Titans of Orion
Gideon Ezekiel Clarke
PUNCH THINGS, BE MORALLY UPSTANDING, LIVE THROUGH BULLCRAP
Generations before Gideon’s, in rhe year of the lord 1884, on his way to the Tay whale dissection author Ezekiel William Clarke fell foul of An’gel slave hunters, who had spotted his lone cart and with zero effort captured and began retaining the man. This was merely the first moment of a brutal saga.
In capture, Ezekiel saw skins darker and light, people he didn’t know and wouldn’t understand held in architecture that confused him. The script on the walls was indecipherable, the messages beyond his understanding.
The ship Ezekiel had been aboard was crippled, boarded and it’s cargo taken for rescue. To this day the free captain responsible has no name, but what is known is that they had planned poorly, forced to leave Ezekiel in the one place he wouldn’t be shot or entirely helpless with a half empty S-wallet that would pay three weeks of bottom grade rent Ezekiel couldn’t enquire about, feed him for three months if he knew where to shop and what wouldn’t kill him, or could perhaps purchase enough clothing and goods to pass off as knowing what they’re doing.
Ezekiel was not a stupid man, nor was he at all irresponsible, reckless or helpless. He was known as ‘snapdragon’ in the boxing ring back on earth and was comfortable enough witnessing dissections and medical practitioners at their work that he could steel his manner enough walking along these streets. He guessed that the ones in neater than most outfits holding glowing rods were to be avoided, that the especially dirty or erratic should be watched, and then he started looking at signs, reading surfaces carefully. Like a dock or store housing international goods, they were written in different tongues. Like working from the Rosetta stone he could pose as a curious or lost vagrant, figuring out what the text meant and learning like a child watching it’s mother how the local languages functioned as even the humans didn’t speak anything Ezekiel comprehended bar the occasional stripe of Latin or Germanic root from those that shared his predicament once. It was still a mess however, still what must have been months before speaking with anyone but the few other ex-abductees he’d been dropped off with. Several of whom spoke French and went their own way eventually, but the rest proved smart enough to stick together, leading Ezekiel to try his literary hand at communicating with the… Well the locals let’s call them.
There were maybe 20 others, but Ezekiel needed time to work on speaking with the natives and the others were hopeless for it. The only living space they could agree on staying in was a large metal crate, quite a technological marvel fabricating such a thing along with the 500 others he’d seen around but this one appeared discarded, so naturally homeless people were going to live in it. Ezekiel did work out something approaching language. a series of gestures and one word sentences to communicate he wanted to buy this or that, plus he worked out enough reading to use the automatic food dispensers after working up the courage to interact with the fluorescent moving screens. That this could be the future of earth’s oscilloscope was a tantalising but now pointless thought.
Ezekiel and his tiny community found work one by one. Some of them, taught by the writer learned the local tongue enough to express ignorance and were bustled off to be educated. Ezekiel kept pushing himself to learn as much as possible before risking it and he, along with a young English speaking Austrian woman were the last of the ex-abductee group. They decided by the end to stay together, try and make a family.
I needn’t go into too much detail about the intervening years. But Ezekiel and Amara (the mother) sired Joseph, who fathered Jane, who was told by her mother that the name Gwendolyn was requested by Ezekiel for his great-great granddaughter. Ezekiel taught his sons and daughters and asked the grandchildren be taught to value everything. Thoughts, property and health needed guarding in a place like this. So from Ezekiel to Gwendolyn, the Clarke’s kept existing.
And here enters Gideon.
Born of Gwendolyn Ezekiel Clarke and sired by Ingman (who never gave his last name even after a bastardised version of a wedding ceremony the two put together, taking the Clarke name instead) at the earth time of 14:06 on the earth day of the 28th September 1969, Gideon Ezekiel Clarke developed through the same process most underseam children would, hiding with his mother in a simple apartment, with rent paid by mother’s incessant attempts at work placement while Gideon passed through a token education in the vague hope it would get him somewhere in life. Maybe even an escape from this place (not knowing it was rigged to prevent such a thing). The whereabouts of Gideon’s father can last be traced to when Gideon was around 5, when he left the underseam with a free captain, hoping to make a little coin by allying with a Chrin nomad caravan as escort so he could return and give Gwen and his son hope, but a few months later reports came back that he had died during a raid. Defending the captain of the chief vessel.
Gideon simply lived through such tragedy. The memories of his father were unclear at that age and all he knows in adult life is that he was the kind of man who would die on the bridge of a friend’s vessel saving their life, or at least extending it. Gideon simply carried on, going through education and developing the kind of intuitions that allow one to walk quietly along underseam streets unbothered by pickpockets (taping his valuables to his chest hair often did the trick, if nothing else the pickpockets were easier to chase on the adrenaline high of torn out hair).
By fifteen, Gideon was leaving the education cube system, the last few days eking out while Gideon started a job search when a quiet afternoon was interrupted by bullying. Gideon became witness to a group of Chrin in grey-blue sashes hassling another in orange and black about something he couldn’t understand (Gideon not having the privilege of a universal translator and Chrin dialect being like a three Welshmen attempting to do impressions of a Japanese person speaking Créole). Something ticked in Gideon, something told him he could help without getting hurt. He ended up getting hurt. Chrin kick pretty hard and they bite worse. The next thing Gideon could understand was sitting in a quiet room as the orange and black sashed Chrin patched his wounds and tried to communicate.
After a little figuring out, the two had each other’s names, Gideon and Hy’t’vwuney (which was usually contracted to Y’voney, then do Yvonne apparently). They talked for a little, the Chrin felt obligated to return the favor of taking those blows. Gideon ended up being lead to a Chrin clan-apartment building, where Yvonne’s father T’groney (owner of the flowing talon bar) offeref Gideon a job based on the idea that Gideon seemed an upstanding sort by foing such a thing and that it was the least they could repay him with. This was more then convenient, Gideon’s mother was at breaking point trying to feed them both as Gideon grew, he needed a job now. And with that job came work time with Yvonne.
The two came to know each other pretty well. The Chrin are want to invite their workers to live with them, so while to Gwendolyn and son alike it was odd the pair were near enough given a home in the clan Hatchsiin (Ha-seen, as most humans pronounce it) building, merely on the condition that Gwendolyn switch her secretarial work to aiding the Chrin (and a few others off odds and ends races) in keeping the place running. In short, they had a far more welcoming home.
Here, things get messy for Gideon.
four, five years pass. Gideon integrates smoothly. he and Yvonne come to trust each other in months, and by the third year T’groney is delighted, suggesting some marriage equivalent their clan uses to show how close their families are.
This set off something ofva talk for the Clarkes. It had come to light to Ezekiel that there weren’t really many vicars or priests about. The closest easily available thing would be a member of the amalgamated human church, who hate that name but can’t seem to agree on a better one, and Ezekiel wasn’t sure what to make of even the concept of faith after learning about why angels and daemons exist inuman culture. It put too many holes in his Sunday school memories and raised enough questions about the rest that his best recorded thought on the subject some time leading to his death reads thus:
“If there is still a god, and he still loves each of us. What he would wish for should be prosperity shouldn’t it? That we go forth and multiply. Then do so. An hour in the church or an hour’s work done. One of those benefits us both, and is logically if nothing else more worth doing.”
That concept spread down, taught the Clarke’s honour through success. But didn’t unfortunately help on the subject of marriage, so the entire line from that point on were born out of wedlock.
But now a Chrin offers the family a place, to be held as family by an entire clan. Gideon paused. But said yes. It took little thought when he considered Yvonne.