Author Archive: treyjackson
Here they go…
Overall, I was happy with the progress I made this year, and it gives me ideas of what I need to improve on next. This has become like a final exam, a benchmark for what I can do in a couple hours a day over 30 days.
The Secret at the Center of Everything. It is both the dwelling place and the in-dweller. Simultaneously occupying all points in Unknown space. Carved out of dark matters. Bejeweled in souls. Synchronicity its cornerstone. It is always there but never found. The world is something can never be grasped, never be known, its foundations are illusory, but the temple — the hidden temple – resists entropy, dynamically becomes both the foundation and the structure upon it, a huge ever-growing pulsating brain that rules from the center of the Ultraworld. The world they have not told you about, that whispers in your ear at night, just before you go to sleep.
Where geometry is character. Position is personality. Density is destiny.
Here, Molly Megaton is remembered as the greatest of Space Generals. King Lonesome is always singing “Justine”. It whispers the future to Hoshimaru; it is the home of the real person Phone Tree Woman desperately seeks and will never find. It drives Old Man Clock Killer to search for justice; it lives in the advanced soul of General Mister Whiskerkins. It’s the new thing that awakens the Petrikin, and the source of the strange star-stone that gave Sacco Hammers his powers. It is the cradle of Edam Pu Eman, and the grave of the Man of Sorrows. It’s what John Triggerman dreams in the day; the White Devil‘s elusive Big Score that stays just out of reach. To Lumumba Sagan, it is communication frozen in space, eternal. It’s where Genzy looks when reading the Akashic Record, the memory of all the People of Earth; yet it holds no sustenance for the Hype Eater, coalesces into no style that can be bitten by Swagger Jackson.
Here, Ta’aru loses its disquiet, cooing as it sleeps behind the Hidden Temple’s eyes. The Mapper is sketching its contours in his notebook, in the spaces between his drawings, it’s dawning on him. It’s John Henry‘s crucible, continually re-spawning him for his endless crusade. It is the gateway to Ekthuul the Raiser‘s coveted ‘Steady State’. The origin point of Rosebud Juarez‘s magical wound. Here, the unutterably ancient creators of the Ambassador Engine find their rest, at last. The code for sax-13‘s ‘x module’ lives here, and breathes, together with the forgotten persona of Gloria Vaines.
The 93rd wanders here, in conversation with his Holy Guardian Angel, unaware he passes in the presence of The Legendary‘s Book of Rhymes, where Skyclad’s hometown of Black Rock City lives the other 51 weeks of the year. It is Jen Prime‘s elusive concrete evidence of the Subjective. It is the one place Eschaton can never go, for it has no end.
Haven’t you seen it? It’s here, right now, even in this very room. You’re looking right at it.
It is thinking of you. It is thinking you. It is you, thinking.
The idols inside are carved with your face, your real face, the one from before you were born. Don’t you remember?
Genzy Maskoon Saudade is the President of People in a future where earthlings are nearly extinct. She’s the president of the Networked Nations, a federation of all living things from Earth – ‘raw’ humans, animals, AI, robots, virtual constructs, that all fall under the category of ‘people’ – whether they still live on the Planetary Preserve or are part of the Diaspora. Her inheritance as ruler of earth is her access to the Akashic Record, the memory of all the People of Earth throughout history.Unfortunately, that inheritance no longer includes what natural resources are left on Earth (all preserved now, by universal edict), so she uses her presidency to hustle jobs and deals that make life better for the scattered Earthlings.
Like any cosmopolitan traveler of the day, she travels with an enhanced cephalopod diplomat, named Bacha. As the commander-in-chief of People, she’s protected by a sentient flying drone called the Baraka Bomber, that attacks her enemies with doses of weaponized compassion. The letters P.O.P. that she has stenciled on her jumpsuit stand for her official title, ”President of People.”
Maskoon is Arabic for ‘haunted’ but literally means ‘lived-in’. This is a family name for the President of People adopted in the 30th Century, when more people had left an increasingly deserted, haunted Earth for the stars than had chosen to remain on the home planet.
