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         Tez stepped inside the room, taking no notice of Chess and Sariel as they ducked out.  The hallway was empty and quiet, so Tez must have dismissed the guards outside their room.  And, as for everyone else, Chess figured they were staying as far away from the area as possible.  Who wanted to be caught in the detonation zone of Razor’s rage at Ileana?
         Chess spotted his backpack still lying on the floor and scooped it up with an explosive exhale of relief.  Sariel dived for her bag and began hurriedly plowing the medicinal items back into it with her arms.  She thrust a small tube of ointment up in the air for Chess to see.  “Take all of these!” she hissed.
         Without another word, Chess ran for the kitchen.  He knew where the nutrition bars were, but neither he nor Sariel had ever dared to take any of them, knowing that they would certainly be missed.  Now, however, he took the entire supply, dumping them into his backpack, on top of the first aid supplies, and stuffing the outside pockets with the bars as well.  A couple tubes of toothpaste and a bar of soap later, his bag had reached critical mass.  He grabbed some water bottles, and then headed out the doorway.  His heart was thumping, but he felt good to be, finally, in action.

         Moving as cautiously as he could, Chess hurried down the hallways until he was almost out of Razor’s building.  Through the windows he could see the glass walkway that he wanted to get to, and he picked up speed.  Just then, yards in front of him, one of Razor’s men stepped out from a doorway and yelled, raising his rifle as he did so.
         Chess froze, gasping in surprise.  But the guy was facing away from him, and taking aim at a figure who was just going through the door to the window-lined passage: Sariel.
         Chess did not have time to think.  He jogged backward for a few meters and yelled.  Then he turned and raced back down the adjoining corridor.
         The thud of boots following him told Chess that he had successfully diverted the guy from Sariel, but, in the space of half a minute, the shouts echoing along the hallway and the growing thunder behind him signified that a lot more of Razor’s men had joined the pursuit.
         Chess clutched the water bottles, pulled the backpack strap closer to his shoulder, and sped on through a door, cut around a sharp corner, and veered down a side passage.  The noise behind him grew ever louder, and a few times, over the sound of his own breathing and his heart pounding in his ears, he was sure he heard gunshots.
         He was already breathing hard, but he could make it.  He had done this many times, he reminded himself.  But not in a while, he realized, and he feared that he would rapidly grow weary.  Slowing down, though, would mean death.  And Sariel and Ileana were depending on him.

         As he left Razor’s building and ran into an adjoining one, the increasingly cluttered hallways blurred by him.  It was not late in the evening, and the halls were normally filled with activity at this time.  People around him were ducking in and out of the doorways in a kaleidoscope of activity, and he sensed a growing number of faces peering out at him.  He could even see people lining the hallways up ahead.  Word of the commotion had probably traveled around the entire compound already, he realized.  He kept running, and tried desperately to make some kind of plan.
         He wondered if they would be smart enough to send men circling around in front of him?
         In an effort to avoid that trap, he turned at the next door and raced down the flight of stairs to the basement of the building.  Behind him, the sound of pounding footfalls receded somewhat, but they were still coming.  Halfway down the basement corridor, he ran past a familiar face.
         “Well, hey there, sweetie,” the woman cried.  She was hauling something in through her door, but she stopped and gazed behind him down the hallway.    “What’s going--”
         “Hide!” he yelled, flailing the water bottles around as he raced past her.
         Behind him, he heard a crash.  And then a series of crashes.  And male voices cursing.    

Continued next page...


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Repressive Government

King Arthur: [grabs Dennis] Shut up! Will you shut up?!
Dennis: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system!
King Arthur: [shakes Dennis] Shut up!
Dennis: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I'm being repressed!
-Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

         Gods who are helpful to humans, even at their own expense: Prometheus, of Greek Mythology, is the first example that comes to my mind. Instructed by Zeus to create man, the titan found that he loved his creations and wanted to help them. But wisdom-bringing gods like Prometheus tend to gift things like fire, which are potentially as dangerous as they are helpful. Knowledge brings change. But change brings chaos and uncertainty, and, like revolutions, it does not always result in good at the end. Change might eventually bring something better to the world after a long while, but that conclusion is all a matter of perspective.
         Prometheus’s good intentions toward humans angered Zeus so much that the king of gods caused humankind to be punished by all the terrible things loosed from Pandora’s box. Meanwhile, Loki, the Norse god of mischief -- and, in some tales, of fire, as well -- tended to create trouble when someone was over-confident or things were going too wonderfully well for the gods. In fact, his greatest crime was committed when he prevented Odin’s wife from insuring that her son Baldur, the incarnation of perfection, would live, unchanging, forever. In the Christian tradition, Lucifer, whose name in Latin can be interpreted as the bringer of light or fire, revolted against a hierarchy that he could not accept, throwing heaven into civil war. And the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca, also, is considered to be the embodiment of change through conflict.
         Gods that cause death, war, and possibly the end of the world must be evil, right? Again, I guess it depends on your perspective. If the current hierarchy of the world and the governing gods have created a good situation for you, then I guess you might want the world to remain as it is, and for those in power to stay in power. If not, then you might find yourself a part of a rebellion against the gods. There is something kind of funny about those mythologies that deal with the end of the world. It’s as if they are whispering: okay, these people are in power now, and we will obey them. But just wait.

Marty: Giant evil gods.
Dana: I wish I could have seen them.
Marty: I know. That would have been a fun weekend.
-The Cabin in the Woods (2012)



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