Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Psychflare: Graduality

[Be forewarned, for reasons involving character development going wild, this one has a lot of profanity. So, y'know, don't read it if you mind that kind of thing. As always, notes in the comments]


April 10, 1995

I keep thinking the same thing every time, at church. Why am I doing this? Why do I keep going through the motions? Why don't I just say that I don't buy a word of it?

I keep imagining myself yelling that their God is a tyrant and they are scared sheep. Anything just to get them to shut up about it. I'm afraid some day I'll just snap and do it, break the mask, right in front of everyone. Or maybe I'm not afraid, maybe I want to do it, get rid of the self-censor. Who know what I want anymore.

All this preaching is getting to me, I can't even escape it in my sleep. Last night, I had a dream where I was talking with the devil. He seemed like a nice guy, but then someone interrupted our conversation. An angel, maybe. I don't quite remember what each of them said, I wish I'd written it down as soon as I woke up. Maybe I should start a dream journal.

April 13, 1995

Been having the same dream every night. The devil tries to tell me about something, then an angel gets in the way. What the hell is that all about? It's not like it's a bad dream, it's just confusing. I never get recurring dreams.

Almost got in an argument with Dad last night. He keeps making all these comments about depraved youth and all that bullshit, and I'm just going “You're wrong!” in my head. Can't be healthy to bottle that up, they say. Well, it's definitely not healthy getting in a fight you can't win.

April 16, 1995

Still the same dream. I think it's getting longer, or maybe I remember more of it. Satan tells me he's chosen me for something, then the angel arrives and tells me that I don't have to do it, that heaven's going to help me. And I say no, I don't want help from dictators.

It's been on my mind a lot, lately. I can't think of God as the good guy anymore. That's what the dream is telling me, that I'm no longer that kid. I've changed, and I almost didn't realise it. I mean, when I was younger, I'd have thought the very idea that God wasn't good was just a joke. Something nobody could take seriously. And then I grew up, and I couldn't help but think that every single thing about that story is screwed up.

April 20, 1995

Been feeling weird, lately. Might be sick, though it doesn't seem serious. With any luck, it'll be over soon.

Dream got longer again. I got to see the angel leave, last night, and Satan starts to tell me what's going to happen to me. I still don't know what it is, though.

April 23, 1995

My chest's been feeling more sensitive than usual. I'm almost certainly sick, but hell if I know what it is. It's not really bothering me, so I don't know I want to go to the doctor.

Dad can be an ass about that. “Don't be a wimp, tough it out” “If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger” and all the other anti-doctor claptrap. Worse if I go and find out it's nothing. I'll wait and see.

April 29, 1995

Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. I'm growing boobs. I'm fucking growing boobs. I noticed it today in the shower. Looked it up, it's a hormone thing or something. Just what I needed, another rant about fags from Mum. What the hell do I do now?

April 30, 1995

Again the dream. Satan said he needs me to be pregnant, so my body needs to become more female. What the fuck is going on in my head? I mean, I know it's because of the boob thing. But Jesus fucking Christ, I screw myself over enough when I'm awake, I'd kill for at east getting time off when I sleep. But no. Can't have decent sleep at all, not since the dream started. It still won't let go, same fucking dream every single night for what, three weeks now?

May 7, 1995

Something's wrong with my body hair. It used to be much thicker, now it's... I dunno, not. And falling very easy. Same with my face. I was on my way to building an actual beard, now I haven't needed to shave for a week. Another hormone thing, I guess. Shit, this might become more visible.

May 11, 1995

Satan said he needs me to give birth to someone. His words were, and I'm listening to them every night, so I know I'm remembering them, “I figured a pregnant virgin male would out-do a pregnant virgin female as a miracle”. He also said I'll be getting “a few benefits in exchange of all of this, don't worry”.

Seriously. Having the same dream every motherfucking night for a over a month, and my fucked up chest, and my hair, and who the fuck knows what else will pop up next. I can't think it's a coincidence all the shit appeared at the same time.

May 20, 1995

My face is changing now. It looks more delicate. More girly. And I'm pretty sure my hips are getting wider.

Nobody has noticed yet, thank whoever. Mum saw me right out of the shower yesterday, I had to wrap the towel around my chest, and she said nothing. I was sure she was going to start another “act like a man” speech, but nothing. Not even looked at me twice.

May 24, 1995

The only miracle in this situation is that no-one has said a word. My breasts (I hate writing that, but it's true) are visible. I know they are. I can see the bulges through my t-shirts. I started wearing multiple layers, keeps them hidden, but the other day I forgot when going to breakfast. I know they saw them, but they didn't say a thing. If they so much suspect I took a piss sitting down, they start the whole manly man bullshit, but nothing when I'm apparently turning into a tranny?

May 28, 1995

I though I'd seen the entire dream, but it just got longer. Satan says he took measures so nobody would think what was happening was unusual. The lamest rationalization ever, brain.

I can't think of anything that would explain all of this. I'm sure my penis is getting shorter, now. My balls are getting sucked into body. I'm seeing a doctor tomorrow, hopefully without raising any alerts.

June 2, 1995

The doctor had no idea what was going on. He said he knew of nothing that could cause what I'm going through, but that's not the weirdest part. He promised he would look into it, but when I called him back a few days later, he had no idea what I was talking about. It's starting to feel like everyone is pulling a huge joke on me.

June 10, 1995

There's no way I can hide the changes, now. My face is different, I'm shorter, I'm thinner, my fucking ass is bigger. Maybe I can still pass for a weird-looking guy, but not me. I look in the mirror, and I don't see me.

And nobody says one goddamn thing about it!

June 15, 1995

The pictures changed. All of them. Every single picture of me there ever was, now shows my new face. Even my ID.

This goes beyond fucked up hormones, or some kind of prank. I'm going insane. I'm losing my fucking mind, that's the only explanation.

June 22, 1995

If I'm losing my mind, I seem to be very selective about it. My grades have been improving non-stop the last couple of months, I've noticed. You'd think the shitty sleep and growing paranoia would have the opposite effect.

Still no reaction from the world. I'm keep considering yelling about it in public and see what happens. Then the halfway rational part of my brain tells me to shut up and keep walking. At least, I hope it's the rational part.

June 30, 1995

And once again I'm feeling sick. Christ, what now? Will I grow a second head?

A bit of good news, though. Improved grades mean I actually have decent odds of getting to a good college, or even qualifying for a scholarship. I could get the fuck out of here and deal with being insane halfway across the country. At least, around people who have never met me before it wouldn't be rubbed in my face all the time.

I'm getting ahead of myself. In the vain hope I'll be crazy but not mind it so much. Am I fucked or what?

July 5, 1995

I thought the general ignoring of the obvious changes was bad when I couldn't recognise myself in the mirror. I had no idea.

I was at school, just trying to go through the day without going crazier. I failed badly. In the middle of class, my clothes changed. Into the girls' uniform. I'm fucking wearing a skirt, right now. And of course, same at home. Girl clothes, in my closet. Even in my underwear drawer. Not a pleasant discovery.

July 6, 1995

Today just topped yesterday. Now, everyone's calling me Denise, like it's been my name all along. My old name vanished, just like my old pictures and my old clothes. The only thing that suggests that I ever was a guy is between my legs, and somehow I don't think it's going to last.

