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Se La Vie

Premiered 9/9/9 (9 September 2009)

The continuation of The Myth and Legend of D'PTah, an original novel by Dan Sewell Ward.


Segment 18

Se La Vie


They're on their way! And just in time to thoroughly foul the completion of the second Interim Report. Unbelievable! And what did Gil, Dookie and the team do in order to deserve such a fate? Clearly it was on the order of the genocide of a half dozen sentient species. And don't say, “Se la vie.”

I told you not to say that. Don't you ever listen?

Oh, sure. Such timing is by the standards of mischievous fates demanded of all oversight authorities. If they cannot foul the experiment in progress and furthermore foul it at its most precarious stage, or else disastrously intervene in the near completion of a critical phase of a project... then obviously they're not really living up to the expectations of (alleged) lesser beings. In the case of the PROCs who ultimately link and control the dissemination of Interim Reports and the like to the greater media and those essential truth outlet configurations... it must seem only natural they would arrive just hours before the final draft could be carved in gold and irrevocably laid at the feet of prosperity.

Yes, yes, I fully recognize that it is necessary and valid to work with people who can in term synthesize, edit, and selectively sort the wheat from the shaft -- especially at a time when there is SO MUCH information constantly being made available in the outside world. But there is also the saying that “Those who do, do; those who can't do, teach; those who can't teach; become reporters; those who can neither teach nor become reporters, edit and limit. How else can they appear to be superior in knowledge, unless they are constantly reducing the amount of knowledge to which others can have access? The somewhat horrendous alternative is to keep up with the literature; an activity well established as being a real pain.

Duenki hadn't had such interference in the learning process since the university. And now, knowing of the imminent arrival of the PROC, he had sought solace in listening to the Academic Festival Overture [1], long reputed to be the penultimate music for rejecting arbitrary, academic authority. It is said, with some truth, that is utilized drinking songs and other lowly motifs instead of bowing to the intended stately nature of academia. [2] Hopefully, the music would lift his other wise, increasingly depressed demeanor enough for him to accomplish good work.

My first hint at the impending apocalypse was Freddie the Slow... running... actually sprinting at top speed... and in the direction of Gil's tent. My initial assumption for Freddie's motivation for such activity was the opening of a downdraft into the earth's mantle... followed by most everyone and everything of any consequence slipping over the event horizon and plunging down into fiery oblivion where their material bodies would be reduced to fractionalized elementary particles with extremely short half lives. [3]

But then the far greater disaster began to become evident. Gil's low growl -- the one I had often linked to that of a female ogre in heat -- came rumbling across the thirty yards between our tents. (Obviously, Freddie's fleeting flirtation with Marathon ideals had yielded the opposite result.) Had the earth moaned with greater intensity, I would have happily uttered the traditional greeting upon meeting one's terminal fate! [4] As it was, I simply moved slowly and with trepidation toward the entrance to my tent. That was when I saw Gil already striding at a slight angle from a direct bee line to me. Freddie was trailing behind, and as he saw me, he gestured that perhaps I should join them. I then caught glimpse of Gil's hand, at the level of his waist, do a slight come hither gesture. My doom was thus sealed.

At the entrance waiting area into the site -- where our minimal recreational facilities were housed in a building condemned just prior to the Discontinuity -- we pulled up short. Gil turned, faked a smile at each of us, and took a deep breath. We joined him... although I suspected we had unaccountably entered a low pressure area which was temporarily devoid of oxygen. Getting a breath was simply harder than it looked. With that Gil turned, made one more attempt to take a deep breath, and the three of us entered the building from the back door.

I mention the latter detail, because on the exterior of the door was the sign: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here” and just below it, the recently added, “Lighten Up.” [5] As we reached the door, Gil took both signs off and tossed them aside, taking care to see that they both landed face down. Then we stepped inside. The greeting details that I will not mention here include those associated with all manner of carpet dancing introductions and assorted pretenses at being delighted to see so and so after how long? The exception to this was my meeting the famed Anna Shamhat.

