Oh, you wanted to know? So would everyone. So would everyone...
The great Ulysses finally speaks! First of all, you should know that Ulysses isn't my name. It's actually Karl. As I understand it, after someone started calling me Ulysses, it kind of stuck, especially with the billions of people who had never heard of me until the legends began. And as they say, the truth isn't good enough, so go ahead and print the legend. So that's what's happened to me, my legacy, and my name. I guess it kind of figures.
A long time ago, I really was just plain, simple Karl, a boy who grew up with his mind in the stars, reading, and watching, every piece of science fiction he could get his hands on. I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid, believe it or not, but it was an ambition that didn't last past elementary school. I guess I forgot about it. Things happen. I got lost in my own thoughts.
Then, of course, one day it happened. I had already built a life for myself, become, reluctantly, an adult, started a family, and so it was incredibly poor timing, but all the same, it happened. A flash of light, I blacked out, and suddenly I was on an alien planet. The first person I met was a woman named Marta Goulding, who had been conducting an experiment for the tyrant Reeve. As I understand it, she was later executed. Never even had a chance to explain herself, and as far as I know, the experiment was abandoned, forgotten about, except by me. I got home when I figured out what she'd done. But that wouldn't be for more than ten years.
In the meantime, I had to keep living. I escaped mostly because Goulding at first successfully lied about what had happened. She was an elderly woman, which even given the differences in our anatomies was obvious enough to me. She was frail, and probably not long for death anyway. I could tell she was in pain. For all I know, she was attempting to preserve her own life. I miss her dearly, but her death, what I mean to say, was probably a relief to her, regardless of how it came. I have no doubt that she only reluctantly served Reeve's regime, as did the rest of Zala. Of course, there are few true innocents in life. We're all guilty. We're all complacent. That's the single thing I took away from my experiences. I certainly never considered myself a hero.
Yet that's what I became. As soon as the Sapo Order learned of my existence, it sent its finest agents to, for all intents and purposes, kidnap me. Alexus had heard of my existence first. She had better spies than anyone. I know exactly what she felt about me. Far from an exotic pet, which is how everyone around her viewed me, and assumed she herself thought, too, she was...fascinated by me. It was with reluctance and relief that I left her. Let's just leave it at that.
The Order immediately assigned me to Master Lark, who informed me in no uncertain terms exactly what was at stake, what had happened, and what the Order hoped would happen next. Lark took responsibility for me mostly because Master Greer thought I was a joke. Let's be clear about that. My unique perspective on everything allows me to see things as they really are. Or so I've certainly told myself, many times, over the years. Regardless, Lark taught me the arcane arts of the Order, which he said I was uniquely capable of comprehending. I took that to mean that everything that made me superfluous on Earth, easily dismissed, somehow made me unique and much-coveted on Zala.
So I became a Sapo warrior, and was assigned the one task for which the whole Order had dedicated its existence since the rise of the tyrant Reeve. Namely, Reeve's destruction. I thought it was ridiculous. On that score, I absolutely agree with Greer, and with everyone else, a whole world, that thought it was a joke. Lark insisted that not only Zala, but the whole universe depended on what I did next, so naturally I took up the challenge, and discovered how weak Reeve really was, and how weak, in turn, the Order itself was, or at least had become. It's my understanding that this was hardly the high point of civilization, but more like the climax of it. Doomed for a fall. Turns out they pinned it on me, because once Reeve was eliminated, everything else collapsed. Total anarchy. End of the Order.
So much for the hero. They did a good job of scrubbing me from history. The only thing they overlooked was the legend. But by that time, I was back home, and so none of it mattered to me anymore. Or so I thought. Then one day, I had some visitors. It was much later. I, too, was old now, just as Goulding had been before me.
They came back. And suddenly, everything made sense, for the first time in my life. My family believed in me. I was a hero. I was whole again. I'm not going to lie to you. I have not had an easy life, and I haven't helped make it any easier (you know what I mean). But I'm starting to feel as if it was all worth it.
"But this is not the story," says Kindly.