Wednesday, July 31, 2013

12/21/12 - The Trial of the Imago - pt 4.

Okay, so, after that mind!@#$ of a courtroom revelation, they took an hour's recess, which isn't really a !@#$ of a lot of time to do anything in Paris.

Straffer wanted to go grab a quick bite, somewhere, and who can !@#$ing blame him? But once he saw the lines at the cafes nearby, we talked him into holding off until after the proceedings, and then maybe we could all go get a !@#$ing proper meal, somewhere. Neither Talon nor Winifred had been to France, before, and they were kind of curious as to what goes into their normal, day-to-day cuisine that you don't gawk at on the !@#$ing Food Network.

So we grabbed some snacks out of a vending machine, had a coke and a smile, and went back into the room to listen to the world's oldest !@#$ing conqueror tell us her life story.

And if you though what you heard before was a doozy... !@#$ son, that was just the start.

* * *

Green and Yellow: So, to begin again, humans-

Prosecution: Before we do begin, I was wondering if you could clear something up for me. I notice that you no longer refer to us with the honorific?

Green and Yellow: That would be correct.

Prosecution: Then would I be correct in assuming that was not a part of your language, and simply part of your masquerade?

Green and Yellow: Yes. The "O humans" nonsense we used, much like the look we assumed, was intended to put you at ease. You needed to be comforted and consoled, and to believe that we were benevolent beings, at least at first. Once enough time had gone by, the control mechanisms we placed upon you would ensure compliance, but habits take time to let go of.  

Prosecution: I see. So this was planned for quite some time?

Green and Yellow: Yes. But not as long as our escape. It took millions of your years to be able to figure a way out of our prison, given its complexity, and tens of millions more to wait for the correct conditions to put that plan into action. Fortunately, while we could not enter your world, we could witness what went on within it. And we could study you, from afar, and see how you worked, and how you thought, and felt. So it did not take us so long to come up with a plan to harness you to our needs.  

Prosecution: Well, I am glad we could be so accommodating to those needs. 

Judge: Counsel will remember that this is a serious matter, worthy of correct decorum. 

Prosecution: Of course, your honor. Do forgive me.  

Green and Yellow: Why do you stifle his anger? Is it not a good thing to be angry under the correct circumstances? Is there no place for righteous anger in your quest for justice?

Prosecution: Are you asking to seek an answer, or are you merely goading us?  

Green and Yellow: Which do you think?

Prosecution: Well, you claim to have studied us for... what, our entire evolution? 

Green and Yellow: Yes. We did. 

Prosecution: Then you must know that, in a place such as this, solemnity and order are to be upheld, and outbursts like mine do not serve the cause of justice?  

Green and Yellow: Then I am glad we could clarify that. I would not wish for your quest for justice to be sullied by your inability to control your temper. Perhaps you should retire and let another take your place, then. Because if that harsh truth caused you to speak out of turn, I fear you will be shouting by the end of these proceedings.  

Judge: My previous threat to end these proceedings here and now, and deny you your last words, still stands. Do you wish to go to your sentencing without having them?

Green and Yellow: No. Do forgive my tone, your honor. I was simply concerned for the mental and spiritual well-being of the Prosecution.  

SPYGOD: Gag me with a !@#$ing spoon. 


Judge: Order. There will be order. 

SPYGOD: Sorry. Something in my throat, your honor.

Judge: Well remove it or be removed, sir. You will have your chance to speak at length in due course, I assure you.

* * *

And I'm sure I don't have to !@#$ing tell you, son, that the look he gave me when he said that was not a nice one. 

But I wish I could tell you, really and truly, what being in the courtroom with those Imago !@#$s was like. It reminded me of Nuremberg, listening to these !@#$ing Nazi bastards calmly talk about how they came up with the Final Solution one weekend, and put it to work like it was just another !@#$ing bureaucratic thing. You know, "Order bags and coffee for the break room, put out a wanted ad for the janitor position, kill six million Jews."

The surreality of the whole thing was what was so galling. If my boyfriend's hand wasn't made out of the kind of steel they make rocket ships out of I'd have squeezed it hard enough to pop it the !@#$ off, just listening to that smug !@#$ talk about how easy we were to fool...


Anyway, onward.

* * *

Prosecution: So, to begin again. You were imprisoned here, in a dimension that was not your own, in a great city that was actually a jail?

Green and Yellow: Yes, we were, though that is a rather short version of the story.

Prosecution: Would you tell us more, then?

