-Family Rafting
-Ladybug Riders
-Frosty in a crazy situation
-Frosty escape!

The family rafting scenario:

–River rafting scenario– 

Their raft was pummeled from all sides, slipping sideways against the cloudy-white, boxer-fisted splashes of water, icy liquid raining upon the family’s face. Droplets of icy hypothermia, their blood is heating up to compensate. Chemical reactions light up like a glow stick in order to preserve the body’s homeostasis. An adrenaline-induced flush sinks into their stomachs. With popped, bulging eyeballs and jumping eyebrows they focus down River. They paddle to regulate their raft, and losing confidence in their life-vests they continue to pick up speed. Stings and shock make it real. It’s the biting reaction that teaches us the very oldest lessons, like running your hand over a flame—it is the ancient way of learning, and it is the hard way. 

                The tip of the family’s raft drops with well directed trajectory over small falls, kinds of river-moguls. The woman, the husband, and the boy… the simulation was created to run for the minds of this family-unit. In this, they had lost nothing, and though they left many years ago from their Mother Planet, it was now as though they had brought her along with them. 

                The woman in the group, wore the hat while her family took orders upon the raft. Commanding from the center seat it was unmistakable that this was her vessel, and that she was on bridge. She was the most experienced at rafting; the man and boy were quite new to this sport simulation, and were reliant upon her to learn. “Turn me out of this! Paddle port!” She yells commands to her crew. Not just crew, but family. The boy is lifting his oar out of the water, desperately trying to stay focused. The man eagerly paddles, his simulated bicep muscle is bulging as the raft starts turning the stern pointing left. There was a potential for them to be caught in a mini-vortex of water, though it appeared they would make it out. The water was cold, but the boys were paddling in unison now and the group darted forward like a water snake.

                [Aleon’s Journal: If you haven’t already noticed, both the raft and the riverbank here are completely simulated. A story detailed to the mind by a computer. I know that I am within one.  -stop-] The computer was reading a script, written by men, with the aid of lesser computers, and was feeding an artificial experience into the minds of this crew, with lighting, sound, action and all.  

                [Aleon’s Journal: It can be recreated, or created as the mind does in dreams. You can ride with Hemmingway, in every detail—that actual scruffy old gray beard, on that actual river, in thoseEarthy Mountains. However, bearing in mind of course, that there is the one bigdifference between dangerous simulated rafting and dangerous reality rafting… The potential for an actual death -stop-] Prepared, nevertheless, the family is very seriously invested in the simulation. No one wants to lose out to this river, plunging into that icy cold mountain water, even for only a simulated second or two… It was programmed to incite enough fear to bring about adrenaline-induced action, just not that big one perhaps.

                [Aleon’s Journal: A point can be achieved in the simulation where the experienced party does not at first know they are in a simulation and thus are slowly revealed to this reality from implanted clues of various subtleties. As computers work in binary code, similar to the way that our nervous system communicates (an impulse is either on or off, 1 or 0), we can simulate what will happen in our brain while it is experiencing a particular thing. Manipulating the molecules, shepherding sheep-atoms, it is the frightening power to create worlds with which we are tampering. –stop-] This simulation can mimic every detail, every subtle nuance of what goes on inside of the human mind during an event. Visually, audibly, how can you say it is not real when it happens only to your five senses? Just ask, the computer genie, what it is that’s possible: Hemmingway will ride the boat with you, the computer can create him of a kind, and we can put him out there, across thatriver, and those hazardous routes, of those rocks, in that rocky plain, in that, that, that, that…

The Boy.

[I feel like my own skin is heating.] [I can feel, and I know, there are two kinds of water.] [Sweat beads upon my forehead, unnecessary perspiration…] […Rinsed-off by the rolling river punches…] [Slaps really] [My sneakers are squeaking, and useless…] [I can barely keep a footing on the wet mesh tarp under my feet.] [Socks are slushing, and soaked] [My vest was getting heavier and heavier.] [I try not to concentrate on these things. I catch my mind wandering and center it, so that I could focus for my Mother.] [Funny, even here I distract myself with these journal entries. –stop-][Entry Closed, Awareness Achieved.][Data Entry: Aleon, Family Rafting Scenario #13.]

