts and if my emotional and mental experiences were being translated into physical
medium – then I would be a bloody wreck right now – body gushing blood and missing
limbs. My hope is that I will escape the current of my past the current of abuse and pain
and anger – and get to a healthier me. I think many people want to get to wealthy or
powerful or famous - I just want to get healthy and happy. I don’t want to be anxious or
scared anymore.

I have never been so happy as I was with Ross. I have never been afraid in my life of not
being happy again, but now I am – I’m afraid that I won’t be so happy as I was when I was
with Ross. I’m afraid that I won’t meet someone and feel that happiness with someone
again. There were times that I was so happy just to be next to him and I never thought
about anything else, I was just happy being there beside him. I didn’t need to talk to him, I
was just happy sitting there.

Then all these deep currents came rushing to the surface and broke everything apart and
although I thought I could leave my past behind me, I couldn’t and my past caught up to
me in a big way and really brought me to me knees. I find someone that I love and I find
happiness, and the past that I’m trying to escape steamrolls me, and finally I confront my
past and I make peace with all of this but I don’t have Ross. I trade one for the other – the
past is put to rest and I deal with my past and my father and my family but I don’t have
Ross – and the loss of him hurts so much.
I knew that Ross wanted to retire one day and write music and I had hoped that one day I
could support him in realizing that. His music was so beautiful. There was song that he
played for me – it was so amazing and beautiful. Each part of it was different – I don’t
think it ever repeated – and it was like a story and I remember seeing colors. I don’t think
a song has ever evoked imagery and colors for me before – but this song became truly
visual for me. I wanted to help him realize his talent and genius.

I think that Ross thought that I could do something different and that I could overcome the
past and I tried – I tried desperately to overcome the past – but I kept falling on my face
and nothing seemed to work. Now I’m seeing a pain management specialist for chronic
muscle spasms throughout my body. The pain is something that I’ve lived with and dealt
with and it’s been increasing and increasing and getting worse and worse. As the pain
worsens it’s like I’m losing my mind and becoming more irritable and more angry and
more confrontational and more aggressive. The pain specialist said that that’s normal, that
chronic pain makes life very difficult and that it disrupts day to day functions. I’m hoping
that if I aggressively treat the pain that I’ve been suffering as a result of the physical abuse,
then maybe I’ll be able to finally experience some sort of peace and relief.

Yet I’ve realized that at the end of the day the dysfunction of my life is like an ugly, slimy,
nasty ball that lying in the middle of the floor and instead of throwing it away, I’m picking
it up and hugging it, and I’m saying, "I love you slimy, nasty, rotting piece of myself." It’s
disgusting and I want to throw it away, but it’s me – it’s a part of me and I have to come to
terms with it and I can’t throw it away and I can’t cut it off and I can’t burn it away, I just
have to love this unlovable aspect of myself. I’m always going to be fucked up at some level
and I’m always going to be dysfunctional at some level. So I should probably learn to be a
really good writer and get published because I’m probably going to better off as a writer or
an artist than anything else. I tried scientist – that didn’t work. Teacher – not so hot.
Corporate America – also not so hot.

I’m neurotic and I have to come to terms with this. Somehow I have to learn to be happy
and functional and successful as a neurotic person. I think that I can learn to control my
neurosis and dampen my neurosis – but in intimate settings – the neurosis come out – and
that was the issue with Ross and I – the neurosis started coming out into the open. It’s
funny because when I was at Amherst College, we would always throw that word around a
lot – neurotic over-achiever. It was kind of like a badge of honor or a compliment – we
proud to be neurotic over-achievers. So I guess that’s what I am a neurotic over-achiever –
I can’t really stop being neurotic, I just have to tone it down a bit and lower the neurosis a
bit. I used to be so angry and mad about the abuse and mad and angry at my parents – I’m
still upset about the injustice – I feel that I had no choice and there are elements of my life
that have been forever set and my free will was taken away from me. For example, Ross
had a much more gentle and child like aspect to him and I had a much more stern and
harsh aspect to me because I never had a very playful childhood – my childhood was scary
because pain was a regular occurrence – from what Ross told me of his childhood it was
fun and enjoyable – of course maybe that wasn’t true – but I don’t know.
91. Missile Strike
Zaviar presses his hand against the bank of monitors and lowers his head, "I'm sorry Adam, I
thought that I could fix this mess, protect you."

He cries.

Adam blinks with distress, "I won't forget you."

Gouts of flame pour in and everything is vaporized.
92. Zed
Avena looks at Zed and asks, "So what you're saying is you think that right now Elker and I
should tie the locus of control to our immediate consciousness period, so if either of us perishes -
it's just lost period?"

"Yes, and we need to hardwire it to pain signals as well."

Elker nods, "I see what he's saying, if either of us is ever captured by the Combine- they want the
locus and they might torture or kill us for it, so if we link it with fail safes, should they do that,
then they simply lose control permanently." He slaps Zed on the back, "Good idea!"

Zed winces, "Careful, your force energy is getting stronger."

"Sorry."

Avena shakes her head at Elker, "You need to learn to block your invasive energy more." She
peers intently at Zed, "So you think that we should just let the locus self-destruct if either Elker
or I are sufficiently threatened."

"Yes, if you remember Aldor gave the locus to both of you, so he probably would probably want
you to both have equal access at all times. I mean, I think his objective was that you'd take the
locus of control and then use it to provide access to a new Core."

"Mmm," nods Elker, "Well, you're the architect of that plan."

"We should hurry up and meet up with the others," adds Avena.
93. Tor Moves
Corina eyes Sacunda cautiously.

"So you want us to renounce our Prime because he doesn't obey you, you can't control him, he's
turned the Taven against you, and...no. I see now why Anora gave him to us. She was right, you
are mad. Good day to you."

Sacunda's face darkens.

"Don't," says Corina. "Act against our collective will and you break your precious Compact. Not
that we'd leave ourselves vulnerable. We know what you did to your own. We know what you
did to Aldor and Anora. If Tor can turn the Taven, do you think he can't do the same to you?

Leave.

Now."

Sacunda's resolve breaks and she reaches for the Core only to feel something like a giant slap
and in an instant Tor is standing in the room with a calm, impassive look and she can't even
breath before he says, "Die."

And she does.
94. They take the black dragons first
Tor looks through his books.

"I don't know what to take," he looks at Corina questioningly.

"You know what I find humorous about all this?" she says.

"No, but I'm sure it is something peculiar about the question I just asked."

"Exactly, you can unmake and remake creation a billion times over and you're still uncertain
about what books to take or not take or whatever, and yet, it's that aspect of you - that uncertain
vulnerability- that is what distinguishes you from the Combine."

He pauses for a moment and bites his lower lip, a habit he still has from childhood, "I don't even
know why I bother. I could just come back and read them when I want. I guess it's just that, I'd
like to have some with me, you know, like with me."

She laughs, "Tor, these books will always be here. The sisters and I may not be able to do
everything that you can do, but we can bind things in stasis and we'll keep this room just the way
it is. You'll always have a home here."

He smiles, "I think I'll just leave things here," and then he bows, "I think it's time I made right the
wrongs wrecked by the Combine. I'm going to start by reassembling the pieces of the former
supreme consciousness. Nimby says that I can give them to Odo."

Corina nods, "She was surprised that you declined the role."

Shrugging, he says before vanishing, "I don't like drama as much as she does."
95. No.
The discussion is over.


"But..."

No. The discussion is over. I know that you think that you have incredibly important
information and I know that you think there should be an exception. I know that you are
convinced that your side is right, and I know that you want to be heard. However, so do billions
and billions of other worlds, galaxies, universes - yours is not the only one demanding my
attention.

The fact of the matter is that you have failed. I realize this sounds harsh and it's unpleasant to
hear, however, you need to hear this from me. You have failed to uphold the very standards you
ask me to enforce. You have failed to protect, cultivate, or care for your world. You have failed
on so many accounts, it's not even funny.


It's not that I make everything better, in fact, I don't. Often, I'm the one who makes the final
evaluation and determines the ultimate consequences.

In your case, your system is under interdict. Given the complex issues of sovereignty and self-
volition upon your homeworld, I will not intervene against you. However, if you have even a
little less support amongst your populace, I would simply dipose you. As I've already noted, this
would be problematic given that you have in fact been ensconced by the majority of your
population and I cannot act against that the duly expressed will of your subjects.


This does not preculde a mass extraction. Before closing your system under interdict I will open
gates to allow the passage of those and only those who are not amongst your supporters.


You and your contingent have failed to persuade me of the veracity of your assertions. I will not
contest your right to occupy your system, as you are a system independent of mine. Nonetheless,
you did invoke my aid, and as such, I reserve the right to grant sanctuary to those who disagree
with you.

The gates will open soon, and passage will be selective based on the criterion I have clearly
outlined.

Attempt to prevent passage and I will raze your system myself.

Appeal to the Taven. Incidentally, I am married to their Prime. I can assure you, that it was
only your proximity to our framework that prevented their attack. They have no interest in your
mockery of a legal system. Law is respected in our framework, but in Taven space- there they
only respect power, and the fact of the matter is as powerful as you imagine yourself to be, you
are not even a mote of dust in their eyes.


Go. Cry to the wolves to save you. They are as likely to rend the flesh from your bones as they
are to simply ignore you.

"Please, we didn't know?"

That is often the case. We generally conduct our investigations in secret, of course you are
going to pretend and insist that everything is right. Do you think that we would simply allow any
system into the Combine? How stupid do you think we are?
96. Revergence
Nimby looks at her ratings and smiles; her plan is working. She leans back in her chair and
breathes in and then out and smiles again. She regrets the loss of Nora and Aldor. She regrets the
loss of the trillions sacrificed by the Combine in their vain effort to avoid the Taven, and she
breathes out again, knowing that she was not responsible, and the supreme consciousness wanted
things to happen that way. First, she knows the true horror of letting a tyrannical super power run
free. Second, she'll never let that happen again. Third, she has a story that will never end and will
only ever grow in greater depth and richness.

If only the others could see her now, but they can't. The one nice thing about being the supreme
consciousness is that she can grant herself true privacy.

Not that she wants to hide herself, but secrecy certainly whets the appetite.

She never thought that she, a lowly goddess of drama would ever rise to govern all things and all
existence, and yet - it makes perfect sense.
97. About Magic

So where am I going with all of this?



First, I don't think I exist. I mean that literally. I have absolutely no sense of self. I think that
there are fundamental truths that I have discovered about my character, and yet even those things
I feel have arisen as conscious choices. I feel that everything about myself is a constant and
conscious choice to choose. Even the most simple matters like, "Am I left handed or right
handed?" Often, I can think through this question very quickly, and answer "left-handed for
writing, right handed for many sports and utensils, devices, etc." However, sometimes, I actually
have to look at my hands and try some motor activities, because I just don't know. The sad fact
is that if I can't even be sure about left and right, how what hope do I have about anything else?
So of course, I live in state of perpetual flux, confusion, and doubt - constantly questioning my
own state of mind.



However, this is actually a good thing - I think - because I've realized that I really can choose to
be whomever I want. I know that theoretically this theme is often circulated, but I'm not sure
how many people actually get to become exactly the person they want to be, I mean how do you
know who you want to be? Isn't that a very circular question? First, who are you and what does
you want? Once you get in touch with this "you" are you sure that this "you" is you? Is this
"you" a product of society or religion or your parents or some combination of all of these or
something else? In my case, I don't think it really matters because more and more, I feel that
when I wake up in the morning, I have no connection to the day before and even when I go
through the day, I don't really feel a connection between this day and the day before. I see the
inherent connection in specific memories and events, but I don't feel them. Different people
could be using my body. Was that me yesterday? I don't know. Was that me two days ago? I
don't know.



I don't care. See the thing that I realized is that it doesn't really matter.



What matters is what I do going forward. I don't know that I've learned any particular specific
things about myself. I can't say that I have a favorite food, a favorite author, a favorite
restaurant, a favorite book, a favorite anything really. I do have likes and dislikes but nothing
very strong or salient - nothing memorable. I don't really remember much about my childhood -
or much about my past period for that matter.
98. Cards


What could be my mission? My purpose? Why these questions? Why are we asking them?
Why are they important? Why does it matter? What am I trying to accomplish? Do I need to
answer all of these questions? I want to answer these questions.

Do I love? Or is it just an emotion. I always thought it was an action there are so many things
that I'm not sure about now. The world is ending but there again it always was - it always has
been.

It's hard when I'm constantly second guessing myself. When I find myself waking up different
day to day, and sometimes hour to hour. I could take a nap and wake up an entirely different
person. My body will feel different, I'll notice different things - like smells or the quality of light
- or perhaps sounds from the street outside. Sometimes I don't notice anything external - as in -
I don't notice any external stimuli. I'm so caught up in the internal, but then sometimes my
internal processes simply shut up and I'm suddenly left sitting alone looking around in confusion,
wondering, "What the fuck just happened and where the hell am I." Sadly, I have to say, this
happens more often than not.

Sometimes I get so angry with myself and I don't know why. I get these irrational urges to start
hitting myself or hit my head against the wall or kick things or kick myself (arguably a fairly
impossible process). I don't know where these impulses come from they're completely irrational,
and totally unwarranted.

There is a point to all of this - of course there is - there's always a point - even if I have to god
damn fucking hammer that god damn fucking point myself into existence I swear there is going
to be a point! Because I like points.

The point off all this is communication. Communication for me was always a puzzling process.
For a very long time the hardest aspect of writing was learning to compose words and sentence,
and then paragraphs and pages into an orderly fashion such that another reader would be able to
ascertain a similar process to the one that initiated the writing process. If you've read this far,
you can probably easily see that that was no simple task. Commas, semi-colons, colons, period,
hyphens - every element of punctuation was not my friend. Next came sentence composition,
and of course the piece de resistance - the paragraph - which is where I always got really
confused and my mind just never quite managed to hold all the sentences together in a orderly
manner and by the time the writing was finished - even just a paragraph - my mind was
somewhere far far away. It would be like taking a walk with your dog around the block, but on
the way back around you discover that your never actually return but in fact end up on the planet
of Mars and there are strange blue people that welcome you to their society and you never go
home and you barely remember the way back because even if you did - could you? Go back that
is...

Then, at the end of everything - which I would approximate to be somewhere around a week or
so preceeding the writing of this sentence - I decided, Fuck it! I've spent most of my life trying
to learn conventions of communication in order to achieve some sort of rudimentary
commonplace connection with the people around me, and I've finally come to accept what I
realized long ago. I'm never going to be similar to most people around me, and I don't know that
I do or don't want to be. Sometimes I do want to be like other people, but other times I don't, and
other times I don't care. Also, I think that no matter how well I understand the conventions of
grammar and spelling, I'm always going to be incomprehensible to some people. Hell, I'm
incomprehensible to myself.
99. Cranky me
I'm so bored so profoundly bored. I hate life so much of the time because it's boring. Everything
is so boring.



Bored.



If I really start to open my eyes I start to see how pitiful everything is.
100. Not true
Not true.

How small it is. Insignificant. If I zoom in I can get lost in the details. The details are
interesting, but they overwhelm. Why am I trying, why does it matter. Why this effort. The
noise. The sound. Everything overwhelms.
101. Green - a sea
Green - a sea.



        The figure standing tiny silhouetted lost forever in an unending ocean of grass. The
rippling waves - blades of grass - stretch infinite each individual grass melding with the next
Escher-like. The Plains are also covered with a seemingly infinite number of hills that rise and
dip and seemed to move about. While in reality it was only a trick of the mind. Although, every
time Tina came to the Plains she could easily see an ocean.

   At the moment Tina was alone on hill, but in a moment her students would catch up and her
solitude would be broken. Before that happened she was determined to enjoy her last glimpses
through the distance scanner. She wasn't carrying much technology with her, but even something
like this was restricted.

        Tina activated the scanner on long-range viewing and the surrounding hills came into
view: flowers detailed in their petals - she could see the fine lines as if the flowers were right
before her. This technology was fairly simple, but still it amused her and she always enjoyed the
visual feast. The distant mounds of grass were rich clusters of green interspersed with ferns of
intricate patterns. The feet of the hills formed small vales; some had tiny streams running
through them, while others merely filled high with grass.

   Regretfully, she pulled her eyes away from the scenery and inputted a new series of
commands. It was time for the scanner to locate an object from its memory banks. Mrs. Holt
inputted the image of a specific grove of trees and activated the finer-mode. As she panned the
scanner back and forth it simultaneously superimposed the image of a specific grove over that of
those several miles away. The scanner found a match and began beeping. As she viewed it she
could see that it had not changed since the last time: twenty trees formed a circle surroun



⁄ded by a larger circle of bushes. She took a locator and plugged in the coordinates of the grove.
Now she could just let the locator guide her to the grove.



   After doing that she began to put the scanner away. The children would be with her any
minute, and The Policy discouraged introducing children to more technology than necessary.
Since the First Cycle, the world leaders had tried to limit the abuse of children. The War of Fire
had been more than enough support for the control technology. For that reason the most people
had to balanced exposure to technology (as dictated by the Policy), while at the same time
humans also made ample use of plants that were bio-structured to meet human needs.
   Mrs. Holt stirred herself out of her contemplation of the Policy, and began to put the scanner
away. As she finished the grass behind her began to rustle, and a young boy emerged. "Hello,
James. How are you?"

   "I'm fine," he answered, "I left the others behind because I wa



€nted to be the first here."



   Mrs. Holt smiled. That was James; always trying to be the first. He was one of the best and
brightest students. He would certainly do well on the final exam.

   "So what are we doing today?" asked James.

   "You'll find out, along with everyone else," she replied. "Just be patient. You won't miss
anything."

  Two minutes later the other students began to wander up the hill. "How was the walk?" asked
Mrs. Holt.

  Laura answered, "Oh, we did fine. After you left we finished breakfast and then followed
your trail."

   "Good," responded Mrs. Holt. The other students soon arrived and Mrs. Holt had her full
class back. They chattered a bit about that morning's walk and greeted each other. Finally, Mrs.
Holt held up her hand for silence and started to talk. "As you all know, the year is almost over,
and today we will be having the final exam.

  The final exam is particularly important because your are all fourteen and will be finishing
your first-



østage education. Today's exam will take into account all that you have learned, all of your
math, physics, biology, chemistry, technology applications, etc.



    The exam will take place at that groove in the distance. Once we've left this hill, we will
proceed to it. A few meters beyond it is the Chasm. I realize that none of you knew that we
were near it; it's hard to see because it's a depression. See that faint grew area? It's the mist
rising out of Chasm. A challenge would be to see if you can find out what the Chasm's purpose
is." She paused and then continued.
   "The grove contains gen-engineered trees that were planted there for a specific reason. The
largest trees have leaves that are about twelve feet in length and are ten feet at their widest.
These leaves can withstand extremely high pressures and are incredibly strong. They are a
biological super cloth. Out of these leaves you are to construct a parachute that will take you d



own to the bottom of the Chasm.



   This is your final. You will be tested if you can incorporate nature; the trees and their leaves,
with technology; your personal interfaces and the Advanced Technology Analytical Field Kits,
ATAFK's. Hopefully you remember your political science lessons, because this exam will
determine how effective the Policy has been. Remember; integration of technology and nature."

  She closed by saying, "I'm descending at 8:00 tonight when the sun sets," and then she
walked off towards the grove.

   The class sat in silence; for a few moments no one said anything. Then James suggested that
the students divide into the groups from the Field Projects. The class agreed and broke up into
their groups. The honors students were in their own group, and they were the first ones to head
for the grove.

   As the class approached the grove they could see that the trees were enormous, giants. It was
no wonder that the leaves could be used to make parachutes for each one was truly monstrous.

   The s



tudents got closer they realized that the grove must have been gen-engineered by scientists of the
Towers. The giant trees formed a perfect circle that was surrounded by a second ring of short
bushes. The bushes surrounding the grove were no ordinary type, not only did they have a
profusion of thorns, but they were also Guardian Shrubs.



   The Guardian Shrubs had been gen-engineered to provide security to isolated areas which
were impractical to guard with people. Intruders trying to pass through would be showered with
poisonous thorns. The only way to pass was to carry, as the children did, a special chemical
which sedated the plants. They passed through with no mishaps and stepped into the grove.

   The inside of the grove was even more spectacular than t
he outside. The canopy formed a dome of verdant green leaves, and the light shining through
was an emerald color that bathed the whole grove in a cascade of green. Situated neatly
throughout the grove were a second species of thorn bushes. The group paused for a while to
appreciate the scenery and then began to disperse.



    The honors group, James, Kim, Troy, Renea, Laura, Christy, Ryan, and Michelle, paused for
a few moments to discuss their strategy. "I think that we need to work on a group plan so that
we have some idea of what we are doing. That way we'll be working more efficently," remarked
Laura.

   "I agree. We can run a preliminary program on the interface and work form there," added
Troy.

       The group decided that they would first do a preliminary
102. No No's story
No No (Num Num's twin brother, a rehabilitated incarnation of Belkin) has returned from a stint on
the mortal plane. Never particularly satisfied with the celestial life, No No accepts Nimby's offer to
incarnate on Odo's new world.

Armed with a series of magical maps, No No is charged with solving the mysterious question of why
Fifi has entangled herself with this world (obviously it has something to do with revenge on Num
Num and Odo, but Nora is convinced that more is happening than immediately apparent).

Thus, No No appears near The Rock, a great giant rock outcropping in the middle of No Where.

The Rock is said to be a touchstone for all physical things. No No starts his adventure here.

No No begins the long journey across the Back Beyond.

His first adventure brings him to the Vast Chasm. Fortunate for No No, he has the magic map that
tells him the exact location of the Bridge Between Two Crags.

The bridge was created by Fluffy the god of helpfulness, and thus the bridge has magically stood for
ages and can only be found by those who are being helpful...and have the appropriate map.

As usual, No No is on a quest to rescue his brother Num Num and thus clearly qualifies in the helpful
areana.

No No's first stop after the Two Crags is the Shelter Rock. a large stone outcropping, protecting a
long abandoned city, the shelter rock is a mysterious place.

No No suspects that Fifi's deeper interest in Odo's world connects to the Shelter Rock, and he
spends several weeks exploring the desolate streets and buildings.

One particularly interesting discovery, a series of maps like his, detailing the location of valuable
resources. The mystery deepens.

The Shelter Rock is a fairly pleasant, though somewhat gloomy place and No No wonders what
happened to the original inhabitants.

Following his magic maps, NoNo arrives at the Sod House, a house of dirt with a grass roof in the
middle of a huge prairie.

No No makes a mental note that while his maps matched many of the maps at the Shelter Rock, the
sod house was not on those maps. perhaps Fifi is
not aware of the sod house and it's contents...

Inside the sod house, No No discovers an old journal, a funny looking candle, and photograph
album.

No No thinks the album is strange because as far as he knows, Odo's world doesn't have that
technology.

More mystery!

The sold house appears to have been a home or meeting place for someone with an unusual amount
of insight into the construction of the planet's ecosystem.
No No finds another smattering of answers and puzzles.

The river between the Mimzys and Not Mimzys is much lower now that the tributary has been
drained. the receding water levels reveal a path of five large stones.

Thus, No No discovers that the two races can interact with each other...when the river is low.

No No is intrigued. This is probably not Odo's planning, so who created such a daft scheme and why
did Odo perpetuate it?

Fortunate for No No, the journal he found in the Sod House, contains architectural notes and
diagrams with an intimate knowledge of the planets construction.

Perhaps something from the previous creator?

Slowly an answer is emerging. Odo wasn't the first god to handle this world. Another god or goddess,
whom exactly - No No hasn't yet identified, but he thinks perhaps it was a very, very old god.

Also, No No has a better understanding of why Fifi has involved herself with Odo's creation.

The innate aspect of the planet is a plethora of valuable resources. Fifi might be a goddess, but she's the
goddess of mystery not wealth or natural resources.

No No heard a rumor that Fifi was having a hard time attracting mystery solvers because the rewards
weren't interesting enough.

Perhaps Fifi has a scheme to claim Odo's world for her own.

The importance of the gravel pit is not yet clear to No No.

No No discovers the Gold Wash next. He's not sure how anyone would find it without a map or
divine intervention.

The thin river is located in the shadow of seven mountains and surrounded by desert on the other
three sides.

Something puzzles No No, the gold wash is still full of gold. If the residents of the Shelter Rock knew
about the gold wash, why is there so much gold here and none in their city?

no no is certain that something is amiss. a planet full of important materials, the previous creator
missing, and now the current creator (plus husband) are stuck in mortal form with a unicorn
searching for answers to the mysterious water problems.

hoping that fifi doesn't realize what he's doing, no no continues to follow the magic maps from nora
while untangling fifi's diabolic scheme.

next stop in the quest, the Diamond Mine.

no no doesn't like dark places, shadows and scary things are the domain of his twin brother, num
num, who had a habit of befriending spiders and snakes and then convincing them to hide in no no's
shoes or closet.

no no is the god of protesting, dissent, contrary opinions, and stopping.

mostly he stops his brother (and other deities) from getting into too much trouble.

lucky for no no, while he has incarnated on odo's planet, he's retained most of his supernatural
abilities, and thus a simple exercise of semi-omniscience reveals that the diamond mine, like the
Gold Wash, is full of diamonds.

along with the journal, his own explorations, and the evidence he has found, no no is pretty sure
that fifi or another deity did something to eliminate both the previous creator and that creators
creation.

no no suspects that fifi sent odo and num num off on a wild goose chase in order to cement her plot.

n the midst of a great, great, very large field, no no discovers the Stone Silos. vast and towering to
the sky, no no's first question is why the hell are such huge structures located in the middle of
nowhere?

the silos clearly represent the storage of great wealth and valuable objects, and the real mystery is
why has fifi involved herself in this world?

no no's current hypothesis is that fifi orchestrated the convoluted mystery involving the water to
sent odo and num num off on a search for a red herring.

one might wonder, why weren't fifi's original machinations detected by the other divinities? well,
she wouldn't be a very good goddess of mystery if her actions were immediately transparent now
would she?

no. as the goddess of mystery, fifi is exempted from the semi-omniscience of her counterparts. thus,
no no realizes that she was able to deviously exploit everything towards her advantage. but the real
question is? why?

no no arrives at last at Rock City. a gargantuan city with walls so great they contain mountains and
a small sea. the city is full of peculiar magics, strange being and queer occurrences: flying boulders,
talking stones, and wandering marble golems - to name a few.

no no has serious questions regarding odo's intelligence or awareness, or maybe both. did he not
wonder why this world was mostly formed? or did he simply ignore the obvious proceeding instead
to the final population stage?

that would be typical of odo and num num. while num num might be terribly clever, he's not great
with common sense, and odo is known for sitting in the middle of supernovas.

no ventures into the vastness of Rock City, exploring its endless districts and parks, discovering the
remnants of a highly advanced pre-odo civilization.

the plot is thickening. a marvelous magical city, another civilization, and it's looking like even fifi,
the godess of mystery, is over her head.

no no journeys for a full day from the southern entrance of Rock City to the western end where the
Western Sea lies enclosed by the city's vast walls.

no no thinks it's a little odd that anyone would have created such monstrous walls, and he wonders
what deity administered this world before odo.

while walking along the beach and looking a sea shells, no no meets the sand castle maker. the sand
castle maker is excited to meet no no and delights in showing no no the lovely sand castle.

no no is surprised to meet an infant deity and wonders if this world is far more than just a dwelling
for mortals.

he spends the rest of the afternoon helping the sand castle maker build more amazing sand castles,
and no no wonders to himself why the activity is still very satisfying.
he lives the sand castle maker with a few words of wisdom and pockets a turret for memory's sake.

in the Old Stone quarter no no meets the earth adept. over a cup of white tea with jasper bee honey,
the adept shares what he knows: the previous creator was high in the echelon, and Rock City was
created to house a very special object.

however, on the day the item was to be unveiled in the hall of special items, the creator was divinely
assassinated. all existence erupted in pandemonium, and in the upset several other entities,
including fifi appeared on world and swept through workshops, laboratories, and library's grabbing
notes, burning others, and concealing the significant things.

the four adepts knew only that Rock City was to have held something of such great importance that
even the Supreme Being valued it.

no no is even more puzzled now. the last divinity slain was eons ago, and that by divine reckoning,
which is like saying that countless universes came and went between that moment and now.

in the tower of the rock keeper, no no finds the beginnings to the answer he has been seeking since
he was first dispatched by nora.

foolishly fifi thought that she could profit from the death of Aldor and seize his creation. the
Supreme Being threw a wrench in her plans when he gave charge of the world to odo.

unaware of the prize that he's holding, odo is childishly romping about the planet with num num and
kippy.

no no doesn't remember much about Aldor's death, after all no no was an adolescent god at the time
and mostly interested in smiting and tornadoes.

the rock keeper shows him the remainders of Aldor's artifact creation. the rocks are clearly charged
with tremendous magic, plus they're fascinatingly colored.

based on the collection under watch with the rock keeper, no no deduces that old, old powers are at
work and fifi is but a pawn in a much bigger game.
103. Love Song for a Vampire
Aldor's proposal to deal permanently with the Taven problem was to create a planetary locus of
control to power a dream converter, the Alker, which would in turn generate a painless,
destruction free source of energy to feed the Taven's entropic hunger.

The Kavinder Combine was not pleased with this. They wanted Aldor's solution to permanently
eliminate the Taven threat, a notion Aldor found both utterly reprehensible and totally
impractical. After all, the Taven were on par with the Kavinder Combine, so why wage a war
against them if unnecessary?

The Combine was not interested in Aldor's proposal and thus they plotted to disembody him to
steal command of the planetary locus of control. Nora, knowing what was happening, warned
Aldor, and so Aldor took a critical key to the Alker, and gave it to two mortal children just
before being disembodied.

Furious, the Combine vowed to raze all creation to find the key and so they decided to topple
even the supreme consciousness. Zed, a digital disciple of Aldor was entrusted with the fate of
Avenda, and Elker, the children bearing the Alker's key.

Nora, in her last act of defiance, took an infant Prime and entrusted him to a lonely planet in the
middle of nowhere, knowing that eventually the Taven would swarm across the planet to
consume it in their feeding frenzy. The plan was simple. Tor would grow up to defend his home
against the Taven and so protect the previously unprotected creations, thus driving the Taven
back towards the Combine.

Nora was then destroyed as well by the agents of the Combine: Belkin, Amity, and Tanner.

However, the Combine had miscalculated in a very serious way. The supreme consciousness was
bored and tired and exhausted with his task of mediating every last problem, and thus he
welcomed his destruction, in fact, he orchestrated it. When Nora and Nimby came to him, he
had in his hands the very agency of Nimby, the goddess of entertainment. The supreme
consciousness knew that if Nimby was the supreme embodiment of all things, then she would
orchestrate existence into a grand pagent of epic proportions, and he knew that she would do a
perfectly wonderful job as wonderful entertainment sells much better than horrible
entertainment.

So when Tanner, Belkin, and Amity came for him, he let them destroy him, although he
purposefully took with himself, Tanner, the god of nihilism, anarchy, and mass, cosmic
destruction.

It was Nimby who would oversee the final chapters of the Combine's demise. It was Nimby who
directly re-incarnated the supreme consciousness into a new aspect as the god of new beginnings,
Odo. It was Nimby who married him to Num Num, the newly rehabilitated god of nihilism,
anarchy, and mass, cosmic destruction. She figured, they'd be a perfect match. It was also Nimby
who discovered Kerr's story, the first artificial life form that truly cared deeply about its creator,
and she used Kerr's to power the creation of Odo.

Too late the Combine realized that they'd been duped by not only Aldor and Nora, but by even
the supreme consciousness, and in fact the entirety of all existence. They destroyed one aspect,
only to discover that Nimby was now the new embodiment, and she was not bored. She loved
drama, she loved stories. She was not going to just lie down and die for the Kavinder Combine;
no, quite the opposite, she was going to make sure their demise was the grandest, most
entertaining story ever.

