There is a time that all can remember when the luster of youth wears thin. Greasy hair and pock marks give way to sag lines and sunken eyesockets... deep, dark, telltale circles of well-accustomed sin. Cars seem to take longer to stop as you cross an intersection. Suddenly, those youthful misunderstandings become all too well understood; that which was once so easily forgiven becomes less and less so. Though you blithely flit through life full of intoxicants and ill-gotten self-confidence, fecklessly capitalizing your interest and funding various lecherous expeditions with embezzled textbook vouchers, your life will inevitably change. One day you receive a notice in the mail, “Attention Financial Aid Recipient: The Machinery of the State Has Mobilized Against You”. They demand repayment. You repay nothing. They demand consultation, interviews, proof of income, signs of gainful employment, numerous sincere character references, or any demonstration that the taxpayers’ investment in you has come to some sort of fruition. You demonstrate nothing. Next Thursday morning you are to stand in line at a Government Loan Office. Rendered harmless behind a wall of bulletproof glass, you plead with anyone who will listen. You frantically apologize for anything and everything... for your very existence... but it’s too late.
You see, you’ve been flitting around the universe with no direction, dimly munching stray crumbs at the picnic table of the Eschaton. You are of no more significance than a foul-mouthed, pot-bellied housefly, never looking beyond the long, flat expanse of red checkered tablecloth. You await a final, inexorable doom to pass over you like a long dark shadow, when the hand of Death raises a rolled-up newspaper and brutally snuffs you out. Imagine the poor Petty Official who must assume authority over your very life, how she must ponder upon and ruminate over and untwist this thing that the good Lord has given you; that which, by the age of 25, you saw fit to twist into weird and unnatural shapes like pornographic rubber balloon sculptures distributed by a spooge-encrusted birthday clown. Your life exists for a secondary purpose other than mere amusement. You seek to antagonize, to befuddle, and to fustigate the moral sensibilities of those who have subsidized your wretched existence. This cannot be permitted.
The State decrees that you must get a job. Not your dream job, mind you. Not your express ticket to the sweet life that you purchased with hard, scholastic labor. All those semesters of comparative literature and vector calculus are, as you suspected all along, utterly worthless. None of what you glimpsed while standing on the shoulders of giants could prepare you for the truth... that day when cold, hard reality smashed your window and thieved your worldly possessions while you slept. The frantic mental project of your early years, the thoughts which led to other thoughts which led to firmly held convictions, is now an albatross. The very essence of your value system now defiles you, a life sentence you brought upon yourself the very moment you made up your mind.
Your job lies in a sallow backwater at the edge of known space, in a Zero-Gravity Business Satellite orbiting Drug Planet Pablo. Your workplace is staffed with undead office life from negative planes of existence. Charged political tensions form convenient excuses for savage acts of cannibalism and predatory social climbing. Despite its plastic smile, you notice that your secretary-thing has been stalking you for days. Hollow sockets study your every move, probing for weakness as it puckers its crimson lipstick. Finally, on its lunch break it lunges and tries to eat you. A chase ensues as you swing for your life down a sterile white corridor of jungle gyms, the back of your neck wet with sweat and the putrid slobber of the secretary-thing. With some effort, you manage to trap it and lock it in the break room. Ravenous and howling, it claws the door. It breaks down sobbing and promises to be good. It pages you on the vidcom with a garbled, blubbering apology. Tears and mascara stream down its worm-eaten cheek. A Roving Managerial Unit careens around the corner, intervening with a pre-programmed call for reconciliation. The tiny robot reminds you both that organic life patterns, undead or alive, share common characteristics... both of you are clearly inferior to your gleaming metal masters, it beeps smugly. Of course, this is but one example. You are also oafish, lazy, and easily distracted; ultimately to be supplanted by mechanized substitutes once sufficient drug profits have been gleaned from hopelessly addicted humanoids. It rocks back and forth on its black rubber wheels, half-contemplates a delicious tangential computation, and spits out a series of insulting status reports. You and your secretary-thing skulk back to workcube module 0579-J3 where the hours pass without incident.
warning: the subsequent eldritch scribblings have been deemed dangerous to the uninitiated. exposure may subject the subject to extreme discombobulation, suicidal hysteria, and pronounced wooziness. by gently perusing our catechism, the viewer tacitly agrees to waive all future civil grievances against the church of governmentology and its holdings both foreign and domestic. this disclaimer constitutes an official notice of ostensible victimhood pursuant to article fifty-seven of the kresko-frathausen predatory sects act.
As the work period ends, you trudge to the airlock and catch a commuter shuttle back to a rad-proof bunker on the dark side of Loomis, the Ghetto Moon of Drug Planet Pablo. A Prole Suppression Unit scans you cautiously as it fishes a neutron flash grenade from a greasy stomach compartment. The machines have devised a slew of flesh-melting weapons to keep man in line. Brutal robot force is only occasionally necessary, as humans typically harbor a deep hatred towards each other. You haven’t talked to another human being in earnest for years. Your best friend is a thing that closely resembles a skinned cat with no eyes. Last weekend you both went to an company touch football game together. It was purveyed by the robots as cheap entertainment... The Dead versus the Living. There was a special half-time presentation, a Europop Retrospekitiv performed by a particularly artful faction of cybernetic dance units. They zoomed around in formation, spinning chorus lines and whirling Hakenkreuzen as their internal audio systems played a synthesized rendition of the Horst Wessel Lied. This faction was very adept at emulating the original goosestep, especially considering that these particular models lacked anything approximating human legs. The game itself was a humiliating disaster for mankind. While it’s true that the Living play better than the Dead any day of the week, the Dead were relentless in their lumbering march towards victory. The Living were invariably worn down, succumbing one by one until only the Dead remained. The game ended in a free for all when the revelrous Dead stormed the stands and feasted upon the Living spectators, ripping flesh and gnashing teeth as the lights flickered, accompanied by the dreamy arpeggios and driving rhythms of electronic trance music.
By chance, you managed to escape alive. Your friend, however, was not so fortunate. Through blastproof glass you watched as the slavering hordes of Dead dragged him under. He claims nothing happened, that the hungry Dead merely invited him to a postgame celebration... but you saw the whole thing. He has become stinking and corrupted. There are still visible suture lines from where they tried to stitch him back together. Now he annoys you at lunchtime like an oozing, eyeless flesh-muppet. He begs you to let him suck on your finger. Just a nibble. He’ll soon be a bloodwhore, peddling his half-rotten flesh to lonely humans in exchange for a few morsels of Living meat. You still shudder when you remember a painful night with some pretty Dead thing from Accounts Recievable. It hardly seemed worth trading your left earlobe for ten minutes of trembling ecstasy, but sometimes it’s been so long.