The River.

Meryl pulls the group together as the family crashes. Just barely impacting, the collision only dishevels the crew. However, it was enough of a mistake to steer the family into an embankment of rocks against a sudden harsh turn of the river. The boy floundered around but was able to achieve proper footing. The man did all that he could. Meryl held the whole thing together. She was watching and preparing for their next step. Amongst tidal madness she looks serene. In her eyes, behind the glasses but still visible as a feature of her face, there is laser-beam focus. Garbled chaos all around surfaced knowledge and lessons of experience, the threatening simulated elements fanned the fire. To consume her family, even within just this simulated scenario, was enough for her to fight with maternal instincts as though it were the real thing. Emerged into so much… stimulation… One doesn’t need imagine it, they can live it. Icy cubes in an igloo bath tub—you can feel what it is actually like to experience a Life-or-Death scenario. Instantly the cold surrounds you, PLOP! You are thrown into the middle of it.  

                She was moves ahead of the rushing river and the intensity of the moment had subsided for her. She breathed in Fire, and the men were on square one, swinging their swords in the wind. This was only, what, 13 River Runs for the boy? She had almost fully realized near the beginning that she was in a scenario, recalling the many repeated visits she’s had to this one. Most sporting scenarios haven’t much to do with the revelation aspects of some other scenarios, but practicing for the emergency real thing does. She had wondered if they were still unaware of the scenario or not, but it hardly mattered. They would defer to her judgment with all of their trust. In a panic, the man dropped to a crouch and pulled with all his might once more. The admiring son could only secure himself with a rope to be fastened to the inner-rubber wall of the raft. His focus tunneled into his grip, everything in that moment was grip, gripping, and he had this ability to laser beam decision—grip!

                They made it in the clear. Their relief washed over them. None of it had really happened, outside of their mind, but then again, what really does happen anywhere else? When the family had made the clear they still pulled their simulated raft to the simulated shore. They still washed their simulated raft with the simulated hose, and spoke of the performance in their latest simulated scenario. The boy’s curly black hair was drenched, and he was breathing hard but smiling.

                “You did well, Aleon.” Said Meryl laughing in simulated exhaustion. She punched her husband in the arm. “You too slugger.” The husband was broad-shouldered, regal, he looked like a man who had tremendous command of other men, and yet, here, he had taken to subservience to his wife with no ego, no shame, no devaluation of himself, only attempts at mastery, of every possible scenario. Smiling and looking contentiously at her husband, the two lock eyes in a loving stare, perhaps the adrenaline still lingered and they were excited.

                “You remain my undisputed Captain.” He smiled back to her. “Forever and always.”

                “Do you promise?” Hugging, the family feels a thrilling energy as if it were the real thing, but also a warm feeling of relief in knowing that no one’s life was ever in danger. Perhaps the couple had not recognized the simulation until that very instant, but the boy… The Father looked lovingly at his family, and meant to stand by his words.




Ladybug 🐞 Riders

“This underscores the relevance to the virtue in question of recognizing oneself as laughable, as possibly blind to oneself, and always potentially ignorant.”

-‘Plato’s Laughter’

LoQuitus (who started to call Lukas, to help humanize him) 

and Frank, the door guardsman… (a name we developed which came from shortening Franz Kafka)…

and McLuhan.

*maybe have the guardsman reveal later his name is LoQuitus, since it’s a bit weird, and have the animatronic boy from the beginning named McLuhan instead*

“What is your name?”

“The guardsman. Or Frank. But I prefer to be called by my job title, since I’m that serious about it.”

“Half our friends are animatronic these days…”

“There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“I am LoQuitus.”

“Of borg?”

“No… of Topaz society.”

“Whatever you say, captain.”

McLuhan was installed with a language randomizer, which made him interesting because he would say strange things that would often be profound, perhaps accidentally. His personality was odd due to the randomizer, but he had learned based on our responses what kinds of things elicited positive responses to make him seem mysterious or cool in a nebulous kind of way. Things like “cars make us into kinds of paraplegics, encased within metallic arm chairs” and “the vehicle transforms and enhances the power of our feet.” 

We had a scarecrow character, a lion, and McLuhan was our resident tin man. Of all our compatriots his look was the most robotic.