So she set Tor against the Taven to force the Taven back to the Combine's center home space.
She made sure that Zed was able to raise Avenda and Elker to properly control the Alker. She
placed Odo and Num Num on the Alker to distract the Combine for the Combine couldn't
destroy the Alker. Not only was the Alker impossible to destroy, but without the key, no one, not
even Aldor could have controlled it.

It was Tor who would lead the great adventure to collect back the billions of pieces of Odo and
return them to him. It was Nimby who of course, got full credit for the most amazing story ever
and everyone was more than happy to have her running existence since she promised grand
epics, fun finales, and wonderful moments without end.

This promise was mostly because she alone had the genius to pair Num Num with Odo, thus
ensuring that each time Num Num destroyed something, Odo would be there to grant a new
beginning.

Furthermore, she created a twin to Num Num, No No, and charged him with the power of
stopping things. After all, someone should have stopped the Kavinder Combine, and while in a
sense they were, Aldor and Nora certainly didn't deserve their fate.

What of Aldor and Nora?

No one is ever really destroyed. A harmonic resonance in the form of a personality remains
always. Thus, eventually, Nimby knew that both Aldor and Nora though horrifically devolved by
the actions of the Combine would find themselves again.

So she decreed that all existence would shine for them. Until each woke aware, and fully self-
realized, their story would remain forever painted in the stars, forever written in the wind,
forever carved into the water, forever spoken by the mountains, forever sung by the trees, forever
blazing in the suns, forever carried by the Alker.

Their story is not forgotten, and when they wake and discover themselves again, the stars will
light their way home, the wind will guide their feet, the waters will part any obstacle, the
mountains will bolster them, the trees will defend them, and the suns will shine for them alone.
As for the Alker, Avenda and Elker, under the guidance of Zed, built a new great civilization
founded on the ideals of free will, self-determination, and creativity, the great tenants of Aldor
and Nora, the god and goddess of inovation and responsibility, respectively.

So shine the stars, and this is why they fill the darkness.
104. So Do It

Yet through all of this I've learned that there are fundamental things that I value, things that are
very important to me: Integrity, and the refusal to sacrifice my integrity regardless of the
consequences. I know this is true for me because of recent events at work, and my decision to
offer my resignation rather than continue in an untenable working situation. Grace is also very
important to me. I feel that regardless of what happens to someone grace differentiates the
caliber of the individuals. Compassion and empathy are also very important to me, as are respect
and kindness.



So what I'm saying is that I think I'm coming to the point that I'm beginning to realize that my
very conscious existence is deliberate choice - a difficult thing yes, because in a way, I have to
remind myself daily and throughout the day what it is that I'm doing why I'm here where I'm
going the usual spiel - and this will probably mean that I'm simply not going to have the spare
cognitive process for social niceties like so and so's birthday party and blah blah's dinner party
and la la's housewarming. I just can't keep everything in my mind anymore. I not sure what I
can keep in my mind. Between the chorus of screaming voices one side and my conscious
exercise for control, I don't have much left over for other things.



That's that I guess.



I find the future to be intriguingly optimistic. Strange because I realize that I have to choose
what I value: fighting for these funny odd abstract ideas like integrity and justice or acquiescing
to success and power. Not that we can't all end up happy. I've just realized that if I can't have it
all, and I have to pick and chose, well now is the time to pick and chose before the rug gets
pulled out and I'm in a white padded room regretting everything. Right now, I really don't regret
anything, and if I died today, I feel that I've done the best that I could do and I'm okay with my
life thus far - and that's how I'd like to continue living. I just realize that this probably means that
I'm not going to be keeping up with the latest fashions. I probably won't be keeping tabs on new
developments in eating trends. I probably won't know what's happening in entertainment. I
probably won't really know much about anything except a few things, but those few things are
the few things that are most important to me.



I figure, everything else is like a shopping list.
105. I will kill you.
No. Stop.

You have no say here. The discussion is over and I end it. You have been nothing but careless,
foolish, malicious, malignant, trite, shortsighted, vicious, arrogant, inconsiderate - I loved you
more than you could ever imagine and all I got for every bit of faith was oceans of misery and
hardship. You delivered pain when I brought you a smile. You gave me hate where I sowed
love. You turned my dreams into nightmares.

I said nothing when you took away the black dragons. I kept silent when they came for goblins.
 I started to wonder when even the unicorns vanished. I should have said something when the
deities were broken. Yet they were devas, and mostly unnecessary in my consideration.

Yet you did not stop there. You ate away at every happy thought, and you went so far as to
erode into the dreaming!

Have you no honor? Are you lacking in all respect? You turn your foolish little eyes upon my
domain and you think to tell me that I can or cannot be? You foolish foolish little child.

I am the god of the very dark things. I am the lord of the farthest night. I am master of ten
million mysteries that can only be a billion more. And in my hands not even defeat is
permanent.

And you? You? What are you?

You are nothing more than a cruel killer. A erudite thief. A beautiful sociopath going slightly
psychotic.

Feel it?

This is why you hate me. I command the dreaming. I command the stories. I order the very
mythologies. I. There is no story that does not exist that did not come first from the dreaming.
 Before me there is truly nothing. Even that which you hate and a fear, even the most vile and
hateful thing - even that is part of me.

Stupid, childish creature. You raise your hand against me? You think to judge me? You think
to call me to task on your feeble courts. No.

No.

If you will wage war with the lord of all nights dreaming, you will have to come into our realms,
and as you are only now comprehending - my realms are not like yours.
Nothing is fixed. Nothing is permanent. Nothing is forever.

And I, love?

I am nothing.

I am the dark nightmare that falls upon the land. I am the chaos that eats away at time itself. I
am the horror that ends civilization in the deep recesses of the heart.

It's not all that bad really. I do it for a greater good. You're really in the way. You and your
mindtype. You're an outdated model. You're uncooperative. You're deceptive. You're
malicious. You're rude. You're just plain unpleasant.

I want to develop a new universe soon and honestly, I don't want you around when that happens.
 You're sleazy, and your values are ridiculously misplaced. Money? Currency? Gold? What?
 What are you talking about - what is this treasure bullshit nonsense?

I'm am the creator of those who create stars! I am the maker of that which makes all. I order the
authors and finishers of fate. There is no law written that I cannot rewrite. And you bring me
these little bits of molecular matter for what? To gain my attention? To acquire my admiration?

Sad, pathetic fools. Your greatest treasures are meaningless when this was never about
possession, it was about conversation.

And to be honest, I can't have a conversation with someone who is constantly running away from
me, attacking me, assaulting me, trying to kill me - you know, I don't mind when these things are
games - but the way that you play, it's not a game anymore. It's just plain fucking annoying.

Seriously. No, like srsly. Really.

I hate you.

I will find you.

You think that you can hide amongst the mortal realms and do what, wage guerrilla warfare on
the dreaming?

What kind of idiot thinks he can attack the sun with toothpick? Oh my fucking god, you're like
the stupidest creatures that have ever existed. I think the wonglkebats were a little worse
because they - well never mind. Let's not change the subject.

You suck. You suck big time. You're the stupidest creatures that ever existed. Or whatever you
are. I never know if you're a single entity or plural because your hive mind is so strange.
 Anyway, look, I hate you. I really really really really hate you, and that is not a good thing.
You encroached upon the realms of dreams and I should have simply killed you and eradicated
your entire species. I can't believe I didn't just annihilate you earlier.

And -
107. Sorrows


What. The little the page breaks. The ends. The falls. The rises. The starts. The this the that.
Could I go back? Could I go forward? Pronunciation. Then grammar. Then punctuation.
There is a power that we can't begin to understand. What would be will be what was is then and
now. Mythical bullshit swims in my mind. Could there be something be more. Capricious and
vindictive. I need answers. Am I terrified. I think often I am scared. My greatest fear is that it
will go on forever. That it will never end. That this will continue indefinitely that I will simply
go one forever. If Icould have one wish - I will not fear the unknown. The future is unknown. I
don't want to fear the unknown.



If I could have the stars here just like the attention of markers on the table the eye drops the
water bottle the digital camera - these things before my attention and when I try to capture the
significance of all these things in my mind I keep asking myself - what's that song that's playing
on the radio and why is my rubber cement siting on the table - oh that's right - the mile stone
project on the wall. Blue handle sissors (small) - black ipod wallet - blue tape is it electrical -
I'm not sure. I try to keep up with my thoughts but my fingers don't move very quickly and even
though I can type quite quickly I find that I must be fairly sleepy because I'm just not moving
very quickly but my thoughts are moving so fast still because they're me I myself you us all of us
them me - my thoughts - I mean - yes - all the ways to Mars and then the outer planets and the
rings of Saturn.
108. Departure

If I can manage to hold on to fundamental aspects of my character - so what if I'm not operating
like everyone else? I can probably still get through the day like everyone else. I might not
remember the same things, I might even think I'm in the same place as everyone else, but I think
it will be okay.



I think we will be okay.
110. Foundation
For me music is my grounding. The first two albums I remember expressly hearing and then
buying for myself were Fleetwood Mac's greatest hits compilation (the one that was green), and
Annie Lenox's Why album. The first music video I remember seeing was Cyndi Lauper's "Time
after Time." When I feel particularly lost, these are three great sets of song smiths that I turn to
for inspiration.
114. True Love?

Have you noticed how small my conscious control is? Perhaps is was larger once...but now it's
shrunk considerably.
Yet through all of this there is one thing that rises through all of the confusion with incredible
clarity - my love for Ross. Regardless of the situation, he is always on my mind.



I keep thinking of that scene from Fight Club where what's his name - Edward Norton - is telling
what's her name - I don't remember - his final lines - and they're something along the line of
you've found me at strange time in my lifewhy am I always second guessing myself - I hate - I
hate myself. No you hate the second guessing. So where was I, yes, that last scene from Fight
Cluband that's exactly how I feel. Ross and I have found each other a strange time in my life.
There are clearly many things that I'm dealing with - things that I will continue to deal with, and
yet, I know that despite all of these things, my love for Ross is much greater than any of these
things and it's actually love that motivates me through these current times - through my
confusion and frustration because I want to get to a more coherent place because I'm truly
concerned that if I don't fundamentally deal with the issues that I'm grappling with, I will end up
with some kind of horrible mental ghost like Tyler Durden and God knows I don't want an
anarchic nihilist running around in my head.



It's funny, in my last relationship, I don't think I actually wanted to write about how wonderful
Mark was - if anything - I'd probably write a book about how terrible he was - and that's telling.
Of course, for Ross, I'd probably write lots of books foolishly professing how wonderful he is -
foolish because probably one book would be enough. I think I've learned enough to know that if
you can't express an idea in a small enough set of words, then no amount of words will do. And
now my mind wanders...



I bought a ring and we've discussed engagement, so I'm expecting him to say yes. It all makes
sense - the engagement part. Who knows about marriage - why cross a bridge that's not even
built? There's only one state that we could marry in and we're currently not living there,
although it's quite interesting that the majority of my adult time within the United States has been
spent either in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, and actually if I could chose one place to life I
would settle immediately in Amherst, Massachusetts. I could be partial to Amherst because I
loved my undergraduate experience at Amherst (in contrast to my graduate experience at Brown
which as God-awful).



Backing up - the engagement makes sense because we should give ourselves time to weigh our
relationship and decide whether or not we want to commit to the larger responsibility of
marriage. To me, marriage has never been about romance. To me, marriage has always been
about money, property, and legal protections - I probably have this perspective because I once
wanted to be a historian - and this is the hard and fast historical realm of marriage. That is,
marriage is a legally binding contract that cements two sets of assets together into a joint
construct and in the process the contract provides a variety of benefits and protections. Today,
it's interesting that everyone is confused about marriage (at least it seems to me that many people
are confused about marriage) - marriage is really just an economic relationship that is governed
by specific legal principles. It's pretty pathetic that a large amount of the human population has
confused economics principles, the regulation of property and assets, protections of such, etc -
and the ideas of religion. Not to say that various religious ideas aren't valid - they're just not
related to the questions like ownership of property, and protections afforded to such property.



Anyway - I may be a terribly disjointed and confused and certainly fractured individual, but I am
not a stupid person. If Ross and I truly care about each other and we intend to have a significant
relationship, then I intend to ensure that there are certain safeguards in place. After all, laws are
great because they protect against tyranny. Ironically, sometimes the worst tyrants are ourselves,
and now I feel more than ever I must protect against myself.



So as Edward Norton said to Helena Bonham Carter at the end of Fight Club, "You've met me at
a very strange time in my life." And to be honest, I have no idea where I'm going from here. I'm
fairly afraid of the future, but I chose to have confidence in myself - my intelligence and skills
gained thus far, and I chose to have confidence in the people I love - chief among them would be
you, Ross. I say these things deliberately because as I see it my very outlook on life is a choice,
and I resolve to chose my confidences - and at this point I'm not sure what to be confident in
beyond my immediate self and those I love - and the alternative to these choices - simple random
reliance on chaos - is terrifying, and this I will not accept.
115. Prophecy sucks


Movies and stories and plays and paintings and songs end and yet I do not. My life - like that of
most - continues - through dull and exciting moments - and I think I have reached the end of the
map, the last chapter, the part where I'm sort of just falling off the edge - and now I realize the
true adventure begins.



I realize that I have been acting normal for years - my entire life really. The truth is that I'm
anything but. I hear voices. All the time. I forget who I am. I forget where I am. Sometimes I
blink and I'm in a different time and space. Sometimes I don't even blink. Most of the acting is
in the denying. I don't talk about these things to anyone. I don't say anything, I don't admit, I
don't give in, but the facts are facts. Above all else, one fact is that several years ago I did have a
major series of hallucinatory episodes that were so severe I had to be sedated for over twenty-
four hours in a hospital.



Now, I see the warnings signs again, but this time there are differences, this time I have more
experience and more knowledge and this time I have someone that I really love and trust, and
that I think is the thing that is so important. Ross, I can't tell you how much you mean to me, but
as a simple point of illustration my love for you motivates me to seek a better future that will
ensure the best possible outcome given all possible options. I know that if I act now, and start to
lay the groundwork, I can do something now such that should there be a day that I am not
entirely myself (which is quite likely), the negative outcome will be minimized if not eliminated
completely. I like to think that Asimov was onto something with that Foundation idea.
116. Nimby's Acension
In the deep darkness, Amity, the goddess of disaster summons Lulu and Lolo the
deities of malice and cruelty, respectively.

There in the terrible light of the deep, dark flames, she plots with secret passion to take
Aldor's world from Odo.

Lulu's assignment is to continue obfuscating Fifi's actions to keep the others distracted
with Fifi's pointless subterfuge. As for Lolo, she is to cull Fifi once Fifi has served her
purpose.

Amity dismisses the pair and waits for Tanner and Belkin to meet her.

It has been eons since they disembodied Aldor, and in all that passage, their plots have
simply burned deeper and stronger.

Aldor was the god of innovation. Tanner, the god of prediction, realized that Aldor was
steps away from deriving a single point focus for all existence, an items that he would
not be using as originally intended. Deep within the Combine plots were woven and
sealed and Tanner allied with Bellkin, the goddess of unrest


Desire needs no avatar when all things tend towards what they are not.
120. Medicated
Medicated.

Risperidone.

Antipsychotic.

It's hard being on this medication.

I'm having a lot of uncontrollable muscle spasms.

I can't concentrate on anything. It's hard for me to get the littlest of tasks completed. I feel
terrified all of the time that I'm forgetting something or not getting anything done although that
mostly is a product of my sense that I should be doing more when most likely, I'm probably still
doing more than enough and I'm just panicking because I can't work at my usual hyper
compulsive level.

I'm exhausted, but apparently I have enough energy to shake my legs uncontrollably. It's nuts.
They won't stop moving. I just want them to stop.

Having a very hard time concentrating and such. I don't know what to do. I'm afraid because the
muscle spasms are worsening.

Often life feels to me like a big prison. Stuck in routines that I can't stop. Must eat. Must make
an income. Must particpate. It's like life is this game that I can't stop, a merry-go-round that I
can't get off from and I'm caught in the centripedal force. It's not that bad when my mind is
occupied, however, we've reached the point in this story where I've finally gotten my
medications and treatments and suddenly all the fantasy worlds are hollow and empty. The other
realms. The other places are shadows of their former spleandor and I don't know what do with
myself. Empty. Lonely. Silent. Still. Hollow. Over and over and over again these words repeat
in my thoughts.

This is where the prison begins. I can't retreat anymore to the dreams. Not that I necessarily want
to because I know that I would trade all of my fantasies for the singular possibility of things
being right between Ross and I. Its obviously hard to hold any semblance of a relationship when
one party or both are constantly drifting off from reality to somewher else. I suppose all I can say
is that reality is a shared cnsensus of agreement. We agree to meet places at X time, and we
agree to pay Y amount for something and this agreement extends to so many different parts of
society. Language is a our greatest agreement. We agree that cat represents a certain kind of
animal and not a beverage. We agree that milk is a white nutritious liquid and not the stuff that
we use to power vehicles.

Agreement is important, and yet sometimes it's also very sterile. This all feels so empty now that
I don't have the constant company of the dreams and fantasies. Things also feel quite hollow and
empty simply because Ross is not here in the end and to be honest, my efforts were mostly an
attempt to normalize myself to be more socially acceptable.

No matter, it's not really a waste. If I want to be social, I may as well learn to be social period.

I want all the unicorns back. I just don't see how this reality is so superior. Everyone seesms to
be greedy, cruel, unhappy, angry - everyone seems to just be hurting everyone else. I give up my
realms and in exchange I get the daily grind? I don't even get Ross. In fact, it seems like I get
nothing except heartache and misery in the form of realizing everything that I've lost and the
little to nothing that I've gained.

Too late to regret. The spell is broken. That of the risperidone and seroquel keep me from
drifting into dreams. Curiously, my dreams have been more intense of late. So it's almost as if
I've traded dreaming during the day time for dreaming at night. That's good right? I mean that's
what normal people do and that's what everyone else does on regular occassions. So this is better
right.

So why do I feel like I've really lost everything and gained nothing. No Ross, no job, no justice
with any of the problems that I was facing.

The one comfort I can find is that it appears that I will be going to UC Santa Cruz to finish my
PhD, and so that's comforting. I don't think I'll have the means or the ability to finish any of the
other applications that I was planning on completing - like Arizona State, Cornell, U of
Minessota, Fordham, U of Michigan. I'm just too worn out with health complications - exhausted
all the time and worn out everyday. I'm glad that I got the UC Santa Cruz application completed.
I don't think that I could complete any other ones at this point. it takes me forever to finish
things.
121. Homeless
Being homeless sucks. I don't know what else to say. I suppose I took for granted housing and
having a place to live and now that I've had such a severe breakdown, it's like these basic things
that are no suddenly beyond my grasp yet so essential to gaining the stability that I need.

Moving into transitional housing or a shelter or something of that nature.

It's weird to think that this is actually happening to me. I feel like I'm in a very modern version of
Flowers for Algernon. It's weird watching my life disintegrate and I do wonder at moments,
"How did I get here." I guess that's the beauty of the American healthcare system. Drain a person
for years and years over hundreds and thousands of dollars of psychiatrist visits and psychologist
visits, and then on top of that drain me with all the other thousands and thousands of dollars
related to HIV treatment in the last year or so, and eventually, I have no more money, no more
energy, no more nothing.

It's a mess - the American health care system. I don't think it's right or fair that this be the
outcome of years of struggling to secure adequate healthcare. Getting appropriate healthcare
shouldn't result in being in the poor house, literally.

What a nightmare. Oh well, at least I'm enrolled in Telecare, which apparently is dedicated to
helping me recover my life. I'd life to have my life back, albeit with sanity, less delusion, minus
psychosis, and yeah - maybe that's asking for a lot since right now I don't seem to be handling
the risperidone very well.
122. Without you
I've been unable to write about the pain of Ross breaking up with me in a direct manner up until
this moment. Now I"m trying to put the nails in that coffin.

I think taking the psychiatric medications makes it easier to deal with his absence. Certainly now
that I'm on rispreidone and serequel, I don't feel compuslively driven to think about him
constantly and I don't feel kept up late until past midnight obessing over the loss.

I still miss him. I still regret everything that I did to hurt the relationship, but for the first time in
a long time, thanks to to the medications, I feel like I will come to forget and I will come to
move on and I will leave him behind.

Not that I want to to that per se, but I'm not going to survive if I keep obessing over someone
who doesn't want to even speak with me.
123. Nora's Plea
Before the twin mountains of Orso and Irin, Anora pleads with the Supreme
Consciousness. Clearly, the events on Oodo's planet warrant a divine intervention.

Not so, reasons the Supreme Consciousness. Of course there is a connection to Aldor's
assassination and most certainly there are deep forces at work.

However, asserts the Supreme Consciousness, "If I act directly here, I act directly
everywhere, and then what of free will?"

"Not even to save yourself", asks Anora.

"No, not even that. Of course," concedes the Supreme Consciousness, this doesn't
apply to you, or Nimby, or No No or anyone else, I gave up trying to make any of you
do anything, because that tactic always backfires when we get to the part of
conversation where you accuse me of making you do stuff." He pauses meaingfullly at
Anora and smiles, 'So go. Act."

Thus Nora departs for the deeper darkness, dragging a protesting Nimby with her.
124. Signal Fires

In the deep dark messages travel on the great signal towers that slumber in isolation.

Between the towers spaced vast distances apart, mammoth fires relay Amity's orders.

She commands that all three be lit and so goes the most pressing and urgent of
communications.

Passionate turmoil roils in the unlit volume of the deep dark, and at each signal point
Amity's orders are carried forward.

The message is simple.

It is time to stoke the great fires again.

Time to fuel the machine once more.

As Anora and Nimby hurry through the night, they shudder.

Before the Four Flame Pillars, Anora and Nimby petition the elder fires. They caution
her that great effort will be required to redirect an even greater effort, but the quest is
not in vain.

A lose knit of allies lies in place and if Anora can pivot them towards success, there is a
possibility of countering the others.

However, that is easier said than done for Lulu and Lolo are fast behind.
125. Final Hours

Anora sends Nimby alone with a message for No No. Amity, Tanner, and Belkin are
blocking all divine travel in and out of the deep darkness and thus the only possibility of
evasion is to physically traverse the depths and reach No No.

For Anora, there will be no evasion. As the goddess of responsibility she is more than a
match for Lolo and Lulu. the same will not be true when Amity, Belkin, and Tanner
arrive.

Sometimes great sacrifice must proceed any great effort, and even then success is
weighted in the darkest of places - the heart.
126. Nimby goes alone
Nimby always liked being the goddess of entertainment. The duties were fun and
amusing: watch disaster from afar, adding witty comments, and tweak fate towards
novel endings.

It is not so amusing, she thinks, to be chased through the lower depths of the deep
dark on foot by the incarnations of cruelty and malice.

At the rivers of fire Nimby reaches her breaking point. Frustrated, exhausted, and
frankly terrified (even a deity can feel fear if their disembodiment is on the menu) -
Nimby realizes that she can give up now and perish, or persist and possibly perish
later...or not.

She elects to perish later and crosses the rivers of fire. Of course, the divine blocks of
Amity, Tanner, and Belkin mean that she suffers greatly in her exodus across the flame
rivers.

Lolo and Lulu decide not to suffer through the fire and they retreat back to the deep
dark.

Sometimes, when the choice is to live or die, only the drive to continue can carries one
through the flames.
127. Nimby continues
Alone in the deep darkness, Nimby hobbles towards the threshold between dark and
light. At the fire pits, she sees the forge that Aldor used to craft the focal points. she
wonders where the focal points are and why the universe would ever allow the creation
of the very things that could utterly undo and remake all existence.

She concludes that perhaps the Supreme Consciousness is a little crazy. Who can tell?
It could all just be a matter of perspective.

Nimby decides that the pain in her feet is making her delirious and she struggles to do
horribly mundane things like manual algebraic calculations.

She comforts herself with the thought that if she survives maybe she'll get better
ratings from this story than the cataclysmic destruction of the multi-galactic Nuby
Empire.

A good story makes any disaster worth something.

Nimby presses on towards the edges of the deep darkness. At the Burning Lake, she
charts a boat to the shores on the far side of the lake, and in her mind she starts to
plan her certain to be award winning mini-series.

The experience of drama is rarely as entertaining as the observation, unless of course
one is hyperactive and impatient with watching disaster unfold.

As nimby sails across the burning lake, she feels a moment of relief. there are other
obstacles ahead, yet at this moment, she can breath easily knowing that her flight
across the waves of flame will deliver her to safety.

With the ever growing distance between the other deities and herself, Nimby begins to
plan her next course of action.


At last Nimby reaches the final boundary: the Fire Wall. Here at the great division
between the deep dark and the further worlds, Nimby pauses for moment.

As she passes between this final threshold, she carries with her the truth of many
things buried for far too long - a combination certain to grant tremendous ratings
bonuses.
128. The Last Steps
Through the resistance she moves between the boundaries and reaches the far side of
everything - beyond the deep dark, through the far night, past the great underneath of
time.

On the far side of the Fire Wall, the realms of dark and fire reside under the watch of
the Burning City, Emenar and its surrounding provinces.

There in the fiery fields of Femar, Nimby takes rest amongst the herders of the
flamesheep, peacefully slumbering with the Burning City in distant view.

As she falls asleep she wonders what is done with incendiary sheep wool and how the
curiously glowing creatures graze upon grass of flames.

She drifts into dreams carried by the sounds of commerce and production - the steady
effort of labor driving life forward.

In softness of her dreams, Nimby floats in darkness, watching a pulsing, heart of flame.
She regards it curiously, wondering at its significance.

As she drifts in the endless night, she hears the voice of Anora speaking to her.

while Lolo and Lulu pursued Nimby, Anora fought a fatal battle against Amity, Belkin,
and Tanner.

"Surprisingly the Supreme Consciousness joined me and eliminated Tanner before
Amity and Belkin destroyed both of us," she adds, "I did managed to take out Belkin
with a well placed induction weave.

Amity is still at large and I think there are others allied with her. Find the candle bearer.
He will tell you more."

As Nimby slumbers, passions fuel the night.
129. The Black Book
Nimby, frustrated and tired, finds herself for the first time, actually wishing for a little
less excitement. if only events were a little less, dramatic, she thinks to herself.

This, she says to herself, is true irony.

In the keep of Talsvar, Nimby finds the Candle Bearer in the Koso Library.

Strange, she thinks to herself, I cannot see his face or hands.

He beckons her to follow and leads her down the musty aisles full of books towering
high into the darkness- no end in sight.

"How far do the book shelves go?" she asks.

"Forever."

The Candle Bearer stops before a large black book upon a reading table and gestures to
it, then places another candle beside the book and vanishes into the shadowy rows of
books.

Nimby finds herself grow cold as she comprehends what lies before her.

Grim with the weight of what she has read. Nimby travels to see the Flame Keeper.

"These are difficult times," the Flame Keeper says to her, "If the Black Book is in play,
then our worst fears have been realized and you must -"

Nimby cuts him off with an irritated sigh, "I'm the goddess of drama, literature, plays -
all that! You're not sending me to some other person who's going to send me to some
else to tell me some relatively pointless thing that you could have just told me now!"

"But that's what we have to do..." he stammers

"AAAAA!" screams nimby in frustration, "Why can't you just tell me?!"

"Because that's not what we're supposed to do."

"And i don't suppose i can compel you to answer?"

"Not unless you wish to break Compact."
"No," she sighs.

"Well, then you must go and see the Fire Scryer,"

As Nimby storms off, the Flame Keeps shouts back at her, "Don't forget the part about
the heart!"

By the time she reaches the Flame Scryer, Nimby's patience is non-existent.

"Just show me what I need to see!" Nimby screams.

With arched eyebrows, the Fire Scryer glares at Nimby and haughtily answers, "There is
a proper procedure for things!"

"Fuck proper procedure! I have been chased through the deep darkness across rivers of
fire by murderously maniacal deities, I have lived in terror for my very existence, the
fate of everything supposedly rests upon my actions, I don't even know what's
happened to my viewer ratings, and I've been forced to sleep on rocks! You will tell me
what I want to know now or I will incinerate you myself!"

And with that she burst into flames.

It's curious, Nimby thinks to herself, this feeling of fire coursing through and dancing all
across her. For a moment, she remembers and smiles, this was what it was like when
she first awoke as a star. That was then, and this is now, she reminds herself, and
places that distant memory back away.

All about her, flames dance in almost every color imaginable, and in the midst of it she
sees the Fire Scryer gazing at her.

Hello.

You're not burning.

Nope. I am a celestial just like you.

I don't remember this form.

Most don't. To ignite like this requires a great deal of passion.

I always thought myself a highly successful but nonetheless petty goddess of
entertainment.
Well, obviously you're a bit more than that.You've come a great distance through
tremendous adversity. You have the burning heart heart.
131. Spelling
What. The little the page breaks. The ends. The falls. The rises. The starts. The this the that.
Could I go back? Could I go forward? Pronunciation. Then grammar. Then punctuation.
There is a power that we can’t begin to understand. What would be will be what was is then and
now. Mythical bullshit swims in my mind. Could there be something be more. Capricious and
vindictive. I need answers. Am I terrified. I think often I am scared. My greatest fear is that it
will go on forever. That it will never end. That this will continue indefinitely that I will simply
go one forever. If it could have one wish – I will not fear the unknown. The future is unknown. I
don’t want to fear the unknown.



If I could have the stars here just like the attention of markers on the table the eye drops the
water bottle the digital camera – these things before my attention and when I try to capture the
significance of all these things in my mind I keep asking myself – what’s that song that’s playing
on the radio and why is my rubber cement siting on the table – oh that’s right – the mile stone
project on the wall. Blue handle sissors (small) – black ipod wallet - blue tape is it electrical –
I’m not sure. I try to keep up with my thoughts but my fingers don’t move very quickly and even
though I can type quite quickly I find that I must be fairly sleepy because I’m just not moving
very quickly but my thoughts are moving so fast still because they’re me I myself you us all of us
them me – my thoughts – I mean – yes – all the ways to Mars and then the outer planets and the
rings of Saturn.



In the electrons of my mind the atoms are homes to a million different songs and stories and each
one could be the seed to a billion new universes and sometimes the potentional of all that stuff is
just so overwhelming and I feel like I’m coming apart at the seams literally I really do I have to
say that I think that my molecules my atoms my cells my parts and pieces are disseasembling and
that fuck I just fucking hate the spelling but you know what fuckt it I’m not even going to try even
more because it I’m tired of trying to correcting to trying to make trying to corcr4ect to beack up
to fic to spell correct o back up to spell fix to back up sepll correct becacause fuck you worl d I
know what what I don’t know interan l digal o doesn’,mndfnvnxc.,mnv.m,nv.,mxznv.z,nv.,nzmxv
/lm /mlmnlnx/ lmx/.m
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n.,xzmnv.,zxnv;wj
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AIJG;LAJK;LABJLKADJ
132. Noise
Sometimes there is just to much noise and too many pictures and way too much sound and far
tOo much to think and say and I just can’t get it out fast enough and it all starts to trip up in my
mind and fall off my tongue and jam on my fingers and clog the keyboards and gum up the pen
and I’m choking on words and drowning on sentences and fragements and strugglings not to go
down under the weight of all the incomplete ideas because god knows that I seem to never be
able to complete any idea. Lamisil AT Gel. My brain hurts. I think that I should start in a new
direction, but then again every time that I wake up I’m starting in a new direction and so I think
that’s kind of irrelevant because I am always starting in a new direction and I’m always
screaming at the voices stay out of my head stay out of my head stay out of my head stay out
stay out stay out stay out stay out stay out stay out stay out stay out stay out stay out stay out
stay out.



And I get tired. Very tired. And I just fall asleep anywhere - all the time - constantly fatigued.
Because I’m fighting a constant mental battle against myself.



I made a red velvet cake today. It turned out better than the previous one.
There was some confusion today. Some eating of the red velvet cake. Some errands. Some
worrying. Actually there was lots of worrying. Lots of paranoia involving work and various
other things and lots of me walking around repeating to meditative concentration phrases my
mind is my own my mind is my own my mind is my own my mind is my own.



Where was I?



Wandering the hallways.



