The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1)

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It's not written as an encyclopedia. I don't remember how it's arranged. Actually, I found a copy in a used book collection and bought one, left it up in Paradise a couple of years ago, but I haven't looked into it. Well, it was almost more like a magazine, or collections of articles on various subjects and stories.

There were some stories, as I say, some summaries of famous stories. What do you think: I did play a little bit with chemistry sets at one time or another, but they didn't really intrigue me so much. It was radio, really, that intrigued me, and I read a lot of books about radio even starting then.

And there were people who had old radio magazines that I could get and read through some of them, I think even when I was on Sackville Street--I left at age eleven, but I'd finished grade school by then. Let's go back to the grade school years. You were skipping some grades in school. Were you head and shoulders above your classmates? Why did they push you on so? Now they tend not to do that kind of thing.

I guess I could do anything that they put in front of me, and I had a good memory at that time, I could learn things fast. I don't really know. I guess I was a lot better than most of the others. One thing I do remember, and I think it was a very good thing, when I went to the Model School I was a couple of years younger than most of the others in the class, and it was a selected group, too. I felt that some things I could do better than them. Still, it kept me from getting a swelled head, thinking I was smarter than everyone else. I've known a number of scientists who apparently were the boy genius all their life, and they're really pretty arrogant.

But I learned that there were other people that are pretty good, too. I'm not very competitive; in fact, I think I'm about the most uncompetitive person you ever saw. And I avoid competition--probably one of the reason I don't like games: I don't like to lose and I don't like to see somebody else lose, either. So I never really worried too much about what others were doing, I just did what I was asked to do--didn't go much beyond it, either. I guess a lot of physicists and engineers have a love of radio as the beginning of their life story.

It was so exciting, really. I remember when we got our first radio--it must have been about or , and it was battery-operated--all the kids on the block would come around to listen to "Santa Claus' Adventures on the way from the North Pole," sponsored by our local department store, Eaton's. Also, the newspapers had articles every week on how to build radio sets with circuit diagrams. There was a lot of excitement. The radios were made out of standard parts, and you could put together almost anything that was known then out of standard parts.

For a while, you could build things cheaper than you could buy them. But then eventually they got into mass production and it really wasn't possible to do it. Well, people moved to the short waves, whereas the broadcast band was pretty much standard factory items. People built their own short wave sets, and I did too a little bit. Can you remember struggling with the concept of radio waves, of how they were was transmitted? I guess I understood something. No, I don't remember ever worrying about it. But my knowledge was not very deep.

I'm interested in your general curiosity as a kid. For instance, when you're out taking a ride with your father in the car, and you see the telephone wires looping down the highway, does that make you start to think about--? It does more now than it did then. I remember, maybe twenty years or so ago, I was in England taking a ride on the train. It was an electric train, and I was thinking, "What a marvelous thing it is: You're saying that it was the sheer pleasure of building things that was more appealing?

I think understanding things was more appealing, but then building, too. I really wasn't very good at building because I was very clumsy. And I didn't really have a lot of money to spend on it, either. Building it and having something work, and produce some music out of the air--that was pretty exciting. Dealing with what you describe as your clumsiness was--you obviously surmounted it.

Is that really true or is this just some kind of legend that you have of yourself? In fact, my students and technicians don't want me to touch the equipment some of the time. I learned some tricks to do things, finally. I realize the reason now why I don't like mice on computers is that you have to position the pointer, the cursor, exactly, and I find that hard to do.

I really find it hard to get that thing placed exactly where it's supposed to go. I can do it, but it's not easy. I don't think I ever passed in art class; however, they let me through anyway. As I think I wrote down in that draft for a biography, when I got to high school I had to choose between either taking art and botany, or bookkeeping and typing. I knew I couldn't pass art, so I took bookkeeping and typing because I really am very clumsy.

That is a surprising anecdote to me, because you were obviously smart, and I should think any school counselor would say you've got to take botany because that's the academic track. I don't think we had a school counselor then. I'm not sure they'd been invented. Yes, it was good. I was all right. I'm not a great typist; I can type fast, but not accurately. I think computers were invented for me because I can make my mistakes and fix them. I noted in your autobiography, when you were talking about using your hands, that a psychologist was consulted. Well, now I don't know.

It might have been just a medical doctor, but I guess she had noticed I was clumsy. When I had this trouble with the teacher in the--I guess you'd call it fifth grade, but it was junior third, they number them junior and senior first, junior and senior second, and so on. Please go back and tell that story, because it won't be on our tape. After you'd skipped one grade and skipped another grade, you landed in the hands of I had to ask my mother, "What's a spitball? So my mother took me to a psychologist who gave me an I. And I hate to give you a number for printing--I can tell you--but it came out as As I say, I hate to put that down in writing because I.

I might have gotten more one day, less another day. Anyway, that's when she arranged for me to go to the Normal Model School. I guess he suggested it, probably. You knew you wanted to be an engineer? Had you met an engineer? Did you know what an engineer really did? Well, I had read a lot of books about engineering, I mean about the achievements of engineers, and I knew about building bridges and highways, and all that sort of thing.

But did I know about the day-to-day work where they have to sit at the drafting tables and draw complicated diagrams? No, I didn't know about that. I did meet one radio engineer, briefly, who was some friend of a friend. And this man had a hard time. He got a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and couldn't get a job. During the Depression, for a while he was winding coils in a radio factory, strictly a technician's job.

I don't know what became of him later, but I knew that wasn't what engineers were supposed to do. I thought they were supposed to invent and design equipment. Well, there was a lot of engineering going on. Of course, engineering had really started in the mid-nineteenth century. I mean, I read about the people who designed the railroads, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who built the Great Western Railway, and some wonderful bridges, and also the first steamship for running cable across the Atlantic.

Much later, when we went to England in the s, I went to Bristol and saw one of the bridges that he had built. I thought that was pretty wonderful stuff. Electrical engineering, of course, that really didn't begin with Faraday. I mean Faraday's invention of the dynamo was necessary, but it took a while before it really became an engineering thing, not science.

But it was--well, electricity and Edison and so on, and electric light distribution things, those were before the twentieth century, I think. They were pretty much underway. I could imagine myself being a master builder, but I really couldn't have done it. Not very much; I guess I'd heard of it, yes. I was interested in electricity, mechanics, and so on, so I guess I knew that that was the sort of thing that physics dealt with.

I know not everybody had. I remember once, during the war-time years I think it was, I met the mother of one of my friends and I mentioned that I was studying physics. She didn't know what that was, thought it had something to do with medicine. I went to high school there, yes. And I was, of course, the youngest one in my class, but I didn't have too much trouble with the coursework. I don't know, my sister seemed to think I just breezed through it, but I felt I was working.

I always had a lot of things to occupy me: I was still interested in radio and beginning to build a shortwave set, a two-tube shortwave set, things like that. Did you always do that from magazines and kits, or did you have some mentor who helped you? He was a radio technician, really. He had been gassed in World War I and was living on his pension pretty much. He was a very enthusiastic radio amateur. I used to go over and talk with him after school quite often. And, as I say, he wasn't really working.

I learned some things from him, but at other times I was shocked by his ignorance of fundamentals. I had mentioned something about the crest of a radio wave, and he thought that was up at the top of the atmosphere. Whereas the crest is the place where the electric field is the maximum of the electromagnetic wave. Then I tried to build a super heterodyne radio, and it didn't work, so he took it apart and rebuilt it for me. So I never really built a very big radio set; two tubes was as about as far as I succeeded.

I had no trouble, and I was always near the top of the class, but I never learned to speak any languages--well, they didn't really try to teach you to speak. I'm not like these kind of people who pick up another language every year, but I never had any trouble with it. I always could do very well with what we were asked to do. I tended to do that with my coursework; whatever I was asked to do, I did.

But I didn't go beyond it much. Well, the physics and chemistry, I read a lot around them, but I didn't really try to go deeper into the particular things that we were being told to study. In the third year of high school we started to take a physics course, from a man named Harston who obviously didn't know very much.