July 15, 1995

No more school. That's at least not bad. Right? I have one last chance to actually get into a decent university in a few days. Knowing my luck, though, I'll spontaneously vomit blood during the interview whenever I try to talk.

July 22, 1995

I got in. I fucking got in. I thought I wouldn't, but I did. I'm going away from here, to be insane somewhere else, where I don't have to wonder why Mr. and Mrs. Be A Manly Man haven't brought up the fact I'm a woman. It's almost like life could be not entirely shitty.

July 25, 1995

Last bit is gone. Last bit of my dick, that is. Full cunt down there. Great, ain't it?

August 1, 1995

Woke up, threw up. I think maybe dream Satan wasn't kidding. I really am pregnant. I've been putting on weight, lately, and now morning sickness. I'm not quite sure how to react to that.

August 3, 1995

Pregnancy test positive. I don't think I can just hope nobody will notice it, this time.

August 15, 1995

I was right. Mum and Dad wanted to have a very serious talk. I refused to tell them who the father is, for obvious reasons. They didn't like that. I'm pretty sure they'd kick me out of the house if not for the fact I'm leaving soon enough anyway.

They insist I go see a doctor, which I suppose is a sensible course of action, no matter who suggested it. I guess I'm just too in denial about this to take the proper measures.

August 22, 1995

The last week has been one long, awkward, tension filled silence. Word got out that I'm a whore, so I also get the looks outside. Sometimes I wish I had actual friends, but then I remember I hate everyone.

Doctor just happened to be the same I consulted last time. No memories of that, of course. Anyway, the baby seems to be healthy.

September 1, 1995

And I'm gone. New chance, right? Meet new people, let the old ones rot in hell. With any luck, I'll meet someone who doesn't think not going to church is morally equivalent to raping puppies.

Dreams have been Satan-free for three days now. What that means, I haven't a clue. Hopefully, something good

September 6, 1995

Roommate's nice. She's not batfuck crazy or a complete asshole, which alone would put her above almost everyone I know. But I mean she's actually nice in a reasonable sense, not just compared to back home.

September 13, 1995

I'm enjoying classes, which is a novel experience. Still not quite getting used to being treated like a girl, but it's different when it's not by people who knew me as a boy, I think. It has a different feel.

Being away from the family has been honestly great. I feel like I can actually breath without being afraid of pissing them off. Like a giant shadow was cast over me and then it left.

September 24, 1995

Roomie has offered to help me out once it became apparent I have zero concept of fashion or style. I think it just pains her to see me in jeans and t-shirts all the time. I still don't know how I feel about deviating from that.

September 30, 1995

This month has been, well, different. For the first time in years, I've been happy for days at a time. Weeks, even. Despite the fact the universe makes no fucking sense at all. I know I'm not sane. But it's less of a big deal, now.

I'm not terribly good at being female, and I'm not sure I want to learn. But now I don't have constant reminders wearing a bra damns me to hell, I can at least consider the possibility without a breakdown.

October 5, 1995

I indulged myself and bought a porn mag. Wanking with the new parts isn't bad at all. Do they even call it wanking? I should probably figure that out.

Bad news is, Roomie got all weird around me, I think she saw it. The fuck, did God notice I wasn't feeling miserable enough lately?

October 10, 1995

I decided to confront Roomie about it. Best idea I've had in a long, long time.

As it turns out, she's wasn't weird cause she thought I was a perv. It's because she's into girls and wanted to ask me out, but wasn't sure the porn was mine.

Seriously. I just... I don't quite get it, it's like karma decided to apologise for the last 18 years all of a sudden. All my life as a guy, nothing, 3 months as a girl, I get a girlfriend?

October 16, 1995

I knew this conversation was coming, but that didn't make it any easier. She wants to know about the baby. I told her I couldn't really explain why I don't know the father, much as I'd like to. I'm pretty sure she thinks it was rape or something like that. In a way, I suppose it was. I didn't exactly consent. She suggested an abortion, I don't want to think about what Satan might do about that.

October 22, 1995

My grades are going great. It's like I barely need to study now. College was supposed to be tougher, but most of school felt much harder. Whatever, I'm not complaining. More free time, and now that I have an actual use for it...

No sex, though. Not like we're saving ourselves for marriage, but I don't want to try anything weird while I still have the parasite inside. A few months, now, and then, we can fuck like rabbits. Those were her exact words.

October 27, 1995

Pregnancy had not been too much of load so far, which is one of the few things about it that isn't totally freaking me out. Lately, though, I've been feeling it. I'm trying not to exert myself, and stairs are no fun at all.

Someone actually gave me a seat on the bus, for the first time ever. It's not that big a deal, I suppose, but it sort of hammered it home in a way. It's weird. When I actually felt the bastard kicking, it meant nothing, but this...

November 1, 1995

I half-expected Satan to show up for Halloween. Nothing, fortunately. Roomie and I had our own private party, cause I can't really do actual parties right now. A few people showed up, there were shitty horror flicks, nothing extravagant. But it felt like being a human being.

November 7, 1995

Exams and classes and shit are being all absurdly easy. I'm helping other people out, actually, which is yet another new experience. I seem to “get” things instantly. I was tempted to call it the one good thing I got out of this deal, but then I remember the girl cuddling next to me. It was worth it.

November 12, 1995

Visiting the doctor a lot more regularly, now. Everything seems alright, but... hard to avoid the suspicions. The feeling that something needs to fuck itself up, and my body is the prime candidate for it.

After a lot of begging, Roomie finally convinced me to wear a dress in public. I still feel like a perv for it. I mean, I had to use skirts the last few weeks of school, but I didn't have a choice about it. Now, I can't shake the voice that tells me I'm doing it because I like it. Do I?

November 20, 1995

She doesn't give up. Now she wants me to go for make up. I'm not quite sure what she thinks about the tomboy thing. I told her my parents were huge assholes about proper gender roles, (true enough, if not in the sense I'm implying) and being all girly reminds me of them, but she's not buying it. For one, that doesn't explain how I'm apparently completely unfamiliar with them.

Of course, I wouldn't love her if she was the kind of idiot that doesn't notice that. But damn, can't she use that sexy brain of hers for other stuff?

November 26, 1995

Doctor again, soon this'll be over. I'm dreading finding out exactly what will be changed after I get the bloody thing out of my body. Will I switch back? Will I forget this whole thing happened? What?

To be honest, the thing I fear most is going back to my old life, unchanged. I only realise how much of a rotten piece of shit it was now that I have the perspective of what having a little joy is.

December 5, 1995

I'm wondering what I'm gonna do with the parasite after he or she's born. Adoption doesn't sound good, but I don't think I'll be able to raise a kid. Will I? Will my life allow it?

I don't even know if I'll have a choice in the matter. Maybe if I knew what diabolical (literally) purpose I'm fulfilling, but I don't. I hate this bullshit. I hate not knowing enough to make a choice.

December 16, 1995

The end is near. I'm fucking terrified, to be honest. Roomie's being helpful, she says she'll support whatever I decide. She'll even help me raise the little bastard, if I want her to. I don't think I can impose that on her, though. Whatever I decide, we've only known each other for months. Forcing her into a family with a kid that's not even hers... no, I can't do that.