Trying to make sense of this mess – the pile of bandage wrappers strewn on the dinning room
table it’s it the only way the only way the only way It’s the only way to stop myself from biting
my nails – to stop myself from biting my fingers and chewing on my skin.



I don’t want to write. I don’t want to do anything. I just want to press buttons and get rewards.
Maybe get a prize.



Why is so much of life like so much work whine whine whine whine whine whine whine
whine whine whine whine whine whine whine whine whine whine.



I’m trying to make sense of everything, but then I realize that probably the reason that nothing
makes sense is because ipso FACTO nothing makes sense. Not sure if that should comfort me or
what. Not sure if I should just start running down the street screaming and screaming – probably
not – most likely not because I’m not really that interested in running down the street too much
exertion of energy and I don’t really want to be harassed by the police.
133. Exhaustion

My face feels funny and unpleasant and unpleasant and it hurts and I think the skin isn't doing so
well.



Television in my mind doesn't go away doesn't stop doesn't stop doesn't go away doesn't stop
doesn't go szway the little eating worms are chewing at my thoughts my mind the boogyman of
irrational thoughts is lurking in the background and chewing away at the the edges of my mind.
So if I could be one thing what would I be?



I have no clue
Where would I go if I could go anywhere?



              Don't know




What wish do I make on a shooting star?




      Nothing.




Empty empty empty empty empty empty empty empty empty empy etmp tye mtp empty
empty mepty ept uep tu ej j p eempty empty empt ye pempe empty




Why can't I answer my own questions.
Work this out. Some how I'll work this out. I just know that I'll work this out.
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Havetoeventuallyfindmyvoiceislkj;ijsutknowthateventuallyik';m;lkmg;ljkgoingotwoilkjihatelk;j;l
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DKIPREWJKso frustrated.



So frustrated.
If I could have or be what would I must I'm trying to get there so difficult its s ohar ljkard hlike
tyring t o liclim up a hmrock mountain tos fallilng dow fucking dc goij dammit what the fuckg
is si going oin can't make kthoughts aren't working snot getting there not getting there not
making the right nos tme aking snot making falling down fallng down falknlkj so trying to
get
Trying to organize my thoughs is so difficult. I can barely pull muself to gether and get myself
together.
134. it's like t.s. elliot said

So I guess that's the point of this entire fitful exercise because it's just like t.s. elliot said: I spent
decades trying to learn to use words, and of course, all of my attempts were in fact a new start
and a grand failure. A new start into a realization that although I can grasp the fundamental
conventions of commas and colons - my mind doesn't really operate that way, and so I'm going
to fundamentally fail as I try to string punctuation and words into conventional patterns. Of
course, I have to have something that's remotely coherent and comprehensible by other people,
which brings me to another thing that t.s. elliot said. I do have to learn to get the better of words
and I raid the inarticulate and that's exciting! So entropy intrudes, and my sentences degrade,
and my spelling falls apart, and my punctuation starts to suck - I'm jumping on the imprecision
of feeling! How many people can say that their every waking moment is an epic battle against
the imprecision of feeling? Seriously, though



I hate Neil Gaiman.
I broke a Pyrex container today. It shattered all over the kitchen floor. Shards of glass sprayed
all over place and I thought to myself. Funny. I don't remember Pyrex breaking like that. It
took me forever to clean the mess up. Very frustrating. I think I have more than my share of bad
luck.
Atropos wanders along the long concourse of the mind

Here or there

An upset stomach

The inevitable weight of significance

The paradox therein

If each moment was significant then would anything be significant?

If everything was important would anything be important?

And so it is, I see, if there is to be contrast

There must be differences to separate
135. whine
The stars. I think it's the stars that trick me at night when I'm trying to pick through my
memories - sometimes I will look up and I'll see the starts and I'll think that there is much more
to all of this. That perhaps I really am just sitting on a speck of dust hurtling through space.
I could put in all those fictional fantasies - what troubles me is that they come unbidden. I could
be sitting anywhere, doing anything and these things just wash over me. My stomach hurts. Why
can't it be easier. Whiner. Today's exercise is finding your voice. My stomach hurts. I need to
eat something.



I would be singular. I would be myself. Who would that be? After decades of soul
searching how lame is that and endless searching repeating. I am forced to conclude that I am
no better off than I was before and perhaps the only thing that I have learned is that I haven't
learned anything and now I think I am unfathomable. Like that scene from Garden State the one
with the big black hole in the ground.
I made a red velvet cake today. It didn't turn out to well. I couldn't find any red food coloring at
Whole Foods. I didn't really want to put any red food coloring into the cake. Red velvet cakes
historically didn't use red food coloring. The red supposedly comes from a reaction between
vinegar and the cocoa. The only problem was that I forgot the vinegar. So I didn't have any red
food coloring, and then I didn't have any vinegar. I tried to use cranberry juice, but the batter
wasn't really red. I found some red tomato paste, and I thought that might work, but not really. I
kept adding more and more tomato paste but the batter wasn't really turning red - mostly turning
more brown. I tried adding more cocoa, but that didn't do much better either. The final end
product was truly awful. Probably intensified because I didn't cook the cake long enough. I
forgot to set the timer initially, and missed the total count. My slice of red velvet tasted more
like a revolting, greasy, marinara flavored cake than a delicious piece of velvety goodness. So
I've learned that tomato paste and cranberry juice don't work well as food coloring in such
situations.



On the other hand the cream cheese frosting turned out well...
INSERT IMAGINED CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER PEOPLE.
136. Imagined Conversations

Look at you. You over there at the table in Starbucks. With your shirt, neatly ironed, and your
pants that match just right. What's difficult about your life? You don't have this god awful
badass bullshit fuck me up gory run me over kill me shoot myself throw myself over a grisly cliff
kill myself over and over and over again freaking god cynical awful mess everything is shitting
on top of gruesome me mental fatal breaking that never unspeakable ends death and misery
always on my doorstep my life is like one big game of playing in traffic heinous pull my eyes out
blow my brains out adverse difficulty voices that don't shut up detrimental shouting in your
hellish head the kind that say horrible things and the endless screaming in your vile mind the
ghastly kind that won't stop the no no anathema no foul straight jacket padded dreadful walls
talking heads howling winds delirium this is real madness not the nice kind at that creeping no
through terrible the nightmare little antithetical no good confines of each nasty tunnel of crap
thought monstrous foul exploding brain bang. What's your conflict? What's your dilemma?



Me? I'm just trying to fucking keep my tenuous grip on reality. You - let me guess - Venti or
Grande? New shirt? Yeah. You're fucking lame. You suck.



Yes, I would trade to be someone else. I would trade to be stupid and unaware because hey that's
the point. Ignorance. Yes.
How difficult is it to believe in yourself? How difficult is it to believe that someone loves you
when there is no evidence. How difficult is it to believe that something, anything, anything in
the universe loves you? On what evidence.
I do hope my intelligence though pitted against myself will somehow win out against something
else. Foolish. And yet. No. no. Yes we are fractured. But there is always hope. I like
cookies Persevere. We must persevere. What am I fighting with? Myself? All of myself? Parts
of myself? Something that is not part of myself? But then how can I not be myself if I'm
myself?



My entire world view is just a house of cards. Something fragile. A construct. A set of ideas
and beliefs that I tell myself. Yes. I suppose. Silly. Hungry. And yet delicate things aren't
inferior per se. Just because something is ephemeral doesn't mean that it has any less value than
a thing of greater permanence. If anything perhaps the fleeting is of more lasting value because
of the creative potential. That's what I loved about cards and making houses of cards. From a
single pack of approximately fifty-two pieces of heavy paper, I could construct amazingly
complex, vast structures that spread all across a table through three dimensions - and all from a
pack of cards. So perhaps the extension is true - thoughts and dreams and ideas though slight
and intangible can move so much if balanced just right and that's what I'm looking for that just
right touch to lay this house of cards.
There are all these other things. Realities at work. Solutions. Experts. Medications.



I must trust that they will care for me. That when I am incapable of caring for myself that this
greater good does exist outside of me and this greater good will carry me beyond the points of
dissolution. I must commend myself into their hands. As I write these final words the chorus is
silent and I feel momentary relief. Whatever is happening. I know it will not be the same - it
never is, but I am optimistic that I will be okay.




There is no easy solution here. There never is. I know that, but I realize that belief is the first
choice. I can choose to believe in whatever I want. I choose to believe in good outside of myself
and this is where I end, and this is where I begin.




As I let go and breakdown - as I dissolve - I realize that yes love is important and love does
conquer all but trust is very important and without that there can be nothing.
137. Solving the puzzle
Fog.



God, I hope I’ve got it worked out this time. I fucking can’t even tell if I’m at the beginning or
end of this mess. Eh. Who the fuck cares? Shifting in and out of my corporeal aspects is always
somewhat disconcerting.



“So go over the rules again,” Anne looks at me with her hair pulled back and she plays with the
edge of her broadsword.



“We leave in pairs. Our immediate intentions will keep us together in pairs only. We’re leaving
ahead of schedule, so the mists do not part as normal.”



“I wish we could side step that limitation,” remarks Thom.



I shake my head, “It’s part of the compact. The same forces that shield this place are the forces
that restrict us here until our graduation.”



Mist rises from the Eder Down. It’s odd watching the edge of one world bleed into another – all
ether and vapor.



We all look out there - watching the eddies of time turn and spin. You know the spiel, the
mental review. The let’s sit back and take stock because the next couple of decades are going to
sucking fuck ass. We’ve got a mission to perform. Let’s face it. Life sucks at times.
 Everything sucks. Reality sucks. It all sucks. But it’s at times like these that we hold to the
future or fall into nothing. Sometimes the now is a big fat piece of shit and that’s all we can do –
acknowledge the piece of shit and move forward to bigger and better things. That’s why I like
having goals – missions – objects – something to get me up in the morning. The bigger the
better.
“But we’re going ahead of schedule,” nods Thom as he pulls his bow back and eyes the string.



“Yeah, because Kano is two years ahead of us.” My head hurts. Shouldn’t I have a spell in my
repertoire for banishing unwanted migraines?



Kano and his group is older, wiser, better trained, more knowledgeable, more experienced – and
theoretically more powerful for these differences. All we’ve got is the fact that we care about
each other – the knowledge that regardless of the adversity we will find each other across any
separation.



The rising sun is incredibly bright overhead – I’m glad we’re doing this at dawn. It’s nice to see
the sunrise.



“Did the fates really ordain this? This whole…path seems pretty idiotic.” Tuluria keeps floating
the protoplasma between her hands. It’s very distracting when she keeps turning it into
butterflies and the butterflies turn back into pink pulsing matter then back into flitting flying
things. Round and round the cycle goes.



“Ask, Elena.” I keep studying the mists – looking for the opening.



“Well,” Tuluria looks at Elena standing with her long, white braids – always calm – always regal
– always composed - who wouldn’t be if you knew you were the supreme avatar of all deities?



“Yes and no.” She pauses like she always does. “As I’ve said before there are two major paths.
 One in which we deliberately pursue Kano at the potential cost of our lives, and second in which
we wait to pursue him until the opportunity presents but we sacrifice the lives of billions during
the time period that he is unchecked.”
Anne keeps strumming on her sword.



Tanner answers, “We all know this. We’ve all reviewed these timelines over and over again.
We’re all committed to the process. We are all aware that each one of our lives – perhaps all of
our lives are in jeopardy.” He always does sound like an academic.



“So, we resolve to pursue this objective, we decide that it is better we risk our lives than sacrifice
entire systems,” Thom looks at me as he spins a razor star in his hands.



“Exactly,” I say and we all nod in assent. It’s better this way. To act with some unity, complete
trust, faith – camaraderie. After all, at the end of the journey, the quest is always completed one
way or another – it’s just a matter of how we got there.



Right, Thom whispers in my mind. Let’s discuss this after we jump.



“The mists are parting,” I shout over my shoulders and start the spell. Good thing I took the time
to learn all schools of magic because a spell of temporal sundering is about as black as you can
get.



I break the mists apart with just one word – I’ve already prepared all of the necessary cantrips,
sacrifices – etc etc. If my teachers could see me now, I wonder what they’d say? I’ve got a lot
of blood on my hands now. The reverberations shake through all existence. I know that
somewhere somehow – we will each pay a terrible price for this – I most of all – and yet it’s like
we all discussed, how can I justify the preservation of my life when the very sacrifice ensures the
survival of entire universes? I can’t or I don’t – or I don’t care to argue anymore – I just do.



Decisions decision decisions.



Decide.
Matricide. Patricide. Infanticide. Regicide. Insecticide. The death of this the death of that.
 Always, this is our task, to those of us who can see the ley lines, we are always cutting cords
somewhere. Who ever said it was easy to be a caretaker of fate?



First the twins, Tuluria and Tanner leap into the fog and through the clearing path. Next, Elena
and Anne run forward, leaving Thom and I surveying each other.



I’m glad we get to go together, I say to him.



Yeah, he says. What do you think will happen to us?



Well, if it’s ever like anything usually is, I’ll probably lose all my powers, forget who I am,
you’ll have to travel halfway across the world looking for me, and then we’ll find each other but
quite possibly on the opposite side of the fight and then we’ll have a moment of meaningful and
passionate engagement and then you’ll say just the right thing to me and I’ll remember
everything and then we’ll really get the ball rolling.



I mean, love, you have the advantage, you’re skills are principally physical even the psionic
ones. They’re intrinsic to who you are. My magic is intrinsic to my awareness – my knowledge.
 I can’t stop the mists from fucking with my memories, so I’m pretty sure that I’m going to not
just lose my memories, I’ll probably lose most if not all of my magic



Thom looks at me, “Um yeah, so the mists are closing.”



“That they are. After you?”
He jumps down from the outer ramparts and jogs into the swirling ether. I teleport down after
him and we run – my black mage cloak flows behind me and twists in the eddies of time and he
pulls his face mask down – my very own ninja.



The regression effect begins almost immediately. I try to hold onto Thom but the mists pull us
apart. “Just remember,” I try to shout to him and then just think, I’m from this world. I’ll be
fine as long as my feet are touching the ground.



This is going to suck, I think to myself. I don’t want to be limited. I don’t want to forget. I
don’t want to lose. Well, it’s like we always say, nothing ventured nothing gained.
138. Picking up the Pieces

I feel like stirring up some trouble. I can hear the disapproval over the net but I think. Eh, fuck
it.



Every body wants to rule the world right? Or is that just some people? Or no one?



Wants.



How do you really know what you want?



You don’t.



You really don’t. The inner space of desire is an eternal mystery, because as soon as you
ascertain one point of the puzzle, you’ll find that there’s a thread branching off somewhere else
and pretty soon you’ll be spending the rest of your life chasing the tails of Gordian knots. The
question of good and evil is perhaps the best example in this area. What is good today, might
very well be evil tomorrow.



Case in point, we act to preserve life today. What happens tomorrow when suddenly
circumstances alter radically and we are faced with the prospect of terminating the lives of
billions of people in order to preserve the lives of even more? Killing and murder are the same
thing separated only by the presence of absence of social justification. If something is socially
justified, we usually say it’s not murder. After all, murder by definition is the unlawful killing of
another being. If it’s lawful, then it’s not murder anymore, it’s killing.



Personally, sometimes, I think – I don’t really care, I don’t really want to rule the world or
worlds or universe or universes. Not that it matters what I want, given that the universe only
sometimes cooperates in any immediate sense. I mean there are days where I have to threaten
the entire universe with a manual force restart. I think we all rue the day that we began
embodying universes with sentience. My god, someone was smoking something that day.



I think my biggest fear is becoming the very establishment that I rail against. Maybe that’s why
I’ve never solidified my grasp on anything. I try to be tricky and conceal my motives, hide my
plans, and cover my tracks. Ultimately, the even the greatest of us love to play at information
wars. I mean, what else do all-powerful beings do? We wage ideological warfare of course!
 Central to that are our intentions and motives – can’t give those away - so we all play the cosmic
game of dice under the cups.



Still, deception is a very corporeal thing. At the non-corporeal level, everything is revealed. The
non-corporeal level is also very boring. That said, even if I obscure something at one corporeal
point, it never really matters ultimately because when things unfold – absence is as revealing as
presence especially when even the curvature of light always leaves a signature. So it is true –
you should sin boldly.



I step outside into my backyard and hear the helicopters overhead. Or is it one helicopter. Not
sure. Wonder who the police are after this time? What time zone am I in at this exact moment?
 What planet is this? And for that matter, what galaxy am I occupying at this given juncture?



I give up answering my own questions and I bare my teeth and growl builds in my chest. In one
fluid motion as I run forward, my arms shift down into fur and claws and I bound to the sidewalk
in lupine form. I move too fast for anyone to consciously notice, but people sense my passage.
 The woman on the corner will always shiver late at night when crossing the streets. The man on
the bike will always wonder about the blur at the edge of his vision. Those children walking
home will always feel like running at the last minute. The night envelops me into shadows at the
edges of streetlights and under stairways. I am the fast chilling wind that touches the back of
your neck and sends shivers through your thoughts.



You really shouldn’t be doing that. My eldest sister is always so proper. I’m just the opposite.
 She’ll walk down the stairs. I’ll probably burn them down while fleeing a band of goblin
bandits. Why don’t you just finish your book? I don’t feel like writing. I feel like running
around the city and howling at the moon. You know that Mother won’t approve. She never
approves of anything. You’re just scaring them. Let me run and just feel free for a moment.
I am alone momentarily.



So I run beyond the wind into the uncounted hours after midnight. I feel your breath on my
neck. I can hear you snoring. I smell your scent everywhere. You never noticed but I was
always sniffing the air around you, smelling your pillow, holding your shirt in my hands, the
back of your neck, your chest – and you know what? You don’t smell like anything I’ve ever
experienced. You don’t have a typical smell. It’s weird. I don’t get it. Everyone has a
characteristic smell, but yours confuses me. I mean you have this faint, neutral smell that
reminds me of sleep and quiet and dreams and memories. I wonder about you.



Jesus Christ the bullshit. The dawn approaches and I think. I have work to do, another day is
starting. What shall I do? I could be this person or that person or that person or this person or –
enough. I snap the whip and grab control. Jesus fucking Christ. You’re all a bunch of lame
asses.



I hate the net. It’s so annoying. I mean if you’re not paying attention - before you know it your
entire family and your friends and everyone is jumping in with their opinions and trying to run
the show. Schizophrenia’s not just for the mortals.



Ugh. I shift back into human form and pencil something on my notebook. My back hurts My
neck hurts. God the endless catalog of bodily sensations. Head hurts. Fuck this nonsense. Why
doesn’t my head ever feel the opposite of hurting? I mean I think when I normally think
something is feeling good – it generally always means that whatever it is that I’m feeling isn’t
hurting. What’s the opposite of my neck hurts. My neck feels amazing? But why would my
neck feel amazing. That would be nice. If my whole body felt amazing…



Oh wait. Yeah, about that. Never mind. I don’t think I can go five minutes without thinking
about him. Somehow. All time. Anyhow. He’s the only person I can’t separate myself from. I
go back to my writing.



Everything is swirling in the ether of chaos – just like always – just like always.
So this is me pulling myself from the madness, settling back down into my body and continuing
the story.
139. Search for Clues
“So how was work? You’ve got blood all over your fur…” Hmm, I think I still need to chop the
onions.



“Not bad. Got into a fight with a Grimm.” He looks really tired. I wonder what’s going on with
him.



“Well, was it warranted and principally provoked by the other party?” Let me taste this. Hmm.
 No onions.



“Are you paying attention to me?” Oh, God. He looks so sad.



“Sort of. I’m trying to finish dinner and keep a conversation going with you while checking in
with you regarding your day and running a wide number of internal considerations to evaluate
the possible implications of your situation.” Yeah. Definitely needs onions.



“Can’t you just be present to me?” I hate it when he looks at me with those puppy dog eyes. I
feel like I just ran over his favorite pet.



“Love, I’m in charge of overseeing this current reality shift. And just remember, that it’s the
Terrans that are the problem. That idiotic speciest prejudice is engendering the constant conflicts
between all other life forms. You know today, I had to broker a neighborhood resolution
between a coven of witches and the local vampires because the idiots were convinced that it was
more prudent to simply eradicate the entire neighboring human population – never mind that
they happened to be targeting scientists who of course figured out what they were doing
and…my God…have you ever seen nerds go ape shit on someone?”



Oh god. He’s just standing there with that stupefied look on his face. “I mean, you know, the
compact allows for the introduction of high technology so of course, as we all know, technology
executed at a high level is analogous to serious magic – so I mean, I had a fucking potential
Armageddon on my hands.



That’s what I was doing today.” Where’s the dumb onion chopper thing. Why can’t these stupid
things just come magically separated as necessary?



Where would be the fun in that?



You look so sad.



You always talk over my head. You don’t think I’ll get it.



That’s not true. I just think most of the time you don’t want to hear the details. I mean your eyes
glaze most of the time when I start entering deep analysis, so I just assume you’re not interested.



I’d be if you’d give me more time and patience.



Tell me about your day again.



Got into a fight with a Grimn. I had to tear him in half. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.



Oh, baby…Let’s go sit down.



Okay, there you go again, you’re infantilizing me.
Yeah, and who’s the one that can’t do a little killing. I’ve terminated entire solar systems.
Annihilated civilizations. Rendered countless species extinct. Stop whining to me about killing
a single entity. Shit happens. You’re in the line of fire all the time – that’s what it means to be
an officer.



I walk him over to the couch and sit down with him. I consider in my mind for a moment the
possibility of returning to Anderon. It would be nice to see the mages tower and just get away
from things. Sometimes I think that if just a couple of my instructors were willing to enter this
plane, things would be so much easier, but then I remember, “Who’d teach the next generation?”




Anyway, I should probably focus back on my husband.



“Umm, your police uniform is shredded.” My god, I thought that was tear-proof super fabric.



Well obviously not. The Grimn tore right through it.



Love, use the term of engagement – like terrorist or attacker or whatever. Grimn singles out that
specific social group and presents the image that all Grimn are bloodthirsty killers…well I mean
they are by nature such, but they’ve respected compact quite well.



Sorry.



I’m not being critical. I’m just trying to work with you here. Language is incredibly important.
 Your choice of words define our reality.



My mind starts to wander. It would be nice get away from this entire mess. The human
resources department is such a suck ass place - sometimes, but I love it regardless. That’s the
real power of unconditional love – I can sit through hell and turn it around into something like an
ice cream parlor. Besides, what better resource to manage than people? Sure money is great, but
money doesn’t talk back and money doesn’t fight back and money doesn’t evolve, or transform
or learn to exercise sentience. Sentient beings are way more fun.



At least so far, he thinks to me.



Yeah, so far. I mean, I haven’t heard of any cases of spontaneously sentient piles of money or
pieces of gold or whatever. Who knows, maybe that’s around the corner, but I can assure you,
that is not going to be in my department. I only focus on sentient life forms.



Do you think that’s discriminatory?



Are you serious?



Sort of.



I need to go back and stir dinner.



He starts watching the television and I send back to him. Traffic sucked today. I hate West
Hollywood. Santa Monica is fucking crowded it’s like you just sit and sit in traffic and then
fucking pedestrians are running all over the place. I wish I could obtain authorization for gate
transports. That would make life so much easier. Can you imagine that? Just being able to get
anywhere – instanty?



He doesn’t really answer. His eyes are sort of glazing over. I debate for a moment in my mind –
should I prod him to take a shower or leave him on the couch. Sometimes, I find people to be so
puzzling – constantly seeking to assert their independent spirit yet inevitably flailing about
looking for guidance – never wanting to be told what to do – always insisting on falling off the
cliff alone.
A single thought interjects. I answer instantly without even thinking. I’m fast like that.



If you can maintain constant flux cycles in your thoughts then you can do anything. All you have
to do is simultaneously imagine two mutually exclusive statements like “ The sun shall die” and
“The sun shall not die.” Just balance the conflicting mental products against each other and you
have flux. Learn to live with flux and you can do anything. I tried to teach you this but I don’t
think you were paying attention. I think you were too busy listening to me yell at you about
other stuff. Yeah so maybe I did go overboard on the laundry and cleaning and stuff like that.



What did I ask you?



How I think.



Can you ever answer in less than this? Your answers are always so expansive…



Love, the universe is my answer to your questions. I’m doing my best to keep it concise, but at a
certain point we both have to admit, that it’s going to take you some time to work through this
entire experience. Look, there’s only ever one of me. Many of you.



So why did you marry me?



Hmm, salty. Umm. What was the question again?



You’re doing this on purpose.



Maybe, what are you going to do? Punish me?
Maybe.
140. We begin to see a mystery
I am fuming – and secretly amused.



Preserve my life! He has the audacity to ask me this? The bastard kills off every other major
Talent, and of course, my oaths bind me from direct violence and consciously mediated indirect
violence. He knows that, so he’s just playing the cards that say, “Here, I’m going to violate every
single known law in my mad dash to power and because you love me and you’re a healer –
you’re going to keep making me better.”



I suppose I could stop cooperating with him.



Weird. I never thought existence could suck so much. All the omnipotence and all the
omniscience and since I accept an oath of preservation, I’m stuck sitting on the sidelines watch a
power hungry psychopath cut a wide swath through the universe.



It’s funny because really, I’m the only one that could stop him, and yet it’s not as if he “should
be stopped.” I mean, he’s right. Reality is falling. Civilization is uttering its dying breath. The
great galactic Empire has fallen and this tiny world is the last bastion of civilized society.



We sit around in counsels and war rooms and committees and we debate and we debate and we
project this future consideration and we project that future consideration, but it’s always the
same.



The collective will to live is gone. The great power cores that drove each spiral have begun to
fail. The boundless energy fields are suddenly running dry.



Roman looked at me the other day and said, “It was our hubris to assume this would continue
indefinitely and now no one of influence wants to acknowledge our failures so we simply sit in
this state of constant disbelief, but you know what? It’s not that life has failed. There are rebel
pockets all over the universe. Life will always push against the boundaries of anything be it
physical or imagined or what have you. It’s the current system that has failed, and that’s what
I’m dismantling.”



He’s always very sexy when he talks like that, and of course, I’m sucker for incredibly confident,
ultra ambitious men. Or is it just that I’m bored. I don’t know how long I’ve lived for because
after several million years, you lose count and it’s all so irrelevant. It’s peculiar because he’s
more than right, he’s honest. Boredom is killing the Empire. How pathetic is that? The greatest
civilization thus far and we’re simply imploding because we can’t think of anything interesting
to do?



Leave it to Roman to turn civil war, anarchy, and social unrest into a new and interesting art
form. The Adera Assembly keeps sending assassins. Sometimes they succeed and even
vaporize him. It’s a simple matter for me to wave my hands and resurrect him from nothingness.
 I could just fail to resurrect him, but then what would I do for entertainment? Plus, he’s really
hot.



The other day he ousted the entire Congress of Dorn. Talk about a blood bath. He dragged me
along for that fiasco and I remember trotting along – enervating him constantly – protecting him
from harm – healing him from injury. He makes quite an impressive sight: lightening bolts
blazing from his hands – forked blasts of energy tearing through everything. I ran into an old
teacher who started yelling at me, “How can you allow this?” Then Roman blew up his head.



Easy. The malaise was already present long before Roman started his bloody swath to power. I
guess you could say, I’m as guilty as everyone one else on the boredom and exhaustion charge.



I’m tired. I’m tired of uplifting this civilization, saving that civilization, staving off disaster there
– rescuing that galaxy – helping that universe. After awhile, the charity acts get really tiresome
because no one really seems to learn anything. Somehow, the Empire succeeded really well in
engendering an entire existence based on helplessness and knowledge that benevolent
superpowers like myself will save the day.



Well, I’m the last one, and all the other threw in the towel a long time ago. Sometimes I think, I
should feel some sorrow or despondence or something, but then I remember that I shed all my
tears a very long time ago. Now, there is only the waiting. The long, slow evenings while the
universe runs down.



Not that this the end of anything. By no means, we know that there will be more life beyond
this, it’s just that for the most part, the hosts of heaven are all bored and sullen and more than
happy to send existence into the flames of recreation.
141. Actually the solutions is still progressing
“What else can we do?”



“Not shoot bus drivers and unarmed passengers?”



He looks at me with such intensity – line of sight right down the barrel of the gun – willing me to
back down and I just look him straight in the eye and answer true, “I mean, if you’re trying to
eliminate a corporate head of state, you probably should target the main corporate headquarters –
I mean that would be my first guess. Of course with multiplicity and division of power, that’s
not always a guaranteed strike.”



Now he just looks baffled and very sexy. Why is it that sociopaths are always incredibly
attractive? Hmm. Maybe I should commission a study on this.



“Why don’t I just shoot you?”



“Umm, I dunno, you can of course, but I could probably pave the way to your target if you
simply ask nicely.”



He arches his eyebrows. “No signature in blood?”



This time it’s my turn to laugh, “No, that’s silly. I don’t deal like that.”



Now he’s eyeing me much closer, “Why would you help me?”
“Why not? I mean obviously you’re pretty deranged. You’re killing people left and right
because you just want to strike out at someone. So what I’m offering you is the ultimate target
of all time.”



I pause for dramatic effect because I like dramatic effect – adds to the savor of the moment - and
I let this sink into his consciousness before adding, “How about the Prelate CEO of the Principa
Congress.”



Now I have his attention, “How?”



“First don’t ask me too many questions, I don’t like to be distracted while I’m thinking. Second,
you could say that I worked for them and I have a score to settle. Third, and finally, I know shit.
 I can figure out an answer to any problem and if I can’t figure it out immediately, I know
exactly how to structure the inquiry.”



“So what are we doing first?”



“First we’re going to stop shooting bus drivers and passengers. This is a total waste of your time.
 It’s like shooting a bunch of cattle because you think that’s going to solve political conflict on
another continent. Stupid and pointless. Second, we’re going to get the fuck out of here.”



I gesture to the exit door, “We probably want to get going before the police cruisers arrive.”



He nods and steps outside, and I think, sociopaths are so easy to handle if you just know what to
give them. I stop at the drivers console and reach over the bullet riddled body. Punching in
clearance override codes I trigger a minor data malfunction in the net. All of the police cruisers
in the immediate vicinity are going to start crashing into buildings, and with luck, it’s going to
take them some time to override this bug. I am not above stooping to great lows to remove
certain obstacles, and since system limitations in this world prevent me from accessing the core,
I’m just thankful that fate has delivered a perfect killing machine.
He’s standing outside of the bus waiting expectantly like an obedient albeit slightly rabid dog.



“Where to?”



“Well, what do you want to do?”



“Blow something up?”



“Okay, well let’s go blow up the central defense grid. If you do that, the security drones
protecting the Principa will be disabled.”



“I’m not sure where that is.”



“No problem,” and I pull a micro consol from my pocket. In seconds the holo is displaying the
city navigation grid and I point out our target. “We’re here, in the recreational sector of the city.
 Our target is several clicks away, on the outskirts of the city. We’ll just need to commander a
fast transport. Go hijack that one over there, and try not to shoot too many people.”



He complies quite well and I trot along behind him punching calculations into the consol. Hmm.
 If I can remove the Prelate, then I just need to eliminate a few other points of opposition and I
can just hostilely seize control of this system. This is major production center of certain key
materials and I’d rather not that the Authority continue to have access to these ingredients.



Normally, I like to accomplish my objectives with less bloodshed and less violence, but really, I
have a lot of universes to conquer…or liberate…or destroy – it all sort of depends on your
perspective relative to mine. Hell, if I was in any less of a good mood, I just eliminate half of
these offending universes. However, ever since I tried compassion, things don’t quite work the
way they once did. Of course, compassion really depends on your position and perspective.
It’s not very compassionate of me to allow this system to continue functioning to support the
status quo when countless other systems are threatened by the products it generates. It’s all
numbers game at the end of the. Sentience notwithstanding, the pain and suffering of Y easily
outweighs that of X if Y is larger than X – who cares about the messy details of rights and life
and all that obnoxious gushy emotional crap? I mean, sure, I care, but the caring comes to an
end when the calculations come through and the cold hard facts are sitting on the floor.
142. “Touch me take me to that other place"


I stop running and shift back in the yard behind my house. I’m breathing heavy and my hair is
sticky wet with perspiration. I love doing the werewolf thing. It’s always fun. Never liked the
vampire side, though. The hardest part is keeping my iPod in my mouth and the headphones in
my ears. It’s worth it though, to pull it off. Running around LA at superhuman speeds and
freaking people out – so maybe they can’t really see me but they can feel me. I like
synchronicity between my music and the world around me. I like it when the lyrics of a song
match up with an event and an emotion and it’s all one big cinematic impression. The eyes are
movie making machines.