Comic moments of the dialogues are not limited to content alone. This chapter has argued that the Laches’s form echoes that of comic drama and illustrates how the structure of the dialogue echoes those of traditional Old Comedies, such as those of Aristophanes. If the Laches does indeed have the formal structure of a comic play, the Laches’s laughter pervades its form and content. This implies that laughter has particular significance to the Laches’s philosophical meaning. It also suggests, particularly through the parabasis, that the dialogue’s audience is addressed therein. We too become part of the comedy. While we may laugh at Lysimachus, Stesilaus, Nicias, and Laches, Socrates turns this laughter back on us, prompting the realization that we, the dialogue’s audience, are also implicated. Like Laches and Nicias, we too may laugh too quickly at others without seeing the comical in ourselves.

The Laches shows dramatically—in both form and content—that ridicule is not to be feared. It is not an evil, as ending with Socrates and Lysimachus as aged schoolboys illustrates. If fear is the expectation of a future evil (198b), then ridicule need not be feared. Productive of some sorts of evil, lack of self-knowledge is to be feared. Laches and Nicias are both depicted comically by Aristophanes. While Plato may be drawing from this in his own characterizations of these figures, the focus in the Laches seems to shift to one on their self-blindness and the attendant discord between their logoi and erga. This is what makes them comical, rather than their wealth, gait, or difficulties with words, as are suggested by the comedians.

Socrates does not just say that ridicule is not to be feared; in the Laches, he shows that this is the case by taking Laches and Nicias through aporia to show that mockery (of each other) does not diminish their honor. What does diminish their honor is their inability to face themselves, their turning away from the mirror he holds up. The integral role of laughter in the dialogue’s form and content suggests an answer as to why the dialogue is named after Laches. What makes Laches so central a figure is precisely the sensitivity to laughter he demonstrates. It is Laches who most closely embodies the values of tragic laughter that tie laughter to a loss of honor in the one laughed at, and to malice in the one laughing. If andreia involves knowing what is fearful, then the Laches seems to be an exhibition of how mistaken we are to fear laughter to the extent that many, such as Laches, do. The Laches concerns the attempted education of Laches, and the turning around of Laches from his love of honor and victory to a recognition that he lacks the self-knowledge he pretends to have and the lack of which he ridicules in others. That it fails for Laches presents a lesson for the dialogue’s audience, a warning to recognize what Laches does not.

The Laches concerns the attempted education of Laches, and the turning around of Laches from his love of honor and victory to a recognition that he lacks the self-knowledge he pretends to have and the lack of which he ridicules in others. That it fails for Laches presents a lesson for the dialogue’s audience, a warning to recognize what Laches does not.

If this is the case, it becomes apparent the extent to which Socrates is reforming the valuation of laughter in antiquity. Laughter is not the proper object of fear; instead, we ought to fear the pretension, self-blindness, and lack of self-knowledge that make us objects of derisive laughter. At 186c, Socrates refers to his own poverty. As compared to the ridicule aimed at Socrates for his poverty in Old Comedy, poverty in the Laches becomes something closer to a virtue. It expresses the laughable human condition, for we are all effectively begging like the disguised Odysseus. Socrates, in this sense, appropriates the jab he attributes to comic poets who deem philosophers “the refined thinkers who are really poor” (Republic 607b). To be laughed at, as Socrates says to Euthyphro, “does not matter” (Euthyphro 3c). Fearful, rather, is it to be blind to how our words and actions fail each other, as Euthyphro demonstrates both in failing to recognize his own ignorance as to what piety is and in failing to recognize his own performative contradiction in esteeming piety and yet impiously proceeding with a lawsuit against his own father. Like Euthyphro, Laches, Nicias, Cratylus, Hermogenes, and Critias, to mention only a few, we may not be the tragic heroes we esteem ourselves to be. Instead, like Lysimachus, Stesilaus, Nicias, and Laches, we may be the humble characters of a comedy. If there is such a statement as to the fundamental condition of humanity implied here, the question as to whom one ought to learn from comes to the fore once again. The refined thinkers have shown themselves to be poor, and the seemingly sagacious Socrates is heading back to school, wise only in knowing he has nothing to teach. Both are laughable, even if in different ways. Who, then, ought to teach the youth of Athens? This question is at the heart of the Charmides, to which the next chapter turns.

