Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rawrah's correspondent Deep Green submits his Bio

Deep Green has recovered from earlier flooding and found time to introduce himself. The following may explain why I've gone to great lengths to remain in contact with DG over the inter tubes. It was written as the regular inhabitants were asked to provide a bio for our newest victim group member.

"I was born 1872 in the high plains of Colorado. Sadly, my parents and siblings were killed in one of the last Cheyenne Indian wars. I found an old family Bible in the stuff they looted from my parent's ranch and although I couldn't read I suspected it held some significance. Later, when I could read English, the name in the Bible indicated I was from a family known as "Hagan".

I was merely a baby, so a childless Cheyenne couple took me in and adopted me. I was raised on
the plains and could ride a wild mustang before I could walk. I was educated in the Old Ways, my Cheyenne father being the tribal medicine man. When I was around thirteen or fourteen they banished me from the tribe, one of the worst punishments to a Cheyenne, after I got caught sexually experimenting with the chief's daughter. They booted me out with only the clothes I was wearing (actually, the clothes I could quickly collect), a sack of odds and ends from my
original family, and a small gourd canteen of water.

I wandered aimlessly for several days before discovering a frightening thing. It was an endless row of square trees laid down in a straight line with metal bars running across them. I wondered if this metal was was the source of knives and spearheads. I was so amazed that I sort of went into a trance (my adopted old man did that all the time, especially after he'd been into the fire water) and was nearly ran over by a locomotive pulling a train of steel plows, fencing, mules, and a handful of immigrants. They saw a savage-looking white child alongside the tracks and correctly guessed I had just "escaped" from the Indians. They screeched the train to a halt pretty quickly from it's thundering thirty miles per hour and several of the men set out chasing me. I was scared to death, having no idea who or what these beings were.

After biting, kicking, and clawing a half-dozen men the train's fireman knocked me senseless with a huge wrench and they carried me off to the mail car, where I remained tightly tied up until we arrived at Colorado Springs, which then amounted to about eighty or so buildings and homes. The sheriff and his deputy marched me at gunpoint (I knew what THEY were) from the depot to Mrs. Merry's Home for Lost Waifs, otherwise known as the local orphanage. On the first night
the older boys decided to "initiate" me and after a short but savage battle I left most of them unconscious and badly injured on the floor, the rest bailing out of windows.

Mrs. Merry was a teacher of about thirty-two years of age and an extremely calm and patient woman. She was also a nymphomaniac, which I soon found out, and Mrs. Merry taught me everything I know to this day about sex. In order to keep the general peace and to keep me from slitting the throats of the other boys Mrs. Merry put me in a special room all by myself. She also had a taste for the firewater and would come to my room after lights out in the dorm. She introduced me to the magic world of alcohol and an addiction I would carry for the next 109
years. She addicted me to sex too, and I dropped one addiction but kept the other in 1999. I made the right choice. A little slow on the draw, but eventually I won out.

Mrs. Merry had to leave town after a picnicking Baptist church group caught us going at it on a sandbar in a river. The other children were sent off to different orphanages and fates. I decided to strike out on my own, now being about sixteen or seventeen years old. As scandals of that nature where so damning back then I took a name from a snake oil salesman who went through town in his wagon one day. Dr. Ballard's Miraculous Consumption and Hysteria Syrup was his best selling product. All opium and alcohol, of course.

I'd learned to read English in the orphanage and a cast-away newspaper told me a great man was building something known as a "laboratory" just outside town. I thought I might be able to find employment there, so I began walking to just outside the city limits where this place was being built. That was where I met Nikola Tesla.

He seemed peculiarly interested in my youth and took me under his wing as an apprentice. The math was maddeningly hard, but he taught me well over the years. He introduced me to the works of Newton, Marie Curie, Archimedes, and graciously allowed me to dine with all the great physicists of the early 20th century who visited him. I learned to admire George Westinghouse and despise Thomas Edison. I had a special problem with Marconi, who was awarded the patent for wireless transmission while Tesla was working feverishly on another project. That was
completely unfair, as Tesla had demonstrated this years earlier. (In the years just after his death, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Marconi's patent and gave credit to Tesla. So every history book you ever read on the subject was wrong. And still are wrong.)