December 22, 1995

“Oh Christ, what am I going to do?” That's the one thought running through my head. Quickly followed by “Christ had nothing to do with this, now shut the hole and deal with it.” Despairing can't help. Calm down. Calm the fuck down, alright?

December 26, 1995

Anna was born yesterday. Fitting, of course. I figured he'd planned that out.

And fuck, I love the little torture. I don't know how or why, but I'm keeping her. I don't care who tries to take her away. Roomie was there for me, she made quite a few wild promises to help get me through it, I'm making her keep to them. We have busy nights ahead of us, in many ways.


A new dream. The characters and setting are all the same, but it only appeared for one night. The angel looks at me, with impossible fury in his eyes, but unable to say a word or make a move. I can just feel the damnation coming from him, though. The demon stands before me, and we talk.

“So, what do you think, human?”

“I still hate you, motherfucking, goat-screwing, cock-sucking, huge fucking cunt. Want more?”

“Understandable, but I did keep my end of the bargain...”

“There was no “bargain”. You fucked me over and said you were throwing me a bone or two. I didn't agree.”

“Well, of course not! Nobody worth the effort agrees to a deal with the Devil. I have that reputation, you know. But, I did help you out. Got you out of your old life when you couldn't find a way”

“Only after driving me fucking insane. If I could bury my fist in your face...”

“Necessary sacrifice. I needed the right mind, with the right body, and the right soul. Of course, a perfect fit was unlikely so yes, I changed a few things to suit my purposes. Hate me for it if you want to. Now, question time. Do you want to keep your new female self, or go back to the old male one?”

“You piece of shit.”

“Say it.”

“I want to stay as a woman, ok?! Happy now?”

“Hehehe. I knew you would. I had my hand in that, of course, people are not usually happy being the wrong sex...”

“You fucked with my head?”

“Yes, I did, but you knew that already. You know where all the new intellectual prowess comes from. I just made a few more adjustments while I was there, tweaking your mental gender as well”

“Fucking scumbag...”

“I hate to interrupt what is sure to be a delightful stream of profanity, but there's one question left. This one, I promise I had no hand in. whatever the answer, it's all you. Now, I can adjust your memories. Remove the last few traces of who you were, the ones left in your mind. And, of course, of the true nature of your life and your daughter, all forgotten. Do you take that offer, or not?”

“No. Never. I just got a glimpse of how the world really works. It's fucked up, it makes little to no sense, it's nothing like what I expected, but it's a bit of the truth. I can't choose to give that up”

“Good. I did choose the right human. You can keep her.”


“I know you'll do the job the way I need you to. That's not to say I won't give a subtle hand, every know and then, but I need a human to help her become... well, no matter. Just, know that you're the right one. Anna is yours.”

“...thank you.”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Psychflare: A Vurokian's Reflections

[see comments for notes. Previously in series: Void. Next in series: Ananke]

A Vurokian's Reflections

Identity is a tricky thing for me. I think it's tricky for everyone, but most people can just grab a few things, say “That's me”, and be done with it. Not the most accurate of answers, usually, but this is one of those questions that are more about how to stop worrying about it than about the right answer. My problem is, I spend a decent part of my life destroying the easy answers.
Name, for example. Sure, I was given one at birth. But, once you stop using a name, once nobody ever calls you by it for years, it stops being you and it's just a string of letters on official paperwork. I have another name, but it means nothing. Literally.
Personality. Heh. My personality I buried right after I figured out how. Makes you predictable, and that's the last thing you want to be in my line of business.
Line of business, of course. What you do is also an easy answer. Doesn't help much if it's “whatever works for me”, though. Staying alive, isn't that what we all do? Great, I'm not suicidal. That narrows it down.
Your relationships with other people. “I'm Bobby's mother, I'm Suzy's brother, I'm Mark's wife”. I always thought that was a twisted form of identity, depending on other people to tell you who you are. Me? I'm Ananke's boyfriend, that's the one thing that has stayed constant, God knows why. The rest, well, you learn to reconsider friends and foes pretty quick when you have to. Solomon was just the latest example of that.
Those that know me in some way know me as Void, or the stealth guy. “What you can do” is the big thing here for defining you, at least by other people. It works. And what I can do is not be noticed. As in, you can be standing right in front of me, broad daylight, and just not be aware of my presence. Well, it works different with different people. For some, I'm sort-of-blurry-sort-of-there. For others, it's almost impossible to see me.
I can do a few more things, of course. I can run faster than I should. I can punch harder than I should. I can make darkness solid with a thought. Cool stuff, but you don't hang around with my crowd if you don't have a fancy trick or two.
Why am I being so introspective all of a sudden? I think it's about what I did to Solomon and Joule, this whole right-wrong dilemma. Am I a good guy, or a bad guy? That's another form of identity, I suppose, though pretty much everybody assumes they are the good guys. I know I do, and yet I kill people. Many would say that makes me evil. Sometimes, I think they have a point. It's different, killing the nameless target, or the enemy in a fight, or the people you can properly demonise. When it's people you know, and used to care for, you feel different. Still, I know it was necessary.
I follow the Blood-Stained Path. I have since I had a choice in the matter. Back when nobody knew about paranormals and La Sangrienta had first shown up. La Sangrienta was, and maybe still is, the most successful serial killer of all time. Over 20 years ago, people started to turn up dead in Vurok City. Dead, often covered in blood, and with notes that detailed crimes they had allegedly committed. Usually they were accused of being rapists and murderers, occasionally corrupt politicians and corporate executives. In general, people the world would be better without.
Now here's the kicker. Virtually every time, these crimes were ones that nobody suspected but further investigation afterwards showed strong evidence they had taken place. Sometimes, crimes that the police had suspected but couldn't prove. While there are several people we still don't know for sure she got right, there are none that we can confirm she got wrong. Not one.
La Sangrienta continued to kill about once a week for two decades, and yet very, very little is known about her. We only suspect she was a woman because “La Sangrienta”, the name she used to sign her notes, is a female term in Spanish meaning “The Bloody One”. We don't even know if she was one or many people, though she always claimed to be working alone, and no evidence of another party was found. It baffled everybody that someone, or a group of someones, could so easily beat the police at their own game. First by finding those they couldn't, then by continuously eluding every single attempt to find her, despite leaving behind over a thousand crime scenes. It was completely surreal.
Claims that she had supernatural powers had started to surface early, but nobody paid much attention to them. It was just a distraction from the task of finding a very real and very human killer. Well, that is, until the investigation showed that there was an underground organization closely following the case, and that they apparently concerned themselves with finding people with supernatural powers. The Watchers, they called themselves.
Everyone thought it was a hoax, or a joke, or a group of nutjobs. But they were very well-organized and -funded nutjobs, apparently. And they had evidence. A man that could turn his sweat into powerful hallucinogens. A book that could manipulate the readers emotions so violently it had lead to insanity and suicides. A woman who could make herself look as whoever she wanted. More and more cases surfaced, and eventually the Vurok government was forced to admit that, indeed, paranormals lived amongst the people. It was chaotic. Many of us that had been hidden started coming out into the open, offering our services to whoever could pay them.
I found my powers around that time, back when about half believed and half remained sceptic. I think this is how a lot of the world outside the Vurok Islands still is. Because, for reasons nobody quite understands, paranormals are an exclusively Vurokian phenomenon. We don't show up anywhere else. Even more so, we are almost always born in families that have been in the archipelago for several generations.
Of course, Vurok has always been thought of as a weird place. We started out as just a small group of islands, colonised mostly just because they were there. Then, they found out that the soil was incredible fertile, for virtually every crop. Nobody has figured that out, either.
Almost all of the surface of the islands was taken over as farmland, except for a few beaches, minuscule towns, and the city. This continued for a few centuries, until the locals got tired and became independent. The story is longer and bloodier, but I've never cared much for it. In any case, there are very good reasons for our reputation. Birth defects and miscarriages are much more common here than anywhere else, but we still have the highest life expectancy in the world. We are constantly on the bleeding edge of technological development, we were even before paranormal super-inventors like Lightedge showed up. Indeed, we also have huge populations of “gifted” children, and two of the top universities in the world. All, in a tiny country with a few islands and a single city. Speaking of, Vurok City is one of the biggest megacities by population size, and a huge economic centre. Fortunes are made and lost routinely, often stolen. We have the highest crime rates of the developed world.
Of course, the crime problems were much worsened by paranormals. The turning point, I think, was when La Sangrienta admitted to being a paranormal, though she never revealed what exactly her powers were. While it wasn't exactly a surprise, it made the issue of supercriminals impossible to avoid.
The old crime problems were dwarfed by the possibilities of people who could walk through walls and blast buildings with a thought. The public needed a paradigm shift in law enforcement. It was around then that talk of a “Paranormal Investigation Service” started. When they actually implemented it, they had changed the name to Paranormal Research Center, but the nickname “pissers” had already been established. The pissers gave us a choice: you can work with us as official law enforcement, or rot in jail. Many chose to remain hidden, and not deal with either group. Some, people like Sidestep and Assembler, declared they would work to keep order in the city and joined the pissers. The rest, we decided to stay outside the law.
I admit it, most of the people in my side are crooks. Thugs. Scum of the lowest order that happen to have won the powers lottery. But some of us, we chose the ideology modelled on the first paranormal to say “Fuck you, world. I have my own justice, and it's better than yours.” The followers of La Sangrienta, the ones that walk the Blood-Stained Path. Our philosophy is simple. La Sangrienta showed us there's plenty of bastards amongst us. When you can kill them and steal from them, there's no need to bother the honest, innocent folk.
We like to think we're the reason she retired. Of course, someone turns up every now and then, blood and note and all, and we don't know if it's her or some of the many copycats. It can be comforting to think she saw we were doing good, and that she wasn't needed any more. That someone that lived like us can find peace. Is it so? I don't think so. She probably realised her greatest defence was the fact nobody knew about paranormals, and when things got too public she had to quit or risk be found. Or maybe she was found, and is dead. But, thinking she's still out there is a nice dream.
We've been accused of many things. Of being everything from thrill-seekers to sociopaths, from anarchists to fascists. Of being a dangerous cult of personality. Of being nothing but murderers who hide behind an alleged higher standard. Maybe some of it is true, for some us. I know my motivations are not entirely selfless.
I've often wondered if I wouldn't do more good working to establish a new order rather than just destroying the old one. Many of my fellows Pathers would consider me a heretic for saying so, but I don't think Sidestep and the like are bad guys. And as often as we've found ourselves trying to kill each other, I think the pissers truly work for what they think is the good of society, and sometimes they accomplish that. It's just that I can't play by those rules. The rules that say that I have to follow orders, and can't just go and kill someone without going through the proper procedures. That the pissers represent the only possible way. Both are good paths, but ultimately, I put my freedom above all else. Selfish? Yes. But I have the right to that freedom, and I'm not gonna wait for someone else to give it to me. I demand it. And I ignore the law in its name.
So, did I do the right thing? I don't know. But it was the best option available at the time. In the end, that's all you can hope to say. That you stuck to your principles, and gave it your best shot at doing the right thing. Even if they call it murder.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Psychflare: Void

