Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh Man…


Dear Diary,


I know it’s been a while, so I haven’t really told you that I have a boyfriend yet (more on that soon)…

Well, after I had an encounter with Pinocchio (who is no longer in our team… more on that soon, too!) and his Demonic Best Friend Forever, I went outside of Club Caprice to kiss my boyfriend (the adorable Milkbone) goodnight. I decided that, since he is much shorted than me, it’d be cute to have him sit on my knee as I gave him his kiss—something which he begrudgingly accepted—so there we were, in the middle of it, when suddenly…



Half of the bloody Raven Watch comes out through the door and stares!


I sometimes have to wonder if there’s someone out there scripting my life…

Saturday, November 28, 2009

File: The Socratic Method

(from Scarlet Mark’s files)


The Socratic Method (or Method of Elenchus or Socratic Debate), named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate rational thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving an oppositional discussion in which the defense of one point of view is pitted against the defense of another; one participant may lead another to contradict himself in some way, strengthening the inquirer's own point.

Socrates began to engage in such discussions with his fellow Athenians after his friend from youth, Chaerephon, visited the Oracle of Delphi, which confirmed that no man in Greece was wiser than Socrates. Socrates saw this as a paradox, and began using the Socratic method to answer his conundrum. Diogenes Laertius, however, wrote that Protagoras invented the “Socratic” method.

Plato famously formalized the Socratic Elenctic style in prose—presenting Socrates as the curious questioner of some prominent Athenian interlocutor—in some of his early dialogues, such as Euthyphro and Ion, and the method is most commonly found within the so-called "Socratic dialogues", which generally portray Socrates engaging in the method and questioning his fellow citizens about moral and epistemological issues.

The term Socratic questioning is used to describe a kind of questioning in which an original question is responded to as though it were an answer. This in turn forces the first questioner to reformulate a new question in light of the progress of the discourse.


* A and B agree on the topic of instruction.
* B agrees to attempt to answer questions from A.
* A andB are willing to accept any correctly-reasoned answer. That is, the reasoning process must be considered more important than pre-conceived facts or beliefs.
*A’s questions should expose errors in B’s reasoning or beliefs, then formulate questions that B cannot answer except by a correct reasoning process. A has prior knowledge about the classical fallacies (errors) in reasoning.
* WhereA makes an error of logic or fact, it is acceptable for B  to draw attention to the error.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Playing With The Queen Of Hearts

(The joker is the only fool…)


TODAY started like an uneventful day, rather relaxed. Little did I know that I would end up fighting a being that will probably bring misery and torment to Millennium City, unless something is done about her.

Today, the Avatar of the Queen of Hearts attacked the Museum in search of Lemurian artifacts to power a plot that is too terrible to contemplate.

What plot? Well, first I guess I should start from the beginning…

We’re all mad here…

To put it simply, let's pretend Earth and a ton of other dimensions are on one side of the dimensional equation, as the worlds of 'order', realms where there are rules on the subatomic level, no matter how quirky.  On the OTHER side there are dimensions that are pure potentiality, but also pure chaos as well. The more chaotic, the more insane. Between those two kinds of realms you have a kind of buffer zone that keeps them separate.

Alright, now let's call that buffer zone "Looking-Glass World", and one of the most terrifyingly insane dimensions on the chaotic side, "Wonderland."


Looking-Glass Land


Looking-Glass Land is protected by two Queens, Red and White. The world itself is an upside-down mirror of the dimensions of order--- it SEEMS insane, but it follows its own internal rules. It has to, because it must interact with both kinds of dimensions, in order to keep them from each other.

Essentially, if the chaotic dimensions started spilling into our dimensions, It would be a cataclysm on the cosmic scale of things. We wouldn't survive it, as creatures of order, but the creatures of chaos would end up with a multiverse all to themselves. A deranged one at that.

The Red Queen and the White Queen keep the Wonderland dimension from our realms: The invaders would have to cross Looking-Glass world to get to the other realm. To do so, they have to traverse a dimensional maze called the Linear Labyrinth. This is the buffer zone OF the buffer zone.

Also, the Queens have an agent that exists in wonderland. His name is the Cheshire Cat. He is the only being of the order planes whose nature allows him to exist in a chaos realm without going completely insane. I said *completely*. He is extremely... eccentric.