Carthage and after Aristophanes

Chapter 5 focuses on the Symposium and a discussion of eros, in which the body is, at times, completely forgotten to show how laughter exposes the interlocutors’ hypocrisy. Aristophanes’s hiccups remind us of this way in which speakers have forgotten their physical selves. The Symposium’s comedy of the forgotten body builds to a punch line in Alcibiades’s promise to expose the hubris of Socrates, a claim that would have suggested physical violation, but ends up being an accusation that Socrates failed to violate him. Alcibiades builds up expectations of a dramatic revelation, which are then dashed by what is effectively a joke. Further, when Alcibiades demonstrates his love for Socrates based entirely on his internal goods, the symposiasts greet this with laughter. But if Alcibiades’s disembodied love for Socrates is laughable, so too are the speeches that have venerated just such a love of psychic goods. Alcibiades’s satyrical praise of Socrates, along with Aristophanes’s hiccups, remind us of what is being left out of the accounts of eros, namely, the body. What will come to be called “Platonic love,” or love devoid of any physical regard is here suggested instead to be a joke. The laughter of the Symposium is largely incongruous, much as Alcibiades’s depiction of Socrates as a satyr, and it exposes philosophical incongruities in the interlocutors. It also presents us with an image that best answers the question the book begins with as to what sort of hero Socrates is.

Laughter permeates the entirety of Laches’s first rhēsis. Laches strategically and humorously counters Nicias’s defense of hoplomachia, point by point. In his epideixis, Laches introduces the possibility of being deceived (exapatōsin) by practitioners of hoplomachia, and breaches the topic of pretending (prospoēsis) to greater knowledge than one has, as well as the dangers this incurs, including the possibility of becoming a laughingstock, ridiculed even by the enemy. Stesilaus is such a laughingstock and Stesilaus’s epideixis serves to warn us against what we least wish to become. Stesilaus is a buffoon, a suitable target for Laches’s ridicule, and a mere facsimile of a man embodying andreia. Nails likens Stesilaus to a sophist: “Stesilaus is to the general as the sophist is to the philosopher: he puts on a display of how to fight in arms (178a), invents new weapons (183d‒e), and teaches his skill to the young (179d‒e). But Stesilaus cannot fight in a real battle, and his newfangled weapons don’t work.”

Rather than mustering the courage to either continue these efforts or to recognize the significance of this failure, Laches withdraws from the inquiry, chalks his failure up to an inability to express what he still maintains that he knows, and remains largely silent except for several digs at his rival. Laches’s comical depiction, like Nicias’s, is precedented in Attic Old Comedy and historically grounded. In 425 BCE, Laches was brought to trial on charges of misconduct by Cleon and acquitted. Nails suggests this to have been political retaliation by the war-mongering Cleon against Laches for his efforts in establishing a peace treaty with Sparta. Cleon charged Laches with embezzling funds in the Sicilian campaign (427‒25 BCE). Based on these historical events, Laches is depicted in thin disguise in Aristophanes’s Wasps, a dramatic critique of Athenian litigiousness that was staged in 422. In the play, he appears as Labes (“grabber”), a dog from the deme Aexone (Laches’s deme), who is brought to trial by a dog from Cydathenaeum (Cleon’s deme) for stealing a Sicilian cheese and refusing to share it. Accused by a sophistic prosecutor, Labes is speechless in response. Nonetheless, the arbiter argues that Laches’s inability to speak, his failure in logos, and his lack of musicality should not be grounds on which to convict him, and Labes, like the historical Laches, is acquitted. Aristophanes’s play suggests Labes to have been a good dog for chasing wolves and guarding sheep, and for having stolen to help the people, whereas Cleon was a bad dog for taking the people’s money for doing nothing. The historical Laches exemplifies erga, deeds and courage therein and, at least in an incomplete way, he is a courageous man of action. But it is precisely in the realm of erga that Plato’s Laches shows himself to lack the sort of courage in which he claims to believe. Laches makes fun of Stesilaus for making boastful claims that fall apart in battle, yielding to cowardice and ineptitude and yet Laches himself is guilty of what he mocks Stesilaus for—pretending to be more courageous than he is. For while Laches may embody courageous action in a military offensive, he fails to abide by his own notion of andreia as phronimos karteria, or wise endurance of the soul, in other realms of action.

