Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Interview with the Forever Man (from the USHER Dossiers)

Recorded October 2nd, 1999, for convenience, interviewer’s transcription is in bold, Forever Man in normal type; special thanks to Exclusive for the rights to include this interview for our dossiers.

“No… no, it’s fine, I can just record the audio if you’re not comfortable with the camera. There, how’s that? Ok? Good. So, let’s start at the beginning, I mean, you are the beginning really. I… you… is something funny?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. I have had these conversations many times before. You’re going to assume I was at every major historical event from the crucifixion to Woodstock and, after wasting a lot of each other’s time, I’ll be frustrated and you’ll be horribly disappointed.”

“The truth is, I don’t have a sixth sense to let me know when something important is going to happen any more than you do. And in the past, getting from China to Babylon was something of a journey. By the time you heard about something, it was long over, you might not even be able to find the wreckage.”

“And of course, the truly important things, no one can really understand anyway. My family, my tribe, we were all… different to varying degrees. Most of them were geniuses. Way smarter than me. We were the first to tame fire, domesticate plants and animals. Those days, and the days that followed, when I realized I alone was eternal, when I traveled the world and taught what we had learned to others, those were the really special days. But it’s impossible to put into words. Building a fire is something children can learn now, but they don’t even bother. And why would they? Strike a match. It’s easy. Simple.”

“You look confused.”

“I… well, honestly, I didn’t expect you to talk to me at all. And I certainly didn’t expect you to be so… gregarious, I guess? I mean, you’ve spent so much time trying not to get involved…”

“I’m not involved. You’re a pretty girl who asked me to have a conversation. I like talking to people; I do it all the time. That’s not really getting involved though, is it? Getting involved is telling people who to vote for, what to think, who to kill. I don’t do that sort of thing, not anymore.”

“Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. In my experience, those are the truest words ever written. The truth of my life is that, no matter how much power I might think I have, I can’t stop that. You folks are the only ones with that kind of power. Oh yes, don’t look so shocked. Strength in numbers, dear. I was Emperor of the Roman Empire once, and I couldn’t stop it from falling apart. Only they could have done that and they didn’t have the will.”

“This place, this time, this civilization, all of it will come crashing down. Soon, I think. That, I kind of have a sense for. Like the way your sinuses ache before a big rain, you’re feeling the atmosphere expand in your head and you know the storm is coming.”

“You think civilization is about to end?”

“This one, maybe. It’s inevitable of course. Did you think you were special? I mean, more special than the Han? Than Rome? Eventually the foundation rots and the house comes crashing down. And you build a new one. That will be my time, I suppose.”

“I’m sorry, your time? You mean you won’t get involved until it all goes to hell? Where’s the logic in that?”

“I told you, I can’t stop things from happening. But once it does, once the really ugly, chaotic mess has washed away the bad, it will be time to build something new. People will be ready to listen again. Not to my notions of right and wrong, people always make those decisions for themselves. Or won’t, as more often happens.”

“What I mean by ‘my time’ is to fill in the gaps. Maybe that’s why I’m really here. Something will get lost, something really important. How to make a compass, or a yoke to pull a heavy plow, the things that seem so simple to you now you can’t even be bothered to learn them. The things that will help people put the pieces back together. I can help with that.”

“When you said… sorry… the way you said ‘maybe that’s why I’m really here’, it almost, do you believe you were put here for a purpose? Like, by god… a supreme being, whatever?”

“Everyone has a purpose. That’s the saddest thing about getting involved, is seeing all the people who have convinced themselves they can’t make a difference. They think because I can punch a hole in this wall, or that I’ve a lifespan measured in millennia, that I can make a difference. And I can, but not anymore than you. This is where we started. You have the real power, all of you. No one can drag you down into evil and chaos without your consent. And you allow it, because too many of you think you don’t matter.”

“I’m sorry, dear, I have to go. This has been especially enjoyable, but that black SUV across the street has a certain government aura about it. They want to talk to me too, but unlike you, they’re not interesting or pretty. Thank you for the conversation.”

“Well, that’s certainly different. He- ow! They didn’t see him coming. They just don’t make SUVs like they used to I guess. This is Exclusive, your source for the metahuman beat, signing off!”


Curt said...

Good work Chuck. I love the depth of characterization. One punctuation mistake. ...should read: " 'Things fall apart. The center cannot hold'...."

Vigilance said...

Thanks for the grammar tip, and the compliment :)

mikelaff said...


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