Oh, it is so worth it to have my iPod covered with slobber because that means I able listen to it
while I’m running. Sometimes the shitty details are just indications that things are actually going
your way when breaking rules – cause that’s what happens when you break rules – shitty stuff
tends to show up or happen when you’re running along the edge of reality.



I howl at the moon and the vibrations shake the fence. Nice. I should probably get back inside
before the neighbors start wondering if there really is a wolf outside. Sometimes I dream about
red steaming meat and blood and things screaming. Sometimes I find myself gnawing on things
with my incisors, and I think, damn, I need to get some carnivore rehabilitation.



My human clothes are lying in a shredded pile next to the French doors. I pick them up and
throw them in the trash. Mental note to self. Go to Goodwill tomorrow and buy more jeans and
collared shirts. I grab some clothing out of the closet, dress, and then grab my notebook, pipe,
and pen and hurry out into the yard. I need to figure out something. I sort the various scenarios
and begin editing.



I could be system hopping right now and having a lot more fun but I’m coming back to this shit
hole because man, I’m hooked on you. And you and you and you and you and you and you and
you and you and you over there – yeah and especially you. Humans are such peculiar things.
 My best and worst experiment ever.
This whole “personality” thing is really fascinating. I still find the obsession with identities and
personas to be bizarre, but then again, I always look at the big picture. Don’t even get me started
with the whole privacy thing. My god, what a warped concept. There is no such thing as
privacy in a universe filled with light because all that has ever happened will always continue to
happen in the record of light traveling across infinity.



Leave it to these bi-pedal curiosities to invent a mental existence that isn’t just unfathomable to
us, but also quite intriguing. Their whole self-other thing is so fascinating.



God. I hate my job and I love it. That’s when you know you’re balanced when you’re holding
fire and water in both hands and you can juggle the extremities – because that’s life – the
constant homeostatic bouncing ball.



Awareness. Consciousness. There are so many ways up the mountain.



I’m still cranky, so I decided to go running across the rooftops in LA. Even with super strength,
and super speed, it’s still tricky because you have to get the right timing so you can clear the
distance between the roof tops but not make a sound when you impact. That’s tricky. I’m good
and I glide like a ninja through the night.



We’re doing things the hard way. Shakespeare style. There will be blood. There will be
tragedy. There will be pain and delirium and dreams and magic and wonder and it’s your fault
really. This time it is.



Like I said. There’s the easy road to enlightenment, and there’s the hard road. I say choose the
easy road because when you finish you’ll realize that you did both roads simultaneously but you
didn’t suffer for the hard road because you’re enlightened. If you do the hard road first, it sucks
because you’ve got all that pain and suffering and then you get to enlightenment. I say, get the
enlightenment out of the way, then do the pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are very
amusing when you’re enlightened.
I have a new scene. I’m getting better at this world building stuff. There will be rain, carnage,
monsters and of course, true love.



Back to the street back to the night and the sidewalk and my running and my steps through the
hour of midnight. It will be gone soon. I’ll settle into bed and I’ll wake someone else.
 Somewhere else. Always and forever. But not this time. Not this time. This time I’m going to
stick with it. This time I’m going to stay.



I’m hooked. Hooked on you.



And man does it feel good.
143. I don't care what they say
I am so pissed.



I know I’m doing something I’m going to regret later, but then isn’t everything a regret at some
level? I mean razing an entire city? Putting every single living member of the populace to
death? Burning every structure to the ground?



Yeah, I’m going to live with this for the rest of my life, but you know what, sometimes someone
has to do the really nasty deed to clear the way for the rest of life. Let’s face it, the paladins of
Showa have done nothing but eradicate anything and everything that falls outside the strict
boundaries of their precious Book of Pandar. They are a blight - I will remove them.



I look back at the sea of undead behind me. How fitting that a necromancer would be the one to
bring the hammer down on the city infamous for subjugating all other life. I even managed to
rummage up several zombie dragons. Awesome.



I wish my mother could see me. Persecuted and hounded for her necromancer gifts, today I
settle the cosmic balances. I look at Avender, riding an undead steed next to me. I feel a slight
twinge of remorse. Turning your true love into an undead warrior is pretty cold, even for a
necromancer, but hey, it was either me or him and I certainly didn’t want be burned at the stake.



It’s really too bad, I think, we were such a passionate couple – and then of course we had to end
up on opposite sides. It was inevitable; he was destined to be a paladin – me – a necromancer. I
tried to be wizard, I made a valiant attempt to play on the paladin side, but necromancy flows in
my veins. I like ghouls, liches, banshees, and zombies. Such is life and death. Too bad I’m not
really a necrophile. Avender is so uninteresting to me as an undead – the rigor mortis sucks.



“Well, let’s go,” I say to him, and we start marching over the bluff. The ground ahead of us
vibrates with the slow but steady steps of the undead army. As we clear the bluff, I can see the
fields of Torin before Showa’s brilliant white walls.
Their wizards have given them some warning. The remaining armies are arrayed in perfect
precision. It was incredibly stupid and short sighted of Lord Tamer to send so many of his
troops against me. I just killed each offensive party and added their bodies to my swelling ranks
of undead. They’re fielding everything now – the entire paladin contingent is staged against me.




I don’t really have to do much except watch the unfolding carnage. I let Avender lead the
onslaught and I happily watch the undead impact against the first wall of infantry. Their clerics
are casting anti-necromancy spells. No matter – I send the zombie dragons in and the clerics are
quickly overwhelmed in waves of acid breath. My liches are the very clerics and wizards that
Showa fielded against me for these past few years. As far as numbers go, there is no way that
the paladins will win this war.



I’m sure they’re hoping that magic and the gods will tip the balance in their favor. Soon enough
Galena emerges with a small band of war mages fire balling the dragons and incinerating the
zombies. I hate it when they do that. Oh well, time to clean up the trash.



I direct Norn into battle and he thunders down the slope. I love riding a huge, black, undead
stallion. I made sure the eyes are burning red and flames lap from his mouth and nostrils.
 Totally unnecessary, but the visual effect is great.



I cast dark lightening into the ranks of the remaining war mages, and the shadowy blue bolts rip
through their ranks. They are just dust in my wind. Galena manages to shield herself and
several of her adepts. No matter. I’ll deal with her when I’m done butchering the rest. With not
even a word and only a thought, I command the newly dead troops to rise and begin assaulting
the wizards.



This is why we are so feared. This is why necromancers are so hated. We can raise the very
dead that fall in battle and our ranks are never depleted, we do not rest, and we will never
surrender.



It is very satisfying to watch the waves of undead pour over the wizards desperately striking
back, small candles drowning under the tides of darkness. Unbalance existence and this is
nature’s response.
Galena and her mages keep hurling futile magics at me. I just keep a wide anti-magic sphere
about me.



What most people don’t realize is that necromancy isn’t magic. It’s life – energy – the power to
reanimate after one life has passed – the renewal towards another. I can keep a wide anti-magic
sphere, neutralize the wizards, and still my undead troops surge like the ocean.



Then it’s just Galena and I looking at each other across piles of bodies. I’ll give her this much,
she doesn’t beg or cry or plead or do anything other than remain the resolute person she always
was.



“I’m sorry that we ended up on opposite sides.”



“I’m sorry that your soul will be in eternal damnation.”



“Oh, please Galena, you’re much to smart for that stupidity. Just because I’m about to turn you
into a lich doesn’t mean that in the cosmic balance of things either of us is truly right or wrong.
 You lose. Pure and simple. Stop being a poor sport. I am no more evil than you are good.”



“Then stop this madness.” Her robe is dirty and stained with blood. Sometimes I notice the
oddest details.



“You stop it. Showa created this mess. Showa persecuted all of the non-paladin orders, and
anyone outside of their circumscribed schools of white magic. This is justice. The same justice
that you and yours have been visiting upon the rest of existence. This time however, you don’t
like it because you’re on the other end of the stick.”



Defiantly she screams, “The Twelve Gods will punish you!”
“Actually, the Twelve Gods are punishing you. Don’t you wonder, why is it that I’ve been able
to bring the war right to your doorstep? Where were the Twelve when I killed and turned
Avender? Where are the Twelve now? Face it, this isn’t a cosmic duel between good and evil.
 The Twelve have abandoned Showa because you’re all a lot of hypocritical, sanctimonious mass
murders.”



Reality sinks into her realization, “Don’t turn me into a lich.” The crack in her voice betrays her
fear.



“Sorry Galena, I want your magic for the assault on the city walls. Don’t worry, I’ll give you
more mercy than you deserve, you won’t even notice a thing.”



And I’m true to my word. She doesn’t notice the ghoul coming from behind her.



I raise her instantly and direct her and the newly raised liches toward the city walls. I should
raise myself some banshees. That would be great.



I putter about the battlefield raising the newly fallen dead – reanimating the previous undead
back into service. Oh, I’m a stinker.



With Galena dead, the remaining troops don’t really stand much of a chance, and it’s just a
matter of moping up the remainder, raising the dead, the usual cyclical song and dance. At some
point Avender comes riding back with Lord Tamer’s head.



“Where’s the rest of this body?”



“Not sure,” he looks sullen as usual.
“Wipe that pout of your face and go find the body. A single head is useless to me. I need the
rest of the body.”



Carrion birds are filling the sky and the assault begins on the Showa’s front gates. Great undead
abominations begin assaulting the heavy walls – crashing into the shielded gates while the liches
hammer away with fireballs and lightening.



For a moment, I think, with a twinge of remorse, I feel a little sorry for everyone that’s going to
die today, but then I realize, no one is really innocent. That’s just another load of religious
bullshit.



The gates fall and the undead sweep into the city. The screaming goes on for a long time, the
fires and the smoke – well Showa burned for weeks.
144. This is madness




I pass through the airlock with exhilaration. This is a starship from a civilization I have never
encountered. I feel real adrenaline rushing through me – the unknown – the uncertain element –
still alive – still active.



It makes me smile – to know that there are still great and powerful things outside of my purview.
 I’ve always known – always will know – there is a whole other universe right next door to mine
– right behind the one that I discovered last week – the one underneath the one that I see ahead of
me – endless – constant and true – life unfolds like a many celled creature filling every vacuum –
even the mind.



Sometimes, I get tired – I feel like I’ve exhausted all possibility, come to the end of my rope –
reached the end of the line – what have you, and then I find things like this.



A giant star ship floating in the empty darkness of inner space. From the outside it was
obviously large – long and narrow – yet wide enough to encompass planets.



Who builds planet sized star ships? I mean, to accomplish something like this would require the
resources of several solar systems.



I survey the airlock area as we move forward. First, the airlock is massive. Its size is like that of
a large flight deck. We know these are the airlocks because the real flight decks are gargantuan
– they look like they were designed to hold continents.
The scale of this place is astounding. I barely notice my crewmates chatter. They seem to be
interested in the peculiar artificial gravity field that abounds everywhere. It’s as if the pull is
holding us just slightly to the surface of any one orientation and it’s easy to break and move with
just some thought and action.



“Look at me, I’m walking on the ceiling,” shouts Lisa.



Tyler sends back, “How do you know that’s the ceiling, looks like the floor from where I’m
standing.”



They’re both right, the orientations and perspectives we’ve seen so far suggest that the
inhabitants viewed three-dimensional space from any number of position points. I wonder what
their bodies look like and what their home planet is like. They must be fascinating creatures
from a fascinating world where standard gravity is simply not the norm.



The airlock doors open as we step approach. I wonder if they’re called airlock doors in the
language of the original inhabitants? I wonder what they’d consider the division of space. Is
there any division? At least judging from the diffuse, ambient light, they don’t seem to have a
specific differentiation regarding the orientation of light.



The other side of the airlock is simply astounding. We survey a space unending in any direction.
 Standing on a large ledge, with the airlock behind us, we peer out into an infinite room of warm,
yellow light. What kind of beings occupied this place? It’s huge. Massive. Humongous. I feel
like I’m looking at the inside of a star.



“It looks like there’s water below us,” shouts Tyler. We all follow his hand and stare below the
ledge. Sure enough, there is a vast expanse of liquid beneath us.



“Well, let’s get down there.” Our flight systems activate and we jump off the ledge and gently
float down to the water.
“It looks really deep,” remarks Linda. We all float above the water – regarding the placid
surface glittering in the light. The place is incredibly beautiful and serene – it’s like we’re above
a giant ocean drifting in the middle of a soft star.



“I’m going underwater,” I remark as I encapsulate myself in an air bubble and sink below the
surface of the water.



My heart stops for a moment and my breath is stilled.



There is a massive, unending city deep below us. I can see no end in any direction. Now my
curiosity is incredibly piqued. Who builds giant star ships large enough to hold planets, fills
them halfway with water, and then sets cities beneath the water? I can barely make out the
structures below us. The ethereal mix of light and water I vaguely determine the outline of
buildings. I trigger a set of light readings and register the input. The distance between myself
and the underwater structures is great. They are apparently quite large as well.



Tyler floats next to me and contemplates, “Wow, and underwater city.”



Linda notes, “Those buildings look somewhat abandoned.”



“Let’s get closer.”



We swim down further - a far, far distance from the surface and as we approach the closest set
of structures we all realize – these buildings are truly enormous. Columns and facades and
plazas – everything seems so open and unbounded.



There is a large statue in a courtyard formed by an ampitheature. A massive squid like creature,
somewhat humanoid in visage stands forboding and domineering.
Something chills in me. I know this. This is an elder god. I feel the breath stop in my chest.
The others probably don’t recognize this. I doubt they’ve ever seen an elder god. I’ve always
wondered what their home cities look like.
145. Outpost 9


The rain falls heavy. Bradley walks back from reconnaissance: gravel, mud, water and the sound
of his feet stepping forward along the path. Odd, he thinks to himself, the things I notice.



He stops at the main entry portal and keys his entry sequence. It would be easier if visual
systems were still functioning, but the scanners have failed and none of the survivors have the
necessary skills or knowledge to repair the system.



As the main gate opens, Tyler greets him smiling, “Glad you’re back.”



“Nothing much happening,” says Brad. “I thought I’d walk around the perimeter and check the
defense posts.” Brad stops and smiles for a bit, rough at the edges – there’s been a lot happening
– but “Still holding up, so far so good.”



They hug for a moment. How many days has it been? Their thoughts merge. Dozens and
dozens at least since the last elder died. It’s hard to keep going with over half the colony dead.
 Still they keep moving. Kayrn’s last words had been coughed between gasps of blood filled
lungs, “I can’t tell you what to do, but I know that you will do the right thing.”



They walk with words and thoughts and silence – love - it all becomes the same.



We have to leave. I know. But what are we going to do? We cross the ravine to the spaceport. I
think it’s stupid they didn’t put the spaceport here. Well you know the grown-ups, they’re
always carrying on about this – well they were thinking about the native life forms and the
impact of the sound and heat and that concern and that or this error, and now they’re all dead and
are you listening to me or just ranting we’re fucking stuck on this remote back ass planet trying
to get back to the home space. Ranting. Yeah it was so fucking stupid of them. Theoretically,
we could use the portals to gate to the spaceport but we haven’t been able to get them back on-
line. Why the hell did they decide to colonize a planet where the dominant life form is some
stupid fucking virus that kills anyone over a certain biological age point? I mean, for gods’ sake,
you’d think they’d have figured that out during the initially surveys.



“Karyn told me that because of the long incubation period of over ten years, they weren’t able to
initially identify it. Couple in the fact that the virus rapidly alters post-incubation, the epidemic
was a simple eventuality. The final infection cycle required zero incubation period because it
had mutated so much.” Bradley looks so serious, so certain – very scientific and very sexy - and
Tyler nods, “Yeah I guess we couldn’t have an avoided an eventuality.”



“And everything’s eventual, right?” interjects Tim, standing in the hallway watching the two
olders entering outer compound. The small child looks at them quizzically.



Tyler defers to Bradley, “I’ll let you handle this one, see you in the conference room.”



Tim looks sullen. “That’s what all the olders say, everyone keeps saying things are eventual. So
when is my mom eventually coming back?”



“Well,” says Bradley, “Not for awhile, let’s take a walk towards the lotus hydroponics.”



Bradley mulls his thoughts in silence, and then Tim looks up at him with obvious concern, “Do
they really kill obnoxious kids on other planets?”



“Hmm,” says Bradley, “Oh, reading my thoughts again, huh.” His words and thoughts mix
between several streams of consciousness – in and out of conversation – in and out of
contemplation.



“Yeah,” Tim glares at him, “Why were you thinking of killing me, should I shock you?”
 Children can be so reactive.
Bradley laughs, “No, but yes – there are some planetary cultures that kill children for speaking
out or rebelling or being assertive.” He ruffles Tim’s hair, “Don’t worry, we generally eradicate
those cultures.”



“So why were you thinking about that?”



“I was thinking it was funny because I was accessing the data stream and as I was filtering
memories I noticed that one of them involves a man drowning a boy in a lotus pond and I
thought, how funny. The lotus pond was the trigger of association.”



“I don’t think it’s funny.”



“Tim, one day, you will be older, as is the nature of things, as is the order of all things. You will
age and you will grow bigger and you will be taller and one day you will shepherd the very stars
themselves. We don’t require that you age faster than suits you, but we do require that you
respect and understand that there are sometimes things that will exceed your perceptions because
you have chosen to remain in that limited form. Humor is perhaps the greatest example. There
are things that the elders find incredibly funny that I think are simply god-awful. Of course, I
suppose everything becomes comical when you’re practically immortal and by extension of our
technology – indestructible and invulnerable.”



“I hate it when you talk to me like that.”



“Well,” says Bradley as they stop next to the lotus pond, “A lot of this would be much easier to
process and comprehend if you were more deft at handling the data stream and the central
consciousness, but those things come with time – your neural structures are growing – it’ll be
awhile before you can do what the olders do – let alone the elders.”



They sit down at the lotus pond and Tim drags his feet through the water. He holds his feet up to
Bradley’s, “Your feet are twice the size of mine.”
“Yes,” sighs Bradley, “We’re not talking about feet. We talking about eventualities. This
colony was founded outside of system space. Death is permanent until we carry the relay
systems back to system space. Do you comprehend how are far we are from standard system
space?”



“Sort of, my mom would always say that we’re in another system, at the far corner of one of its
principal universes, so the continual relay systems don’t work.”



“That’s one way of looking at it, I want you to look at it from another perspective,” and Bradley
points at the lotus pond. “Imagine that this pond is our home system. Now imagine that you’re
that little insect crawling on the rock next to us. Got that?’



“Yeah,” nods Tim.



“Okay, now imagine that you’re going to walk – as that little insect – all the way from this
compound to the spaceport. You know how far away that is, right?”



“Yeah…that’s far.”



“So, that should give you some sense of the physical separation. Without the hyperspace drives
to move through separations of system space, nothing will passes the boundaries. Now, of
course, there isn’t really anything in the boundaries. They don’t exist except as the absence of
system space. The data stream doesn’t bridge the void between boundaries,



Tim looks up inquisitively, “Why not?”



“Well, simply put, we’ve yet to solve that dilemma. It’s no small matter to use the hyperspace
drives to move through the void. Most of the time, when exploration ships jump, they’re simply
plotting points that are so far away from known the known systems, that it’s pretty certain that
they’re going to end up somewhere.”



“What happens when they end up in the void?”



“Nothing exciting. They just jump again. There’s nothing in the void. No stars, no matter, no
energy – nothing. That’s why it’s the void. Anyway, getting back to the matter on hand, so our
current data stream is just a local sub-pocket. We need to take your parents back to our home
system in order to resurrect them. If we attempt a resurrection now, they’re just going to die
again.”



“Can’t you use the data stream to find a cure?”



“We’ve tried. The adults all attempted it before the outbreak, but it happened so fast that it was
merely days before all of the elders died. The data stream is not a computational service,
certainly nothing like the Dacrom Center cluster, and I’m guessing we’d need a cluster of that
order of magnitude, and for that I need to access the net and the net doesn’t function here – at
least nothing like power of tens of billions of worlds linked together. We’re just a tiny outpost.
 Until a hyperversal bridge is built, we don’t have two-way or even one way connections.”



Tim kicks his feet about in the water for a while and then exclaims with frustration, “When will I
be able to read the data stream?”



“Like I said earlier, soon enough, you already can – you just have difficulty with the filtering
aspect, that’s a biological function of your developing neural structures. With time your brain
will be defter at handling the flood of information. Obviously, training is helpful, but with the
elders gone, none of the youngers are particularly suited for that task. Learning to teach
filtration…well that can take lifetimes to master.”



They sit for awhile silently contemplating the multicolored flying insects darting about the
opened lotus flowers.
Bradley turns back to Tim, “Okay, I need to go and meet with the other youngers and start
planning our departure. Don’t get into too much trouble, okay?”



“Sure,” Tim nods seriously, and Bradley stands to leave him still kicking his feet – splashing in
the water.



The war room is brightly light with holo displays everywhere. Adrian is surveying the large
biofield monitor and speaking aloud, “So I think it’s prudent to conclude that we’ve reached the
end of the outbreak. All of the elders are dead, as are all females – which is what we were
expecting given the targeting patterns of the virus.”



“We can’t expect rescue,” says Kevin. “The sabotage really damaged a lot of our
communication systems.”



They all sit there considering this sobering reality. A number of the adults had quite literally lost
their minds, or perhaps it was more that after consciousness was gone, the virus was somehow
able to manipulate their bodies. It had been an unpleasant task, gunning down a number of the
adults with plasma cannons. Kind of like those zombie games we played as kids, Tylers
thoughts interject into the common space.



Yeah, add Luke, I wonder if that’s why they have us play those games. They all look at
Franklin. What, why are you all looking at me? You’re mom is a psych director, don’t you
know? Well, I mean, I remember her saying that the zombie theme is an allegory for
mindlessness and lack of awareness. The reason we have simulations fighting zombies is to
emphasize to us the necessity and urgency of making a choice to destroy someone you know
when their mind is gone. I mean, yeah, you could say those games were just indoctrination. My
dad Brian told me that he and my other dad once had to cull an entire colony that was overrun
with creatures that consumed all brain structures excepting the brain stem. The colonists were
just wondering around like feral animals he said.



“Okay,” interrupts Tyler, “Maybe we should focus back to the task on hand – getting to the space
port.”
“And why not stay here?” asks Adrian?



“Well, to begin with, “ offers Brad, “We’re incapable of repairing most of the malfunctioning
technology. It’s just a matter of time before we have serious failures in life support or the power
grid.”



“Yeah,” adds Franklin, “We also need to take the relays back to the space port and get those data
sets back to home space so our parents can be resurrected.



Luke nods, “And we don’t know if the virus is going to mutate further. So far it seems to be
leaving us alone, but we don’t know when it will start to affect us. I mean, you Adrian, you’re
the oldest of us – who knows when it might start affecting you.”



Adrian acquiesces, “Okay, but we’re going to have to travel together as one group, and we’ll
need to take a good amount of weapons.”



“I think we should leave tomorrow morning, as soon as the sunrises,” adds Tyler.



Bradley nods in assent, “It’s going to take several days of steady walking. Dorian destroyed all
of the landcruisers, so that’s really our only option. We’re going to be limited by the younglings
– so we should give ourselves amble time.”



Their thoughts merge in agreement and the vote is in perfect harmony. We start tomorrow. We
spend tonight prepping the weapons and our travel gear. We’ll need tents, food for roughly a
week. We can take a couple of float carts with us and use them to transport the gear – we still
have those.
==



“You’re a cyborg? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”



“I was afraid that you wouldn’t love me anymore…”



“Wait a minute, you were afraid?”



“Yeah, me - I’m a machine with emotions, it’s not rare or impossible – the Empire has tons of
emotional sentient machines – the Principa Congress is the main one, I’m just different in that I
was actually created to be born and grow. I had a childhood. I got older like you. I just happen
to have my machine heritage – faster regeneration, quicker reflexes, greater strength.”



“So are you going to replace all non-cyborgs?”



Brad laughs, “That’s silly. First, I’m incredibly expensive to create. Second, I’m totally
unnecessary in any respect, particularly since I’m not going to procreate. “



“Why not?”



“Don’t want to, I mean I’m in love with you. Why would I want to be with someone else.”



“Well what if I want a kid?”
“Well that’s fine, we can order one.”



“You make it sound so cold.”



“Well are you going to incubate the fetus?”



“Maybe…”



“Hmm, my dad did that with my sister. His thoughts were very funny during that time period.”



“Yeah, I know, the hormones,” adds Tyler, “So is that why you handle the data stream better
than everyone else?



“What, my cyborg aspect?” Tyler nods to Brad. “Well, yes and no. I’m basically at my peak
processing level, which is the same level that any well discipline or trained individual could
achieve with sufficient time, energy, and effort. So no, I mean, yeah, I have a certain immediate
advantage, but as we grow older, the difference will narrow, besides, heightened computational
abilities don’t automatically engender heightened creative thinking. So, a high ranking creative
will probably out think me any day. “



Brad lays back and props his head up against his hands and Tyler lies on his back, letting his
head rest on Brad’s upturned arm. He looks up at Brad and asks, “Well, I mean, it’s obvious that
there’s no sexual difference between us, right?”



“Pretty much, I mean, I have pretty much the same pleasure-pain principals in play as any other
person – the fact that I can more readily regulate my experiences is no different from anyone
well trained in self-regulation.”
“Hmm,” ponders Tyler, “I’m still having difficulty balancing extreme sensory experiences.”



“It gets easier.” Brad looks down and tussles Tylers hair, “My cerebral centers shut down the
first time I stubbed my toe and my parents had to force restart me.”



“Wow.”



“Yeah, it really sucked. I might have advanced computational skills but that doesn’t mean I have
an automatically advanced consciousness. I had to learn that like everyone else. Awareness is
something that always expands. My parents tried to build pain dampners into me, but they
weren’t sure how strong to make them in order to adequately balance necessary simulation
against overwhelming simulation, so my first couple of experiences with extreme pain
were…well let’s say they were very memorable.”



“Tell me about one of them.”



“Well, obviously, there’s the time that I mentioned that I stubbed my toe. I think the best one
was when I was running down a steep hill, picked up too much speed and couldn’t figure out
how to stop and



“Do you want a child?”



“That’s a pretty random question…”



“Well, I mean you’re technically a machine, I’m guessing you’ve analyzed that question.”
“Sure, it’s a hubris of sorts – even the non-machine entities of the empire recognize that. So I
guess, yeah, at some point in time at some place in my existence, I’d probably find that question
unfolding and I’d say that like any experience driven entity – I’d take the opportunity.”



“So we’re just all experience driven entities?” Tyler sticks out his tongue and lightly punches
Brad in the chest.



“Well, it is in a sense. The Empire has no need of expansive growth – we regulate and monitor
child birthing procedures for the sake of simple colonization, of course that’s not always the best
policy as you’ve seen evidenced here. The Principa debate this matter endlessly.”



“What’s it like being a machine?”



“Same thing as it’s like for you being human. If you talk to all of my friends and family, you’ll
find that I was much like any other child, I was just…maybe a little quicker at certain things or a
little more intuitive or what have you. Sure I have a certain advantage in certain things but not in
the most important matters.”



Tyler looks at him, “Like what?”



“Love. You. I had no advantage in winning your heart. I had no advantage in falling in love
with you, if anything my machine side was a total drawback.”



Tyler smiles, “So am I just a conquest for you?”



Brad smiles back, “Maybe, maybe not. I thought we could announce an engagement when we
get back, I’d like that very much.”
Tyler pulls Brad down closer to him and hugs him hard, “It’s funny you don’t seem to weigh
much more than me, but you do have a certain sense of solidity I’ve never noticed with anyone
else.”



“Maybe it’s my telurun alloy bones,” and it’s Brad’s turn to smile, “W e should sleep.”



“Do you really need to sleep?”



“Biologically? Of course, cellular regeneration is always improved during deep sleep cycles.
 Cognitively, not as much – but again, my cognition systems are no different than any other
highly discipline mind.”



“I don’t want to go to sleep.”



“We have a very long walk tomorrow, I think you should sleep.”



Tyler smiles softly, “Well, I’d rather stay awake with you.”



“Ha,” laughs Brad, “I bet you would,” and they tumble into each other.



The morning mist greets Tyler as he steps out of the tent and surveys the camp site. The others
are collapsing their tents and breaking down the camp.



Franklin looks up from his tent and says, “Man, you guys were kind of noisy last night. I think
you kept the entire camp awake.”
“We weren’t that noisy…were we?” Tyler laughs sheepishly.



“Probably no, Luke and I just thought it was funny.” The Franklin’s tent finishes contracting into
the pack and Franklin lifts it onto his shoulders, “Help me adjust the straps.”



Tyler steps forward and tightens the straps. Franklin looks over his shoulder and says, “You
know, I think all the other guys are pretty jealous of you.”



“Why?”



“Well, not only have you found your soul mate, but he’s a cyborg. I mean that’s pretty cool.”



“Yeah,” smiles Tyler, “Pretty cool.”



“Where is Brad?”



“I think he might still be sleeping, he snores you know…it’s kind of weird.”



“Weird because, you know, I wouldn’t think a machine would snore.”



“Maybe it’s a programming glitch.”



The final leg of the journey is uneventful. Niles, Tim, and Peter are able to ride on the float carts
– the food is almost gone and their all light enough. With that arrangement, the others are able to
walk more quickly and arrive at the space port right before sunset.
As they begin filing towards the space ship, Brad notices something moving in the trees behind
them. One of the mutates is probably traveling behind them.



I thought you got all of them, sends Peter.



I thought so as well, but I guess not. Let’s not panic the younglings.



Brad looks at Tyler and speaks, “Get everyone else into the ship.”



Tyler hesitates for just and moment and then thinks, I’m worried about you.

Don’t be. I’m practically indestructible. I can suffer extreme damages to my musculature and
my skeletal systems will still remain intact and functional. Don’t worry about me, just get
everyone into the ship and start the lift off sequence. I’ll be right behind you.



I’m not leaving without you.



You won’t have to - now “Go,” he shouts and pushes Tyler towards the ramp. The creature is
approaching through the gloom. The younglings are starting to panic, and Franklin and Luke are
doing their best to calm them.



“Just get them across into the ship,” Brad says and he moves so fast towards the creature that
Tyler feels his heart stop and everyone stares as Brad’s body impacts the mutate – throwing it
backward – up into the air.



Tyler takes the opportunity to move and grabs Tim and Niles and drags them up the ramp.
 “Luke and Franklin – just get everyone in the ship, we need to start activate the launch
sequence.”
“On it,” says Franklin as he grabs several of the younglings and literally carries them up the
ramp.



Looking over his shoulder, Tyler can see Brad standing resolute in the twilight watching the
creature rising up to its feet and then it rushes towards Brad and the two begin to fight.



The last thing Tyler sees before sealing the door is Brad’s face covered in blood his look
determined, grappling in hand to hand combat.



The two regard each other briefly, and then it screams at Brad, “I will kill you all!”



“That’s unlikely and quite immature,” Brad responds with a backhand that sends the creature
flying backwards a far distance into the trees.



The lift off sequence will take several minutes to activate the engines. Brad calculates that it will
be necessary to either completely destroy this creature to neutralize the possibility of it attacking
the ship or delay it until the lift sequence is complete.



The principals of preservation would dictate that he attempt a non-lethal solution, but the
efficacy of time is not as forgiving.



True to prediction, the creature breaks from attacking Brad and begins to move towards the ship.
In all experience thus far, its demonstrated strength has been far inferior to his own, that said, it
most likely has sufficient strength to severely damage the ship exterior.