Socrates plays on such a Dorian harmony when he asks Laches whether they ought to agree with their own logos. He then specifies, “With the one that commands us to endure [karterein]. If you are willing, let us hold our ground [epimeinōmen] in the search and let us endure [karterēsōmen], so that courage itself [autē hē andreia] won’t make fun of us [katagelasē] for not searching for it [autēn] courageously [andreiōs]—if endurance [karterēsis] should perhaps be courage after all” (194a). Courage herself ridicules both Laches and Socrates for failing to search for her courageously.

This comic frame brings the tone of the dialogue within it into question. Tessitore suggests the dialogue’s comic elements to extend past its comic frame to the rest of the dialogue, which becomes particularly evident in light of testing one’s arguments against one’s way of life (188a‒b). Arieti reads the Laches as a comedy, citing several farcical elements: its pretext—two self-confessed failures asking two prominent generals for help in raising their sons, Stesilaus’s making himself ridiculous, the distinguished generals’ bickering ungraciously with each other, and its ending with old men returning to school with the boys. He compares the plot to that of Terence’s Adelphoe, wherein a father asks for advice on how to rear his son, but receives completely contradictory counsel. Schmid views the Laches as neither a tragedy nor a comedy, but rather an exemplar of double philosophical irony, involving tragic and comic aspects, and “in which the uncertainty is turned back on the audience.” It is through this discomfiting goad that we, the dialogue’s audience, can recognize our own need for philosophical inquiry.

After Aristophanes

The harmony of words and deeds lauded by Laches is thus one that is thought to contribute to moderation, measure, and courage, or to becoming a more virtuous person. Because Laches is acquainted with Socrates’s deeds, he suggests that Socrates is a viable candidate for achieving the true Dorian harmony of words and deeds, and is therefore to be allowed full freedom of speech (parrhēsias). Hoerber claims this quality—his achieving the Dorian harmony between logoi and erga—is what renders Socrates the hero of the dialogue. Socrates is superior to each contestant, “surpassing Laches in ergon and transcending Nicias in logos.” In this sense, Socrates is the truly musical man, exhibiting such a harmony, in distinction, perhaps, to Damon the music teacher. Socrates is a real military hero, acting with true courage, as opposed to Stesilaus the teacher of hoplomachia, who jumps at the drop of a stone. But Laches himself does not achieve the Dorian harmony he lauds, and because of this, laughter will be turned on him. The historical Laches is a gruff and blunt man of action who was elected general (stratēgos) in 427/426 [BC] and commanded the Athenian fleet in Sicily. He hails from the deme of Aexone, whose citizens were known as aggressive speakers (to which Plato’s Laches refers at 197c). His character in the eponymous dialogue is sensitive to the comical in others, offering two ridiculous stories about Stesilaus and other teachers of hoplomachia, but impervious to the comical in himself. Laches’s notion of courage resonates with tragic laughter. As Nichols puts it, Laches’s understanding of andreia “rests on preserving the opinion that ridicule and disgrace, above all for not bravely fighting for the city, are more terrible than the risk of death.”

Frosty 🥶 

*what made it ‘so obvious’ that Frosty had to kill this man immediately, even at a dinner table in a restaurant–despite the fact that the place had been cleared out already and there seemed to be some kind of military coupe taking over the building…

****Do I possibly want to start this part out here, and built up later to how we got here?

****Do we want Frosty to suspect the others at the table as well? or should he only become threatened by the guy in front of him?

****Should the two shadow operatives reveal themselves ‘after’ he does this, revealing how shocked they are to see him “actually go through with it,” or should their presence be piled on to the stress of the situation as well.

****the guy was a mark they were going to go through with and take out that day, anyway, so they just wanted to see Frosty commit to the necessity of their operation the old school initiate way–the bloody handshake, thinking all hope is lost and stabbing at the adversary despite the ultimate repercussion, second to total pain, an initiation by a trial by fire…a true leap into the abyss of expected death: total annihilation.

But it was not. It was just a test.

