After a strenuous day of mid-season exams, Pamrya slumps back in her chair at the CPU lab in Liberty Hall. The University of New Europa was built on
the remains of an historic event. EarthĎs first visitation from an extraterrestrial species as well as the make-shift colony where hey once hung their
proverbial hats. At the birth of the twenty-first century, the Hyakutake space probe made contact with Jupiterís sixth moon, Europa, and the
inhabitants which resided there. While not on par with the technological level of homosapiens, an alliance with the Europians was viewed as a benefit
to mankind because of their moonís natural resources as well as its strategic location in the solar system. This is a topic in which Pamrya has become
exceedingly interested in as of late. The computer terminal screen flickers to life as the requested data requisition is complete.
Request #Beta209 Sig35: Your search for information concerning all known historical data relevant to USCDHS operational case #572K35H5
is as follows.
Licensed Cutter Team #13:
Jason Tanos (stealth expert, military strategist, close range combat specialist)
Team leader, Jason Tanos, was known to be a common intermediary for government officials and Cutter mercenaries as he was seemingly respected by both.
While beginning his career in the government funded Cytec Corps, Jason soon became a freelance contractor.
Victor Conrad (intelligence, technomancer, bio-engineering, nano-technology designer)
Second in command, Victor has studied the mystic arts of holistic energy healing from the worldís finest. He was also a premier inventor of medical
centered nano-technology which he was known to always carry with him in a portable static case. Victor and Jason Tanos have an extensive history since
nearly the beginning of their careers together.
Leon Burke (espionage & covert operations specialist)
Seen by many as the worldís premier master of disguise, LB, as he is commonly called, can transform his appearance at a moments notice. Due to
unregulated genetic engineering, Leon was born with a childís Light Bright toy for a head. This enables him to reconstruct his face with the simple
positioning of a few light pegs. While ridiculed as a teen, he was more fortunate than this biological brother who was born with a Shrinky Dink penis.
Quig ĎMad dogĎ Corbin (mechanic, heavy weapons expert)
Cyborg Quig Corbin has gained a reputation as one of the most violent mercenaries in the North American territories. While being considered a wild
card, he has never counteracted a direct order in the field and thus is seen as a valued member to the team.
Shugo Iman (communications officer, advanced electronics prodigy)
Shugo is the baby of the team at 22 years of age, but is well respected by all for his uncanny ability to improvise in a tight situation. He is
considering getting out of the business, but must first earn an international Ident-chip in order to leave the country and reunite with his family.
Solange Fegrei (reconnaissance, surveillance)
Solange is new to the group and not much is known about her personal history. She was recruited by Jason Tanos due to her reputation. She is reserved
and unemotional, exactly the qualities needed for this type of work.
Palo Franklin (medic)
Seasoned veteran, Palo is the eldest of the group at age 39. Although refusing to take arms due to religious beliefs, he has placed himself between
his teammates and jeopardy countless times over.
Sal Narco (Ice cream maker--snow cones excluded)
Historical data unknown although medical records show that he was blind in this left eye.
Mission statement from the desk of the Director of United Sates Homeland Defense:
Due to the looming threat of homosapien infection and possible extinction, the US Department of Homeland Defense has requisitioned Cutter team #13 for
a search and destroy mission of the last remaining extraterrestrials in genesis colony, New Europa. As of recent estimates, there are approximately
sixty-seven Europians remaining in the city. They may be armed with a minimum amount of weaponry stolen, scavenged or illegally purchased through
unknown sources. These are the last Europians believed to be on American soil. The targets are to be cleansed with extreme prejudice.
Contact with an extraterrestrial biological entity was once seen as the next step in human space exploration. However, we as a species can no longer
afford to suffer the plague of alien bacterial origins which has been unleashed upon an unprepared population. Completion of this mission by licensed
Cutter team #13 will result in access to the experimental Jrang worm vaccine.
Millions of lightning aphids saturate the ozone like pulsating snow flakes, illuminating the decayed industrialized skeleton of the city. Jagged steel
girder ribs poke and prod the lower atmosphere as a spine-like roadway lays decimated through its center. On the outskirts of town, building-shaped
hands have grown fatigued and no longer attempt to gather up the intestinal railways that have spilled upon the public park. Miles of quarantine
warning tape litters the wilted grass. It seems as though corpses do not care to wear belts, but with hipbones like that who can blame them.
