Friday, June 30, 2017

Microstory 615: Amphibious Infestation

Like most taikon listed in the scripture, the fifteenth was written without too many details. What has been largely interpreted to refer to some kind of minimal population boom for one particular species of amphibians has turned into something greater. Much, much greater. Amphibians of all shapes and sizes, and of all species, began crawling out of the waters at the exact moment the storm in the last taikon ended. This did not happen from only one body of water, and to only one city. It didn’t even happen on only one planet. All major cities on all central worlds began experiencing an infestation of these creatures simultaneously. Streets were soon overrun by them, halting all land transportation. Some species appeared on planets on which they did not naturally live. Experts immediately began studying the phenomenon, and running some numbers. They came to the understanding that there were more amphibians present during the infestation than there should have been in existence across the galaxy. How this was possible was not something that anyone, from any field of study, could explain. What was strange about this event—as if that wasn’t enough—was that the animals left as quickly as they had come. Less than a quarter standard hour later, they began receding into their waters, and disappeared. After these moments, the number of observed individuals of their respective species returned to expected quantities. Things were back to normal, and after the shock had worn off of every resident and visitor to these cities, people started realizing that the animals didn’t actually do anything. They didn’t destroy any equipment of infrastructure. They didn’t hurt anyone, or cause any freak accidents. They came, they went, and that was it. Unfortunately, for as inexplicable as the incident was, the Lightseed faith did not significantly increase its own numbers. Obviously this was undeniable proof that Lightseers were true and righteous, but perhaps it also scared any potential doubters. Still, as the ol’ song goes, the taikon..must go on. This was still only the beginning. The majority of prophesied events were yet to come to pass, starting with the Feast of the Fruit of Love.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Microstory 614: Annihilation of Pagan Statues

Eido Seamus’ first order of business was to kick the rest of the taikon into high gear. Any and all that could be achieved arbitrarily were to be planned and executed as fast as possible. As mentioned before, there are other religions in this galaxy that contradict Lightseed teachings. And though no law prevents these faiths from existing, much of the text in the Book of Light warns Lightseers of the possible threat. Every belief that goes against ours has the potential to become a menace to our way of life. Most of them are rooted in the old beliefs, which means they could theoretically lead us down a path of returning to our tainted history. One dangerous religion is known as honshin. It is an unremarkable faith, noted for its plethora of gods. The problem with it is that it preaches community over individuality, under certain conditions. In the last half-century, honshin has risen in popularity by seven percent, and has even taken believers from Lightseed. The fourteenth taikon states that following the annihilation of pagan statues, an entire world will experience an infestation of amphibious animals. In order to arrive at the fifteenth taikon, Eido Seamus ordered a group of his followers to destroy a garden built by the motherhouse of the honshin movement. He could have chosen any other pagan religion, but honshin has proven itself to be a formidable enough of an enemy to warrant attack. Unfortunately, the fifteenth taikon did not arrive as predicted, leading some to lose trust in the words of the Book of Light. But as it has turned out, the faithful cannot be rewarded if they take action that does not belong to them. The wording of the taikon said nothing about how the pagan statues were to be destroyed, but it has become clear now that this could only happen through natural causes. While those closest to the taikon events were awaiting the fifteenth taikon to arrive, growing less and less confident by the minute, their patience was rewarded. A lightning storm on an entirely different planet established itself over an entirely different garden for an entirely different pagan religion. Just as the last lightning bolt flew from the sky and struck one final statue, the first amphibian climbed out of the swamp, marking the beginning of the fifteenth taikon. We were now assured that all taikon would play out in unexpected ways, and whether anyone had anything to say about it, or not. Most traitors returned to the light after realizing their mistake, and remembering that there is only one true God.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Microstory 613: Replace Eido Seamus