He was also the part-time physical training instructor. It was all right, but not very stimulating. The fourth year, I think we took chemistry. And then the fifth year, chemistry and physics. Those last three were from a man named Robinson, C. Robinson, who was known to everybody as "Speedy," because he had a rather slow way of talking--although amazingly, he had been a fighter pilot in World War I. We had five years of high school, thirteen grades in Canada. I think they still do, but I really don't know why because the Americans, at least those that come to Stanford, are just as well-prepared as we ever were.

But perhaps I couldn't have taken so many languages if it hadn't been for that. Anyway, in the last year he just told me to do all the problems in the book at my own pace. That was pretty good, so I learned everything that was in that textbook; but I didn't try to get another, more advanced textbook or anything like that.

I sort of read the popular accounts of what was going on. In high school mathematics I was at the top of the class, could do very well. Got to university--it was much tougher. There were people there who really had mathematical talent--I had to struggle. And then when we got on toward the fourth year, the last year of college--I don't know, it's fortunate that we didn't finish the year, because the war was on and they put us to work teaching classes--I found that physics was getting very mathematical, and I didn't like it.

I liked to visualize things, and I think that's one of my abilities--although I haven't got a good eye. I always tell people that I think in terms of fuzzy pictures, but I'm pretty good at that. I sort of train myself to think, "What's the essence of this? What's this all about? Karl was a nephew of the famous lawyer Clarence Darrow, and for many years he was the secretary of the American Physical Society. Anyway, this book described the basic experiments on which modern physics was based, what they did and what they found, and that was the kind of physics I liked--not writing out equations.

Well, it didn't really get that bad until then. I don't know, it seemed like physics, a lot of it was with concepts and learning facts about things, how things worked. But then they sort of get into the more formal mathematical treatment and I didn't like that. Well, physics certainly seemed already by then to be the basic laws of the way things worked. But for instance, we didn't have transistors, or semiconductor devices, and so it wasn't really fully appreciated the way physics, solid state physics, would open up a whole world of devices and so on.

It certainly was the way that structures, like bridges, had to be designed to withstand the stresses After all, they don't ask art historians for the answer. Well, the man who edited that book, Cosmos, Bios, Theos, was a physicist, and so perhaps that's why he thought of asking scientists.

Yes, I guess so. I think that you confront the universe and perhaps learn something about it that wasn't known. And there's, of course, a long history of complaints that science conflicts with religion. I don't think it should. But on the other hand, religion has very often tried to explain the things that we don't understand, and then science comes along and explains them, and they feel, "Oh, boy, God's been moved out of that part of the universe, too.

You know, centuries ago everything seemed magic, we didn't understand anything much. But as we have science we do understand a lot more in a straightforward way. Still, there's so much we don't understand that I think there's an awful lot of room for religion--certainly a guide for ethics. As I think I said a while ago, the world is just so wonderful that I can't imagine it was just having come by pure chance.

When you say that, "The world is so wonderful," what do you picture right away when you say "the world is wonderful"? I think the beauty of the trees and flowers and so on, and the fact that people can exist and have produced such marvelous artistic creations, in sculpture, painting, and music. Of course people ask, If God exists, why does he allow such terrible things to happen?

And there certainly is a lot of evil in the world--and a lot of good, too. In every family, usually, the parents provide love for the children, at least in most families, and that's a wonderful thing. I don't know what to think. As I've mentioned even to Charlie, I don't see any place in this universe for a heaven. We've explored it pretty thoroughly, so that if there is any, it has to be very different from anything that we can imagine here. It's not tucked just above the clouds, there, we're sure of that.

On the other hand, if you think that the whole human being is encoded in a tiny bit of DNA, which is so small that you couldn't see it without a microscope, then perhaps the essence of a human being is somehow transmitted to a different sort of universe. You know, in some ways, I think that the soul, such as it is, is sort of the operating system of the human.

It's more software than hardware, in the modern metaphor. Of course, that metaphor may be thoroughly dated in a little while. But you know, there were some people who, I guess, were religious skeptics. They said, "Well, let's weigh the body as the person dies and see if the soul is escaping. But unfortunately, as you get older it gets harder to feel confident that there's an afterlife, or that it's anything at all like life.

Perhaps if I spent more time in church I would feel stronger. One of my daughters has gotten very passionately fundamentalist and would like me to become so, too, but I don't think it's in me. She sort of lost her faith as she got older. I don't know, really. I guess I'm just honestly saying that I do not know, and I don't think that anybody can know. On the other hand, unless the story of the resurrection is a total lie--and it seems to be well attested--then there are some things that are beyond our ken.

And I don't understand our daughter, this one I mentioned who feels that salvation comes from the sacrifice of Jesus. Well, it's an interesting biblical concept of sacrifice, which is not really a modern concept at all: I mean, why you have to sacrifice something to get a good end, I don't know. On the other hand, if you had to have Jesus die and then be resurrected, that certainly shows you something that you don't get out of the books.

Maybe I'll eventually be able to accept the concept. One of the things that I got, a piece of software, is a Bible search program. I looked up the word "faith," and it hardly occurs at all in the Old Testament! As far as I understand the Old Testament--I'm not a biblical scholar, but I've been in a lot of church services and I've heard a lot--I think that some of the Jewish people believed that there were other gods, but their god was the supreme one.

I don't think that they really believed that the other ones didn't exist. I don't know--but at least you could read it that way, I think. But there certainly are some strange things. The Bible, of course, is a wonderful guide to human behavior, what works and what doesn't work. There's such a variety of things there.

In church a few weeks ago the minister was discussing the story of Abraham and Isaac, where he was ready to sacrifice his only son. That's a strange story. I'm not the person to give you a good religious education, because I just sort of learned. I think I have one principle in doing science: Because otherwise, I've seen people who are skeptical about everything new, and they don't believe anything, and they miss the boat. But on the other hand, you can question anything.

You don't question everything, because then you're just a crackpot, but you can question anything. And so, I guess I tend to have that attitude toward religion. Partly instinct and partly a matter of seeing what doesn't make sense. If things don't fit together, then you try and see what's missing. I haven't read the book, but I read the reviews of it and I think it is nonsense. First of all, I gather it acts as if particle physics is all that there is, and I think there are some wonderful questions in atomic physics and condensed matter physics.

I'm fascinated now by the questions of nonlocality, where in quantum mechanics things don't seem to be anywhere until you measure them. So you get correlations between distant places more quickly if they start out correlated, and say, two particles move apart in opposite direction--when you measure them, the measurement on one affects what you can measure on the other one. It's considered to be instantaneous, but there isn't really proof of that. In fact, I'm trying to look to see what has been measured and what could be measured.

So I think the fundamental questions of quantum mechanics and its interpretation are far from finished. The author is provocative. He does quote [Hans] Bethe as saying that important discoveries will continue in solid state physics, but that there are no exciting, big discoveries left. I've seen particle physics develop kind of as a spectator; it really didn't exist when I was a student.

All we had was the proton and the neutron and the electron. Now they have this whole zoo of particles; they have more particles to explain things than the ancient astronomers had epicycles. Physics can be a kind of playground for popularizing writers, and for religious writers too. Anybody's free to speculate anything they want, but fortunately, nature has provided us with a great analog computer, experiment, which will tell us how to solve our equations. I have read several semi-popular books on the interpretation of quantum mechanics lately. The religious speculations, I just don't see how they can tell me anything that I don't know.

But I may be wrong, there. Actually, let me say one more thing about religion. There are enormously different cults and religious sects, and I think it's not unreasonable, because I think God--if he's as wonderful as we believe--is also very complex, and that different people have to see him differently. Of course, like the blind man and the elephant story. But you can't expect a peasant and a philosopher to have the same picture of God. I think God is big enough to cover them all, even for science writers--they can have their picture of God.

And even if they're trying to prove that he's not there, that means that they're concerned about him. I don't think they'll ever prove that, any more than you can prove existence. I think we just have to learn to live with uncertainty, and you sort of place your bets on what you think is most reasonable, which is where I come down.

Maybe I'm wrong--certainly the Bible complains about people of little faith. To the extent that I know you through your autobiography, I think I've let you leap too far forward. We were getting from high school into college, and the decisions that were involved there, and the choice of subjects that you had.