It is mating season for these luminescent insects in New Europa and the sporadic smoldering bonfires only seem to excite them all the more. It is not
that they are the only insects here, but all others are convent bugs compared to their sexual escapades. Jason Tanos, weary from four days of
tracking, suspiciously watches a fist-sized cockroach in a nunís habit roll into the fox hole. Its legs extend and the body becomes as a camera on a
tripod. The flicker of a lightning aphid reflects off the lens of the insectís eye and the realization that this creature is not organic occurs to
ďOUT OF THE HOLE NOW!Ē Jason screams while already in liquefied motion. The team takes its queue and extract themselves from the groundís laceration
only to be chased by an immense vibration of sound: the explosion of an insect-disguised concussion grenade.
A column of crimson fluid spews from the Earth godís wound as if her coronary artery has been punctured and rains down upon the area in plasma
teardrops and hale sized chunks of flesh. Jason turns back to his team and takes a rushed headcount: Victor, Shugo, Leon, Quig, Franklin, SalÖSalÖSal.
ďWhere the # is Sal!Ē
Salís right eye scans the scene from a mound of discarded rages and blood soaked ashes. His life-long companion is forever gone, crippled and dangling
from the remnants of a light post. No bandage, crutch or battalion of kingís men will ever be able to put Lefty back together again. Somber and
swimming in his own sweat, Salís right eye catches an image of the shadowís oscillation as his vision fades to black. Here it comes, get ready!
The townís judicial building seems to shiver as if it had just received some heart wrenching news. Like the time it stumbled across cousin Shedís
obituary in the paper. Sure he was the black sheep of the family, but no one should have their death realized by reading it in the daily rag. Itís
crumpling walls fluctuate in burps and hiccups as if trying to expel some irritant. Eight slender wall-hugging humanoids descend the wall like fleas
feeding from a hairless canine. The blurred image of pale blue epidermis, elongated heads with midnight oval eyes and shredded tentacle lips scamper
upon vertical pilgrimages. The hand-pads of Europians have an adhesive quality that allows them to scale steep inclines. Shugo, having never before
seen an alien, froze as the moments rushed past him in a parade of silence. Leon grabs Shugo and yanks him to the ground. With unfathomable speed,
Leon rearranges the colored bulbs on his face. ďAre you alright?Ē
ďYa, Iím Fine, LB!Ē Shugo shrugs in compliance. Mad Dog howls as he unleashes a barrage of fragmenting projectiles from his Dragoon MIV assault
arm-replacement gun and the Europians tumble from their positions. The bodies pop like overripe fruit as they collide with the pavement. A green
gelatinous mass quivers and spurts out middle fingers before coming to a rest. It seems that the auto-fire setting was left on purťe. The suddenly
stagnant sky chokes on its own cloud tongue as the odor ascends. Even the echoes appear to have gone deaf from the fragrance, but the calm is only
momentary as Solange returns to inform the team of several snipers nestled in the area.
ďIíll deal with it. You boys secure our position.Ē Jason declares as he dissolves into the shadows. ďVictor, your in command!.Ē Victor turns to argue
with Jason, but he is already gone.
ďI really hate it when he does that,Ē Victor scowls. ďHey Mad Dog! Are you sure theyíre dead? I mean you did unload only twelve rounds into eight of
Mad Dog swings his head around, grinning ear to ear with a cigar clamped between his teeth. Smoke bellows from it as well as the exhaust port in his
arm. ďI thought you said to back you up. Next time Iíll ask if theyíd like to join you in a tea party instead.Ē Mad Dog catches a glimpses of the
setting sun as he stretches backward. Smog obstructs its positioning in the sky, but by best calculations it appears to be nineteen hundred hours. The
minute hand speeds around the face of the star in a dizzy, drunken stupor. Having grown morose with the current state of being, the sun has taken up
alcoholism. It wishes to be a daisy instead, but such things are not meant to be, for solar bodies do not possess the liver needed to filter out the
irrational reasoning of tequila sunrise intoxication.
