Tales From The Alpha Triad

Episode 1: “Where It All Began”

By Jaysen True Blood

Prologue

 

It has been seven months since my wife died. In that time, I have struggled to find my way. Incomplete, I now drift. I am only half a man. My will now almost gone.

 

Life is no longer important to me. I merely exist. That existence is only to finish as much of what I had started as I can.

 

I am John O’Dell. I am a mystic and a philosopher. I have written political reform proposals that should be made into indelible laws. And yet, they remain unheard. Unseen. Unpassed.

 

I am a poor man, never seeking riches or power. I seek only change. Progress. Advancement of the human race.

 

I was unable to go to my wife’s funeral due to promises not kept. I was unable to have closure. I also had to put my own plans to memorialize her on hold due to my own failures. Failures that I could never have foreseen. Lack of work. Slow book sales.

 

As for all that I was supposed to get done where taking care of her affects were concerned, I have only gotten half  done. Things were supposed to be sent out. Important things.

 

But none of that matters now. All that matters now is getting personal things done. Things that will still benefit all. All but me.

 

My time, it seems, is nearing its end and I am the only one who realizes it. And my cat. She seems to know that something is amiss. My health has deteriorated. I am only half the man I once was.

 

Now, I write. Columns. These, I hope to make a living off of so that what time remaining will not be spent starving to death. After all, I cannot rely on those who have shown me what little kindness I have received much longer. Nor are there any jobs. Those vanished long ago.

 

So into syndication I take what I can. The rest will remain where it is. Online for all to read freely. But the columns will make me money.

 

Perhaps they will also boost my nonexistent book sales. One can always hope. And I need something to break loose. Quick. Before it is too late.

 

But I want more. Much more. Maybe too much. And possibly more than possible.

 

I want to restore my happiness. I want to return to what had given me peace. I want to restore my wife back to my life. But I know that this is an impossibility.

 

But is it really? Or do they tell us those things to keep us from pursuing similar avenues as Dr. Victor Frankenstein? Is beating death truly impossible?

 

Perhaps not. Perhaps, I can. After all, I have a plan. But it is not a plan that comes from plundering graves and reanimating corpses. It has more of its roots in The Invisible Man than in Frankenstein, though it might seem to resemble both.

 

Call it the demented, or ingenious, however you want to view it, lovechild of both stories. But it is not simply a mix of just those two ideas. There are elements of nearly every science fiction book, movie, and television show I have ever seen. And in this, it is my own secret monster. Call it a flight of fancy. But it is time to break the power of those who refuse to cure illnesses because of their greed.

 

Greed. A disease all its own. Just like ignorance, hate, fear, and dishonesty. The very things that plague this country.

 

Entry 1

 

If I plan these columns right, I can get at least six months worth of material (one article a week) done and submitted. At that rate, I will be able to prepare the next six months over a more relaxed period of time and not have to hurry or collect old material to make for a compelling grouping. Not that I have anything against my old material, I just want fresh and new. So will my readers.

 

Working first on this column, then that one. When writer’s block takes me on one subject, I pursue another. As I do so, I allow myself to reach back into my memories. First of her, then of my distant past. My youth. When all my hopes and dreams begam. When I came up with the original idea.

 

But one thing at a time. Do I run with my thoughts at this point? Or do I stick on task and continue the boring tasks I have appointed for myself? At the moment, science and medicine seem more interesting. But it would be rude of me not to finish a thought.

 

The tasks it is. The columns. At the moment, it is four. Maybe five.

 

The first is a music review, a little something I started before my second marriage. At the time, I was writing serial fiction for a small startup ezine. The editor/owner decided to try a print version, branching out into interviews and reviews. And even articles.

 

I wrote many articles, but many more music reviews.  At the time, the form was a bit unrefined. I still used the “star” system so prevalent in reviews. Over time, I refined them. Now, over twelve years later, I am getting ready to release these reviews nationally and internationally.

 

Next is a book review I started a little over four years ago. I had a lot of friends, then, and built up a library of ebooks to review. I only made it through about 200 before being interrupted by life. Since then, I have reviewed quite a few books.

 

And then, there is my political, scientific, and philosophical writings. One more blog. One more column. Makes me smile to think how many people I will piss off.

 

Finally, I have decided to begin something that is reminiscent of the 1920s and 1930s. I have begun a column that serializes fiction in a column, much as was done with Tolkien’s books, the works of C.S. lewis, and even Robert E. Howard and many others. Though I begin with my own fiction, I hope to also give a voice to many of my fellow authors along the way.

 

This is something I’d always wished I had when I was younger. Sure, there are magazines dedicated to such things, but they have grown too stuck on ideals and not enough on aiding the aspiring writer or the struggling published author. They have their rules. Their regulations. Their likes and dislikes.

 

All the while, those of us who do not write their kind of fiction, or their idea of a good story, are stuck without representation. I intend to change this. In a major way.

 

Now on to science, technology, and medicine. Back when I was still a Junior in high school, I created the crude idea behind a current project-in-waiting known as biocybernetics. But I will need a private laboratory for that.  Think of it as a combination between the cybernetics of Terminator, but more basic and less metallic. It mixes technology with genetics to create nano-chips, or nano-bots if you will, that can turn off or on genetic switches as need be.

 

Basic application would be to regrow amputated limbs, repair spinal cords, or switch off a genetic or mental illness with a simple implant. The final list of possible applications is endless. With the current medical, scientific, and technological capabilities, I believe it to be a real possibility now.

 

But without me to nudge it into being, it may never happen. Especially if man sticks to his current downward spiral. Civilization may well be at its end unless those of us who are more intelligent fight back.

 

Entry 2

 

Things are progressing well. I have begun the process of syndication and am now awaiting the act of being picked up. I have spent most of my free time preparing each column, so have had little time to record my day. It has been nearly a week since my last entry.

 

I have gained notice, but am not sure where it will lead. No one has picked the columns up yet, though. At least not that I have noticed. Perhaps they will soon.

 

I am getting ready to submit the final column, the serial fiction column, the gem of my collection. This column will revive the serialized fiction in news print. I am hoping that it will draw more readers for those papers that choose to put it into their circulation.

 

With all the columns done, I can now return to writing my books. God, I have let things go too long! I have tons of books to write and not enough time!

 

Entry 3

 

In two days, I have received no less than five queries from newspapers! Even Rolling Stone wants to make a deal with me! Were my reviews that good? Were my columns that good?

 

Three editors from England are now on their way to the Midwest to meet with me! The Chicago Tribune, New York Times, L.A. Times, Omaha World Herald, Des Moines Register, and the Miami Herald all want to talk! Is it time to start making contract deals? And to think that yesterday, I was a nobody!

Still, I have to keep pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. It is so unreal! So surreal! I am still in shock!

 

Yesterday, I was slowly starving to death. Today, I am a hot commodity. Tomorrow, I may die a legend. Or I may die in obscurity. I don’t care. As long as I can make enough money to live comfortably.

 

At the moment, however, my calendar looks full. I meet with London tomorrow. All three editors. One of those editors publish the newspaper trusted by the queen herself. The others are competitors. Me, I am non-exclusive. I will insist on non-exclusivity. It will make me more money through not restricting who I can be published by.

 

It may also open up more opportunities in the long run. What’s next? The Washington Post? Guess I will have to wait and see.

Entry 4

 

The meeting with London went fine. Non-exclusivity was agreed upon and all agreed upon a payment option. Tomorrow, I meet with Omaha and Des Moines. I have added Lincoln and Kansas City to that meeting as well, since they will be here tomorrow. It doesn’t matter when they call, just that they are in a meeting that is best for them.

 

Wednesday is New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.  Thursday is Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Montana, and Minnesota. Friday will be Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Indiana. And Saturday is California, Florida, Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon.

 

I doubt I will get to rest on Sunday. Depends on what happens. I might use the day to work on a book or two. After all, I have several unfinished WIPs that need to be worked on.

