Friday, August 18, 2017

Microstory 650: An Escaped Murderer Kills No More

This is one of those taikon that are hard to judge, which is why it’s so important that we have trained and conscientious verifiers to make sure that all events in question qualify. Lightseers have been worried about this one since the Book of Light was first written. It describes the life of a murderer who changes his ways. It doesn’t say who this killer is, why he’s meant to stop, or even what amount of time is supposed to pass. All humans are potentially immortal. Even those who haven’t worked hard enough to gain access to transhumanistic upgrades still have access to basic medical treatments that can extend life by decades...centuries, even. Though many of us never worry about death, or at least death by old age, we still measure time by the same lifespans of old. In fact, lifetime remains a legal term in most courts. Seventy standard years is used in sentencing systems as a baseline to determine how much punishment an offender deserves, be it more, or less. It is for this reason, and other traditions, that people still experience their lives in increments of about seven decades. People often alter their lifestyles to account for these transitions, as arbitrary as they may be to medical science. Because of this, believers were unwilling to wait however long it may take for an escaped murder to prove that he has stopped killing. Does the clock start once the taikon themselves begin, or can a murder have effectively quit long before, and somehow qualifies now. Fortunately for the more impatient amongst us, the former turned out to be the right answer.

Peve Stannon is considered to be one of the worst serial killers of all time; in this galaxy, and likely beyond. Of course, murder in Fostea is completely legal, as it’s a free choice that any central government would be powerless to prohibit. There are many good reasons to kill someone else; personal vengeance, business purposes, or even to protect others. Peve Stannon did not kill for these reasons, though. He did it for fun, and he was quite particular. Stannon went after people who his twisted sense of morality told him were too different than him to be trusted. He didn’t like being around those who were not heterosexual (which includes most everybody), those with darker skin, or people who chose to associate themselves with diversity. As terrible as it was to live under the rule of the dirty communists back in Lactea, one thing they had going for them was their ability to accept others for who they are, which is a sentiment we continue today, if only that. Stannon got his ideas by studying the planet isolate, Earth, which is where Fosteans lived for a brief time during its early civilizations. Since then, racism and homophobia has come and gone to the Earthan peoples. They are now living in the middle of the first decade of their third millennium, and things seem to be going okay. Decades earlier, though, bigotry and hatred were almost ubiquitous, with an entire political party being built on the platform of killing people who were different than them; their main issue being those of a rival religion. They ultimately resulted in the deaths of millions of people. We fight against our rivals as well, but we do so on an even playing field, and our goal is to show them The Light, not to simply be rid of them. Peve Stannon was fascinated by their behavior, and that of others later on, notably a white skin supremacists group who, umm...dressed up like ghosts? Stannon went on several killing sprees for years, eventually killing thousands of people. He was finally caught by a collective of the survivors of many of his victims, who created a court system for the sake of hunting, and prosecuting, Stannon. Sadly, Stannon escaped from the prison they built for him, and has spent years hiding out, having left no trace of where he might be going. But one thing he did do was spend the rest of his life without killing anybody else. His body was found in the middle of the woods by the survey team shortly after former Eido, Mateo’s departure from this universe. Verifiers still don’t know how he ended up on Kesliperia, or Hargrave Peninsula, but decided that he had died recently enough to qualify for the fiftieth taikon.

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