The original Eido Seamus was born into a wealthy family of fishermen. They were famous for fishing in the waters of an unnamed planet in the Lactean galaxy. A small part of the sea on this planet was home to a remarkable species of fish with extraordinary healing properties. The zebe fish, as it came to be known, was fast and fickle. It lived deep in the ocean, on the floor, and protected itself using camouflaging techniques. It surfaced only one day out of the year for an unknown reason. Historians speculate it had something to do with seeking out the warmth of the sun, but no one really knows. Either way, the Boenirj family had a monopoly on fishing in the area, which gave them an unbeatable advantage in the market. They sold what few specimens they could capture that season, and soon built an empire around it. When our people sought refuge in the galaxy of Fostea, Seamus and his family were the first in line for the exodus ships, and certainly had the money to afford it. Seamus quickly became one of the Sacred Savior’s most loyal confidants, some believing him to be his favorite. In fact, the other eidos were noted as being jealous and annoyed by Sotiren’s love of Seamus, and his brother; another follower. Seamus was killed by a cowardly terrorist when he was still young, depriving our civilization of what might have been great leadership. Fortunately, he was not the only Seamus our faith would come to know. A new Seamus was born twenty years ago, fittingly on Sacrede. He too hails from a wealthy family of fishermen, who are more committed to our way of life than could be put into words. Seamus himself dedicated his life to studying the life and teachings of the Sacred Savior, Sotiren Zahir. He knows the Book of Light, and its best interpretation, better than anyone. It was he who discovered the long-lost prophecy of the twelfth taikon. That, coupled with his apropos name, has led verifiers to confirm that he will take his place as the new Eido Seamus.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Microstory 612: Tame the Bairaz of Treiph

The fiercest animal discovered in this galaxy when our ancestors first discovered it would have to be the Bairaz. Baira are extremely large creatures; the smallest being at least four times as large as a human. It’s skin is impenetrable, and it appears to be entirely impervious to pain, or at least it doesn’t let pain stop it from rampaging. The Baira evolved on a little used planet called Oirpelne. It lies between central systems Arithmi and Dulex, which made it a perfect neutral zone for trading deals, but it has not been used much for this purpose—or for any other, for that matter—in recent years. Oirpelne is tidally locked with its parent star, making one side of it extremely hot, and the other bitterly cold. All activity takes place on the planet’s terminator zone, which provides visitors with the only hospitable environment. Though, all in all, it’s not a great location, which is why it was never settled. Stray too far on the daylight side, called Treiph, and you risk particular flavor of radiation interfering with the electronic instruments. Stray too far into the dark side, Harom, and your instruments will seize up, or you’ll freeze to death, or both.
Baira navigate using magnetoreception, and are generally unable to survive for long on erratic Treiph, which is why they tend to stay on Harom. A couple years ago, unfortunately, one of these animals accidentally found itself on the wrong side of the terminator zone. He could be seen kicking and rolling around on the horizon, trying to find his way back home, but he was completely hopeless against the electromagnetic disturbance caused by the sun’s radiation. A few people have needlessly attempted to help the creature, but have been unable themselves to get close enough to it. Protective equipment fries too deep into Treiph, and humans aren’t built to survive under such harsh conditions. Even if they were to find a way to get close enough to help the Bairaz, he would reject this help, because his species has evolved to be angry and unruly. Few attempts have been made, and most of these were by people seeking to prove their bravery and fortitude. Their efforts have been met with nothing but failure...until recently. A small group of people who happened to have been present during the witnessing of the bloodwater at Lake Wurveol were also spotted using never-before-seen technology to travel beyond Oirpelne’s terminator line. They presumably used what some have called hypnotic technology to lure the lost Bairaz back to safety. They drove it all the way into the snow where it remains today, apparently as healthy and happy as any regular Bairaz. What’s interesting about this event is that it was reported upon by a number of galactic journalists, but not as part of the taikon. This is because the twelfth taikon has been lost for centuries. No record of it survived into current copies of the Book of Light. This has led many to believe the taikon were doomed to fail, but many of us kept faith that the answer would present itself at the right time. This is exactly what has happened, for not long after the team tamed the Bairaz of Treiph, it was discovered to be the prophecy of the twelfth a man named Seamus.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Microstory 611: Proper Burial of the Sacred Savior