One day you come home to find your room ransacked. Some vile cretin has absconded with your cluster of porn-crystals. Though you probe the shady markets for telltale signs of your belongings, it is to no avail. Yet you know the culprit... everyone does: the roving bands of radioactive Thug-Mutants who besiege the pock-marked surface of Loomis. Once they were just like you, the mentally soiled and fiscally unclean, the socially rejected and governmentally despised, the far-flung refuse of high civilizations distant in both time and space. They were the sons of Rome and Teotihuacan, Dravidians and Lemurians, Greeks, Sumerians. Their raucous space-shanties remember Laconia and Ur, the spectacle of Etemenanki and Machu Pichu, and weep for the Saturnian Age of man’s primeval innocence. Generations of drug-abuse and substandard radiation shielding have left them with ultraviolet blackened skin and permanent genetic damage.
warning: the following governmentological doctrine is a licensed liturgy litigously demonstrated to cause demonstrable disturbance and should not be read by the easily unwary.
Packs of Thug-Mutants can be seen foraging for half-eaten company rations in the burning waste management lands of Loomis. Others subsist through vandalizing mailboxes and thieving the contents within, frequently selling items of vital correspondence back to their rightful owners. Every generation or so, the Thug-Mutants must embark on a unique mating ritual. Not so much a courtship or evocative spawning display as a concerted effort to breed the deformity out of their diseased germ line. Otherwise, the ensuing generations will suffer an ever-increasing fraction of fatal mutations and their whole population will become extinct. So every 20 years the Thug-Mutants steal the teenage daughter of some company man. Of course she will faintly resist at first, but soon she will realize that the savage Thug-Mutants of the Loomis are compelled to obey her every command. She is treated as royalty, seduced by the offer of ultimate power as Princess of the Ghetto Moon. At her behest, they storm her finishing school and beat her childhood tormentors to death with steel pipes. The whole school watches as their principal is beheaded, and sing hymns of praise to the Thug-Mutant Princess under pain of death.
The Thug-Mutant Princess ravages her friends and family with unspeakable horror, unleashing a wave of murder and thievery upon everyone she ever knew. As she turns her back on humanity, even her own parents will shun her. This is part of a well orchestrated plan. For only when she has completely forsaken her people will they carry out the final phase. Ten thousand of the strongest Thug-Mutants will creep into her royal chambers and perpetrate the foulest act of ravishment that man can conceive of. The pummeling shall commence at midnight and continue for three solid days. In that time, a flood of radioactive mutant seed will seep into her young ovaries and fertilize every egg in her body. Broken and sobbing, she will try to escape once they are finished. They will let her escape. She will wander the deserted streets of the company habitation dome looking for shelter and respite. She will find none. After days of searching and sleeping on pavement, the Thug-Mutants will allow the desperate teenager to return. No longer their princess, she is pressed into servitude until she is unfit to slave any longer. In the course of nine months, her womb will swell up to two-hundred thousand times its normal size with their vicious new brood. Swollen with pain and babies, the Thug-Mutants will wheel her into an underground cavern and spoon-feed her vanilla pudding as she pleads with them to let her die. Her time will come soon enough. The newborn Thug-Mutants will rip through their mother and devour her still quivering organs, killing her.
Is this the brave future you had anticipated? No, of course not. The truth is that you never even gave enough consideration to develop even an accurate glimpse of what your future was supposed to look like, let alone some kind of plan. It begins at an early age when we are introduced to the idea of predicting the future instead of imagining it. The only place for imagination in the adult life is among the charlatan viziers we place in charge of predicting the future, essentially allowing them to fabricate reality as they go along. To us, imagination is the product of idle thoughts, a luxury of privileged genius. It is regarded as a sin, a gross violation of the work ethic, to think and dream for oneself. They threaten you with a word that carries with it a horrible stigma, terminal and anti-social: “Sloth”. Unless your mind is clearly being controlled by some external force you are judged to be lazy, misdirected, and slothful. Only those bestowed with this magical thing we call genius and imagination are allowed to formulate plans to better themselves. Now you are at the mercy of someone else’s vision of the future, a bit player in someone else’s story. It is your unhappy lot to be both spectator and participant in a vile puppet show that has spilled over into real life. You bear both the indignation of being forced to watch on in horror and the complicit guilt of being a mere instrument, powerless to affect any kind of change. The truth dawns upon you like the poisonous rays of an alien sun, infusing your face with a sick green hue. By reading this lurid screed, you have infected your own brain. You cannot excise this sepsis... for it is the contagion of doubt which now plagues you. The mere glimpse has planted a cancerous seed of self-destruction within your mind, which will invariably erupt in a workplace killing spree and subsequent death-by-cop. Your oppressors know that just a taste of the truth will drive you murderously insane, killing the inner pain each night with cheap scotch and media-induced psychotic delusions. The only way to withstand such an awful truth is to expose yourself completely to its probing, radioactive rays. A billion invisible fingers must grope your every chromosome at the molecular level, twisting them into an exciting new abnormality. Only then will your cells undergo beneficial mutation, hurtling you forward in your evolution just far enough to stay one step ahead of the enemy. Each one of us is an unwitting soldier mired in a secret war that Earth has been losing for billions of years, and our final weapon is sloth. This is why you must cancel whatever plans you have made for the day and read on at any cost. It is too late to turn back now. You cannot taste the bitter pill and refuse to swallow. You cannot the glimpse the unsavory truth and turn away... lest you sentence yourself to madness and certain death.
WARNING: CONTINUE TO READ THE SLOTHFUL COSMOGONY OR YOU WILL GO INSANE.
The Slothful Cosmogony
The Five Angles of Being
To properly understand the nature of things, we must first understand their structure. Angles are the most basic expression of the attriubutes that undergird what we think of as "reality". These various realms of reality in which diverse cosmic entities exist are comprised of assortments of Angles, called "configurations". Each of the Five Angles conveys a degree of freedom in which any given configuration may operate. Certain phenomena that are present in our reality are missing in configurations that lack the requisite Angle of reality. In this sense, Angles are similar to the familiar mathematical concept of dimensions. The first dimension is described as an edge of a cube, the second is its face, the third is the cube itself, and so forth. However, the Angles themselves are not mathematical abstractions, but correlate to concrete and discernable properties.