Wonderland is about madness, Wonderland is about living in a world that seems normal on the outside but is full of worms and horrible laughter and empty halls and doors to nowhere and upside-down staircases underneath.

Wonderland is an infectious, predatory, alternate reality.

Essentially, if you've ever read Lewis Carrol's book, don’t discount them: they’re not fiction. Though the Queen of Hearts used to be at most simply insane, over the last half century she has become more and more deranged. In her mania, she has vowed to turn all of the multiverse into a reflection of Wonderland. And hers are never idle threats.


Madness In The Brain

The problem is this: The linear labyrinth is not under anyone's control. It is a random entity that can suddenly forge passageways that are more direct than others. When Alice fell through the 'rabbit hole', she entered the linear labyrinth and went to the heart of Wonderland without passing through Looking-Glass World. These anomalies are called “Rabbit Holes,” and and they are dangerous, very dangerous.

The Linear Labyrinth can't be shut down. It does, however, re-organize itself constantly, so ‘rabbit holes’ are never permanent. This does not change how dangerous they are.

Regardless of what the Cheshire and the Queens do, there is always the danger that such a pathway may form, and the Queen can come through.Ultimately, this is why the Cheshire 'created' me. I am his eyes and ears in this dimension. The Queens also chose two avatars here, one of them is my mentor, Doctor Gnosis.

It may take a day, or a hundred years in this case, but there is always a chance that a rabbit hole will form.

And this is where I get to give you the bad news...

Such a hole *has* formed. It was in the middle of the city park, and although I managed to close it in time , *something* slipped through.  That something was a small part of the Queen of Hearts’ essence, which apparently a civilian ended up soaking up. It took her over within minutes and created an Avatar of the Queen of Hearts in this reality.


What does this mean?

Well, as I said before, think of Wonderland as a horrible, horrible infection of insanity. Whatever it touches, it converts into itself.

The Queen has created a nefarious plan where she injects a ‘strain’ of a virus, a viral version of Wonderland!

When Wonderland infects you, you essentially become 'insane', but you aren't -- you start perceiving Wonderland. People see you as schizophrenic, but in reality you have a foot in two worlds. Whomever you come into contact with has a chance of 'catching' the crazy, so to speak, become infected with Wonderland too.

That's only the first stage. The next stage has you suddenly going down 'through the rabbit hole', passing through the Labyrinth and ending up in Wonderland itself. As you go *down* into Wonderland, a Wonderland version of you comes *up*... a completely insane, deranged version of you. All the while, you experience Wonderland for real... and with the chance of being killed, or worse, permanently warped by Wonderland from within.

While you survive, or try to survive, exposure to Wonderland, your ‘other self’ is up here in this world behaving absolutely batty. He may be running (or flying) around naked, attacking random people, starting up conversation with objects, or simply be an incoherent mess. When your ‘trip’ to Wonderland is over, you come back up (and your ‘other self’ goes down) and find out that, to your friends and family and acquaintances, you’ve been acting crazier than a jackalope.

Trips become more frequent, and your behavior in your friends’ eyes more eerratic, and next thing you know, you're locked in an inpatient unit.

The Syndrome can spread quickly once acquired… so, what does it mean to have a ward full of Wonderland Syndrome victims misdiagnosed as Schizoids? What is the effect of lage numbers of *infected* within a specific area?

First, if one has a 'trip' to Wonderland, he has a chance of bringing the *rest* with him at the same time. And the larger the number of people that go through the rabbit hole at one time... the higher the risk of creating an actual stable rabbit hole. 

Second, When enough Rabbit Holes are created, the integrity of the Linear Maze will be compromised, even destroyed.

A rabbit hole big enough for the Queen herself to come through, and Wonderland to slip through.  Then Wonderland will invade the Looking-Glass World, and our dimensions.

The Cheshire has told me that each strand  of Wonderland 'infection' has a finite life, because the Linear Labyrinth reconfigures itself and thus what worked once doesn't once the maze is realigned and cuts off the Rabbit Hole.

She has to constantly infect people with a new strain, and she has to choose her 'seed' carefully because not everybody can catch it.

Well, that catches everybody up to everything we know.


