I was thinking about posting something on sports emotions watching my favorite team, The Utah Jazz, when I realized that the thoughts would cross both my writing and Jazz worlds. There seems to be an emotional sway to both of these activities for me. Success in either hinges in part on how the participants act, feel, and decide if they will conquer.
“I am General Lucas Shenk, commander of the Republic Military, grandest army in all of the galaxy.”
He led him to the observation deck of the bridge where he could survey the wide expanse of the galaxy. Millions of stars dotted the landscape in front of them. A dozen planets and moons completed the fascinating canvas. The Sirus galaxy. A magnificent display of brilliance and beauty.
“This is our frontier. A playground of immeasurable magnitude. You will never see a finer existence in all of the universe. Sirus is the crown jewel. Isn’t she beautiful?”
“Yes sir. She is.” Johnny mumbled.
“Johnny, what is it you want to know? Where do you want to start? I can empathize with the burden that weighs on you. Let me attempt to lift it.”
He paused a moment. Where to begin? “Well, why am I here on this ship? And how did I, Johnny Pheryl – if that really is my name – come to be in this current situation? I feel like I’m walking in a never ending murky sea. I don’t have purpose. I don’t have meaning. I’m lost. Honestly, I don’t know where to go from here.”
“Johnny, you are a highly trained and gifted specimen. I suppose I should go back to the beginning and explain how you and I came to meet. It might help to shed light on your circumstance. Please, join me in my quarters, where we can talk undisturbed.”
Shenk put his hand on his shoulder and led him off the bridge, down a corridor, to the captain’s quarters.
They entered and Shenk motioned the doors shut. He walked behind a very large, black desk and sat down in a captain’s chair set on a swivel. The oval desk sat positioned in front of a large bay window, looking out into the vast depths of space. It’s cool, smooth, marble-like surface looked like a dark pool of liquid metal. A transponder affixed in the center was the only item on the desk. The chair was also black with a smooth surface. It looked like an oval pod, cut open in the front. The top curved into an overhang above the General.
Shenk motioned Johnny to a small chair in front of the desk. Four chairs lined the wall to his right, and three on the wall to his left. A dimly lit, crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling in the center of the room. The dome shaped ceiling cascaded down like a waterfall of velvety red into a cornice spanning the entire circumference of the room. From inside the cornice radiated a soft, white, iridescent glow, accenting the midnight blue walls.
At the center of each wall on the face of the cornice was a carving of a circular shaped insignia. It appeared ancient in design, from a dark, ominous time long forgotten. At it’s center stood a black cloaked figure with a staff in hand and a crescent moon attached on the end. The figure held a sphere with a triangle inside, in it’s other hand. The sphere radiated a blast of light and power.
A very large abstract painting hung on the wall behind him, facing Shenk’s desk. The painting displayed a blood bathed field covered in broken bodies. A lone man sat on a hill above the field looking up at the vastness of the universe in contemplation. The moon and stars, painted in beautiful detail, shone down on the man in a lone pillar of light, shadowing the ugly carnage below him.
“A beautiful masterpiece.” Shenk’s calm, strident voice resonated through the silence. “I chose that piece myself. I suppose you could say it holds a sentimental value for me.”
He sat forward in his chair.
“But that is for another time. You would like some questions answered.” He folded his hands and leaned over on the table. “Johnny, you were a promising young agent, when I discovered you. You were looking for ways to live an elevated life. You were a dreamer and a visionary, who wanted to find tomorrow, before it left you with yesterday. You dreamt of forging new trails, discovering new galaxies, all in the name of creativity. Your imagination was your greatest asset.”
“But you were struggling. You desired relevancy. You felt betrayed by those who had meant so much to you. You were dark and alone. And I came along with an offer. An opportunity for you to be a hero.”
He switched on the transponder and produced a file from a secure channel within the computer’s central application system. The file-name read: Johnny Pheryl.
I am me… just me…
I wear my heart on the outside
I express from the depths of my soul
I live in darkness
I live for light
I am a dreamer
My passions drive me
I aspire for greatness
I stumble over myself trying to get there
I am loyal
I am forgiving
I love without restriction
I hate no one
I don’t believe in backbiting or gossip
I don’t like hurting those I love
I hate to disappoint
I love to encourage
I will cheer others on
I love to watch them succeed
I like to see others smile
I like to see them live
I want to be heard and seen
I shy from recognition and compliments
I want to be appreciated
I love to appreciate
I long for acceptance
I fear rejection and irrelevance
I don’t fit into any group or niche
I am merely a misfit
I am loud, I am annoying
I have a soft heart
I don’t judge
I simply accept
I am me… Just me
This is the story behind Johnny Pheryl, in it’s very earliest of stages. First draft…
Jack Porter is a data entry employee for the Commerce Guild, the galactic leader in business and trade. He’s a reliable blue collar worker with high aspirations and lofty goals, but nothing to show for it. He spends his days working and his nights dreaming of a better tomorrow.
Johnny Pheryl is an ex-mercenary residing peacefully on the planet Neo. He’s haunted nightly, by visions of an unknown life that only exist in fragments in the depths of his subconscious. The memory of the last decade of his life is a blank canvas. Content to live out his days in solitude and anonymity on the edge of the galaxy, he hopes to find healing and rest for his uneasy mind.
His rest is momentary, however. A relentless bounty hunter, sent to hunt down and capture him, disrupts his peaceful existence. With a lurking evil in hot pursuit, Johnny sets out on a journey of rediscovery, to uncover his past and finally find peace.
Johnny and Jack. One man wanting to make a difference in the universe. The other wanting to rediscover his place in the universe.
Little do these men know of the parallels that exist between their realities. Realities that contain a link to a dark secret and answers to a growing civil unrest in the galaxy. Neither one aware they hold the key to prevent the fall of a democracy and rise of an empire.
One of them, is about to discover it all and uncover a trail of lies, betrayal and deception and with it a truth that links these two men together as one…
Dusk settles on the quiet dream realm. The hero lifts himself from off the ground. Beaten and downtrodden, he now must journey into the netherworld.
The battle is far from over, however. Nearly escaping the jaws of defeat, he knows when he must humbly resign.
Alone, the biggest battle to win resides deep within his own mind. His greatest adversary, himself. His allies, or at least the ones that still remained, have betrayed him and left him for dead.
Thus, all that remains, is a lone sabbatical and shallow existence within the shadows…
Until the time is right, to return in glory with fierceness…
In the depths of loneliness
Shadowed by grief
His mind not his own
He longs for relief
The outside world
Unaware of his plight
See only a mask
Not his internal fight
His mask serves him well
Fitted perfect to his face
Curved up at the mouth
Sealed tightly at the base
The pain deep within
Haunts him like depressing dreams
The weight of his dreary world
Rips his heart at the seams
Longing for acceptance
Reaching for affection
Lacking a sense of purpose
Alone with his imperfections
His past, a regretful nightmare
His present, a struggle to survive
His future, uncertain and clouded
He longs to feel alive
So behind the painted mask
He hides his darkened soul
Amid feelings of abandonment
Awaiting death to take its toll.
- Alan “Jedi” Zaugg
The rise to relevance an exhilarating feeling. When the light of acceptance shines it’s blazing colors. The quintessential feeling of – Arrival
Then comes the shadow of irrelevance. And the shroud of loneliness settles in. A dark abyss of abandonment swallows the soul. Where the obsolete rule. And self deprecating souls lay curled up in sorrows.
A misfit. Waiting the opportunity to be useful… wanted… accepted.
Until then… a mask… to cover the darkness. A facade of contentment.
Finally turning to face… life.