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A puzzle of squares, square four: Logos

A puzzle of squares, square four: Logos

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Published by The New Scum
where Lux returns to Earth in his own time-context and comes to grips with his purpose in the afterlife.
where Lux returns to Earth in his own time-context and comes to grips with his purpose in the afterlife.

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Published by: The New Scum on Feb 23, 2010
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A Puzzle of Squares

A Story by Zachary Elmblad. An intentionally arranged series of words for publication by The New Scum Productions. A serialized story for long-term release and publication by THENEWSCUM.ORG Do not reproduce this document without the expressed permission of The New Scum Productions. Copyright 2009 The New Scum Productions. TheNewScum.Org ZachElmblad.Com Square Four: Logos. Lux sat on the steps of the temple of the sun. He sat there, and he thought. He thought great, cosmic, time-spanning thoughts. He thought not about trivial things such as sports scores, check stubs, and lottery numbers. Lux thought deep thoughts about the meaning of life, and about the way of all things; he thought about the creator. He looked out in front of him, far off in to the distant solar system rotating around him in the kaleidoscope of all the dimensions of time. He saw Mercury, buzzing quickly along its course; Venus a milky blur. The gas Giants and the asteroid belt faded into an elliptical path resembling an impressionist painting. He looked for an especially long time at Earth, the planet he knew best. On that planet, he thought, there have lived a thousand thousand souls wandering around in utter ignorance of what would happen to them when they were finally to escape. He thought of it almost as a prison, but yet as a sort of farm; growing intellectual entities for admission into the cosmic hierarchy. More rules, he thought; rules, regulations, tests, and achievements. Life on Earth wasn't entirely too different from life outside Earth. In fact, it was becoming more and more rational; more and more comprehensible by the minute. He sat on those steps, and he thought about his life. What did it mean; what did it really mean? All of this? Just another shit-stain on the blanket of eternity. So Earth was just a farm for pre-fifth dimensional life forms. That seemed rather bland to him, almost mechanical. Like he'd come out of a factory or something. That couldn't be the whole story. Sure, there were the intricacies of life itself, the beauty of the spring cherry blossoms and all of that nonsense. Falling in and out of love, financial boom and bust, moments of brilliant insight and utter disgust. There was a balance to it all. From this cosmic perspective, it all just seemed so mundane to him. What was the point? Life on Earth had always been summed up by the question, “what's next?” and it didn't seem to him as if life outside Earth was going to be any different. What's next, apotheosis? What do you do now? How, exactly, does one occupy oneself in eternity? He had so many options. There was, of course, a swimming pool the size of a temple behind him that held an assemblage of his entire existence on that planet he saw orbiting in the distance like a marble. He imagined picking up one of the rocks around him and being able to throw it at said planet, like a game of cosmic marbles. Why not? Gaia was gone, off to bigger and better things. He didn't matter to her anymore, so who cares about the damn temple and all the memories and all of it. He punched the step he was sitting on, only to remember that his iteration felt pain. The sensation stirred a new batch of memories from deep within the recesses of his mind. It was pain that defined humanity. Constant, never-ending, existential pain. The pain of existence. Being alive and aware in a universe that was far beyond even the furthest limits of his comprehension. Working for nothing, for the sake of some other person. All of a sudden, after his go at life on Earth, there he was in the middle of it all. Both literally and figuratively, stuck in the middle of space, time, existence, life, beginnings, endings, possibilities, and singularities. The “world,” as he knew it, had appeared vast and full of opportunityat least that's the feeling he remembered about the place. A globe of infinite expanse that suddenly