Saudade is a Portuguese word that describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return. It has also been described as the duality of envisioning, before you should, a future swamped with nostalgia. Adopted as a family name for the President in the 25th Century, in anticipation that Earth would eventually be turned into a Planetary Preserve, unable to sustain the lives of its many varied inhabitants.
A rider on a quest to create a working map of the Transit system, for his own edification and the betterment of other travelers.
You have seen the Mapper, if you have ever taken public transit or even hung out near a bus stop. A little bit sketchy-looking, lost in his own world, constantly scribbling in his notebook, pausing occasionally to work something out, bobbing his head minutely to the silent output of his oversized studio quality headphones. He’s never even looked in your direction once. Music and mapping are the fundamental building blocks of his world. Everything else is ephemera.
[co-created with Ken Barnes]
Ghost ecologist. Spirit hunter. Will help your relatives’ souls to rest for a modest fee. To fund her research, you understand. She shakes her head. You clearly don’t understand.
Former anthropology student and sometime librarian, raised by her curandera grandmother. When she was 15, she sustained a wound trying to stop a fight. Instead of healing normally, it turned out to be a conduit to an otherworldly source of power. She tried to hide it, but her abuela found out and sent her to learn with some strange folks known only as Los que Saben (Those Who Know). Has been known to cross paths with Circus Proxima. A fan of King Lonesome.
“The dead are all around us. they have their own culture, society, and — most importantly — their own ecology. It must be managed. I have studied how to do this. the balance must be held, and I can make it so.”
In the future, and in the past, in both outer space and inner, Vaine Glorious (Thee Notorious) travels with Circus Proxima as a stage magician, gryphon tamer, starship mechanic, acrobat, thief, and the most feared punk pyrate ever to sail the Golden Galleon. And that’s just what she’s willing to tell you about. Hers is a story that never quite adds up, a face that never resolves…
What is Circus Proxima? It’s a secret circus traveling the endless Road. It’s the Caravan disappearing over the horizon, a Pirate Utopia on wheels. It’s as old as cities, but it hasn’t been created yet. Through circomancy –divination via acrobatics, performance, and art– they map the Immediate to prepare you for what’s next. You can’t buy tickets, you can’t search for it online, you can’t catch it at Vegas. You can only find yourself there, when you’re at your wit’s end, wondering what’s next. When you’ve forgotten what glory looks like, when your secrets have deserted you, when you’ve stayed in the lines they drew around you because you can no longer imagine anything else, you might get a ticket to see her perform. Vaine Glorious (Thee Notorious) will transform and amaze you, and make all things plain.
There’s not much left of the person called Gloria Vaines – that sad sack seems to have vanished entirely from the known universe. Vaine Glorious would have it no other way.
sax-13 is a Station Agent X Module, just a guy (or robot) trying to do his job, which is making sure that everyone follows the mindless bureaucratic rules of conduct that are operative in public places like the Transit system.
He is likely to show up along certain lines of the Transit system that intersect with worlds whose inhabitants remain largely unaware that it even exists. Known for their inflexibility, the x module has more extensive protocols and subroutines for dealing with the unexpected. That doesn’t mean it likes any deviation from the norm. It doesn’t. At all.
[Co-created with Ken Barnes]
THE AMBASSADOR ENGINE is, at this very moment, bulldozing between universes to prepare the way for its highly advanced creators, equipped with the sweet poetry of the 10,000 true languages (thanks to its Myriad OS - set to the factory default ‘consciousness’). Shh! That’s not wind, or power lines, or your heartbeat. Listen!
Grail. We are here, showered in roses, on tank treads made of gold. Grail. The multiple in one. We come in peace. These are the immutable laws of the most high, to elevate you. Speak, once, into the fire. We come upon wings like angels. Bearing flags of peace. Flags of victory. Floating upon a lotus, as do the most wise. Hands folded in silence. Eyes wide in praise. We speak your language. We can get it for you wholesale. You shall not surely die. Oh, the places we’ll go! The things we can show you! Revelation. We are the myriad. We are the ten thousand things. We are legion, and we want to be your friend. But you can’t tell the others. We will treat you with candy, and enlighten you with secrets.Grail. The answer to the riddle is us.