 

Still, it all depends on what happens and who calls upon me.  Perhaps this will be the beginning of something bigger. After all, I am a political rabble-rouser and philosophical malcontent. Not to mention opposed to religiosity and hypocrisy. Yes, that makes me very dangerous to a minority of people in this country.

 

At the same time, I have to wait to see just how much I have stirred the hornet’s nest. And exactly how I have done so. Will I anger the ignorant? Or will I stimulate the intellectuals? Or both?

 

I can’t help but smile as I embark on this journey. Especially since it is at what I fear to be the end of my life. I say this because I have not felt well for years. At least a decade.

 

Even worse is the fact that I have struggled through the last few month without the one I love. But what I do, I do in her memory. I only hope that it is not too late to salvage what is left of the country and the country’s honor.

 

My mission has always been clear. Stamp out ignorance. Destroy hatred. Remove greed. Fight tyranny. Reform politics and all that needs to be reformed. Drive  out those who would destroy.

 

It is as it always has been. Even from my youth. Yes, this is why I have always been driven. I just wish I had started sooner.

 

I am running out of time. I die a little more each day. And yet, I continue on simply because I envision a better world. One where all are treated equal.

 

I cannot give up now. I cannot give in. I shall not. Not until I breathe my final breath.

And so I march on, a champion of education, science, progress without greed, advancement without condition, change without religiosity, and evolution beyond this mortal shell.

 

And I do not fight on alone. Many believe as I do. Time for the old to die and the new to be born. No longer to be divided, we the people must first reunite.

 

Traditional religion is no longer relevant or valid in any way. What should have been embraced had long ago been discarded, then lost. Only to be replaced with ideals that allowed mankind to slip back into his idol worship. Health, wealth, and happiness tinged with an unholy worship of Moses and the Mosaic covenant. The Old Covenant.

 

Christ, what a mess! No wonder so many have turned their back on religion. Myself included. It is beyond saving. Nor could it ever save anyone now.

 

They have killed it, resurrecting a far more ancient and evil religion in its place. Ah, but I am speaking as if I am directing my frustration at just one. But I am not. They are all equally guilty, now becoming the same religion but under different names.

 

But they cannot see. All are blinded by rhetoric and political innuendo. But then, that is the problem. Humanity is blind. And sick. Just as the earth is sick.

 

Entry 5

 

My columns will be in print from coast to coast! The only states where I will not be read are Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Kansas. Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, Alaska,  and Tennessee joined the states that negotiated contracts with me. Idaho was at the meeting with Utah and Nevada. Maine joined the delegation of editors from New York and the rest of the east coast.

 

I am now read in forty out of fifty states, plus DC. quite a feat from a virtual nobody. There is even call for me to syndicate in Europe as well. I believe I have started a movement! This comes as a surprise. Not used to being the agitator. Used to being the agitated.

 

But here I am. Stirring the pot, so to speak. Add to this Britain and nearly every European country and a few Asian countries, and I have a nearly worldwide audience!  This is quite unexpected! As was Britain and much of Europe literally begging me to make two of my columns a daily thing rather than a weekly!

 

Never in my wildest dreams had I ever foreseen this! But the side effect has been even wilder! Seems I have distant family wanting to meet with me! Some are due in in a couple of days! The rest will have to wait!

 

I just wish that my wife had lived long enough to see this. She would be ecstatic. She had hoped to see me become successful, but had died before she could. And I wanted to see her succeed as well. If I could, I would go back and prevent her death.

 

Ah, but I am breaking my own rule. One should never go back to seek a selfish solution. Of course, I also believe that to go back would cause a ripple effect that would only end with change beyond all comprehension. Still, it would be nice to share this with someone.

 

And I hate being alone. Sure, the solitude is great for getting shit done…but I can’t stand the silence. It is totally maddening! Music and DVDs do wonders, but it is when there is no sound that I find myself wishing for an end.

 

Or at least a return to happiness. An end to the migraines. An end to the pain, both emotional and physical. And end to my nightmare.

 

But I doubt there will ever be an end. At least not until I fulfill whatever it is that the universe desires of me. But exactly what is that? What is my real mission?

 

To provoke thought in the thoughtless? To turn people back to the truth? The free them from the slavery of the religion of their own making? To effect change against all odds? What?

 

What if my purpose is to go back so that change can be made at a much deeper level? Or what if I am to be the one to make contact? What if both are intertwined and inseparable? What if–?

 

The questions run wild in my mind when there is no other sound but my breathing. Am I mad? Am I insane? I have been told no so many times before.

 

Perhaps I merely think on a completely different level than others. I don’t know. All I know is that I am completely lost without her. I am rudderless. Without a guide. Without grounding.

 

And so I walk aimlessly through life. But maybe not so aimlessly now. I don’t know. Perhaps now, I will know my purpose.

 

Perhaps after my meetings, I will know what I am to do. I hope so. I hate not knowing. It leaves me unfocused. Empty.

 

I look forward to meeting my new family members. From what I understand, they may have a solution to some of my problems. Not that I need much.

 

I took a look at my bank account today. I am already a millionaire. It isn’t as if I have a need for much. I would, however, like to be able to fund a few experiments to prove my theories correct. I would also like to open a private laboratory so that I could develop a few ideas into reality. Perhaps they will agree with my ideas. I don’t know.

I just have to wait and see. And hope. Whatever comes of the meetings, I am sure of one thing. I want to emerge friends with my distant relations.  Since I have very few friends among my close relations.

Entry 6

 

The ten Englishmen have  arrived and now recently departed. All are from some branch of my mother’s family. All have never had a family of their own and are the end of their lines. And I offer them an alternative, despite the fact that I am a distant relative. Extremely distant.

 

“What will you do should we will our fortunes to you?” This had been the first question.

 

“Change the world for the better, I hope.”

 

“And this means?” Asked for clarification by one of the group.

 

“I would create jobs and effect political, economic, business,  and social change. I would start research to find cures, not treatments for symptoms.”

 

“Very well played. An answer worth investing in.”

 

“Why? What is you motivation?” another question.

 

“My motivation is manifold. First, I have watched this region and this country being drained of its jobs. Secondly, I have watched as politicians have promised much and delivered little. And third, I am tired of watching a minority grow rich off the suffering of a few. It is time for a change…and perhaps a shakeup.”

 

I watched a smile creep across one of the  faces. Up until now, he had been very stoic and somber. But now, he nodded, smiling in approval.

 

“You do realize that what we do will appear as if we are investing in you?”

 

“I would expect nothing less.”

 

“Your actual inheritance will be what is left of what we keep back for ourselves…and our estates once we are gone. The bulk, however, will be an investment in your revolution of change.”

 

“Agreed.”

 

Their lawyers stepped out of their midst. Ten lawyers for ten men. Twenty people altogether.

 

“We will work out the details.”

 

And so we did. At that very moment, I went from a mere millionaire to a trillionaire! I was extremely fortunate! Now I could do all that I had dreamed of doing. The cannery. The sustainable paper and plastic mills. The lab. The entertainment business. Small business projects for young entrepreneurs.

 

But where to begin? That was the big question. I settled on the purchasing of the old factory building where my father once worked. This would be my lab, and in one end would be a safe to store excess in.

 

At the same time, I made a promise that no one would know exactly how much I was now worth. I kept my personal account low enough to fool everyone, but high enough for me to be able to live comfortably. Within the multiple million range.

 

The rest, I would slowly begin placing in bank accounts under different company names for the cannery, the mills, the lab, and an investment collective to supply the money for such entrepreneurial endeavors as a shoe manufacturing factory, auto manufacturer that would manufacture electric cars only, and even a flood control idea I had come up with before my wife died.

 

The bulk, however, would be in the vault waiting to be distributed as needed. And this was the plan that we agreed upon. With a promise to send via private courier jets, they left.

 

From what they told me, there are hundreds more waiting for me to visit Britain and Europe to do this exact same thing. Hundreds! At this rate, I will never run out of money to invest! Just how much will I end up with?