seemed so finite as he watched it travel like the insignificant dot on the black that it really was. He remembered her words, Becky's words, “You were there because I made it so, but I did not invent you.” What did she mean by that? He was used to the fact that she was a traveler inside the body he knew as Becky, but what did that imply about himself? Was he, too, just a silent observer inside the bodies he knew as shattered memories floating about in the pool behind him? What were the implications of that? What was he, now, as he sat on the steps of a temple erected by Gaia, giver of life on Earth and master of Sol. That's where he was, walking like a miracle on the core of the Sun. As he remembered, from a class in one of those memory squares, the Sun didn't have a core. It was mostly Hydrogen, with the majority of the remainder being Helium. There was no cold metal core to walk on, there was no heart of the sun. Was this place a figment of his imagination? Becky had said that his own thoughts materialized in the pool, but did his own thoughts materialize the whole damn place? The sun, the universe, the cartesian plot, Phalanx, Becky, and the whole lot of it- was it all just some dream? Some kind of wicked hallucination as he lay in the death throws of his chemical suicide? Wait. Chemical suicide? He thought about it, intensely focused on recalling the train of thought that had led him to that conclusion: “was that how I died?” “Am I just really fucked up on drugs right now?” He said it aloud, to no one, to the rocks in the distance, to the Earth itself- a marble-dot on the endless expanse of time. “No. You're dead, it's not a joke; you're not on drugs.” He looked at the bottom of the steps, only to see Phalanx, his intake guide. “I thought you left,” said Lux as Phalanx climbed the stairs toward him. “I felt kind of bad about not knowing you were an Apotheosis, and I figured you could use a friend right now.” “A friend? Is that what I need?” “I bet you're wondering what the point of all of this is right about now, aren't you?” Lux looked at the ground. “Yeah, I guess I was” “No surprise to me, that's why I'm here.” Phalanx stood over Lux. He almost seemed imposing. Lux stood up. A friend. That was what he needed. The universe seemed lonely back on Earth, but sitting here on the temple steps staring off into the vastness of space with sight beyond limit was indeed quite lonely. He had only just realized it. “It's good to have friends,” said Lux, almost accidentally. “It certainly is, especially when you're the Apotheosis.” “So, I guess my biggest question is: What exactly differentiates me from the other souls on Earth as an Apotheosis.”

“Essentially, nothing. But there is a special duty you hold to them as the first to escape.” “So I've escaped then?” “In a way, yes. You can look at your awakening into the fifth dimension as a form of escape. It's more of a blossoming, but in the parlance of your times; it's a fucking escape.” “Like going home?” “That's another way of looking at it, I suppose, but it's more like becoming who you really are. You're goal is to become you- as a whole. The point of re-hashing all your memories is for you to gain the perspective of looking at things on a time-line. Looking at things from a fifth-dimensional point of view. You can see every beginning, every end, and every in-between of everything that ever was- ever. You've gained essential omniscience in the realms of space and time; but that omniscience is regulated by strict rules. Those rules were set out by the creator, and they cannot be altered. They are the steadfast laws of our universe, and as far as I know, of the multi-verse.” “Ok, I think we're getting ahead of ourselves here.” Lux was getting confused again. “I know it's confusing, man, but please just bear with me. I'm trying to teach you something here. I came back because I felt guilty. The Apotheosis speech is so much more in-depth, and since Gaia didn't put it on your intake form; I had no idea. Usually, we bring the intakes to their solar system and there's a temple like the one we're standing in front of- but the temple is complete with a record of the key transitory forms. How much exploring have you done since I left?” “I checked out a sequence of squares from an iteration in the mid-seventies. Strippers, Money, Typewriters and cocaine. Great weed, good times.” “That was a good period-” Phalanx interrupted. “It was.” Lux cut him off in turn, “I was a guy named Mike. He was a journalist, but one of the rare ones that could walk the walk while they talked the talk. He railed lines of blow in the back of strip clubs, and smoked the finest grass money could buy. I'm glad he was me. He was like...” “Hunter S. Thompson, like your intake. Fair enough. That's a good start, close to your final death, is that one or two iterations from your transcendental iteration?” “Transcendental iteration?” “Yeah, that's the one you had right before you ended up here. It's the life you lived that finished whatever protocols Gaia had set up for you to trigger after your soul neared Apotheosis.” “Ok, so what exactly is Apotheosis. I mean, I get it- to deify, to make god from flesh- but does that really mean I'm a god?” “In a sense, yes. I mean, what were the gods to the mortals on Earth? You guys classified yourselves as mortals, and they as gods, am I wrong?” “Yeah, I guess. We were mortals, gods were immortals. The gods, the undying manifestations of our