Enter The Queen


After the incident at the park, I did my best to try to track the new Avatar of the Queen of Hearts before she could cause much harm. Unfortunately I was not fast enough in locating her, as reports of a new super-villainess assaulting the Museum came rushing in. I knew it had to be her: a Lemurian artifact was being unveiled that day at the museum, and its source of mystical power was just the kind of thing she would need to trigger her first attack- she is weak in this world, a creature of chaos who must depend on external power sources to function at the level in which her original source functions.  It seemed only natural that her actions in this world would be driven by an obsession to acquire power sources.

The energy stored in the Lemurian artifact would give her enough energy to create the first strain of Wonderland Syndrome. It was imperative that we stop her! Within minutes I had a team consisting of Viking Lady, Bumblebee, Clown and  Starkist.  We stormed the museum to find out that the Queen had taken hostages and had managed to create her Passion Guard- the Passion Guard are creatures that act as bodyguards to the Queen of Hearts back in Wonderland, and they are fearsome creatures. This Avatar, being weaker, fortunately could only create weaker versions of the Passion Guard with her own internal power.

Nevertheless, her diminished Guard still proved to be a challenge, and it cost us valuable minutes. When we finally reached the chamber, the battle became fierce, with the Queen using her powers to attack us. The first thing I felt when I stepped through the doorway was a relentless assault on my mind- the Queen knew who I was, of course, and had targeted me as her first Wonderland Syndrome Victim! I could sense her surprise when the rest of the Raven Watch guys came in after me, obviously she hadn’t counted on me having an affiliation with a team- a crucial mistake, because her concentration broke as my team-mates opened fire.


The battle was violent and fast, and by the end of it the Passion Guard had been dispelled and the Queen had been put on the run. There was much relief from the Lemurians and the Museum patrons.

However, not all was well…



The valuable artifact had, unfortunately, been drained of all power. The Queen had achieved her primary goal thanks to the delay bought by her Passion Guard!

So now we are faced with the possibility of Wonderland Syndrome becoming a reality. We can do nothing, except wait until I can detect another power spike from her in the area- and that will mean she will be creating her first strain of Wonderland Virus. When that happens, we must descend upon her and vanquish her as we can, and isolate the poor victim until the symptoms vanish – when the Linear Labyrinth recomposes itself and severs the Rabbit Hole created by the first carried.


What Must Be Done

So, now this is a waiting game: I want all of you to monitor the hospital frequencies. Anyone with schizoid disorder admitted to a mental ward *has* to be taken out of there and put in isolation. The Queen should be attacked immediately upon being sighted, and never alone— The Cheshire Cat has stipulated that those who possess super-powers may increase the risk of an epidemic is contagion is achieved. Therefore, if you start exhibiting symptoms like the ones discussed earlier, contact everyone you have been in touch with and alert them, and put yourself in seclusion—ideally under restraint, so that when your super-powered “Other Self” takes over, you don’t cause wanton damage and destruction.

There is no other way for now.

My Room-mate Is An Alien




11/25/2009, 10:13AM

So, today  I was hanging out at Club Caprice with Juggler, the newest addition to our team. He’s an alien from the planet Marva, and he’s actually quite a nice guy if you can get over the  massive culture shock he is undergoing.

Not a week ago I was taking care of some “business” near Snake Gulch (and by that I mean kicking ASCII’s sorry metallic butt) when I saw a familiar sight gracing the desert skies: An enormous green mass of arms and legs. This time, however, that enormous mass that is Grond was holding something in his arms. As I shorted out a singing cowboy robot (where do they come up with these things?) with my last shock arrow, I squinted and saw that what the brute was cradling in his arms was nothing more than a spaceship!

When he landed, he sent off massive clouds of dust, and a metallic crash echoed through the canyon when the cosmic thug smashed the ship against the ground. Heading in his direction, as fast as I could, I decided that I would try to save whatever passengers were still alive. By that time Grond had begun to stomp upon several parts of the module and it was pure luck that Juggler had decided to eject at that moment. Swinging by, I was able to catch him in my arms and swing away as the big guy’s green n’ ugly foot came down.

So he’s been here for a week and, for lack of a better place, moved in with me until he can figure things out. He really is a rather cute little guy – his primary approach to things is to question them, and his demeanor is pretty formal. That shouldn’t fool you, though, that’s part of his defense mechanism to cope with the culture shock. Underneath the defensive attitude there’s a scared young alien.