My initial reaction was amazement. I had no immediate idea who she was, other than someone of the male designated category of drop dead gorgeous. Tall, with flaming red hair, penetrating eyes that unnerved you, and a figure that was femininity in extremis. I was glad I had already gotten a good ration of oxygen from outside. There might be several moments before I would breath again.

What really lit off my after burners, however, is that in the process of Gil presenting Freddie and I – us, the lowly members being presented to the greater authorities, as per custom – Anna... Ms. Shamhat... positively lighted up at the mention of my name. The smile she gave me will be one of the memories I will be vainly attempting to convey to my great grandchildren on my death bed.

I'm told that following the introductions – in which I managed to comprehend only the name of Anna Shamhat – there was twenty minutes or so of meaningless conversation about every trivial topic that could be assured of not hinting at anything of substance... the whole process suitable only for status sorting. It was in short: time to play nice, listen to criticism disguised as laurels (but laden with thorns), and always, always acknowledge the superiority of status (however obtained and however maintained). Then, somewhere in this fog bound state, I found myself standing unaccountably close to this woman who had, if we can give credence to such reports, recommended and supported me in my being here at Myricon. I would like to think she made the move to approach me, although I could also believe I had simply been drawn to her side like a puppy in love... or possibly iron filings in the presence of a very strong magnet. In any case, we were now close enough to carry on an actual, semi-private conversation.

“Dr. Duenki,” she had begun. “I was happily impressed by the quality of your first Interim Report. It showed great promise. I sincerely believe that it will ultimately be received with all appropriate favor.”

I pretty well glowed like a five month pregnant woman in the throes of love. Later, I would recall the conditional adverb, that of my report being “ultimately” received well. This strongly suggested that such a reception was not the current status. But who really cares? Anna liked it! Nothing else matters! All prior rules of importance have now been superceded.

I feel certain that I must have made some reply... something on the order of... well, actually I have no idea. In fact, I would rather not dwell on the possibilities as they're all likely uncomplimentary of my ability to converse in any one of several of my native tongues... save baby babble bubblings.

But Anna was kind. “I would be particularly interested in the status of your next interim report. Perhaps a sneak peak at your drafts?”

My response was something on the order of, “Certainly. I'd be honored.” I'm pretty sure I did not add, “Would you like to see my hernia scar as well?”

At this point, some unmitigated bastard – I can't recall who it was, but someone I would like to nominate for permanent lodging in the bowels of a fiery and unremitting hell – caught Anna's attention. It was time for the up close and personal visit to the front lines of the site excavation. Xytol would have to be guided, cajoled, and given every honor accorded a Prima Donna. I would, on the other hand, be shunted aside... at least for the moment. My time would come later in the late afternoon.



Prior to again seeing Ms. Shamhat, I returned to my tent to clean up the final draft. I was thwarted in this goal to some extent by Leslie, who apparently had been hiding in my tent. Not being one of the authorized volunteers, she now had to dress the part of being an unexpected public visitor who had merely been looking for a nature park. Leslie was also a bit of a gossip.

“Did you see that bastard Dimutri... returning to the scene with mommy and daddy in tow, ready to kick some butt? What a lousy excuse for a human being!”

When I didn't say anything, she added, “Gil told me Dimutri had already made some official, disparaging remarks about the work, and that Gil and a few others, including yourself, might very well end up being crucified for your efforts. Gil was ready to let the Judas-stand in get away with whatever, figuring that Dimutri was dead meat anyway. No one likes a betrayer, because obviously they cannot be trusted. Like any Benedict Arnold, they can be rewarded with rank, and then be denied everything but the facade of whatever rank they negotiated. It's not like they're ever going to be put in a position of trust.”

What Gil had not told Leslie was that maybe this time, we'll save the good guys and let the wolves find another victim. Time to take a stand, dismiss the headaches (they were probably going to kill him in short order in any event), and do an end run around the coming blitzkrieg.