assumptions of perfection.” “Precisely. Souls are the singular essence of an evolutionary sequence that takes place on Earth through reincarnation. It's one of the many ways you can gestate your planet in order to create an actualized existence.” “So what's the point of me playing along, then?” Lux was beginning to “get it.” “It's not about playing along, really, there isn't really a choice. When you were bound by existence on Earth, could you see time in dimensions? Could you simultaneously watch a beginning and an ending? Could you subjugate your consciousness to a pinprick on the Cartesian plot? It's the same here. We're bound by the sight of a fifth-dimensional existence. You can stay here for all eternity, or you can try and progress. Some people have no interest in progression. They're contented solely by meeting other people on other galaxies and having a good old time in the infinite expanse of fifth-dimensional space.” “So I could sit on these steps and be done with the whole thing? Can I kill myself?” “Sit on the steps for eternity, I guess so. It'd be really boring, but you could do that if you wanted. As far as killing yourself, no. There isn't really anything to kill. You aren't stuck in a biological mass right now, you aren't even made of any stuff. What you see and feel as your body is something you made up without even knowing that you did. You have to bind yourself to the limits of space when you're in a galaxy. You have to exist in context. If you killed your contextual self, here, on the Sun, your consciousness would just revert itself back to it's Cartesian form.” “Why can't it just end? What is this continual pile of horse shit I have to climb through?” “Don't get down on your own existence, man. We're just pawns of the universe. Plankton in the great sea of nothing. That ocean is eternal, and so are we. Why make it stop?” “I want there to be an ending.” “Of what use is an absolute ending here? There's all kinds of endings. Interpersonal relationships from meeting to make up to break up, galaxies beginning and ending all around us, and the constant reformation of matter.” “Things should be finite, set in stone, realistic.” “Fuckin' Lux, what is reality? I'm not talking about stuff, or thoughts, or tangible things. Reality is temporally subjective. Don't you realize that endings are closely followed by new beginnings? Haven't you picked up on that yet? You ended your life on Earth by your own hand after philosophizing the fuck out of it. What happened? Here you are, you have no control in the matter at all.” Lux kicked the step and stared off into the horizon, regressing. “Alright, that's it, lets get out of here for a while. It's been too long since I spent some time on Gaia's planet; probably a few hundred Earth years I'd imagine. You could probably used some different scenery, anyway, am I right?” “But what about my 'solemn duty' and all that? What about 'figuring out what the meaning of life is'?”