Before the Lyons family took in the Dam of Cerelune as a pet, scientists first wanted some time to investigate its ability to spontaneously open wormholes. Their experiments were not as controlled as they thought, however, and they ended up opening wormholes in unplanned locations. One such location was Lake Wurveol on the Roepl moon where the water turned red unprompted. By now, this was being referred to as the Bloodwater, but it was not destined to remain as it was. The wormhole opened in the middle of the lake, quickly draining it in its entirety. After it was done, the wormhole closed back up, as if planned that way. The scientists experimenting with these wormholes promised that they did not do this intentionally, and in fact admitted that they did not understand the process well enough to be that precise. The most miraculous part of this occurrence, however, was neither the wormhole, nor the water draining. That was yet to come. Once the water was all gone, those there were able to see its topography. Quite literally in the middle of the lake bed was a rectangular hole. It appeared natural, but was also surprisingly the approximate specifications of a standard human grave. That’s right, somehow the lake contained a natural grave, which was perfect, because they were in need of one. The eleventh taikon mandates that the Sacred Savior be properly buried in a “new location of newly great significance”. This seemed to qualify better than anywhere else. It was the newest following professional confirmation that all study on the Savior’s body had been completed. And so after centuries, Sacred Savior Sotiren Zahir was finally put to rest within the natural grave, which was filled in with fine rubble taken from the recently destroyed infidel worshiphouse. Everything was fitting into place perfectly, but even this wasn’t the most miraculous part. Once the burial ceremony was finished, the bloodwater suddenly returned from another wormhole to symbolically protect him from outside forces. The wormhole scientists were shown to not only have not done this on purpose, but also not at all. The wormhole somehow opened up on its own, proving to even the hardest of skeptics that the takion were very real, and forthcoming...and totally beyond the control of man.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: July 18, 2133

After the Easter Island ordeal, Arcadia and Mario ferried everyone back to Tribulation Island, stopping in Old Kansas City first to retrieve Aura. Mateo caught up with Leona, and Darko and Lincoln were free to speak with each other, but none of the others were in the right emotional state to talk. They had been there so long that everyone knew their responsibilities, so they luckily didn’t even have to open their mouths to coordinate gathering firewood, or tending to the fish tarp. Things were awkward between Horace and Paige, but they decided to silently fill their time with rebuilding the privacy hut. By the time Mateo and Leona returned to the timestream the following year, it was complete, along with a few additions, like a particularly beautiful waterfall. Rather, they were as normal as they could be in this corrupted reality. Evidently, a past version of Serkan was brought forward in time to help Horace get back on track. It apparently helped immensely, because Horace’s relationship with his daughter was stronger than ever. It seemed as though everyone was dealing with their situation pretty well. And it really was everyone. From what Mateo could tell, no one was missing this time.
“Help me out with the math here,” he said to Leona. “If an expiation lasts for three years, and we started in 2109, then shouldn’t we be starting another one by now?”
“Well, that seems right, but we never technically had an expiation for Paige,” Leona pointed out. “She’s still around.”
“But Arcadia did call what we did on Easter Island an expiation. I think it still counts, because we had to fight to get her back. And that was three days ago.”
“Maybe Arcadia is just giving you-slash-us a break. She seemed personally distressed by Horace’s...issues. I mean, she brought Paige back in the first place, which she’s never done before. She’s probably considering today a gift after all that.”
Mateo nodded slowly. “There is another explanation, though.”
“What might that be?” she asked.
“That someone actually was taken, and that I don’t remember them either.”
“That’s a leap, Mateo.”
“Is it? The Battle for Paige was an expiation, but also wasn’t. Like you said, she had to give Paige back to us. That probably doesn’t come without a cost.”
“What are you saying?”
“I think she stole someone from me, and erased my memories, along with everyone else.”
“Well, if you don’t remember who’s missing, how can you fight to get them back?”
“Exactly. We don’t get this one back. She or he is just lost to us forever. That could be the lesson; that no matter what you go through, you can’t bring back people who’ve passed.”
“I think we learned that already when Vearden died.”
“I’m really worried, Leona. I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that something has been ripped away.”
“That’s not exactly what happened,” Arcadia said after appearing behind them.
“What did you do?”