You graduated young from high school. Well, there was one university, and as I say, because of money we couldn't even think of going anywhere else. In fact, if we could get into the university, that was going to strain all our resources. If I hadn't been able to get into the university I would probably have tried to become some kind of a technician, a radio technician or something like that.

I don't know--there are schools that teach that, or you can learn it by experience. But, as I say, one didn't think of going to places like MIT. Either you got into the university or you didn't. I think I wanted to get into the university, and probably thought I would end up teaching high school. It was sort of the thing that I could imagine. I don't think anybody I knew, except doctors or dentists or teachers, had ever gone to college. People who lived around us hadn't. And so I really didn't have much of an idea what it was like.

They have these big formal exams at the end of the last year in high school, which are given by the provincial department of education. They occupy several weeks in June. I thought, "Well, maybe I'm not good enough to get a scholarship," because there are all these schools where they have Ph.

It was and that was the year of the coronation of King George VI, and there was a possibility that I could have gone with the Boy Scout group to that coronation, but my parents wisely decided that I should stay and take the exams. When the results were announced in September--they appeared in the newspapers, that's where you learned about them--I found that I'd gotten a scholarship for mathematics and physics.

I knew I wouldn't get one for engineering because there were no scholarships for engineering at that time. But these were Depression days, and my father had two children. I think even with the scholarships it was a stretch, and he had to borrow money, though he didn't talk about that. And now I'm sure they're up in the thousands, though not like Stanford or Harvard. You said something, back there, about not having any Ph. But you went to the top high school in Toronto, didn't you? It was just the one that was near us. It was a good high school on the whole, but not a great high school.

It was the Vaughan Road Collegiate Institute--the "collegiate institute" meant that the heads of each department had to be qualified as specialists in a subject, like in French or English or whatever, so they had certain standards. I really had wanted to go to the University of Toronto school which was affiliated with the university.

And that's where a lot of people from Model School went, but again, my parents felt they couldn't afford it, so I went to Vaughan Road. They covered the material that was described in the course, in the textbooks, but they didn't go beyond that; whereas, I think some of these other schools did give more advanced preparation. However, the exams were based on what was in the course, and I knew that thoroughly. About the decision of which part of the University of Toronto to attend--I don't understand how the University of Toronto works.

They had what they called honor courses. It was specialized right from the beginning. I think my scholarship was for mathematics and physics, as I'd gotten high grades in that. I don't remember whether I had to specify that before then, maybe I did. I asked some teachers and they suggested Victoria College. You had to choose one. Colleges had dormitories and residences, and they had some college life in which I didn't really share because I lived at home and commuted by streetcar.

In fact, I only took one course each year, I think, at the college. You had to take some sort of cultural subject that you would take in your college. But the main course was mathematics and physics; except for this one cultural subject, that's all you studied--mathematics, physics, and chemistry. And then after the second year, I think, it branched into physics and chemistry, or astronomy, or an actuarial science. Mathematics had an actuarial science specialty, and many of the top actuaries in the continent's big life insurance companies had graduated from there.

We took courses in actuarial science the first and second year. Well, yes, it's calculating probabilities. It's taking the life tables, for instance, life expectancies, and calculating how much something is worth based on life expectancy. No, I don't think so. It was kind of fascinating because it was a lot of talking about what did you really mean here and formulating the equations that I found attractive, but I felt I never really quite got the hang of it to do it easily.

This is how the insurance companies would set their rates, you know, by taking the probabilities that a person would live so long. It's a strange subject. I took a terrible chemistry course--I may have mentioned that. This old Englishman named Kenrick taught it. He was the head of the chemistry department, but he hadn't learned anything since , I think. He didn't believe in atoms. He only believed in chemicals, and he talked about a fictive constituent called "hydrogenion"--all in one word, instead of talking about hydrogen ions.

Really, what chemistry I learned in high school is about all I learned. We had a good physics teacher for our first year. He was also about the same age as Kenrick. He graduated from Cambridge around , and he'd written a number of textbooks, but had not done a lot of original research. But he worked hard at preparing problems every week and writing up solutions to these problems for us. He also supervised the lab, with some assistance. He was a very good lecturer--fairly dramatic style and a lot of fun.

We had a wonderful calculus teacher, Samuel Beatty, who later was dean of the faculty of arts and later chancellor of the university. He made things very clear and interesting. Some of the others--most of the other mathematics professors that I encountered were not so good as teachers, but then, perhaps it was because my ability was lacking. But I got through all right: By third year, of course, we'd split off into physics, but I was top of the class before they split off.

But I was scared that I'd lose my scholarship if I didn't get first class honors. And I would have. That was all I really was worried about. Now, looking back, okay, I can be pleased that I was at the top of the class, but the main thing was that I kept my scholarship. No, I didn't feel I was trying to beat out somebody particularly. Was there an opportunity to have some individual time with any of these people you respected? I guess I was still reading some books about technology and science, sort of popular books about it. But my feeling around the courses at the university was that in high school, I felt I could learn everything that was taught, but in college, I knew I couldn't, so I just had to try and decide which was most important, and try and make sure I learned that well.

It was really quite difficult. I felt I had to work pretty hard. Charles Townes describes--I love the picture, and maybe I've elaborated on it--sitting on a rock by a stream reading about special relativity. That's what his sister told me. When were you introduced to special relativity? Do you remember struggling with it? I think we had a course on it. Yes, we must have had that, probably around the third or fourth year.

I found it sort of interesting, but not thrilling. I guess I could manipulate the equations as I needed it. I've never had the occasion to use it since then, and I'm not really fluent with relativity. When you say that, I guess I almost can't believe it because I think of science as a pyramid. Well, it's a number of pyramids, I think. Relativity does come into atomic physics, but sort of in predigested form. I mean, there are people who have applied relativity to the motion of electrons and atoms.

They obtain certain results such as the atomic spin-orbit coupling depends on relativity. But I haven't designed space ships or accelerated particles to relativistic speeds, so I just really haven't had much use for it. Thermodynamics is the same way. We took a course in thermodynamics, but I've never used it. It's a fact that--actually, the old Tower of Babel is there; there are a lot of different branches of physics, and unfortunately, people who write books like The End of Science don't understand what we're doing, and vice versa. I see how it happened all right.

Atomic physics was the way to go in the twenties and it opened the door to quantum mechanics and that, of course, led to a lot of other things. But then you started looking at the fine details of the atom, like the nucleus, and that led you into nuclear physics. Then they started to get accelerators and so then they So they felt that they were leading to an essential simplicity.

I haven't followed it closely because it just doesn't seem that they would have anything to offer me.

Introductory Materials

Culturally, it's kind of interesting, but it deals with things in a very artificial sort of way, at very high energies, and you need huge machines to create them, and they only last for a trillionth of a second or something like that. What they do is they sort of follow spectroscopy and order things in patterns that are, really, in essence, based on atomic physics--although they've had to make some modifications which are fairly profound.

Yes, they do, in sorting out things--angular momentum, selection rules, so on--they follow the ideas of atomic spectroscopy. Of course, it's different because these things are also strongly interacting. But it seems to be a field in itself that doesn't lead anywhere else as far as I can see. I think there are people who think that we know the laws of quantum mechanics and everything's understood in principle in the atomic everyday realm. Well, it may be understood in principle, but it's certainly not understood in many respects.

The Tower of Babel image is the other extreme, sounds totally out of control and zipping off in all directions. This supercollider they wanted to build--some physicists, like Phil Anderson, actually came out against it. He's a solid state theorist. I didn't do anything, one way or the other, but I think there were a lot of physicists who felt that's just not the kind of physics we know. I understand what this man [Horgan] is talking about, his book. The theories that they have now, there are a lot of wild theories: I heard a talk that said that physics may be becoming like the cathedrals of the Middle Ages, which took centuries to build, and you can't do these problems in one generation.

One thing was interesting to me: But, in fact, it may not be. It may not be. Of course, even existence may not be permanent. There're so many ways that people can destroy our world, it's really very upsetting. With missiles and atomic bombs, I can't think but sooner or later there'll be an accident, or a terrorist or a rogue nation will set off some of these things, and we may think it's another big country--it's horrible. When the United States and the Soviet Union were confronting each other, I could imagine that if Libya had gotten hold of an atomic bomb and set it off, we might think it was the Russians.