“I appreciate, yet loathe, your sarcasm while referring to the discovery of new things. Ever onward, man, the quest for the higher plateau. Why is it you look with such disdain upon new things? I don't understand how you could be so apathetic with an entire universe to explore.” Lux begrudgingly followed suit as Phalanx condensed himself into a Cartesian point. The feeling of condensing your body to a singularity in an instant would seem to some as difficult, maybe even painful. It was becoming second nature to him by now. Lux's body was a hologram, a doll. It was an assemblage of biological matter from spare atoms happily buzzing along throughout eternal quantum passivity. Like Lux, existing as a microcosm of biological systems, designed through a thousand thousand years to achieve one thing: a separation between the physical, organic, body and the consciousness it contained within it- Lux, the existence as opposed to Lux, the man. That's what was designed to happen. It wasn't designed by some almighty creator, really, even though it essence it was. The creator of the universe wasn't the only creator of universes, not the greatest nor the worst, he was just the creator of the one Lux was present inside. The creator didn't create Lux, Lux created Lux. The creator created the parameters of existence. He took a bubble of cosmic dust, crammed it all into a singularity, shouted some fundamental rules of physics at it, and blew it up. After that, it was every molecule for itself, then every mote of dust in turn, until you got some organic bodies with consciousness on some rock somewhere, and they learn the secrets and create more life, and in turn again, the universe spits out a sixth dimensional being and it's fulfilled it's purpose and it perpetuates it's own existence right out of existence throughout immeasurable times and spaces. Things were starting to get overwhelming again. “Yeah, let's go.” “Follow me,” said Phalanx They ended up in, of all places, a church on Earth. Could have been any church. It was a Catholic Cathedral somewhere in a pleasant suburb. Clean lines and stoically contemplative architecture, comfortable pews and climate control. It didn't seem like a place of worship as much as it seemed a giant sized version of a cheap studio apartment complex. There were people there, milling around. Mostly families with young children laughing, picking their noses and flipping through the hymnals. Phalanx, and Lux in turn, materialized into physical bodies in the shadows just outside the building. Phalanx made a motion for Lux to follow, and they silently opened the doors and took a seat in the back to watch the Mass. It was the gospel reading. The priest's voice was calm and direct, in a way that was pleasant to Lux's ears. The last time he was on Earth, he thought, he would rather have burnt down a church as opposed to sit in one. That was then, this was now, and he really didn't mind it after all. It was quiet when the priest spoke, save for the occasional baby noise and fart, and the priest's voice just seemed to captivate him. Like the man had some sort of sight beyond the superficial; like Lux could relate to him, if only through his voice. Like he had to listen. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with god, and the word was god. The same was in the beginning with god. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from god, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew

him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of god, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of god. And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. John one, verses one through fourteen. The gospel of our lord.” As the masses made strange gestures with their hands, and chanted back with indifference before sitting back down, Lux felt a twinge of irony rush through his mind as he reflected on the words he had heard. He glanced at Phalanx, who stared back and silently grinned. “We'll be staying for the homily as well,” he said from behind his Cheshire-cat grin. “Homily?” “Pay attention, man, don't get impatient. I know this religion is bullshit, but it's not like everything they had to say was without meaning. It helped mankind cope with the world around them for thousands of years. Chill out; don't hate on the priest- he may be misguided, but his intellect and understanding of people is on point.” “And the word was made flesh. Speaking, of course, of Jesus our lord. Straying from the obvious, we can take John's words as a peek into a further awareness of the kingdom of heaven laid out for us to dwell in for eternity. In the house of our lord, words are the dictum of divine arbitration. Words are all we have from the lord, our god. Words are what he communicates to us, what we are left to interpret and understand. These words are not simple ideas or concepts, but vastly incalculable insights into the realms of god. As the word made flesh, Jesus Christ represents the a visceral iteration of the lord our god. He is the word of god made flesh, an apotheosis. The truest version of humanity, the only begotten son of the father, light from light, true god from true god. God, who made his word flesh in his own image. This word was given to us in the scriptures, and we live inside that word. Words of god not only made flesh, but made of rock and dust, of atoms and sub-atomic forces. Those forces are also the word of god, for the word of god is what holds our universe together. As humans, as physical manifestations of the word of god, we are to live in the example of Jesus. That is the true reason for life, the true reason to live a life in the example of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins. The path to heaven is the path first trod by Jesus Christ, word made flesh. This, you will see, is the profundity of the word of god. The word of god is infinite and unerring, from the minute details of sub atomic particles to the vastness of space. As we grow to further understand the mystery of the physical world around us, we are walking in a physical manifestation of the word of god. In heaven, we will exist in the true extent of the glory of the word of god. May your journeys always leave you with more understanding, as all on this Earth is temporary in terms of the world of the word of our lord.” Phalanx grabbed Lux's arm, and they got up to leave. Lux took one last look at the people sitting in the rows of pews. Obviously the priest had a firm grip on perspective, but he just had to throw in all that Jesus and God stuff to make it digestible. Lux could see the importance of what Phalanx had shown him, but he could also see the fundamental errors in the hierarchy. Jesus wasn't real, he was a literary representation of an amalgam of ideals seen by a hundred different people decades apart in some exemplary person they made into their messianic effigy. His sacrifice was that he was destroyed by the very people he was metaphorically sent to save. Living and dying and resurrecting and transubstantiating, and all that. All just a symbol for an existential and communal understanding of the metaphysical realm. They didn't know the realm wasn't metaphysical, they just knew they couldn't experience it in their physical bodies. Humans always knew something much bigger than themselves was going on around them, they just had no perception of what it was.