 

Of course, I have abbreviated the conversation, the interview, but I have given a good idea of what has transpired. Yet, a call came in and a team wants to meet with me. Physicists, both astro and theoretical. Geneticists. Medical bio-techs. Bio-researchers. Even a pre-eminent surgeon and physician! All are due in a couple of days at the most.

 

Entry 7

 

I now have a team of over one hundred. Medical researchers and bio-techs. Even a team of doctors! The equipment has been ordered, received, and installed. The vault has also been installed.

 

Research has begun on the different projects I had envisioned. The first to emerge as a reality was the bio-tech armor that appears to the observer to be the wearer’s skin, but is impenetrable even in its weakest spots. I now wear this armor, acting as a test subject, until my pet project is finished.

 

My pet project. Biocybernetics. A possible cure for all that ails mankind. Even ignorance.

 

On the most basic level, biocybernetics can be genetically programmed to switch off specific genetic malfunctions. Or even a mental illness. They can even be genetically programmed to regrow spinal tissue and return the ability to walk to someone who has been paralyzed. And even “regrow” amputated limbs.

 

The applications are endless. The only professionals with any clue as to what the project entails are in my employ. And no one knows that our lab exists…which is how I intend to keep things. Should the pharmaceutical companies learn of the lab’s existence, they would try to get the government to either close us down or make us sell to them. But this is a private project. I don’t intend to sell. Or be discovered.

 

At least not until we can limit the power of said pharmaceutical companies. In a major way. Which means that I also have to bring down certain powerful people. Still, I agreed to bring about change. Somehow.

Perhaps that will be easier to do once I return from Europe. My first destination? Britain, of course. The Queen desires to see me. I even get to speak before Parliament! How cool is that?

 

But I also have appointments in nearly every European country. Strangely enough, though, Russia seems afraid of me. I wouldn’t know why.

 

Of course, I have been rather outspoken against them and their meddling. But I am also outspoken against America’s meddlings. I am just that way. I see no reason for the larger nations to stick their noses into the politics of smaller nations.

 

And foreign involvement, militarily, should be a very limited thing. We should not start wars. Nor should we invade. Perhaps I can do something to change that. We will see.

 

I am not advocating isolationism, I am simply saying that wars for sake of war or profit is wrong. A defense budget should be a tenth of what is annually spent on military simply because defense does not include waging wars on foreign soil for no reason and a huge arsenal of weapons is not necessary for defense purposes.

 

And neither is the arming of the populace. But I get into a very touchy subject there. And my philosophy tends to cause crazy people’s heads to explode. And sadly, quite a few Americans seem to have crossed over to the insane side of the line. Many of them, should have mental evaluations.

 

But then, they have all bought into the lie that greed is good. At any cost. Thanks, Hollywood. Thank you for distributing that falsehood in a way to make the masses believe that it was a truth.

 

Greed is not good. Ignorance is not bliss. And hate is not a “Christian trait”. America’s morals have utterly collapsed. What had made it great is now seen as what is causing it to be not-so-great while what makes it not-so-great is trying to destroy its very soul. All because of the polarization caused by the parties and the richest of the American elite.

 

No, I don’t believe in an illuminati. That is a lie. A myth.  Something for conspiracy theorists to scare their children with at night. Along with their imaginary “they’re coming for our guns” and “we’re always at war on some level with our government” bullshit. After all, they vote these shitheads in. then they believe their lies. Not very bright.

 

And they believe what the rich tell them. All sort of ridiculous when you realize that jobs cannot be stolen from you when the corporations that are lying to you are leaving the country because they really don’t want to have to pay you. All comes back to the policy of greed. “More for me, less for you.”

 

It’s all lies to keep us blind to what they are doing. But I aim to change that. In a major way. Once I am done doing what I have to do.

 

Entry 8

 

I am off to England. The Queen sent a special envoy to accompany me. Possibly to make sure I get there safely. After all, it was at her insistence that I began writing my two main columns as a daily item, breaking with my idea of a weekly only series. But then, I do write compelling stories and put forth provocative ideas.

 

From London, I am to travel to different cities throughout Britain. Afterward, I am to fly to Brussels, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Madrid, Toledo, and Paris. From Paris, I am to travel to Rome where I am to meet with the Pope. I find this fascinating because I am not Catholic. Hell. I am not even religious.

 

From Rome, I am to go to Bern, then to Berlin. What happens after Berlin is anyone’s guess. I am thinking of going to the west African countries and setting up the experiments where my reforms are concerned. And possibly an experimental version of my flood control.

 

I may even travel a bit and find what I can find, doing whatever I can do to change each country I go to. I don’t know yet. What I do know is that I have work to do. A lot of work.

 

So I leave my team to continue their research. I hope that they have something new for me when I return, but it isn’t imperative. Even a small breakthrough would be nice.

 

But we do have numerous projects being developed. Sonic propulsion. Long-term stasis pods. Sentient transport. Things I had dreamed up as a teen.

 

But, then, I was always an inventive youth. I was always coming up with new ideas. New technologies. I guess it was what kept me in school.

 

That and the fact that school was my asylum from my father. At least in school, I could be myself. No matter how weird my classmates believed me to be.

 

Now, I am forging ahead while most of them are stuck in jobs they hate or marriages they abhor. I see the future while they look back at the past. But then, I have always looked at the future. Even when I was studying the past. Maybe I can help them see that the past is best left where it is, in the past. But that is a project for when I return.

 

At this point, I have more than I can handle. Well, not really. I should have said that I have all that I can handle. I need to quit making new projects and focus on what is currently being done.

The first episodes of this story are taken from my proposed Fiction column “Souljourner’s Tales Form The Darkness” . I completed three or four episodes as filler for the column, which is meant to become the platform for independent authors to get discovered by prospective readers. the column, based partially off this blog as well as  of the tradition of some classic writers who would publish their books as serials in newspapers.

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The Ages Of Man:Diaries And Journals Of The Elder Race, Part 1: The Age Of The ‘Fall’ (first age of man), Entries #2-6

The fall of man: The Journal of Araqis, entry #2*

 

The craziest things happen nowadays. We seem to be at the pinnacle of our rise from whatever we started as. Civilization, being the height of it all, is on the wane. what lies beyond?

This is a question I ask myself on a daily basis. Is this as good as it gets? Or is there more on the horizon?

Our historians search for clues to our past, digging in the ground as if they will find evidence of something spectacular. I am not sure, though. Would there be anything left of a Star Seed? What about their legendary cities and ships? Or is it all myth?

Of course, I have to be careful. I don’t want the Elders to think me guilty of sacrilege and heresy. I just wonder if if they will and anything.

I fantasize sometimes, though. I imagine myself as a Star Seed. I wonder what they ate. Did they eat?

I imagine myself as powerful as they, as free. How it must’ve felt, not to be bound to a physical form. True power. Light given life.

I believe it would be the most amazing thing, to be alive but without this shell. I wonder what my inner light, my inner being really looks like. Is it well defined?  Is it grey, white, or dark light? I hope it isn’t dark light. Dark Light is supposed to be pure evil.

But I don’t see myself as evil. Perhaps it is grey. That would mean that I am still neutral. Neutrals are more sought after. They create. They are the artists.

 

The Fall: The journal of Araqis, entry #3*

 

They found an ancient city!!!! And it wasn’t even buried! This is the most important discovery ever! What’s more, they have found Star Seed technology! An ancient starship! A Star Seed ship!

They say that the technology is foreign to us. Nothing that resembles a guidance system of any kind, almost as if they were one with their ship!  The obsidian interior is glassy as if it has been polished and honed to look almost gemlike. Strange shapes are said to be carved upon the walls.

What I wouldn’t give to see it! I mean them. The city and the ship. It would be the highlight of my existence.

But, then, they say that we simply re-live our lives. Could I have been one of those from the ship they found? Could I have lived in that city at one time?

No, can’t be assuming such. Assumption is dangerous. Causes one to misjudge. Or misstep.