She inhaled and exhaled. “I was cruel. I made my expiations too difficult. No, not just difficult; impossible. It was my first time, I didn’t know what I was doing. I have worked out those kinks, though, and I think your expiations are going swimmingly, despite a few hiccups.”
“Who are you talking about?”
“Aldona Lanka.”
“I don’t know who that is.”
“You met her briefly. She killed Ambrosios for you, and healed you from the hunger berries.”
“Oh. From the other island? I never got her name. What’s happened?”
“She died. And before you flip out, she was ninety years old, and living alone on a remote island on a planet in a different galaxy than where she was born, so I’d say she lived pretty long.”
“She was born late enough to be virtually immortal,” Mateo argued.
“This is true, but she didn’t, and she’s dead now, and you can help.”
“Help how?”
“She failed her expiations in a big way; a problem that you are not experiencing yourself. You can either sit here and enjoy the sun and surf for the next week, or you can complete her expiations for her.”
“I’m in.”
“Before you go all gung-ho on me, remember that Aldona is dead. She can’t be with her family, so you have no real obligation to bring them back.”
“I said I’m in.”
She went on, “right now, they don’t exist. They don’t care that they don’t exist...because they don’t exist! If you choose to leave them be, they can’t be mad at you, because—”
Mateo finished her sentence with her, “they don’t exist! I get it. I’m..IN! Let’s do it! Stop trying to downsell me on this, it’s not going to work!”
“I just want you to understand that you don’t know these people.”
“It doesn’t matter. They deserve to live, just as much as my friends and family.”
“Very well,” Arcadia said. “Assemble the clan. Also remember that they have no obligation to help you. And if they don’t, you will fail as well, because you two won’t be able to do this one yourself.”
They gathered the remaining inhabitants to the beach; Horace, Paige, Aura, Mario, Lincoln, and Darko. Mateo and Arcadia explained the new situation, and reminded them that anyone was free to opt out at will. Of course, no one did, so Arcadia dove into the specifics their task. “Aldona’s husband, Gino Calligaris was a Health Translator. Technological advances in the mid-21st century rendered many human health professional responsibilities obsolete. Nurses need no longer monitor vitals, and doctors need no longer diagnose diseases. Artificial intelligences handle all these problems, because they’re more efficient, and have a wider array of data. Humans are still needed, though, for one very important role in the hospital setting. It’s called bedside manner, and it has become an even more essential function than it was before. With computers handling the technical side of medicine, including surgical procedures, patients began to feel neglected. There was no warmth or compassion. There was no soul or sadness or empathy. Health Translators are just as—actually probably more educated than the doctors of your day. Their primary function now, however, is to be present for the patient; to explain prognoses and facility procedures to them, so they understand what they’re getting themselves into. Basically they retain the human component of the process, so that the patient has someone they can relate to.”
“That’s fascinating,” Aura couldn’t help but say.
“Unlike most expiations, this one will last for an entire year,” Arcadia continued. “You are being asked to go back to school. You will return to Earth and audit a special year-long program designed to train Health Translators in this aspect of their positions. You won’t be learning any medicine; instead you’ll be learning how to communicate with patients. Though you will do this all from another dimension, which means the facilitators and other students won’t be able to see you, you will be required to take and pass the periodic evaluations. Obviously, Mateo and Leona won’t be able to do this with you.
“Furthermore, every single one of you who agrees to this expiation will be required to pass. So if you think you’re not smart enough, you should consider dropping out. You will be able to help each other, though, so maybe there will be a sort of strength in numbers type of thing going on.”
Darko raised his hand and pulled away from the group. “I better not do this one,” he said. “I’m not particularly smart, and I’m certainly not particularly kind.” Awkwardly enough, no one argued with him on his self-assessment.
“Sounds fair, Arcadia said. “Anyone else?”
No one.
Arcadia looked at her watchless wrist. “Class begins in about an hour, so do what you have to. Wheels up in ten.” She looked over at Mateo, and spoke to him only, “I always wanted to say that.”