Stop giving me that look, it could happen! I’ve never had a boyfriend from another world. I’ll admit I’ve had the hots for Bumblebee too, so maybe I have this ‘thing’ with aliens? Creepy.

Anyways, so we were hanging out at Club Caprice, the gathering place of the créme de la créme  of everything that is bizarre, heroic and unusual. I was telling him about some of the social conventions people take for granted here when my communicator buzzed! Apparently my presence was requested by one Jerry Jelico, journalist. I was going to buzz other members of the team when I realized this was the perfect  way to show Juggler how we do things here in Millennium City! After I confirmed my participation for the contract, we chartered a jet and headed over to Burning Sands.




11/25/2009, 12:13PM

Juggler had never seen Project Greenskin before. At least, not that he remembers- when I rescued him from Grond, the poor guy was unconscious and bleeding badly. The guys at Greenskin were able to treat his injuries but suggested I head over to Millenium in the fastest jet they could get for me and take him to the Hospital, which had more than its share of experience in treating nonhumans, whereas Greenskin was a military installation and not a place for convalescent civilians.

Juggler basically mounted an impromptu symposium with some of the scientists, asking them everything he could think of while I spoke with my contact there and got directions to where this journalist might be. I nearly had to pry Juggler with a crowbar, but his interest was piqued when I mentioned this journalist was researching alien technology crash-sites.

He was so impatient that he decided that waiting around for a jeep would be too much of a delay (I swing, that’s my thing, and there are no buildings to swing from in the desert, sadly)- so he hoisted me up in his arms, clicked his heels and blasted away with his fancy flying boots, all too eager to get to the alien tech!

It was rather funny, and I’ll admit I didn’t mind being carried one bit. But let’s keep that between you and me.




11/25/2009, 13:26PM 

Jerry Jelic might strike some as a conspiracy nutter, a real wacko – and they’d be right, with one twist: his conspiracies are real! Thirty years ago most people thought that the National Enquirer was a gossip rag with nothing but made-up, outlandish stories. Nowadays we know that the gossip is mostly made-up and that the stories are as close to hard-hitting documentaries as you can get.

Jerry came out from behind a wide cactus when we reached the rendezvous point. He greeted us hastily and proceeded to whisper to us (though there was nobody near us at the time—but I guess you can’t be too careful).

“Remember a few months back when this area was evacuated because of a "toxic waste spill?" that was a bunch of hooey, a cover story for what actually happened: A UFO crash! VIPER is trying to cover it up, and I'm trying to get solid proof this story is true. They also have footage from the actual alien crash hidden away in their Area 51 site. If you can get it, I can upload it to the  Millenium City Free Press website.  There’s one catch… VIPER agent Albert Kirochek is the one guarding it, and he’s got a reputation for being a ruthless killer.”

I don’t know what impressed us the most: That a man like Jelic could have gotten a hold of this much information without getting his brains blown up, or that he was able to utter it all in one breath. As we digested this information, he looked at us pleadingly.

“Will you guys do this for me?”

Of course, it was a no-brainer.  We accepted the mission and set about to first recover the missing pieces from the crash site. It wasn’t as easy as it sounded, as the Qu’larr were swarming around the crater trying to recover their precious parts too- and there was VIPER, too, engaging them in battle to recover the parts for themselves. It was rather funny, when we arrived the Qu’larr attacked us, the VIPER then took advantage of this to make a grab for the tech, at which point the Qu’larr attacked them again, and Juggler and yours truly just watched. Then Juggler, being the brainy one shot the Qu’larr with some sort of sonic beacon that made them go wild. They literally couldn’t stop themselves from attacking in a rage, and while they were busy wiping the floor with VIPER we snuck away with the requisite parts.

En route to Jelic I asked Juggler how he came by that sonic device.

“I built it,” he said.

“How did you know it would affect the Qu’larr like that?” I asked, turning around to look at his face while he carried me (impatient little alien!), the spaceship parts dragged behind us by an impromptu tractor beam he had devised.