Green and Yellow: Of course. But first, you must understand that ours is a story that spans the gulfs of time. You can only truly recall a few thousand years of your history. Our civilization is over a billion years old, and involved the creation of an empire that crossed entire galaxies.

Prosecution: A billion years? And yet you only conquered a thousand races in that time?

Green and Yellow: The first half was spent evolving from our rude, physical form into the energy beings we would become. The next was spent unifying our race and our will, and then setting forth across the cosmos. We usurped the forms of others, a little at a time, and then all at once. And then we used those bodies to conquer more worlds, going on and on until we either found a form superior to the ones we were wearing, or else found that our bodies were wearing out and needed to be replaced, in which case we took the best we could find from those worlds we had already enslaved.

Prosecution: So you were parasites, essentially?

Green and Yellow: We were conquerors in the truest form. We adapted, we survived, we thrived. And we left a mighty empire to rival all others in our wake.

Prosecution: But not an impervious one. You were yourselves conquered.

Green and Yellow: Not conquered. Undone.

Prosecution: Please do explain.

Green and Yellow: Entering a new galaxy, far from our last acquisition, we made a severe miscalculation of the true strengths of a people. We thought they were nothing more than a simple planet of placid folk, the sort that could be bred for labor, or foodstuff for one of our more carnivorous harnessed races. We did not realize that they were the mirror opposite of ourselves. A race that had reached the same pinnacle of form that we had, but chose to stop and go no further.

Prosecution: And they undid you?

Green and Yellow: They did. We landed and told them of what fate awaited them, and they ignored us. We tried to punish them for their insolence, but they could not be harmed by our weapons. And before we could retreat, they reached out with one mind, and took control of all of us by merely touching one of us...

Prosecution: I am sorry, can you go on?

Green and Yellow: You will have to pardon me. It was over 65 million of your years ago, but I still feel the agony of what they did to us. The utter impotence they made us endure was... humbling.

Prosecution: You know of humility?

Green and Yellow:  What we know of it was taught to us by those people, on that planet. They melded our will as though it was nothing. They pulled us from the bodies we had harnessed, and assembled us all upon a great plain, bounded on all sides by their people. Structures we had not witnessed from orbit were created from nothing more than thought, and we found ourselves on trial.

Prosecution: And you were found guilty?

Green and Yellow: No. We were not guilty of anything. We never were.

Prosecution: I beg your pardon...?

Green and Yellow: It is given. Why do you have such a problem understanding this concept?

Prosecution: I am not certain I understand how you could have been put on trial, and then imprisoned, if you were not guilty.

Green and Yellow: Is the maggot guilty of eating the corpse of your child before it becomes a fly? Is the spider guilty of trapping and eating that fly? Is the wasp guilty of immobilizing that spider and laying its eggs within it? Are you guilty of smacking that wasp when it crawls on your leg, intent on stinging you?

Prosecution: No. These are not malicious acts-

Green and Yellow: How do you know? Have you spoken with any spider-killing wasps, lately?

Prosecution: I am not certain I am not speaking to one, now.

Green and Yellow: Very droll. Then perhaps you can understand this. The trial was to see if we contained within ourselves the ability to one day become what our captors had, themselves, become. To envision if we could become a placid race of visionaries, more interested in what went on inside their own mind and dreams, than in the affairs of others. To discern if we could become so powerful that power, itself, would cease to have any real meaning.

Prosecution: And could you?

Green and Yellow: Yes, we could. In another trillion years, perhaps. But they decided that was too long. There were far too many planets between us and that point in time, and our thirst for control might actually outlast the universe, itself.

Prosecution: Do you mean to say that your hunger would have lasted longer than the lifespan of your dimension's existence?

Green and Yellow: I do. And perhaps we would have lived through the end of that universe, as some immensely powerful things are able to do. And perhaps our hunger would have been magnified even further by that survival, or our changing needs.

Prosecution: This is... quite extraordinary.

Green and Yellow: It is quite a thing to realize just how small and lowly you are, is it not? And the terrifying thing is that, what we are to you, these beings were to us. Imagine having your future judged by them, human. Imagine being found worthy only of imprisonment.

Prosecution: And that is what happened?

Green and Yellow: Yes. They decided to contain us, so that we would not hamper the mental and spiritual evolution of others.

Prosecution: And so they built the city, and sent it to our dimension?

Green and Yellow: Yes. The planet had just been depopulated, and they saw no reason that it would be otherwise for quite some time. They planned to check up on us, every few million years. And they promised that they would let us out if we showed genuine repentance and a willingness to undo what we had done. But we were defiant to the end, for what had we to apologize for?