 

The Fall: The Journal of Araqis, Entry #4*

 

Crazy news coming back from the discovery. Some of the researchers were killed in an attempt to move the ship. A cataloguer or two died when a wall collapsed on them in the city. Something tells me that the Star Seed still guard their secrets and want us to leave the site. But scientists and historians have other thoughts.

Still, I cannot wait to find out all that they have learned. I want to know more about my origins. I want to know about the planet before I existed.

But I must wait until the research team returns from the find. And I hate waiting. With a passion. So much time wasted in doing so.

I wonder how old the city is. How old is the ship? Did they find any remains? Any remaining living Star Seed?

So many questions. So many flights of fancy. It’s so frustrating when one has to wait for new information.

 

The Fall: The Journal of Araqis, Entry #5*

 

The first information has been received from the discovery site! the first news of what they have been able to record! And it was read aloud during our history lessons! What joy!

They had, indeed, found remains! and living Star Seed! One of them was named Go’Od! Amazing!

Something tells me that we will learn much more as we examine and interview Go’Od. What wisdom does he (I am assuming that I am correct in identifying the gender) hold? But I am getting ahead of myself. Maybe just a bit.

They were able to send the science detail back with the ship! I am looking forward to being able to explore it when they have it set up for touring. I just hope it is soon.

 

The Fall: The journal of Araqis, Entry # 6*

 

Joy of joys! I got to tour the ship! Even better, I was the first to get to do so! It was so amazing!

I was also asked to accompany the science detail to the site when they return! And as a student worker! I am so happy!

I presume that my next entries will be made from the site, so there may be a small gap as I will be traveling and unable to record anything. Still, this is a chance of a lifetime! Very few students are asked to be a part of a science detail.

 

 

*It is assumed that these entries are sequential and were made daily, as they seemed to follow each other. The dates were unreadable, so we do not know if they followed the first entry made, though we assume they did.

 

next: We read from the the diary of Aia of Maru (Mars) to see how civilization developed there. 

 

The Ages of Man: Diaries And Journals Of The Elder Race, Part 1: The Age Of The ‘Fall’ (first age of man)

The Age Of The ‘Fall’: The Diary of Araqis*

Year: 3,053,999 (1,000 years into humanity’s existence). Exact date unknown. Ear’at (Earth).

I am Araqis, A descendant of the Star Seed.  and I am a student of the Council, aged 19 spa’ans. I have been asked by the council, and especially my teachers on the council, to keep a record of my daily life. This assignment is to continue until I pass the trials. Once I pass the trials, keeping a record such as this will be voluntary.

I shall start with a quick overview of our short history, religion, appearance, and social structure. Once I have completed, I shall shift to my personal daily life. beyond that, I have no idea what will be important enough to record.

They say we have had dominion for one thousand years. Humanity has risen from savages to some semblance of civilization within such a short time. It is hard to believe that we haven’t existed very long. some of the elders say that we did not begin life here, but had come in search of a new beginning. An Eden of sorts.

From what I have learned, the planet was exactly what our ancestors sought. Star Seed. That is what they were called. Children of the universe sent forth to populate the planets, falling from the void to each and every planet ready to be populated.

In the thousand years we have been here, we have developed our own language. It is the one thing we have n common with our neighboring communities. We would probably be more numerous if we weren’t so big and didn’t live so long. At 29 Ha’rads (modern equivalent unknown, possibly close to the US measure of feet), and living 800-900 spa’ans (again, exact length unknown, presumably equal to a year), we are not old until we reach at least 300.

We vary in appearance, some with a single eye, others with hundreds; some with only two arms or legs, others-again-with hundreds. Most, though, have minimized in appearance, settling for two arms, two legs, and two eyes. The rest are remnants of our former selves, and are seen as Holy. Most of the remnant have settled into priestly duties and communities where they are worshiped as gods.

Banking is relatively new, as the ancients knew nothing of treasure and only bartered for what they needed. Leadership still falls to the strongest among us, and we see them as Kings or Queens. Their law is final.

Our social system is based largely on our religion. we worship the Star Seed, or Lights (for we are taught that they arrived here as beings of light and energy, taking  a physical form and color befitting the planet), and the elders among us are seen as Holy. We are taught that the Lights influenced the planet, causing the rise of all life indigenous to the planet. In essence, we are taught that they created life simply by arriving here.  Whether this is true or not, life began in a big way.

We are also taught that we will slowly continue to change and adapt over the span that is existence, until we no longer resemble what we are at the moment, as the planet tends to influence our physiological makeup and chemistry. We are also taught that we will probably not be remembered by those who come after us. So it was, and so it always shall be. Once we are gone, the universe will absorb our memory and give birth to more Star Seed. It is an endless cycle.

It is said that the Star Seed were both male and female, a whole being, uniting and carrying their mates with them through life. As the planet influenced them, they lost the ability to do so and split apart, creating man and woman as two instead of one. We are slid taught that there were asexual and nonsexual Star Seed as well, but that the nonsexual died out shortly after their arrival. The asexual are still among us, preferring the company of their own…though we all possess the ability to reproduce with or without a mate.

Our education system is complex. We learn linguistics and calculations early, Philosophy and deduction in secondary, and religion and history at the end. we can go on to do concentrations in any subject, and many do, but some prefer to stop after the trials.

Our civilization rose rapidly, a mere 100 spa’ans, and we have rapidly risen in technological and scientific knowledge. Our advancements have been great, possibly greater than other settlements. Who knows? We have no known enemies, no threats to our longevity, and no natural susceptibilities.

Several planets and moons surrounding us were populated at the same time as we populated this planet. I wonder how these colonies have fared. Have they succeeded? Have the Star Seed on Ma’arat, Ve’anat, and the satellites orbiting them (and Ear’at, our home), as well as the outlying satellites orbiting the nameless gas giants, succeeded in establishing such fine civilizations? Have they explored their regions and made the needed changes? Or have they died out?

So many questions. I guess what makes it a wonderful experiment, this forming civilizations, is that we do not interfere in each others’ attempts to become whatever we may become. We simply live and let live. Each civilization grows independently of the others, to achieve whatever greatness or immortality awaits them.

Yet we all started out as one collective, falling from the expanse. I only hope that we remember that we are all brothers when we meet again. Otherwise, we are doomed to failure. May peace and prosperity continue to favor all.

 

 

 

The Faust Syndrome: scenes 7-10

*sorry this is late*

 

Scene 7: open to Sam attempting his entry into politics.

Sam

(narrating)

After the death of Frankie’s girlfriend, I deemed it necessary to back off from my mischief in my own community. Instead, I decided to start my climb up the political ladder. I knew, being young, I would face a hard climb but I had an ally no one else had. I was backed by the very Devil himself and I had been given my first mission. Infiltrate Congress.

Sam

(campaigning)

…And I promise that I will do what is best for this community and the state as a whole. We will prosper as a state and a community. Let’s move this state forward.

The crowd cheers, drowning the rest of his speech out.

Sam

(narrating)

Many in the community saw sending me to Congress as a way to banish me from their midst without incurring my wrath. Indeed, most were so frightened of me that they thought I would visit them in the night if they didn’t do something that was in my best interest even if it meant betraying their country. So, they sent me away to Congress. And in my delusion, I believed that they had seen my true worth.

Pan from Sam packing to his arrival in DC.

I didn’t realize, nor did I care, that they would ultimately use this extended time to find all the damning evidence against me they could. I  did not care  because I believed that those who had evidence would be too terrified to give any testimony. I merely thought that the Devil would keep me from harm. I would be wrong in both respects.

Scene 8: Sam’s first day in Congress. He is observing, looking for the weakest members. These will be the ones he will blackmail and/or pull into his sphere of influence.

Sam (from San Diego)

This bill concerns me. Nowhere does it explain who benefits and who does not. It is a disaster waiting to happen. (gesturing) Our dear colleagues across the aisle expect us to simply accept, not to debate. In good conscience, I cannot back such an endeavor.