A sphinx-like monstrosity, the Engine was set in motion by an impossibly advanced civilization a few universes ago — but after they vanished, the Ambassador Engine was so well-constructed that it’s kept going, using a proprietary mix of diplomacy, intimidation, gifts, disease, and mind-breaking feats of reality rewiring to ‘prepare’ beings to receive its absent masters, whatever the cost. It is the source of countless myths and religions, seeding them into your heads to prepare you for gods and masters that will never come. No one who is aware of it has figured out how to stop its mission of mercy — so far, the only thing you can do to minimize the memetic damage is to redirect it to the poor saps over in the reality next door.
“Who knows,” you say, “Maybe they’ll like it well enough over there.”
But not in your backyard, eh? You bastard.
Efren Garifuna Ordoñez. A quiet, simply dressed, weird-looking guy. He’s the end of time, the last days, the final, heaven-like stage of history… whenever an Unveiling is about to happen, you’ll start seeing him in the back of the crowd, in the corner of the room at all tomorrow’s parties, peering anxiously in the background of scenes on your television.
And then one day Eschaton steps out from the crowd, almost sheepish, and says those four hushed words, that turn all our works to dust, and leaves ashes in the mouths of the mighty.
“That’s it. It’s over.”
Lumumba Sagan. Native of the Planetarium-City of Altered Brazzaville, he forsook medicine to become a wandering fighter. He looks like a Congo dandy gentleman, fights like Bruce Lee. A former finalist in the Gangster Island Rumble, ally of the Altercationist, a fighter, a tailor, a scholar. Everything is communication – dressing, fighting, speaking. “Losing a fight is simply and only a failure of communication”.
Ta’aru the Disquiet – also known as Ta’aru of the Moon, to those few ancient wise women and men who knew of its existence. This discarnate entity hides behind the moon when it enters our world. Have you ever looked at the moon at night and thought, for just a moment, that it seemed flat? That’s when Ta’aru is hiding behind it, distorting its true shape. So named because it is almost certainly the origin of that nagging feeling that the world has not always been this way, that it’s constructed, and it could be constructed better.
Not content with emanating its truth throughout the universe, Ta’aru generates and then sends out pods, feelers of genetic material incubated on planets that are destroyed upon their launch. The pod lands on a planet, assembles itself to resemble an infant or larval state, then grows into a freethinking, troublemaking superhuman with the potential to destroy or remake the world around them. Legendary, Skyclad, The 93rd, and Jen Prime are four examples.
The pod containing abstract creation material (we would probably refer to it as “genetic”) shot off into space, its planet of launch destroyed as per the Protocols of Ta’aru. Rather than a kingdom of black magicians, however, the pod landed just outside of the fabled Cloning Centers of Wollstonecraft, in the kingdom of Hypatia. The material assembled itself into an infant and was found by a couple of scientists, who saw this event as a beautifully improbable statistical anomaly and adopted the infant as their own.
Jen Prime is Champion of the kingdom of Hypatia, an all-female science-centric country where women reproduce via artificial parthenogenesis using clones and in vitro fertilization. She’s from the parish of Wollstonecraft, known for its work advancing genetic engineering. She’s the kingdom’s five-time Science Throwdown Champ, and is perhaps a little too proud of her hometown and her achievements. She’s also proud of her Maori heritage (via one of her mothers) and wears the moko, or facial tattoo as part of that lineage.
She possesses the usual powers of a Champion of Ta’aru: flight, superhuman strength and durability, heightened senses, an inquisitive, activist nature, and the ability to focus her chi into energy that can be projected. Her ‘Special’ is the ability to perceive and analyze any substance, breaking it down into its component parts and perceiving any weaknesses.
