The Superintendent was doing a routine inspection, a short tour of the egregorial soul-form incubation facilities. It was his job, after all, to ensure the esoteric mechanisms were running up to par. He was not alone on this survey, however. A tall, lanky and hairless person with large, dark nictitating eyes punctuating a large oval head accompanied the diminutive, portly Superintendent. Their visage contrasted with the austere white finish of the walls, floor and roof; a seamless continuity of sterility.
“So, these are all the messianic forms?” asked the tall, pale visitor.
“Quite,” replied the Super as he leaned over a glass display panel which showed a plethora of arcane symbols and equations, his brow furrowed in concentration.
“And the purpose of having them go down… there…” said the tall visitor.
The Super finished his review of the panel’s display and brought out a note pad bound with metal rings and a pencil lodged through them. He removed the pencil and scribbled a few notes, stopping every few lines to lick the tip of the graphite before carrying on with the notes. Having finished writing whatever it was he wrote, he put the notepad back in his pants pocket.
“You are familiar with the sociological and psychological development of humans, are you not?” asked the Super rhetorically before going on anyways, his hands held behind his back. “The manner in which they developed – the mythforms – require messianic figures, ad hoc manifestations of their pantheons, otherwise they revert to a form of chaos. So out of their collective conscience we derive these egregores,” he finished, gesturing with a sweep of his hands indicating the rows of incubators.
“But what exactly is the point of sending them down?” the visitor insisted. “Do they not normally kill them, ignoring the wisdom and teachings the egregores provide?”
“Oh, yes, they do kill them, without fail. But that is part of what makes the egregores effective, their deaths are special. They are all martyrs and martyrdom has a very powerful effect on their collective psyche. The waves of their teachings and actions, much like those produced by a pebble dropped into a lake, ripple through time after their deaths and are amplified because of their passing from the mortal plane.”
The Super gestured with his hand for the Visitor to walk with him as he went on explaining. “There is another purpose as well, of course, and that is that of educating the egregores. Since they will have some influence after their death over the realm of humanity as godheads, advocates of the human cause, it is necessary that they be human and suffer through all the trials and difficulties that come attached to that condition. You see, suffering is at the heart of the human condition, it is essential to being human and thus a necessity for any aspiring godhead.”
They passed through an aperture that dilated as they approached and closed up once again, soundlessly, after they had gone through it. The corridor’s curved walls becoming narrow, windowless affairs.
“It is training both for the ad hoc messiahs and the whole of the species itself, this process. I would surmise that it will one day end, this cycle, when humanity no longer depends on its gods for ersatz morality and judgment.”
The pint was nearly empty, now. The pub was starting to fill up with the Friday evening regulars. Marco wasn’t feeling it, though. He downed the last of the pint and got off of the stool, picking up his jacket from behind the bar while thanking the barman. He zipped up the jacket while noting that the amber-tinted windows of the establishment projected a kind of nostalgic quality onto the place.
He walked out the door and made his way aimlessly, lighting up a cigarette with difficulty as the wind was something fierce this time of year in the plains. The temperature was not quite freezing but Marco didn’t doubt it would get there in a couple of weeks. Windchill factor was a serious issue.
He had been unable to get anything done the past three days, overcome with wistful longing for the man he had looked up to when he was just becoming an adult. Yakob Lerner, politician-cum-religious leader, though he would never have admitted to the latter. He had been a veritable cult of personality and, most importantly, a man who could work social miracles, affecting changes on entire groups that would never have been open to certain ideas. To Marco he had been the gold standard of what a man should aspire to be, as well as a very close friend and mentor of sorts.
It was hard to believe that such a man had existed, now, a little over ten years removed. He recalled thinking along those same lines a year, then two years after Yakob’s murder. His memories assured him that the man had existed, that such a light had shone in this wretched world, fighting to contradict the reality of his absence in the current state of reality.
He wondered how it would be in another ten years, his memory more diffuse perhaps, his thoughts hazier. Would the world still remember what Yakob had professed and fought for? Would he? Perhaps he should do something to keep the memory alive.
There were some, from the old posse, who still strived politically, moved and toiled to try and get many of the missions Yakob had outlined for the group accomplished. Marco wasn’t like that, he wasn’t political. Hell, he only got involved in Yakob’s movement because Yakob had insisted he be part of it, talking about how everyone had a role to play and the more you did the better it was for the world and thus yourself.
The twilight was upon the town and the plains extended beyond the edge of it. Marco was transfixed by the sight of the neon-salmon sunset, the skyline a tribute to the beauty of the world in stark contrast with the ugliness of humanity and its bastard-child architecture.
It really was hard to believe a man like Yakob had existed at all. It was hard to believe that he had been his friend.