“We were listening in on your conversation…never mind what you heard…

(He rips the microphone wire tap from the corpse)

“We provided them with false data–“

“–the truth is much more astounding, if this Intel proves accurate.”

A disheveled Gordon Frosty stabs the ambassador with the cork  screw wine opener, knowing he must kill him now, it would be his only chance ever again; lest more powerful evil shall prevail and walk over these lands–a direct result oh Frosty’s failure, his weakness, his inability to uphold the divine Justice if he had not stricken then; he saw far off and away, into the future he sees; he is seeing then…

A different future…one less clear…but free from that ‘particular’ adversary, who had been seen to have been a ‘particularly’ strong force of darkest nature…a kind of butterfly effect seen in its totality; a rushing torrent of evil and vile hatred and perpetual fear if he had not the courage to strike, to have done what he had done–and now it felt like…a crises had been averted…a new future was possible. They had started today. Something was different, now, something–something had changed. Somehow, everything had been…made free.

He grabbed a wine opener, the kind with the curly metal and the pointed tip, and as Director Rumsfault (lol) directed him into the hallway he was planning when the best time would be to use it. They had surely come to arrest him, they had found out about the ex-pats he had been hiring. These things were not impossible to get away from—he had seen it happen many times—it’s just that it never had seriously occurred to him how it would one day happen to him. Living so cleanly—stringently following rules and regulation, never brushing aside pleasantries or burning bridges, not married, no kids—why, then? As he questioned himself on the decision to try to act bold now, of all times, he reasoned how it needed to be done. He had seen so much, and they would not understand. 

     He prepared the wine opener for violent dispensation. Unlatching the corkscrew metal, he fitted the handle comfortably within his grip. He would have to blindside the Director. Maybe in an elevator—maybe a landing platform—yes, a landing platform, and maybe he could buy a few hours while they searched his office at the base of the enormous Adobe Tower. Then, he would need to find a way to escape. There wouldn’t be much time in between finding the body and when the search team would be loosed to find him.

****At the end of the meeting Frosty brings up the problem everyone seems to be forgetting relating to the room full of witnesses to the murder Andrianna just committed.

As he brings this up, Andrianna confidently smiles as heavily armed legates escort all the fleeing diners like an iron wall rapidly enclosing them and forcing them back into the room…and the forces let loose into Frosty’s world are quickly becoming large and out of control.

Frost lifts out of his chair; the wine opener he had previously considered using as a weapon banging noisily on the underside of their dinner table causing a shockwave of panic through his body.

Clumsily over-reacting to the pre-mature weapon draw, Frosty takes a step behind him, however failing to realize that he had been seated…at a dinner table…and he tripped backwards over his chair helplessly flailing his arms and yelping in a way which was very embarrassing for a man to do…

However, most astounding of all for Frosty, which contributed to the yelp, was that as he desperately drew his weapon, his former companion Andrianna removed a large military ceremonial blade from behind her back and jammed the blade into [the uniformed man’s back]?, tossing him by his shoulders to the ground.

“What’s going on?!”

“It’s alright–” she rose from her chair and assumed a voice meant for battlefield commands: “It’s alright everyone! This man was an assassin, highly trained–though a coward all the same–and a spy! Very, very dangerous. Move along then, people…he had to die.”

Frosty: “Oh, well…that should clear everything up for everyone…”

Frosty, unable to the give the situation it’s due gravity, rolled his eyes in humorous amazement as the hatchet P.R. Job unfolded before him, leading the charge the borne-again-Valkyarie, currently issuing commands like a barking Roman Centurion to his legion.

 Really, some delicate, precision damage control was being done here…

The shadow operative, code named agent “McConnor,” laughs, breaking the icy chill which follows murder. It was, to Frosty assuredly, inappropriate and far too loud and genuinely jovial a laugh, but to everyone else in the room it was quite a little sadistic and great comedic moment for them. They seemed to ‘know’ he would do what he did. How did they know he would do that?