“That's the ultimate lesson these people are missing, it's all just a fucking metaphor, just a good story that you're supposed to find further meaning in. It's no answer, it's just a way to pacify those with existential anguish” Lux thought aloud. He was getting angry again. “They're so limited in their grasp on the scope of the situation they're in, the people would rather kill the greatest iteration of themselves than listen to what he had to say. Disgusting, really. Doesn't matter if it actually happened, or if it didn't” “That's where the obfuscating concept of 'faith' comes in, man. Imagine you're standing on a cliff's edge, with your only chance of escaping a heated pursuit being to jump into the water below. You've never been there, you've never swam those waters, and you have no idea if you'll dive to safety or crack your cranium on the jagged rocks below: do you jump, or do you fight your attackers to the end?” “Are you nuts? Jumping off a cliff? I'll always stand up and fight my own battles- I'm not a coward.” “Ye of little faith would fight to the death.” “Exactly right. What's the point in putting all your eggs in one basket? Hoping for a saving grace when you could stand up for yourself and still win.” “That's the difference. Rather than defer to the unknown possibility of life after death, you chose to fight. That's why you're the Apotheosis. You were trying to find a way out, and you found it. You stood up and fought, but you did it for the right reasons- you were being held captive, man, and you would have stayed a captive for a long time if you hadn't ended it. Normally I wouldn't admonish suicidal tendencies, but in your case it was the final piece of the puzzle. You took active control of your mortality, and it was your faith in that mortality that led you to kill yourself. Your misstep was the fact that you blindly jumped into the water, hoping you'd crush your skull on the rocks, but the ocean was warm“ “And full of squares representing the life I tried so hard to escape.” “And you did escape, Lux, don't you see it?” “I may have escaped Earth, but I did not escape life. It's easier to look at it all from a third person point of view, though. I haven't checked out any squares from my transcendental iteration, but from what I can remember- and from what you and becky said; it sucked pretty hard.” “It's good to see you're beginning to understand.” “Let's get out of here. I hate churches.” He followed phalanx out on to the sun-lit sidewalks in front of the church. As they walked down the steps, he took in the surroundings. It was a crisp spring day, birds chirping and the sun shining and all of that. He thought about how he had just been inside the sun, starting out at the planet he was now occupying. The marble he thought he could throw a rock at. “Lets take a walk, man. I know a place.” Said Phalanx. It seemed like Phalanx could almost sense the anxious wanderings of Lux's mind.