“I researched the history of Millenium City while I was convalescing and came upon your role during the Qu’larr Invasion. We Marvans have never encountered the Qu’larr, but they seem a dangerous hive race. Thus, I did some research on the beacons that had been implanted inside the Champions’ edifice, as  record shows that although the signals caused them to attack, they did so in a berserker rage and with decreased efficiency. I thought it would then come in handy to prepare a device that could replicate that effect in a smaller scale, should we ever have to deal with the Qu’larr again. Does that answer your question?”

As he set me down gently next to Jerry Jelic-o, I realized I had done a good thing in convincing Juggler to join the Raven Watch. With him and Tool, our other inventor, things are bound to get very interesting. Jelico, of course, was ecstatic and promised to bear our firstborn child if we could only get him the tape – this confused Juggler, since he was aware that “the male of the species does not carry the offspring,” but I’ll tell him about it at some other time. Before we could engage in the next phase of our mission, Juggler insisted that he be allowed to thoroughly scan the pieces of Qu’larr debris- I let him, who knows what useful contraptions he’ll be able to create with Qu’larr technology?




11/25/2009, 14:00PM

We came up with a plan rather quickly: It took Juggler about five minutes to come up with a holographic projector (though how he did it using mainly parts from Jelico’s jeep, I’ll never know) and soon enough we were marching towards Area 51 under the guise of VIPER agents.  Entering the base was not a problem, and everything was going according to plan: we were to enter the hangar Albert was in, beat the ever-loving daylight out of him, take the footage and upload it to Jelico’s newspaper account using VIPER’s own computer (ah, irony!), which we would then destroy.

Unfortunately the unreliable nature of the projector’s parts meant that halfway through our sneaky-sneaky, our illusions gave out and we were in the middle of a VIPER base, surrounded by little snakes. Who were now aiming their rifles at us!

Juggler froze for a second, but when he saw me rain arrows on the twerps he recovered and started blasting them with gadgets I didn’t even know he was carrying. At one point I was surrounded by about fifteen snakes and I was shot on the leg. My regeneration was going to take care of the wound, but not of the thugs that were about to tear me to pieces as I lay on the floor, off-balance. Next thing I know they’re all grabbing their heads and screaming at the top of their lungs before collapsing! And there’s Juggler with a smug grin on his face and yet another contraption in his hand.

I think I’m falling in love.


We beat our way to the hangar (at first he carried me, but when my wound closed I could run by myself) and encountered Albert Kirochek, a hulking beast of a man with the nastiest, thickest accent I have ever heard. Seriously, the man was a walking stereotype.  To his credit, though, he didn’t waste time with monologues or threats, he saw us, pointed his weapons at us, and fired. 

The firefight was brutal and if it hadn’t been for my shields, I would have probably been crippled several times. The alien and yours truly, though, proved to be more than a match for him and in five minutes he was out cold. The commotion had attracted more VIPERs, though, and I thought we were in for another round of fighting when the hangar doors closed! Juggler had found the switch and, in typical push-it-and-see-what-happens style, he couldn’t resist the big red button.

With valuable time bought, I snatched the datadisk from the unconscious Kirochek’s pockets (the things he had in there! I need to wash my hand after this) and used their own computer to do the deed. Afterwards, I gave them a free upgrade, courtesy of one of my shock arrows to their hard drive! I turned around to tell Juggler to prepare to sprint, but I found him busily inspecting the downed Qu’larr podship they had in the hangar.

I could hear metal grinding and see the hangar doors buckling under whatever the VIPERs were using to open them. By the sound of it, all of the VIPER corp in area 51 was behind the two doors! He would not be rushed, however, and told me to be calm- that he had everything under control. I was inclined to trust him, but just in case I made sure my best area-effect arrows were first in my quiver- which was distressingly low in arrows anyways!

After a few minutes Juggler came down, satisfied that he had what he needed—the craft had been badly damaged, he said, and he could only salvage a small amount of information.  A resounding CRASH behind us told us that one of the doors had been breached! I prepared to fight, but then Juggler wrapped one arm around my waist! I was taken by surprised, he clicked his heels and off we shot at a vertiginous speed towards …. the roof!

Another device in his hand, and the roof exploded into glowing little bits. Wait, didn’t I see this in Batman? Next thing you know, we’re soaring through the sky and several AA Missiles are trailing us. Nothing my Signal Interrupt arrows couldn’t take care of, though (have you ever tried firing a bow while being carried? it’s not easy at all!), which confused the missiles into following the arrows instead, and impacting upon the other hangar!