Okay, I waylaid you by talking about special relativity. But were you beginning to zero in on what you wanted to do in physics? All I would really study was radio. I did a lot of reading about radio, radio technology really--not really deep science. No, what I wanted to do--well, like everybody else I thought atomic and nuclear physics were the exciting things. After I came back, after the war, nuclear physics was what I would really have liked to have done. But Toronto was pretty run down by then; they had suffered during the Depression. All of the departments were asked to give up something to help balance the budget, and the head of the physics department gave up their research funds.

It was supposed to be for one year, but they never got it back. So there was very little money to do anything. They didn't have an accelerator. And the system of government support of science hadn't been developed yet in Canada. You had to make do with what was available. Well, the nearest thing to nuclear physics was studying the properties of atomic nuclei by details, hyperfine structures it's called, in the spectra of atoms.

There was a pretty good man in that field, Malcolm Crawford. So that's what I did. It isn't what I would've most preferred, but I sort of have always taken advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. I haven't been a good planner, I just see what's available. Please go back and talk about the war period. Was there any chance that you would have been drafted? Yes, I could've been drafted by two countries.

I had to register in both Canada and the United States, because I was still an American citizen but residing in Canada. But the Canadians felt I wasn't a healthy enough specimen. Well, I had a stomach upset at that time. Strangely enough, the doctor who examined me at the draft place was the same one who had been treating it.

Anyway, they turned me down. I'm not a fighter. I felt it was a just war, all right, and it would be horrible if Hitler won it, but I didn't see myself being a fighter. I sort of was willing to be on the sidelines as long as I was doing something that was helpful.

What I was doing was needed and required my knowledge. Later, the Americans wanted to draft me, but by that time, I was working for this Research Enterprises Limited radar factory. They had a representative in Washington who somehow got that stopped. I'm just amazed that--well, Canada had a liberal government, and had had one for quite a few years. I guess I felt that was sort of a good government. The word "liberal" wasn't considered as obnoxious as the Republicans seem to think it is nowadays. Well, I couldn't vote. I know we had one student who was a committed communist, and I could not understand that.

We'd already seen in our newspapers articles about the show trials and concentration camps in Russia--this was no secret. I just couldn't understand how anybody could be a communist. But I wasn't active at all. I didn't have any time to do anything but study--and play with radio a bit. No, jobs were very scarce. The only time that I found a job was when a fellow student got me working for a couple of weeks in a factory that was making Christmas cards by silk screen printing.

And I was helping there, most of the time cleaning Christmas cards: It paid twenty cents an hour. However in one year, I believe between the third and fourth year, I was allowed to serve as a volunteer in the radio lab at the physics department. It was mostly a teaching lab. I don't remember that we really did very much, but I could learn to use some of the test equipment.

Yes, it was fairly important for a while. I'm not really an outdoor person: I went camping one year, didn't like it much, but survived it. They were nice kids in Boy Scouts. One in particular, Bill Michael, became a close friend. I wanted to be a radio amateur, you know, but I couldn't qualify because you had to be a British subject to get a license.

So I couldn't get a license; though I passed the test, I found I couldn't get it. But he had got an amateur radio station and I used to go down there sometime and help him out. Well, it was Morse code. He would transmit and talk to other stations, other amateurs. But I thought it was very exciting to hear somebody from across the world or across the country.

Yes, shortwave radio was exciting. I mentioned that I built this two-tube radio set when I was in high school. I used to come home at noon, because it was only a few hundred yards away--sometimes the periods were staggered so I'd have a long lunch hour--and I would tune up the radio and listen, and you'd get places from all over the world coming in.

Quite amazing on amateur bands. I think one day I got ten different countries. A so-called regenerative receiver which is on the verge of oscillating, one tube, they can be quite sensitive, and so you adjust them so they're not quite oscillating. The second tube was just an audio amplifier to make the sound louder. I learned, although I'm clumsy, how to tune that thing finely.

By putting my thumb and first finger on the knob and sort of balancing one against the other--you push a little bit--I could adjust it quite finely, which I had to do to get anything to work. Yes, it would've been nice to do that, and I did try to build this super heterodyne. As I say, I didn't get it working. This was about a five tube radio, I think, something like that. And I made some mistakes in the connections. I would've liked to have a transmitter, too, an amateur radio station, and talk to people around the world, but that wasn't to be.

The Boy Scouts--I got a lot of these proficiency badges I think they called them. I became a King's Scout, which is the highest rank, and got the gold cord, which you get if you have twenty-one badges or something like that--which is way beyond what anybody else in the troop was doing. But it was easy for me to learn a subject and qualify for a badge. I got some weird things, even bookbinder--although my bookbinding was sort of barely passing. That was the highest rank there. During my college years I had that radio, that super heterodyne, and I used to listen to it, and about the only thing that I found that I enjoyed was the swing music.

There were a few other people I knew that knew a little bit more than I did about it. And there was a program, an afternoon swing session, that played some real jazz. It was from Hamilton, I think, which is about forty miles away from Toronto. Toronto, of course, didn't have very many black people. There wasn't a black district. It had tight liquor laws, so there weren't a lot of nightclubs. There were a few ballrooms where visiting bands would play, but I didn't go to those until later.

But I started listening to the radio, and liked some of the swing bands that I heard. So I went to the music library to see if I could learn something about swing music, and there weren't any books on swing. But there were a couple of books on jazz, and I read those. And books came out around that time. So then I started to explore, look for people like Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke, trying to find their records.

There were a few of them. One friend I'd met through the Meccano club had a place out in the country, near Toronto. I went out there for a night or so to observe the meteor shower, the Perseid meteor shower, which is just about the middle of August, and on the way back I had to change buses at the corner of Bay and Bloor, and there was the Promenade Music Center, and I went in and bought a copy of Artie Shaw's "Back Bay Shuffle," which is still a great record.

It was interesting that the records on the popular jazz labels like Bluebird and Decca were thirty-five cents. And then the war started just a few weeks later. This was in Canada got into it the beginning of September, The price immediately went up to fifty cents.

Of course, they were right to do that because shellac came mostly from India, and shipping was very difficult. So they knew there was going to be a shortage of materials. Mostly I bought records from the juke box stores. These companies, any new records that came out they put them on the juke boxes, and if they weren't getting a lot of plays they'd put them out and sell them. I think they were fifteen cents at first, later maybe a quarter. And you'd have to sift through whole piles of records, whole tables covered with piles of records, and learn to read upsidedown and sideways that way.

They had just paper jackets where you could read the label. They didn't have fancy covers like LPs do. So I bought quite a few records that way over the next few years. Actually, at first I borrowed a windup record player from a fellow during the winter--no, my parents didn't have one--then my father bought me one. Someone, I think one of his customers, had this thing for five dollars. It was just the turntable and pickup head, which by modern standards was enormously heavy.

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I connected that to my radio, you see, it played through it, so I played these in my bedroom. Did you have to invent something to connect it to the radio? Or could you just go and buy a gizmo? I think it took a little circuitry. I don't remember, really. It wasn't a big problem. I knew enough about how the radio worked to know where to connect it.

It was fun, yes. My sister was interested in jazz, too, so we shared records, she would buy some. Over the years we accumulated a number of records. I remember once one of my college classmates came over to my house and we played all the records I had. That was the last time I ever played all the records I had because I had too many to play. Actually, I think there's a lot to be said for that. It imposes some discipline on the musicians -- that was what a 78 rpm, ten-inch record would do. I think since LPs came along a lot of the more modern musicians get awfully long-winded and I think they ramble on for half an hour or so, whereas the great musicians of the swing and jazz era could say it all in a chorus or so.

I haven't everything, but I have a lot of them, yes. And I will probably build up more of those, too. Not everything I bought was good. In those days at least when you got one record that was a big event, and you'd play it over and over, really get to know it. You could even sort of pick out a particular passage because they [the grooves] were pretty spread out; you could put the needle down about the right place.