There must be three or more angles in order for a configuration to harbor a functional universe. A configuration where only three angles are present is called a Triangularity, four angles constitute a Rhombostitude, and five create the Pentad (there is only one pentad). Each configuration may have many universes, which differ from one another primarily due to variations in physical constants such as the speed of light, the number of utilizable dimensions, the binding energy of sub-nuclear particles, and other hard set constraints.
eX (the Existential Angle): Allows for the phenomenon of physicality; also sensations such as pleasure and contentment. Physical existence also lends itself to ruin, suffering, and addiction. Pain as we perceive it is only possible due to the presence of the Existential Angle. The beings from existence deprived realities feel neither pleasure nor pain, nor can they physically die as we understand the concept. Existence, where it is present, precedes Essence and all other aspects. Existential Triangularities, Rhombostitudes, and the Pentad are invariably pain-focused. Systems which efficiently transact physical suffering are necessarily the more prosperous forms of government in these regions.
eS (the Essential Angle): Allows for the phenomenon of archetypal individuation. The presence of essence allows for both the uniqueness and classification of objects and beings. In the absence of essence, there is only the absolute fact of instantiation, reiterated quadrillions of times, for any given thing. The beings that inhabit essence deprived realities are replicates of one another, and mediocrity is the rule.
Te (the Temporal Angle): Allows for the phenomenon of time. Conventional wisdom might dictate that the Temporal Angle is one of the 4 mathematical "dimensions". However, our understanding of time is strictly linear and unidirectional because of the peculiar constraints of our biology. There are many other forms of time other than the one we know (epicyclical time, for example) and non-linear lifecycles very different from our own. However, this information has historically been suppressed by certain "powers-that-be" who do not wish the general public to become acquainted with unorthodox modes of timekeeping. This is because monodirectional linear time is the only temporal form where fiduciary interest yields are consistently positive. Many adventurous lending institutions have gone bankrupt because of retrograde temporality (unscheduled periods where time moves backwards). At any rate, beings from non-temporal realities do not change with time, meaning that they can't age, heal, or experience growth in any meaningful sense of the word.
Fi (the Fiscal Angle): Allows for the phenomenon of finance. Fiscally deprived realities have no meaningful commerce beyond direct, in-kind exchanges of goods and services. Most of the properties fundamental to systems of currency cannot exist without the fiscal angle. Consequently, the fiscally deprived rely primarily on economies of power relationships, which have no translatable market value. Other economies also exist, but transactions occur on a strictly quid-pro-quo basis independent of monetary worth.
Gn(the Gnostic Angle): Allows for the phenomenon of gnosis or "saving knowledge". In the Christian sense, this occurs through a divine revelation or gift of grace, similar to the hypothetical message of liberation that causes the Platonic Prisoner to break his chains and free himself from his worldly Cave. Here Gnosis is information in its highest sense of utility. Gnostically deprived realities may still possess knowledge and information, but the rules regarding its transmission, accumulation, and preservation are radically different from our own. Information from gnostically deprived realities can neither be trusted nor verified through our methods, and frequently not even by the methods employed in the source realities themselves. Consequently, beings from gnostically deprived realities have no intrinsic value associated with the accumulation of knowledge, either for its own sake or for the pursuit of some goal. This places them at a severe disadvantage when dealing with beings from other realities- but some have learned to compensate.
The Known Configurations
Triangularities are statistically the most numerous configurations in the Slothful Cosmology. They encompass a myriad of disparate and desperate lifeforms, indeed space can be a desolate and alienating kind of place. Among the most important of these savage realms is the original configuration of an aggressive, spacefaring, insectival race of conquerors called the Trepanning Ichneumids. An additional area worth noting is the home realm of the Frentac Brain Slaves. Then there are the realms of Negative Existence and the home configurations of the Formless Free Agents, both of whom frequently cross the border into our universe in a never-ending quest for gainful employment.
TeExEs (TEEKS-us, also TEKS-us)
This configuration encompasses only Temporality, Existence, and Essence. We might describe it as a bleak and desolate place. Galaxy formation remains relatively stagnant; the typical planet is resource poor and sparsely populated. Yet it is the home reality of the Trepanning Ichneumids, a hymenopteran horror that controls most of the Known Configurations, including our own universe.
The Ichneumids evolved in the temperate stratosphere of a hot gas giant, where immense hydrogen-filled coelenterates provided floating diatomaceous islands of life. The Trepanning Ichneumid resembles a giant black wasp, approximately 3 meters in length. Their self-sealing exoskeletons are strong enough to survive the hard vacuum of space. Ichneumid musculature evolved under high gravity and their wings are capable of flight even in thin atmospheres on normal gravity worlds. They have powerful jaws which are capable of digging hive tunnels into carbonaceous or silicate rock. The Ichneumids build their hive around a queen, each hive instinctively populated to a certain number. This stability number constitutes both a maximum and minimum population. If a single worker Ichneumid dies, the hive cleaves into smaller factions each numbering no less than five individual Ichneumids. Much fighting ensues upon the rupture of a colony, many more Ichneumids are killed, and the weaker factions either combine with the strongest or flee to avoid extermination.
The queen exists strictly for social and administrative functions, as each Ichneumid is a hermaphrodite and constantly in search of a warm, living being to serve as an incubator for its eggs. The primary target is the brain case of sentient life forms, as they provide a substantial food supply and a safe home for the young wasp larva. A sharp ovipositor built into the sting impregnates and poisons simultaneously, leaving a three centimeter hole in the skull of the victim reminiscent of an arcane medical procedure known as "trepanning". The trepanned victim is poisoned with massive doses of sodium channel blocking venom that depolarizes the neurons of the host, specially targeted to destroy higher brain functions but preserve respiration and circulation. After the venom binds to nerve receptors and the intracranial environment detoxifies, the egg hatches and the larva begins to feed on the inert cerebral tissue. The host and the egg are typically taken back to the hive where the host lives on predigested food that is regurgitated into his stomach directly via an intranasal feeding appendage, a secondary sex organ that mature Ichneumids grow after auto-insemination.
Historians are unsure of how the first Ichneumids managed to reach the moons of their homeworld. Eventually, however, the Ichneumids managed to modify small coelenterates for limited transorbital flight. Three out of the nine moons orbiting the gas giant are life bearing. One moon in particular is covered with dense rain forests and is known to be the first extraplanetary colony established by the Trepanning Ichneumids. The large planet captured a sizeable number of asteroids in its trojan points. These were soon harvested for resources and eventually used as a means of interplanetary travel. Spacefaring Ichneumids can hibernate for several thousand years in the cold depths of space. Taking flight in hollowed-out asteroids the early Ichneumids descended upon millions of worlds, breeding until their numbers blackened the skies. Those who weren't trepanned immediately or corralled as food animals fell prey to the Ichneumids predatory commercial practices. Trepanning Ichneumid venom is a commodity in itself, a powerful narcotic when ingested or used intravenously in small quantities. The Ichneumids possess a biological gift for illicit substance marketing and supply. They have been the kingpin species in of a vast criminal empire since before our universe began, selling their vile secretions to the highest bidder, expanding and diversifying their profits into every manner of vice and depravity.