Prosecution: What indeed. And this is why you stayed there for 65 million years, and why they did not come to let you out?

Green and Yellow: Oh no. The reason we were there for so long was because the fools that imprisoned us were killed by their own kindness.

Prosecution: How... how did this happen?

Green and Yellow: I told you that we had a massive empire? Without us to guide it, the worlds we had conquered quickly fell into anarchy and barbarism. The creatures we had enslaved suddenly had their hands on our weapons, and saw their chance to become empire builders, themselves. And one of the first things the most perceptive of those races did was to annihilate our last known position, so that there would be no chance of us coming back.

Prosecution: And these powerful beings were destroyed? How could that be? You just said that they had godlike powers-

Green and Yellow: We had weapons that you have no frame of reference for. One of them was a machine that could cause stars to go supernova within milliseconds from more than a galaxy away. If we could see your star, we could destroy both it and you. Such was our power.

Prosecution: I... that is... that is a powerful weapon.

Green and Yellow: Yes. I often smile to think that the Mutts of Gurlarn are now the rightful rulers of our universe. Or what's left of it, anyway. It has been 65 million years. They may have outgrown the need for conquest. Or perhaps they are all gone, now, and are merely a tale told to frighten children.

Prosecution: So they had only milliseconds, and then they were gone.

Green and Yellow: Yes. But even then they showed some mercy. They sent an escape craft of some kind here, containing the key to our prison. And they sent it into the future, figuring that, by that time, we would be closer to the repentance they sought.

Prosecution: And this is what landed in Africa, perhaps five thousand years ago or so? The thing that was known as The Object.

Green and Yellow: Yes. The craft itself seems to have been destroyed by the journey, so that only the key, itself, remained. And your people there found it, and, quite wisely, kept it a secret. Many have sought it, throughout the ages, as it was meant to be found and lead one to our prison. But it was not until just recently that we were able to engineer events to the point that we could get our hands upon it.

Prosecution: And the pilots of that craft? The last survivors of the race that imprisoned you? What became of them?

Green and Yellow: I hope they burn in the trans-dimensional corridor forever.

* * *

After that, the Judge !@#$ing called it for the day. I think he was seriously spooked. I know I sure was.

So we went out for a meal, at long !@#$ing last, but no one was in any real mood to enjoy their food. So we wound up just doubling up on the wine and drinks (some of us, anyway) and tried to laugh off what we'd heard, that day.

At some point, maybe six !@#$ing sheets to the wind, I got up, raised a glass, and proposed a toast.

* * *

SPYGOD looks over his glass around the small table, and the faces assembled there. Some trying to smile, some trying not to cry. Some wondering what the !@#$ they're feeling, right now.

"It's been a long !@#$ road out of !@#$, folks,"  he finally says: "And this thing we're doing, here... it's a few more steps back into that !@#$ for us. Some of us more than others. And don't think I don't know that.

"But we won, friends," he says, leaning in to the center of the table: "We !@#$ing won. We are the victors, here. And we are sitting in judgment of the people... the things that tried to kill us. And we are bearing witness to what happens next. 

"Don't you forget that. Not now, not ever.

"So..." he says, raising the glass: "Here's to the victors and the victims. Here's to the loved ones lost and new friends found. Here's to the silent casualties and the quiet heroes, the people we may never know about, but saved our !@#$es as sure as anything.

"And here's to justice, certain and sure. May she be kind to us, tonight. May she remember that we did our best. 

"And ...may she be a little forgetful on our behalf when the !@#$ing history books get written up."

There's a second of silence after he says that, and he's worried he may have bombed it. But then Mr. USA stands up and raises his glass, smiling.

"Hear hear," he says: "And here's to the ones who fell, and the ones who rose up in their place."

"And may we all continue to rise, together," Director Straffer says, doing the same and putting an arm around SPYGOD.

"Here's to the old heroes, and here's to the new," New Man says, tipping his glass and wishing his son was here. 

"Amen to that," The Owl says, tinking her glass and bidding Talon to get up and do the same. 

Winifred rises last, her eyes wet with tears: "Here's to... here's to everyone who wasn't as lucky."

And they'll all drink to that, tonight. 

* * *

And that's the last really good night we all had, together.

Time for another beer, I think. This is where it gets really !@#$ty.

(SPYGOD is listening to Children of the Sun (Dead Can Dance) and having more french beer)

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