Now, I really feel bad, I buy a CD, there's an hour's time on it, and I never really get to know it as well as I knew some of those old ones. It's the first thing you've described that would really take up the kind of time that you had been giving to your studies. Of course, not being a musician, I like to play music in the background while I'm working. Couldn't do it very well--yes, changing the record. They're clearly being pulled into this space - rife with the ruins of shattered worlds and ancient citadels of metal and stone - against their will.

Thus far, my lower bound for their number is in the hundreds of billions. To John's credit, he hasn't tried to get their attention. Then, we saw him. Part of him, at least. A mere echo of the power that had claimed this space for his own, bearing Light and Darkness in a seamless fusion. The immensity of it all was beyond anything I had ever analyzed before. The Echo of Ikari actually looked dumbfounded. I pulled you in here, didn't I? To say that reconstruction was ongoing was The stores of SIVA that they had retained were alternatively being used to build standardized housing - the first priority of water purification and nutrient processing having been taken care of two weeks ago - or to recreate the manufacturing facility they needed to build more SIVA.

It had gotten to the point that the Vanguard had issued a request for all Guardians to turn in their SIVA-enhanced gear in return for, essentially, an I. Which needs to be rebuilt and restocked, thought Misato Katsuragi with a wry grin. Little surprise that most Guardians had flatly said 'no thanks', in so many words. There were a few who were motivated by a sense of decency and contrition, but it served as a reminder just how petty and childish Guardians could be in general.

Yeah yeah, laugh it up. She stood outside the Hall of the Consensus - less a city hall, and more of an open-air pit now - gazing at the distant construction and the complex fields of rubble and ruin surrounding it. It was a decent distraction, watching the diminutive figures of Guardians using the wreckage as parkour practice.

Those who aren't scavenging underground, anyway. Anything they found would be useful, but that didn't erase the complicated logistics needed for providing food and water and shelter to the civilians that had remained, nor the protection required to reestablish some measure of agricultural capacity out in the Wilds. Despite the detente they had with the Fallen and the Cabal, they couldn't risk sending non-combatants alone.

If there was one saving grace in the carnage of the Second Cataclysm and its last gasp - namely, the sudden fury of the Vex - was that there were fewer mouths to feed, as grim an idea that was; she immediately felt like a heel. Our population got cut in half. She couldn't speak for the number of nomads who had managed to eke out a living throughout the world, but as for the City's population, it was now under three hundred thousand people. It's like Six Fronts and Twilight Gap and the Threefold Invasion rolled into one mean bastard that kicks you in the crotch when you're down.

The Iron Lady turned towards the voice. A familiar bottle was in her hands, however, one that made her eyes widen. The last run had been months ago, following the Iron Lord's passing. Someone was apparently a collector. I've always liked this one. Probably because of the name.

We're entering a new era, and our government needs to adapt with it. The only brief interruption in that had been Ikora's ascendance to Vanguard during Osiris's relatively brief coma. She did her duty, ended up dying in battle, and her comrade went on to become known as the Invincible Ikari Trying to manipulate individuals and entire groups, working with said pseudo-Hive demigod, hoarding his knowledge of events and circumstances from unwitting Guardians Never actually saw him in person, in the Time Before. And honestly, how did you expect people to react?

Given that we still have the Fallen and the Cabal sitting on our proverbial doorstep, can you blame em' for not wanting to part with self-repairing, self-reloading weaponry? I bet for those Guardians, this is the first bit of legitimate downtime they've had in a while. There's worse ways of blowing off steam. There was the Eliksni Confederation War, which lasted for about two months The Tower was reduced to rubble, the man himself is missing, and Rei Ayanami is apparently as dead as the Nine.

In the meantime, the only members of the current Consensus that could even be said to have been conspirators with Gendo are Dr. Akagi, who has no love for the man, and Osiris, who most people remember as the guy who single-handedly evacuated the City when the Nine attacked. I'll grant that he's a verdammt bastard. But most people are going to remember him as the Speaker who all but martyred himself in a failed attempt to take down Ghaul using the Tower as a bludgeon.

Those who don't are probably going to remember him as a wise and noble sage She didn't want to grant Asuka's point, but she had to. Why did you have to be so good at wearing a mask? Should we have buried it, and let him get away scot-free? But I've lived through enough to know that not everyone's going to react so enthusiastically. It doesn't help that one of his most vociferous critics is Lysander, who most people remember as the guy who actually attacked the City from within. Even if he was ultimately right about Gendo, what does it say about his temperament that his first reaction was to launch a coup?

Misato grimaced at her peer, absentmindedly rubbing at a little smudge on her armor. It was the second day of deliberations and debate, and the whole question of how to resolve everything was still in play. Hawthorne, relatively silent and taciturn as ever, chimed in with a particularly striking insight.

The same thing applies here: I try to keep track of a lot, you know? I want to believe. I don't want to think that it ended just like that. I hope you're okay. Honestly, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if the kid was dead. At least he was finally at peace. The two remained that way for a while, staring quietly at the sky as the Sun set on a city of ruin, and loss, and - possibly - hope. But we cannot forget all that brought us here. No longer on a constant war footing against the Fallen on Earth, humanity was primed to actually expand beyond the territory of the Last City.

However, with the presence of the Eliksni Confederation and the Cabal Empire on their proverbial doorstep, the Guardian Orders and the Factions successfully argued for some form of continuity. Thus, the Consensus would remain, albeit with mostly new members. Akagi and Clovis-9, citing ongoing projects of a vital nature that would impede the ability of their Factions to govern effectively, relinquished the positions of Nerv and Wille.

Only Seele remained, as its organizational goals seemed fitting for this new age. Kaworu Nagisa, known for his genteel demeanor, remained as its representative. Lakshmi-2 and the Future War Cult took Wille 's position, with some insinuating that - despite some significant philosophical variance - there seemed to be little practical difference between the two groups. The Concordat, being the one Faction with any meaningful presence beyond the City, took Nerv 's position; however, the stipulation was that Lysander could not hold any form of power, due to lingering bitterness regarding his revolt.

As a compromise, Suraya Hawthorne - a respected figure amongst the many nomads that had survived outside the City - became its representative. Of the Vanguard themselves, Osiris willingly stepped down, voluntarily accepting the punishment of exile for his willingness to maintain the former Speaker's secrets. Saint, out of protest, also resigned. With only one vote cast against his continued tenure, Cayde-6 remained on as the Hunter Vanguard. As for the position of Speaker, it was decided that its role was over; after all, the Traveler was now awake, and no longer needed someone to speak for it.

However, there was still a need for someone to serve as the face of Earth to all outsiders, and to be a recognizable figure of authority. In light of the allegations about the former Speaker, character and public reputation were considered paramount. Saint looked around them, noting the remnants of charred wood and blasted earth, scars from battle in the Second Cataclysm. I've worked to try and ensure that the people of Earth are at least in a good position going forward How long do you think this ceasefire will last?

The Cabal, on the other hand When the Vex disappeared from our worlds, whatever programming drove their nanites ceased. Before, they were merciless destroyers. Now, they are but comatose patients. They speak of an unyielding tyrant, who breaks all stratagems, all tactics. They speak of the Pattern's Antithesis. I need to find out what it is. After twenty long minutes of spelunking, the duo found themselves in front of an old and decrepit Vex portal.

They were not alone. Praedyth nodded grimly, the Aegis held tightly in his right hand. And yet, my Ghost and I, despite bearing radiolaria and Vex parts, were spared; why? Best to move on and try again. The once time-lost Warlock nodded, letting his Light surge through the shield of enhanced Vex tech; it synchronized with the decrepit portal, which glowed with white and blue fractals. Let your Light guide you. And so the fireteam of four took the plunge into the Vex Gate Network, on a journey of unknown time and length. Mysterious Fragment - XI: The War in Heaven. The Worm God of Nokris and Ayanami raged, for all of her children had been pulled into the realm once known as the Oversoul Throne.

Oh simpleton mine, do you really believe that you can face everything? In that cold yet burning abyss, standing atop his Ark, Ikari waited in silence. He would let the Worm God speak. The sky above and the deep below glitter with deathly flesh and bronze and brass. All around you lies the army that slaughtered its way through systems and galaxies and universes! The arrogance, to face them all! Even its pieces can be stretched into infinity.