George (from Miami)

I agree  with my esteemed colleague from San Diego. This is the biggest cluster fuck I have ever witnessed…and to think that my dear friend Mike was involved in the formation of this pile of shit. How can my Republican colleagues believe that this could ever do America any good.

Shelly (from Maine)

(waving her arms wildly)

We need to work together on bills like this! This is not a partisan problem or a partisan subject. These affect everyone. When we treat these things as partisan privileges, we play God with the lives of millions!

Mike (from NY)

(Objecting to the debate)

I call for a vote!

Sam

(indifferent)

I second.

Senate Majority Leader

Sam Machivala, You are out of turn. (returning his attention to the rest of the Congressmen/women) Vote denied. We will be resuming tomorrow to debate and possibly submit for rewrites.

Fade from assembly. New scene: Sam’s apartment. He has just walked in the door .he loosens his tie and throws his suit coat onto the nearby couch.

Sam

(with relief, to himself)

Home sweet home. (sighs) Never thought legislating was so tiring. Or stressful. Not really hard, just tedious.  

As narration begins, continue with various scenes of Sam  debating in Congress.  

Sam

(narrating)

I would spend six years as a junior senator, then the last three as a senior.I backed several beneficial bills, but they only covered many more “greed” bills that I pushed my fellow senators to pass. And pushing was something I was very good at. Very good.

Fade to scene of Sam hiring a group of private investigators to shadow his colleagues. He gives them specific instructions as the narration continues.

My first year in office, I spent a lot of time researching my colleagues. Their  vices. Their family lives. Their deep, dark secrets–those things they tried to keep hidden.

I found each weakness and began to exploit it to my own benefit. I found out which senators were sleeping with the wives of their colleagues. Which ones frequented prostitutes.which ones were sleeping with underage interns. And so on.

I found, though, that no matter how different both sides believed they were, there was always something I could use against them. They were the same, under the private lamp. None had true family values.neither one was truly conservative. Neither were truly liberal. Both lied. And lies could be used as blackmail.

It was all so exhilarating! The thrill of discovery. The thrill of the threat. The follow through. The watching as a career ended in a crash.

Ah, but I came to realize that it was an everyday occurrence in Washington. The power players had already set that wheel in motion, but I learned to use it much more adeptly than the rest. And I used it to its fullest potential. Often.

Fade to scenes of Sam sing every conceivable piece of information as blackmail against his colleagues as narration continues. End of scene.

Scene 9: it has been about a year. Sam stumbles into a young lady at a social function. It is a gala party being held at her father’s house. He assumes that she is in her 20s, she is not. She is more like 17/18, but looks and dresses older.

Sam

(narrating)

I was barely a year in my first term when I met her. She was the eldest daughter of one of my esteemed colleagues, but I knew I had to have her. I didn’t want to make her my wife, though I would temporarily just to further my career, but I had to have her sexually. I didn’t care if she was willing, I just wanted her.

Sam

(seductively.)

I want you. I have to have you.

He pins her to the wall.

Lil

(willingly)

What’re you waiting for? I won’t fight you. I want it too.

Sam

(grabbing her wrist)

Come on. Let’s get away from this place. Somewhere quiet. Secluded.

Sam and Lil leave the party in his car. He drives her out into the country and pulls off on a backroad. Zoom out of the interior to an exterior shot of the car as the occupants crawl into the back. As the scene fades, the car begins to rock.

Sam

(narrating)

To my surprise, though she was barely eighteen, she turned out to be very willing. Even more, she was much as I was. Filled with malice and hate for all. She did not love me, no. rather, she grew to hate me as much as she hated all in Washington. But she knew a power to be reckoned with when she saw it. And I was.

Fade in on wedding scene, then morph into scene of Lil playing laying with a cabana/pool boy. Sam acta as if he doesn’t notice.

We were married after our second tryst. I looked the other way as she dallied with pool boys and other members of the elite, including many of my colleagues–which she would record so I could use the tapes as blackmail. Oh how she loved that trait in me! But she also looked the other way as I led my colleagues’ wives into lustful orgies and much more. I, too, recorded every tryst to use as blackmail if needed.

Fade from scenes of Lil laying with and kissing on various senators, with the final scene panning out to reveal a camera concealed in a closet, to scenes of Sam doing the same with those senators’ wives. Again, pan out to reveal a camera concealed in the closet, then fade out.

Yet, as much as I hated my wife, and as much as she hated me, we decided to try for an heir. We wanted our union to look good. I wanted someone to carry on my legacy of evil, she just wanted a child.but our attempts were unsuccessful, for very obvious reasons. Yet, the reason had not dawned on me.I merely thought that it was natural that she and I were having this kind of trouble. I had never paid very close attention in health or science classes.

Sam and Lil are discussing something as the camera fades in.

Sam

We need a family. We need to look normal, even though we are nowhere near being such.

Lil

(nodding)

I agree. Just because we hate each other, we can at least try to be as normal as possible in appearance. Besides. I wanna baby.

Montage scenes of Sam and Lil trying for a baby. End of scene.

Scene 10: Sam watches as Lil leaves to visit her parents. After she is gone, he sits down on the couch. Leaning back, he closes his eyes. After less than 30 seconds, he sniffs the air and sits up, opening his eyes and sits up. He gets up and looks  down the hall toward the bedroom. Belial stands in the hallway, hidden in the shadows.

Sam

(narrating)

At one point early in my career, on my birthday, Belial visited me. My remaining childless was weighing heavily upon my mind, as were a few other questions. His appearance, at a time when she wasn’t around, was so opportune.

Belial

(with a beguiling smile)

You look a little long in the tooth. Is there something I can do for you?

Sam

(irritable)

Yes. you can tell me why I cannot have children.

Belial

(with a hint of surprise, his eyebrow raised)

Is it not obvious?

Sam

(getting more irritated)

No, enlighten me.

Belial

(sighs)

You have no soul. Soulless people cannot propagate. They are sterile. You will either have to go childless or adopt. (shakes his head in wonderment, muttering to himself) I swear. Some humans are so dense. They just don’t get all that they are giving up until they want something to carry on their name. (Sam winces in pain, the comments made by Belial having their desired effect)

Sam

(half in retaliation, half in frustration)

You did not explain this to me, Bea. you stated, and I quote, ‘you will have everything your heart desired.’ And my heart desires a child.

Belial

(heavy and dark, venomous)

Never call me Bea. There are no pet names between us. I am your friend, true. But nicknames between business associates is very disrespectful.

Sam

(remorseful)

I am sorry.i did not realize that I could not use terms of endearment.

Belial

(with a pleased smile)

There is more than that on your mind, isn’t there?

Sam

(warily)

Yes, but I need you to not become angry.

Belial

(quizzically)

And why is that?

Sam

I have some (he pauses) philosophical questions that are, shall I say, a little on the religious side?

Belial

(sternly)

You were warned about these kind of questions.

Sam

Just bear with me, please.

Belial

(sighing, disappointed)

I will have to check with my master.

Belial vanishes for a few seconds, then reappears.

OK, but just this once and no more.

Sam

My beguiling friend, why must there always be a war between Heaven and Hell?

Belial

(mortified)

This question is forbidden! Why must you ask questions of such a manner? Do you know that my master could strike us both down for such blasphemous questions?

Sam

(remorseless)

Please, I beg you, I ask only for philosophical purposes. To fully understand my own part in this whole thing.

Belial

(rolling his eyes, hissing in disapproval)

Alright, but no more of these kinds of questions after this. We need no goading from you to hate all things of Heaven. The war between Heaven and Hell has been an endless one. We fight because we hate all that is good and right. All that Heaven represents. When Heaven created man, we resented the newly created man and vowed to destroy Heaven and rule man as we desired.

Sam

(pressing his luck)

What of the Bible? Is it really the truth?

Belial

Your truth is whatever the truth of our lord is, not the truth of the life you abandoned or that most hated book. (he grows impatient and angry)

Sam

(still pushing his luck)

Is there anything such as redemption?

