Thursday, February 21, 2013

Darkness Falls on a Dark Land, Part 1

When I was younger I never really understood my place in the universe.  My name is Henri Latour, and I think I’m getting better with that.

I guess I always thought I was an outsider.  My family was a little strange.  If we’d never moved, maybe this wouldn’t have been the case, or maybe it would have.  Both my parents were outsiders, too, only they never really considered themselves in that way.  They met years after they should have, rebelling against their own lives by becoming fiercely loyal to them.  If you have no idea what that means, I don’t know if I can help you.  Sometimes in order to prove you are who you say you are, when the rest of the world refuses to believe it, the only way to do it is to be a contradiction, embracing the model by rejecting it, being the best example of expectations while pretending that you don’t care about those expectations.  It’s about transcending the situation, removing yourself from your context because the context has already decided it doesn’t need you.  Yet for all intents and purposes, you’re still defined by your context.

At any rate, I was the offspring of this madness.  I wasn’t the only one.  I had a couple brothers and sisters, each of whom did their best to dismantle the remnants of our past, continuing the work of our parents, completing the rejection and shattering the context.  For some reason I couldn’t do the same.  I guess since most of my siblings were older than me, I had a chance to watch how they did it first, and what I saw disturbed me.  I clung to what they let go.  It was a difficult process, because like all families there was constant friction and it made me angry far sooner than was strictly necessary, resentful that most of what I knew was given to me without my asking, and so in order to accept it I had to reprocess it, and in essence reclaim the context that had slowly faded away.

Don’t get me wrong.  My parents had done a more thorough job than they’d anticipated.  They shook loose the old traditions.  It was their constant faith in the power of redemption that fascinated me the most.  I had no personal experience with their redemptive urges, but it was the faith itself that interested me.  The faith came with an entire world all its own, one that eclipsed anything I knew, which opened up for me a world of possibilities.  What it meant was that I had an opening, a glimpse of the original context, not the one that was created later but the one as it had originally existed.

The problem was that it was always denied me.  I came along a generation after the revelation, and it became a game of constant catch-up, and I was forever conscious of playing the part of the fool in my efforts to do so.  This started from an early age, well before I could comprehend what was happening, and yet my feeble efforts would serve as the building blocks from which I would continue to work for years to come, stumbling every step of the way.

How it was that I started from a remote world like Earth and made my way into the galaxy, repeating a relatively recent tradition but very much under a personal framework, can only be described for what it was, a deliberate series of accidents.  It is forever the lament of pioneers that they wish there had been a model to follow, but then they would not be pioneers.  People like me, and I don’t say this with pride so much as pity, follow precedents, discover kindred spirits, but singular individuals don’t have exact models to copy, and for good reason, because they’ve broken the mold, dared to be foolish enough to forge their own path.  There will always be allies along the way, but they can only sympathize so much before it becomes cloying.  You feel ungrateful to think of them in this way, but it’s the truth, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing what you are and they would be, let’s face it, more helpful.

My parents would never have gone this far.  They didn’t have the vision.  I don’t know where I found mine.  It was a combination of instincts developed along the way.  I was to be the first human to discover the truth of the Alliance of Five, the founders of everything we know now and depend on and take for granted.  No, I was never motivated to join the Space Corps, but what I accomplished was something every single officer who ever served with it could only dream of, or consider in their nightmares…

This is a record of my journey, and the strange and horrible discoveries along the way, including quite possibly a few truths.  I never said I was successful, but maybe in small ways.

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