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Old 03-04-2008   #1
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The Harbinger of Stellar Prophecy - early character notes.

This isn't quite done and I've change the Harbinger a lot since I wrote this. But since it no longer pertains to my novel as I am writing it now, I thought I'd share it. (Notes to myself are in italics.)


The Harbinger of Stellar Prophecy checked his ship’s instrumentation. That is to say, he communicated with his spaceship as though it were alive. And, in a sense, it was alive. His race had learned long ago that one should encase themselves not in ever stronger, seemingly impenetrable alloys but to surround themselves with life. Billions of years had shown that the will to live and exist was stronger than any metal.

Spheres of living tissue hovered around him inside his space-faring orb, each a biological computer. The spheres varied in shape and size, color and, of course, function. The collective lot of them was as vital to the ship as a whole as the organs of an animal. Several of the instruments seemed energetic and spry while others hovered lethargically. The active spheres floated around the Harbinger of Stellar Prophecy.

He received all the information they were giving him. Had a man stood witness to this, he’d not know what to make of it. He might gaze at the spectacle in wonder or confusion; he might think it arcane sorcery or divine magic. But he’d only need to ask and to understand the strange pale figure in the middle to really know what was going on.

The spherical instruments relayed messages telepathically to the Harbinger concerning the ship’s status and location within the universe as well as the destination that it was bound next. When given the silent, telepathic order, the ship would almost instantaneously arrive at the end of the journey across the vast reaches of space. And the Harbinger of Stellar Prophecy thought of how he would introduce himself when he met the inhabitants of his planetary destination. Throughout his countless encounters with sentient life across the universe, he had always seemed to garner the same reaction. The entity to which he attempts contact with always appears shocked and weak, unable to speak in their simple audible language to an incredibly ancient being who has just barged into their thoughts. His entrances are more fear than fanfare.

Initiating contact with creatures who communicate through sounds and symbols is just troublesome. Generally, after his addressee gets over his initial shock, the Harbinger is asked the same question: “Who are you?”
Then again will his answer frighten and intimidate as the thoughts appear in the mind of the life form. “He is the Harbinger of Stellar Prophecy.”

The Harbinger always fancied that name. Being unable to tell anyone he encountered his true name since their language would lack a description of it, he had found that nearly every civilization he’d come across had words for predictions originating from a forerunner of the stars, ( Work on that more later) except for one strange vegetation-like species that lived only for the present.

He also liked to introduce himself in the third person at first. This was due to the fact that several creatures, upon hearing their own thoughts in their own languages that they were the words of the Harbinger of Stellar Prophecy, went completely insane. The Harbinger had found that addressing them thus allowed the mind to come to its own conclusion about who the strange figure before it was, readying it for the first-person conversation that generally follows thereafter. (Consider making all of the Harbinger’s dialogue in third person, just a thought. Or maybe only the Alexanders can understand him when he speaks in first person.)

After years of trial and error, he believed he had finally got it right. He makes his approach and sends a thought of salutations translated into the recipient’s native language. After the short bout of trepidation he answers the question that he always receives. He expected the encounter at his next destination to be no different.

One of the hovering spheres undulated and spun around him. He sent a thought of acknowledgement to it and the ship seemed to materialize around a blue planet in a relatively quiet part of the Universe. The Harbinger glanced at the only non-living machine aboard the ship, the Khresmoi[1]. He readied himself to teleport down to greet a man unknown to him on a planet he had never known about: sentient Alexander of planet Earth.

“Hello,” he sent the telepathic thought towards the man as he sat facing a screen thunderously striking at a mysterious board.

Alexander whirled about, gazing for the first time at the pallid figure of a being he could never have imagined. His eyes shown brightly not with fear but with wonder; they did not avert their stare but inquisitively seemed to explore the alien hovering before them. “How did you do that?” he asked.

The Harbinger was surprised.

[1] Anglicized Greek for “Oracle”.
The first thing that came into being, void and without form, a lifeless lump, unfashioned and unframed, the Prima Materia from which all comes, influenced by forms and given structure by matter it becomes all that is, with increase in entropy it is into which all shall fall, endlessly and in all directions, a self-reflexive paradox.
"Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is." -Isaac Asimov
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