Belial

(icily)

We are lords over all the earth. Not God. Not man. We determine who is and who is not worthy of your so-called redemption.

Sam

(acquiescing)

Then I am completely satisfied. No more foolish questions.

Belial

(with foreboding)

Let me warn you. There will be no more questions on this subject. Remember, Faustus was a real man and he was torn to shreds for his infractions of our golden rules. But your fate could be far worse if you continue to pester me with such detestable questions.

Sam grows quiet  and visibly abased. He bows his head for a few seconds. Then Belial speaks again.

(in a softer tone, but commanding)

Come kneel at my feet. It is time for something important.

Sam

(looking up momentarily, then rising and going over to do as he is asked)

What?

Belial

(smiling maliciously)

Why, it’s time for you to take the oath, pledging your complete loyalty to Hell and it’s Dark Prince.

Sam raises his right hand to swear the oath. Pan out from Belial and Sam as the narration begins.

Sam

(narrating)

And so, i pledged my undying loyalty. Yet, I had never been so loyal that I had never betrayed those I was supposed to be loyal to, and I would find that Hell’s minions were the same. At nineteen, The Devil had gained my soul. At twenty-three, he now had control of my very actions.

Fade to black. End of scene. End of act 1.  

The Faust Syndrome Act 1, Scenes 3 through 6

Scene 3: Pan to an event that happens before the library scene as narration continues Sam is in bed with the woman next door when his girlfriend (Sandy) walks in and catches them. A fight ensues and she walks out. lines here are ad libbed for sake of spontaneity. the argument is heated, but muted, being behind the narration. 

                                                     Sam

                                              (narrating)

                          I must digress a little. I was nineteen when the

Devil became the owner of my soul. In facts, the

                       eve that Belial came to visit me was the very eve

                      of my birthday and I had all but squandered the day.

                      I remember it all so well because I had just broken up

                      with my girlfriend for what I thought of as a betrayal.

                     She had not betrayed me, no, but my purposes.

She had caught me in a tryst with a married neighbor.

That was her only crime, and it really wasn’t a crime at all.

I had wronged her. I had destroyed her faith in my “love”.

But I didn’t love her. That was the problem. I didn’t love anyone.

fade to montage of scenes where Sam is with different women and chasing women as the narration continues.

                  I was far from being a loyal lover. Women were my greatest

                    vice. Or, should I say, my greatest weakness. I lusted after them.  

I stalked them. I even lusted after the ones I could not have.

And all I wanted from women was, well, sex. That, to me, was all

they were good for. Otherwise, they were a big waste of money and

time. Wine them, dine them, but make sure they go to bed with you in

the end–that was my philosophy.

It didn’t matter  whether they stayed or not, just as long as I got what

I wanted from the. I didn’t realize that it was all wrong, I just knew

that I wanted what they had to offer…even if they really weren’t offering.

I scoffed at my Christian upbringing, I was from wealth and privilege, I

didn’t need God or his rules.

Pan to scenes of Sam wining and dining women, then bedding them.Fade to scene of Sam making lewd gestures and laughing as he is driven past a church. Adlib lines to match scenes. 

In my young mind, women were there to do as I bid. My word,

where they were concerned, was law. If they didn’t give willingly,

I would take it. If I couldn’t take it, I would slander them. Shame them.

You might say that evil had already taken a fair root in my heart but not enough but not enough to destroy my soul. Yes, I had committed crimes against so many young ladies up to this point,but I had always been able to repent my evil away until I signed my soul away.

Scene 4: an hour after the pact is signed. Sam’s father’s fever breaks and he regains his health over the days that pass. Sam’s mother and father watch as their son begins to change. At first, it was subtle, then more apparent.

Sam

(Narrating)

Before I go on, I must tell you that my father regained his health in the days that followed. He had been near death for about a week,but for some reason, the fever broke and he was well almost within hours of my signing away my soul. He would remain a thorn in my side for over ten years and I would grow to loathe him. Yet, he was a good man and in the dark recesses of my mind, I knew that he just wanted to save his youngest son. Mama, too, could see the changes in me. How hard they tried to regain my soul for me!  

Fade to scene of Frankie’s bedroom. A dark corner. Frankie’s back is to the corner, he is getting ready for bed. Sam , in spectral form,appears in the dark corner and Frankie turns and jumps, spooked.

My first deeds, though, had nothing to do with my parents or women. It had everything to do with a friend who had “betrayed” me. yet , much like the situation with my ex-girlfriend, he had not really betrayed me.

Frankie

(spooked)

Jesus! Where did you come from?

Sam

(with an evil smile)

Nowhere. What are you nervous about, Frankie? Afraid I might do something?

Frankie

(starting to grow fearful)

How did you get in here? All the doors are locked. And the windows are all shut down tight with the shutters closed.

Sam

(maliciously)

Not everyone has to use doors or windows, Frankie. Sometimes all it takes is a guilty conscience or thought. Maybe I will visit your girl after I am done here.

Frankie

(defiant, yet fearful)

I don’t know what I have to be guilty of.I didn’t do anything to you.

Sam

(evilly)

Think, Frankie. Hard. You betrayed me. You told Susan where I was. She found me with Marla.

Frankie

(in desperation)

What the hell were you doing with Marla?

(suddenly realizing what the answer is. Shock suddenly registers in his eyes)

Oh God! Why’d you do that?!?

Sam

(coldly)

None of your business, Frankie. But I know you told her where I was. She told me.

Sam

(narration)

Of course, this last part had been a lie. She had not been told, nor had she told me that anyone had told her where I was. She had just simply stopped to see Marla and found us.

Frankie

(defending himself)

I did not tell her!!! Hell! I didn’t even know where you were! I swear it!

Sam

(coldly)

Too late, Frankie. No amount of swearing will absolve you this time. This time, you have betrayed me one too many times.

Sam forces Frankie to sit down and write a false confession  and suicide note. Sam forces Frankie to make a noose and hang himself.he waits until Frankie stops kicking and breathing, then leaves.

Sam

(narrating)

Over the next hour, I made him write out a false confession. It was a beauty,even though it was all lies. I made him write out a suicide note, then made him make his own noose. It had to be believable. Then, I made him hang himself. I waited until he stopped kicking and moving before I left.

Pleased with myself, I felt I needed to find a woman and celebrate. And who better than the girlfriend of my late friend? I smiled in anticipation.

Sam seeks out Frankie’s girlfriend and attempts to seduce her.  

Fiona

(angry)

Knock it off, Sam. I don’t love you. I never will. Go away. You can’t have me.

Sam

(viciously)

You will live to regret this.

Enraged, Sam returns home to plot fiona’s death.

Sam

(narrating)

I did not expect her to reject me. Devastated, I went back home to plot against her as well. Yet, I refrained from carrying it out right away. I wanted to let the shock of Frankie’s “suicide” go away. I wanted to punish her in other ways. I wanted to really hurt her.

Scene 5: fade to a later date. The sadness of Frankie’s death has seemingly eased for Fiona. Sam has been watching. Waiting. His eyes reveal that he believes that the time is right to bring his plot against her to fruition. He appears, one night, in her bedroom after she returns from a date with some friends. She is undressing when he appears.

Sam

(evilly)

Hello, Fiona. Have you missed me?

Fiona

(panic stricken)

Dear God, Sam! How the hell did you get in here?!?

Sam

(maliciously)

Magic!

Sam begins trying to force himself on her, pushing her toward the bed. As scene fades, she screams. Fade back in on scene of her lying on her bed, her hair messed, her face battered and bruised. She is crying. Sam stands where he had appeared earlier, an evil smile on his face.

Sam

(with an evil laugh)

We’ll continue this tomorrow night,  

(vanishes, leaving her to cry inconsolably)

Shakily, she goes to her desk and pulls out her diary and begins writing every event that has led up to this misfortune, including the rape itself.

