I’ve always had my problems. And who doesn’t? It’s part of human nature. We’re a flawed species, incapable of perfection, sometimes even incapable of just getting it right. The common wisdom given us when we realize this is simply to keep on going. “You can do it!” “Put your mind to it!” “Don’t give up!” But it’s never that easy.
Nothing is ever that easy.
My trademark flaw is simple. I have a problem with momentum. I’ve never been outrightly pessimistic, but most of the time I just don’t know how to move forward. No matter what the cost, no matter what the outcome, I find myself getting left behind. If I had to put a name to my flaw, it would be Procrastination. Sometimes I get off to a good start, then when I reach the mid-way point I stumble, and by the end of the race I find that I’ve just given up. And more often than not, I don’t care. I’ll try better next time.
And then I don’t.
It took me a while to write this post. After the discoveries of last night, I couldn’t think of anything of substance to say. It was the end. I’d tried, and I’d failed. My brother was dead. Going forward was pointless, because there was no “forward.” The race ended when my brother was killed. So I’d simply pack up and go home, give up my fight, and call it a night. What else was there to do?
But then it hit me. Ye Olde Procrastination was at it again. I had reached a steep hill, and climbing it just felt like too much work. I wasn’t in despair, I had no real answers, and nothing was final. But going forward just felt too hard. I wasn’t writing off “progress” entirely, but I was putting it on hold. And if I’ve learned anything about myself, that’s basically the same thing.
But unlike the other times, there’s too much at stake here. This isn’t a school project, this isn’t a fling, and this isn’t my half-painted kitchen. I can’t put in a fraction of an effort here, because the outcome is quite possibly certain death. I can’t “try again later,” because the cost may be my brother’s life. There’s no time to put it on hold, and there are no do-overs. This is the real deal, and my flaw has no place here.
But that doesn’t make it any easier. I am, in a word, stumped. I may have killed Procrastination for the time being, but Hades and Persephone aren’t wasting any time moving on in and taking its place. Even with one obstacle out of the way, two others pop right up. That is, until they double as a pair of white rabbits, leading me down a rabbit hole to a land made up less of Wonder, but more of complete and utter Confusion.
I have been aware of this Aidoneus fellow for a short time now. When I saw that he had hacked Epithet Alpha‘s Twitter account (which I’m just going to assume plays a part in Mr. Hobbes’ “new and improved” recruitment process), I thought perhaps we were on the same page. But now that I know for certain that we’re after the same thing (at least when it comes to who our enemies are), I find myself hesitant to take his advice. How do I know I can trust him?
With that said, I will at least admit that I trust him in regards to what he has to say about the 8th Spoke. In fact, I took it to heart and took a nice long drive to Ann Arbor, Michigan to see if I could dig anything up on them. Not surprisingly, however, I came back empty-handed. In fact, when I contacted the organizers of the Mind=Matter seminar at the University, they said they were merely a little-known co-sponsor of the event, and that the bulk of the credit went to the Hanso Foundation.
Knowing the history of Hanso, this left me feeling uneasy. Everyone and their mother is aware of the nasty things that went down in ’06, right around the time my brother disappeared, when their former CEO went nutso and their North American headquarters went kablooey. But they’ve gone through a period of rebuilding and restructuring in recent years, and have been relatively transparent in the process, leading me to believe they’re not the shady genocidal maniacs they once were.
However, that’s not to say the skeletons in their collective closet are not related to the situation at hand. Indeed, the PR person I spoke to at the Foundation told me that they severed ties with the 8th Spoke after Thomas Werner Mittlewerk went off to play Fugitive. Whether this means they’re connected to his reign of terror I cannot be sure, but it definitely left a bad taste in my mouth.
So being unable to even prove the existence of this little group, I decided to turn to the names. I was able to track down most of the people mentioned on the pamphlet, but none of them turned up any leads. In fact, a few of them didn’t even remember the seminar. The ones that did said they were simply invited by a Prof. Alexander Berne of UoM, but after checking back with individuals from the University, it appears he passed away in 2007. Suspicious, no doubt, when you consider someone by the name of Alexander was apparently hosting the 8th Spoke’s little Memorial Day get-together this very same day.
Most of the other names on the website didn’t help much either. “Dr. Hall” and “Prof. Epstein” aren’t much help, the book club folks either aren’t really citizens of Michigan or just don’t exist, and the only Dr. Lexi Greenville I could find was a dentist who thought I was crazy. A Prof. Albert Fleming did hold a lecture at Arbor Hall, but apparently said lecture had nothing to do with the 8th Spoke, so I’m just going to assume they attended it. And neither of the speakers at the group’s “remembrance” ceremony were professors at the University, so even if they exist, they’re from out of town.
That ceremony was suspicious, however. If the University wasn’t aware of this group, how could they have held an event there just a few months ago? So I contacted them again, and brought this up. But again, their story held: a group did rent out Hill Auditorium at 4:00PM on December 19th, but they weren’t the 8th Spoke. No, they were a group calling themselves The Law, and apparently they’ve been renting it out that day every year since 1993. I asked for more information, but they didn’t give it to me. Confidentiality and all that.
And so I hit a roadblock. Either this group is a sham, or they don’t want their existence to be known. And if what Aidoneus says is true, that’s probably the case: if they’re dangerous, they probably also have something to hide. But what is it? Who are they seeking revenge against? And what does this have to do with my family?
These very questions are what caused me to stumble. This feels like it’s too much to handle, and yet I have to keep going. I’m not ready to give up, especially if there’s a chance my brother is still alive. So I’m going to trust Aidoneus, at least for now. If the “revenge” the 8th Spoke is seeking is for some reason against my brother, and if my acting quickly can prevent that, then I’ll do what I can. But what exactly can I do at this point?
Attempting to contact Aidoneus on Twitter has yet to bring back any response. So for now I’m going to wait, and let him, or perhaps you, figure out what to do next. That’s all I can do for now, but at least it’s something.
Procrastination is dead. Long live Procrastination.