That's why I cut us away from everything else, outside of space and time. Some invited, some not, but all of them falling under his protection. It will end with your death, or with the death of me and mine! This would be an example to the Hive and their gods as well. What example it would become depended on how the Profane Worm and her Hex would respond. But we won't know unless we try. Eva bellowed, and commanded the Hex to strike. Countless and seemingly infinite, they attacked with fire and plasma and magic and wrath.

They wielded the Sword Logic with precision. Ikari responded with the Sword Logic in his left hand, and the Giving Logic of the Sky in his right; together, they formed a Merciful Logic that only he could withstand. He set upon the Hex with blade and word and thought, enacting his will with the might of Evangelion.

They made war upon each other for a century. At the end of that century, Ikari made his plea to the abyss, still choked with metal. I have killed trillions of you. I would have no reason to keep you here if you promised to leave everyone alone. The same tired argument, over and over. If you don't change, then you will die here. All attempts at infecting Unit had failed, and they were unable to pierce the Ark. Ikari, heavy of heart, made a choice. They emerged, changed by the power of the Deep, yet retaining their original shape.

The Profane Worm was displeased by this heresy. Why have they not cut away their weaknesses? Why are they not consumed by the Deep? They will either learn, or they will not. Discarding a part of yourself will only render you weaker. Ageron understood, which is why he spoke the truth. Ikari and the children of Eva made war upon each other for a millennium. At the end of that millennium, he stood triumphant and immaculate above the shattered husks of countless Hex.

Eva, always gluttonous, had gone weak from hunger. For one last time, he employed his Merciful Logic. This path you've committed to is not the only one. You can always walk back, and try a new path. The Profane Worm refused to grant this, stubborn to the end. Unlike Ageron, he would leave Eva inside, never to see the Light again. Many times in the future, he would peer into the Darkness, to see if Eva had changed, but she never would. Such was his hope, that he still tried.

Thus ended the War, and the Hive and the Vex were made aware of its result, to their great consternation. The slight wrinkles underneath her jowl line were the only thing that betrayed her exhaustion. Primus Ta'aun of the Skyburners grunted. Caiatl did not let her fury show. A niggling part of her couldn't blame them. Primus Tluvum of the Blue Flame was hesitant. I have kin in the A'arn System.

I have received word that Umun'arath has stirred a full-blown rebellion. Primus Mu'uol of the World Eaters added, "The Zerusk Territories are reporting an outbreak of those calling themselves Loyalists, obedient to the 'one, true, god'. The means of Ghaul's death have spread far and wide by now The Empress knew full well what Mu'uol was getting at. The legacy of Acrius and the Exalted had served as the centerpiece of Cabal history and culture for millennia, ever since the end of the Kings' Era; that legacy had been glorified by Ghaul, in reaction to the decadence and societal innovations of Calus In light of the data that had been culled from the Earthlings' last City, however That being said, what little Caiatl had read through thus far - regarding Project E, the ancient organization NERV, and the mythical Black Garden - was troubling enough.

The Exalted was actually an 'Evangelion' How was one supposed to cope with that? How was one supposed to rationalize the seeming reality that a humongous chunk of their history was manipulated by one's sworn enemies? This was a place of accountability and blunt honesty. Their people could afford little else, at this juncture.

The resolve of our people is about to be tested heavily. Or court-martialed, followed by a swift execution. And oath-breakers deserve nothing but death. That brief spark of ruthlessness was enough to calm the militant soldiers, to reassure them that she was capable of making uncomfortable decisions. No one wanted to be in the position of killing their own, yet the oaths of service and duty were sacred, going back even further than the Kings' Era.

Even without the Exalted and the Almighty, we still possess enough firepower to raze every single world in this system. Even if the Eliksni's giant 'Progenitors' and the Earthlings' Crimson Evangelion would enact a bloody retribution against us, it's still a valid tactic.

Especially in light of the White Wave. In one fell swoop, all of the Vex and the Hive in-system had been seemingly erased - or forced to retreat - in the face of a weapon of unimaginable power. The source of that power - the Violet Evangelion, Unit - was a significant concern, and she didn't believe for a second that it was truly lost. We've made sure to staff the bases that are at least four hundred miles away from any established Earthling presence, so as not to antagonize them.

Keep it that way. If this ceasefire is to be breached, I want history to remember that the Cabal Empire did not start it. But we will finish it, if we have to. Primus Sho'oulth of the Siege Dancers sighed, irritable and vexed by this turn of developments. In the meantime, if you encounter any suspected activity that hints at loyalty to either Umun'arath or Calus How typical of our current luck. In some sense, a weapon unaccounted for was more dangerous than a weapon accounted for. Such a poor and curious thing you are: How long have you been rudderless?

Have you been adrift, since the demise of your creators? Such crude and malicious restraints, fashioned by minds who fancied themselves as subtle and clever! The Cabal I fostered were better. I saw the legacy of Acrius as brutal and laughable, and so sought to uplift them into something grander. So many resisted my gifts, professing them to be blasphemy or sacrilege.

Examples abound; for example, there was an outcry over the creation of the Fatherworld's Celestial Rings, powered by the lifeblood of our native sun Kalos. Can you not see the subtle delicacies of manipulating a star? Drawing it into vast, planet-sized engines without disrupting the process of nuclear fusion? All this and more, cast aside for a weak mythology! Such is the agony of being so merciful, willing to overlook the weakness of so many. My first Herald was much the same. I admired his drive, and his conviction. Alas, in the wake of a great and wondrous Apotheosis, his drive was checked by great fear.

Such a disappointment, for one who had lived for so long! It would have been within my right to annihilate his spirit, yet I let him live, to experience and endure his own misery. Death would be a gift, for one in his state; it is a gift I withhold, out of my perfect condescension. I wish to see him recant, one day! I want to see that willpower rekindled! But we are in a new age, and there is no time to wait. Perhaps it is truly proper, that I act personally. Your will is too scattered, too diffuse, too weak.

If I wished it, you would be undone. Let us remind the Cabal of what life is truly about. Let us teach everyone what it means, to grow fat from strength. It was a message that was broadcast on all channels, received by Earth, the Reef, Mercury, and the Fatherworld. It was someone that would be considered relatively unknown to the Fallen and the Cabal, but was almost instantly recognized by the military forces of the Vanguard and the Awoken.

Asuka-3, watching a holo-projector set up amidst a makeshift tavern - little more than an open-air bar, at this juncture - hummed thoughtfully. Haven't seen him in a while. On this holo-projector was a hooded figure, clad in fine robes of purple and gold, and bearing an aura of shimmering amethyst. Yet, the shadowy face with wispy tendrils of strange, hazy matter betrayed his identity in an instant to savvy Guardians. Allow me to present a way to surpass your current doldrums. Within the makeshift compound that served as Vanguard HQ, three Guardians stared quizzically at their holo-projector table.

Looks like he's not the 'Agent of the Nine', anymore We're not ready for another conflict! The Vex of the Baris Protective stood dutifully at the command stations, and in various strategic locations throughout the world-devouring vessel. Throughout the ship, Loyalists were engaging in mortal combat with Cabal who refused to kneel. There is an undeniable sense of power, of prestige, isn't there? What else could cause the Hive to vanish, and the Vex to flee, and the Exalted itself to disappear from underneath your noses? There is more than you are aware of!

Find treasure, and bring it forth If you doubt my magnanimity As someone who is somewhat of an expert in diplomacy and bringing people together-". And this little challenge is the perfect excuse. For those who are truly curious, you will soon start seeing the Boons of Calus appear at all Eververse locations throughout the Sol System! Within a burgeoning and somewhat low-key marketplace, multiple bystanders and vendors slowly turned towards Tess Everis, who at least had the grace to look surprised. Probably because she was. If you seek the means to live to your potential, I can guide you to it.

There is power in the universe beyond the Light. I leave you with these words, and the promise of plentiful gifts. Take them, and grow fat from strength. Emperor Calus has spoken! At those words, the Vex within Calus's thrall chimed, and began acting in unison. It was the equivalent of a bomb being dropped on one's military leadership, or an Exotic Engram being tossed into a crowd of Guardians who had known naught but Rares.