[check comments for notes. Next in series: A Vurokian's Reflections, Ananke]

It started with the move. We needed a new place for our base of operations after the old one had been found. The least problematic part is the place itself, finding abandoned buildings is easy if you know where to look. It's filling them that's a pain. Though we had managed to save a decent part of the equipment, Lightedge still said we needed a few systems completely rebuilt, and it wasn't gonna be cheap. And with Machi, you're just glad when the stuff she wants can be obtained without killing seven orphans and making a trip to Amazonia. Magic is weird like that.

What little money we had we needed to fund our next operation (whatever that might be), and keeping food away from the “luxuries” list. So, of course, we set out to making more. They say there's ten thousand ways to get your hands on large amounts of cash in Vurok City, some of them even legal, and it's true. The problem is keeping the cash long enough to spend it. That's why you keep a witch and a tech-head around, run away when your location has been compromised, and don't grab every job that comes your way without first checking it won't attract unwanted attention.

Solomon was the leader, back then. Slasher had been the one to assemble us in the first place, but last time I saw him he was missing a number of vital organs. Hence, the job fell on Solomon, who had been his right-hand man. As leader, he was supposed to find work when it was scarce, so he was spending a lot of time doing just that, lately. We had found something, a minor politician someone wanted dead. A bit low-scale, but it would help. We were in the early stages, just planning it out, when Solomon walked into the room and told us to stop whatever we were doing.

“I got us something up to our standards. I just heard Hyonma were looking for people to protect a significant amount of something so that no band of evildoers will take possession of it.”

Lightedge asked, “Are we the band of evildoers or the guardians in this scenario?”

“Evildoers, I'm afraid. The good news is, the guarding will be done by our friends Multi-ax and co.”

Multi-ax was the leader of, well, I suppose you might call them a rival band of paranormals, but not what you'd call dangerous competition. We knew we could handle them.

“Do we know what exactly they are transporting? Or are we just gonna burst in and steal a big pile of whatever and hope it doesn't blow up in our faces?” Joule asked

“Not yet, we don't. Which is why phase one is finding out. The ship with the cargo should be arriving in 12 hours. Now, taking it while it's still there is too complicated, which is why security won't be as tough. We can board the ship, take a look, do a small time-buying sabotage, and get back here to plot the actual stealing.”

“Isn't it a bit over-complicated, just for a recon mission?,” I asked.

“Perhaps, but we really need to be safe, here. Hyonma means very likely biohazard, which means containment measures, which means we need to know what we're containing. ”

“Fair enough. So, Ana is the most likely to find out what exactly it is, so we need her. I need to be there to hide us, too. Lightedge is our best shot for the sabotage, so he's in. More than three would make us too slow, so I guess that's it.”

Lightedge, unsurprisingly, protested. “Wait, wait, wait, you can't just throw me in a combat situation! In case you haven't noticed, I can't do all your flying and shooting lightning and creating armour out of nothing. I'm good at making machines, anyone is good at breaking them”

I started to argue back, but Solomon stopped me. “Usually I'd tell you to stop whining and do your job,” he said while looking at Lightedge “but truth is we need you here, to start building whatever it is we might need as soon as the boat party finds out. And, you'd need someone else to watch your back, which would mean sending a fourth person...”

Ananke interrupted. “What are you talking about? We'd be with him.”