Lux followed Phalanx to a foot-trail headed across a meadow into the woods. As they walked along the path, Lux took special note of all the different plants and animals he saw. The colors, the shapes, the smells, the feel of his feet crunching the crushed limestone trail. It was nice to be back on Earth. He had felt so abandoned and constrained in that half-way house, at intake, and in the temple. It was nice to breathe the spring air again. Even though he wasn't alive, in the Earthly sense of the term, he was still alive in the truest sense of the term. Even though his body was just a container for him, he realized that it had always been that way, he just didn't have the capacity to understand what that really meant until now. He was trapped inside himself. They approached a bend in the trail just before the tree line, and Phalanx sat down in a patch of grass under a shady tree. Lux sat down near him, and gazed down the tree line into the horizon. He noticed the way the horizon almost pulses and radiates in the spring afternoon sun. It seemed like he could see forever, but then he thought about what forever means to a person in a body on Earth in comparison to what forever is to a fifth-dimensional consciousness. “I forgot how much I like to sit and look at this place. Gaia's world turned out so aesthetically beautiful. The colors, the trees, the grass, the way the atmosphere bends the light to make a blue sky; it's all so fucking beautiful! My planet was austere, rocky, even utilitarian. This place has a woman's touch. It's comforting.” “You sound like you've been munching on acid tabs, Phalanx.” “Life on a planet isn't much other than a hallucination, man. You see things from a fixed point of view, it's all about perspective. Look around you, man, you're living inside a time-context right now. The surroundings are stationary. Imagine if you could have seen in the fifth-dimensional point of view before you died. You don't even have to imagine it if you don't want to, really. Become it. Don't forget you have that option now. Look at this dandelion. Imagine a tiny insect crawling along the leaves. The tiniest little bug, insignificant as a mote of dust. Now put your consciousness inside that tiny insect as it climbs over the leaves. You see a dandelion, now, but it's a whole world to that insect. The colors aren't yellow, they're shades of cellular yellows, greens, blues, and hues. There's mountains; peaks and valleys for that insect. That dandelion would be absurdly huge for that insect, but he still just walks along the leaves. Is he looking for food? Is he admiring the beauty of the dandelion's contours? Is he traveling far from home? Does he have a home? Where might he go from here?” “Acid trip.” “Fine. An acid trip, whatever. Remember how powerful chemicals can be? You saw abiogenesis, you were there in more ways than one. Both observer and participant- scientist and subject. And now you're experiencing the entire universe as both an observer and participant. There is no separation of those two extremes when you aren't stuck in the fourth dimension viewing time as a straight line from a point in it.” “Fine. I get it, though. Like that preacher was saying back in the church. The word of god is the laws of the universe. Their version of god isn't quite what reality is, but it's pretty damn close. Jesus is a metaphor, the word of god is the rule of the universe, and the creator created it for us to live in. In the case of Earth, Gaia was god in the Judeo-Christian sense. She put it all in motion. When she got here it was nothing but rocks, water, and volcanoes. Potential. She pissed in the water or whatever and abiogenesis happened. So who's the creator of life- the Creator, or Gaia?” “There is no real creator of life. Gaia didn't create life, she arbitrated it. Same with the creator of our

universe. Life is what happens over a long period of time and development. Life on Earth began a journey at abiogenesis that continues ever onward until all the souls transcend and the planet outgrows it's usefulness as an incubator. Life as a concept began a hell of a long time ago- before me, before you, before Gaia, and before our universe was created as we know it. Life is a trans-universal concept. A concept that spans all universes, all spaces, all times, all dimensions, and all existences. It's a fundamental part of nature, the nature of all things. These trees and rocks are as alive as us, this dandelion, and even as alive as our imaginary bug. It's imaginary because there's a possibility of imagining it; and that's also the reality of it. You can't imagine a bug that can't be imagined. It could be any bug, but it has to be a bug. Spider, aphid, caterpillar, butterfly, all alive, all bugs, real or imagined. In a world of infinite beginnings and endings, and a world where matter can take any shape, there are endless variations of what you can get when you create life on another planet. That's why you do it, that's why you keep living. It's to keep understanding the way all of this space dust can iterate into so many different things. Stars, mountains, rocks, trees, dandelions, bugs, people, nuclear reactors, oceans, galaxies, the atmosphere; at a basic level, it's all the same stuff. How can that not be fascinating? Why wouldn't you want to spend an essential eternity figuring out what different kinds of things can happen in the universe? Why, for fuck's sake, would you want to kill yourself? LUX, IT'S FUCKING AMAZING TO BE ALIVE!” “That's a good point, man. I have to admit it” “So you wanted to know your name, huh? Your transcendental iteration's name?” “Yeah. That was the point, at first, I guess.” “Anthony James Cahill III” “Really?” “Yeah.” “Fuck.” They sat there for silent hours under that tree, Phalanx in a silent and contemplative state, and Lux on the cusp of understanding a way of looking at things that better suited him than he thought could ever be possible. It was funny, in a way, that he could have always imagined it. Just like Phalanx said. It was definitely possible to imagine the Earth as a piece of a much larger puzzle, and that made it real. And now, here he was, in the midst of matter, time, and space; a comprehensive consciousness, a pinprick of existence on the Cartesian plot tucked inside the meat folds of a human circa 2001. Years didn't even matter once you left Earth anyway, and at any point Lux could flip his consciousness over to view Earth in the fourth dimension. It still made him sick in how overwhelming it was to experience, but he gave it another shot. Slowly, he looked out at the field and saw himself blurring out from where he was; into every move he took from the trail head to where he was now. He saw the birds and the animals and the motions of their wings and feet blurring into fog. He saw every animal that had crossed that path that day, every bird that had been in the sky since birds knew how to fly. He saw he and Phalanx leaving, walking off into the forest. As he looked at the forest, he saw the trees as new sprouts, saplings, and gargantuan old-growths. He removed his consciousness from his body and brought his perspective slowly outward from the tree. He floated up into the clouds and saw civilizations founded and crumbling, he saw the constant whirling of the Earth around the sun. Light and shade, day and night, spring, summer, autumn, and