Sweat cascades over Mad Dogís eyes and a dark spot seems to descend closer. Before he can take a defensive stance, a Europian straddles his shoulders
in piggy back motion and jams an explosive devise between flesh and an auxiliary piston. Realizing the inevitable, Victor grabs Shugo by the collar of
his alumino-ceramic vest and they plunge behind the safety of a dilapidated wall. Mad Dog panics and accidentally discharges his grenade launcher into
the mouth of Solange who was about to call out in warning. She chokes and reflexively attempts to swallow as her pregnant throat bursts showering Mad
Dog in second-hand saliva and spaghetti like vocal cords accompanied by a meat ball sized knob of bone. He has only a moment to comprehend what his
eyes whisper to him as the explosive in his shoulder detonates. A ten yard radius is painted in red and green fluid as both he and the Europian erupt
in festive Christmas colors. Dust ants rush in, believing that they have miscalculated the date, and erect pine needle trees to celebrate the holiday.
Dust ants are not the brightest of insects as I am sure you are aware. It is really of no consequence as they are the lousiest of gift givers
Splattered in bits of his team, Franklin feverishly strips off patches of semi-liquid skin solution from a medical satchel with the hope of minimizing
the carnage. Unfortunately, all that remains of Mad Dog is a pair of legs jogging in place. Disorganized globules jiggle down the appendages as if
they are attempting to find a local reservoir to take a cool summerís dip. He turns back to Solange, but again only finds a jigsaw of parts. The
beginnings of a person that were never finished; Godís uncompleted rainy day project. If God was a two left-handed, gnome fearing, pansy-ass, dyslexic
simpleton that is.
Leon, realizing the severity of the matter, disguises his face to that of a light post. Three Europians rush past the strangely positioned pole and
lunge at Franklin. As soon as they pass, Leon strips an electro-blade from its insulated sheath and skewers the closest one. The second becomes
panic-stricken that a light post would attack and scampers off. The third however is already busy sucking the skin from Franklinís face. The
electro-knife delves into the Europianís spine and creates an incision from anus to cranium. Leon is forced off balance by the eruption of fluids
which take the shape of birds and attempt to fly only to remember their genetic structure and fall to the ground like water balloons, bursting upon
impact. The Europianís skeleton leaps from itís fleshy abode in shock, but falls to the ground two paces into safety. This is the dread of bone
without meat; the dread of movement without purpose.
ďGet Jason on the communicator NOW!Ē Victor screams without even turning to look at Shugo. ďLB! Grab Franklin and take cover!Ē
Three more Europians begin to descend from an adjacent building. However one of them pauses to swat away a red shining insect. Try as he may, the pest
eludes the Europianís scabbed hand and lands weightlessly upon his face. Suddenly the insect explodes and a crater opens the Europianís head as the
skull vomits its contents onto the pale asphalt. The laser targeting system on Victorís Omega Viper 10mm quickly rushes to welcome the remaining two
As Leon glances over to Franklinís still corpse, two hidden Europians ambush him and attempt to suck the skin from his body. Humans were not the only
ones affected by the Jrang worm plague. Europians suffered the same symptoms of cellular necrosis, an insatiable desire for flesh as well as a
quickening of mental disorders which attributed to them remaining on Earth while all others left.
Victor and Shugo fire repeatedly at the Europians and they eventually fall to the ground in puddles. Victor rushes over to Leon and cradles his head
as the last remaining light peg blinks slowly and then is gone. All bio-electricity fades from Leon Burkeís body causing Light Bright to be neither
light nor bright.
ďShugo! Get Jason on the horn!Ē
ďI CANĎT! The communicator shorted out from all the fluid on the ground! WAIT!Ē Shugo pulls the micro cyber-neurotransmitter that he had been
inventing out of his pocket and contacts Jason telepathically. ďIT WORKED! I got him! I GOT HIM!Ē
ďTAKE COVER!Ē Victor announces while ejecting a sonic disrupter grenade over their defensive barrier. Upon impact, the approaching Europians freeze in
their tracks and heave green fluid from every orifice before slumping to the ground like rag dolls in epileptic seizures.