Leslie did have one more bit, however. “Gil says not to trust Shamhat. She's devious.”

“Devious?” Where did that come from?

“Oh yeah. And he should know!” Leslie had the look of knowing the inside information on the lives of the famous and notorious.

'Damn!' Duenki could have done without the latter tidbits. Now he's have to think about it.



Not to worry, however. Lust (and occasionally love) have ways of diminishing to the point of extinction, any such concerns as might be held in terms of maintaining the integrity of top secret documents, avoiding loose lips capable of sinking ships, and showing any form of self-restraint in communicative endeavors.

Upon Anna's arrival – with Leslie hiding out somewhere else – Duenki had reverted to Dookie, a man without a care in the world... save for exhibiting the more obvious look of an undercover agent engaged in state of the art sleuthing. Everything was really quite right with the world. Life was good.

“I sincerely hope,” Anna began, “that I'm not being too bold in asking to see your drafts.” Obviously, she was doing precisely that! But who really cares? Me? You've got to be kidding!

“You can be assured of my discretion,” she added... despite the dye already being cast. “I may even be of some small help. The information your team has uncovered is of the utmost importance. I really want to see it widely disseminated. This is no time to hide such knowledge.”

Dookie smiled. Such sentiments were exactly his. They were getting along fabulously. Wasn't it amazing? Providing immediate access to Anna, Dookie then stepped back, took a chair and watched the woman begin reading his reports... interspersed with an occasional smile in his direction. It was like having found his... what did they call it? Oh yes... his twin flame.

Basking as he was, Dookie managed only obliquely to wonder what he had actually written.


To the modern mind, the Regency's charge to the religious hierarchies might sound almost superfluous. That the Regency was constrained first and foremost to restrain the warring factions of philosophies may in fact seem an incredible fantasy. The evidence for such necessities, however, is considerable. It is found in numerous other artifacts and ancient documents, as well as adhering to certain portions of the Legend of D'PTah. It was simply a fact of the ancient, barbarous world that believers in loving and merciful deities had to be separated from each other lest they kill, maim, and inflict all manner of pain upon others who believed in different loving and merciful deities.

The reader may be tempted to assume that with such a rational, logical dictate on the part of the Regent – one intended to serve the vast majority of the world's population – might have been well received and been the first steps toward a Grand Reconciliation – not just a Grand Ecumenical Council. But such an assumption does not account for the realities of the ancient world, where such barbarism was common and routinely experienced. The degree to which assumptions depart from reality can be glimpsed in part from a series of fragments that appear to have been the Regency's reflections on his experiences during the tumultuous meetings of the Great Ecumenical Council.

These extended fragments – identified as The Great Council Reflections – are presented herewith:

...greatest congregation of evil ever assembled in the history of the world?”

I knew full well that they were not going to be amenable to such a claim, but they needed to know that there would be no allowances for their vaunted egos. Besides, I passionately wanted to begin the council in just such a manner. It might not have been the most diplomatic means of convening such a conclave, and it certainly failed to provide the 'shock and awe' that some might have desired. Nevertheless, it certainly made my day.

Okay... maybe a little naive; maybe even a little arrogant. But the old, useless style of always being politically correct has obviously not been working. They say you can get more with honey than with a stick, but the end result has always been the loss of honey... and to no avail. Perhaps I'm just not wiling to admit that I may have seriously fouled up. On the other hand, I simply can't wimp out and not try to make waves. Hopefully, everyone will eventually get the idea.

The irony is that the vast majority of those included in my blanket "evil" statement probably looked around at all of the others of varying faiths and beliefs, and quickly concluded that inasmuch as everyone of a different philosophical persuasion was indeed evil from their perspective, that they could probably agree with me. I may in fact have added to this unintended caveat by implying that there might have been a few present who might be of some small benefit to mankind in their more lucid moments. There is nothing so tantalizing as to believe that somehow one is unique and different from the rabble around them, and that they have a special, essential role to play. It is clearly nature's first and foremost narcotic.