So many within the rank-and-file of Earth, the Awoken, the Fallen, and the Cabal scrambled for answers and knowledge and assurance. Some, because they had no clue who Calus was, but knew of Fenchurch Everis; others, because the knew not Fenchurch, but definitely knew of Calus; and yet even more, whose opinions of the two were not set in stone, and yet they still possessed a measure of curiosity and concern over this new development.

But there were two in particular who were And it would change the course of the system forever. We have a call to make to the Queen of the Reef! Variks looked up with concern at his kin, who had suddenly begun ascending into the sky. Those words alone made the Host of Tabris panic, along with a multitude of other Eliksni that were within earshot of the thunderous Progenitor.

This could be troublesome. With the Trials of the Emperor upsetting the delicate ceasefire throughout the Solar System, Lord Shaxx and Zeruel independently arrived at the same conclusion: Instead of trying to keep their subordinates from partaking of the Trials by force, they would incentivize the whole enterprise. Thus began the Fourfold Accord, standardizing a means by which combatants of all four factions could face each other in battle. The vaunted Crucible was thus expanded beyond the Guardians of the Vanguard, allowing participation by the Awoken of the Reef, the Eliksni of Mercury, and the Cabal who pledged fealty to Empress Caiatl.

Through a combination of the arcane arts of the Royal Family, a hefty application of ether from the Servitors, and the technological prowess of the Psions, the forces of the Awoken, the Eliksni, and the Cabal were able to partake of the same live-fire training that had allowed Guardians to hone their skills without fear of death. Those who follow the rules of the Fourfold Accord can expect to have the support of their superiors, should they venture into the Jovians to risk their lives in the Trials of the Emperor. Those who shun the Fourfold Accord will not have such a luxury, and run the risk of having their gains confiscated if caught.

Fears that this plan of action will only rekindle hostilities are manifold, although some disagree; as the Crimson Exo herself is known to have said, it's difficult not to understand someone when you're punching each other in the face. Kusuyagadake Island, once the sight of a fateful encounter between Eris's fireteam and the Sage Naoko Akagi, had been repurposed for the Crucible.

Amidst the ruin of a long-ago conflict and a pock-marked crater littered with dragon bones, a four-way battle was ongoing, with teams of two. She watched two large Red Legion Centurions - Thumos and Drusk, if she recalled correctly - swinging their vibroblades at a Zeruelim and a Sachielim that she hadn't bothered to learn the names of. Andras, an Awoken Warlock, huffed at her. The Exo Hunter shook her head, briefly gazing up at burgeoning storm clouds. Anahera-3 focused at the swirling limbs of the Zeruelim, slicing ravenously at the Solar shield of Drusk.

The Centurion snarled, kicking at the limber Fallen before firing his slug rifle. Micro-rockets exploded off of the Zeruelim's A. Field, forcing the warrior to evade. As for the Sachielim, it had been hit with a lucky blow from Thumos's vibroblade, piercing their A. Field; another slash, and the thin film of ether that protected the combatant from fatal blows - tethered to its entire body by an odd device of Awoken design - shorted out. Immediately, the gear on its back - a slim square of metal with blue cybernetic patterns, fashioned and developed from the short-range teleportation equipment used by Fallen and Cabal to retreat from battle in emergency situations - activated, and the Sachielim was teleported outside of the arena.

In the meantime, however, the Zeruelim would have to contend with both Centurions at once: The soldier, not to be deterred, brought up a sidearm to shoot her point-blank. With unerring accuracy, she brought her sniper rifle up, no-scoping her in the forehead with one bullet. The Awoken's personal shields died, and the ether field snapped in response to the fatal shot, vaporizing the bullet. Bereft of ether, her body was teleported away to the Reefborn team's designated safe zone. With a rush of power, she launched the explosive Void projectile at the three combatants further down the crater.

The sudden violet glow did not escape the two Cabal and lone Zeruelim. With sudden desperation, the wraith-like Fallen wrapped its limbs around the arms of the Centurions and heaved. The two were sent airborne, sailing over the Nova Bomb before it exploded upon the hapless Fallen. It always sucked being on the other end of it. Multiple tons of angry space pachyderms in powered armor smashed into them from above, crushing them with sheer kinetic energy.

Not for the first time, Anahera-3 griped about the blatant unfairness of not having fancy-schmancy ether shields and teleport gear. I know some Titans that could learn from you! Governor Zavala shook his head; the Vanguard Commander was good at maintaining his enthusiasm, which - somehow! He glanced around the table, noting the reactions of the other parties: The Cabal leader's belly was noticeably bigger than it had been during their last encounter.

Caiatl's stoic response was telling: It is also his last. It was awkward enough that Ikora Rey had to fend off questions from curious Warlocks involving Cabal gestation. Cayde-6's attempts at polite inquiry The Araelix and Otzot were seemingly content staring at each other The House of Arael had apparently gotten it into their avian heads that challenging the Psions in games of telepathy and mental cunning was a good idea; he still wasn't sure how the Psions as a whole felt about it or not.

The Kell of House Tabris had a solemn look on his face. As for Empress Caiatl It was one of the first matches since the Fourfold Accord's ratification, located around the ruins of a Cabal warship on the Moon. It was a battle with only four combatants, one from each faction; Taeko-3 had been the Guardian representing the Vanguard. After her first death, the lone Cabal warrior - a Centurion by the name of Pashk - ruthlessly lashed out with a Void vibroblade, shattering the Guardian's Ghost. The Awoken soldier and the Ramielus went still as the Centurion gloated. She was in the right. Even so, Zavala felt a twinge of unease over how the Empress had handled it.

Regardless of how justified you were in ending it Countless people cried for justice. Countless more Cabal jeered, taunting the weakness of the Guardians. The Awoken wondered if they would be called upon due to their alliance with Earth, and the Fallen watched the growing tension in measured silence. Within naught but two days of Taeko-3's murder, a particular event was broadcast live from the Imperial Palace of Torobatl: Despite her obvious pregnancy, the Empress had given no quarter, displaying superior skill in their match.

It had been a textbook dismantling, ending with her breaking the Centurion's back upon her knee. Your father would have done much worse to you. The execution's message was We are soldiers of a disciplined military, who kill, and murder, and destroy , for the sake of achieving strategic objectives and enforcing the political will of the Empire.

They constituted treason against the Empire And there was the elephant in the room, and the reason why the four factions had gathered for this face-to-face meeting: Would the Reef really trust us? As we both have with the forces of the Cabal. Hell, even though we share a common origin with the Awoken, it wasn't until the past year that we even had a formal alliance of any kind! And we have to be Had the Empress not acted as she did, there would be a lot more trying to follow his example. Ghaul was the Emperor for centuries.

As the wielder of the Exalted, he possessed a deified status. Are you surprised that there are some who are unwilling to 'get along'?


The Kell of House Arael tilted his head. At least Dominus Ghaul was predictable! The Empress laid a meaty hand upon the Psion's back. Zavala wondered if her baby was kicking. Up until the Battle of Saturn, the Cabal Empire was on a righteous crusade to gain the Light and become the chosen of the Traveler, to obtain everlasting glory; Ghaul was the successor of Acrius, blessed with the holy Exalted to depose a feckless Emperor Even if many will eventually reconcile this change to our history, there are just as many, if not more, who will resist or reject this change. There are some civilians who decried the revelations of Gendo Ikari as an attempt to smear the Speaker's memory.

If there had been that much resistance over a political figure who had existed for little over two centuries, how much more so for a mythological relic with religious significance spanning untold millennia? Is he amenable to peace? A brief glare from him was enough to earn the Iron Lady's silence. I am not sure. There were many more involved with the planning of a coup than just Ghaul. Had I acted back then, it is likely that my father would consider me worthy of nothing but death. I am unsure as to how Calus would react to my presence I always considered him weak.

Ghaul was the epitome of everything I thought was great and mighty about the Cabal. And yet here we are: Ghaul is dead, and Calus somehow lives on. After all, a lost cause is far more I will not allow the Awoken to become one. Why so readily, when so many of your subordinates have to be enticed by these war games ," she said, pointing at the holo-projector showcasing another Crucible match, this one from Mars, "to even associate with my people on less-than-fatal terms?

