Thursday, April 11, 2019

Don't Move! This is a Haibun! NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 11 + Poems in April 2019 Day 8 & 11: Small but Fierce vs. Large and Fatal

Cie's family, 1973
Dad (31 May 1936 - 28 November 2010)
Mom (Will be 80 in June)
Younger Brother (Turned 50 on March 17 of this year)
The Ugly Duckling Who Never Became a Swan (Turned 54 on 14 February)

I am now doing NaPoWriMo and trying to catch up on Poems in April with The Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, which I didn't know was a thing until a couple of days ago. 
I'm going to try and get reeeealllly creative with the prompts so I can catch up sooner. The result will probably be a cobbled-together horror which would make Nyarlathotep run screaming into the night. Let's get going!
So, NaPoWriMo wants to know where I'm from, not as in my location, but as in, who am I? It's probably more of a what than a who, but I'll give it a shot.
The Toads want to know the news from my bed and what would scare the thing I'm scared of. Well, go get your coffee and donuts and come back. Eat a donut. Drink your coffee. And don't move, this is a Haibun!

Where Am I From?
Back on February 15, 1965, a thing that really didn't belong in this world was born into this world. 
This thing was an awful pain from the start. 
It was born in a raging blizzard. 
It didn't sleep well. 
When it was about a year and a half old, some genius of a doctor gave it phenobarbitol to try and make it sleep. It was awake for three days. 
Something was evidently weird about this thing. It didn't play by the rules.

What Did I Become?
Not surprisingly, the thing grew up to be terribly unpopular and not all well liked. Its peers made it their scapegoat. 
Since the thing really didn't have any friends among its peers, it found "friends" in other places. 
The thing found "friends" in reruns of a very special program called Star Trek. 
It especially liked Mr. Spock, because he was kind of sad and didn't fit in either.

What Scares an Abomination?
I could have written about how much I hate centipedes and cockroaches and earwigs, but I don't know what scares those. Cockroaches aren't scared of anything. They are going to survive the nuclear apocalypse. If cockroaches had middle fingers, they would be scuttling around with their middle fingers raised all the time. 
I didn't want to write about roach motels anyway.
So, I thought I'd write about the thing that scared that ugly, unwanted little girl monster, and continues to terrify and inspire the ugly, unwanted adult monstrosity that she became. Ready, readers? Let's go!

The Lights of Zetar

One day the child monstrosity was watching her beloved Star Trek and daydreaming that she was grown up and pretty and that Mr. Spock was her boyfriend. Please keep in mind that she was ten years old and stupid.
That was the day when the girl monstrosity would discover the thing that scared her most. Even more than vampires. Even more than the Xenomorphs that would later lurk in the shadows. Even more than malevolent ghosts.
The girl monstrosity was raised Catholic, and the most frightful idea to her was that of being possessed or otherwise overtaken by a demon. But there are ways of stopping even demons if you can find a priest who has mystical knowledge.
The Lights of Zetar were something that could travel through space at warp speed, come through walls, and destroy a person's brain. There is something viscerally terrifying in that concept.
With the medical knowledge that I would later acquire, I could have told Dr. McCoy that the Lights of Zetar cause their victims to have a massive stroke. Fortunately for the story's heroine, Mira Romaine, there was something unusual about her brain, so they only caused her to have a T.I.A. (transient ischemic attack, colloquially a "small stroke.")
From my current vantage point, I know how the Lights of Zetar effect was created. The entity itself is made of gelatin. The flashes are caused by aluminum powder. 
The script had its problems. When watching the episode from my current vantage point, I always end up thinking that if Captain Kirk refers to a grown adult woman as "the girl" one more time, I'm going to make him wear his balls for earrings. 
Nonetheless, even knowing that the entity depicted is pretty much Jello and Pop Rocks, the CONCEPT remains compelling, and The Lights of Zetar remain the scariest combination of Jello and Pop Rocks in the Universe. I still have nightmares about these fuckers. 
As to why I find Jello and Pop Rocks more terrifying than Xenomorphs, vampires, or even demons, there are ways to fight all of those. Even though you might not have much of a chance, there's still some chance. Besides, demons generally don't blow out their victim's brain. 
The Lights of Zetar can travel faster than light speed, pass through the hull of a starship, and most of the time, they fry their victim's brain. It's like a supermassive extraterrestrial cerebrovascular accident (CVA). I did not have knowledge of the term CVA when I was ten years old. All I knew was that The Lights of Zetar terrified me.

Fan Fiction and Beyond
I always wanted to create a back-story for The Lights of Zetar, but wouldn't end up doing so until more than 40 years after I saw the original episode. 
Thanks to my obsession with an almost universally panned episode of a decades-old television series, I can now tell you all what would scare the thing that scares me.

Meet the Citizens of Zecor
Princess Ondina, reluctant regent

Qweh, tyrant king of West Zecor
(I believe the image is of a mage from Skyrim)

Serab, a lowly Ahprizite hybrid thief
(This image is from deviantart. The artist's information is in the watermark.)