With the mission accomplished, we headed back to Greenskin with Jelic being carried by me, whilst being carried by Juggler – because we realized that his jeep was useless now! (Juggler has a problem of thinking ahead, it seems). In a few hours we were back at Club Caprice. Unfortunately Juggler ended up being so tired that he fell asleep at the bar and spilled his drink on a rather aggressive patron, which led to a very interesting adventure of its own..


But that’s another story, to be told another time…

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Flight Of The Bumblebee

Bumblebee is perhaps the person I feel the closest to in the group so far.  He seemed like a guy who had his head screwed on tightly, and in a group where passions flare high and bright, that gave me some comfort. The fact that he was a were-wolf also influenced my trust, as I felt we had our feral nature in common- even if he could suppress his and I could never be anything but what I am.
I was surprised, to say the least, to find out that there was more to him than met the eye. Aside from being a werewolf he also turned out to be
  1. An insect-man alien from a hive-like society
  2. Taking DNA samples of us and others around Millennium City without our knowledge or consent!
It turns out that Bumblebee is part of a dying race, and he was using the genetic material he gathered in experiments to save the aforementioned hive. While a pragmatist or a Machiavellian might say that what he did was excusable because it was done with a noble intention, whatever the means, I took a different route: I knew that Bumblebee was not a bad person, but his pragmatist approach caused him to do something that was undeniably wrong. At most he was a good person with a very misguided approach, who was intent on doing something right.
Unfortunately, as Dr. Gnosis taught me, the ends can’t be divorced from the means, and vice versa- the end cannot justify the means because it is a product of them. His indiscretion came to light when an enemy of his sought to use the information as a means of turning the group against him.  I was there and confronted Bumblebee with the information, and I contacted Leonidas to inform him of the situation as soon as I had obtained Bumblebee’s assurance that he would assume responsibilities and come clean on the matter.
I felt bad for him when the reactions one would expect from the group caught up with him. Kablooey (who is no longer with the team for reasons relevant to her name) was very hostile, Pinocchio outright threatened him and chastised him (the aforementioned murderer, you might recall, suddenly taking a moral stance? If we speak of having no ground under your feet to criticize others, Pinocchio is floating in space ) and there was a consistent outpour of emotion. Bumblebee would have quit, if it hadn’t been for Leonidas’ order to remain within the group as part of his probation. Public backlash was no less furious and a lot of damage control had to be done. In the end, I told Bumblebee that I gave him permission to use my D.N.A. for his goals, as firstly he had suffered his just deserts for his actions, and secondly because one can never have enough of a good thing *rimshot.*
It was a personal disappointment in my fellow team-mates as well. I had expected indignation, yes, but I had also expected more self-control and a more focused approach. Instead  I saw more of the same kind of pack mentality I have always rejected. I felt for Bumblebee but I knew that whatever I might say might be misinterpreted as a “but he had good intentions!” appeal because of the lack of mental clarity in the group- as well as for the fact that Bumblebee had done something untoward and was receiving the consequences of his actions. I simply wonder whether such hostility is warranted towards the misguided, and why such tolerance is given to the clearly evil such as Pinocchio. It seems to me that the values by which they are weighing things seem to have different standards depending on who is being weighed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Meet The Funambulist

He’s our newest member. This is the information he gave for our archives…

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Elder and the Clockwork Soldier

I think  that the best way to start this journal is to first talk about the people I’m working with, then about the group, and finally who I am. I know it’s a bit ass-backwards, but I like doing things my own way. I am not going to talk about everybody right away, but rather I’ll talk about the people I have interacted with the most so far (as to the date of this posting, I’ll speak later of others I get to know better). So, I’m going to talk about Leonidas, Pinocchio, Bumblebee, Snark, and Angelica. These are not all of the folks I’ve interacted with, but rather the ones that, for some reason or another, I’ve spoken to or observed in a more personal setting.



LEONIDAS is an old dog. I’m not being disrespectful, he is positively ancient. He’s the leader of the band, but he’s also one of those immortals that seem to be coming out of the woodwork these days. I’ve had a few direct interactions with him, and he strikes me as someone who can either joke around or bite your head off. I don’t know what he is like as a leader because I haven’t been able to observe him leading – but the fact that he can be stern when he needs to be was shown by how he handled Bumblebee and his revelations.

