“Pass the chainsaw please,” the request came from one of the serial killers who were gathered at the Round Table. Tea and snacks were served along with tools of evisceration. A victim was soft-glued to the table, gagged and ready to be dismembered. It was a fond memory of free and easy days gone by. Jupiter Fogg was reminiscing. Before he was an influential and powerful Alchemist, Jupiter Fogg was known as The Artist, an infamous serial killer. It was part of his strategy to gain fame and fortune. Fogg tittered to himself thinking about the excesses of unrestrained youth in Red City; unfortunately draconian laws were passed and the Round Table of killers was disbanded. People in the city had become fearful of roaming bands of murderers so they stayed home and no longer spent their hard earned dollars which was disastrous for the economy. As a consequence, the laws were enacted to restrict murder for pleasure. It really raised the hackles of many conscientious killers including Fogg, but in the end his fortune came through his alchemical pursuits and hard work. He realized how fortunate he’d been. Some of the other members of the Round Table were far from fortunate. The leader at that time, Anton Bane, was now a dead man, living in Hell.
Jupiter Fogg wanted to bring back the glory of the Round Table. It was necessary to fulfill the promise of the Philosopher’s Stone. Immortality could only be achieved through death and violence; and most essentially through the vehicle of a sacrificial victim. Daniel Ot, his apprentice, was Fogg’s designate. Of course the boy was not aware of Fogg’s plans. Ot did what he was told and worked in silence, dismembering animals and portraying the entrails on canvases as macabre art, as per Fogg’s instructions. Fogg watched the boy intently, recalling Emma Sturgeon’s choice of victims and her depraved interest in male body parts that Fogg found so endearing. He hadn’t heard from Emma in years. He would always remember the joyous romps they shared together searching for their sacrificial lambs. They partied and devised ingenious methods of killing. Fogg always displayed his victims as art. He particularly enjoyed the exhibitions he shared with Emma. She was a genius almost as brilliant as himself. Her body art was distinct from his own, yet compelling and wrenching. They both achieved praise from critics and cognoscenti in the art world.
SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, shut down. All the radio telescopes and transmission equipment fizzed like a 4th of July, megaton firecracker. Jerrold Hanover, one of the technicians, was the first to notice something strange just before the blackout. He was on the night shift at the Arecibo Observatory. He was bored at 3 a.m., looking at pornography and masturbating when a sound came from the speakers, a radio transmission from space unlike anything he’d ever heard. A high pitched drone was followed by a call for help, in English! It knocked his socks off. The telescopes were focused on an area in space two-hundred light years distant from Earth. Then, everything fizzed.
Jupiter Fogg discovered the Philosopher’s Stone twenty years earlier, but he didn’t know how to use it. He kept the secret to himself. He was using radiography to study parts of the human brain. He’d always been interested in the Pituitary Gland, a pea sized gland located in the center of the skull. Year after year, Fogg studied the Pituitary – developing instruments to delve deeper and using alchemical incantations to gain enhanced imagery. The Stone was a tiny indentation at the center of the Pituitary Gland. It was marked by a strange purple coloration that could only be seen through a modified electron microscope, one of Fogg’s inventions. Instinctively, Jupiter Fogg realized the implications of his discovery. The Philosopher’s Stone was part of human anatomy. The Stone was the key to immortality and Godhood, but only if it could be awakened from a state of hibernation. (to be continued)