The seasoned operative gives Frosty a gesture of respect by assuming a fully engaged stance–as he would to any legitimate opponent–and  while gently grasping the man’s shoulder with a friendly grasp of his rock-hard hand and demonstrating, without any pain, instantly that, if force were necessary, he could either toss him violently to the chair–surely with some expert judo precision–or Frosty may instead, quickly, recognize that the ‘only’ rational course in which he survives ‘this,’ that he walks out of here is by sitting down, behaving this instant, and with some semblance of sobriety, after having just killed a man, be prepared to at least appear to be still, to be silent, and to listen to everything they say, watch whatever they do, and identify whatever loophole he can discern out from the tangling sea nets of confusion mounting before him, grasping at whatever floating life preservers might be around him, which might keep him alive or at least free him from any excruciating pain, before death…

“Okay, Frost.” The UE operative code named: “agent Stephens” is a stout, aquiline-nosed, black-haired, pale-snow skinned throw-back to a time of the home-grown American warriors, the ‘heart-land’ warriors of the early 21st century, hence the ‘old-world’ classic American family code names. 

Agent ‘McConnor’ was not in the least bit identified with an Irish nationality…or Scottish heritage…at least not to his knowledge. And, in fact, he was stout, had short black hair, almost sickly white skin, the same hidden hair with his headgear and smoke-gray bandana, and who upon comparing the two field operatives for a moment, actually looks a lot like agent “Stephens” does…

“What do they do,” Frosty thinks to himself: “grow these guys in a lab, or something?”

The two operatives had gymnast’s bodies, killer-efficiency bodies, seek out and then kill; they’re not exceptionally tall or muscularly massive but they look like they could wrong your neck like a python. Their musculature looks like carved out of old Roman marble, or Hellenic Spartans of some variety–or at least what he had imagined them to look like, anyhow.

“Frosty did you spill your wine or did you just kill some–*gasping in laughter* Agent McConnor, I do believe Frosty just opened that man’s neck…”

“I thought he’d be the type to have some table manners.”

“Well I do indeed see that he ‘has,’ agent Stephens. Look how ‘well’ he’s done.” He said “well” like how Frosty imagine a wolf would say it, if a wolf could talk.

Frosty was in a nasty state of shock, panic, and overall disarray. His sweating was always bad, but ‘this’ was ridiculous. The two operatives were only messing around with him, anyways, grimly comfortable in gruesome moments of violence–they unfortunately must descend there often within their line of work. It really is, for them, at least once long ago, a duty–a service–to their loved ones, as well as the generosity that comes by love to provide this service to all the families out there similar to their own, and all the people out there that those far off ‘heart-land’ warriors did’t even know, but they suited up and did what they thought was right, and they stepped up the plate. There weren’t a whole lot of men willing to do that kind of service any more: it just wasn’t any sort of time like that. These men served, yes, but that was seldom their primary driving force for enlistment within the UE military. These two are the types that learn to become strong enough to at least be comfortable during whatever  realms of psychic Hell the campaign brings them on…

Andrianna: “Just have a seat Gordon. We all expected you to do that. Let’s just say we set that one up for you…err, for therapeutic reasons. It’ll be some closure you’ll need in the road to come–“

“What–are–you talking about?! What road to come?”

“The war Gordon.”

The figures emerge. It was as though the light of the room somehow interacted with them a bit differently than everything else. The shadow operatives emerged from the gray corners of the room with theatrical smokey accompaniment, as if by the command of some old Vegas strip stage magician. Indeed, these phantasm soldiers are part of the world of the gray–light permanently mixed in with the darkness…

Silently approaching from the shadowed corners of the room, they reveal a thing about themselves unwittingly: they are assassins, covert soldiers of the elitist stock. Not much, as far as helpful reveals go; admittedly. And this mysterious ashiness all about the men gives them an almost supernatural quality. Every aspect of their appearance is, of course, deliberate. The two operatives have tightly fitted outfits and sparse gear besides that. Mobility. Silence.

As the operatives emerge from the artificial smoke another peek behind the curtain of their operations: of a sort of rapid artificial smoke functionality, and their capacities of obfuscation go far beyond simple color-camouflage. Everything about their appearance is smooth: the way they walked forward with predatory grace; the suit material itself silent as if consciously conspiring along with the men, to get the mission completed . The sleekness of the material is specialized for amphibious capabilities, Frosty knew perfectly well how all this works. Stalking him in an ancient predatory body language the two mere-sporting Leopards call off their prowl, a scene transposed directly out of the African Savannah, Gordon Frosty feels his paranoia slowly gaining solid ground.