Sam

(narrating)

Little did I know that she would be a witness to my crimes in ways even the Devil could not know. Yes, she would keep a detailed diary about me. The flags I raised in her mind. The horrible truth about what I would become.

She would keep a detailed record of every time I would visit her and every time I raped her. In the end, it would be one of the few documents that would seal my fate (pause) twenty years after her own death. The last night I would visit her, I would leave her a shattered mess. She lay, motionless, in a pool of her own blood after the beating I gave her as I made her do the things that would make her unravel. Unashamed, I left her that way.

Fade to scene of Fiona in a puddle of blood, Sam leaving. She regains consciousness after he leaves and seeks out her diary. After writing one last entry, she hides it where she knows Sam won’t find it. After this, she sits at her desk and writes a suicide note and hangs herself.

Sam

(narrating)

At some point in the night, after she had made one last entry in her secret book, and after hiding it well enough for me not to find, she wrote a suicide note and then hung herself to end the pain I had inflicted upon her. In her note, she left her family a clue as to where she had hidden the book but warned them not to look for it until I was well out of the community.

That night, I called upon a host of succubae to give me the pleasure I wanted in bed. I was addicted to their touch and their ways. So amazing were the nights they visited me that I forgot about women for a while. I had not been told that to call upon their pleasures would age me greatly over time, but I would not have cared anyway. I was young.what was a long life if I could not taste all the pleasures Hell had to offer?

Unashamed of the deeds I had committed, I went on with my life as if I had done nothing wrong. The town began to wonder what was going on, though. Two of their most beloved children had been taken from them for no reason. One had been savagely beaten and assaulted until she committed suicide, the other had simply committed suicide for no apparent reason. And I was the only one who knew why.

Fade to scene of Sam in his bedroom, surrounded by succubae. They are crawling on him, kissing him, and arousing him. Fade to black as the remainder of the narration continues. End of scene.

Scene 6: one year later. The anniversary of Belial’s first visit. Belial has returned.

Sam

(narrating)

I would spend the rest of my nineteenth year breaking into the houses of those I had gone to school with, taking all of their belongings and leaving clues that pointed away from myself. Small, petty stuff, but still another step in the direction of my own eternal damnation. I had no reservations. No pride. Just a vengeful  heart bent on hurting everyone around me.

I would receive a visit from Belial, once again, on the anniversary of our first meeting. Every birthday would be another friendly visit, goading me deeper into evil. Yet, he waited until all were asleep but me. I had stopped sleeping after Frankie’s death.

Belial

(hissing malevolently cheerful)

I see you have created quite a stir! Not bad!

Sam

(raising an eyebrow)

By whose measure?

Belial

(grinning evilly)

My master’s, of course. But he wants more. And he wanted me to deliver another message.

Sam

(looking at Belial quizzically)

And that might be?

Belial

He wanted me to remind you that, if you read the fine print, and I hope you did, that he will come for you at the appointed time. This means that he will come himself or send some of my coworkers to collect your body once your time runs out.

Sam

And how much time do I have?

Belial

(shrugging)

Roughly twenty years.

Sam

(frustrated)

Not enough.

Belial

(sneering maliciously)

No? You presume to tell my master how much time you need to do things?

Sam

(frowning angrily)

No, but if your master expects me to get into politics, he needs to give me until I am fifty.only one man has made it into the White House before they were forty.

Belial

Do you doubt the power of my master that you think he cannot influence enough to get you there before you are forty?

Sam

(shaking his head)

no , but I doubt the human willingness to follow his lead. Too many astute people who can’t be fooled by the likes of me.

Belial

(soothingly)

You tell a big enough lie and you can fool anyone into selling anything. Besides. We need you in office to raise our membership. We have fallen on some hard times and need you to recruit. Oh, and you won’t be in the White House until you go to Congress.

Sam

And you are telling me that I will be doing that soon, I take it?

Belial

(smiling evilly)

Sooner than you think.

 

The Morrow Family Saga, series 4, Book 1: Once Around The Ride, Chapter 14

Tom stood a short distance away from the others who had filtered into the hospital. He felt out of place even though he was considered family by both Natalia and Matt. Hell. Even Shasta seemed to think of him as family. He had been there for the family since the French Case. He had done all he could to keep an eye on Natalia throughout her journey to this point.

Yet, he felt as if he had let them all down. He had been unable to prevent this. For that, he felt as if he had betrayed their trust.

Matt, though, kept him from drinking himself into oblivion. As did Susie. God bless them both. They were his source of stability and sanity. The two things he needed the most right now.

He now stood among strangers. He had never met most of those now in the waiting room. He had briefly been in contact with the younger brothers, since they were born during the investigations that put an end to French Industries. Still, he really didn’t know them.

And their older brother Nick. He had been gone by the time Tom came into the picture. He knew Marty Venacek, though. But where was Dani? Had she made it yet? Or was she unable to do so?

There was a dark silence that had fallen over those in the waiting room. A mixture of acceptance and rejection, belief and rejection, made its way through each and every person. Like some unnamed poison, it permeated everything, causing everyone to be on edge.

Dani walked into the waiting room. She saw him and immediately came over to where he was. Putting her arms around his neck, she gave him a hug.

“Good to see you, Uncle Tom,” she whispered, “how has she been?”

Tom smiled sadly. “Not good. The virus has pretty much ravaged her. She has zero tolerance to anything anymore. Just when she gets her life turned around, she finds herself at its end.”

“It’s sad indeed,” she agreed, “I just wish we could’ve gotten her straight before now. Maybe we could’ve prevented this.”

“Natalia chose her path long before we entered it as influences.” He looked at her. “She had things all planned out before even I entered the picture. From what I understand, your uncle Mike tried his best to steer her in the right direction and failed. Well, it wasn’t his failure, but hers. She didn’t understand what he was trying to do.”

Dani nodded. “True.”

He watched her walk away. He was saddened to watch her go. She had tried to help him rein Natalia in during the sixties. But they had both failed and Nattie had slipped further away from everyone.

But that had been a crazy time. The sixties had taken their toll on everyone. The acid trips, the drug experimentation, the sexual revolution—it had all led up to the fallout of the last couple of years, right after disco.  And it was still taking its toll.

Gone were the days when innocence was god. That had been stripped away in the late sixties. Of course, a large chunk of the country’s innocence had been stripped away in the late forties and  throughout the fifties as well with the McCarthy led Communist witch hunts. Not to mention Eddie Hoover’s fixation with communists which ended during Nixon’s time in office.

***

Matt sat in the hospital parking lot, head in hands. This was almost too much to bear. He knew that his mother was nearing the end of her life and there wasn’t anything he could do to save her. just when she had found happiness, she was hit with this new and mysterious disease. And now, the disease was killing her.

His anger fed his pain. It fed his creativity. His creativity fed his career. At the moment, though, he was three steps from ending his career. Between the pain and the anger, he was beginning to overload.

Family was more important than a career at this point and his brothers and sisters now needed him. all of them. He would always be able to return to his career after he had finished raising them. He was all they had. And now, they were all he had.

He dried his eyes. This was no time to be crying. He had to be strong. He had always had to be strong. Always.

No one ever liked losing a member, but it was inevitable. Still, his mother was too young. Forty-something was too young. And right when she had finally found herself and happiness, she fell ill. It wasn’t fair.

But then, life wasn’t fair. It had never been fair. His father had been taken from him before he was old enough to really know him. At least, that was what his mother told him. After that, it was a steady stream of men where momma was concerned.

He couldn’t really call any of them dad. None of them remained in his life long enough. Some, he’d had to defend himself and his mother from. Others simply got what they wanted from her and left. That had changed in ’77 when she met Johnny.

Johnny Mark had been a porn legend. His films were the most complex in the industry. Of course, that wasn’t his real name, but he couldn’t have the world knowing his private life. It had been a risky move for Matt’s mother, getting involved with Johnny, but it had been the best thing for her.