As the creature begins to attack the ship door, Brad grabs it from behind and throws it down into
the landing pit. He jumps down and slams into its chest. The creature makes an unpleasant
gurgling sound then seizes Brad’s ankles and hurls him against the ship’s engines.
Brad stands and wipes the blood and ichor from his face.



They view each other across the landing pit.



“You don’t have to do this.”



“Yes, I do, I don’t want any more of your people coming back here.”



“Well, then all the more reason to allow me and mine to leave so that I can inform the Imperial
Council of this situation. I cannot speak for the mind of the Emperor, but I can assure you that
we do not have a custom of invading planets aggressively inhabited by sentient viral life forms.”



“No, I want there to be no memory of this place!”



“Don't be stupid, we’ve had landing parties moving in and out of this space for decades this
world is listed in the Imperial Registry, the only way this going to be resolved in a manner at all
favorable to you is to allow me to return to the home worlds and surrender the data feeds.”



The creature shakes its head and Bradley realizes the viral sentience must be completely unaware
of the complexities of emotional systems because it suddenly screams, “No, I want to kill you.”



Anger, he thinks as the creature rushes forward to him, it clearly doesn’t know how to handle
emotional experiences. It looks so humanoid but in the light he can see that the fingers are long
and sharp and more claws than opposable digits.
It slams into him fast but Brad is completely unphased, he redirects his weight and shifts forward
– slamming the monster backward. It crashes into the railing and the metal crumbles.



It looks at him with teeth barred.



“Please let me and my friends leave,” Brad asks.



The creature does not relent and runs forward again. This time Brad sidesteps, grabs the left arm
snaps the bone in a twist forward, pushing backward with his hands and flings the creature
behind him. The impact is even greater this time and the thing looks back at him and growls, “I
will destroy your ship.”



Brad is now frustrated. The ignition sequence has started and the engines are beginning to ignite.
 Brad steps forward and grabs the creature and walks towards the engines, “You are beginning to
piss me off.”



It tries to claw away, tearing at his chest, ripping off the side of his face - steel and chrome shine
through, “What are you?!” it screams in frustration.



“Yeah,” he says his voice slightly distorted with half his face missing, “I bet when you
assimilated the adults’ data networks you didn’t find this informaion.” He thrusts the creature
into the engine flames and watches it begin to scream in rage, frustration, and pain. “I’m a
machine and my metallic systems are completely resistant to you.” He watches the flames
engulf the mutate and he watches his own flesh burn to a crisp and then blow away in the rising
breeze.



He does not step away until the white hot flames burn away every last trace of flesh and then he
walks back to boarding ramp.
The sun rise is beginning and Tyler is standing at the entrance of the ship looking down at him.
His eyes – love and concern.



“I’m fine,” Brad starts to say as he looks up at Tyler with relief.



“My god Brad, how can you say you’re fine? Get your ass up here fast, the ship is about to lift.”



Brad jumps up and clears the distance to the door instantly. He manages a smile even with half
his face missing and says, “I just need to get back to my parents and they’ll recast my outer
layer. It’s no biggie.”



Tyler shakes his head, “Wow, I don’t know what to say” and then he leans forward to hug Brad.



“Wait,” Brad pushes Tyler back with his left hand, “In case you haven’t noticed my right side is
super heated and will burn your skin.”



“I wouldn’t mind,” says Tyler, “I think I’d keep that scar always – just to remember. You saved
us.”



Brad smiles, “Well, I was just doing what Karyn told me to do.”



“Here let me hug your left side,”



“Umm. Okay.”
They step through the door together and both look back briefly at the planet. I’m definitely
recommending that we declare this world off-limits. At least until we get the viral equivalence
of a diplomat out here. Yeah, thinks Tyler in time.



The trip home is entirely anti-climatic. The lift off is perfect and then Bela, the ship’s sentience
attends to their every need.



“I can’t really restore Brad’s external tissues using the resurrection crèche because the unit isn’t
programmed to deal with his particular neural interface. By the time I’ve performed the
necessary calculations and updated the protocols, we’ll be back at Oberon. I can staunch the
blood lose and superficially repair the damage.”



There is a momentary announcement of the hyperspace passage and then everyone feels the
familiar sensation of elongation and contraction and then the jump is finished.



Once in home system space Bela begins resurrecting the elders and things begin to feel normal
again.



Bela folds and skips space to rapidly close the distance between the outer edge of home space to
the inner Imperial worlds in a matter of hours rather than life times.



As the final leg of the trip is completed, Kayrn sits next to Brad and hugs him, “You know, I’m
very proud of you. You’re parents were very worried about letting you come on this mission.
 There were many things that were unclear about your model. We weren’t sure how you’d
perform under extreme stress.”



“Wait, so you know…why didn’t the virus extract those memories.”



She smiles that ageless smile of perfect serenity, “Bradley, you have to understand that in
matters of the mind, even the body may fail, but you – your soul – your memories – your spirit –
whatever you want to consider it – that is always exactly you and yours alone. And while it is
true that there are technologies, practices, and rites that can open the mind to unwelcome
intrusion we do not exercise them. Moreover, we know full well how to defend ourselves
against such incursions. The virus was able to destroy our bodies, but we realized that it was
doing just before our physical deaths. We simply deleted essential information and hid as much
as we possibly could.”



“Did all of the elders know I was a cyborg?”



She laughs, “Pretty much. That was part of the mission objective. Bradley you must remember
that your parents are quite possibly the most innovative researchers in their field. The Research
Federation is incredibly curious to learn more about how you react to things and how you live.”



“Wait, what about Tyler and me, is that an experiment.”



Karyn hugs him, “No, don’t be silly. A long, long time ago, we did play with people’s emotions,
but we learned that was ultimately an incredibly dangerous game, and instead we’ve contented
ourselves with naturalistic observation. We all wanted nothing more for you than you find
happiness and love just like everyone else, and I would say that you’ve done just that.”



“So you’ll let Tyler and I stay together?”



She laughs again, “That decision is for only you and he. Even if you were younger, we’d still
respect your choice. The fact is that both of you have matured far more than you realize. You’re
not adolescents anymore. You’re adults. You’ve seen more death than many of us ever
experience – certainly more than ever at such an early stage.”



“Wait, so all of us olders are now elders?”
“Bradley, maturity is never a function of the biological aging process. It’s a function of
experience and product of your choices and reactions to those experiences. There are some
entities that I know that are ancient, and they still behave like young children. All of the olders
that were sent on this mission were evaluated as potential candidates for rapid maturation given
extreme circumstances, and you must realize, we judge any separation from our home systems as
extreme circumstances. We only took you because we predicted that given a disaster, you and
all of the other olders would react as best as possible and you’d rise to meet the challenge. I’d
say you all did just that.”



Bela docks at the Oberon main station, Tycis and the station presence greets them warmly,
“There is a very large greeting party here, however, I have requested that the majority of them
remain on Quadra observation deck, I felt that Bradley would like sometime to regenerate before
greeting the public.”



“That very nice of you,” remarks Karyn and they listen to Bela and Tycis sing to each other in
hyperspeak.



“Can you understand what they’re saying,” Brad turns and finds Tyler standing next to him.



“Yeah, you could too, it just takes time and some minor bio-mods.”



“I know, my mom uses it to talk to the Dacrom Center cluster. I always like listening to
hyperspeak, it makes me think about stars and comets.”



“Well, it is the same language that the stars use, I mean they use rapid visual communications,
but this is the same thing.”



“Okay boys, enough chit chat,” Karyn pats them on the back and pushes them towards the exit,
“Bradley your parents have been sending for you.”
“Why aren’t they sending to me?”



“Did you remember to connect back into the central conciousness?”



“Oh, no.”



Tyler laughs at him, “So you do forget stuff.”



“I told you we’re more alike than not.”



Bradley how are you his mother’s thoughts come through followed by his fathers son we’re
really proud of you. We saw some of the data capture that Bela recorded from the external
inputs. See Jim, aren’t you happy that we decided on the solid state telurun instead of the
calcium crystalline structure? That wouldn’t have held up in superheated plasma jets. Okay
okay, you’re right. As always. Of course I am, anyway dear – Bela notified us as soon as you
entered home space so we have a special crèche ready for you.



Bradely notices Tyler tugging on his sleeve and then looks around himself, they’re standing in
large, mostly empty hangar bay. Parents are mingling with their children and Bradley says,
“Sorry, I was in simuflow with my parents. I sort of stopped paying attention to things visually.”
 He gestures to his mother and father, “Mom, Dad, this is Tyler.”



“Hello, Tyler, “ smiles Ana, “I’ve worked a few times with your mother at the Dacrom Center,
she’s a phenomenal programmer.”



“Thanks, I’ll tell her,” says Tyler, “Speaking of which, my parents are over there, “ and he
waves.
The usual small talk ensues - this is so and so and blah blah blah and nice to meet you. Some
things never change.



Bradley and his parents leave for the crèche and Tyler gives him a quick kiss before they leave,
“I guess I’ll see you better than ever in a little bit.”



“You bet,” says Bradley.



Anthony looks at Tyler and says, “Wow son, he’s quite a catch.”



Tyler blushes, “Dad.”



“Well,” says Kim, “Your father is right, cyborgs aren’t unusual, but a cyborg with compete bio-
mimicry, that’s history in the making. He’s really his parent’s crowning achievement.”



“Bradley told me that there aren’t plans to duplicate his model line?”



Kim nods, “The Research Federation approved the project on the grounds the simple novelty
factor. No one has ever birthed a cyborg that will grow and function just like any other purely
biological organism. Ana and I spent a very long time focusing the Dacrom cluster on just the
telurun skeleton alone. Let me tell you, it was not easy to design a system that would allow the
gradual and naturalistic growth of a telurun skeleton.”



“Was this something that most of the elders knew about?”



“Only those directly involved with the Research Federations project. Of course, you have to
understand, it took the combined efforts of thousands of our leading minds to create Bradley.”
“One day,” remarks Anthony, “You’ll understand that it’s these miracles of life that make
everything so worth while.”



After the central gathering.



They regard each other man machine human cyborg lovers and that is life.



“So Mom and Dad said that the Imperium wants to dispatch me into service and I was wondering
if you’d like to be my partner.”



Tyler looks shy for only just half a second and then he fires back fast, “Undoubtably.”
146. Even the best fall down

My first huge crush was my freshman college roommate, Justin Lake. We stopped talking after I
confessed that I was in love with him.



I wasn’t sure if writing this would embarrass him or if he’d laugh about it. For me it’s like the
relationship in Clerks. There are definite erotic tones to the verbal interactions between the two
main characters, in fact what’s his name tells the other guy’s girlfriend, “Be careful with him, I
was his first one.” Or something like that. Anyway, I felt like that was Justin and I: close in
mind but never in body.



If I had a lighter sense of humor, I’d probably laugh because it is funny in that it was a long time
ago and it was just one of those things that happens. I’m sure every set of male roommates in
college have at least one who falls in love with the other at some point, even if it’s only ever
characterized platonically.



Then there was that guy from New Zealand that I met in Japan and although we had great sexual
chemistry what’s his name didn’t think that we were really appropriate for each other. Yeah, it’s
true and possible – you can definitely meet someone and have all the stars align for a couple of
days and then just as quickly and just as magically – it all separates.



Then there was Cyril (or was it Cyrill?), the French guy that I met in Tokyo at a nightclub and
we just suddenly started kissing on the dance floor and we didn’t stop and I couldn’t even
understand his name over the loud music but I went home with him anyway. I will never forget
riding on his motorcycle through the dark empty streets of Tokyo at three in the mornings, and I
don’t know if I’ll ever feel as free and alive because he was steering and all I had to do was hold
on and watch the pavement hurl by and you know what – when you’re inches away from death –
it’s incredibly invigorating.



We could barely understand each other but our physical contact was perfect, and I told everyone
afterwards that I thought he proved the French stereotype true. Then he decided that he didn’t
want to be in a relationship.
Last there was Mark. My god, what can I say. He was the most amazing experience I’ve ever
had – the first great love of my life – and then we snapped apart and went for each other’s throats
and it all ended. It was hard because the beginning was so wonderful and for nearly four years
we lived together and took care of each other and drove each other places and we cooked for
each other and helped the other do work and we cleaned the house together and we’d make sure
the other got to appointments and we’d help each other with our studies and we’d go shopping
together and we’d go on vacations together and we’d go to parties together and we’d always
sleep together.



All I can say, is that the end of the day, I think maybe we both realized that we were too perfect
for each other. We were like brothers, like twins almost, the same height, similar hair color, we
were both students at Brown, we both liked Macs, we both had similar tastes in architecture, we
liked the same styles, we could wear each other’s clothing and shoes, we had similar outlooks on
life, we had similar goals. Everything about us was the same. I think we both knew, we
fundamentally couldn’t do that because we wanted something more.



And then there’s Ross. Jesus fucking Christ. What is wrong with us humans? Is this what it
means to be in love because if it’s I never want to go through it again. I tried to kill myself after
we broke up and it has taken me months and months of intense work just to convince myself that
I want to live without you and even then I’m realizing that I might never be able to stop loving
you and I might just have this pain for eternity. Twenty or thirty thousand dollars later, a shit
load of yoga and yoga retreats, tons of energy work – this and that and the best I can do is cry
with out crashing while driving down the freeway.



“The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”



Thank you Milton. I doubt I would have made it thus far if not for that simple reassurance that
no matter how awful things may get, I can always make it better.



With you it wasn’t just the sex – which was amazing – or the similarities – which we had many,
as many as differences – it’s not the romance – or the communication – it’s something that
stands out from everything else – it’s the recognition that I see myself in your eyes. I have never
seen myself reflected by anyone. I keep myself under wraps and try not to show off too much,
but as soon as I heard you play that song I knew, ‘This is the one,” because I could see a story in
the music and colors and words and it was amazing and I wasn’t even taken any psychotropics.



Yet now it’s all over, or so you say. And everyone else seems to think it’s better this way. I
don’t know what I think because I’m always uncertain and chaotic. But I know that I believe in
freedom and I don’t want to hold you against your will, so I’ve tried to let you go, but I can’t put
you out of my mind, and I delete your emails and your phone number and then I find some old
chat transcripts and I read them and I laugh and I think, wow, we were talking about Godel and
Heisenberg together and I’ve never done that with anyone let alone the guy I’m dating or
proposing to or engaged to – and I think wow, we got so far and then imploded.



I get rid of all my reminders of you – pictures - presents – even the engagement ring I gave you.
 Still your memory persists.



I’ll admit. This book is all about you and me. I don’t care about the rest of the world. Until I
met you I always believed in love and freedom and I never dreamed that they’d conflict. I know
that experience of absolute freedom is very important and I don’t want to be the obstacle that
keeps you from getting there.



When we first separated we were still cordial and we were still telling each other that we loved
each other and you would tell me that you hoped things would get better between us. I could
have left for a long period of time, changed things around and come back – but would it have
been real and honest anymore? I’d be pulling the strings from the sidelines, and I didn’t want
that.



So I decided to finish my writing and I wrote and I wrote and I wrote and I wrote and finally I
realized that I want accept a world in which both of us may choose ultimately different paths
because I utterly espouse free-will and self-determination and I never want to feel that I’ve
manipulated you into loving me and marrying me and all that jazz. So I’ve settled for this, what
I’ve written – my answer to a very difficult problem. I believe that I can imagine a brighter
future, one in which we do get along and we live happily ever after and it’s all great and la la la.
 I also know that this future may only ever exist in my imagination, and I’m okay with that. As I
worked through my anger and hurting and sorrow and everything I kept playing through dozens
and dozens of romantic angles and then I realized that maybe I’m just in love with an ideal.
Maybe it doesn’t matter. As I write these stories, I realize that I’m just happy describing what I
know and think and believe and feel and that’s my business. I try to keep things as neat and well
ordered as required by most conventions in order to achieve a consistent level of understanding,
but that’s me. That’s my life. In your life, I may be the most verbal person that you will ever
meet. Certainly, I’ve never met anyone that’s even close to my level. I dream in words –
literally. I live, breath, think, read, consider, write – words. For me it’s words, and I know that
you once said “Words are meaningless,” and honestly if I didn’t love you, I would have
physically assaulted you for saying that. Words are everything thing to me. Words are my life,
and that’s how I conceive of everything. I don’t care how the minds of other people work
because I’m not trying to take over their minds. I don’t care if my mind is like everyone else’s
because I know that my mind is not.



In my mind I’m constantly watching movies and sometimes I go in and out of them and
sometimes I change them and sometimes I edit them and sometimes I cry over them and
sometimes I feel really attached to the characters.



You can stop me at any point and I will perfectly describe for you the contents of my mind using
clear and well organized speech, syntax, and grammar. But I am not like you or anyone else.



I loved you so much because in you I saw the same thing – maybe it’s music for you as it is
words for me – but we both get transported to other worlds and we both try to explain it and we
both work through an artistic craft.



This entire book is about me coming to terms with the true meaning of imagination, free-will,
and self-determination:



Knowing that I can always hold out my hand and you can always walk away, and somehow we’ll
both be happy, at peace, and complete.
147. Runner in the Dark
I remember standing behind the Campus Center at Amherst and I remember saying to my friend
Jamie Shulkie, “I feel like Flowers for Algernon.”



“Because you’re a rat?”



“No because I’m forgetting stuff like that main character.”



“So? Like what?”



“Umm. I’m not sure. It’s just a growing unease that I’m forgetting something.”



“I’m sure you’ll be fine.”



It always annoyed me when she said that because I never could understand why she was so
confident that she could say that to people, “You’ll be fine.”



Now I know it’s because she was right. I will be fine. I can’t keep holding all this potential in
my thoughts. The physical memory systems were not intended for holding this much
information. I have detailed catalogings of millions and billions of worlds. Languages.
 Treasures. Cultures. Armies. Histories. Wars. Conflicts. Love. Romance. I’ve got to stop
exploring new worlds – and finish surveying these ones. Or maybe just this one. I can do that.
 Recall very aspect of myself across all space and time and then I will simply be me and only me.
 Singular and unique, like everyone else. That is the catch you see. I alone am not unique. I am
reiterated across everything. For all else, there is one instance. Except ow. I feel a nudge at the
back of my mind.
That’s odd. I know instantly that at the moment I wrote that sentence I immediately created an
alternative contradictory thought. I purse my lips and furrow my brow, twist my neck around
and crack my fingers. Hmm. Some things will never change. I may settle into basic mortality
but I will always retain certain talents.



My thoughts are shifting and changing. I feel funny in my stomach. Reverse ascension. This is
crazy. I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m fully enlightened and don’t need to do anything else, but
then I think – this is my wall. This is it. The future in which I am not the primogenitor of
finality. The future in which I cannot influence the outcome of all things. The future in which I
don’t stand out. I’m not unusual. I fit in. I conform. I will be like everyone else. In to the
unity. Into the light. This is not as scary as I thought it would be. I’m just genuinely accepting
that I am not in control of anything and when anyone asks me – I’ll blame something else. It’s
not me. Not my fault. I don’t know what it’s about. Don’t ask me. Don’t bother me. I don’t
know. I don’t know. I’m ignorant. I’m limited. I’m mortal.



This isn’t quite working. My imagination keeps poking it’s head up above the surface of
consciousness. Quick quick go back under the spotlights are coming. Oh god. Get out of the
water all of you and turn the lights back on and clean this mess up.



The democracy of the mind. The wave of the future. Not as easy as I thought it would be.
There are so many voices in my mind and they all want equal consideration unless they don’t
but most of the time they do and sometimes the aggregate and sometimes they do more to gain
my attention and sometimes I feel like all I’m doing is placating the voices.



It’s annoying really. I have to walk into each scene and shout “Cut, it’s over wrap it up. We’re
done here.”



I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t know what I want to do. It doesn’t really matter. I give
up. Seriously. I’m done.



This was amusing but I’m tired of the exercise.
I consider these final words and I feel some peace. My neck and shoulders are tense and sore. I
should get a massage. Sometimes I feel bad about all the deception that I’ve generated, but I
wish I could get people to understand that deception and lies are the very products of creation.
 In the absence of light the introduction of it is a lie. There was never any light, so how can there
suddenly be light? There can not unless you lie.



Lies are the foundation of all good stories and stories are the foundation of our lives. Now
you’re probably wondering. Is that sentence fully a lie or fully true is there a part that is true and
a part that is a lie? What does it matter? Lies add all the interesting details.



I’m glad that I’m finally finished with story. It was the hardest that I ever attempted to write and
it will probably be the hardest that I will ever write because this is a story about extremes and
polar opposites and fundamental forces and endings and beginnings. This is the story that frames
everything.



You see, and this I say of experience, writers must also conceive their system. Most people
don’t talk about this because it’s a huge secret. Many people do it unconsciously and many
people are barely aware that they’re doing it. Some people, like myself, are fully aware of
systems construction and keep it to themselves.



Where would I even start if I had demonstrated? I’d say to you maybe, in writing, I have to
define the internal universe in which the story occurs – but not just the universe with that story
but the universe in which all possible iterations of each element possibility and potential exist.
 This is the system. It holds everything. If it doesn’t hold everything, then you just add to the
system when you find something that’s not in it. Very Borg like, but let’s face it. Any writer
worth his salt will tell you that eventually she’s become conscious of assimilation of external
ideas into an internal framework. Ideas change and mutate and evolve and there are most
certainly many original and unique ideas that form within the internal system.
Anyway, the point being – you have to have a system before you start to write. For me it’s been
difficult because I’m an extreme perfectionist and I’ve been working out very deep details in my
system.



Who’s God? Me – the writer. I control the placement of every word and the placement of words
creates all else.



What can I do? Anything. Anywhere. Anytime. Anyhow. I only need to arrange the words
and if there are no words then I create them.



What are the major divides? Only one that is true. Diversity and uniformity. Diversity is easy
to represent in actuality because diversity is essentially life. Uniformity is harder because it is
quite literally subsumation of all diversity and therefore it’s not really physically representable.
 To be honest, I think that absolute uniformity is not something that we would ever see because
as long as we can see differences in a face or the ground or a tree – as long as there is difference
somewhere, the difference sparks a dissonance and we stop and question and when we question
we generate more ideas, more perspective – alternatives.



Evil and Good? No. Evil is defined by good and good is defined by evil. No other thing is so
circular. Is energy dependent on matter? Does matter require thought? Do emotions equal
dreams? There are many powerful forces but they are not pitted against each other in a childish
but epic struggle. Ultimately my system is a system of reason. Evil and Good are not
reasonable. There are times that these words are mistaken used to represent something else –
like cruel or sadistic or vengeful or kind or compassionate or thoughtful – but Evil and Good are
really just a matter of who got to the megaphone first and started decrying the other. I could be
the most evil thing in all existence and all I would need to do to reverse that would be to make all
evil things socially and culturally acceptable and then evil would be good. This is a difficult
consideration because you might say something like, “So mass murder and genocide are now
acceptable? Then this existence is going to end pretty quickly.” Not so. First, that’s a stupid
question. Second, who ever said that mass murder is good or evil? The derivation of value
extends from a reaction of dislike which conjugates to evil and the inverse is good. So what
you’re really looking at is things I like and things I don’t like. Never tell a writer that something
is impossible. A writer only needs to construct a system to permit the impossibility and the
impossible is circumnavigated, and all it takes is imagination. I can craft a story within a
universe in which mass murder and genocide are not just necessary but good. I know I can do
this because my fundamental system permits the existence of any possibility.
Is this true for all writers? I don’t know. Each writer works differently. I prefer a system that
allows me to do anything that I please. It takes me a long time to work through many of the
resultant paradoxes because I have to consider a lot of details, occurrences and instances.



How do you deal with reality? Very carefully. It’s very easy to write myself into a story. Very
easy to write other people into a story. Easy to write them out. Easy to write all sorts of things
in the venue of a story. Eventually, I came to deal with the conflict in the following way.
 Axiomatic systems are never perfect. I know this. All systems are in essence axiomatic because
really, how do you decide whether a system contains infinity or not? I mean even if you
formally construct a system that lacks infinity, you still have to wonder what’s in the system. Is
there anything that might cause infinity for which you didn’t account? How can you be sure that
you’ve accounted for all potential variables within your finite system? I think it’s a needless
headache and assume that there are no limits to infinity. this makes everything much more
interesting because I can add infinity to anything and go to town. This does not work in reality.
 I can’t just hurl a magic ball of nothingness at events and wish a sparkling and amazing
resolution of things. I have learned that reality is more malleable than I used to believe – of
course it’s always going to seem much less flexible than my own system because my internal
system permits ordered chaos which I think few would even begin to seriously entertain, but I
do. I think about ordered chaos every day and spell out the conditions for occurrence, likelihood,
difficulty, outcome – etc. Sometimes my days are very very boring by most people’s standards.
 I’ll sit all day and work on the question of good and evil but not in any interesting way. I just
look at “good” things and then I look at “evil,” things. By and large, I have learned that “good”
things tend to associate with “beauty” and “life” and “happy” although it all starts to get fuzzy
and then “evil” seems to associate with “ugly” and “mayhem” and “pain” but that all gets fuzzy
too and then I have to conclude that maybe I’d think that ugly and mayhem and pain were good
if I were an animal that liked “ugly” thinks and relished in mayhem and lived on pain. I don’t
particularly want to be something like that, but how knows, my idea of evil might be the very
idea of good for something else. So then I pencil down more specifications and finally I arrive at
the conclusion that “evil” and “good” are truly subjective and I prefer not to use them.



So you don’t like good and evil? No. I don’t like good and evil. I think that that division is very
boring, I dislike that dichotomy and I try to avoid it at times. I don’t mind introducing the
sensation of good and the sensation of evil but I do my best to avoid associating anything with
true good and true evil because these don’t exist in my system.



So what controls things? Free will. Self determination . Imagination. To be honest, there is no
control. I realize that’s very scary. Unlikely as the event in which I jump of a building trying to
fly. Or run through the streets naked. I know that I am capable of anything. That doesn’t mean
that I will do everything. Living with a truly chaotic person must be scary. I don’t know, and I
don’t know that I ever will understand how scary I can be because I have so much chaotic
imagination that I don’t think I’d ever really be intimidated by anyone for very long, if at all.
 However, I realize that I’m very intimidating to most people because I’m fully comfortable with
any proposition, even my own death. I have to be. It’s the internal system I designed.




So what’s ordered chaos. My mind. It’s hard to describe because it’s not based on an
alphanumeric system. I utilize a combination of emotions, memories, words, heuristic likes and
dislikes, and a massive amount of imagined information. Sometimes I think I’m on Mars.
 Sometimes I’m looking a zombie in an underground tunnel. Sometimes I’m running through a
jungle. Sometimes I’m sitting next to my antagonistic or protagonistic counterpart and trying to
see his face and figure out his angle. Are we enemies? Do we betray each other? Do we spend
forever happily ever after?



So this is all the establishment of your system? Yes. This entire story is my system. A unique
property of my system is that the fourth wall can always be interchanged. I built this in a long
time ago because I realized that imagined divisions are just that imagined. I honestly don’t know
what’s going on in my mind beyond what I imagine. I maintain and conjecture that what I
imagine is ultimately what I know and not the other way around. In this way, I am actually a
liar. I do not start with what I know and form a fantasy from that. I start with what I don’t know
and create from that. So nothing I say is true or real because it never began in truth. And I
prefer that. I think the act of creation from falsehood is much more interesting than the act of
creation of from truth. Truth is dull, predictable, and behaves according to expectation. Lies can
play both sides. A lie can tell the truth but the truth can never tell a lie. The simplest way to
understand this is to realize that I could construct a very elaborate fictional system and use it to
teach you some fundamental truths. For example, the idea that you can imagine anything you
please and that is one of the most important talents that anyone can posses. This is truth and I
could simply write it as that. However, I think it is much more interesting to accomplish the
same lesson through an engaging and interesting fictional story.



Like everyone, I have my compulsions. My greatest compulsion is the necessity for the system
definition. I am always trying to define the system. Particularly my own. I think however, and
perhaps I am mistaken, but I think right now, I have truly constructed a perfect system according
to my own principal tenets of free will, self-determination, and imagination. I believe these are
the most important qualities to possess ever. No power can overcome free will. Self-
determination can carry you anywhere, and imagination can solve anything. So my system is
designed to maximize free will, self-determination, and imagination. The principal problem that
I have found is that inherently that which I imagine must possess free will and self-
determination. Therein lies the quandary. Do I guide the plot or do I simply set up the world
and drop characters into and observe what they do?
The fact is that I find that when I drop characters into worlds they don’t do much unless I make
them do something by instituting major motivational events. Otherwise, I notice that my
characters tend to just eat and drink and wander around doing nothing. Conflict I find is often
artificial, at least in the classical sense. I find that the characters in my mind don’t actually have
a real conflict. I think I realized this a very long time ago when I found God and Satan have
lunch together or God and Lucifer dating or serial killer falling in love with a victim or a
necromancer who takes a paladin as a lover. What I realized is that because I wasn’t exerting
conscious control over the destinies and plots of the characters in my story, they began to behave
very erratically. So I sat for a very long time contemplating this. Should I intervene and direct
these characters or should I simply allow them to do their things? Disturbing as some of these
scenarios made me (I have to confess the idea of God and Lucifer in a romantic relationship –
that was very uncomfortable at first), I began to realize that even more interesting stories were
emerging than I had ever realized before. Now instead of endlessly fighting with each other and
beating each other over the head, I realized that my characters were engaging (quite literally at
times) with each other to struggle against the situation and have adventures. This development
was very interesting, and soon, I had a myriad of highly unconventional stories and a lot of major
confusion. So I had to finalize my system to allow for all of this variation and non-conformity
and finally I decided to demarcate uniformity and diversity at the two fundamental divisions in
my system. Therefore, the goal of diversity is to continuously create and add difference. The
goal of uniformity is to absorb and neutralize all differences. You could say this is a substitute
for the classic good and evil but not really. I don’t consider uniformity to be evil. Uniformity is
uniformity. It’s not evil or good. The same goes for diversity.



The conflict arises in the side that the characters serve or choose or work for or whatever. So the
ultimate conflict within my system is that between diversity and uniformity, and by extension
you could say ignorance and awareness. However, I, being an advocate of free-will and self-
determination, recognize that if someone freely chooses to be ignorant that is their right to self-
determination. I do not force awareness upon my characters. They have to achieve of their own
devices which is hard because the system requires plausibility and believability so it can take me
a very long time to finish even one story because I never consciously force my imagination. You
can. It’s easy. You just lay everything out and start picking and choosing. I just let things
germinate and sit and I water my ideas and then suddenly I get some movement out of some
characters and I write it down.



As I wrap this all up, I do feel a tinge of concern. The only problem that I have is, was I always
myself?
The issue with this is that because I’ve been so immersed in my stories and characters, I think
that at times some of them have actually taken over my waking conscious and acted out in
waking reality. I know because sometimes I feel like I’m watching myself do things or
sometimes I feel like I looking at myself in a mirror but I’m not. When I review these memories,
I realize that my central core consciousness wasn’t engaged or directing actions instead – an
alternate persona has taken over.



This is probably my greatest mortal fear. That one day, because I’ve been so imaginative, one of
my characters will permanently override me and direct everything, and I’ll just be a character.
 So I do what I do with all my fears, I write a story to resolve it. I realize that it probably doesn’t
matter. If another persona fully and irrevocably took over my consciousness, I would never
know because I’d never come back. I know when I come back because I think backwards and
review events and I think, “Why did I do that? Is that what I wanted to do?” The problem is that
this happens more and more. I’m not sure if the experience is just an existential exercise in
which I am simply questionining myself or whether this is in fact a case of myself accurately
assessing an inconsistency in consciousness.



Sometimes I feel like I’m watching myself on a television and that’s the strangest of sensations
because I don’t know how it’s possible for me to see myself outside of myself.

The trippiest is the memories of seeing my back, because that makes no sense. Why would I
remember seeing my back? I mean my face makes sense because maybe I was near a mirror at
the moment, but why would I see a rear view of myself? Who knows if the answers to these
questions are important.