Excited that his invention worked and that he might now actually survive the day, Shugo swings his hand through the air in hi-five fashion and Victor
meets him mid-arch. A blinding flash envelops the both of them and the world rotates around the moment.
Jason breaches the distant horizon and sees the two standing perfectly solid as if statues. Without notice, there is an crimson explosion of fluid and
Shugo clutches what is left of his hand. From this angle, it appears as if he had mockingly imitated a gun with his hand and pulled the trigger, never
realizing that his finger was loaded with faulty shells. Victor turns to catch a glimpse of Jason. A dull, lifeless expression circles his eyes like a
ball caught in the centrifuge of a hole and then drops through the center of his pupil as a slice of his head slides away. The ejecting bone fragment
slams into the ground just moments before the rest of him decides to follow.
Victorís static satchel is jarred open upon impact and thousands of nano-bots scamper to the open wound. They reconstruct the physical damage with
blinding ferocity, but unfortunately the blueprints they are working from were placed upside down and now a foot extends from Victorís cranium. He
never did perfect the A.I. of nanotechnology, never did get the bugs out.
As Jason arrives, he grabs a roll of semi-liquid skin solution and ceases the flow of blood from Shugoís stump. Sensing something behind him, Jason
draws his Chromium Colt pistol and turns to find three humans in Cytec Corps field uniforms taking aim.
ďSo this is how it goes, is it? We clean up the governmentís mess that never existed?Ē Jason sarcastically declares as forcing Shugo into a ditch.
The one in the middle, obviously the leader, steps forward and unemotional words fall from his mouth, ďIím sorry. Itís nothing personal. Just
business. We all have our crosses to bear.Ē
Triggers are pulled simultaneously and all projectiles find their intended destinations. Jason slumps to the ground clutching his chest and left leg.
Four, perhaps five, bullets have circumvented his tantalum oxide armor.
Shugo stairs at Jason and utters, ďBut I canít leave you like this. I canít leave you to die alone!Ē
ďWe all die aloneÖ..and sometimesÖeven fromÖourselves.Ē One last breath is released and then nothing. Jasonís body deflates as the weight of his
armor expels the atmosphere from his lungs. The oncoming abyss collapses upon itself.
At the opposing teams thirty-five yard line, the Cytec leader plummets to the soil. The officer to the left of him rushes to his side and begins to
tend to his wound.
ďLet it go, Jacob!Ē The leader spurts out accompanied by an entourage of oral blood.
ďNot while Iím on duty! Shut up and let me concentrate on what I need to do, Jonna!Ē
Now that you have had the opportunity to read this trilogy, you can realize the interconnectedness of the three stories. However, as you may or may
not realize, there is a much deeper meaning to it all. One of the difficulties I face in expressing myself is that most everything in an inside joke
to which I am the only participant. During the final scene of The Cleansing, Jason and Jonna attempt to kill one another. While you may be
aware that Jonna is my internet persona, you man not be aware that Jason is my real world name. Jason and Jonna (two sides of the same being) are
meant to die together, but Jonna cheats death with the help of another (Jacob). Jonna acquires the Jrang worm vaccine and loses his emotions. However
he really loses his emotions because his humanity (Jason) has died before the side hopelessly attached to technology (Jonna) does.
How I Learned To Overcome Cannibalism, is the cyber-being trying to come to grips with the loss of his humanity. Here we can see Parrhesia
representing the need to feel in control, Sharumís desire to feel loved and worthwhile, Intrepidís shame and drive to understand himself, Shugoís
child-like enthusiasm and need to belong, Epicureís hopelessness, gluttony and inability to express herself, the Narratorís strive for hope and
occasional disappointment as well as Cronos who represents the uncertainty of transition from humanity to technology. These are all common human
emotions and needs.
Jonna finally dies, not because he is shot, but because he has no drive left in a human sense. ďI simply have nothing left to give,Ē he states. He was
living off borrowed time and not his own. Jason is dead and Jonna has no choice but to follow as one can not exist without the other.
Humanity is so plugged into technology that we can no longer exist without it. However technology can not exist without humanity as well. It is the
human spirit which drives us, which defines us and without it we are no longer human. We no longer are what we believe ourselves to be. Do you know
who it is that you need to be?
[edit on 28-6-2004 by Jonna]