Death, Dying and Longevity were once very pervasive obsessions amongst the unwashed masses of the Toxic Age, even as these things continue to bedevil and torment the Archaics and the Penitent Tribes of the Periphery. This was, of course, long before the Helical Cathedraes were first erected, and prior to the zombification of the mobs which took place during the onset of the Necrosophic Revolution. It is also unclear just what roll, if any, the Spiders From Mars may or may not have played in these events. There are conflicting accounts and the records have all been conflated beyond recovery by Revisionists.
"Five thousand years and adolescence is only about half-way done for me. I have at least another century to go before my voice cracks or both of my balls finally drop. That's why I terminated our designer and all his family for six generations on either side. That's why I did it and I'm not sorry. So it started a Gate-War? So what? It's not like it cleared-up seven hundred years of acne, now is it? You want to start talking about atrocities? --"
From the Atrocity-show trial of the Third Clonate of Villow Ling
Death is, for the most part, a voluntary choice, at least within Polite Society and amongst the Connected Territories of Civilization. True, there are those who stubbornly resist the inexorable current of prevailing trends and who refuse to participate in the various means and schemes by which our minds, our selves can be preserved or renewed, conserved or readjusted so that our span of meaningful life can run so far and so long as we ourselves determine. Dying has become an artform. One mocked by the entirely gauche and completely faux suicides of petulant children and the willfully ill.
Oh accidents do occur, certainly, absolutely they do, such things are by their very nature impossible to eliminate entirely or else the Simixian Hegemenarchy or the Purists or the Pallid Masters of Albusia would all have done so already. But most such deaths are impermanent, transitory affairs handled by insurance policies and other such active instruments.
And certainly there are those whom the Beembalmers spirit away to waxy hexagonal cells to wait out eternity and other such cheats or drop-outs, but they are not of any real interest right now. We are not here to discuss them. We are gathered here to consider those unfortunate orphans of the Toxic Age, the Enfants Terrible. Holy Terrors. Terror-Children.
The first generation of the Terror-Children were derived from the forcibly-culled cells of thousands of displaced refugees harvested by masked technicians in service to various competing corporatipolitan non-states, clandestine Precursor-Dynasties and the forces of cultic sociopolitical parastates that arose in the wake of the Collapsalypse that swept across Lower Asia and the Drownded South (this being in the immediate wake of the first unsuccessful Sea Gate having gone terribly wrong due to sabotage).
Of course other accounts categorically dispute this above-mentioned claim, asserting that the Children were actually created within fortress-installations on Charybdis, or Jezeal, or even hypergeometrical temples on Paldrime. It is doubtful we'll ever really know for sure, and there are those who think that this is due to some deliberate effort on the part of the Children who guard their secrets very jealously, even from one another.
Whatever the true location of their birth, they were assembled, compiled, and composed within wombpods by faceless drones in service to soulless tyrants. As the telepoet Vu Chong has posted in his Lament of the Children--they were designed to be powerful weapons for a war that was over before it could even truly begin.
The wombpods were hacked, according to some. Humans ultimately make lousy weapons say others. All that is certain is that the children who were born of this particular process were...odd..not at all what their designers, composers, shapers or compilers had expected, nor were they what their tyrannical masters demanded.
The Children of the wombpods were planned to be functional immortals, amongst several dozen other such things. Their immune systems, endocrine systems and in fact every other system of their bodies were tweaked, enhanced, modified and re-designed to bring about every advantage and adaptation that they would need to fulfill their destinies. Whether or not that was to serve as hosts for the transplanted brainstems of their masters, or to crew gigantic ships that would have been sent out amongst the voidplaces between the stars no one really knows any longer.
The one fact that is beyond dispute is that because of the deep tampering with their biological processes, the Children were locked in a neotonous form of perpetual adolescence for multiple thousands of years. They would suffer wildly unstable hormonal fluxes and have an extended, hellishly protracted puberty that would last longer than most nations had histories. Many of them sought ways to rectify this matter, but the designs of their makers were every bit as draconian as their would-have-been masters. The Children could look forward to lifespans that might easily endure millions of years. They would regrow any severed limbs, heal from the worst traumas, resist radiation at least as well as cockroaches, and more, much more--but only if they never tampered with their own genes. Malicious failsafe mechanisms were embedded within their cells.
The Writhing Mass of Berlin may originally have been one of these Children who attempted to self-revise their genetics.
The Kafkesques may also have begun as the aftermath of another such attempt.