Although he didn’t agree with the career move, he let her do her own thing. As long as it kept her out of trouble, he was willing to allow her a little leeway. Johnny got her parts in a couple of his films and things took off from there. At first, there had been multiple partners. Then only Johnny.

After twenty films, she stopped. She had made a fortune with her body and created a name for herself. In fact, she was somewhat of a Hollywood legend herself, though not under her own name. the Morrow name was never tainted by her actions. At least, not overtly.

She had tried to keep her parents from seeing her name or likeness. Of course, Iowa was a different state than California. What happened in Cali seemed to remain worlds away from Des Moines or any town in Iowa. Sure whatever made the news seemed to reach the Midwest, but it never had much of an impact. It never really touched the lives of the people. At least not personally.

The Morrow Family Saga, Series 4, Book 1: Once Around the Ride, Chapter 13

Shasta got her mother and father onto the plane from Des Moines to LA in record time. getting them packed and into the car was like herding turtles…or maybe that was herding cats. She smiled. It was always a joy to do things with her parents. Too bad Nattie hadn’t seen that. Maybe she would have been in a different position now.

Still, Nattie had always been different. She had always marched to her own drum. There was no reason to her rhyme and no real rhythm to her life. Just a haphazard inconsistency that had marked every step of her life. Now was no different.

Chance Spencer had been good for Natalia, that had been apparent. Their lifestyle, however, had been less than desirable. But at least they had been able to supply a comfortable life for their children, at least at the beginning. But now, the year after Chance had died, Nattie was about to join him. the disease that had taken him was now eating away at her.

It was unfair. Nattie should be healthy and happy. But no. The minute she had found happiness, she lost it. Again. for the third and final time.

Shasta smiled sadly. The decade of free love had had its consequences. Seemed nothing had been truly free in the end.  But why did Nattie have to pay the price as well? Why couldn’t she get a get out of jail free card? After all, she still had a lot of life left in her to experience.

Her father’s voice brought her out of her thoughts.“Shaz. Shaz. There wasn’t anything you or I could have done to save her from this. You were never meant to be your sister’s keeper. Matt should have never had to do what he was forced t do either. Nattie was on a self-destructive path long before she left home. We tried to keep her on the straight and narrow, Lord knows we did, but she had a mind of her own.

“She put herself in the predicament that facilitated her rape. She fell for Toby’s lies. She wouldn’t listen to anyone who tried to tell her that the boy was just pure evil. She thought he was the way she was going to find her key to happiness and stardom. Unfortunately, he shattered all those dreams for her and stomped on her heart by taking her innocence.

“I tried to fix it all for her after it happened, but I just didn’t know how to approach it. I had already taken away the power of his old man through shedding light on his fraud. I even tried to take away the boy’s power, but I failed.”

She smiled and took her father’s hand gently. “Pops, you did your best. Just think of the thousands of other girls you prevented Tobias from hurting after the rape. He went away to war to get away from going to prison. He went to Vietnam thinking he could go, then return a forgotten menace. When you chased him out of Des Moines, you save more girls than you realize.” She squeezed his hand gently to let him know that she approved of all that he had done for her sister and everyone else.

***

Yuri Venacek arrived in LA with his cousin Marty. The two had been business partners in Dallas for several years and decided to travel together to say farewell to their cousin. It was sad that it had come to this, but Marty had filled Yuri in on Nattie and her…alternative lifestyle. He could’ve sworn that he’d seen Nicolai Morrow at LAX and if that was the case, this was the end. Nothing had ever dragged Nick back into the family circle unless it was deep and extremely serious.

Still, he hoped to catch up on things with Nick as well as whoever else they would run into. It was always good to see family, even if it was during times like this. Not that Uri didn’t feel sad for Natalia, but everyone has seen this coming. Marcus, Uri’s brother, was somewhere in transit. He had said he would be there. But where was he?

Yuri shook his head. Marty’s sister, Dani, was still not in either. Neither were many of the others. Shasta had gone back to Des Moines to help his uncle Michael and aunt Valeria pack and make it to the plane on time. There were Morrows from all over the globe coming. Some had never met Nattie, others remembered her when she was young. Still, family was family and the Morrows were one family that believed in being close knit.

When one was hurt, the rest would come to their aid. When one died, the rest would come to mourn. And the Venaceks had become a part of that family.  A grand family it was too.

Yuri and Marty made their way to the hotel to check in. Once checked in, they headed for the hospital. There, they knew they would find the rest of the family. There, they would also find answers.

***

Matt sat at the judges’ table with Tandy and Sal. Before them, an aspiring vocalist was prancing back and forth on the stage. She certainly had the showmanship part down, but she still needed way too much work for them to consider. Beauty and showmanship were only two of the prerequisites, not the whole list.

Matt interrupted her. “Sorry, but you aren’t what we are looking for. If you like, I can add you to the list for possible backup singers.” He shrugged questioningly.

She blushed, having not anticipated his response. Usually, an audition got a thank you, we’ll get in touch with you later, not an invite to be backup after an initial rejection. But she had just received an invite to be backup. It was better than nothing. “S-sure, Mr. Morrow. That would be a dream!”

He smiled. “Good. it seems a better fit for you than fronting. You seem way to nervous for the lead. Being backup will help you work on that.”

She smiled nervously and nodded, then left the stage.

“Next.” Sal’s baritone made the command boom through the arena.

Savanna appeared on stage.

Tandy looked her over. “Name?”

She smiled. “Savanna Morrison.”

Matt smiled back, reassuringly. “Alright, show us what you’ve got.”

She smiled. “Sure bet.”

The music began. Matt watched her as she waited for the exact length of the intro and began on cue without being told. Her eyes, closed in concentration, periodically seemed closed so tight that they might stick shut. Then, she would relax. She seemed lost in the music, totally engulfed and a part of it. She fit the sound and the sound fit her.

Matt interrupted her, cutting the audition short. “You’ve got the job.”

She looked at the other two judges. Tandy and Sal nodded in affirmation. Even though she felt like screaming and jumping wildly, she knew it could blow her chances of keeping the gig. She smiled and threw her fist in the air triumphantly. “Rock on!”

Matt smiled. “We start rehearsal tomorrow on new songs. Bring any songs or lyrics you might have with you for possible consideration.”

She looked at him. “What time?”

Tandy cleared his throat. “Be at the studio by nine. Matt will be there when he gets done at the hospital. The rest of us will be there to work on rhythm and backing vocals.”

Matt smiled and winked. “I will be bringing in your contract as well, so be ready to sign your soul away.”

She stifled a giggle. She knew he wasn’t serious about the whole signing the soul away thing. It had just been made in jest. “I will be there bright and early.”

***

Belinda entered Tahoe at dusk. She had to find a motel quickly. She hated to be out after dark. She supposed that was the reason she had never really felt comfortable in her relationship with Matt. All those late nights.

Of course, she hadn’t cared much for his family either—not that she’d had one of her own. She couldn’t remember her parents but that was probably because she had run away from home at fifteen so that she could be a groupie. And she had lived her dream. She had lived the glamorous life of a rock groupie.

But it really hadn’t been that glamorous. Maybe the sex had been great, but the lifestyle itself left one empty. Longing. But for what?

Perhaps it had been over-glamorized. She took in a deep breath. What she needed was to find a musician who didn’t have any family. Someone she could…nudge closer to the grave until they finally fell in and left her with their entire fortune. It was a nice dream.

But who would want a used toy? Surely not the world weary legends. Of course not. And up-and-comers weren’t rich enough for her blood.

She snapped out of her thoughts as she pulled into the parking lot of a Holiday Inn. She parked and went into the office.

“May I help you?” The clerk didn’t even look up.

“I need a room for the night.”

The clerk scooted the register out to where she could sign it. “Please sign in.” he walked over to the board where the keys hung and took one down, then walked back to the desk and handed the key to her. “That’ll be thirty dollars.”

She handed him $30 and took the key. She turned from the desk and looked at the key chain. Room 231. That was cool.