The pod containing abstract creation material (we would probably refer to it as “genetic”) shot off into space, its planet of launch destroyed as per the Protocols of Ta’aru. Rather than an urban housing project, however, the pod landed in the temple-city of Black Lodge, in the North country of the Republic of Thelema. The material assembled itself into an infant and was found by the divine rulers, Master Therion and Babalon, who considered him to be a key part of the Great Work and raised him as a proper child of The Beast.
At an early age he was considered the incarnation of the Thelemic current that insures the survival of this nation of fiercely individualistic ritual magic-users. Since then, he has called himself the 93rd in reference to Thelemites’ primary law (“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”), and responded to no other name.
With so much more power than his countrymen, the 93rd often struggles mightily to determine his True Will, and spends much of his days in conversation with his Holy Guardian Angel seeking guidance. As the rings under his eyes deepen, there are those who wonder if he spends too much time locked in trance, too much time in the embrace of Binah.
He possesses the usual powers of a Champion of Ta’aru: flight, superhuman strength and durability, heightened senses, an inquisitive, activist nature, and the ability to focus his chi into energy that can be projected. His ‘Special’ is the ability to connect with his Holy Guardian Angel to amplify his magick, and affect energies and entities outside of mortal time and space.
“Earthquakes and rain, hail, snow, locusts and bees — all of the above is caused by the dopest MCs” – Jay Electronica
The pod containing abstract creation material (we would probably refer to it as “genetic”) shot off into space, its planet of launch destroyed as per the Protocols of Ta’aru. Rather than a radical arts festival, however, the pod landed in the notorious Carter Projects, the only remaining criminal community in the near-utopia of New Kemet. The material assembled itself into an infant and was found by a couple of 5 Percenters, who saw him as a gift from the U-N-I-Verse and adopted the infant as their own.
Born in New Kemet, he is the Champion of the Zulu Nation, which runs things in the eastern seaboard of North America. Having mastered the traditional 5 Elements at an early age, and having fought through all 36 chambers, he is treated as a god even among the Gods and Earths of the 5 Percent Nation, the Zulu’s ruling elite. He is that dude. He knows the day’s mathematics. He is the boss of bosses. He is Legendary.
He possesses the usual powers of a Champion of Ta’aru: flight, superhuman strength and durability, heightened senses, an inquisitive, activist nature, and the ability to focus his chi into energy that can be projected. His ‘Special’ is the ability to affect reality by the use of rhythmic speech. As a True Skool MC, he’s developed this ability far beyond what Ta’aru intended. Depending on how he rhymes, he can affect physical forces, bodies, or someone’s mindstate. When his voice is recorded and reproduced, he can only affect the bodies and minds of listeners, not external forces.
The pod containing abstract creation material (we would probably refer to it as “genetic”) shot off into space, its planet of launch destroyed as per the Protocols of Ta’aru. Rather than a midwestern farm, however, the pod landed at the annual radical arts festival known as Burning Man. The material assembled itself into an infant and was found by a couple of Burners, who saw it as a magical occurrence they had manifested and adopted the infant as their own.
Champion of the Burning Lands, she was raised according to the Principles of Black Rock City. A fierce DIY warrior priestess, she is naked and unashamed, in control of her fiery spinning poi as her mother taught her, and wielding the Tesla blade made by her father. Radical self-sufficiency, radical self-expression, constant invention and radical inclusion are the watchwords of this nomadic adventurer.
She possesses the usual powers of a Champion of Ta’aru: flight, superhuman strength and durability, heightened senses, an inquisitive, activist nature, and the ability to focus her chi into energy that can be projected. Her ‘Special’ is the ability to heal physical, mental, and spiritual damage/trauma.
Swagger Jackson is a swagger jacker (one of the Seven Canonical Haters), able to bite people’s style, skills, and powers. Actually, he’s not just a style biter, he is the best, having swagger jacked all other swagger jackers. Unable to create by himself, he is powered by his bitterness to take the Shine from others.