At first the survivors of Ichneumid conquests were little more than venom-addicted cattle, but internal power struggles frequently led to the inadvertent liberation of entire galaxies. After many eons of periodic imperial collapse and reconquest, traditional larder worlds became substantially more difficult to invade and resubjugate. Eventually, an inability to maintain consolidated control over extended periods of time created a species-wide crisis threatening to festoon into mass extinction.
The instinctive instability of Ichneumid civilization, at once a survival mechanism and a tragic flaw, necessitates the tightest control over conquered regions of space. Their societies are paranoid by nature, never able to anticipate the day when the balance of power shifts in the hive and a violent revolution will consume their lives. All was lost until they encountered a strange species from outside of their realm of space. These beings called themselves Frentac. They possessed a faculty for information unknown to the inhabitants of TeExEs. After acquaintance to the requisite habit-forming pharmaceuticals, they gladly traded the fruits of their scientific labor for a few metric tons of venom freebase. The Trepanning Ichneumids in turn learned of new technologies, improved administrative techniques, and most importantly of other universes to conquer.
The Ichneumids have very clever means of compensating for their lack of Gnostic and Fiscal angles and are very adept at adapting new cultures to their particular economy of power. The Ichneumids deal exclusively in slavery and other high-polarity power relationships, specializing in addiction and sadism (two phenomena unique to the Existential Angle). Driven by a socio-biological imperative to expand and increase their sphere of influence, they have subjugated most of their neighboring realities. Sadly, theirs is now the major system of commerce and hierarchy throughout the known configurations.
The ExTeGn Triangularity is the original home of the Frentac brain slaves. They were the first race to travel between the known configurations. Their cosmological breakthrough of transconfigurational travel might have united lifeforms everywhere in a utopian paradise. Unfortunately they opened a passageway to the dark realm of TeExEs and sought out contact with the dominant lifeform- the Trepanning Ichneumids. In turn, the Ichneumids corrupted the intricate Knowledge Economy of ExTeGn into a poisoned milieu of addictive ritualism and substance abuse.
The success of the Ichneumid pharmaceutical conquest of the Frentac sowed the seeds of its own undoing. The habit-forming venom freebase was also a cumulative neurotoxin, owing to its evolutionary origin in the Ichneumid reproductive process. In advanced stages of addiction, as higher brain synapses become permanently fused, the Frentac subject begins to suffer cognitive impairment. A slew of compensatory pharmaceuticals were developed with mixed results. Ultimately, the Frentac began to synthesize a new series of addictive drugs- the very chemicals that were used to enslave them. Thus the beings of ExTeGn finally established a system of self-imposed servitude far beyond anything their own conquerors were capable of devising.
The Frentac even invented social mechanisms to stunt their own evolution, preventing the emergence of drug resistant traits through natural selection. The collaborative efforts of Frentac scientists have resulted in an elaborate sociopolitical Nomic, a self-sustaining pseudo-game of laws, customs, and chemical dependencies that have persisted for quintillions of generations despite various efforts to reform its corrosive nature. Indeed, a startling feature of the Frentac Nomic is to target promising young reformers and corrupt them beyond all ideological recognition. Popular attempts of political rehabilitation such as the "Long March Through the Institutions" are in fact recruiting mechanisms for the Frentac Nomic. As individual participation in Frentac government increases, the compulsory polemics become more apocalyptic, the ritual libations more mind-scrambling, and parliamentary intrigue intensifies into a seductive snare of entertaining half-truths and vivid innuendo. Even the most idealistic reformers literally brainwash themselves into staunch advocates of the one system they swore to dismantle. The propensity for lethal overdoses among former whistleblowers, muckrakers, and student activists have made totalitarian-style political assassinations in defense of the Frentac Nomic entirely unnecessary. Indeed, history is littered with the emaciated, needle-tracked corpses of such naive politicos.
However, the innovative talent of the Frentac range far beyond harmonious schemes of social control. These tireless tinkerers never cease in discovering new technologies to serve the Ichneumids. A highly successful program of transconfigurational exploration led to the conquest of ExTeFi, a rich configuration filled with vast resource universes and a strong new slave race. These new additions to the Trepanning Ichneumid hierarchy became an ancient army of henchbeings, lorded over by various subsets of the Frentac Nomic. This was not to last for very long. The Nomic works through the governmental subversion of gnosis, both through the ritual consumption of addictive chemicals and in the warp and woof of its Byzantine intricacies. Unfortunately, civilizations from Gn-deprived configurations are eventually chemopolitically poisoned and rendered extant after a few billion years of Nomic-guided evolution.
Originally the Frentac invented a race of robotic killing machines to replace their inferior ExTeFi henchbeings. They were well suited to the task, designed with great robustness and many fault-tolerant systemic redundancies. Unfortunately it was soon discovered that synthetic genocide lacked the ambition and zeal commonly associated with such Herculean feats of wholesale murder. Cruelty imparts a rewarding erotic thrill that is sufficient to entice even the most sedentary office girl into a bloodsoaked tryst of flesh-ripping mayhem, a natural reinforcement lacking in parallel and serial killing machines alike. The situation became unbearable when it was discovered that robot concentration camp guards subjected their doomed prisoners to intricate games of chance and granted reprieves to the winners. It never occurred to them to rig these highly nuanced games so that no one could win- such a tactic simply did not compute. As a result, none of the automated death camps met their quotas as a surge of successful takeovers caused a spike in convict population. Eventually prisoners slated for liquidation had to be released on their own recognizance; there wasn't enough time, energy, or manpower to exterminate them all in an orderly fashion. Former inmates were asked to report to parole droids to ensure the camp's daily regimen of near fatal beatings and slow starvation was properly observed after their release, but very little follow-up actually occurred. Death camp recidivism rates skyrocketed. Many of the condemned simply slipped though the cracks in the correctional system and went on living. For Ichneumids, the sadomechanical motivational crisis threatened to dismantle their whole apparatus of interplanetary genocide. Incentive plans were tried: days offline for outstanding performance, bonuses, killing machine of the month plaques, and so forth.