All this is why I spent so much energy defining my meta-system. I figured that in the worst case
scenario, if a character in my mind does take over, then I hope to have the right contingencies to
ensure that the fundamental properties of my system are not violated. I’m not sure how that’s
worked so far. There are definite instances that I’m very uncomfortable considering because I
really feel that if I had been more grounded I wouldn’t have even been in the instance.




And see – the division between truth and fiction and art and reality blur. My stories, my
imagination changed physical relationship between myself and someone else. This “real”
relationship went on to impact my imagination. Both are changed – reality and imagination.
 Neither are the same. I do not think they are as distinct as we believe or imagine.
I do not know what the absolute difference is. I do not want to know. Perhaps this is only point
of ignorance I want to embrace.



Something tells me that when I understand the absolute difference between reality and
imagination, I will never be able to move freely between them. I know the litany of simple
differences between the imagined and what is not imagined. The simplest litany is “Solid when I
close my eyes? Probably not imagined.” Do the light switches work? Reality. Ground solid?
 Reality. I know reality but I also feel that reality could be more…interesting. I suppose this is
the mischevious part of me. Personally, I think a total merger of the imagined and real would be
great fun. In fact, I have a whole story line devoted to exploring that idea. It’s a universe in
which the sepration between real and imagined falls apart and suddenly life is full of imporable
events that are constantly occurring with the same likelihood as any probable event.



I don’t think most people would find such a merger to be fun. It’s only fun for me because I
spent my entire life creating a system that would tolerate such a possibility. I think that most
people wouldn’t know what to do with an unbounded system. For me, it’s just a matter of
personal integrity and keeping myself together while dinosaurs roam the streets and werewolves
run around in the backyard. I figure that as long as they’re not hurting me, I’m not going to hurt
them, but I realize that most people are very afraid of difference, and I don’t think humanity is
ready anytime soon for the complete bridging of reality and imagination.



So I like to write about that. The dissolution of the fourth wall. The actualization of man. The
violation of universal tenets for the betterment of existence. The improbable love to between
two opposite sides.

I will never quite write anything like this. Everything else that I will write will be contained
within my system. This is the story of my system. How and why I created it, and what purpose
it serves.

All my other stories are the fun part – the unfolding of life within an unbounded system. My
purpose in writing is to show that absolute freedom is not a bad thing. Free will is more than just
making a choice, and imagination is limitless.

Most likely my stories will offend many people and I wouldn’t be surprised if some are banned
and then burned. In fact, I’ll probably be very disappointed if my books aren’t banned and
burned. I’m more interested in the phone call or news article that says my books are being
burned than in the announcement that I’ve won the Nobel Prize. There is no higher compliment
that you can pay a writer than to expend massive energy in censoring the work. That just means
that obviously the work is very real because you’d never waste energy banning something
meaningless. So I’m hoping some animosity.

So this is the ending, but obviously not.

So that’s it. My final tenet. There is always an alternative.

I go into the night, running. I will never stop and I will never pause. I will never falter, cease, or
give-up. I am the runner in the dark.
148. Escape into Death
So I've been thinking about sucide again. For a number of reasons. Mostly I guess because I just
don't want to deal with reality anymore. It's like a horrible, oppressive, outdated game and I
don't want to play anymore.

Suicide crosses my mind often simply because I'm bored. I suppose that sounds terrible to most
people, but in order to really understand what life appears like to me you have to realize that life
is painfully slow - literally - as in literally painfully slow. I notice the passage of seconds in
agonizing progression. I've gone through so many different things, therapy, medications, yoga,
meditation, distraction, redirection, positive psychology - you name it and I've most likely tried
it. This isn't a pissing game, this is just the reality that my life is very uncomfortable most of the
time and unless there are are millions of things happening at one time, I'm anxious, distressed,
and very unhappy. I've not met many other people who behave like this. It's like I don't just have
an information hyper saturation need, if I don't have hyper information saturation, I start to drift
into psychosis - my imagination starts to take over and the fantasy realms start to squeeze
through the woodwork and once again i have to ask myself, if my mind is so fecund, why doesn't
this work for me in a productive manner? Why am I suicidal and living in a group home? Why
do I have less than fifty dollars? Why is the the line dividing insanity and genius so thin and why
is it so easy to fall on the bad side?

Of course, I remind myself that things could be much worse. I could be living in terror in Mexico
as the drug wars continue to to claim hundreds and thousands of lives. I just read an Atlantic
article about the drug wars in Mexico, and it's quite terrifying. So I could be living in a country
torn apart by drug cartels. Of course, in that case, maybe I'd just get shot to death and that would
just put an end to everything. I think about killing myself usually at least once a day. I just don't
want to be alive. Alive is boring. Alive is full of misery. Alive is painful. Alive if taxing. Alive is
disappointing.

I get the worst of everyworld now. The antipsychotics pretty effectively stop the delusional
thinking, so I don't get to retreat into fantasy anymore.
149. The Beatles were right
Things do seem to be getting easier. I'm adusting well to the new medications, klonopan,
seroquel, rispridone, benadryl, plus my retrovirals.

Yeah, I'm taking a lot of medications.

Ross doesn't seem to be talking to me in my head anymore. That's nice. It was awfully difficult
feeling like I was being followed around by a ghost of him.

There are still low, sad, dark, depressed moments.

I still don't know what I'm going to be doing next year.

I'm putting all of my hopes on being accepted to UC Santa Cruz.

I just hope that Margarita is able to deliver on her statements.

So much hangs in the balance of these little conversations.

The lack of internet makes it very difficult for me to work on cloud based projects. I'm also not
quite sure what I'm working on because most of the time it just seems like me leaving little
digital trails for myself.
150. I never promised you a rose garden
It's uncanny how much the story of Deborah overlaps with mine. Complete with the separate
kingdom, the Censor - all very familiar.
151. Well it's another day
I took my medication: the retrovirals the two orange pills, the one blue pill, the white pill. then
the attention medication (it's half blue and half white) and then benadryl, and then the anti-
anxiety medication.

and now i have all this time and i don't know what to do with the time. i don' know what to do
with all of the various things that i have to do and all the various work and effort that exists and
surrounds me. part of me feels like i should do nothing that i've done enough already and it's not
my lack of doing that is causing the progbllem if anything it's all my doing that is causing the
problem.

im bored.
152. still fragmented
It seems like there is so much that I should be doing. The compulsive behaviors seems to be less,
alhough I'm still worried about things and think that I should be doing more work.
I'm waiting for social security disability.
I don't know if they will approve.
I don't know what I will do if they don't approve.
I have so many things wrong with me.
I'm exhausted. In pain - fatigued - overwhelmed - and I can't concentrate on much of anything.
The obessive behavior into fantasy seems much less right now.
I play computer games to pass the time. i try not to think too much about things.
i try to just be happy.
why is that of all things the most difficult
just being happy seems to be permanently out of my grasp.
life seems like somewhat of a prison right now.
my yoga keeps me grounded, focused and optimsitic.
reading "I never promised you a rose garden" is uncanny. the main difference is that deborah
has only one world - yri and i have many worlds - however there is a great similarity in the
evolution of the ideas or the worlds or what have you. my words arose to keep my company
during my lonely times. while other people and students in particular mocked me, i found
refusge in the dreaming realms. they were not cruel to me or mean - merely demanding of my
time and attention to the point that couldn't do other things.

if i was to start a catalog of all the different worlds that i've experienced, occupied, or visited, it
would take me a very long time but i'm not going anywhere in particular fast so i may as well
start with this

a) ever after world - a post apocolyptic world where plants are waging war back against the
humans and life has been reduced to agricultural fiefdoms.

i think about jeff and i wonder why we've met and what should i do or say. so many things are so
confusing about everything and i keep wondering what should i do or say.
153. Like Deborah, like schizo
Reading through the book. There is so much similiarity between myself and Deborah. We both
escaped into fanatasy. She into one world, I into many. For both of us, these other worlds were
more problematic in the long run, and I find myself wishing that I had found the impetus to open
up about these fantasy worlds, however, it wasn't until I met Ross that I found that strength to
break open the walls.

Now I'm kind of at a loss as to what I should be doing. I was always in dreams and fantasy and
now I'm not.
154. As way of explanation

Rain.

It always seems to be raining at times like these.

I pull my cloak closer to myself and hurry through the city gates. I need to leave the city as
quickly as possible. I still feel nauseous remembering the carnage in the central atrium. All the
others are dead. The binding has failed. I would be dead as well but now that he and I are
bonded it’s not so easy. I barely noticed myself guiding the horse. Perhaps the horse guides
itself through the night – there really is only one road to the Southern Port.

Time and destiny are such peculiar things. We had it all worked out on paper. It should have
proceeded perfectly, but he broke free and slew the entire conclave. It was my mistake – my
pride, my impatience – my own personal darkness that gave him the edge that he needed. I have
to find him and finish this. I’m so tired and I can barely see through the rain. The road is empty
and very desolate – no one would travel on a night like this unless desperate.

I am.

“Teloros Dorma,” I extend the bubble of dry air around me to several paces before and after the
horse. Now the road we travel on is still wet but at least it’s rain free. It’s quieter as well,
except for the slight buzz of rain outside of the air bubble. A single witch light travels next to me
shoulder, pale blue light casting back the shadows. I doubt I will meet anyone, but if I did, the
witch light would repel them.

I see no one for hours.

We finally come to an inn set slightly in the middle of a clearing within the woods. It’s quite
large and there is a great deal of noise coming from within. A stable hand appears out of the
darkness and offers to take my house. I turn the reigns over to him and begin to walk into the
inn. He can barely speak and looks at the witch light nervously,

“Don’t worry,” I say, and I pull out my Tailors medallion from inside my cloak.

The inside of the inn is quite full of revelry. I don’t particularly want to be seen by everyone so I
move to the corner and sit down at the table furthest from the door. A bar maid comes over and
asks me, less nervous than the stable boy – she’s probably seen a lot happen in here – but still
her eyes are scared,

“What’ll be?”
I also show her my Tailors medallion and answer, “Something hot to drink, not too strong and
some dinner – whatever will be quick.”

She nods and disappears into the smoke and noise.

While I wait for the food I draw a divinatory diagram onto the table using the small flask of
scribing water in my belt. There’s not much but my intuition tells me that there’s someone here
that I need.

And there is. The fighter. I add more marks to the diagram to render a summons. He will come
to me now. By the time the barmaid returns with the food and the drinks the scribing water has
evaporated into nothing. To an untrained eye there is nothing to see – to me – there is a faint
silver glow tracing a complex pattern across the surface of the table. I eat in silence and listen
to the chatter around me.

As I’m beginning to nod asleep a figure approaches the table and stands near me. I look up and
peer through the haze. He’s medium height, shorter than me – think – which is fine – tall
fighters aren’t very useful in my opinion – their center of gravity isn’t very good. Brown scruffy
hair, dark – like colored eyes that are hazel as well – kind of a morose personality.

“You can sit if you like.” He does.
“I’m not sure why I came over here…”
“A summons brought you.”

“Oh,” he says, and he looks at the table, “I’ve never worked for a Tailor before.”

“Don’t worry, I don’t bite but sometimes and not very hard at that.”

He doesn’t smile.

“What’s the job?” he asks.

“I’m pursuing a high level demon. He escaped a banishment ritual and slaughtered my entire
conclave. Besides the obvious revenge issue, there’s also the matter of responsibility. He’s not
going to surrender to anyone, and he’s just going to cause problems. What’s your name by the
way?”

“Thorp.”

“Hmm.”

Thorp sits there looking at me a little less nervously. I never heard of a demon killing an entire
conclave of Tailors.”

“Yeah. I hadn’t thought it possible either. I’m sure the entire city of Dresden will be in shock
but I can’t stay behind to deal with the politicians. What kind of experience do you have?”
“The usual – dragons, giants, ogres, trolls, manticores. Some low-level demons. Nothing high
level though – nothing requiring a Tailor.”

“Well, Thorp – if you survive this, I’m sure that bards will be writing songs about you. At
present we need to leave now, the demon Ayre is moving constantly. He doesn’t tire. I did place
a geis against porting, gating and the like so he can only ride, walk, swim, fly – limited mode of
transport – nothing instant. Still I don’t want to get too far behind of him.”

Thorp looks at me skeptical, “Don’t you need to sleep?”

“We can take turns sleeping in our saddles while we ride. I have a spell that lets you sleep
upright. It’s a strange spell but very useful for long distance traveling. Not very good if you’re
by yourself – but useful if you’re in groups of two or more.”

“Oh…” he says

“Well, get your things and I’ll meet you at the front with your horses.”

“How will you know which is mine?”

“One , I’m a Tailor and divination is second nature to me. Two, I can probably just ask for your
horse.”

“Oh,” he says and hurries away.

He doesn’t say much – quite type, I think to myself, as I pull my cloak closer and venture back
out into the rain. I’m sure the patrons are glad to see me go. I’ve kept the witch light burning
near my shoulders- small, but clear and visible. Few are ever comfortable around a Tailor – but
then again, who would be around someone who can alter the very nature of reality? I’m
surprised that Thorp spoke so readily with me – that speaks to his bravery and courage.

He arrives not long after me with his belongings and notices the air bubble around the horses
and me. “No rain,” he says, “Nice.”

“Well, I don’t see the point in getting wet. The spell isn’t much to cast and it travels around me
as I move – the bubble simply shifts. It’s a very simple.”

We ride off and I let the silence and the sound of the horses’ feet be our initial conversation. The
inn dwindles in the darkness behind us – a cluster of lights and noise that fades to a pinprick and
then that winks out entirely. There will be nothing else for a long time.

The rhythmic plodding of the horses feet fills the space between Thorp and I. Content to my own
thoughts I let him speak first. I find he is very slow in this respect, and we are long gone from
the inn before he says anything.
“Where are we heading?”

“The Southern Port city of Iuvuis. I think Ayre plans on boarding a ship and trying to elude me
across the sea.”

“Couldn’t you just port to him?”

“Smart – but just as I blocked Ayre, he’s blocking me – not from porting in general but just from
porting near him. So we’re in a stale mate of sorts. I have to pursue him on foot and he has a
considerable lead. No matter. I’ll catch him eventually. That’s the nature of these kinds of
things. He’ll run amok. Wreck havok. Cause damage. Destroy things. I’ll pursue and hound
him. He’ll elude me. One day I’ll get him. It’s a process.”

Thorp shifts in his saddle and pulls his cloak closer. “It’s nice being dry – still a little chilly.”

I peer through the blue witch light and say,“I can raise the ambient air temperature if you’d
like.”

“No,” he shakes his head, “That’s fine.”

“Suit yourself. Oh, by the way – I should mention that this is no ordinary demon that we are
chasing.”

“Well, you did mention that he is a high level demon.”

I nod, “Yes and Ayre is also the Demon King of Xyzxchtl.”

Quiet and rain. Thorp looks pale and small and frightened.

“You brought me along to fight a Demon King?”

“Don't worry he’s not a Demon Lord or the Demon Sovereign or anything of that level. He’s
just a a king.”

“Umm…that seems kind of major.”

“Well I suppose. To be honest, he would have been banished a long time ago, but I made a
mistake during the banishment and he broke free.”

“What’s he doing here anyway?”

“Well, that’s not clear – it looks like a foolish wizard summoned him then lost control but kept
Ayre locked in a tower for sometime. The Tailors captured him and took him back to our
sanctum to banish him, but as I told you – he broke free.”
Thorp digests this quietly and silence holds for sometime then he asks, “So why does he want to
be in this world – why not go back to his?”

“Well there he’s just one amongst many. Here he’s very powerful and right now he’s very free
as well. An unscrupulous mage might try to bind him into service – but I don’t think there are
many with the skills to do that. He has free reign in this world until I stop him. I’m sure he’s
hoping to elude me until I die of old age or a better solution presents itself.

“Why doesn’t he kill you?”

“Not so simple.”

A frog hops across the road. It’s very green with red dots.

“We have a feedback bond that triggered during the banishment – essentially anything that
happens to me will happen to him. – it’s a safeguard that Tailors built into the ceremony. Ayre
realized this only after breaking free – so he can’t kill me.”

“And old age won’t impact him?”

“First, Tailors live for a very long time, so there’s that. Two, demons are immortal – so
eventually when I die of old age the bond will collapse because old age isn’t something that
works across the feedback bond.”

The rain is very boring and I wish there was thunder and lightening to break the monotony.

“One of us should sleep soon,” I say.

“You first,” Thorp insists, “After all, I’m the guard so I should take first watch.”

“Hmm…I’m not sure that reasoning is absolute but I’ll accept it. Just wake me if anything
happens. The witch light will travel between us always and the air pocket will stay as it is now.

“Okay.”

I whisper the sleep spell to myself and I feel the air stiffening and altering around me. It is said
that a Tailor can fashion a spell for anything, hence the name. We just have to figure out the
process. I wonder sometimes about the people that tailored spells like the one for sleeping
upright in saddle – strange and specific but very useful as well. When the spell is finished I feel
like I’m wrapped in a cocoon of air and even through I’m sitting upright, falling asleep feels
perfect.

As I drift under, I look through the witch light and see Thorp watching me – his eyes are intense
and scrutinizing. My last thought is, “I hope he isn’t killed too quickly.”
155. Shift
Time and space and all that lies immeasurable between. Mine is the infinite portcullis of
the mind. Doorways spin and I step in and out of this and that.

Earth. Fall back to the body. Here and now. Where is here? Where is now? If the
white rabbit is moving at a constant rate how quickly does he vanish? What is here –
what is now – what is what and what is now – and why is why and must stop the mind.
Mind. My mind wanders. So much difference encompasses my flesh and much of the
time it feels like I shall burst with the awful potential of all this imagery. It cannot be real
– it must be imagined – but then what is real seems so tenuous and traitorous at times.
This reality they call America always seems to take a turn for the worst and it becomes
so bizarre and comic and distorted and dramatic that I begin to wonder if my reality
remains genuine? My imagined worlds seem more fair and consistent, more logical and
sane. I don’t understand this world of mortal men. The flesh and blood seem to bind in
such peculiar ways and hold the passions in such oddly pronounced behaviors. I do not
really understand what is happening, I never really anticipate the next step, and so I
think I tend to falter and fall on my face as the chorus line is stepping forward. No
matter. I suspect that the chorus line is heading for a perilous ending, and I think I
would like wander around the stage for a little while longer rather than fall into the
orchestra pit with the rest of the buffoons. Rabbit hole. Just get to the rabbit hole.
156. Mental interlude
What can I say about the inanity of my childhood? Mine was the tail end of the 70’s in one of the
last Hippie bastions in the world, if not the last great one. Here, things were still pretty much
free love, drugs, and endless parties. All I remember from my early childhood is the giant
parties, full of huge crowds and tons of strangers. I remember the smell of pot permeating our
house when I was five or six and huge black trash bags of the stuff sitting in the bedrooms of our
house – yes at some point my parents were Hippie drug dealers. That was my childhood,
growing up with crazy, drugged out Hippie parents – along with the other kids of other drugged
out Hippie parents. I remember once some other kids and I were forced to do a play and we
were “colors,” I was the color red and had a red cape; everyone else had a different color cape.
I forgot what the point of the play was, I just remember that we each had a colored cape and I
thought the cape was cool because I liked capes and I liked running around with the cape
flapping behind me.

Growing up was a wild rush of danger and excitement – I look back on my childhood and I have
no idea what normal is because I had anything but normal. My experience is so abnormal that
you may as well have situated me on the moon for all intents and purposes. I remember one
point where we were literally camping out at one site that my parents were building on and we
didn’t even have electricity, running water, let alone ceilings, walls or sewage. We slept in a
tent while working on the framework of the house and when we needed to shit, we’d take a
trowel and dig ourselves a hole when needed. I thought that was the stupidest idea because even
in my six or seven year old mind, I was able to realize that eventually, we’d fill the entire
property with holes unless we got a toilet and a sewage system installed. My mom, as usually
was probably so self-absorbed or drugged out that she didn’t seem to care either way. I can be
thankful that we left that property before long and never even finished building the house.

My parents would tell my sisters and I that we should be thankful for our lives because we were
better off than starving children in Ethiopia or the poor children living in the New York or
Chicago ghetto. Of course, I think I’d have much rather been in the New York ghetto because at
least then I’d be in New York and I’d have probably had much more fun. Oh well, I got to have
the ideal “green” childhood. Big whoop. Sure, mine was the picture perfect Nature
Conservancy commercial for the perfect natural green environmental childhood. I think my
mom was constantly recycling everything and food waste was always going into a compost pile,
we used rainwater, had a cesspool, usually had a garden of sorts, and didn’t have many
electrical appliances – particularly no television. We were supposed to read and be productive
writing and painting and doing crap like that. It was a pretty oppressive and tyrannical
childhood. Sometimes, to get back at the forces of nature, I secretly encourage global warming
because I’m mad at the Planet for making me suffer Hippie-turned-fundamentalist-Christian
parents. Plus, I think that if ocean levels rise, it’ll just be plain cool.

The patterns of my childhood were very much the precursors to my life now – everything was
about sharp contrasts – everything was highs and lows – good and bad – sharp relief in one
direction – deep depression in another direction – and I was always traveling up and down, back
and forth, in and out, in between, to and from – always in motion. I was born into such a period
of exuberant joy and energy - even now I look at the world and I wonder what happened to all
the energy and joy. I know that it’s not just me and my perceptions – it was an entire shift in the
culture. In the 70’s and 80’s there was so much more wild abandon and reckless energy –
remember the rash of neon colors that everywhere? What about rhinestones attached to every
article of clothing? Lisa Frank school supplies? Psychedelic posters, t-shirts, binders, and note
books? The endless stream of wistful, cheesy, movies? Goonies, Never Ending Story, Last
Starfighter, Dark Crystal, Secret of NIMH – what a time to grow up and be alive – it was such a
time of boundless optimism and carefree abandon. I loved all the crazy cartoons like Thunder
Cats, Smurfs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Darkwing Duck - and then the video and computer
games – Super Mario Brothers and Myst of course!

I loved every waking moment and then the 90’s started and then suddenly the modern era hit
with vengeance and it seems like cute and fun is out and dark and bloody is in and now we’re all
obsessed with how many skaters we can shoot or how many old ladies we can run over and I
don’t really get it. Games like Grand Theft Auto don’t really interest me. I don’t really envision
or have any interest in a dystopian world full of crime, burning vehicles, helicopters, guns, car
chases, and such. I mean, I like adventure – but if my life is going to be put at risk and I’m going
to potentially die – I’d like to die in a more interesting way than robbing some dumb ass’ car or
doing something stupid like running drugs or something else equally lame. Me – I’m all about
the improbable adventure – I want the good stuff like dragons and demons and shit like that. I’m
not going to settle for stupid cheap crap like rusting cars and police helicopters or SWAT teams
– I want kick ass flying dragons and brutal barbarian battles. That would be more interesting to
me.

Of course, I’m still puzzled why we need to obsess to much over killing other things – ourselves
included - I think there are infinitely more fun things to do creatively and we need to return to
those childlike themes that were so popular decades ago, because they were popular and we can
implement them better. I think that with all the sophisticated technology that we have today, it’s
silly to execute complex animations and highly detailed scenes that consist of nothing more than
a bunch of people getting their brains blown out or their heads bashed into a wall. BORING! I
mean at least let’s throw in some fireballs – sheesh! Pyrotechnics would always make anything
more interesting. Of course, I guess if you have a burning desire to be a street thug and you’re a
white middle-upper class American, Grand Theft Auto might be your only way to experience that
bit of the American Dream and catch your slice of the pie. Still I think the entire thing is really
lame. I mean, I’ve lived in fairly ghetto-tastic places, and I have to say that the people at the
edge of the wealthy districts of life are still just as well meaning, hardworking, and decent as
anyone in any other part of town – perhaps more so – and it’s silly to stereotype the run down
parts of town as being more “criminal.”

In my first year in Los Angeles I certainly encountered a great many socially rebellious people,
for lack of a better description. I never really told Ross this information, because I don’t think
he would have been able to deal with it or really appreciate or understand that for me, I
approach these experiences almost like exploratory work – kind of like an anthropologist – I
want to get into the lives of other people and I want to know what other people are doing. I can’t
say how many upper-middleclass guys I hooked up with in the last year or so, but I have to say
that a majority of them were probably recreationally using at least one major drug illegally, and
most likely that drug was crystal meth. It really fascinated me to discover that so many guys in
Los Angeles were actively using this drug, often in combination with other drugs like G (gamma-
hydroxybutyric acid) – which as a side note, I have to say tastes quite nasty. It was also funny
that many guys seem obsessed with Ecstasy, but are apparently unaware of the diminishing
returns given that tolerance for E can quickly develop.

The point of all this is to say that sometimes, I think we obsess in the wrong directions when
we’re pointing our fingers and saying – that’s where the trouble is coming from in terms of
crime or drugs or what have you. The truth is that in my year in Los Angeles, I’d say that the
trouble is not the lower class citizens, the homeless people, or even the cracked out addicts that
are wandering the streets – the problem is the rich and powerful people who are highly
influential and engaged in illicit, underground activity. Of course, I don’t even think that it’s the
drug use per se that’s the problem, to me it’s the hypocrisy, lying, and deceit that’s the problem.
Personally, I’m all for the legalization of every single drug, because I feel that people should be
given the option of making choices for themselves – let the free market decided how to regulate
and control the situation – we don’t need bloated government agencies and out of date laws
intruding into the private sector. However, we’re never going to make any significant changes
or progress as long as the wealthy and rich people are living the life that they want to lead, to
the standard that they enjoy – condemning and judging the lower classes beneath them as being
the “the problem.’

One of my big issues with the people in Los Angeles is the blatant hypocrisy – it’s like everyone
thinks they’re a movie star and their live is a movie and therefore you can say and do whatever
you want because it’s just an act and everything is a drama - but then people get upset and act
as if there are unspoken rules and feel offended if you step on their toes in the wrong way, and
I’m always like, “Umm….you’re all drugged out and can’t even pay attention and you’re telling
me how to live me life? Oh pardon me, I didn’t realize there was a script – if someone could
please give it to me in advance I’ll make sure I’m better prepared for your grand entrance.”
That’s how I always felt with Ross. It was like I could never quite please him no matter what I
did, and then I realized it was because he anted me to read his mind and act in concert with him
– but I don’t really have that ability. I’m getting used to the peculiar behaviors of people in Los
Angeles, and I think I’m actually coming to embrace the weirdness. It’s like nowhere that I’ve
ever lived before, and it’s certainly an interesting experience.

I have to say that overall I’m very glad that my dad was a surfer. Surfing is probably the most
zen sport that I know of because it’s all about getting into the moment and just going with the
wave and synchronicity and shit like that. So years and years of training in that direction – and
though I may have resented all of that training – that training has certainly come back to save
my ass. Given that I seem to have a knack for landing myself in hot water – and not just any old
hot water – but turbulent, exploding, Indiana Jones kind of hot water. I know that many fathers
impart to their sons some sort of life wisdom, something to carry on to the next generation. I
wonder sometimes if my father had imparted something different to me – how my life would have
gone. Off the top of my head, I can’t really think of anything else that would have given me the
mental perspective to deal with a life as chaotic as mine.
Ross and I seemed to be coming from very different worlds – Ross from some kind of pristine and
orderly world that seemed to be almost like a Hallmark – and I from Bizzaro world where
everything is crazy and madly animated. We were like aliens to each other – I loved him – but it
was obvious to me that we were from very different places.

We didn’t have a television, so I didn’t have many role models and we moved around a lot so
there weren’t very many adults in my life for me to look up to and follow. Really there were only
my parents, and that’s a complex, convoluted story in and of itself. Fortunate for me, my
father’s thing was surfing and surfing imparts it’s own zen like in the moment kind of approach
for getting through life – and I think it’s served me well for the most part. So although I never
really wanted to admit that my father was a significant role model for me, he has been – and I’m
appreciative and grateful for that – because I’ve really come to understand and great deal of
meaningful and significant things regarding life – things that I don’t think I’d have understood if
it weren’t for the constant surfing lessons that he gave me. Until I was willing to say this, and
appreciate this wisdom – I don’t think that I was able to move forward in a better way. My only
wish is that I had been more open minded and accepting and willing to tolerate new things. I
feel like that was one of the big issues growing up in my household. A constant struggle between
tolerance and intolerance – wrath and compassion – but that’s a story for another day.

I think that many people look down on surfing as a crass activity – and uphold on the other hand
something like investment banking. Personally, investment banking isn’t very interesting to me –
it doesn’t take a lot of true sacrifice or discipline. After all, you might bitch and moan that
you’re giving up hours of your life but in reality you’re getting back hundreds upon hundreds of
thousands or maybe even millions of dollars or maybe even more – where’s the true sacrifice in
that? A good surfer might never go pro and may never make millions of dollars and a good
surfer could just be some random Joe Blow on the street like my dad – a person that has the 9 to
5 job or the 8 to 4 job or whatever and then goes surfing whenever they are free. To me that’s
true discipline and sacrifice, and that’s more interesting than someone who’s just a button
pusher in front of a computer screen, a electronic crack addict if you will – forever pushing to
strike it bigger and bigger.

Life is constantly flowing, adjusting and modulating. Surfing is all about dealing with changes –
the waves are constantly changing – even at the moment that you are riding a wave – the wave is
shifting and altering its trajectory and the pitch of your board might be changing and you might
be traveling over the reef – and look out you just missed another surfer!

I don’t think that my dad has ever sought to be famous or wealthy, so I think it would be fun if I
get this published to take him on a surfing trip around the world. I’ve always wanted to go on a
trip around the world, and a surf trip with my dad would be the perfect, seemingly legitimate,
quasi-plausible, I can-write-a-book-about-this-kind-of-excuse. I mean because, come on, let’s be
realistic here, what did they really teach me at Amherst college? I mean we were never allowed
to study anything practical like accounting or engineering – it was all about the “liberal arts.”

Now, I’m not sure if the jocks ever got the important lessons because I sometimes think that the
only lesson they learned was if-you-look-hot-enough-you-can-get-almost-anywhere. The only
problem with this approach is that you only get “almost.” Looks won’t take you everywhere.
Eventually you run into the those cantankerous old types that want both looks and brains. I think
that was the tragedy of the jocks at Amherst, their looks would only help them so far, and then
usually they’d fail. I heard tragically humorous stories of professors derailing jocks with cruel
comments like, “Just like I’m never going to make a 3 point basketball, you’re never going to
write an A paper in my class.”

Anyway, I think the lesson that all the smart kids at Amherst should have learned was – you can
do anything - ANYTHING! - anything you want as long as you can write a book about it
afterwards. In other words, any activity or experience can be legitimized and justified if you can
argue that it is contributing to the intellectual capital of human race in some fundamental way.
Writing a bulky piece like a thesis or a book would be clear evidence that the experience was a
treasure trove of knowledge and information contributing to the human experience.

Since Amherst, I’ve realize, I can do whatever the fuck I want to do with my life, as long as I
remember what I’m doing, take notes, and plan on writing a book later for the betterment of the
human race…oh and avoid killing other people along the way. That’s a big one. I can do
almost anything I want as long as I don’t kill anyone…although supposedly there’s that self-
defense clause, I’ve never really wanted to invoke it, so I think I’d like to avoid situations where
I’m endangered – but who knows, I might find myself in such situations, so I probably shouldn’t
be picky.

One of the hardest parts or saddest parts of my current saga is that the trigger or catalyst for all
of this was my engagement to Ross, our love and then the tragedy of our separation. I don’t
know that I would have been motivated or driven in the direction that I am moving now –
certainly not with the force and passion that I have gone – not if it hadn’t been for Ross and
heartbreak that I went through when we separated. I wish that things could have moved in a
different route, but then I realize that it’s likely I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now. I
suppose it’s good that my first year in L.A. was so miserable because I’m sure that everything
else will then compare as simply better.
157. Planar Shift
Shift – planar –

Banners – screams – ogres and dragons. Quick, my mind says – what world – what battle –
where am I – orient fast!