“No, we need to perform the recon and the sabotage at the same time. Too long on there is risky. So, I suggest you and Void do the cargo, since it'll be guarded the heaviest, and Joule splits off, breaks whatever needs breaking, you meet again and get off.”

“I don't like it. I can't hide Joule if we split, we're better off doing one then the other.”

“The engines won't be nearly as well defended as the cargo, she can handle those by herself. And it really is key that you get out of there before anything weird happens.”

I still didn't buy the plan, but I knew there was no point in arguing. Joule always sided with Solomon, and obviously hated my claiming that she needed to hide. Lightedge would just be grateful Solomon had gotten him away from the action, so he would side with them, too. Machi might agree with me, leaving the vote 3-3, but ties were decided by the team leader. So, I shut up and began preparing to leave.
* * *

Joule, Ananke and I were at the docks, contemplating how to get from there to a ship miles into the ocean. Joule wanted us to steal a boat, but it was quite unnecessary. I manifested a bubble of darkness around us, which had the double advantage of keeping us afloat and making everyone else ignore us, then Ananke telekinetically accelerated it towards the target. Unconventional, perhaps, but efficient, and more importantly very hard to detect. We made our way over the waves, while I occasionally issues small corrections to our course, as I was the only one who could see in the darkness.

Soon enough, we arrived at the ship. I made a subtle change to the bubble, removing the hiding effect, and then opened a small slit to let Ananke see where she was taking us. It was simply a black sphere at the moment, and it didn't protect us against much, but that's the only way someone else can see when inside it. So, anyway, we floated up, hopefully undetected, and I restored the bubble to its original state. We walked unseen past a few guards, and stopped in front of the engine room.

“Here's your stop,” I told Joule. “Try not to die, the boss might blame us for it.”

“I know it might shock you, but some of us can fight without hiding,” she replied. “I don't need you, so go do your job.”

So, on that friendly note, we parted ways. Finding our way through the ship to the cargo was not particularly difficult, but we had to avoid a few patrols. Sure, they would ignore us if they saw us thanks to the bubble, but colliding with something you can't see makes you pay attention to it. And we didn't want that.

* * *

Meanwhile, in the engine room

Joule stood around, waiting. Not for long, though, as barely a minute after she got there a shining blue rectangle opened in mid-air and someone walked out of it. The figure's face was completely obscured by a seemingly high-tech helmet and the body similarly covered in intricately-patterned armour.

“You're early,” Joule said, as she attempted to conceal her apprehension around him. “They might have seen you.”

“No. I knew they had left already,” he replied. “That disappearing trick, though, it's unusual. How do they do it?”

“Void captured some sort of darkness spirit, that's how he does his stuff. Darkness is apparently symbolic for “hiding”, so he can hide things in plain sight. Or at least, that's what he says.”

“Troublesome. He seems immune to remote vision. I'll have to try something new.” He paused for a second, and then added, “Oh, ignore that. There they are.”

He then opened up another blue rectangle, out of which he took out a rifle. Yet another portal opened, he aimed at it, and fired.

* * *


Ananke and I were almost by the containers and their soon-to-be-determined, hopefully-not-insanely-dangerous contents. I let my bubble vanish once again, just to let Ananke do her thing. Her thing, besides telekinesis, is called “analytical pseudo-precognition.” At least, that's what she calls it when she feels like being all sciency.

The way I understand it, she has something like a hundred or so kinds of ESP, which activate at random and feed a part of her mind with astounding amounts of information, which is permanently recorded and constantly analysed and sorted out into an elaborate map of each and every possible sequence of events that could unfold at any point, sorted out by probability. Makes me dizzy just to think about it. Well, the net result is that she can usually tell you what's going to happen next, and she has several libraries worth of data stored in her brain, but she has difficulty accessing it. So she needs a trigger, such as looking at what she's supposed to be identifying. Which is exactly what she was doing, when we both noticed a bright blue flash.

“Shit!” I thought, “What the fuck is Sidestep doing here?”

And then, I noticed that Ananke wasn't moving. And that she was bleeding.

* * *

Several hours later, Joule arrived at headquarters, running and almost completely out of breath. Solomon rushed to her immediately.

“Are you alright? What the hell happened?”

“They... got caught...” she panted, “I think... dead.”

The whole room felt silent at the last word, its atmosphere shifting from tension to shock. Solomon kept on.

“We need to know what happened, Joule. Are we in danger right now? Can they find us?”

She nodded, with visible effort.

“OK, everyone, we need to get on the move! Emergency escape procedures, leave everything behind. You know the drill”

Solomon manifested his spirit armour, giving him extra strength and allowing him to carry Joule, while Lightedge prepared the escape vehicle. Machi focused on casting concealment spells and scrying for any nearby threats. Soon, they were all in a nondescript black van, Lightedge driving while Joule rested in the back and the other two watched over her.

“OK, we're fleeing. Now what?” Lightedge asked, nervously.

“I had a safe house prepared. Nobody else should know about it, so we just...”

Solomon was interrupted by sudden braking, caused by the fact that everything outside was pitch black. Lightedge ran out of the car immediately, as Machi attempted the same. Her effort failed, however, as Joule shocked her unconscious. Both her and Solomon walked out, the former with electric arcs covering her from head to toe, the latter brandishing a spirit sword.

The picture they met, just outside the vehicle, happened to be a figure in manifested mediaeval armour made out of pure darkness, which happens to be how I look like in battle.

Lightedge is not a dumb fellow by any means, so he had figured out that staying anywhere near Joule was not a great idea. My side won him over by default, but he was more concerned with running away from the fight than with staying. Like I said, smart fellow. Joule and Solomon, being the other side, walked towards me-

I'd like to tell you there was lots of witty banter going on, Joule yelling at me about how I was supposed to be dead and me explaining in detail how I figured out their whole plan. However, we were busy trying to kill each other.

Joule wasted a lot of time trying to fry me from a distance. Usually that works for her, but I'm notoriously hard to focus on when I want to be, and you can't really aim a lightning bolt at someone if you're not sure where they are. Solomon played it smarter, he had his strength boosted by his spirits and a manifested weapon that, I hear, really hurts to get hit by. So he got close and tried to hack my head off, which takes far less aim to do.

I dodged for a while, but it was tiring and odds was I wasn't going to out-endure him. I could block with my own manifestations, but they were weaker than his sword and vanished after each strike. I needed something to give me an edge, and quick.

Just then, we heard Joule scream, and saw her drop to the ground, unable to move. It took us a second to notice Machi was conscious, and sitting in a circle of glowing runes, chanting. I was glad for the help, but unfortunately, Solomon seized my distraction and got in a clean hit, which broke my armour. The next swing was coming, and I had nothing to block it with. I had to think of something, fast, when I felt a strangely familiar sensation. At that point, I knew I had won.

Solomon hacked right through me, or so he thought. Instead, his sword vanished the moment he hit me. It was my turn to take advantage of his distraction. I thrust my open palm right to his chest, and drained him of everything he had.

You see, Solomon's power was to create and use spirits. Mine is often thought of as my ability to manipulate darkness and conceal myself. But actually, I wasn't born doing that. I got that from a spirit of darkness. My actual power is to capture spirits and use their powers. Now, I had never tried to capture another spirit before that, they aren't terribly common. And I didn't know that Solomon's was the same kind I could capture. Maybe Ananke would've seen that one coming, but I certainly didn't. Still, end result was that while I was right next to him, Solomon's power was useless. And I had absorbed all his strength boosts. The tide of the battle turned quick.