They packed their belongings, and said goodbye to Mateo, Leona, and Darko. Then they left for school. The three disqualified didn’t do anything interesting the rest of the day. It was only near midnight that they realized Darko would have to spend a whole year alone on the island. They should have thought through this more.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Flurry: Lost in Space (Part XI)

As Serkan was waiting to listen to Ace’s story about meeting Quivira a long time ago, something took him by the arms. In literally the blink of an eye, he was transported to a different place entirely. He was suddenly standing in a jungle. Or a forest. Or whatever you call it, it definitely wasn’t Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Standing before him was a man. “Who are you?”
“My name is Mario. Mario Matic.”
“What do you want with me?”
“We need your help.”
“I just got done helping someone, which was a tangent from trying to help someone else, which was already a tangent from trying to help an entire city.”
Mario stared at him with his mouth half-open. “I don’t know what that means. I’m salmon. I was sent to retrieve you so you can help my friend. That you were in the middle of something important was completely out of my control.”
Serkan took in a deep breath and prepared to officially accept the mission. He had never planned on traveling through time, but once he did, he at least hoped that the once would be it. This was getting to be a little inconvenient.
“If they let me take you back to the exact moment you left,” Mario continued, “I will. We really do need you, though. You’re the only one who can do it.”
Serkan exhaled. “Very well. What am I meant to do?”
Mario was hesitant to explain. “First, you should know that we’re in the future. I’ve not been authorized to reveal the exact date, but I am allowed to reveal that we are on a different planet as well.”
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “Some people can jump through time, others teleport, and some can even go to other planets. It’s this whole thing. I just don’t want you freaking out if you see a strange animal you’ve never heard of, or something.”
“I guess I’ll...thanks for warning me.” He was this close to just giving up on everything. It was so overwhelming. “Who’s your friend?”
“That’s the most complicated part.”
“There’s something more complicated?”
“You’ve met this person already.”
“All right. Who?”
“He will be happy to see you. We’re hoping you can sort of talk him off the ledge. He’s become...lost.”
“Why aren’t you telling me his name?”
“It’s Reaver. Horace Reaver. A future Horace Reaver.”
“Oh.” He couldn’t come up with a better response. This wouldn’t be the first time he met a future version of Ace, but it would be the first time he realized it.
“He’s been dealing with a lot. I mean, we all have, but he and I have had it the worst here. At least, out of everyone left. I don’t have a good enough memory.” Mario went on after a pause, “Of course, the Horace you meet will have knowledge of what happens in your personal future, but he’s been doing this long enough to know that he shouldn’t tell you too much about what happens to you. We ask that you respect that, and reciprocate it. The events on this island, in this time period, are very sensitive. You can’t go ‘round altering them, which means when you return to your own time, you can’t say anything to your boyfriend...or to anyone else, for that matter.”
“I understand. Just one question.”
“Where’s the future Serkan?” He guessed.
“Yeah. That’s...that’s what I was gonna ask.”
“I can’t tell you that,” he answered matter-of-factly.
“All right,” Serkan said. He didn’t know what we was going to find. He was just learning about a new side of his Ace in 2024. Having to speak with someone who had been through God knows how much more bullshit in this world...and apparently the next, was going to be difficult, at best. Future Horace Reaver. How much time had it been since their lives in mid-early 21st century, and how much had Ace changed? More importantly, how was Serkan going to be able to help? Perhaps even more importantly, though, how would he react to seeing his old boyfriend? Yes, by nothing more than Mario’s few words, and his tone of voice, Serkan suspected that sometime in the future, he would die before Ace. That was the only logical explanation for why he was brought in, rather than that version of himself. However, he had agreed to avoid learning too much about his future, and he was going to do his best to honor that commitment to temporal integrity. “Take me to him.”
Mario took him through the jungle and onto the beach. They were soon at some sort of encampment. In the distance, he could see a woman presumably fishing in the ocean. A guy he didn’t know was tending to a fire with Lincoln Rutherford, who seemed both completely out of place, and at home, at the same time. A second woman wasn’t technically in their way in this wide open space, but it was clear that they needed to speak with her first before they could go see Horace.
“He understands the rules?” she asked.
“Yes, ma’am.”