White Devil (aka The Fly Gwai Lo) is a supervillain whose face is an oni-style devil mask and whose most treasured weapon is his nice-ass suit. He imagines himself as a pretty funny guy, a “‘high on life’ type”. A former ‘economic hit man’ affiliated with the IMF and World Bank, he was transformed by Edam pu Eman after boasting that he could sell anything to anyone even as a literal devil. She obliged him, but rather than feeling properly cursed, he thinks it’s pretty awesome, and now he just runs around conning people into deals that are terrible for them. He never stops thanking Edam for what she did to him. It’s honestly kind of disturbing.
A fallen (she prefers ‘escaped’ or ‘liberated’) angelic being who has escaped from the Eternal Watchtowers. This being appears as a cosmic party girl and calls herself Edam pu Eman (‘made up name’) in order to hide her True Name from the Enochian enforcers trawling space-time for her. She dips in and out of space-time while freeloading off the Transit System to take cheap vacations in other universes’ misery and generally cause mischief. While in these material planes her primary power comes from her mastery of ‘Celestial Speech’; her lies can sometimes become truths, making her a target for Hype Eaters. She’s always looking for someplace new and cool to land, and often appears to seekers or ascetics in the desert — Messiahs, dervishes, initiates, burners, researchers, militiamen, whatever. She just can’t resist messing with them at that point.
known to occasionally travel with a “PETRIKIN“.
“I am John Triggerman. I am friend.” An obsolete law enforcement robot, who has somehow started dreaming. He is programmed to be a hostage negotiator and, should negotiations go south, to run a bomb subroutine that blows him up when that big switch in his chest gets flipped. He’s actually made of trillions of nanobots that reassemble him afterwards, and they can customize what kind of bomb he turns into.
While most of his type was decommissioned after the Echelon War, Triggerman remains, with a map hidden inside him, encoded at the base hardware level. Who put it there and for what purpose, he does not know.
Aside from playin blues that would break the heart of the devil himself, and preaching a mighty fine, if not quite theologically proper, sermon from time to time, he’s a rambling hoodoo man of sorts, with a habit of hunting down “the things that cause them cries of woe, them unseen things that just shouldn’t be so”.
But he rebuffs anyone’s attempt to deter him from this path, or who would make him a professional and tie him to the treasures of this world. “Don’t you worry ’bout ol’ King Lonesome. I’m bound to wander these four corners of the earth ’til I meet that Man of Sorrows, and either I strikes him or he strikes me.”
Til then, he’s got his guitar, The Psalmist, and his song, “Justine”, in which is encoded the essence of his wife and true love, a former voodoo queen of New Orleans. The Psalmist was taken apart and rebuilt during a ritual that involved lining it with the pages of the bible, specifically Ephesians 6:10-18 dealing with the armor of God, and of course, a full complement of Psalms. There’s only one known recording of King Lonesome singing “Justine” — sold only at B.T. Dubs’ Incidentals and Curiousities– but once you hear Lonesome sing her to life, she’ll be in your heart forever.
[co-created with Ken Barnes] Endlessly riding in the Transit System is a woman attempting to navigate her way through an increasingly complex automated phone program. It started off small, simple, and frustrating, but with each call she makes it one step farther. It consumes her attention now to the point where she ignores nearly all stops, and most people as well, except when the phone is charging. The tree itself gets eerie complex as well — its instructions generally come in the form of telling one to press one or two, but have now extended to real-world instructions. (To speak to an operator, put the phone down and pick up a gun. Walk twelve paces into the square, shoot the first person you see on the right, elude pursuit, then dial this number again and press 2.)
She has some kind of telecommuting job which enables her to do this, however she is growing increasingly forgetful of it as her duel with the telephone tree consumes her. She never gets ahold of a person on the phone. (Like, ever.)
She believes that if the telephone dilemma is not resolved, then the Collectors will come for her.