Yadira, high priestess of the Outer Gods and daughter of Nyarlathotep
This is a very impressive prosthetic makeup created by Daniele Tinzani

Zecor is the sixth planet orbiting the binary Zetar star system. East Zecor was a peaceful, almost Utopian society. West Zecor was ruled over by King Qweh, a sadistic tyrant who relished physically torturing and having his sociopathic scientists experiment upon his hapless subjects. 
Qweh enjoyed psychologically torturing his insubordinate younger sister, Princess Ondina, by turning his victims over to her and challenging her to use her empathic healing abilities on these usually fatally wounded unfortunates.
One day, Princess Ondina's bodyguard managed to enrage King Qweh and wound up dead. Qweh rounded up his posse and went searching for his daily quota of victims. The group happened upon Serab, a destitute thief. Serab was nimble and adept at escaping from impossible situations, but he was badly outnumbered and taken into captivity.
The ruling race on Zecor tended to be very tall. Princess Ondina was around six feet tall and King Qweh stood at around seven feet four inches. Serab was an Ahprizite hybrid. The Ahprizite were a diminutive race of humanoids. Serab was only five feet three inches tall and slightly built. 
King Qweh thought it a great joke to present his sister with the tiny Serab as a replacement for her slain bodyguard, but Ondina did not react with the scorn that the king had hoped for. She instead saw Serab's potential and took him on as her bodyguard and assistant. 
The affection between Ondina and Serab quickly became romantic, and, although they tried to present their relationship as being purely one of mutual respect, their true feelings were impossible to hide. Qweh was enraged at the way his sister was conducting herself with a common thief right under his nose.
Qweh had an adviser named Baroness Yadira, who was not only a powerful sorceress but the daughter and high priestess of Nyarlathotep. Yadira taught Qweh and his followers the indomitable magic of the Mythos of the Outer Gods. 
Qweh was meant to use this magic to subjugate other races and turn them into cultists serving the Outer Gods. However, he was an inept bumbler and, on one drunken night, attempted to exert his newfound power over the Zetar system's small sun. The small sun reacted by cannibalizing the large sun, causing itself to go nova, and flooding the planets with deadly gamma radiation.
Qweh used the magic Yadira had given him to turn himself and his sycophants into a powerful noncorporeal hive entity, the manifestation which came to be known as The Lights of Zetar. Prior to vacating his doomed body, Qweh murdered Serab and admonished Ondina that he would destroy the unfortunate thief in any future lifetime where she attempted to reunite with him.
Ondina responded by dispatching Serab's departing spirit to The Realm of the Yellow Sun (Earth's solar system.) She spent many lifetimes distancing herself from him so as not to bring down Qweh's wrath upon him. However, Serab's love for Ondina was undying, and he spent as many lifetimes trying to draw her back to him.
Finally, in Earth's twentieth century, Serab was reborn as Gerold Lyon Clifford on 12 December 1951 at 6 P.M. in Glasgow, Scotland. Ondina was reborn as Pepper Baiij on 12 October 1967 in Lawrence, Kansas. 
Both Gerry and Pepper had strong psychic abilities. They also had a millenniums-old enemy tracking them. When Gerry was twenty years old, he celebrated a record deal by dropping a tab of acid. While standing on a balcony smoking a cigarette, he was attacked by the Lights of Zetar entity, which hoped to use him as a host to enact Qweh's undying hope to become ruler over the cosmos.
Gerry, however, had unusually strong latent magical abilities, which enabled him to banish the entity from Earth. His physical vehicle was unable to endure the constant struggle to keep the planet safe, and, over time, his physical brain started to erode. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease on 20 December 2007 and committed to the Candlelight Ridge Residential Care Facility on 19 November 2013.
As Gerry's physical brain deteriorated, his vulnerable spirit was targeted by Yadira, now known as Yadira Root, who assumed the guise of a kindly volunteer at Candlelight Ridge. In reality, the sorceress was seeking souls to become part of her own personally crafted hive entity, intended to counter the narcissistic and overall ineffective entity comprised of Qweh and his toadies.
Yadira's intent is to eradicate Qweh and his Lights of Zetar and to finally make her father, Nyarlathotep, proud by conquering worlds with the help of the entity which she has been carefully creating over the course of many centuries. Like other Great Old Ones, Nyarlathotep is patient. He knows that all will transpire when The Stars Are Right.
Thus, to make a long story long:
The Lights of Zetar are proven to be frightfully inept though nonetheless incredibly dangerous and exceedingly terrifying.
The thing that most frightens King Qweh, the commanding component in this psychokinetic salad of a giant spacefaring brain, is an ancient and pissed-off sorceress who wants him erased or enslaved, and she doesn't care much which.
Although he would never admit it, the mighty King Qweh is also tremendously threatened by Serab, a small and humble being with a stalwart spirit. As well, Qweh was always quite keen to keep Ondina subjugated, for it was obvious from the time of her birth that her innate powers easily exceeded his own.
In conclusion:

Mighty you may seem
In truth, you are a blowhard
Felled by a small thing

Created by:
The Real Cie
with essential help from
Gem Moondreamer
Lady Eddie
Rose LeMort

This piece was started at donut and coffee time. I hoped to have it finished by lunchtime, but it was not completed until dinnertime. I suck at deadlines.
Nyarlathotep and the Outer Gods are the creations of H.P. Lovecraft
The Lights of Zetar is a (thankfully) fictional extraterrestrial being which appeared on the original Star Trek series in 1969. This entity is the creation of the late Jeremy Tarcher and the late Shari Lewis. 
Shari Lewis' involvement in this creepy episode tends to come as a surprise to people, as she was famous for her work with the cuddly Lamb Chop puppet, not for writing about horrific entities from space which scare grouchy and curmudgeonly horror harridans for a lifetime.

Nightmare Bonus:

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