* * *

We were back at headquarters. I was trying to explain Machi and Lightedge what was going on, while Ananke rested in the corner.

“Should we be here? Joule said they might find us.”

“She lied. The plan was to scare you into following wherever Solomon lead you and sell you out to the pissers, probably in exchange of immunity or the chance to join them. If the plan included them knowing where we are, they would have captured you here instead of driving you away. Solomon and Joule probably wanted to keep the stuff we had salvaged from the last base to themselves.”

“Still, we might want to find another place...”

“Sure, but it's not urgent.”

“OK, fine. So what happened on the ship, anyway?”

“Ambush by Sidestep. Ana reacted fast, as usual, and managed to redirect the bullet from vital areas before it hit her, and by then I had us covered. Sidestep uses some kind of ESP or another, and my hiding effect is much stronger against paranormal senses, so were completely invisible to him. We got out of there fast, but she was still hurt, so first stop was getting her some care. She pieced together most of it pretty easy. Joule had obviously been the one who had warned Sidestep, seeing as a) she was the only one that knew exactly when and where to find us and b) she got out of there alive. Solomon was in too, since it was him that forced us to take her along. Sidestep was involved, so it was pisser business.”

“OK, but why didn't they change plans, since the ambush failed?”

“They didn't know. I figure Sidestep thought it was best to report a success to Solomon, so he wouldn't be scared out of the deal, and he could track us down later. He didn't know, or didn't take into account, that the whole point of the ship plan was to get me and Ana out of the picture early, since I'm the trickiest to find and she's the one likeliest to figure out a trap. Well, and the fact that where one of us goes, the other usually follows.”

“Thank the gods for shifty alliances.”


Monday, June 14, 2010


Después de día tras día de escuchar que las parejas homosexuales obviamente son peores padres porque [Pelotudez #768945], ignorando todos los estudios que apuntan a que no es así...
Resulta que salió un nuevo estudio. No sólo las lesbianas no son peores madres que las parejas convencionales, sino que parece que son mejores.

¿Va esto a cambiar la opinión de los homófobos? No. ¿Va a hacer que sea mucho, mucho más gracioso escucharlos hacer de cuenta que solo les importa el bienestar de los niños? FUCK YEAH.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Psychflare: Ninjutsu

I'm a bit shocked at my creative production this week. Sure, most of it is crap, and not a word of it has been in the one work I really want to finish, but still. 3 complete short stories, in a week? Considering my entire literary work so far, that's something.

Anyway, this Psychflare has lots of ninjas, pseudoscience, and pseudoscience applied to ninjas. It got way out of hand at some point, which I think might have been an improvement. But enough of my babbling.


“Fucking ninjas” I thought, while dodging shuriken. To be honest, I've always wanted to use that as an opening line, so I'm taking this chance to do so. But I'm starting this a bit late, and I'm sure it'd be too confusing. We should go back a bit.

An Unspecified Amount of Time Ago...

We were at Steve's place, bored out of our skulls. I was, I think reading some sort of comic book, and he was online.

“Dude! Check out this hilarious website!”

“Call me dude again and you die”

“Fine, fine. But really, though, this shit is funny”

The funny shit in question was an online encyclopedia cataloguing various narrative devices and other frequent occurrences in the worlds of movies and television. It was, I will admit, a decent time-killer, and we spent a few hours laughing like idiots and making comments. Nothing particularly fascinating, y'know, but that's the backstory.

At some point, we chanced upon an entry titled “Law of Conservation of Ninjutsu”. You know how when you see a single ninja sent to kill someone it usually means they are in deep shit, but if they send a whole army of 'em you can expect the one guy to beat them up like so many cardboard cut-outs? The idea is that there's only a limited amount of ninjutsu (“ninja skill”, basically) to distribute between all the guys on each side, so if you have a hundred attacking at the same time, each of them is one-hundredth as strong as they would be alone.

For some reason, we started to jokingly discuss an Asian movie marathon as a “field expedition” of our study of mass ninja fighting. S'what happens. In any case, Steve suggested at this point:

“And why don't we do it with real ninjas?”

“Sure, but where would we find any?”

“There's this martial arts place Dan said he was taking karate lessons at the other day. I think they had a ninjutsu class.”

“, wanna go now?”

“What the hell, beats staying here all day”

And so it was that we embarked upon that quest. I decided to bring along a camcorder, just in case we made a video out of it, maybe upload it to the 'tubes or something. One might think that our plan to stalk a bunch of weaboos was stupid and possibly unethical, but in our defence, we were really fucking bored.

So we went to the dojo, found a window that showed the appropriate class, and basically stood there watching, filming and making the occasional dumb remark. A well-wasted afternoon, you might say, but some seeds were planted that day. Seeds we only noticed when we re-examined the last few minutes of the recordings.

“Hey, wasn't this guy in the last fight?” he said, pointing at one corner of the room.

“You think? He doesn't... oh yeah! Yeah, he's the same guy. He moves different now.”

“Yeah... faster. Or, I dunno, more agile.”

“Actually, there's a handful of guys moving like that, now. For the last minute or so”

After a bit of rewinding, we managed to narrow down the moment when the quality of the ninja-ing jumped levels. Namely, near the end when about half the class had already left and a few were still practising.

“You don't think...”

“Nah, come on. These are the guys that stay last, right? So they must be the dedicated ones, y'know, the ones that never miss a class or some shit. So, when the noobs leave, they start going at it seriously.”

“Yeah, probably. But! This calls for... Additional Research!”

Additional research, as it turned out, meant more stalking. But the results were surprising. No matter who it was that stayed late (and we did some extensive cross-checking), anyone that was still in the dojo while most of the rest left experienced a significant increase in skill. Noob or pro, it didn't matter. Further recordings showed the phenomenon also took place during the beginning of the class, when most weren't yet there. Once again, for anyone who arrived early, for any reason.

Like decent scientists (ok, people pretending to be scientists), we tried to find alternative explanations. A plot-convenient narrative device was not a valid theory, now was it? And we were of course predisposed to see that pattern because that was what we were looking for in the first place, right? So we looked harder. We looked at every second of every video, so many times we could almost replay them in our heads by memory. We even joined the class (to get the “insider's perspective”), and we weren't that bad at it, if I do say so myself.

I'll spare you the endless discussions that took place over the following months. The gruelling, mind-numbing effort dedicated to understanding what the hell was going on. But the fact is, we were more convinced with each passing day that we were on to something, something that made little sense at all but we could no longer deny. In time, we stopped bothering to look for sense. And it's that, I think, that allowed us to see what was hiding underneath.

It wasn't the kind of think you'd focus on, for a number of reasons. But at some point, one of us, I'm not sure who, brought up whether the Law was the straightforward distribution of whatever that we imagined. You see, we'd never really considered it in any other way. Any way other than: There's this Stuff, floating in the air or something, that powers up ninjas, and it's equally divided amongst all “practitioners”, you could say, in a given area. And maybe, we thought, maybe it's not quite like that. Once that was on the table, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

That was not enough, though. It allowed us to really start, well, we called it our “project”, but it lead to further months of obsessed late-night theorizing. We were working on models, you see. Some kind of model that could explain exactly how ninjutsu conservation worked. It was a tricky, almost slippery business, trying to get to define in any meaningful, consistent way something that we only understood as people (ourselves, sometimes) moving “better”. Sure, you could quantify speed, or reaction time. That's fairly straightforward, if tricky to measure. But how did you quantify agility, or flexibility, or an ability to read your opponent's moves? Well, we found something, by chance.