He lives on rock time. Every day is essentially the same day to him, until something New happens. Then, like most rocks can, he ‘throws’ his consciousness above and beyond the confines of his universe, to get a proper vantage point on the New Thing, and interact with it if possible.
The rock itself has an unpronounceable name, but the form you see is called PETRIKIN, a sort of spirit that is what rock consciousness looks like on the rare occasions it manifests in front of humans. To be honest, he can barely see you all. You look like momentary electrical storms to him, fizzing and sparking all over the place. The name is capitalized because all rock names are capitalized. That’s just how it is.
YOU WILL BELIEVE A ROCK CAN MOVE
ROCK ROCK ON
Ekthuul is a female Achodut — her cool green skin and beautiful dorsal spines are a dead giveaway, very distinct from the giant sailfins and blue skin of the males. The name ‘Ekthuul’ most closely corresponds with a symbol set humans would call alchemical, complemented with a set of the heavier elements from our Periodic Table. She holds the most honored title of ‘Raiser’ because she is the best at raising energy levels – not only of individuals, but increasing the capacity of devices, and vehicles. She is ‘The’ Raiser, the one who discovered the gateway to the Transit System, including the line which, by all indications, leads to a source of unlimited energy, enough to raise all the Achodut to what we would call godhood, but what they refer to as the ‘Steady State’. Ekthuul is currently exploring the Transit System armed with the finest Harmonic Detractor, a weapon which draws upon the bearer’s willpower to siphon off underlying energy patterns from other creatures.
A point of etiquette: don’t call her cold-blooded. In fact, she believes human notions of ‘warm’ and ‘cold’ blood to be metaphor at best, and backwards ignorance leading to lowered energy levels at worst. It is, as they say, “un-raised”.
John Henry is a Universal Algorithm, an avatar of life that keeps inorganic beings and control systems in check. He is a living set of instructions that fights an eternal war against The Machine, The System, Control. He’s a machine that beats machines – any machine – but the greater the feat the more likely he will have to die and reincarnate. His greatest power is sacrifice — he is able to work himself to death to achieve some great feat (often one people think only a machine can do) and then arise, Phoenix-like, from the ashes.
Lies. They bend reality, run roughshod over time, and give the Almighty a rip-roarin’ headache. Fortunately, the Hype Eater exists. A meta-carrion creature drifting in from a technicolor hellscape, the dross of the sentient mind is its favorite food. It cruises along the edges at an acute angle to reality, feeding off of our lies, advertising, hype, spin and bullshit. Delicious.
It has a symbiotic relationship with the mysterious emissaries it secretes in search of the newest hype. They are fully sentient beings from our point of view, but to the Hype Eater they are more like bacteria; the prevailing theory is that they act as a sort of extensible immune system, while the Hype Eater itself protects them other primeval Devourers lurking outside of time.
The Hype Eater is visible to voyagers on certain psychedelic chemical cocktails, but is most often glimpsed at the edges of consciousness by sleep-deprived, overworked copywriters and designers, who sense the pulsing intelligence feeding off of them as they desperately struggle to put a shiny patina of beauty and craft onto marketing claims both banal and audacious.
There is a world where the soul’s existence has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, and it turns out that it’s distributed unevenly among species; in other words, some people don’t have souls, but some cats do, most elephants, a few dolphins, and so on. In fact, that’s become the definition of humanity. If you kill a soulless person, nobody cares, in fact most people agree it’s the most humane thing to do; step on a beetle with a soul, that’s execution for your ass. Overall, this society is pretty peaceful. This is largely due to their general, a kitten with a highly advanced soul named Mister Whiskerkins.
“Give the command, General Mister Whiskerkins. Is it to be peace or war?”
The kitten falls on its side, purring and cleaning itself. It is adorable.
“Peace again! We love you Mister Whiskerkins.”
“Sorry, General Mister Whiskerkins, Sir.”
Herewith follow the fragmented facts we know for sure surrounding the Sicario class “humane afterlife delivery emissary system (H.A.D.E.S.)” known as Hoshimaru:
•His name means “round star” in Japanese.