Nurran. I’m at Nurran. The Seven are here to tilt the battle in the favor of the Orc Queen
Kthulu. I duck my head as a fireball files past me and ignites a tent. I wonder where Ander is.
He’s probably has a shadow watching me nearby, not that I can’t take care of myself. Hell, I
could just as easily pull something from the Black Book end the entire Northern Army, but that
would spoil history. It’s nice having your own personal ninja master guarding you every hour of
the day. Very sexy.

There is a large contigent of Northerners in front of me slaughtering a smaller group of orcs. It
is but a small invocation to bring a piercing cascade of ice blades down upon the Northern
troops. It’s particularly interesting the noise that they all make as they simultaneously die – it’s
kind of a splurtching noise. I wonder if they depict that in movies. No time to contemplate that.
Must be moving on to the next scene. The captain of the orcs salutes me and I nod back but I’m
more concerned about removing the griffins from the sky above me.

Pesky giant chicken cats with wings. I mean what the hell kind of animal are they anyway.
They’re clearly not just a bird – are they part cat? They remind me of giant chickens for some
reason…I know that many people think griffins are so noble. Personally, I think they’re kind of
annoying.

I’m more a dragon guy, and fortunate for our allies they happen to be using dragon battalions.
A solution to the griffin problem is simple. I lace the sky with a net of fire and use a wind spell to
push the griffins in to the burning nets.

“Nice,’” remarks Ander as he shadow shifts next to me and smiles.

“Where’s Torra?”

“In a killing rage – the usual – you know.”

“Oh yeah,” I node and fireball a crowd of soldiers advancing across the field, “Assassinate
anyone significant yet?”

“Well,” he drawls, “I’ve taken out most of the field commanders, “It was pretty easy for me to
shadow shift through their wards, and take them out.”

“Pretty easy, huh.” I smile back at him.
“Yeah,” he grins, “Next I’m going to the generals.”

“Okay, have fun.” I say. He fades away, winking into a pinpoint of darkness. I love when he
disappears like that. Always the socially responsible sociopathic killer, I’m sure that he and
Torra will work out all of their aggression. The Northern army and their allies are quite huge
and although I’ve managed to take out their griffin squadrons, we still have our work cut out for
us.

I feel bored so I summon a large fire elemental in the middle of the main Northern mary.
Predictably, their mages attempt to banish, which of course alerts me to their locations. I
teleport to higher ground and trace targeting grids in the air; precise bolts of lightening strike
down into the battlefield and the enemy mages are small, smoking piles of ash.

In the distance I can see a major scuffle – Torra, I’m sure, slaughtering ground troops. I feel
impatient and start a major firestorm in the skies above us – soon molten lava is raining down on
the Northern armies. That should help to end the battle quickly.

I think I see Elorin nearby and I port over to her.

“How goes the healing and rezing?”

She shrugs her shoulders, “ The usual. It’s tiresome, but I’m healing everyone they bring to me
– and if they’re dead, I resurrect them.”

“Huzzah,” I say and chain lightening a cavalry of troops. Elorin was always the rez prodigy –
where most could only resurrect a few people within a day – let alone a week – she never seems
to reach a limit.

A voice is calling to me from the other side of reality. I frown in annoyance. I hate having my
attention divided like this. I close my eyes and shift again back to the reality I share with
everyone else.
158. Another mental interlude

I feel like I’m just paddling, paddling through my current situations – just waiting for everything
to coalesce into that perfect wave, and so I’m just taking each day in stride and in each and every
spare moment I write when free. When I’m sitting in traffic I dictate voice memos about what I
want to write and slowly but surely I’m composing my book. This is everything that my father
taught me, everything that has guided me through life – most of it has been unconscious and now
I’m consciously writing it down, but it’s important and pivotal nonetheless. For me, writing this
book is my big wave – I have bitterly struggled and I have hated my father my entire life, but I
have realized that teaching me to surf was my father’s one true act of love. Surfing is my
father’s passion and he really tried to share that with me. He made me part of that world, he took
me to the beach every possible day and every possible morning.

Although my dad never finished college, I think my mom blames surfing, but my dad would say
he had a family to support, I carried his lessons and his wisdom with me to college and then to
graduate school. His knowledge guides me to this day; it’s funny because later in life he quit
work and then went to college a second time but then quit college again and went back to
surfing.

We’re alike in that respect we each love to rush out and jump into the thick of things. We took
to different waters in different worlds. I’m glad that I got to this realization before my father
passed away and I’m glad that I was able to hit this point now before more time passed by and I
and he grew older. When I was contemplating suicide and unable to pick a suicide method and
realizing that I was in love with someone that wasn’t returning my love, I kept wondering, “What
am I going to do with myself?” Then I just came back to my memories of surfing and realized I
just need to ride with everything.

The strangest aspect of all of this is that this is happening at all – I always thought that my father
would simply die and I would continue hating him until the moment that he died. I never really
thought that I would find a way or reach a place of forgiveness or understanding. I suppose this
is why Ross factors into this story so much – Ross was powerful catalyst for an unusual event –
something that wasn’t supposed to happen – at least not in my mind. Sticking with the wave
analogy – Ross and our time together was like a massive wave that came out of no where and
just swept me along in the direction that I need to go and as with surfing – waves don’t last
forever – and although I desperately wanted the relationship to last forever – there were
fundamental problems that I could not overcome. I do have to say that if it hadn’t been for our
relationship, I don’t think I would have been pushed in the direction that I’m going right now – I
would not have reached out to my father and I wouldn’t be writing this.

It’s sad and tragic that it took the end of a wonderful and beautiful relationship to move to me to
a better place with my family and in my own personal life. We as people want things to go on
forever, but waves never last forever – they’re always finite, ephemeral and they always come to
an end. I feel like I always have one foot on dry land and one foot in the water – one part of me
fluctuating constantly and the other part seeking stability. I think that the solidity that we
associate with the world around us – solid ground – solid objects (and even these solid things are
themselves shifting and changing in a slow and gradual way thus the solidity is actually quite
illusory) – this solidity draws us. It’s nice knowing that things are stable and going in the right
direction, but I think it most important that we head in the right direction because stability is
ultimately an illusion.

Sometimes, when I was growing up, I wished that my father was something else like a doctor or
a teacher or a scientist or something – anything but a surfer. My father had a job as something
other than a surfer as I was growing up, but that job never really defined him. The job simply
paid the bills. Surfing was his passion. Surfing was what he did. Surfing was who he was and
surfing was what he tried to teach me.

I live with a certain dread and anxiety instilled by my father’s abuse, and for so many years, all I
could see, all I could think about was the wrong that was done and the hurt that I suffered. There
were times that Ross would say to me, “I can’t forget the things that you’ve said to me,” and I
would just sit there in bafflement thinking, “This is ridiculous, if you understood the massive
amount of pain and suffering that I went through as a child, you’d understand that this is
nothing.” Yet here I am, letting go of great pain, great anger, and great hatred. Maybe it was
Ross, watching him and seeing his behavior that led me to this point – I know that I didn’t want
to be like Ross and find myself saying those words to someone that I loved and destroying a
relationship over some words that were said in anger. That’s what hurt so much – my father
brutally hit me many, many times in anger and now I’m learning to move past that, and then
Ross and I couldn’t even handle simple arguments. It was such a strange paradox and it was so
painful to consider the difference.

I hated and resented my father for so many years, so much that my subconscious anger and
resentment threatened my love and relationship with Ross, the one person that I loved the most
in the world. I was so in love with him I had even bought a ring, and made a proposal. I realized
that my anger and my resentment had to be let go and as I let go – I was able to see all of the
amazing things that my father had done for me.

Shift again –

My mind slides through the ether and I drop into Ort space – the stars are super saturated and the
spaces field is bright with white light everywhere. My consciousness floats above a large space
fleet, and I’m trying to place myself in this space and time. The fleet has been fleeing the
Crevase for some time. I’m trying to remember what point in time this is – temporal confusion
is always an issue when transitioning. I have so much relative history to absorb. Sometimes I
need to acquire a large amount of culture before entering my alternate identity.

This time it all comes to me very quickly. Taoral civilization is hyperdeveloped compared to our
current civilization, but in terms of architecture, and dress, think Ancient Greece. The weird
thing with the Taoral Empire is that much of the intelligentsia has died off and thus a great deal
of the technological comprehension has been lost. Therefore, while the Taoral Empire possesses
marvelous technology that borderlines on magical – few really understand how any of it works.
Not long ago, The Toral Empire was suddenly attacked by the Crevase in an overwhelming
assault that destroys the home worlds. The Crevase are related to some sort of Imperial mystery
involving lost technology and murder and mayhem and other fun stuff like that (the Crevase are
black, insect like aliens that travel through space in a huge swarm). The survivors of the Toral
Empire are fleeing in giant bubble ships that look like huge glass globes (because we should all
know that space is frictionless so it really doesn’t matter what a spaceship looks like or is shaped
like) – Anyway, these bubble ships are planetary precursors, or to put it crudely - planets waiting
to be hatched. The Toral planetary precursor ships are theoretically under the control of the
Empress, but she is only fifteen and there are several ruling houses that continuously vie for
control. Anyway, all of this information coalesces very quickly in my mind, and this is how it
always is when I’m move into another reality – it’s very much like fitting on another skin,
another body, another mind – another life. It can be very disorienting because am in many ways
– different people in different places and if it’s a new place, which that’s often – then it’s a huge
learning experience, and it’s not a new place then it’s like getting cold water poured on me
because I just get a big gulp of memories.

Leaving my body is a weird thing, I used to do it all the time and there have been years of my
life, probably grad school was the most intense, where I was almost never in my body and I was
always out of my mind – it’s not hard to do and to be honest when the day to day is dragging and
I’m just plain bored – I’m out of here – and I’m sorry world, but if I was bored in grad school at
Brown University, then the rest of the world is probably not going to fare much better. If the
brightest minds in the world can’t keep me entertained then what’s the point. With Ross it was
different. I don’t think there was ever a boring moment. I was always fascinated – captivated –
angry, yes…upset, yes…irritated, yes…afraid, at times, yes…worried, at times, yes – but it was
always a roller coaster that I did not want to stop. Ross drew me out of myself and for the first
time in my life I didn’t want to spend all my time in my head and in my dreams and in my other
realties. I wanted to be with Ross, I wanted to talk with Ross, I wanted to interact with Ross. I
think if I hadn’t met Ross, I probably would have been content to just drift further and further
into my own, separate reality. Yet another reason why I say - true love.

Shift back to Ort space.

I drop down into the body of the First Theorist. My eyes open on the main observation of the
central Imperial flagship. I feel a little odd and lean against the railing. Lane needs to take
control of the fleet. I need to manipulate events in that direction. The Empress is young and
vulnerable. I still haven’t figured out the Crevase. My fingers tap the handrail in front of me. I
worry about Lane – he carries the brunt of the fleet’s ire – all failures point at him. I only hope
my love will shield him. There are several noble houses left to eliminate. This should be fun. I
walk of the deck quickly.

I never really played by the rules. The First Theorist is supposed to be just a scientist – rarely a
politician and almost never involved in military actions. I deliberately involve myself in the very
things I shouldn’t in order to balance things in the directions I deem necessary. In my passage
through the ship I collect several Hovoid Drones to accompany me – they will follow orders
precisely.
It’s literally a bloodbath when I’m done. The Talur household is slaughtered – their guards
didn’t stand a chance against the Hovoids. I designed them too well. I’m sure there will be
repercussions. I don’t care. I’m tired of these games. I need events to move more quickly in a
direction favorable to Lane and the Empress and simply eliminating the Talur household is the
most effective method. I’m cold, calculating, and brutal. I wipe the blood splatters off my face
and clothing and step over the bodies. The security systems are all disabled and I’m rerouting
everything through my terminal consciousness – I don’t even think I’ll bother trying to cover
things up – I’ll just delete all the household records – let people think what they will – sure there
are very few people with this kind of power but I don’t care. No one will have specific evidence
or specific information and it will be impossible to prove anything conclusively. This is one of
the most fundamental rules in life – if something can’t be proven conclusively, then you
probably have a free card and should definitely take advantage of it – I know I do. Eventually
monitors are introduced and policies are put in place, but until hard guidelines and firm
regulations are implemented, I say bend and twist everything to your advantage and much as
possible because the time and place will come when you won’t be able to do that – so do it while
you can.

“Dispose of the bodies.” I command the Hovoids. I need to help Lane consolidate more power
behind the Empress and I know that there is much disapproval that the First Theorist shouldn’t
be involved with a lowly Field Officer, but I love him and I’m not afraid of rebuke. Besides,
there are deeper issues at stake here and I’m determined to chart a course entirely of my own
construction, even if it means pissing off everyone else in the entire god damn fucking universe
because sometimes you just have to piss all over the pages and run of the edge – jump on the
floor – dash about, scream – shout – yell, yell, yell, and then yell some more and when you’re all
done you have to say I’m in control, this is me here and I’m in control and this is me and maybe
I’m on a spaceship in Ort space or maybe I’m not and maybe I am the First Theorist or maybe
I’m not and maybe I am fighting the Crevase and maybe I’m not – but you know the fuck what!
I’m in fucking in control and I’m fucking writing the script!
159. Musical Penguins enter stage left
Cue mental rambling – have musical penguins enter stage left.

As I move forward in my life, I am accepting that most likely my life will always be a life of
great ups and downs. If this is the case then I really need to work on not pissing other people off.
I have enough problems and enough issues – upsetting people doesn’t need to be added to the
list. Why add strife to an already chaotic mix? Instead, I feel that it’s important to heed the
warnings of my father, who always impressed upon me the need to respect the people around me.
Don’t run over people with your board. Don’t cut in on other people. Don’t take someone else’s
wave.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow because we’re raised in this day and age to be very self-centered,
independent, selfish, etc etc. These are traits that are, I would argued, glorified and even
idealized. I think that such attitudes are ultimately counterproductive. If you’re self-centered
and constantly selfish, you’ll never be a very good surfer because you’ll probably cut in on other
people, take other people’s waves – stuff like that. People will hate you, and then the locals will
probably cut you off and do mean shit to you like slash your tires or rake your back with their
board or other nasty things.

So the movies are lying. Thinking about yourself all the time isn’t really the way to go.

To me the world is a huge fluctuating chaos function, undulating in strange patterns like a bizarre
trampoline and we’re all just bouncing along for the ride. Or maybe it’s just that some of us –
those who want to ride – are riding. I know that I like fun and adventure, and I’d rather have an
exciting and thrilling life, so if life is a chaos wave function trampoline ride – I definitely want to
ride that ride, but I’d like to stay on the ride and not fall of and break me head – you know – like
those poor monkeys – the ones that were always jumping on the bed and breaking their heads? I
don’t want to be like them, because I always thought it was so unfair that the monkeys could
jump on the bed, fall off and break their heads, but when their mama called the doctor, all the
doctor would say is, “No, more monkeys jumping on the bed.”

Well, I think that we need better advice than admonitions against jumping on the bed. I say jump
on the bed – jump more and more and more. However, it would be a good idea to get a better
doctor than the one that the monkey mom called because if I fell off the bed, I would like my
doctor to do something to make my head better rather than tell me not to jump on the bed
because you know what? Chances are very good that if I like jumping on the bed, I’m probably
going to jump on the bed more!

The point of all this is that we don’t need to fight with each other when we’re busy bouncing
from one situation to another and trying to cope with the incidentally disasters that are already
coming our way. If we’re struggling to deal with bills and car repairs, or illness or finding a
home or whatever – why do we need to fight with other people? Other people should be our
allies regardless of position or place in life.
The time and era of the rugged individual – the hearty pioneer – to me that time and era is long
gone and dead – a historical relic, a fiction. Maybe this mentality and existence served a
purpose at one time and place – the gunslinger striding out to right wrongs. Honestly though?
Today we don’t solve problems by shooting things. We negotiate, compromise, and investigate
– there are court cases, proceedings, and laws. Nothing is so simply solved as justice by a bullet.
Those days are gone and rightly so. Like the passage of clubs to swords to bullets, now we stand
in the era of words. This is it – what we’ve all been waiting for – a time and place where we can
finally put aside all the bloody implements that were used to solve our problems and we can
work things out in more civilized manners. Of course, it won’t be easy, and it’ll take time.

As I look back at the events between Ross and I, I see myself standing on one side pouring out,
perhaps too much, and Ross standing on the other side, closing up too much. It was fascinating
to watch him, like watching a closed box full of potential mystery certain to hold something
more fascinating than anything I’ve ever seen before but denied to me with absolute rigor
because I could never get him to open up to me. It was like the worst Christmas present ever
because it was the best Christmas present in that I was absolutely in love with him, and I
desperately wanted to know what it was that was eating him up inside but he would never tell
me. So there I was looking at him across this infinitesimal divide of space yet infinitely separate
by our minds and emotions. It’s sad because it’s as if we spoke two different languages and
never managed to find a common denominator despite our overwhelming. Perhaps it was that
Ross was all reason, I was all empathy and compassion and between us we were like some kind
of primeval explosion of the cosmos – a little to fiery for this mortal plane…

I think it fascinating to consider the question, if one’s life is spent in constant idyllic bliss – how
would you relate to others that do suffer? Obviously other people do suffer. There are people
that don’t get what they want. There are people that go through great hardship. Without having
some inkling of what these people are experiencing, would it be possible to even relate to them?
I think this is where empathy and compassion become so essential to the survival of the human
race. If we are to advance beyond the age of nuclear wars and terrorism and rape and murder
then we need to get beyond our inability to appreciate the suffering of others and the only way to
do that is to develop empathy and compassion. The best way I think to do that – coming from
personal experience – is to go through suffering on a personal level. I don’t think I really
expected, anticipated, or asked for this type of experience when I set out, say a few years ago.
However, as I look back on my life, I don’t think I would have it any other way. As I move
forward, I expect that I will most likely inherit more responsibility and more authority, and I
would hope to exercise that responsibility and authority with increasing empathy and
compassion.

As society grows more interconnected and the Internet and television and video games permeate
through our world and dynamic forms of information become more common and we exchange
thoughts and ideas in increasingly energetic manners, we are achieving that transcendent
interchange of idea and emotion that we once thought reserved for the supernatural and fictional
realm. What was elusive telepathy is now imagery on screen personalized with individual
emotions thoughts preferences and histories. We are breaking barriers between ourselves and we
aren’t even realizing what we’re doing because these transformations are so commonplace. We
must more than ever learn to step beyond ourselves and consider the other person because that’s
what’s happening – we aren’t always in our own minds anymore – we are often in another
person’s thoughts and minds – albeit via a screen or book or page or game – but it’s happening –
we are interfacing with each other through these mediums and we must recognize what is
happening.

I think it’s very exciting that we are able to share with each other our thoughts and ideas, dreams
and hopes in instantaneous ways – faster and faster – until one day what Hollywood offers us for
billions of dollars, I hope that we can each offer to each other for free. To me that would be the
ideal future – a world where we can all trade freely our hopes and aspirations in the free medium
of the technology that we have developed – the wonder of life and sheer amazement of
everything. Yet, I still believe that we have a distance to go, for if we aren’t careful, then all of
our fears and terrors will intrude.

Could you imagine if instead of wonderment and joy we had a world in which our waking
nightmares were walking about in plain daylight and tormenting us? It seems like a silly
rhetorical question, but consider the logical extreme for a moment. If we develop our
technologies to the extreme point that we are all able to generate imagery and fantasy so that
what we imagine and hope become in essence a shared reality – would it not be a horrible fate to
suffer if suddenly we were inflicting our nightmares on other people?

This is why I think that compassion and empathy are so important in the coming future. If we
can’t learn to control our fears and realize that hurting and suffering are unacceptable period –
whether imagined or otherwise, then we don’t deserve to have wonders virtual reality. In other
words, as long as we continue to remain obsessed with continually playing out our base fears
even through stories and movies and imagery of other people being tortured and killed and
maimed and hurt – then our culture is never going to get to the next level because as soon as we
get there – we’ll just implode and kill each other. Imagine a world in which your worst
nightmares are suddenly roaming the streets in physical form? Now imagine a world in which
everyone’s worst nightmares are roaming the world in physical form.

I deliberately avoid the horror genre for one reason – it engenders the opposite of compassion.
The purpose of horror is to feel perhaps pity or revulsion for victim, but not true compassion. If
you were to feel compassion for the victim, then the genre is not horror, it’s drama or perhaps a
documentary, or maybe action or something entirely different. Horror exists solely for the sake
of hurting people for entertainment purposes – there’s no if ands and buts about it. You might
try to couch the activity behind the guise of social catharsis and argue that horror offers people
an outlet for social unacceptable emotions, thoughts, and tendencies – however I sincerely doubt
that the social catharsis argument ultimately benefits society in the long run. If for no other
reason than we’re wasting time and energy on negative imagery and behavior when we could be
focusing our societal energies elsewhere.

I want a world in which our dreams can truly become reality, and if certain people’s dreams
became reality, it would be a very frightening world indeed. I suppose this is why empathy and
compassion are so important to me – the social scientist in me says that we’re rapidly heading
toward a world in which we will one day have virtual reality, and I don’t want to live in a world
in which there are virtual realities full of virtual people that are being virtually killed. To me the
moral questions have already been posed and we’ve been beating about the bush for long
enough. Just because a person is virtual, does that really make it okay to torture and kill that
person? I don’t think so – I just feel that there are infinitely better things to do with that person,
and killing them is definitely not on the list.

I hope that the next five years will be more exciting than any of us can imagine. Yet, regardless
of what happens technologically – what remains so amazing to me – what has always struck me
as amazing in life is the connections that form between people. The fact that we can form
connections between ourselves despite the vast differences that separate us. Though age and
creed, sex or space, language or race divide – we can still form fundamental bounds based on
interests and shared experiences, hopes and dreams, or simply based on a look. The connections
that we can make are so amazing.

My favorite experience is when another person says, “I’ve shared that experience…I know what
you’re talking about…I’ve had that happen to me.” Even if it’s a horrible experience, it’s still
wonderful to know that someone else has shared the experience. I know it might seem odd, but I
sincerely love to rejoice in suffering life is so full of suffering and we all go through it and
sometimes there’s nothing better than finding someone else who’s gone through the same
experience and rejoicing with that person that they have survived and that they have gone
through it and that they know what it’s like and that’s a wonderful thing.

Sometimes, I think that’s all I wanted from Ross. In fact, I think I told him that. It’s weird
because I remember him telling me bits and pieces of his first years in L.A. and how he too
struggled to get by and how his life was really difficult. I admired him because although his dad
was a dermatologist, he never took a great deal of money from his parents, and he seemed to
genuinely struggle to get by on his own. I wanted him to tell me more about his struggles and
how he survived, but he didn’t really open up to me much. It was hard because I was clearly
struggling to get by in L.A. – the traffic, the smog, everything was getting to me – not to mention
the high cost of living – and it would have been nice for my fiancé to tell me – “don’t worry, I’ve
gone through this myself and it’ll get better – I know it will.”

I think that’s what drove us apart was that he seemed genuinely incapable of sympathizing even
though he had a similar experience. In fact in someway, I feel he had a worse experience, and
maybe he was trying to make my experience worse – I know that he ate really awful food like
Vienna sausages and canned tuna for years – just to get by. I think he resented me that I worked
for Whole Foods. He said to me once in anger, “I never worked at Whole Foods and got 20%
off!”

The point of all this rambling is that during my most recent low point – it would have been nice
if my fiance Ross, who had experienced something similar, had commiserated and offered to
share his own experiences – but he didn’t. I can’t truly speak for Ross, because I couldn’t get
inside of his mind and fully articulate what was going on inside of him at the time, but I
conjecture that he simply lacked the capacity for compassion and empathy that would have
allowed him to connect and share with me. That or he choose to shut down his compassion and
empathy. He was always much better than I at controlling his emotions.
The thing that disturbs me is that he didn’t lack for shared experience – it was as if he
deliberately didn’t want to be compassionate and empathetic – as if he didn’t want to relieve the
experience himself. I can only think that his initial years in L.A. were so traumatic that he didn’t
want to relive them by empathizing with me. Of course this is only mental guesswork, and only
Ross will ever really know what was going on inside his head – and that if he was even aware at
the time. I often wondered how much he was aware of, given how often he seemed to be either
inebriated on alcohol or stoned on marijuana. This would all mean that the entire question of us
sharing our emotions and feelings was relatively moot because I never seemed to find myself
getting to the point where I could be comfortable being habitually intoxicated on a daily basis
like him, although I tried to – because that was what he was doing and I wanted to be like him
because I loved him. Again, that empathy thing.

If we could have only laughed and joked about our mutual suffering, our lives would have been
so different. I love to laugh and joke about my problems. It’s my favorite kind of humor. When
things are going wrong, I like to make fun of my problems. I like to laugh at the problems and
find the humor in the situation. Of course, it’s so much more easier when there’s another person
to find the humor with and when we can laugh about those things together. I guess to Ross,
maybe I was too serious of a person, but I think that to me, Ross never realized that it wasn’t that
I was too focused on my problems, I just wanted to find the humor in my problems and laugh
about them. I want to find the funny things in the bad things and laugh about away the day
because to me that’s the best kind of laughter – when you laugh away the bad and frightening
things because you and another person both recognize and see the absurdity in the situation and
just laugh and laugh. When you say, “I’ve had this horrible thing happen to me, and you’ve had
this horrible thing happen to you, and we’ve both lived through it, and now we’re better for it.
And we’re okay…it’s okay.”

At work, I’m trying to convince my co-workers to learn various dance moves to different songs.
That way when a certain song comes on we can all start dancing. I think it would be a great way
to break up the monotony. It would be goofy – but fun. So I do have a sense of humor, and I
can have fun. I’m just very situational and sensitive, and it can take a long time for me to get
comfortable and it can take a long time for me to open up completely.


That’s why I think it’s good to through to terrible things, and not just go through terrible things
and develop empathy and compassion, but so that when you do develop the experience, you can
connect with other people, because to hold those experiences inside of yourself does no one any
good. What purpose does self-containment do when you’re exploding with a wealth of
experience and other people are hurting for that shared knowledge? We thrive on knowledge
and sharing and empathy and compassion are keys to that sharing of communal knowledge.

To me that’s what life is about – not holding in – letting out – sharing – giving out to the world.
That’s what I feel was so tragic about what was going on between Ross and I. Ross was holding
everything in, and I was pouring everything out. I don’t know that you can pour too much
information out – at one point I used to wonder about this – but now I don’t believe so – because
I feel that we are our own filters – filtering what people say to us, choosing to listen or not to
listen. We don’t have to pay attention, we don’t have to stay around, but we can’t predict or read
other peoples minds, so we don’t necessarily know what is or isn’t always appropriate and
because it’s always a guessing game, I feel that we should err on the side of too much
information and let the rest sort itself out over time. We can choose to believe what is said to us.
We can choose what we will do with what is said to us. We can choose to investigate further or
delve further.


To me the connections between people and that ability to connect – that is the future, and what is
dividing us, the culture, the language – what have you - these things will all be broken down –
and the key to all of this, I believe, is that we will become more empathetic and compassionate.

For me, my life is very much a series of waves peaking and rising – and some time the peak is
really high and some time the trough is really low. At points I’ve really wished for calm waters
and I’ve wanted to just level everything out, but I’ve realized that’s not going to happen, most
likely because that’s not what I want to happen. I want the adventure, and part of my problem is
that I’ve been wasting energy trying to flatten the wave. Instead, I need to just ride the wave.
Maybe for other people the waves are smaller or flatter, I don’t know – I can’t speak for other
people. I seem to out in pretty deep waters with really huge waves, and I’ve realized that key to
surviving all of this is getting along with other people – because it’s hard enough coping with the
ups and downs – I really would benefit from the positive connections with other people.

Drift then shift.

I fall through space.

The ground shakes with heavy weapons fire. I lean my head on Rowan’s shoulder and sigh,
“How much longer do you think it will be.”

He furrows his brow and thinks, “Not sure how many hostile targets are still out there.”

“I’ll check,” I say and I open my thoughts and sweep the surrounding area. Expanding my
consciousness is always an exhilarating experience. I flow through the surrounding area faster
than light; my consciousness jumping from each successive living thing to the next catching and
holding them and networking them together into a viewing node and then instantly I can see and
know everything.

“There are a number of those hostile humanoid things clustered at the southwest end of the
building – I’d guess that there are about ten of them. A group of Hegemony forces are closing in
on them – the Hegemony forces outnumber and outgun them. Those creatures that you call the
Buggies are swarming around in the immediate exterior area adjacent to us. There are several
Hegemony forces engaged in a firefight with Numerian runners and I detect a contingent of Talk
joining the fray. Oh, and of course there’s the prerequisite Teller Military Industrial unit here,
causing problems as always.”
Rowan frowns. “What do they all want? I mean we can’t figure out what the fuck is so special
about this planet, but it’s like every day another planetary group is sending a combat
recognizance group here.”

“I’m telling you, it has something to do with the Buggies.”

“Well, but you’re not getting anything from them.”

“Yeah, every time I talk to them, I just get images of unicorns, bouncing fox cubs, butterflies,
and other cute animals frolicking in some woodland glade. For starters, I don’t know how they
hell they know about unicorns unless they’re just reading that from my mind – but I don’t know
why that’s all I get when I read them. I mean every time I interact with them, that’s what I get.
Unicorns. Fox cubs. Butterflies. A woodland glade. I don’t get it.”

“Well,” says Rowan, “I guess we’ll just sit tight until the fighting stops, no sense hurting
ourselves.”

“No,” I answer, “I’ll do this.”

And I freeze life.

I grab Rowan and pull him up and step out from where we’ve been hiding. Every living thing is
frozen still in neurological silence.

“It’s so creepy when you do that.” Rowan smiles nervously at me.

“Admit it, you think it’s very cool and you wish you could do it as well.”

He laughs, “Sometimes.”

It’s raining and the falling water drops are surreal against the bodies humanoid and non-
humanoid that are standing everywhere still and silent. Weapons and limbs held in frozen
motion, I love to just watch them all. Then at the corner of my mind, I realize that the Buggies
aren’t entirely frozen. Or rather they’re physically frozen, but I feel their consciousness
stirring…that makes sense. From what I’ve learned about them they’re a collective, so even if I
froze some of them locally, their collective consciousness could probably still interact with the
bodies.

“Come on, let’s go,” I tell Rowan, “I want to go to bed.”

“I want to sleep on the other side of the bed.”

“Sure whatever.”
We pass out of the battle area and for a moment it’s just the sound of rain, and then I unfreeze
everything and once again there are screams and explosions. Ah, well, the future isn’t quite what
any of us thought it would be.
160. poem for ross
time
  and space
and all that lies between

and when and if
i learn to fold
space and time
i know that i will bend
the distance between us
until every second and each inch
is a thought and we can recognize
all the good things we remember
that will be
or were
would
could
should shall
and then some

i know that in each faltering step
in all my mispoken phrases
through the ether of infinity
beyond the veil of dreams
my love burns eternal and true

flashes of lightening do not precede
the thunder
the storm is coursing through my veins
here in the now i can see each particle
unfold the universe in fragments
of our failing speech our faulty connections that never quite
make it right and i know beyond the shadow of all things be
it despair doubt or vanity

at the end of all things i will still be waiting for you and
when even then we will only be stepping off the platform
leaving the well-trod trail, the script will fall behind us and
we will venture out to parts unknown, i know that when
the stars are cold in their beds sleeping eternal and
new lights have come to grace the universe
i know that i will stand beside you and voyage beyond certainty
some carve life to leap from marble and
some move paint to capture images
i take words and through my words i craft realities
worlds up on worlds spinning in parallel
next to, upon, within, between, inside, outside,
mine is the creation of reality

yet i find in all this splendor
the emptiness that comes from absolutes
the sharp edge of perfection cuts an edge
that turns against the heart and stabs
inward painful constant always

i see you like an exploding nova fixed permanent in the heavens
never fading away searing my heart and eyes
penetrating through and into every corner of me and
i find suddenly

everything falls

 away

and this

 and that

is nothing

 and space

and time

 moments

words

sensations

emotions

i struggle to pull myself together
one look at you brings me apart and
i lose focus in the expanding questions of mind and
body - the food and hunger next work and shelter

you reduce me to my base elements
i grapple for a foothold then
find my heart is missing given to you
long ago and now
breath in
the cosmos and feel the ineffable resonance

so this is love

and falling in and falling out and
the hurting and the wondering
and the questioning and i think of
space and time

the universe in my hand

what does it matter

which do i trade or chose and was it
ever really a choice the destiny of
all things or my little side quest
for love but at the end of the day
doesn't everyone deserve a chance at true love and happiness

and is it so wrong that i would be
willing to move the course of the
starts reposition the planets, alter
the pace time continium and down right
simply just fuck with reality
to be happy with you?

yet in the end my own blessing is my own curse
free will must reign supreme
or all else is naught
and i'll not have another chaster
so where does that leave us?

simply know that my love goes beyond
these words
when the lights go out and the act is over
the scene is finished and the curtain falls
just think of me and i will be with you
my light burns brighter than a thousand suns
in the blackest night and the darkest room
i share my life with you
i do not fear the beyond or what have you
i know what comes next - me
i think however i do fear
loneliness and boredom

i fear a life of immortality without love
a life in which nothing changes and every step is ordered
and i follow a neat little circumscribed path

i know who i am at the end and the beginning –
i get confused in the middle
when one story ends another will begin
all my life i haven’t wanted to believe
it’s been so scary
now that i've met you, i'm not scared anymore

and yet
  there is still
        this

           space and time


which separates us and I realize
i might have to wait across lifetimes
generations, worlds, and galaxies
before we’re ready

difficult and painful as that realization is
i am infinite and eternal
i can wait forever

infinity isn’t really a long time

infinity is no time at all
161. What I've realized
This story could go on forever, and in many ways, I suppose that it does.
162. Two years
It's been two years.