We were working on the latest model, I think it was the gravitational-catalytic, or possibly the focal-osmotic. Doesn't really matter. Anyway, we were working on it, like I said, and we started down a path like many others, born of one random idea thrown out. A succession of... not exactly equations, but that's close. Exchange rates, really, improvements in one area and how to compare them to those in another. The chain of reasoning led us to strange places, and I think both of us, to ourselves, thought it was a dead end. Perhaps, alone, we wouldn't have followed it. But together, just when one of us thought this is it, I'm quitting, the other saw the way forward. Time after time, chasing down the ghost of something, keeping on just not to discourage each other, at first. After the first few hours, it was pride, and maybe not wanting to admit the time waste. By the time night came around, we knew it was the solution.

We called it the Lee, after probably the most famous martial artist of our age. Not that he was a ninja, of course, but we thought he deserved it. The unit of measurement of combat skill, defined carefully and in detail, and checked against everything we could find. It wasn't the final piece of the puzzle, but it was the one after which fitting the rest is so much easier. Once we had the unit, it was a relatively simple matter to find a working theory. It still took effort, but maybe a week later we had the basics covered, and another week or so later we had finished polishing it.

Soon enough, we got to the practical testing. It was shocking, seeing how knowing some numbers and symbols helped us jump from “talented amateur” to “how the fuck did they do that?!”. But when we saw that our theory worked far better than we expected, we grew arrogant. We began to show off what we could do, how the simple understanding of how to manipulate ninjutsu made us nearly superhuman. And we were careless.

We were still working on the theoretical aspects, of course. What had first inspired and confused us was the mechanics of ninja working in numbers, and we had made significant progress in that area. Our magnum opus was the “Chandler-Farshine Principle of Ninjutsu Optimization”, a rather elaborate set of equations and instructions that surpassed the (we know realized) terribly limited Law of Conservation. It described how to take advantage of the interaction between every ninja's own ninjutsu, the environment, and the opposition's, in groups of high numbers. We had reached about 12 at the moment, but the strategy was still ineffective past the dozen. We had our notes with us that day, and we probably talked about a bit too loud, because after class, we noticed they had been stolen.

“Shit, shit, shit!”

“Come on, it's not a big deal. We have back-ups of them, we just need to go to your place and make another copy.”

“It's not about that! Don't you see it? We just gave ninjas the key to performing group manoeuvres that were beyond their possibilities for centuries!”

“Seriously, what are they gonna do? Steal the rest of our research? We keep it hidden....”

“Obviously not as well as we should.”

“...and 90% of it won't make a lick of sense to anyone but us.”

“Not immediately, but with time, who the fuck knows how much they'll get?”

“Jesus Christ, do you have to be like that? Fine, what do you suggest?”

I weighed our options for few moments, but honestly we didn't know enough to make a decision at that point. The only plan that would work needed to be flexible.

“OK, what do we know? Someone has our notes on the Principle and might figure out more. If someone with connections to plenty of ninjas, like say one of the Senseis, finds out, they'll try totake advantage of it, and possibly want to keep the knowledge secret, which means dealing with us.”

“So, worst case scenario, a fuckload of ninjas will take a few days to decode our notes, then send a strike team, up to about 12, to steal the rest and kill us. Otherwise, it could be anything from a mistake, to someone operating alone who'll want more data, to a small band.”

“If they get the rest of the research, it'll be serious shit no matter how many they are. I say we burn it. Even if it's nothing, it's risky just letting it exist out there”

“Point. We have most of it memorised, and we can rebuild it back later if necessary.”

So we proceeded to destroy the work that had fascinated and taken over our lives for a year, and we waited. We needed come up with a plan.

It was five days later when they showed up. Three of them, just walking through the front yard and casually ringing the doorbell. They opened the door, it had been left unlocked. As one of them walked forward, the others following him a few steps behind, we checked them. Ninjato, shuriken, kunai, one of them even had some sort of hook. Not in plain sight, of course, but we had a few tricks for that.

“It has come to our attention that you two have very valuable information. We'd be willing to offer you a trade, I think you'll find it very generous,” the guy leading them said. “Of course, if you don't accept, we might have to resort to... other measures”

Now, at this point you might assume that this was just an attempt to intimidate us into cooperation. Thing is, it's not a good idea to establish yourself as an obvious villain when trying for a fair negotiation. Makes people iffy about whether you'll live up to your side of the deal. So either this guy was really bad at it, or....

“Distraction,” Steve whispered in my ear.

“I know”.

And that's when the other nine mooks burst into the room, and started throwing metal stars at us, which you might notice is where this narration started. You might also notice it was the worst case scenario we had considered. Paranoia, it pays off.

Two bangs, and two ninjas were dead on the floor. Chalk it up to the secret ninja art of “fast-draw-while-avoiding-pointy-death”. Two more bangs, and two other stains in the carpet. The remaining eight were thrown off-balance by this, and we didn't waste a moment.

You see, one of the tricky aspects of coordinating ninjutsu distribution across a dozen people is that, when certain factors (e.g. number) change, the strategy must also adapt, and fast. Otherwise, you fall prey to the old standards, and whatever is left of your forces is not of much more use than one guy. We knew this, and they clearly did not. Once the ninjutsu was on our side, we had the advantage even in a 2 vs 8 fight. That, and we had guns.

The leader went down next, just in case he managed to coordinate them again. By then, some of them had closed in and we had to do some serious grappling and throwing, but like I said, we had the edge. Three of them went down like that, the rest attempting to reassemble while we were busy. One shot, flow of the left side move broken. Another shot, right side dealt with as well.

It was 3-on-2, now. They tried to surround us and limit our control of the field, which was the cue for a quick jump in opposite directions. Dazed as they were, the one in the middle couldn't choose which one of us to fight fast enough. By the time he came after me, the other two were on the ground. Steve took him out from behind.

We were exhausted, but alive. It had been an exhilarating experience, and we began to laugh. It was cut short, though, when we remembered that we had 12 corpses on the floor and the neighbours probably had heard something.

“I think this is goodbye,” I said.

“Do you have a plan?”

“As for the immediate future, run away as fast as I can.”

“Same. Sure you don't want company?”

“They'll be looking for us together.”

I didn't see him again for years. I cut a deal with the government, once they finally caught up with me. Teaching courses in Team Tactics, armed and unarmed combat, the whole shebang. It was a decent life, kinda solitary, but I liked it that way. I've always liked the whole lone warrior against the huge army deal.

Steve, I know he took on a new identity and went to Hollywood. How he managed that, I'm not sure. He's some sort of martial arts double now. Fitting, isn't it? For him, the story starts and ends with ninja movies. Poetic, in a way.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Psychflare: Taijitu and Chao

Meet the latest Psychflare. Significantly lighter than the previous, and rife with overt symbolism. I suppose it illustrates how different these can be from each other.