… the works of the gray magicians are hard to gauge morally–the works are terrible, as well as beneficent.

… The culture-shapers of the gray worlds blow images smokily, forming the shamanic visual landscape with the backbone of their protected magic.

… Throws down photographs on the table in front of Gordon. The views are from nearly every angle of Frosty’s apartment imaginable. The all-too-thorough coverage of the completely ordinary living flat was patently absurd.

“This is soft living Frosty…”

“Oh yeah? You two think so, huh?”

“Yesss—it’s too cushy. Dulling your edge, I think..”

“Hah! And in what terrifying conditions, can I suppose, must you two satiate to get to sleep–maybe inside coffins–with the soils of your homelands shoveled in? Now come out–out here–out of the shadows…”

A door opens at the end of the room. The lights were dimmed to the point of nearly being completely shut off. The newcomer emerging has a figure in which the Bad posture is first noticeable. Gordon feels quite off guard.

“…And Who’s this now? The ‘good’ doctor? My–Is it really?”

The equation in Frosty’s mind became exponentially more complicated with each new addition of persons to the dinner table . Especially in the present circumstance, with big hitters involved, such as these.

“Is it really the good doctor, now?! Hello doctor, is it time for a check up?!”

“Your little joke about the coffins, Gordon, I didn’t really get it…”

“Me neither…sounded somehow right at the time.”

“No really…what’s wrong with my men? Are they not pleasures to be around?”

“Just thought, for me anyways, it fit quite well for describing the two shadow-lurking, types that you employ over there.”

Hojo: “Ahh–we must reflect a bit–I’m afraid–of the world we are exposed to;

of filth in the mind’s of men,

and the abyssal depths we daily tread,

 it seems.”

“How poetic.”

“Yeah, Frosty, don’t act like…so clean…like you don’t know about our world.”

“I never intended to.”

“You used to be a regular patron–till you turned soft.”

Is it the silk sheets, I wonder, hmm?”

The other operative chuckled in a low, manly, baritone. You could almost hear his black, Viking-Red speckled beard through it, like after a good and degrading insult in the mead-hall.

     “I don’t pretend my hands are clean, nor do I feel any need to, to be perfectly honest with you.” Frosty said with perfect delivery, but locked away in his heart he assured himself it wasn’t true. These types are bred to sniff out weakness–at least what they are trained to detect as a weakness. To Frosty, his guilt, his unwillingness to make sacrifices of others, and above all his sense of justice, was his greatest strength.

Hojo: “Alright, alright then. Enough banter, gentleman. Let’s get down to the business at hand. We know some enterprise has been surveying you, Gordon, we…however…have no clue why or by whom.”

Andrianna: “These photographs were intercepted through a mysterious wireless transmitter coming from your building. Imagine my surprise to see they were photos of ‘your’ apartment.”

Frosty: “I don’t understand, what’s going on? Why are they watching me? Was my identity not adequately covered up? I mean, could this be some disgruntled operative from far in the past, perhaps one of those–what were they calling them on the News?–‘free radical,’ who has cleverly tracked my phone calls, or credit card purchases, and narrowed down my location?”

Andrianna: “…we just don’t know.”

Hojo: “What we ‘do’ know, is that this encryption coding was quite complex. Quite complex, indeed… Much more complex than anything standard-issued by the military–more complex, really, than anything I know of that is even in the most experimental phase…”

Andrianna practically ribbed him with the look she gave, indicating (on all perceive able levels which a woman can communicate) that he should shut his mouth, now.

Hojo: “err–the only reason we captured the transmissions is that it is much easier to decrypt stuff like this than to encrypt it. We have far more time with which to work, for example.”

Frosty: “Okay, but what could it be about…I mean, I’m in semi-retirement, part of the beaurocratic work force now–happy cattle-like, and for nearly a decade! I’m not privy to anything special…well–certainly not anything you people should be privy to first!”

Perhaps this is all designed to be a giant distraction piece…to divert our resources and attention on a wild chase.

Yes, Perhaps there is something far more sinister around the corner…

A terrorist attack?

Perhaps. To some capacity.

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