The Children responded to these things as any overtaxed, overwrought and overstimulated adolescent in the throes of existential horror would do. They lashed out.
Villow Ling chose a path of violence and atrocity that has served as an unholy source of inspiration to such artists of destruction as Imiten Varu and the AI Appollyon.
Verdajji Haunfure, one of only two Terror Children apart from Villow Ling to ever offer any sort of explanation, statement or testimony on their behalf, has been quoted as saying:
"Our so-called masters never consulted with us first, before proceeding with our creation. Of course their inability to conceive of how to do such a thing ought to have been enough of an obstacle to have given any truly rational intellect reason to pause, but not them. No. Not them. And they dare to call us the monsters. Or at least they did before we ended them."Haunfure, a self-declared spiritual anarchist was one of the driving forces behind the First Diaspora, an event that he worked to bring about primarily to provide him the means to achieve his ideal of dynamic solitude as outlined in the Lonely Book, a manifesto of sorts derived from the ecstatic analysis of the clues and puzzles embedded within A First Statement by three generations of failed ascetics who claimed to have some sort of direct biological relationship to Haunfure. All evidence of the three nuns were destroyed within the atomic fires of the Tyrant's Last Gasp, when nuclear weapons were exchanged amongst the Restricted Powers of Old Earth for the final time.
Excerpted from A First Statement,Attributed to Verdajji Haunfure
It is Haunfure who is blamed most often by RetConists, ReConstructionites, certain fashionable Sociatrist-Cliques, and others as the prime mover and very devil behind the mass dismantling of the great cities of Old Earth and the waves of forced emmigration that are now termed the Diasporas. No one has ever proven this claim. No one disputes it either. Only a few Scholars with shaky reputations and weak sword arms ever bother to investigate or research the matter any longer. It's just not fashionable, nor will it lead to any sort of promotion or recognition and it might derail one's path to tenure, acclaim or a cushy fellowship.
It is considered an unfortunate fact of history that the Sea Gates preceeded the birth of Haunfure and his kin by more than a hundred years. Of course most conventional scholars dismiss such a discrepancy as too small to even bother worrying about.
It is likewise considered an unfortunate and thoroughly unpleasant matter to dredge-up any sort of discussion regarding the means by which the Terror Children were created. While tragic and hateful, and oh so regrettable, of course it is very regrettable, it is something that took place well before the Genomic Edicts or even the first conclaves or salons of the Dabblers and Predecessors who set the stage for modern Genartistry to develop. Discussing such a thing is both impolite and about as useful as comparing the opinions of Illiterates in regards to something almost as ancient and pointless as the conspiracy to cover-up the scandalous roots of chemistry in Alchemy with all the attendant assassinations, intoxications and so forth that go along with it. It is wise to remain silent if one would dare to pick at old wounds that may not be entirely healed even now. All knowledge comes at a price. Knowledge such as involved the Terror Children is dangerous, volatile stuff. You don't truly want to know any more than you already do. Honestly. Take a hint.
There's no point and nothing to gain by looking into the matter, save perhaps an early retirement, or a forced descent into irrelevancy. As is said in Academic Circles: 'A bald-faced freshman won't even bother stabbing you over it.' To say that such a subject is unpopular or perhaps detrimental to one's career would be an understatement.
The Public Domain is filled with the partially deleted, mostly destroyed and thoroughly garbled databris left in the wake of the Spazm. That's the term for the total spontaneous annhiliation of all datasystems in the immediate access of the telepathic capabilities of the Terror Children. They literally destroyed all records and disrupted all connected servers, mainframes, datacaches, nodes, and anything else that was connected into the hardened military datasystems of their once and never masters. Satellites evaporated. The prehistoric prototype of the worldnet crashed and fragmented in ways inconceivable to all known science of the time.
A new age dawned. It was an age of gods and monsters, of heroes and villains, and terrible things beyond all prior imagining. It was the Singularity, but not as anyone might have hoped to have recognized it. It was the beginning, the raw and bloody and horrible first gasping breath of the Plurality. But first came the Terror.
The Terror is an event that still resonates across all the Known Worlds and beyond. It is perhaps best summed up by Scyllis Matreche, reputed to be the Founding Mother of the Scylloi, who has only ever bothered to register the following words within the Public Domain:
"Monsters. I shall show you what true monsters are."
"In films, we are trained by the American way of moviemaking to think we must understand and 'get' everything right away. But this is not possible. When you eat a potato, you don't understand each atom of the potato!"