winter. He saw the volcanoes, and abiogenesis, even the end of the world; all there at the same time, but any time he looked at anything closely, it became a still image of time that he could digest. Although he could see the beginning and ending of Earth, he could focus in on the instant in time that he and Phalanx were sitting under that tree in a park. At the same time he could see himself there in that park, he could see the mountains of Tibet, he could see the insect on the dandelion, he could see Mike blowing coke in the back of a strip club, and he could see his transcendent iteration sitting on the edge of his bed in a dimly lit room. He collapsed his consciousness back into the folds of time, and re-occupied his body. He looked at Phalanx. “Why create a universe?” he said, bluntly and abruptly. Phalanx grinned. “Why build a house?” “Fair enough.” “Look, man, I can see you're finally getting used to all of this. It's gotta be a bit of a shock.” “I wish there was a way to help other people expand their consciousness to the point where they can escape Earth. No one should have to be imprisoned on this planet, despite it's beauty. No one should have to stay here when there's a whole universe to explore.” “Now you're thinking. That's what your job is as the apotheosis. You're the word made flesh, the Jesus Christ of the whole damn thing. You're the first one. Remember, you and Gaia were the second generation of the first cell to undergo mitosis. Light from light, true god from true god. You were surrounded by the light, yet not that light. Just like you are surrounded by infinity, but you are not that infinity. You are only a part of it. That's why I brought you to church, man, religion is a way for humans to cope with a complex understanding of the world around them. Those words in the bible have a deep meaning for most humans. They can grasp the sense of the fact that we're all made out of the same stuff, but they need a master, a god, to tell them what to do. They don't have faith in themselves, they have faith in something else. They need something to latch on to that's tangible, so they can go along living and dieing in a world they can only slightly grasp and never fundamentally understand. The real world of soaring triumph and troughs of defeat. It doesn't work for everyone, but it works for a lot of them. You can't help them directly, they won't listen to you. What you can do is prepare your temple so they can have some semblance of purpose on their path through fifth dimensional existence. You can't change the way the world works, Lux, you can only change what they come out to. It's up to you to make their transition as easy as possible. You are the guiding light at the end of the tunnel, the light of the Earth.” “I guess that's a bit of a relief, Phalanx, thank you.” Lux laid back down on the grass, staring up at the clouds in the sky. He remembered being a hundred children staring up at that same damn sky, the same damn clouds. They still looked just as beautiful as he had remembered them being every single time he looked at them. Damn clouds. He took a long piece of grass and stuck it between his teeth. He took a deep, full, breath of the spring air and exhaled deeply, watching the grass wave back and forth in front of his face. “You know, man, when I transcended from my galaxy...” Phalanx laid in the shade, not far from Lux, under the same tree they had sat for what seemed, now, like days.