“I’m doing this as a favor. The psychological consequences of these experiences are meant to be part of those experiences. I shouldn’t be interfering with the process, but Mateo has...rubbed off on me.” She sort of trailed off in what looked like a private existential crisis. “And so has Horace. So I am allowing him to be here, but I can order you to take him away at any time, and I will exercise that power at my will.”
“I understand,” Mario responded. “And he does understand what he can and cannot know.”
“Okay.” With that, she disappeared.
“Come on,” Mario said. “He should be in the new privacy hut. Be gentle, he doesn’t know you’re coming.”
They walked up to this sorry excuse for a hut. Mario stayed behind while Serkan entered alone. Horace was sitting on a surprisingly well-made bench, carving a piece of wood with a pocket knife. He looked up and stared into Serkan’s eyes for a moment, all but confirming Serkan’s suspicions that the Serkan he knew was dead. Then he just chuckled once. “They send you here to get me back on track?”
“Are you off track?” Serkan asked, trying to channel every fictional therapist he had ever seen.
“I’m more myself now.”
“What happened?”
He stopped whittling. “I don’t believe I’m allowed to tell you that.”
Serkan said nothing.
“Eh, whatever.” He sported an exaggerated shrug, and broke eye contact so he could focus on the wall. He continued to slice into the piece of wood, but no longer had any drive to mold it into any particular shape. “Keanu is dead. I killed him, Mal. Killed him with a sword. How weird is that?” Yeah, he was not doing well.
“Why did you have to do that?”
To anyone else, that could sound like an accusation, but Horace would know that it was a legitimate question. “He had our daughter. He was gonna kill her this time, Serkan. He really was, he was gonna do it. If, by some miracle, he had failed, he would have found another way at another time. I had to end it.”
“But could one of his powerful friends not just go back in time and stop it from happening?”
He shook his head many more times than necessary. “Not this time. I was...not the way I did it.”
“I believe,” Serkan began, trying to find his words. “I believe they brought me up here expecting me to try and bring you back; to tell you that killing is wrong, and that there’s always another way.”
He finally looked back at him. “But you’re not gonna do that?”
“I also believe they underestimate our love for Paige.”
He nodded. “They always do.”
“I can’t imagine how you feel about her now, after all this time. For me it’s only been a year since we met her, but you’ve built a life around her. Honestly, for as bad as I expect it to get, I can’t wait.”
He smiled through the tears. “It’ll get pretty bad. If I can give you one piece of advice, though, it’s to not underestimate her. To say she’s precocious would be an understatement.”
Serkan pulled up a chair so they could sit in silence together for a little while. Serkan continued once he had thought of something useful. “Horace, I’m not here to make sure you’re okay. I know you’re not. I’m here to make sure that you’ll be okay.”
“I can’t promise that.”
“If you killed Keanu to protect Paige, then she must be somewhere around here, right?”
He glanced towards the door. “If you didn’t see her on your way here, they’re probably purposely keeping her hidden.”
“Then hold onto her. Use her as a rock. I don’t know exactly what went down that made you take up the sword—or even where you got your hands on a sword—but I do truly hope you had no other choice.”
“I didn’t.”
“Just...don’t use that as an excuse to go back to how Lincoln Rutherford thinks you once were.”
He laughed knowingly.
“Let her be there for you. She’s family. Whenever you’re worried about your...dark passenger, for lack of a better term, picture her face.”
“That’s what I used to do with you.”
“I know.”
“Do you know why I don’t, why I can’t, anymore?”
“I have a pretty good idea.”
“What if that’s not enough?”
Serkan slid down to his knees, hobbled over to Horace, and took hold of his hands. “If you end up doing something like this again, they’re gonna pull me out of time so I can drag your ass back out of the darkness. That may sound like a gift, but it’s gonna get us into some paradoxical trouble. Plus, it’s going to take precious time from me that I could be spending with a Horace I still know for a fact still listens to me.” It might have been harsh, but it was exactly what Horace needed to hear, and Serkan honestly believed it.
“Okay,” Horace replied.