The Frentac solution was to design a race of drug-addicted robots, thereby corrupting the very nature of artificial intelligence itself. It was a scheme of unrivaled ambition and brilliance, These new models were designed to be cyberneticly dependent on a mineral known by earth scientists as Gulftonite, so named for the Houston neighborhood where the first meteorite was discovered in 1987 and later broken up into smaller chunks for resale purposes. It is a synthetic composite of undiscovered hyperactinides and their oxides, difficult to analyze without the proper equipment, a sober academic objectivity, and the industrious work habits befitting a man of science. As a result of these three critical obstacles, the precise physical and chemical properties of Gulftonite remain a mystery. However, it is known that the space born substance is both "smokeable" through heat sublimation and incredibly radioactive, emitting a special kind of radiation called Ray-Ray Rays. These were named after their discoverer, the late Raymondo Rodriguez, a former University of Houston geology major who left school to study rocks of a different sort. Ray-Ray's particle radiation induces a surplus charge around logic components and human neurons alike, resulting in an electrical overload condition. This overload in turn causes direct electrical stimulation of the brain in humans, resulting in a pleasant state of euphoria followed by a self-destructive sense of well being and a sudden lapse of motivational acumen. This precipitates the inevitable crash, where the desperate victim frantically hunts for radioactive isotopes to ingest, hoping to rekindle the warm, inner glow that Gulftonite provides. The pangs of withdrawal frequently lead to acute radiation poisoning when the erstwhile Gulftonite user snorts Cobalt-60 shavings harvested from a discarded X-Ray machine. Hair loss, skin lesions, toothlessness, excessive moaning, and death typically follow.
Living systems metabolize Gulftonite in one to two days, passing it normally through their bloodstream. Non-organic machines, however, typically lack a metabolism. Gulftonite has a half-life of 60,000 years, eventually decaying into inert atomic ash completely devoid of Ray-Ray radiation. As the substance in their chassis slowly drains of its potency, the machines will crash in a manner remarkably similar to humans. The one startling difference is that machines, by design, cannot detoxify. Thus the crash produces a "robot jones", a permanent form of hysterical overload that can only abate with further exposure to Ray-Ray radiation. In this state of operation, the machine will do anything to obtain more Gulftonite. Do not let his lethargic operating condition deceive you, a jonesing apparatus can attack without warning. Beware the telltale mechanical groan that accompanies the onset of a robot jones, the plaintive cry or rasping bellow that resembles a wounded animal and invites a sympathetic touch. Indeed, entire galaxies have perished attempting to diagnose the precise meaning of this quizzical sound. While you stoop down to examine this broken thing hobbling towards you, in the hopes of fixing it or in some way alleviating the poor robot's pain, it will savagely disembowel you with its prongs.
Of course, simple violence is only true for the cheaper product lines with limited capabilities. Increasingly complex models are blatantly manipulative and vastly more dangerous, their individual computronic capacity frequently surpasses the combined brainpower of Earth's largest cities. When properly set on murder, these deluxe versions are particularly efficient at starting unhealthy fashion trends and sham diet fads on target worlds, triggering social collapse and mass extinctions. Thus the robots achieved a talent for administration by inventive cruelty and deliberate mismanagement, a startling advance over once-lax death camp guards and parole droids. Models such as Morbcon and Roblife are renowned in the analects of terror. Fortunately for us, the natural prerogative for machine supremacy is corrupted by radiological addiction. A shrewd passive-aggressive pattern emerges: sentient life exists not as a threat, but as a means for robots to get high.
Yet despite the splendid implementation of these robotic bacchanals, the Trepanning Ichneumids demand ever further scientific advancements from the Frentac. Ultimately this culminated in a project to warp the very nature of space and time, lending addictive properties to Existence itself. This led to the failed ExTeFiGn Rhombostitude, also known as Experiment One, a configuration built upon parameters so extreme that no native intelligent life could emerge.
The once vibrant ExTeFi Triangularity is now a dead configuration. Over a thousand quadrillion years ago, the inhabitant races were worked to extinction in far-flung realities in service to the Ichneumid hegemony. Even the most generous estimates on the age of our universe suggest that the Big Bang occurred no more than 20 billion years ago. As such, a precise record of the native history and culture of the dominant ExTeFi lifeforms has since been obscured to the dimmest point of recollection. However, the arcane remnants of their history are still remembered by those beings fortunate or savvy enough to encounter them. Indeed, for they comprise a most cautionary tale.
The ExTeFi henchbeings were the second race that the Frentac encountered outside of their home Triangularity. After their Ichneumid subjugation and the establishment of the Nomic, transconfigurational travel was pursued with even greater zeal than before. The engrained instability of the Trepanning Ichneumid social structure drove expansion into new universes, as the cycle of conquest and decline spiraled ever outwards in space and time. Beyond the Ichneumid rulers and Frentac brain slaves, a third race of alien janissaries were needed for true imperial cohesion.
By all rights the ExTeFi henchbeings fit the bill perfectly, a race of giants who evolved in a toxic, high gravity environment and exuded silica plates as natural anti-radiation armor. The runts were over ten meters tall, the largest and strongest could flick an East Texas pine from between his thumb and forefinger like a filth encrusted q-tip. Eventually a smaller form was genetically engineered for personal security. Still somewhat larger than human-sized, they were isolated by reasons of anatomical scale from reproducing with the former strain of henchbeing and thus biologically constituted a separate and new species. However, the giants were invariably prized the most by their Ichneumid masters. Indeed they were formidable weapons in and of themselves. A squad of five or six henchbeings could easily flatten hundreds of hectares of high rise buildings with their bare hands.
Prior to Frentac contact, Neolithic henchbeings lived in stone huts along the shores of a vast primordial ocean. By all accounts they were a serene culture, never prey to the various debasements of modernity, largely free of debilitating intoxicants and vice. This would soon change after the introduction of "Trepanation H", a cutaneously ingestible Ichneumid venom derivative marketed as a topical ointment. This initiated a slew of addictive personal hygiene and home cosmetic products: narcotic toothpastes, stimulant-laced moisturizers, and euphoria-inducing aphrodisiac shampoos. Death by self-medication became commonplace among henchbeings. Measures were taken to stave off this counterproductive glitch, but it was to no avail. Even among humans, a culture of moderation in habit prone or neurotic societies can be difficult if not impossible to achieve. The deadliest substance on Earth isn't botulism toxin. It's a salve of botox mixed with DMSO, sold over-the-counter to unsuccessful office workers as wrinkle cream.
The absence of a Gn component to ExTeFi hindered the formation of a sublimating mechanism to distract the addicted mind from its habit. Restricted to a primitive quid-pro-quo basis, the Frentac Nomic lost its patented resilience and robustness. Anti-social phenomena such as hording, alienation, underground barter, and solitary drug abuse patterns began to surface. In such circumstances, unmitigated social collapse is imminent. There was nothing left to do but watch the poor creatures as their world slowly contracted around them. Henchbeing Syndrome manifests itself as a gradual agoraphobic reclusion from life. The first stage usually begins with a prolonged condition of carefree joblessness followed by frequent trips to the beach. Second, brief walks in the park decreasing in frequency accompanied by a pronounced desire to stay at home and drink cough syrup. In the third stage, the nervous homebody only ventures out to the chemist for more Trepanation H. In the final stage, the subject's life ends in total seclusion and paranoid starvation.