“You're from Andromeda, right, Phalanx?” He took the grass out of his mouth to speak. “Indeed, yes, good old Alpha Centauri. It was a nice place, my planet. We called it Kleon, but it's since passed. I've been around a long time, man, I took the time to study a minimum of nineteen different planet's existences in order to volunteer full time at the intake. I wanted to help people out, you know, and learning about so many different places was a great time.” “It does sound like an admirable profession.” Lux stuck the grass back in his teeth after he spoke, like it was a cigarette, and focused his gaze back on the clouds. “It is, I think. I must admit, though, that I'm kind of excited my first apotheosis is from Earth, that was my favorite planet to study. You had the best music, and the best languages.” “Rammstein uber alles,” said Lux. He leaned over on his elbow and stared Phalanx right in the eyes. “Good times with the industrial headbanger shit, man, but I was thinking more along the lines of the evolution of instruments, and the relationship between music and the progression of technology. I'm a big fan of subtractive synthesis. You managed to electronically manipulate generated tone waves to replicate sounds in nature. No other beings on any other planet ever made electronic music. It's so amazing.” “Techno?” “Ha, yeah, I guess.” “Let's go back to the sun, dude, being on Earth is starting to bum me out.” “Fair enough.” Phalanx sat up, brushed himself off, and condensed into a Cartesian point. *** So now that he was beginning to understand what to do with himself, he was beginning to hatch a plan. He wanted to know some things about his death. Someone had once said, he recalled, “To write a good story, you have to start at the end. You have to know how it ends in order to tell the story correctly.” The end of the story, in this case, was the beginning. He had died. Other than that, he didn't really remember that much. He decided that he would investigate his final death before apotheosis, the transcendent iteration, and he would try to remember his name. “Mind if I head back to intake for a while, man? I've got some paperwork to catch up on.” “No, not really, I think I'd like to be alone for a while anyhow. I appreciate the help, Phalanx- now go help out those intakes. You do a great job. I'll head your way if I need your help. You're my first friend in this new world of mine; and it's good to have one.” “Likewise.” Wth that, Phalanx was off. His condensed flame on the Cartesian plot shot off towards the center point. Lux turned and walked back into the temple. His temple. He looked around him, again familiarizing himsef with the massive columns that seemed to shimmer from the tongues of a thousand flames. He walked up the spiral staircase to the room he had put his abiogenesis statue in. He made

another statue there, one of clouds separating to reveal a ray of light- the light of the apotheosis. Lux. He stared at it for a while, wondering what other statues he might place there, and he realized he was beginning to get tired again. He chose the far right corner of the room, and put a bed there. Nothing huge, nothing ornate. Just a plain old bed, with plain old white sheets, and plain old pillows. Utilitarian. This was a temporary place- temporary for him, and temporary for all who would visit after him. There was no reason to make it a home, it wasn't a home. It was a temple, and it served a specific function. He wanted any furnishings in the temple to echo that temporary feeling. He laid down in the bed, and stared at the ceiling of the temple, finding himself unable to fall asleep as quickly as he had in the chair downstairs. “It's our connections with our past that unites us as a planet, and denotes us as an individual” He thought about what that meant. Gaia had said that to him. Becky. Whoever. That chick. His other half, light from light, and all that shit. Whatever. He wanted a purpose. Something to do. Sure he had this temple to fill out, but that wasn't enough for him. Move on to the next step, then? What would that bring? Another few millenia of tortuous nitpicking over his freshly-minted lifebearing planet in some far off star's system? What was the point? Just farming souls, like all the other lingerers-on surfing it out without a purpose like Phalanx's. He didn't know if he had the stomach for it. It's quite a burden, if you think about it, being a god. With that, Lux fell fast asleep. To be continued in square five: Nightmares.

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