He can come across as jovial, but I get the impression that he is one of those men who have hidden edges and only bring them to bear when it is necessary. I think it is rather foolish to take an immortal at face value – simply because a being who lives for so long must build different layers to his personality. Of those I have met, I can safely say that Leonidas is probably the least I know about.


PINOCCHIO is hardly like his benevolent namesake, and both the most disturbing and fascinating being in this super-group. Once a human being, his soul was destroyed when he was bound to his armor through a dark ritual and subsequently enslaved by a demoness as her assassin’s dagger. Nowadays he only exists as the extension of the will of his ‘mistress’, a being that is malevolent and devious (far from a ‘Blue Fairy’ indeed). Throughout the ages he has committed horrible acts and carnage, and yet he is the one who constantly tries to impugn human nature and human weaknesses, espousing an almost Nietzchean rhetoric of the culling of the weak in favor of the strong, with some very dark undertones of Heidegger.

When Bumblebee revealed the deceit to which he had resorted, Pinocchio first denounced him and then made threats—When I was (very) quick to point out the incongruence of a murderer (most likely a mass murderer) rebuking a liar, he exited the comm channel. That is the way it has been since our first encounter: whatever statement he utters whose core is a hatred for humanity (and an implicit glorification of his demon masters) is immediately contested by me.

The most recent exchange we had ended in him having a powerful reaction to my line of reasoning. Indignant at my analysis of his morality (or lack thereof) and his unquestionable servitude of a sadistic demoness, he accused me of buying into ‘angelic propaganda,’ after which he fled my presence. This, he has done several times already- until I pointed out that it was a disrespect to the people he was with, to turn tail and exit the room.

Of course, it isn’t fear- he is not afraid of me, I cannot possibly pose a threat to a being of his nature (whereas my mentor Doctor Gnosis would), but rather it is the arguments I wield and what lies behind them that discomfits him so. Like Cleopatra, he is a monarch of denial at this fundamental level. Is redemption –whatever that may be- possible for him? More importantly: If he lacks a ‘soul’, then that makes him merely a complex automaton, so what are the moral implications of that? 

I once, as a child, I asked Doctor Gnosis whether a machine could ‘grow a soul’ or whether robots and androids – no matter how sophisticated – would always be lacking somehow.

She said to me that souls are never given, but constantly made and grown. Every choice made, every value upheld and every idea held as true were the components of the ‘soul’. “The soul is consciousness,” she would say, “and it can only survive through purpose- the purposeful maintenance of life, arduous cogitation of ideas and the experiences of feelings in response to a deeply-held value.”

“But what about  Archie?” I said, bringing the topic back to the android at the institute, one of the most respected (and beloved) teachers.  His original number was RG-2324, but he was renamed Archie (a bastardization of Arr-Gee, in a truly inspired Star Wars moment).

“His sophistication allows him to undergo processes similar to ours. Even though he lacks the hormonal component, he is, for as far as I can tell, self-aware and rational. He wasn’t born of a biological process but manufactured- but what is the biological process of birth and genetics, if not a process of manufacture? Everything he learned, he had to learn for himself using the same tools a baby would have.” And in this she was right, since Archie was the first of a series of ‘Epistemological Androids,’ a revolutionary technology that Mechanon himself was said to loathe, as it created self-aware mechanical beings that were not as easy to manipulate as, say, the cowbows in Snake Gulch.

Still sensing my doubts, she concluded, “Archie is a being of self-made soul, Alessandro. In a way, we all are. Consciousness is the ‘soul’ we have, and our actions and purposes are the fuel that keep it going. That is why a person without purpose seems like such a tragedy- for as long as they abandon purpose, they abandon their souls.”

I was thinking of that as I saw Pinocchio walk away last night, addressing two of the team-mates but refusing to acknowledge my existence. His surrendering of his will to his ‘Mistress’, making her purpose his, is the cause for his constant death-of-soul. Perhaps the recovery of his soul is possible, but it will remain forever barred to him as long as he continues to avoid the reality of it all: puppets have no lives of their own, and as long as he remains a puppet he will be nothing but a hollow armor who remembers that it was once human.


Well, that’s all for tonight. Tomorrow I’m going to talk about Bumblebee and Snark, see you then!