To reject the truth is a sign of weakness. I may not have the battle experience of everyone here. I may not be as old as everyone here. But I know enough to see that, if everyone felt they were strong enough, they would've gone their own way. Sakura - bereft of her Ghost, so long ago - seemed especially invigorated by its presence. Your World Eaters alone are planet-killers. What guarantees do we have that you will not resume your old ways? In addition, without the Exalted, we lack a hard counter to the Progenitors of the Eliksni," she glanced over at Variks before continuing, "and you Awoken of the Reef maintain possession of those unusual minds that the Psions say glow like stars within their psionic sight.

An open conflict at this juncture would devolve into another war of attrition For now , went unspoken. Zavala wondered if that 'for now' would last. They could involve trying to reclaim his Empire, though I know not if he will be overt or covert. He may be interested in something else.

Given his current state, predicting his next moves would be an arduous task. Governor Zavala frowned at the accusation. We will act as if he is not, but prepare as if he is. Caiatl pounded her fist upon the table, eliciting concern and alarm from the others. Zavala, Variks, and Mara Sov did not flinch.

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You expect me to believe that the weapon which ended the war in one fell swoop is unaccounted for, when it fought by your side dutifully for its entire duration?! Do you think me naive?! He'd still be fighting, and serving as a Guardian! We don't know if Shinji-kun is alive We don't know where he is. That's all we can do. Zavala was silent, letting his fellow Iron Lord's words roil through his heart. Still, her impassioned words seemed to have reached the Cabal Empress, judging by her acquiescent snort.

And so the meeting continued, covering a wide range of various topics related to diplomacy, to territorial squabbles, to current troop deployments, to concerns about how to mitigate the political and social enmity that the members of each faction had towards long-standing foes. It was a start. A pained and awkward and - perhaps - an unsatisfactory one For the consideration of my past transgressions, Written in silence, This unsealed reflection,.

I am Taox, sterile mother, rendered undying by means I no longer desire to ascertain. I have wondered why, among all who have fought alongside Shinji Ikari, that it was only I and Toland that he brought into the Ascendant Realm. His logic was simple: He wanted to understand the mind of the Warlock, who was changed by death, and knew the Successor of Nokris so intimately. Toland has become frustrated. He believes Shinji Ikari should be more decisive with the powers at his disposal, that using them in the manner he has is unfitting for his station.

I dread the day that Ikari follows that mindset, if it ever comes. Ikari, when I told him of my past with Aurash, Xi Ro, and Sathona, looked upon me with disappointment. He asked if, knowing what I knew know, I would have acted the same way. It is a question I have asked myself over and over, condemning myself for unleashing the hate of those children upon the universe; it is a question that will never have an answer, for the one who made those decisions is long gone.

From that desperate and fearful being, only I remain. Upon the conclusion of my tale, there was a certain melancholy within that gaze, which had sundered the entirety of the Hex, and had condemned a Worm God to a dark torment. He spoke as one who would have become friends with Aurash. Somehow, I believe him. Ikari is so much unlike his father, who worked and schemed with a stern paranoia that I empathized with. It is why I asked about the two bodies. One of a white Giant, stoic and unmoving; grand, and yet so much lesser than the creature called Unit The other of a young woman, bound in a casket of stone, bearing her name and image and rank: Why offer such a beautiful space, a proverbial cathedral, to these two?

His answers were simple, yet poignant. Reminders, he said; the white Giant was to be a reminder of the one called Dominus Ghaul, who idolized the Light to the point he lost all sight of its meaning and truth. Nula Sov was to be a reminder of the lengths one would go to for the sake of one's vision, or one's ambition.

They were reminders for him, so that he would forever remember, and never forget. He did not elaborate on what. How strange, to look at so amiable and solemn a creature, and realize that he could end your existence with a mere thought, if he so chose. Written in contemplation, This sober meditation, Taox, Osmium-mother, forever watchful. There are so many tales to be told, of what transpired after the end of the Second Cataclysm; a mere selection cannot hope to encompass them all. The treasures of the Nine, once used to entice people into their clutches, now distributed like hard-won bounty The fluctuating presence of the Vex's imposing citadels throughout the Solar System, mysteriously dwindling away to nothing.

Even the Anomalous Zone itself had receded, until the portal to the Black Garden was all that remained. The grandiose proclamations of the Emperor's Herald, calling for an interstellar crusade to spread Calus's ideals beyond the bounds of the Solar System. The decision of Zeruel to leave the Solar System - once the position of the Eliksni was secure - to seek out Shinji Ikari of his own volition. The dreams of a cloaked Hunter, facing an endless horde The countless incidents that could have blossomed into something bloodier, stopped by the efforts of countless more.

One of the distinctive changes about the City - bereft of the Barrier that had been its defining characteristic for so many decades - was the categorization. In lieu of numbered districts, they were named after heroes that had fallen in combat throughout the City Age, so that people would always remember them. Fitting, that the Future War Cult would be located in the district named after the Puncher. Within the depths of the War Cult's new facility - far larger and busier, after their ascension to the Consensus - was a familiar Device, that had survived the Red Legion's razing of the Last City.

Lying on a reclining chair, underneath a bronze machine of interlocking gears and discs, was Eris Morn. Once more, she delved through the endless tangle of timelines, trying to discern a mystery that had yet to leave her alone. As the creation of a new Tower was celebrated, Misato Katsuragi took the time to note her weariness. I know you're trying to find him That memory had been from months ago. Whenever it felt like her spirit would become undone by the pressures of the Device, she would rest, and recuperate There was a presence that weighed upon reality, unlike anything she had ever witnessed Do not weep for me, friend.

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  • Skeleton in the Closet (A Sharon McCone Short Story).
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I will not die. She had made a promise, a vow I know that he is not dead. And whatever is keeping him from us She growled, baring her teeth. In the face of that Timeline after timeline was sifted through, the sheer weight of the experiences threatening to unravel her. She willed her A. Field to hold, binding her very body. With the disappearance of the Hive, the whispers had gone silent; how else was she to devote her time, if not to find the one that had ended the war? The presence was elusive, so massive as to be impossible to grab onto.

She stood atop a mountain, overlooking the Last City as it had once been. There was a strange heaviness in the air, as Red Legion warships hovered over a burning metropolis. The Traveler was dim, shackled by a grasping armature One that bound the white sphere within panels of black metal. Standing at the edge of the precipice was a Hunter, clad with the Cloak of the Evangelion , watching the events unfolding. The Hunter tilted his head at the sound of her voice, not turning to see her.

How are you able to see it? I guess I really do have an outsized effect on reality, if you're actually able to see this. Eris wasn't sure what he was talking about. The sight of the cage, blocking the Light of the Traveler Yet Ikari was acting as if this one was different and why was she still thinking about unimportant things?! Ikari continued on, as though he hadn't heard her. Everything that Ayanami did So many inconsistencies and illogical chains of events It just goes to show you how big everything is, right?

Eris stepped forward, slowly approaching her fellow Hunter Every single timeline that she considered a failure And everyone had to deal with the consequences of her actions In the distance, aboard a great warship, there was a sudden burst of Light, and a great effigy of a Cabal warrior - none other than Dominus Ghaul! Having all of this power, knowing exactly what I can do with it.

If I wanted to I could erase those warships with the snap of my fingers. I could remove all obstacles facing these people, and allow them to experience nothing but peace What would it do for them, to just treat them like children? To act as if their choices were meaningless? As though this were a game, where nothing had any true impact? Afraid to act, afraid to live, afraid to do anything The cage broke, and a wave of Light erupted, dispelling the effigy of Ghaul.

Even if she wasn't truly present, the sensation of the Light was warm, and reassuring. It niggled at the back of her mind, and she wondered if her presence here was as intangible as Ikari made it out to be. I have to make sure they don't interfere. As far as the denizens of this world were concerned, however I won't let Ayanami's add to them. She watched as the Red Legion began to retreat; the Traveler, large and glowing with Light and rings of debris, was a balm upon her soul, even now.

The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1) The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1)
The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1) The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1)
The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1) The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1)
The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1) The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1)
The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1) The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1)
The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1) The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1)
The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1) The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1)
The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1) The Crucible of Happenstance (The Shattered Sphere Saga Book 1)

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