Taijitu and Chao

Legend does not tell us, but it should, about the day that Taijitu and Chao were walking together down a path, somewhere. Some argue the path was not a literal path, the walking was not the physical act we know by that name, and possibly the day was not a specific point in or interval of time, but simply metaphors for whatever it was that was happening. It is hardly relevant, though, and if you subscribe to schools of thought that insist on those points, feel free to mentally edit the following account to conform.

Legend does not tell us, once again, how the conversation started, and it may be that nobody knows, or cares. It might have been about the weather or the price of rice, but at some point the subject of balance was brought up, most likely due to someone losing theirs and falling face-first into a puddle of water. (The puddle later went on to awake and make some hasty deductions about the nature of the universe, but that is not the story we tell here) And so it came to be that Taijitu said:

“Balance, my esteemed Chao, is at the root of everything. Look at nature, and tell me if you not find dualities. Light and dark, hot and cold, up and down are only the most obvious ones. Try to describe a person, and you find yourself alternating between hostile or friendly, calm or fierce, strong or weak, sceptical or credulous, reliable or not, wise or foolish, and I suppose you do not need me to continue enumerating. And, once you accept the dualities, can you avoid realising the harm that lies whenever one chooses one aspect to the complete exclusion of the other? That a careful balance is, in every case, preferable to what awaits us in the extremes? It is because of this that I say that Balance is what we must seek”

Chao was somewhat taken aback at Taijitu's devotion to the subject, but pondered the words and asked a question, a question that may or may not be terribly significant in light of what happened later:

“But, if we must seek balance in everything, must we not also balance Balance itself with unbalance?”

“That Balance must be balanced is misconception brought about by the illusion that a state of non-balance is one extreme, when in fact, it is both”

“So you are saying non-balance has no counter except itself?”

This point they debated for quite some time, both becoming increasingly convinced that the other's argument was entirely semantic. It is not known to us (yet again) who got tired first of the circularity and suggested that Chao make an alternative proposal. Upon a moment's reflection, Chao declared:

“The problem with your balance rule is that it's a rule. We look at the universe and find repeating patterns and create rules they fit, but then we make the mistake of saying that the rule was always there, and we are just discovering it. Rules are entirely a tool of the mind for understanding that which happens, but we confuse them for a property inherent of the phenomena, and therein lies the trouble. Because, when we think of rules as Out There, we think of them as a something that has a definite nature we must learn. As soon as we find a rule that seems to work, we by exclusion declare all other rules to be wrong, because we have the one that matches the rule Out There. If rules are In Here, however, we accept that rules are simply something we use to help us, then different rules are perfectly possible.”

Taijitu, fully aware of how this echoed of the first question, asked:

“But, if there are no definite rules, wouldn't saying that be a definite rule, and thus negate itself?”

“That is only if you keep thinking in terms of rules, and not of happenings. The rule that there are no rules is simply an aid, as all other rules. It is our failing that we keep trying to force the world into our preconceived notions of order”

And once again, the two fellow travellers argued for quite some time, and went back and forth, and used many analogies and tried their arguments every way they could possibly think of (and at least three they could not). They accused the other of equivocations and false dichotomies, and were at times right and at others wrong, but were not quite sure which was which. And so on and so forth.

It is here that most versions of the tale differ, usually depending on who is telling the story. Some say they yelled until they could no more, and then beat the living shit out of each other. Others, that the tone remained civilized throughout and that in the end they agreed to disagree, in the name of Balance and/or Perspective. Many claim that they met a third figure in the path that day, but its identity is the cause of much controversy. Most, for different reasons, say that Ichtys declared both their philosophies Heretical and Evil, and promptly beheaded them. A few, that they found a common enemy in Triquetra and promptly prepared a pile of wood and a stake. There is a group that proclaims that an unseen speaker attempted to settle the discussion by asking each how they could test their assertions, though whether it was a disembodied, yet distinctly unicornian voice or an unusually small teapot is not clear.

In any case, what happened is what happened, or possibly not. I dunno, maybe it makes more sense to the Enlightened. Maybe.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Como suele suceder, hoy leí una carta de lectores del diario, fui consciente una vez más de la patente estupidez de los argumentos contra el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, y decidí hacer un comentario al respecto. Hurray.

Se­ñor Di­rec­tor:

"Quisiéramos aclarar que matrimonio según el diccionario de la Real Academia Española deriva de «matris» (madre) y «monius» (carga). Se refiere así a la educación, sostén y crianza que la madre brinda a sus hijos, nacidos de padre varón y madre mujer. En ninguna escala de la naturaleza se da la unión entre parejas de un mismo sexo, ésta es una situación antinatural; no obstante, si el propósito es preservar sus derechos patrimoniales, existe ya en nuestro país la unión civil. No sabemos aún qué pasa con la psiquis de los niños criados por estas parejas. ¿No existen para ellos, también, los derechos humanos?"

Elena María Funes
DNI 3.419.614
Sylvia Boneo de Fitte
DNI 3.374.052
Anina Fragueiro de Segura
DNI 3.132.609
Cora Soloeta de Rocca
DNI 306.745
Argumento etimológico y falacia naturalista, a tan solo un par de oraciones de distancia. Sin olvidar las falsas premisas y apelación a la emoción, pero esas falacias me molestan menos que las primeras. Detallemos un poco.

El argumento etimológico: Por lo que puedo encontrar, "matrimonio" tiene pito que ver con una "carga" de la madre. "Monium" viene a ser "calidad de" o "estado de", por lo cual el matrimonio vendría a ser algo así como el medio por el cual se llega a ser madre. Poco tiene esto que ver con lo que sigue, pero creo que valía la pena aclararlo. En cualquier caso, la etimología de la palabra es completamente irrelevante a la hora de definirla legalmente. ¿O acaso alguien argumentaría que solo un hombre puede tener un patrimonio debido a que el término proviene de "patris"?
El hecho es, usamos miles de palabras que tiene significados que ignoran o contradicen sus etimologías. El idioma es así. Siguiendo...

Falacia naturalista: Las uniones de parejas del mismo sexo son tan antinaturales como las de sexo opuesto, sin importar cómo se definan los términos. Ciertamente, la unión física (o sea, cojer) se da en la naturaleza. La unión como institución legal y social no es natural, por su misma definición. Más allá de eso, en ningún caso es la naturalidad relevante, porque la ley no se guía por lo que es o no natural. En serio, gente, agarren ese argumento y métanselo bien profundo en el orificio que tengan más a mano. Me tiene las bolas al plato.

La unión civil: No confiere los mismos derechos que el matrimonio, como uno podría suponer dado que hay uniones civiles de parejas del sexo opuesto. Además, creo que la historia ya nos enseñó que la doctrina de "separate but equal" no es más que una excusa para la discriminación. Si vamos a darles a todos los mismos derechos, no hay motivo válido para hacerlo mediante dos instituciones diferentes.

"Won't somebody please think of the children!": No hay ningún estudio que justifique la idea de que ser criados por padres del mismo sexo causa algún daño a los pendejos de mierda adorables pequeñines. Todo la evidencia científica apunta a que no hay ninguna diferencia. Los únicos motivos para asumir que la hay son la ignorancia o la homofobia.

Eso es todo por hoy. Ahora, a ver que hago con el próximo Psychflare...