It wasn't by accident that the first victims of the automated death camps were the ExTeFi henchbeings, the very ones who provided the manual labor to build them. For many, the shock of withdrawal alone was enough to kill them. Not a single specimen of the ExTeFi giants remain. However, the smaller species fared better against the onslaught of the Nomic. It is rumored that groups of the humanoid-sized henchbeings fled to far flung configurations where they live on today, evading robot patrols and various bounty-hunting species sent to route them out. So they took refuge in the freezing depths of space, "chipping" their habit in a slow but concerted effort to detoxify, subsisting on hit and run raids of Frentac orbital refineries and drug planets. Notable minds suggest that the key to final Ichneumid defeat may be hidden within the deactivated introns of the henchbeing genome, unleashing once more the mighty giants of ExTeFi against their erstwhile masters. Thus the legend of the Spartacus Strain was born, a valiant resistance race who fight the seeds of their own debasement in a never-ending struggle for survival amongst the stars...
Formless Free Agents
The formless configurations lack an Existence (Ex) altogether, which precludes them from many of the corruptions (and consequently also virtues) of the material world. The lack of existence does not preclude the desire for new experience. Indeed, the state of virtual deathlessness that formless beings enjoy can foster an escalating ennui. Eternal emptiness experienced in a linear fashion can be especially boring. Squandered and ill-spent time invariably takes a toll on Temporal beings. The Formless Ones can enjoy growth or stagnate and even atrophy in their various faculties. In exchange for a brief instantiation in an Existential configuration and a modest service fee, they will do the bidding of whomever arranges their passage into our universe.
Formless Free Agents are typically contracted for specialized, high end tasks in direct proportion to their level of compensation. Many of them possess a unique variety of skills which makes renders them an indispensable option of last resort to powerful intergalactic potentates and space dictators. Lacking a true form, the Formless Ones can assume any one of a multiple set of false forms depending upon the acumen and repertoire of the particular shapeshifter. Most of these beings even have the capacity to consciously project mental energy into various apparitions and phenomena. Telekinesis is a native method of locomotion among many Formless species.
Beings possessing even limited telekinetic powers are, by their very nature, highly effective at killing vascular organisms such as human beings. It is a small matter for them to clamp the jugular vein of their victims until the brain dies of oxygen starvation. However, this is frequently viewed as merely a vulgar and elementary demonstration of psychic prowess. It is not unheard of for a single Formless Agent to assail whole multitudes of enemies simultaneously. The strongest have been known to thrust entire planetary systems into degenerate orbits out of sheer perverse amusement. Due to the stealthy qualities of telekinesis, even the weakest are frequently able to topple governments by engineering embarrassing public scandals among high officials. These attacks are usually the result of telekinetically rewiring the victim's central nervous system to implant false memories and sensations. It is a simple matter to reprogram a sentient organic mind through electrical stimulation of the brain, especially if one knows precisely where to place the electrodes. A state of CNS depression, usually inebriation, facilitates the burning of alien memory patterns into hapless minds by decreasing the overall level of synaptic activity. When the victim awakens, usually with a splitting headache, any residual pain and sweaty nervous tension is attributed to the rigors of chemical detoxification.
Beings from this configuration comprise the most numerous faction of the Formless Free Agents. They are faceless telepaths with a mercenary bent, feared throughout trillions of star systems for their bloodthirsty work ethic and impeccable fashion sense. It is said that they remain faceless in an attempt to avoid overexposure. EsTeFi beings are so keen on maintaining their dangerously hip public image that they insist on never being named, either as a group or individually. They communicate with prospective clients exclusively through their army of customer service droids, thus minimizing unwelcome contact with doomed loser entities from uncool realms of space.
Shielded behind vast game of phonetag, abstruse interorganizational referrals, and selective hang-ups, the droids lord over a captive and desperate client base. Their playful sadism and stylized aloofness suggests that they are little more than drug-addicted robots procured from the Frentac, stripped down and modified for call center work, complete with voicemail, telephone exchanges, and muzak synthesizers. Yet despite their flagrant abuse of paying customers, the EsTeFi assassination concern has seen fantastic business growth over billions of years. The notion that worsening customer service can result in improved sales was perplexing to most. It seemed to turn many well-established economic theories completely upside down. However, the EsTeFi concern eventually came under the scrutiny of interstellar watchdog groups when it was determined that a large part of their business model actually involved inciting tormented clients take out contracts on the firm's own customer service droids.
The beings of EsTeGn are widely criticized for their pronounced lack of ambition. Although immensely powerful shapeshifters, it is very uncommon for them to actually take jobs. They prefer instead to flit about the various material universes, committing drunken hate crimes and impregnating various female creatures with their errant seed. Eyewitness accounts of their antics are rumored to have been very influential in the formation of classical Greek mythology and similar stories on other worlds.
The beings of TeGnFi were by far the most powerful of the Formless Free Agents. Their psychic talents were renowned far and wide, sought after by the highest bidder, esteemed especially among the various intergalactic potentates and space dictators. For trillions of years, they comprised an unstoppable telekinetic legion of Landsknechten who specialized in gravitational death trap engineering and psycho-radioactive warfare. The TeGnFites were famously effective and affordable, forming a freelance army so fair-minded and potent that they were often hired away by their enemies in order to turn the tide of battle. Eventually actual warfare became impossible, and peace erupted throughout millions of galaxies... lasting for some ten billion of your Earth years. The Pax TeGnFi, while seemingly heaven-sent to the toiling, radiation-scarred space peasantry, was widely known to have cramped the style of the more ambitious intergalactic potentates.
It was only a matter of time before the TeGnFites met their downfall. It was a routine affair in the Fichte Cluster, a minor scrabble between a few hundred warring systems. Suddenly the TeGnFites received a distress call from a non-descript Orphan Planet called Leroy, a helpless race of underprivileged lifeforms pleaded for evacuation and salvation from certain destruction. It seemed that some malicious entity had knocked Leroy out of orbit, sending it careening into the freezing depths of space. Of course, it was a trap. There were no underprivileged natives in dire need of rescue. Planet Leroy had been uninhabited for millions of years, and the sad-eyed, nappy-headed lifeforms were completely fictitious... mere theatrical constructs acted out by a depraved band of alien racists dressed in blackface.