I also suspected I had little to lose, inasmuch as they were already incensed by having their attendance required (under force of arms as necessary), their outrageous demands for the most part ignored, and my insistence on locating their various factional delegations adjacent to their most hated enemies. Future historians may argue that it is not wise to mortally insult fragile egos when they hold such influence over others, but I would claim that my calling the venerated Pontiff, Benny, had notably positive results. Even with his initial shock at being referred to with such a diminution of his name, he seemed to have accepted it with a degree of aplomb once I had included his faith's emphasis on humility as an essential component in their lives. I certainly detected more than one grin on the faces of many others, even a few of his red-cloaked minions.

In many respects the introduction of the facilitators in keeping the Council in focus was almost a disappointment. Perhaps the delegates had become less susceptible to taking offense by this point. At the same time, my demand that any demonstrated bias on their part due to differences in gender, race, sect, [?], or dress would be severely punished may have served to tone down any overt signs of strong disagreement.

The main act, of course, was my later rant on the reasons for even having religion in the first place. I feel as if I presented this in a manner which could be accepted by anyone with the slightest inkling of an open mind – and I think I carried it off in terms of what I had hoped to accomplish. I may, obviously, have seriously underestimated the degree to which these patriarchs in the worst sense of the word would maintain closed minds and simultaneously plot to fight me every step of the way.

I may, as well, have overstated the case, but somehow I still maintain that the six purposes of bothering with religion – guidance, societal bonding, understanding of purpose, comfort, connection with a higher power, and external control – should be understood and acceptable to any rational mind. [6] This should include any possible rational minds in the assembly hall, even if only for their own vested and inherently selfish interests. In some respects, I had most of them at least grudgingly admitting to the premise that none of the first five actually require a religion in order to exist. But when it came down to my contention that it's really about control of the many by the few, that's when I may have lost more than a few. It's as if I had added too much cayenne pepper to the chili.

[?]'s expression alone told me that I was probably right in my thesis and simultaneously that I might better have not said as much. I knew that he would be a good guide in terms of finding my way through the [?] field of the Great Council, but once said, there was little room for maneuver.

And, of course, that was when the proverbial shit hit the fan... or pardon the pun, when all hell broke loose. The stampede of the various factions to rush in and claim their most irrational and idiotic demands, once [-?-] had leaped to his feet in indignation, was not unexpected by me... except, perhaps in the degree of his ferocity. Obviously, I had really [?] them off!

I think I stood my ground pretty well, if I do say so myself. Admittedly I threw them at least the [?] by which they could save their precious faces. I did not even have to back down or capitulate to their madness, inasmuch as I had made it clear in every virtually every appearance prior to the Great Council that I not only didn't have to agree with any and everyone's beliefs, but that I would defend their right to hold such inane beliefs, with the single proviso that they would never be allowed to impose their beliefs on others.

It really should be that simple. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And don't presume -- against all evidence to the contrary -- to be sufficiently omniscience as to insist that your views should be foisted upon others. Why these people who claim to unselfishly serve others cannot see this is almost beyond me. But for whatever reason, they cannot be allowed...

Combining the oral tradition of The Legend of D'PTah and these reflections immediately following the all-important Great Council provides us with a far greater understanding of the chaos of ancient times than we might have ever claimed to know prior to the Myricon discoveries.

But we are not done with this portion of the saga. The Great Ecumenical Council, as envisioned by D'PTah as the Regency, had not been structured for a brief exposure of the various competing and conflicting religions to one another – and thereafter, business as usual. Instead, much to the apparent chagrin of the participants, they were to remain in conclave until their business of finding a commonality of moral and ethics was done. Their incredulity and bewilderment was matched only by the masses who followed their secret activities, all the while failing in so many case to comprehend the sheer immensity of the task.