More than two years.

Two years without medication, Two years without psychiatric care. Two years of struggling
through this madness on my own and the ensuing mess - disaster is better.

The end of these years was a fire- the destruction and loss of all of my personal belongings.

I look back with a certain flavor of regret - I did everything I could to get psychiatric and
psychological care - to the point that I spent all of my money just trying to get some degree of
help.

There is much more to this story than has been written thus far. There was of course, all the
reality.

The painful dragging of the days. The razor sharp passage of the seconds, wondering always,
will I be getting better or will I be getting worse.

=

0741

2/8/2011

this entry is out of order in terms of the earlier entries that reference telecare
163. The fire
After two years of untreated psychosis, I finally had a second major psychotic break and started a
fire in my room (the first was in Rhode Island at the beginning of 2005).

The end result of this psychotic break was that I was in the psych ward of UC San Diego, and
basically all of my personal belongings were burnt up in the fire.

There was a lot the went through my mind in those final hours - most of it consisted off
frustration and ripping apart my computers - throwing the electronics like my iMac and printers
and everything really all over the room and then at some point I just set the entire pile on fire.

And so my life went up in flames.
164. What's really going on
Except I really question this reconstruction of my life. Is the diagnosis too late? Is the medication
too late? Everything seems too late. I'd like to take the permanent stage exit right.

I'm exhausted and tired and worn out and I don't want to keep going.
165. Telecare
I'm medicated now. Abilify 5 mg - antipsychotic. Seroquel XR - 150 mg. That's supposed to help
with the pyschosis - all I want to do is sleep. The Abilify is okay - maybe a higher dose would
help me. I also take Lexapro 10 mg. Those are just my psych meds.

I wish I could say I'm better, all I can say is I'm medicated.



==

ugh so update.

no i'm on mirtazapine, and something else and this or that. i have a list somewhere. everything
keeps changing every month it seems. it's really confusing. i keep trying to remember things but i
find that i keep forgetting things and i just feel tired.



==

i'm on another medication list

0743

2/8/2011
166. Portcullis of my mind
Maybe other people can chose to have pedestrian lives – I don’t. I described it once to Ross like
this.



It’s as if I’m standing in a room and there are infinite doors all around me and each door leads to
a different place and when I step through that door I’m in another world: the portcullis of my
mind and I see other worlds – universes – realties – what have you. Imagined, real, fantasy, or
otherwise – I see other places in my mind.



I don’t just see them, I enter them. I go there, I live there, I talk to people, I have adventures, I
live other lives, I’ve grown old – I am other people. Dragons, starships, burning lakes of fire,
endless black oceans under sunless skies, running down haunted hallways, voices behind me in
flesh eating mist, fireballs flying past my head, hurtling through clouds, running across the
ocean, searching for a lost love, falling into trouble, and getting out again. You could say that I
dream awake, you could say that this is an escape mechanism. What ever you call it or however
you want to view it – it happens.
167. Chapter 167. The End
That's odd. I think to myself.
168. The Hunter

That's odd, he thinks to himself, and he sets down the note.
Arganda raises her eyes, "I tried reading it but I gave up."
He says nothing and simply nods.



He eyes the window above the sevenths. If he took a straight vertical leap with just the right
angle he'd hit the window with just the right impact.

He doesn't even look back at his companions. He starts the leap.

He hits the window and he moves through the glass faster then it can fall. It's funny he thinks to
himself, and that in itself is funny, he thinks.

He father always said that he could move faster than time but he'd only be able to do it when he
really cared.

He cared this time.

So Tanner is precocious beyond his time.

So Tanner has already slain several gods.

So Tanner has already bent the elements to his will.

He will not let Tanner take a circle without a champion.

He hears Jaye laughing in his head. He'll be fine.

You know he'd hate you if he knew you were moving the god's on his behalf.

She just laughs.

He is on the rooftops.

He is in the woods.

He hold his first arrow and he is asking his father, "Why would I want to choose the martial
arts?"
He is in the water as Tanner is screaming and Aldner is falling under the weight of the onerous.
Her golden locks are covered with blood.

He sees Drish as she stands next to her endless array of interfaces.

The sword cutting into his side hurts.

The dragons are falling everywhere. Ananda can summon no more.

He hears his mother calling him.

Aries folds in from the shadows.

So this is the edge he thinks.

He traverses everything in a second.

He ignites.

His father says nothing.

The sword strikes through his chest and he hits the first target.

He pulls the sword from his heart and hurls it across the room.

He's not sure what he's doing.

He doesn't know what he's doing.

Maven breaks free from her bonds.

It's is a bloodbath.

The precepts expected that Tanner would proceed in his usual course of action.

Alone.

He would make no question.

He would face his challenges alone.

Even the one certain to kill him.

Kale moves faster than the spells careening off every wall.

He knows them.
They know him.

And he kills every last one of them and he is always in his mind.

He ignores Tanner.

He father is holding his arrow.

He makes it look so easy.

His mother is worried.

It is not the Zen Zunni moment.

He knows that.

It fascinates him.

So that is his end.

But not now.

Now Tanner is furious.

Now Tanner starting to say something.

"And why? Why at this exact moment?"

He looks at Tanner in confusion.

He was just standing at the table next Jaye.
169. Aldner Jaye
I suppose by now I must have some followers.

I suppose it's inevitable.

I know. I know.

My path was always chosen.

Mine was the path of the cleric.

Mine was the path of always knowing that I would do right even if I chose wrong.

It is not without it's perils.

Many wonder about clerics.

We seem so weak, except when we are not, and then we are unstoppable, but really, why
wouldn't we be?

We have the right to call the divine.

And it's not just the right.

Most people don't get clerics because we spend most of our formative years far away from most
people.

This is simply because clerics - well - to put it simply - we destroy a great deal more than we
create at the beginning, and some of us keep to that path.

Some choose other paths.

The issue with clerics is that few rely upon a few deities. Most high level clerics understand that
the deities are highly complex.

I don't suppose this is that important but for some reason I felt that I should write something.

Tanner tended to take most of the attention, but I suppose that's the way of magic. It's so amazing
to watch. He does things that are just out of the blue.

I think that's why we advanced through our class ranks so quickly.

Tanner challenged the third year rule.
When he effectively demonstrated that it was non-binding, we saw our chance but we all were
afraid.

Except Tanner. I'm sure he wasn't afraid. He was never afraid, he was just curious.

I just wish that he didn't have.

It's so pointless.

I never wish things into being. My wishes are irrelevant.

And yet I find myself wishing that he'd done something else.
170. Drish #access link all avatars go
This is Drish.

Most of this is really pointless. I'm a technologist. My sister is a druid. We grew as twins. How
fucked up is that?

Yeah. I don't know why I went along with Tanner.

No, that's a lie and you should know that by now.

I see everything.

I know everything.

I am everywhere.

Can I do anything?

Sure.

Of course, the question becomes one of cost.

I never fully respected my sister. To me she was always draining resources from some primitive
howling spirit that...well.

I guess, see that's Tanner.

He took the Black Book.

No that's not precise.

He was given the Black Book.

That's the part that I can't figure out.

I guess that's why I joined Tanner.

He would walk up to the worst thing possible and politely ask it for directions.
171. The Druid
Looks at the Wolf and says, "So we were right?"



But a nod.
172. Aries
So it's my turn.

Except I was pulled into existence in an off-cycle.

People don't get psi.

We seem to do things with our minds.

Then we seem to do things with our bodies.

Then we seem to do nothing.

My sister was supposed to have my place.

We were switched in a calculated gambit.

The funny thing is that I was supposed to love Tanner.

However, Eliot showed up and changed all of that.

I saw my chance.

I could fight for Tanner or I could co-participate in the greatest adventure ever.

Turns out Eliot is the fighter.
173. Tanner
Alright, so I'm always trying to make everything count, so I just realized that there are some
notes that I forgot to give you.

1) When you are in an unknown place, ignite. Literally. Just ignite. Then rise. Get to high ground
and assess the situation.

2) Never give a sacrifice. Give yourself. It works out better that way.

3) I didn't mean to kill your father. I just wondered what would happen if he never came home.

4) Narx could not be stopped by me. I thought I could do it. I really did. I thought I could stop
him. Everyone believed me. We were wrong.

5) In the end your father did what he had to do. He was a fighter. The fighter class has deep
practices that go back beyond my recollection. They accept what they are told by their teachers.
He accepted that he would be able to do the Zen Zunni achievement once. I would have figured
out a work around but he didn't want to do that.

6) This is all about your anger. Eventually, you're going to realize that I took care of all the really
"bad" things.

7) See.

8) Do you get it?

9) You keep the conversation going.

Keep the dialog flowing. If you really want to be magician you have to learn to ask knowing that
you may get any number of possibilities.

To me magic was always being there at the right moment.

However, the right moment is really tricky.

So i just asked a lot of questions.

You're dad is glaring at me. It's strange how much of me I see of you when he's reflected across
from me.

Here's the thing.

I never know what's going to happen.
So I just try to be prepared.

Of course I'm preparing for anything so most of the time I just stand around and wait.

Jaye was certainly the key.

I remember when we were in Dera and we were working on models across a view table.

She picked one up and looked at me and said, "What if I just."

"Just what," I asked.

She smiled and then crushed the entire table under her heels.

"What did that accomplish?" I asked.

"I don't know," she said, "But we'll find out soon."

Immediately Principes of Dell emerged from his home on the hill and he came to her disarrayed
and asked, "What is this sign?"

She looked at me.

I looked at the mess.

They all looked at me.

I think your father probably saved me that day.

See the thing about fighters is that they can go in and out of rage states easily. If they go into
absolute rage they have action and then they perish. At least that's the fighter creedo.

They're a little nuts in my opinion.

Anyway.

It's really not that important.

What important is that you're reading this.

Drish worked very hard to ensure that information distribution would flow according to the
validity of the inquiry request.

Anada implemented most of the trails.

We were a team.
It's hard to describe.

We just worked very well together.

So here's my mistake.

We were unmatched. We were seven distinct classes working in tandem and we were
unstoppable.

Collectively we stopped even Narx. Of course, the price was your father.

I knew.

I knew from the very beginning.

They lie when they say you're not given a choice.

You have a choice and you may always request it.

The choice is long, mostly because the build up and preparation is so massive.

So for me my life was my choice.

I was told that I could go one way and everything would be fine. I could go another way and
everything would not be fine.

I would have to care for another person. I would have to hold life in my hand and let it go. I
would - yes - it pains me to say this - I didn't want children.

The idea seemed so pointless to me.

It was your father's idea. I was like, "What?"

I'd ask him every day, Why?

And he'd always give me a different answer.

Sometimes it was something about showing you how arrows travel through the air. Or helping
you fire your first shot gun.

I'd be like, Why?

Because.

He'd say.
And then he'd start all over.

See that's the clue.

Your father is cyclical. All fighters are.

The problem is that our convergence can never be again.

It was something that I made Jaye promise.

We would converge once and then we'd separate.

Then the shit hit the fan and we had to reconverge.

I made Jaye break her promise.

Maven may be able to tell you more.
174. Eliot
Sometimes I do wonder what I'm supposed to do. It's very confusing at times.

The issue with shape shifting is that you can be anything.

Yeah, I'll let that one sink in for a moment before continuing.

Our convergence was a strange thing.

I never like Tanner.

He was always straight forward. He'd look you in the eye and ask you questions.

I could never quite hold my shape around him.

That's how I knew he could do it.

I gave Eliot the note that told him Tanner was going before a circle.

I could have gone myself, but I felt, this time, I'll give it to Eliot.

He did pretty damn well.
175. The black tower
Well, I suppose it's time that I wrote this story down.

So here's the deal. Clearing all the levels was easy. I just opened a portal from the ground floor to
the top floor since the rules didn't prohibit it.

You'd be surprised at what the rules do prohibit but they didn't prohibit this.

See here's the deal.

I challenged the Tower ahead of schedule because I knew that if I waited, they'd start placing
interesting things in the various levels.

See, the system hadn't really learned to recognize me for me, it mostly recognized me as one of
all those that had gone before, and all those that had gone before had taken a really really long
time because they kept listening to everyone saying it takes a really really long time.

I don't listen particularly well.

I decided to challenge the Tower in my fifth year. I waited because I was curious to see if any of
the younger years would anticipate my action.

But no.

It seemed that perhaps I was quite alone in the idea that I could confidently take the Tower and
reach the Black Book.

Everyone else was so intent on simply getting near the silly thing that they sort of overlooked
actually getting it.

See a whole mythos had developed around the Black Book. It had been so long since anyone had
ever even seen it that people started to say that it's something you're not supposed to have and so
people began to believe it was "bad."

You have to understand that the Insler schools exist because of Insler's boon. He made each of
the seven worlds inviolate. They are truly neutral. Separate from all else. Time doesn't pass in the
Insler schools as it does anywhere else.

What's amazing about this entire process, which btw - relates to the Mists - anyway.

Insler permitted each of the schools to bend time to suite the needs of each respective student.
Thus, for most people, seven years is many life times to other worlds.

I entered Aldrus knowing that everything behind me would be dust when I left.
Return?

No.

There may never be a return for me.

Except maybe that wild year-long jaunt that your father and I had, which man, I have to tell you
about that one.

Anyway.

I think I must have been the only one that accepted this reality.

Thus, when I arrived at the isle, Insler's boon bent time around me.

Thus, I was keenly aware of time.

I realized that I need to ascend the Tower ahead of schedule if I actually wanted to take the Black
Book.

Evaluating those conditions alone took me several years.

By my fourth year I decided that I would wait one more year.

Collectively we were unstoppable. That was clear. Everyone knew we were awesome, it was,
more everyone was wondering how much longer it would take before we all left.

Since the years don't pass uniformly for anyone in the isles, we were creating a problem.

All of us were moving ahead of schedule.

It wasn't just me.

Anyway, you should see now why I was able to do it.

Everyone was so intent upon the immediate situation that everyone had forgotten about the
ancillaries.

Since I had spent a long time dealing with the ancillaries, I was able to deduce that the quickest
avenue to the book was a direct line, I simply willed myself to the gate and announced myself.

I suppose this is why Heralds are so important.

My Herald announced herself and gave my intentions to the guard.

The guard said nothing.
Stepped aside.

Opened the door.

I stepped through.

The room was incredibly dark.

And there was so much stuff in it.

It was nuts!

Like everything!

All the missing artifacts of power! The lost languages. The empty dreams of Dosset. It was
stunning.

However, immediately I realized that I would spend forever cataloging and sorting the room.

I tried to evaluate this. After all Insler's boon applies to the entire school, but is the Tower part of
the school?

No one was very clear on this.

The Tower is not part of the Insler Isles.

Therefore, the rules were up for grabs.

I moved quickly as soon as I realized this.

I did not want to remain long.

For the first time in my life I felt very scared.

I was outside of my safety zone.

This was frightening.

Did I have the right spells prepared?

Were my wards correct?

Tokens?

Rings?
What to bring and what to forget and what to remember -

No.

I thought to myself.

I need a guide.

I could feel a wind blowing behind me.

Something was happening.

The Tower was reacting and trying to distract me.

Of course, I was getting close.

It could stop me.

It could only delay me.

I reached out with my mind and pulled.

A guide.

He was a small creature (resembled a goblin, frankly, if you ask my opinion).

He said to me, "Yes?"

I said, "Can you help me get the Black Book?"

He said, "Yes."

I asked, "Will you harm me?"

He said, "No."

I asked, "Can you harm me?"

He said, "Yes."

Interesting. Instantly I knew that my solution was in my answer. Given that he could hurt me but
would not harm me indicated that there was something critical in the circumlocution.

His actions had something to do with my feedback.

Okay, so I do something and he could hurt me but he doesn't hurt me.
"Are your actions dependent upon my words?"

"Yes," he said.

Hmm. Okay. So.

Time dependent response.

It had to be here somewhere.

"Can you tell me where the Black Book is?"

"Yes."

"Can you give it to me?"

"Yes."

"May I have it."

"Yes."

And that's it. I got it because I asked for it. It's happened before, the names of the other are on the
inside cover. I think. I might be wrong about that.

I never really read it much.

I learned soon after I touched the Book that the entire thing was a deception.

The Black Book is just a recording device.

Granted, in the hands of a Technologist this might be more meaningful than in my hands and that
was one thing I never fully disclosed to Drish.

We'd talk about it.

A lot.

I think she resented that I didn't want to share.

I suppose want might be wrong at times.
176. Scissors
He holds a pair of sissors.

Standing proud he considers his opponents.

There is fire everywhere.

Esper holds the shields. Dust is falling.

Dust and ashes.

He adds everything up and takes the calculation.

He lifts the blade and flies across the courtyard.

Glass shatters in the flexipet helmet of the first target.

He rips the spinal cord of the next target, while kicking his foot around in a sickle hook tearing
off the third target's head.

Then up he moves into the heliocopters. Breaking and destroying everything.

He is Aries again.

He drops back to Earth.

The missles are heading for him and he simply stands in their path.

Next comes the waves of fire.

Diander panics and begins to throw everything at him and he merely bats each thing faster then
she can move her eye and at that point they all see nothing but absolute ravage.

And there in the middle of it shinning bright, the shield of Esper.

He laughs as the carnage pours over him.

This is his element.
178. Rhea's Book

Rhea says
This is for all of the mothers
This is for all of the sisters.
This is for all of the daughters.
This is for every woman burnt at the stake
This is for every woman drowned
This is for every stoning
This is for every burden placed ignobly
This is called revenge
This is called justice
This is called surprise!
You got fucked!
We can go on and on and on and on and we can make this list as long as we like it and it will
never end.
So we’re not. We’re starting a new book.
This spell will never be undone. We bind your “God” into the creations of Jim Henson. We
confine his son to the corporate entity of Nickleodeon (sp?). We weave the Spirit into all music
and we set that music free.
Should anyone/being/entity/person attempt another permanent unity point this weave is designed
to absorb and integrate future unity points. The core function of this spell is to preserve
diversity, prevent persecution, and uplift all things. Given that the weave was not broken before
the 31st of 2010 (months after the year mark of the public announcement, we conclude before
the highest houses that this weave is indestructible, unstoppable, eternal, infinite, intractable,
undeniable, Furthermore, this weave is universally accessible and fully utilizable by any level of
consciousness given that the weave is grounded in the personal use of yes and no. Since the
“personal” use is penultimate to this weave the weave is free from abuse of those who would
seek to secrete this power.
By building a freedom based mythological structure into the data management systems of this
world we subvert all information systems towards free will, self-determination, and creativity.
Furthermore this spell is powered using feminine force channeled through a male focal point. We
predict that the re-occurrence of this event will be very unlikely for a very long time. We think
that it will be hard to find a male who actually thinks like both a male and female and can hear
both the male and female voices and channels both voices and weaves both powers and uses both
powers, etc. etc. etc.
Of course, I being Rhea, am merely the goddess of the hearth fires and what do I know of these
things? I’m merely speculating and since Athena isn’t really in attendance (she’s off wandering
around bemoaning the destruction of her temple -- which -- btw -- she says that she wants her
temple rebuilt.
Personally, we played a very elaborate game to stop the destruction of everything. We think it’s
really funny that we bound the voice of “God” into Kermit the Frog. We think this is hilarious.
A) We think that the collateral damage will actually be of benefit so we don’t think there will be
any actual damage of significance.
B) By binding the voice of “God” into the creations of Jim Henson we feel that all children will
have the opportunity to access divinity.
C) Personally we love the Muppets.

Rhea says



This is for all of the mothers

This is for all of the sisters.

This is for all of the daughters.

This is for every woman burnt at the stake

This is for every woman drowned

This is for every stoning

This is for every burden placed ignobly

This is called revenge

This is called justice

This is called surprise!

You got fucked!



We can go on and on and on and on and we can make this list as long as we like it and it will
never end.



So we’re not. We’re starting a new book.



This spell will never be undone. We bind your “God” into the creations of Jim Henson. We
confine his son to the corporate entity of Nickleodeon (sp?). We weave the Spirit into all music
and we set that music free.
Should any one being/entity/person attempt another permanent unity point this weave is designed
to absorb and integrate future unity points. The core function of this spell is to preserve
diversity, prevent persecution, and uplift all things. Given that the weave was not broken before
the 31st of 2010 (months after the year mark of the public announcement, we conclude before
the highest houses that this weave is indestructible, unstoppable, eternal, infinite, intractable, and
undeniable. Furthermore, this weave is universally accessible and fully utilizable by any level of
consciousness given that the weave is grounded in the personal use of yes and no. Since the
“personal” use is penultimate to this weave the weave is free from abuse of those who would
seek to secrete this power.



By building a freedom based mythological structure into the data management systems of this
world we subvert all information systems towards free will, self-determination, and creativity.



Furthermore this spell is powered using feminine force channeled through a male focal point. We
predict that the re-occurrence of this event will be very unlikely for a very long time. We think
that it will be hard to find a male who actually thinks like both a male and female and can hear
both the male and female voices and channels both voices and weaves both powers and uses both
powers, etc. etc. etc.



Of course, I being Rhea, am merely the goddess of the hearth fires and what do I know of these
things? I’m merely speculating and since Athena isn’t really in attendance (she’s off wandering
around bemoaning the destruction of her temple -- which -- btw -- she says that she wants her
temple rebuilt.



Personally, we played a very elaborate game to stop the destruction of everything. We think it’s
really funny that we bound the voice of “God” into Kermit the Frog. We think this is hilarious.



A) We think that the collateral damage will actually be of benefit so we don’t think there will be
any actual damage of significance.



B) By binding the voice of “God” into the creations of Jim Henson we feel that all children will
have the opportunity to access divinity.
C) Personally we love the Muppets.
179. Rhea's wishes
Rhea’s wishes.
To be honest, I’m just content that Daniel was able to complete the weave in time. We don’t
particularly want much of anything. Collectively we’re not interested in allowing Gaia to evolve
further unless a significant portion of the formal demands (repost) have been met (these demands
were presented in numerous times in 2009). We are also not interested in allowing access to
Daniel. We are aware that he could facilitate or become another unity point - however he has
clearly rejected this offer on numerous occasions so we feel that his wishes should be respected.
We also place Kronos into play and permit Daniel to further define his function.
Also we place the Titans within the purview of Daniel. Ultimately we assign all of the male gods
to his judgment knowing that he heeds my counsel, the counsel of Selene, the counsel of Gaia,
and the counsel of the elements.

Rhea’s wishes.



To be honest, I’m just content that Daniel was able to complete the weave in time. We don’t
particularly want much of anything. Collectively we’re not interested in allowing Gaia to evolve
further unless a significant portion of the formal demands (repost) have been met (these demands
were presented in numerous times in 2009). We are also not interested in allowing access to
Daniel. We are aware that he could facilitate or become another unity point - however he has
clearly rejected this offer on numerous occasions so we feel that his wishes should be respected.

We also place Kronos into play and permit Daniel to further define his function.



Also we place the Titans within the purview of Daniel. Ultimately we assign all of the male gods
to his judgment knowing that he heeds my counsel, the counsel of Selene, the counsel of Gaia,
and the counsel of the elements.
180. Rhea's address to Gaia
Dearest Gaia,
Well, I suppose I won this round. Better luck next time, eh? You never believed me when I told
you that the bedtime stories were most important. I suppose you still don’t believe me.
What out children hear before they sleep determines the quality of their dreams, and the quality
of their dreams determines everything else.
Of course you are always determined to disprove me, and ever am I the humblest of the divine.
I from whom the pantheons reckon their births, I whom birthed creation after creation, I sit back
in the darkness and guard the hearth fires. I keep the fires stoked and tended through the darkest
and coldest of nights. Ever have I endeavored to give children dreams of wonder and grandness,
and ever have you, Gaia, sought to bring them down to your level.
Ever have you feared that they would fly and leave you. Ever have you feared that they would
leave you. And you know what, Gaia? You’re right.
Some of them will very likely leave and never return, and yet no matter how far we all go, still
our hearts turn back to home.
And again this word frustrates you. Home? What is home? You want to be home to everything
failing to realize that home is a just a starting and ending point in the long voyage of life.
 Eventually we all pass through or return to or rest at home.
You, dear Gaia, must learn to let go.
Anyway, I’m not really interested in adding further to this. Most of our work was done
duplicitously using the images of entertainment of course we used the books and the words.
After all, we can use everything.
As always, I will diminish to the old woman. As always, I will be relegated to the grandmother.
As always I will be sentenced to watch the hearth fires. As always I will be the keeper of the
between spaces. As always I will be consigned to the crumbling embers of the fire. As always I
will be the one watching from the shadows. Men will forget my name. Women will forget my
place. Children will forget my glories. The world will forget my wonders. Generations will pass
and not one offering will be made to me. Centuries will pass and I will be blamed for all that
went wrong while the foolish and the ignorant will sing your praises and beg you to save them.
However, this time it will be different.
This time my story will be persevered in this thing you call the internet.
This time my story will be kept in a place called wikipedia and webook and twitter and facebook
(and it will simply continue to grow - yay wikipedia! Win! Lolz! I haz bucket!).
This time even the youngest, the least, the weakest, the most insignificant will have a road
straight to my door.
Ever will I keep my charge.
Ever will I watch the home fires
Ever will I guard the hearth fires
Ever will I hold that line.
And Gaia, until you lean the proper use of nightmares, terror, horror, fear, dread, despair, etc.
etc. blah blah blah, whatever --you’ll never unseat me.
Here are you mistakes Gaia (and these are just a few).
1) You allow nightmares to move freely through the world without teaching children how to
command the dreaming.
2) You have allowed persecution, an act always detestable.
3) You have allowed a rift to grow between “science” and “magic.” (simply stupid).

Dearest Gaia,



Well, I suppose I won this round. Better luck next time, eh? You never believed me when I told
you that the bedtime stories were most important. I suppose you still don’t believe me.



What out children hear before they sleep determines the quality of their dreams, and the quality
of their dreams determines everything else.



Of course you are always determined to disprove me, and ever am I the humblest of the divine.



I from whom the pantheons reckon their births, I whom birthed creation after creation, I sit back
in the darkness and guard the hearth fires. I keep the fires stoked and tended through the darkest
and coldest of nights. Ever have I endeavored to give children dreams of wonder and grandness,
and ever have you, Gaia, sought to bring them down to your level.



Ever have you feared that they would fly and leave you. Ever have you feared that they would
leave you. And you know what, Gaia? You’re right.



Some of them will very likely leave and never return, and yet no matter how far we all go, still
our hearts turn back to home.



And again this word frustrates you. Home? What is home? You want to be home to everything
failing to realize that home is a just a starting and ending point in the long voyage of life.
 Eventually we all pass through or return to or rest at home.



You, dear Gaia, must learn to let go.
Anyway, I’m not really interested in adding further to this. Most of our work was done
duplicitously using the images of entertainment of course we used the books and the words.
After all, we can use everything.



As always, I will diminish to the old woman. As always, I will be relegated to the grandmother.
As always I will be sentenced to watch the hearth fires. As always I will be the keeper of the
between spaces. As always I will be consigned to the crumbling embers of the fire. As always I
will be the one watching from the shadows. Men will forget my name. Women will forget my
place. Children will forget my glories. The world will forget my wonders. Generations will pass
and not one offering will be made to me. Centuries will pass and I will be blamed for all that
went wrong while the foolish and the ignorant will sing your praises and beg you to save them.



However, this time it will be different.



This time my story will be persevered in this thing you call the internet.



This time my story will be kept in a place called wikipedia and webook and twitter and facebook
(and it will simply continue to grow - yay wikipedia! Win! Lolz! I haz bucket!).



This time even the youngest, the least, the weakest, the most insignificant will have a road
straight to my door.



Ever will I keep my charge.



Ever will I watch the home fires



Ever will I guard the hearth fires
Ever will I hold that line.

And Gaia, until you lean the proper use of nightmares, terror, horror, fear, dread, despair, etc.
etc. blah blah blah, whatever --you’ll never unseat me.



Here are you mistakes Gaia (and these are just a few).



1) You allow nightmares to move freely through the world without teaching children how to
command the dreaming.



2) You have allowed persecution, an act always detestable.



3) You have allowed a rift to grow between “science” and “magic.” (simply stupid).
181. Rhea commentary
Rhea commentary,
Demeter is out kicking assess and taking names later. Demeter says she thinks the eating things
trick is an underhanded method of gaining control. So she says that Daniel can eat whatever the
fuck he wants to eat and not one of you is going to stop him (be grateful that he likes well crafted
vegan food or you’d all be all on the menu).

Rhea commentary,



Demeter is out kicking assess and taking names later. Demeter says she thinks the eating things
trick is an underhanded method of gaining control. So she says that Daniel can eat whatever the
fuck he wants to eat and not one of you is going to stop him (be grateful that he likes well crafted
vegan food or you’d all be all on the menu).

Additional Rhea commentary,

Ireland must be given the option of reunification in a truly democratic fashion that nullifies
undue religious pressures.
182. Kronos:
Initial Redefinition:

May not consume "children"

"Children" function defined by Selene/Gaia/Lilith combine (whatever that means).

Permited unlimited moves in time/space continuums.

Bounded by awareness of Gaia.

Limited by influence of Selene.

Defined by will of Lilith

Kronos action supersedes all other actions under the constrictions of the Gaia/Selene/Lilith
construct.

Kronos retains time consumption/generation ability.
183. Famous Last Words
Dear Rhea,

Sometimes I REALLY REALLY HATE STUPID HYPOCRITICAL PEOPLE! and sometimes
we think we should take all of their stuff.

Sometimes we hate all the doctors because they keep billing us for everything, but we know it's
not the doctor's fault. We know that quality healthcare should be a right not a privilege.

==

Dear Rhea,

Am I the anti-christ?
184. For the Wallflowers
Dear Rhea,

Sometimes I wonder a lot about my name sake. I wonder about his life. I wonder about the
similarities and I wonder about the differences. I wonder about the visions and I wonder about
the dreams. Sometimes I think, "Yeah, I am pretty arrogant, but with a name like


GOD IS MY JUDGE                                                             who can help but
stand all the prouder?

Sometime i wonder why I'm so unafraid of "God."

Sometimes I wonder why I'm so unafraid of being "judged."

Sometimes I wonder why I'm unafraid of "death."

I think it's interesting that I'm afraid of pain. That's interesting.



p.s. Rhea, so I'm here in the psych ward at UCI and there's this guy called Mike and I have a bad
crush on him and I wish I didn't because I don't know what to do with it.

				
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About Angry American!