Mr. Tesla was a cool guy. Damned weird, but cool. He had a superb mastery of the English language--as all his papers prove--but his accent was so damned thick you could cut it with a knife. I understood probably about every third word he ever said and he was constantly repeating himself to me. Being raised with the Cheyenne language as my mother tongue probably didn't help matters either.

During his fascinating dinner parties (Tesla taught me how to use a knife, spoon, and fork) he and his amazing guests would have brandy and cigars later and wax eloquently about the fantastic cities of the future: huge flying machines carrying hundreds of people at unimaginable speeds, the exploration of the Moon and planets, an entire civilization, a whole world, wealthy and
prosperous due to free energy. Towering and shining cities everywhere, all men living in peace and plenty. It sounded like a great future and I was anxious for it to arrive.

Tesla was working on Single Point Energy, as it's termed today. He thought it came from cosmic rays at first, then later confessed he could not determine the origin of this energy. But I saw him tap into it and power huge turbines and move around massive, cast-iron machinery with it easily. He actually did that and I'm still willing to testify in court that I saw him do it. Tesla liked to freak people out by sitting in a room with horrifying, huge lightning bolts arcing about, calmly reading a book while literally millions of volts danced all around him. I probably saw him do that twenty times and I was there when the photographer took that famous photo of him sitting in an office chair (actually, that was MY chair he had taken out into the High Frequency Room) while twenty and thirty foot long bolts of lighting crackled all around him. It was a neat parlor trick and no one could pull it off like Tesla. Others who tried it were fried on the spot.

I learned the machinist's trade and was foreman in the adjoining shop where we'd make all the bizarre things he would sketch out. He explained all his theories to me while I supervised my men installing his equipment, although with his thick Serbian accent and my Cheyenne ears most of the magic was lost on me.

He needed a pure vacuum for one of his devices and we must have imploded a score of giant vacuum tubes trying to make one out of glass. They made a helluva bang when they'd blow and we were getting complaints from the townspeople in Colorado Springs. They all thought we were mad as hatters anyway. So I suggested we make one out of brass. It was strong, easily machinable, and would begin to dent inward (I thought) instead of just shattering and scaring the bejayzus out of all of us as it blew. Tesla gave me the go-ahead and I ordered a brass cylinder
from Pittsburgh eighteen feet in diameter and two feet thick on each side. We had to build a special railroad spur to unload it when it arrived.

It worked. We were able to pump all the air out of it to the best of our instruments' ability to read pressure. There is no such thing as a "pure" vacuum, but we were damned close.

Tesla had us place the thing in between five of his huge coil generators arranged in kind of a pentagram shape. He said this would be his greatest experiment, one that would astound the world (as if he hadn't made a career out of that already).

We fired up the Tesla Coils and the lightning began to dance and leap around the giant brass vacuum tube. We poured more energy into them, then more and more. The lightning bolts turned blue-white then turned a strange shade of purple, a frightening thing we'd never seen before. It hurt the eyes to look at it. Suddenly I saw a stack of blueprints a careless worker had left on the floor near the huge brass tube and they bust into flames. Not thinking, I ran towards
them to gather them up before the lab caught fire. (I knew the high frequency lightning would not harm me as long as I didn't ground myself.) Just before I could scoop them up in my hands the mighty brass tube cracked open and the inrushing air jerked me into the tube.

I woke up on a sidewalk in Indianapolis in the year 1973. It was a rough part of town, a slum. I rolled over and sat on the curb and looked around. So...this is the future, huh? Big disappointment. The power lines overhead told me society had refused to accept Tesla's free energy. The automobiles that sped by smelled awful, not unlike the one I saw in Denver in 1902. A gust of wind blew a newspaper past me and I caught it. This gave me my "landing date" and enough information that I realized the future would be no paradise. I had no way to get back. Mr. Tesla was surely dead by now. I was a man out of time. I had no idea what to do.