The fragments of bronze sheets in this phase of the process are notably less legible, but it is still possible to glimpse the overall plot of what was happening.

...had to laugh. The total lack of comprehension of the rules they were about to live by for the foreseeable future was enough to keep me smiling for months. But I hid it well. Even when someone had asked if this was a case of “bread for spiritual breakthroughs!”

Why they had assumed they could return home with nothing accomplished was nothing short of a simple lack of thought. For such an assumption implied that they thought I was only marginally serious about their developing a consensus for a universal moral and ethics code. They were told, but perhaps did not hear that their quest was being widely disseminated to the public at large – and that any prolonged delay in coming to such a consensus might be interpreted by their many diverse followers as being indicative of a failure of the world's religions to admit to their common humanity (the latter that also explains the emphasis in the media that was intentionally 'leaked'). It was essentially a one-sided war of words, but I felt no guilt for my plan.

It also apparently escaped the notice of the delegates that they would be required to agree by every binding rule their religions offered to promulgating the universal code without reservation, including all of the inane rules of the other religions. Certainly, they could add on their various inane rules as well, but not at the expense of downplaying the essential elements, and only by compromise where the whole of the bulk of ludicrous rules would weigh down and doom the...



...deaths were hardly unexpected. In each case, prior medical problems and old age had already taken their toll. The lack of freedom to come and go should not have been a contributing factor, although, truth to tell, they might have begun to lose hope in ever reaching a consensus. Almost two months of bellicose...



...secrecy of the proceedings still seems to me to be justified. How else can such diverse and conflicting viewpoints be allowed to air their grievances without simultaneously playing to their respective audiences? And this aspect seems to be...



I am delighted. There are obviously hard feelings, and I seriously doubt the sincerity of many of those taking their oaths, but the end product may be a truly significant advance in the establishment of a world-wide set of philosophical ethics and morals. Their similarity to the ancient Sumerian wisdom and the Me is something I might claim credit for, but there is much, much more. At the very least, this new Code may survive among...



...as expected. In the very process of each taking their oath, individually and in the full view of everyone, there were hints that the oath taker was speaking in a code which would alert his followers of the coercion involved and that accordingly, no one should expect him to fulfill...



It's happened. The first remote induced death. It's just a question now of whether or not the methodology will be...


Why do the very religious – those who believe fervently in an after life – become so obsessed about what happens to their dead body, fighting tooth and nail to ensure their grave spot is ready and protected. The so called “respect for the dead” is bull. In effect, they don't believe! Respect for the dead is really a fear of demons, a fear of angry spirits, the dead who weren't treated quite right.



...numbers is, I suppose, statistically what I should have expected. The slight surprise is that those who might have been more suspect of violating their oaths and launching into a full scale repudiation of the Great Ecumenical Council have not done so. Many may in fact have had their own epiphany of sorts during...



...something I had hoped to avoid. But I see no way to avoid clamping down of any report which might have even hinted at the use of [?] which could be activated by remote [?]. The deaths to date seem justified in the long term – and those who died had in fact disowned their own oaths. Still, I have begun to regret my decision to...



...just may be working. Finally, at long last, there seems to be a movement toward real progress. The best news is that those who have honored their oaths appear to be taking the responsibility to discipline the renegades who insist on trying to return of the...


. ..constitute more good news. A month of relative peace and quiet seems to be the most welcome of news. Of course, the intelligence reports are making their usual caveats that there is still a massive resistance – even if this resistance is biding its time for practical...

The possibility of an end to religious conflict must have been heartening to the Regent. More than anything else – or so it seemed – it was this aspect of humanity which had such power over the destiny of the world. What is astounding is that such power is generated by the extremes of irrationality and blind obedience to beliefs that an otherwise non-indoctrinated twelve year old child would instinctively dismiss as sheer fantasy.

But the whims of fate were seldom likely to be so kind.

