People are freezing themselves into suspended animation in a church basement next Wednesday. Theodore Ketzel of the Combine is leading them. He's had quite enough of the present day. (15 Aug)
- Theodore is an old Purdue University buddy of mine. He was kind enough to hang out with a lowly undergraduate like me at the time, and I'm forty-something, so he's about fifty-something.
- He never wanted a life of adventure, but it found him anyway. For one thing, he's the inventor of the Heid-Ketzel robots. The robots have hunted me several times (1995, 1996, 2003), but the cult behind them had already captured and exploited him.
- After the cult finally got shut down (2003), Theodore landed with DuoPolarity of Boston / Maquoketa. He was therefore in the line of fire when DuoPolarity's enemies from the Lunar colony attacked them (2007). He got shot - then claimed by Ultimate Darkness!
- Theodore was ready to embrace oblivion, which Ultimate Darkness can provide. But others were in the Darkness with him, and they wanted to live. They dragged him along. He served alongside the Bride of the Ultimate Darkness as one of her Best Men.
- After this year's "Hypernauts" episode in the Dreamtime, all humans got expelled from the hyper-realms of Dreams, Death and Darkness. Theodore was therefore unenthusiastically back with the DuoPolarity companies and the Combine - just in time for them and a bunch of allied superhumans to get attacked from Hell multiple times. That was quite enough for him.
- Theodore knows, humanity may be extinct by 2022. Now that he sees Russians and N.A.T.O. moving toward confrontation without having quite eliminated all those rogue states that were such a concern five years ago, he's convinced. So he's done with the present day.
- But Theodore has a plan. He can go into suspended animation past the end of human life, and recreate humanity from his clones if need be. The lack of human civilization may be a drawback to most people, but he's seeing it as an advantage right now.
- The Ultimate Darkness will oblige him on the "suspended animation" part, so that bypasses a lot of scientific barriers - and provides a lot of security. The rest is just a matter of waiting long enough for the Earth to be survivable again, then camping out. He's found an abandoned church in Hammondsport, New York to host him while he waits.
- The Combine is sad about Theodore's plan. But he's told other people about it, and they like it! Maybe he doesn't have enough genotypes for human sustainability yet, but he'll get a fair chance at reproduction the old-fashioned way.
- ... This much I've found out secondhand. My friends Ingrid and Karla work with the Combine, and I work with one of their rivals (as I often do). But they still think Theodore needs to talk to an old college buddy before he takes the big sleep. And that old buddy would be me.
My boss Symmetria San Giacomo is entirely willing to let me go on a superhuman liaison mission. So I'm off to Hammondsport, New York - by bus at one point, because my rental car fell through. Some woman left her luggage there when she returned it, and she said she was just parking in the return lot for a few minutes, and yada yada. (15 Aug)
- The best place to stay near Hammondsport is in the dorm of a community college. Communal shower, of course. (16 Aug)
- I have my talk with Theodore the next day, but it doesn't do much good. In fact, he does a better job of converting me than I do of him. In particular, I have some insight into the Russian perspective of world events, but the Russians are perplexing me right now.
- Russians have legitimate concerns about the safety of Earth orbit which borders some recently-aggressive space aliens, and the security of a certain ex-Soviet nation which borders the Chechen rebels.
- But instead the Russian Federation is complaining about Poland's defenses against Iranian missiles. It's not like Poland can defend North America from Russian missiles over the Arctic Ocean. It's also not like the Russians will nuke Poland, because Russia's still recovering from when Chernobyl went up, and they know what fallout is like. It's more like the Russians just want to pick a fight.
- Frankly, I kind of like Theodore's plan now. Not that I'm signing on; I'm not going to flee my planet or its current events. (That alone sets me apart from most of the old-order superhumans, because they did flee in 2005.) I'm not going to sleep through its end either. But I do not require that the rest of the world live like me. Indeed, it would be scary if they did. Maybe these people will save humanity - or at least themselves.
I stick around to watch the whole Combine say goodbye to Theodore. It was his funeral, as far as all of us were concerned. The best I can say about that is, at least I was there for those of the Combine that don't hate me. Let's not talk about the ones who do; thankfully they avoid me anyway. (20 Aug)
- I 've met the psychiatrist Dr. Rebecca Cobham who came to interview Theodore. I've worked with the mage Elaine Matthews who came to evaluate him. The impression I get from them is, Theodore's been through trauma but they're surprised they're not evaluating me instead. I did lose half my soul to a demonic spirit of vengeance, to get all these other heroes out of Hell (more or less), but I know from experience it will grow back.
- I didn't plan on a funeral service when I came here, and my laundry is kind of beat anyway. My brights are just not as bright, ever since Odin stopped doing my laundry. I hope I'm not dressed too disrespectfully.
- Still, I'm friends with several superhumans, particularly the junior members of the former Balance. I'm glad I was there for Karla. She hates losing anyone she knows, even if it's just for a one-way trip to the future. My friend Adu is the alpha male as regards Karla, but she's Brazilian and therefore believes in group hugs.
- My friend Pam leads the ceremony, to lay some wildflowers at Theodore's marker stone after he's frozen. Theodore liked wildflowers - and he's sort of trying to become one.
- Dom-Ra the Solarian blesses us. It's like the last scene from "Hair", only the song should be "Let the Sunshine In Dammit".
- After, I mingle with the heroic Mighty Tim. We both served with United Nations peacekeepers in the old world. He just asks if I felt comfortable in my current job, cohabiting with the Herodias Dancers' Guild. I can only say, this time it's working so far.
- I also say hello to my old friend Judy. I don't have time to ask her if she's been finding more adventure in life, but I do admit I could use less.
- They all notice how I was hobbling around on a cane. My knee's still shot after I was attacked from Hell last month. That, they understand; they were attacked too. Ingrid and Hudson suggest I let Julie Wolcott heal me with her Morningstar powers, but she's not experienced in the healing aspect of her new power stone. I think I'll let nature and rehabilitation take its course.
I decide not to wait for a bus home. I have some powers of transport myself, such that I can find "shortcuts" when I walk home. It's not quite like teleporting, but it beats the bus.
The next day I'm back in Oregon, chaperoning a visitor from the Herodias Dancers' Guild who's come to talk with my boss. She likes our atrium, but I have to let my cane fly me up the stairway to keep up with her. (21 Aug)
Yes, I know the Guild is dedicated to female world domination, and they've taken some great steps to make that happen this year. But as long as they're not trying to enslave me, I think I prefer them to a lot of the superhumans I know.