I began walking, self-conscious of my Edwardian clothing and the strange looks I got from passers-by. I reached the downtown area and got fewer strange looks, probably because there were more people dressed like me. Odd that Edwardian fashions had held on so long, I thought. At least I had cashed my last paycheck and had a handsome sum of money on my person at the time. Eleven dollars and eighty-eight cents would keep me fed and housed for a couple of weeks.

I quickly left the first restaurant I went into when I saw the outrageous prices. I fled to a city park and sat on a bench to think for a long while. Then I went to an antique coin shop and turned my pocket change into over three thousand dollars in the space of an hour. Three thousand dollars!

This bought a set of workman's clothing. I rented a small apartment and took a job in an old, run-down machine shop. They were amazed at the work I could turn out on their oldest machines, knowing tricks of the trade only their old-timers knew. As the years went by I learned the new machinery. This is how I have made my living since arriving in this era.

I hate bloody computers, finding them handy to communicate mostly. Oh, and there's the little fact that I have all the world's knowledge at my fingertips. That's handy. I read about the sad end of Mr. Tesla and grieved for him and what the entire world let slip through their fingers. Energy crisis? Tesla would have laughed his Serbian ass off at the thought. But he's gone and we are not.

I found a girl, married her, started a family. We divorced after ten years and I found another girl, this time one somewhat less violent in her temperament. I taught all my children how to shoot straight, track animals, and build fires in the woods during rainstorms. I figured a few old Cheyenne tricks might save their lives sometime. I am now fairly certain that my physical age is around 55. In truth, I'm 133 years old. I completely gave up any skill I once had with the bow and lance and fell in love with guns. When something needs a hole in it in a hurry, a gun beats a bow every time. And I like modern bathrooms and television too. And dogs. They're wonderful pets. I haven't eaten a dog in one hundred twenty years now.

I found out that the United States government took over Tesla's labs and upon his death they seized all his papers. They are all classified now, although no reason was ever given. Mr. Tesla would have been terribly saddened by all this, as he intended to give free wireless energy to the whole world as a gift. I built parts of his astounding machinery but never learned the theories behind them. This is a curse that haunts me to this day. If only he could have spoken better English, or I could have learned English as my first language...

I wish now I'd been born speaking Serbian.

I still have what was apparently my mother's Bible. My birthday is recorded in it as May 15th, so that's what I base my age on. They called me "Kent", not Kenneth, not Kenny, and I have no evidence of ever having had a middle name. My Cheyenne step-father is now long dead, but many of the strange lessons he taught me come in handy from time to time. There are times to be a buffalo, times to be a wolf, and times to be a snake. I understand what he meant now. I realize it may be another thousand years before a man like Mr. Tesla comes along again, and
only when he does will mankind be truly free. I'd love to lie to you and tell you I learned to shoot from Bat Masterson, who passed through Colorado Springs on his way to becoming a sports writer in New York City after his Wild West days. I had a few drinks with him and lost nine bucks to Masterson in a poker game one night. Before he left he took about an hour and showed me a few handy tricks with a Colt Peacemaker, but no, he didn't actually teach me all his skills. Damn. For some odd reason I remember he smelled like ginger all the time. Must have been his hair oil or mustache wax, I don't know.

I'm not sure, but I think I heard Teddy Roosevelt give a campaign speech. I was pretty drunk that day and so were the two dance hall girls with me, but I do recall thinking that whoever he was, he had the right ideas about a lot of things. I was more interested in the girls at the time. Forgive me. I was much younger then. But they were twin sisters, fresh off the boat from Germany and...well...some things must remain lost to history.

I have a keen interest in the world's space programs. I keep wondering if they'll ever do it right. My step-father and Mr. Tesla would have done it all much differently."

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