For example, a fragment which describes one religion and its teachings of absolute adherence and the total inability of change one's religion makes it clear just how difficult the process the Regency had hoped for was to be. For example, equating apostasy with treason, with equivalent punishments – which many religions have done at various stages of their evolution – really does limit one's options. For example:

A Muslim is not free to believe or do what he wishes. He is under Islamic law, which was derived and assimilated from the Qur´an, the example of Muhammad (sunna), the final analogy (qijas) and consensus (idjmaa).

Islam describes Muslims as worshipers and slaves of Allah (ibaad Allah). They have submitted themselves to him and are therefore his possession. The word Islam means, "surrender, devotion and submission".

Whoever falls away from faith in Islam commits -- from an Islamic perspective -- an unforgivable sin. He takes himself away from Allah, his owner -- which is theft -- and weakens the Islamic state, an action branded as revolt or insurrection. He who falls away from Islam must, according to the Sharia, be prosecuted, taken into custody by force, and called on to repent. If necessary, his return is to be "helped" along with torture. He who does not embrace Islam again has, according to the Sharia, forfeited his life and is to be put to death by the state. According to the daily paper, Al Alam, King Hassan II of Morocco, who is also the imam of his country, presented the following state of affairs before a human rights commission on May 15, 1990:

"If a Muslim says, 'I have embraced another religion instead of Islam,' he -- before he is called to repentance -- will be brought before a group of medical specialists, so that they can examine him to see if he is still in his right mind.

“After he has then been called to repentance, but decides to hold fast to the testimony of another religion not coming from Allah -- that is, not Islam -- he will be judged." [7]

Nothing terribly original there. Catholics practiced it with a vengeance, extending to include those who had never even contemplated being a Catholic. Clearly the Catholics had good reason to believe that anyone truly investigating their religion would inevitably become an apostate.



Any continuation of such fragments must await the retrieval, analysis, and interpretation of the next set of brass plates. Unfortunately, many of these plates have suffered considerable damage, including many of the plates being fused to one another, due possibly to extreme heat.

There has also been a certain, wholly inexcusable hiatus in priorities for this critically important work of modern day scholarship. Some alleged experts, with the wit and wisdom of a deranged, sex craved kangaroo in heat, have attempted all manner of intellectual skulduggery and rhodium plated disdain to cast aspersions upon the validity of the Myricon discoveries and their enormous impact upon modern society. The true sadness is that just as in the barbaric ancient times when religions vied with one another, we have now encountered in what should be a more enlightened world, the ravages of different archaeological schools vying with one another for preeminence – a preeminence not based upon success in scholarship, but upon such attributes as vanity and self-aggrandizement. One can only wonder when mankind will be able to lift himself up by his bootstraps and fulfill his true destiny of ascending the heights.

Nevertheless, for purposes of this interim report, we must end with the above, await the coming revelations in future Reports, and return to our quest to transform the myth of D'PTah into history.


May the Truth in All of its Glory Continue to Be Pursued

M. A. Duenki


Anna finished reading the final page, a large grin on her face. Then she chuckled, and with a delicious glance toward Dookie, gave him a warm smile. Then with exceptional kindness, she said, “You might want to modify just a couple of statements toward the end. But otherwise, it's...well... it's fantastic! Clearly a credit to the entire team. This material is so important. It's so devastating to think so much of the material did not survive the ravages of time.”

“It's been a very long time,” Dookie noted.

Anna shrugged, with just the hint of an inside joke. “Yes, it has... a very long time.”



[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_Festival_Overture provides a delightful and an allegedly true tale of this classic music.

[3] Which of course, would matter little in that once over the event horizon such elementary particles would experience time slowing down, and thus they would probably outlive those who were left behind.

[4] Aircraft black body recordings have suggested that the predominant last words of pilots when facing their imminent destruction is" "Oh shit!"

[5] In the case of Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume, the two signs over the door into hell.

[6] http://www.halexandria.org/dward838.htm

[7] Previously at: http://www.light-of-light.com/eng/ilaw/1572let1.htm


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