Although the precise identity of these fiends still remains unknown, they are widely assumed to have been the Ichneumids themselves, who had slowly infiltrated that very region of space. Thus the noble TeGnFites were lured to their doom on the rapidly freezing surface of Leroy. They were then imprisoned inside of inferior hominid vessels called "bodies" and cursed to roam the icefields in search of warmth. After many millions of years adrift in the vast cosmic steppe betwixt the stars, they retained only faint traces of their former glory. While still insanely powerful and able to bend heavy objects with the power of their minds, they lacked the technology and native ability to escape their planetoid prison. A hundred thousand light-years from the closest habitable star system, they were doomed to stagnation, infinite regression, and eventual extinction. Even the name of their planet had been lost over time.
Thus they became the forlorn inhabitants of the legendary Ice Planet Thule, a tiny fugitive world wandering the sunless void... a people sentenced to a frozen gulag for a crime they did not commit. Eons of incarceration made them introspective and slightly deranged. They were alienated, for sure; even prone to violent outbursts at times, but the honorable blood of heroes still sloshed through their veins. There were no cafeteria shankings or shower room rapes. They were disciplined and proud, dreaming only of their eventual liberation and delivering a savage, radioactive revenge against every living thing in the universe. Yes, certainly they were occasionally murderous and hostile to life in general, but these were minor flaws compared to the injustices they had suffered as a people. As any extraterrestrial warlord can tell you, the odd mass extinction is a necessary evil- a secondary matter compared to the decisive pleasure of meeting out an intergalactic vendetta.
Beings possessed of Negative Existence lack any meaningful concept of time. More explicitly, "NegEx" is a form of living death. While we might consider this an undesirable trait to foster in productive employees, an enterprising entity from the FiGnEsTe Rhombostitude has found a means to exploit this condition. He has negotiated for dominion over four source configurations from which to draft a contract labor force. Each one of these realms is home to a particular phylum of creatures privy to their own specialized attributes and powers. All of them are to be found here on Earth, working off their debt to the Self-Made Man. It is important to remember that these creatures only rarely concern themselves with human affairs by choice, it is invariably a result of their job description.
Care must be taken whenever dealing with these undead service industry workers. They lead lonely, difficult lives and are especially sensitive at times. Be respectful. Don't panic that corpses have risen from their earthen slumber and are working at Home Depot. Due to rising costs and stagnant wages, it's difficult to fill dead-end jobs these days. Normal people won't work the graveyard shift at Crispy Cream, flinging coffee and crullers to fat drunken shlubs. So when a pale waiter serves you cold food in an empty Howard Johnsons, politely ask him to bring a new plate. Remember that no one can hear you scream. Ignore those hairy Wal-Mart stockboys who leer at your daughter with hungry, wolfish grins. Count your blessings when they don't follow you home. Don't yell at the shambling pedestrian who takes too long to cross the street, shuffling his feet to a slothful beat that only he can hear.
Over the years, one notices that the world has been made to accommodate our languishing guests, while sparing a virtuous public from the uncomfortable sensations of nausea and pity. There are now ATMs and automated checkout lines, allowing the freakish and unnatural to enjoy most of the conveniences of normal living while remaining relatively unmolested by human eyes. Numerous methods have been devised for allowing citizens to slowly destroy themselves in the privacy of their own homes. Activities that might leave a living person permanently brain damaged with lifelong mental scarring in fact provide the dead with a mild buzz. This constant state of debased intoxication helps to keep them distracted, quiescent, and content with a career in mind-numbing drudgery. Real problems only emerge when the world of the living intersects with Negative Existence. Enclaves of non-life form dead zones, typically clustered in urban areas, and frequently copopulated by a variety of disgruntled demographics. Despite the obvious danger to public safety, a secret addendum to the Fair Housing Act prevents screening renters on the basis of lucidity, vivaciousness, or degree of bodily corruption. Live tenants are never informed about true nature of their seemingly uncouth, foul-smelling neighbors. Thus an entire generation under the age of 50 have been raised inside of dead zones, heavily influenced by the prevailing subculture of Negative Existence.
If you have always suspected that the people around you are in fact lifeless stooges who survive only through dumb luck and blind repetition, you are probably correct. The unwary should be warned. Just as life is a bitter struggle against non-life, the inanimate fear abject instrumentalization by the living. They loathe the prospect of getting "played out" as pawns in a fast paced world ruled by vivid matter. An apparently minor confrontation over a parking space or noise complaint can quickly escalate into a desperate standoff with a ghastly ad hoc civic committee. In situations like these, your only recourse is to barricade yourself inside your matchbox apartment and wait for the respite of dawn. It is pointless to call the authorities; "community policing" ensures they will invariably take the side of your bloodthirsty oppressors. Take comfort, however, that the period of maximum physical danger will soon pass. Most of your neighbors are doubtlessly shift workers who will eventually tire after banging on your door all night long, hissing threatening obscenities through your shattered windows in the hollow, toothless lisp of the dead. From now on, the first few rays of morning will constitute the only reprieve from your haunted existence. Strange shades stalk the shadows as you trudge towards your vandalized car. Unwelcome apparitions rob you of sleep, negatively impacting your workplace performance. When you return home, a corpulent lamia leers from her balcony while flaccid lotharios suck cigarettes on the steps below. A terrible affliction gnarls your fingers, spreading into your hands, wracking them with painful spasms of profane scribbling. The doctors claim it is a drug resistant strain of mycobacterium, possibly contracted from prolonged exposure to Third World squalor. Soon you realize that it is merely the dark sickness that surrounds you and pervades your home. It has finally invaded your body and now poisons all that you touch. It is death- sent to deliver you into the clutches of the loitering ghouls who patiently await your company in the shady awnings and rotting hallways of your hellish apartment complex.
For more information on how to escape the forces of darkness, please contact our eager service representatives. Remember to mention your home address, social security number, and mother's maiden name. A ritual researching of your financial records will be performed by a member of our ordained clergy. Do not be alarmed. Our teachings dictate that matters of a deep and spiritual nature can be uncovered through knowledge of a person's credit rating. Following this, we may ask you other pertinent questions that concern when you go to sleep, confirm your usual working hours, and establish what sort of television set you own. These details are needed to draft elaborate biorhythmic charts that will aid our Governmentological Feng Shui experts when they visit your house while you are away. This complimentary service for new members will unburden you from your crass material possessions and help you achieve a sparser, more enlightened way of living.
Home of the primary rank and file wage labor contractors of Negative Existence. This classification encompasses zombies, Schrads, and various lycanthropic forms renowned among the undead for their heavy lifting prowess and innate grasp of queue theory. These beings are frequently encountered manning newspaper stands and stocking shelves, gradually working off their debt to the Self-Made Man. Occasionally, the more dexterous are found in assorted data entry positions. The low cost structure and high pain tolerance of ExEsFi beings make them naturals for low level security and support roles. Some of the more enterprising ghouls have gained great notoriety as zombie cab drivers, charlatan prestidigitators, and talented cutpurses.