•He was created, licensed, and bonded by the Smiling Knives Organization, a transplanetary-scale zaibatsu founded in the 22nd century that uses genetic engineering and organic cybernetics to create Next-Nature Operatives™: soldiers, explorers, assassins, caretakers, and in this case, a Bespoke Shamanic hit man.
•Genetic material was legally obtained from existing Commons-Registered DNA arks and seed banks. Like regular barn owls, he is capable of silent flight, can turn his head 270 degrees.and possesses the greatest ability to listen for prey of any animal.
•He smells like maple syrup, but not as sweet… more like butterscotch.
•Barn owls have been thought, by various cultures, to be harbingers of imminent death; the souls of the wicked; or witches. They are also thought to have the gift of prophecy.
•In Hoshimaru’s case, the latter is true, though his creators seem unaware of this fact, and he has not chosen to enlighten them.
•His method of dispatching a victim is as follows: He literally draws death into his ancient Greek coin bearing the blessing of Athena and aims it at the victim. Death then devours them, on swift and silent wings.
“I am a BADASS SPACE GENERAL. Do not fuck with me.” She is not actually a space general; there’s no such thing. However, she truly is not to be fucked with. So you might wanna keep that little detail to yourself. But Molly Megaton (nee Ginny Applebaum) is such an ebullient, life-affirming-in-a-no-bullshit-type-of-way presence, she almost makes Space General a real job by sheer willpower.
She gets her name from from the explosive energy she brings to any situation — and oh yeah, that right hook that’s supercharged by her magical tattoos. Had we not mentioned that? Our bad.
A murderous animatronic theme park robot meant to mimic Old Town’s beloved founder. Somehow the old man’s vengeful soul has been animating it, instead, intending to solve the mystery of who had him murdered in his sleep 150 years ago.
Rather than continue to perform the founder’s famous speeches as programmed, the robot instead repeats the old man’s dying words over and over again: “Time is after us all. It always catches us. It’s so… scary. Time, time is the predator.”
The Man of Sorrows is a sorceror who sought to trade his soul to an assembly of demons in exchange for immortality and incredible power. The demons, in a rare capricious moment of mingled mercy and cruelty, let him keep his soul instead. So he feels the full weight of all the evil he does, the suffering he causes, the certain knowledge that what he does makes the world a darker, meaner, lonelier place. The tears and pervasive aura of sadness comes from this weight, but it does not deter him from his pursuit of power.
He has now been alive for eight hundred years, but due to the demons’ deal, the emotional toll of the murderous soul eating, belief vampirism, and unspeakable rituals he must perform to attain whatever equivalent of godhood he seeks, has not dimmed one solitary bit. It hounds him now, drives him, has made him even more merciless. Those who know best hide their faces from this twisted messiah. Good friend, hope that you never hear those dragging yet persistent footsteps behind you. Pray your ears never know the sound of imps teeth grinding wet spectral flesh. Pray you never hear that voice full of the centuries’ tears, whispering in a trembling tenor “I’m so, so sorry….”
While leading a sliding scale qi gong class at a co-op farming community, a nearby meteorite gave Brad Hammersleigh superhuman strength and increased inner and outer toughness. He took the name of anarchist martyr Fernando Nicola Sacco, one of his heroes, and shortened his last name to an implement of the working class.
He is unaware that his nom de guerre also completes the phrase “dumber than a…” He isn’t dumb by any stretch, but he can be… obtuse. A side effect of his powers is the ability to recollect all kinds of facts about Elinor Ostrom’s work on sustainable resource management, or the finer nuances of Kropotkin’s philosophy of Mutual Aid. The angrier he gets the cooler and more laser like his arguments become. The more facts and figures arrange themselves for his benefit. Call him the Credible Hulk.
He takes on anyone taking advantage of the powerless, with his enhanced mind, soul, and body. The tattoo on his forearm is Latin and reads “dum spiramus tuebimur” — “While we breathe, we shall defend.”