“Good,” Serkan said, standing up. “I can’t be your crutch forever, so I’m gonna go home now.”
“That’s fair.” He stood up to take Serkan in what was obviously a much-needed embrace. Neither one of them really wanted to let go, and eventually, Horace started nuzzling Serkan’s neck.
“I should go,” Serkan said.
“What?” Horace asked, nuzzling deeper.
“I should be getting back to my boyfriend.”
I’m your boyfriend.”
“Not yet.” They both laughed. It was then that they knew that it wasn’t going to end like this. Serkan hadn’t gotten any in days, and he didn’t even want to hazard a guess as to how long it had been for Horace. So they took the opportunity to sleep together on an uncomfortable wooden hut floor.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Microstory 610: Body of Water Turns Red

After learning the news of the Pantheonist tribe meeting house’s destruction, a group of overzealous Lightseers took it upon themselves to instigate the tenth taikon. Unfortunately, these people either did not carefully read The Book of Light, or they failed to interpret it properly. The Book states that a body of water will inexplicably turn red, not just that it will turn. Thousands of years ago, such an event would have been considered witchcraft by our ancestors. They would have been baffled by something like that happening. Through science and discovery, however, we could propose a number of explanations. Actually, water changes into unusual colors all the time. It can come from pollution, algae waste, or maybe just a trick of the light on a planet orbiting two stars. And, of course, technology could accomplish something like this, which is what the overzealots ultimately used, the details of which are unimportant. A quick survey of an unnamed pond on an outer planet called Roepl made it clear to scientists and taikon verifiers that the water’s transformation was completed using purely artificial means, which did not qualify. As the verifiers were leaving the system, disappointed by a seeming failure, they noticed something strange happening on the surface of Roepl’s moons. They landed to find that Lake Wurveol had turned red as well. They assumed this to be another attempt by the same group of overzealots, or some other group, but they were obligated to investigate either way. What they found perplexed them to no end. Even to this day, no one knows how the lake turned red. No microorganism, or dye, or light trickery could explain the phenomenon. It just was red—blood red—with no apparent reason behind it. Any water removed from the site would return to a clear state, but as long as it was within the confines of the source, it remained in this new and incomprehensible state. The tenth taikon actually was realized on that day, which allowed for the eleventh to be as well.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Microstory 609: Destruction of an Infidel Place of Worship

This may come as a surprise to some Lightseers in the galaxy, but there are those who not only don’t believe in the Book of Light, but actually believe in some other thing. There are, in fact, a number of religions in Fostea that conflict with Lightseed teachings. Some have adopted belief systems from foreign worlds, others are holdouts from the religions of old, and a few even take their cues from Earthan traditions. What is strongly considered the worst of these religions is called Pantheonistry. It is also probably the strangest. Pantheonistry teaches that there is only one person in the entire universe. This single entity has been, and will be, reincarnated quadrillions of quadrillions of times, throughout history. This means that every person you encounter is actually you, either earlier in your total history...or your future. You are supposedly just one life of the multitude. The entity—which goes by many names, including Panthos—will never be able to find peace until it experiences literally every single person’s life. Pantheonistry was retained from the old worlds, but has been altered to better fit in with Fostean culture. Yet it is still very much unlike Lightseed. Fostean Pantheonistry rejects the idea that there is one entity, but instead that there are at least two, and as many as thousands. These entities are constantly clashing with each other, which is meant to explain anything from war to personal opposition. This version of Pantheonistry encourages people to find something called a “tribe” which hopefully only includes other individuals that are reincarnations of their particular primary entity. Of course, in our great galaxy, we do not discourage anyone from finding like-minded friends, but most non-Pantheonists would agree that this theoretical connection is not enough. The fact of the matter is that these Pantheonists are helping people for irrational reasons, under the belief that they are somehow the same, when really it’s just a clever disguise for charity, A few dozen tribes have been formed so far, and unfortunately, the faith is growing, which means that the number of them will only increase. The good news is that we have at least one fewer of them to deal with than we did before. The meeting house of one tribe (its name unimportant) was effectively destroyed, which excellently fulfilled the requirements for achieving the ninth taikon.