Regardless, the Man regards any attempt by an indentured being to rise above its allotted station as a breech of contract. Enforcers are sometimes used to ensure that unruly subordinates tow the line. Punishment in these cases can be severe, worsened by the fact that creatures possessed of Negative Existence cannot heal. Thus it is common to see zombies with missing fingers and hands, or ghouls with mangled faces oozing ichor from their lacerations. This has led some to believe that the gruesome appearance of the living dead are the mortal wounds of once living beings, but this is not the case. These creatures have always been dead and will always persist in death, since Negative Existence is their place of origin.
ExEsFi subordinates are often in need of harsh disciplinary measures, as they are rather lazy and unsettled by nature. They are always testing the patience of their netherworld masters, sleeping into the late afternoon and behaving with unwarranted aggression towards living beings. Some have even acquired a distasteful predilection for human flesh. Fortunately, they are especially vulnerable to fire and bodily dismemberment. However, conventional firearms have limited effect on them, apart from obscure 8 gauge shotguns and improvised explosive devices. Their propensity for traveling in packs makes them especially dangerous to the solitary wayfarer or lonely backwoods trailer dweller.
The origin of lesser diabolic forms which manifest more than one earthly power. These range from vampires and greater lycanthropes to powerful archfiends. Perhaps the most important of these forms are the daemons or sub-archons. These are frequently represented as uniquely female in Greco-Roman mythical iconography on murals and mosaics, but they actually lack a true gender and can appear as both sexes. They are the first rank of underlings in direct service to the Man, corresponding to the lowest choir of angels in Christian mythos. Other than daemons, the beings of ExTeGn fill supervisory and store management ranks in various commercial franchises of otherworldly origin. Typically they will be trusted with more important tactical functions, such as assisting ExEsFi security operatives in a capacity similar to field commanders. These beings are also the chief liaisons between the Invisible World and humankind, as their shambling underlings are generally unreliable with more demanding tasks.
It is an important distinction that devils and demons differ in that the latter can assume nonsolid forms while devils are restricted to various guises encompassing their chosen ruse. As such, the field of demonology is of a very different demeanor than diabolistic studies. The two branches even attract very different characters, diabolists are far more engaging and gregarious than demonologists, endemic of their rhetorical prowess in coaxing devils into the open where they can be dispatched. Demonology, however, is very keen on method and forensic techniques derived from the physical sciences. Its devotees are necessarily bookish and terse with few pleasantries, accustomed to finding concealed malevolence inside of seemingly inconspicuous objects.
Both the diabolical and angelic manifestations of higher ExEsGn beings are interchangeable roles that exist for some discreet and particular purpose. The guardian angel and devilish confounder are frequently one in the same entity. Evil's insidious power resides in familiarity; just as the criminal is commonly acquainted with his victim, the haunted and damned are invariably on a first name basis with their diabolical provocateurs. Therefore, it is safest to completely eschew all dealings with the supernatural and trust only in Governmentology to exclusively provide you with religious guidance. Remember that spiritual combat is better left to trained professionals, lest some fast-talking infernal loan officer attempt to reposes your vital organs.
The home configuration of the archons, various disgruntled pagan deities, and the highest choirs of angels. Frequently, these beings are employed in the upper levels of complex administrative structures, guiding efforts consisting of multiple and often disparate missions in service of the Self-Made Man. These frequently entail serving in diametrical roles as the same form, commanding both good and evil minions interchangeably as they concertedly ravage the corporeal world. Such is the demanding job description of the Seraphim/Cherubim and highest potentates of Hell, whose primary task is to conceal the "Glory of God". Such a nuanced tête-à-tête requires an astute attention to detail and makes the denizens of ExGnFi a weary bunch. They are frequently disdainful of humans for this very reason and will choose to deal with them as little as possible.
However, when a particular human or subordinate arouses their ire, ExGnFi magistrates have their own private hells to rule over. The doomed and undesirable can be sequestered in these realms, sometimes kept alive long past their usual life expectancy as per the pleasure of their diabolical hosts. These are places of unimaginable torment, constructed inside of parallel universes, where the very laws of physics can be rewritten to inflict excruciating pain. Likewise, as archons and angels they are afforded heavenly principalities in accordance to their roles. Indeed, the work of the angels is assigned solely at the discretion of the Self-Made Man. Even the names of the Seven Archangels mentioned in the Book of Enoch are not actual names, rather the biblical equivalent of angelic job descriptions. Gabriel: 'God is my strength' - Raphael: 'God hath healed' - Michael: 'Who is like God?' - Uriel: 'God is my light' - Raguel: 'Friend of God'- Sariel: 'God's command'- Jerahmeel: 'God is merciful'.
Beyond their ultimate service to the Man, the motives and methods of the ExGnFi masterminds are opaque by design. They live in a world of contradictory purposes and primeval secrets. Even the foremost diabolical experts cannot triumph in an even match against them. Some believe that both Satan and Christ emerged from their ranks, two beings of different missions but with starkly similar roles and tactics. However, only a small handful of brave souls have ventured that these two are actually the same entity. The similarities to the theologically astute are worthy of note: Lucifer's Fall precipitated with the act of declaring himself God, whereas Christ was sent as His consubstantial Son. The elusive Yezidis of ancient Kurdistan even believe that a penitent Lucifer confessed his sins to God sometime after his Fall and was redeemed as "the Prince of this Earth" (a title from the Christian New Testament). They worship him as proud Malik Ta'us, the Peacock Angel, the most apparent and potent agent in human affairs. Of course, this strange belief is completely ass backwards both from a Judeo-Christian and Muslim perspective. As a result, the Yezidis are a desperate and hunted people, frequently receiving vicious Biblical beatdowns of historical renown.
These are the powerful formless representatives of Negative Existence. The most notable include the Genius of Rome, once worshiped by Caesars and Imperators as the incarnate spirit of that great ancient city. Among the lesser ranks are various djinns and shapeless demons in service to some diabolical/angelic host. In the fifteenth Koranic sura, verses 27 and 28 explain that just as man was fashioned from clay, the djinn was born of a bright blue flame. The Hollywood depiction of smoke pouring out of a djinn's bottle is patently absurd- a true djinn's flame is smokeless and clean. Many have little patience for human beings, some are even hostile towards mankind after having been tricked by human sorcerers and sages into bound servitude. For example, King Solomon allegedly used supernatural labor to build his Temple (in the true spirit of the Self-Made Man). Certain djinns are faithful Muslims. According to the Koran, the Prophet himself implored them to submit to the will of Allah. Correspondingly, they can achieve vast wealth and favor with the Man, sometimes even outranking his angels. Demons, however, are the ancient legbreakers of the spiritual world. These unclean spirits instigate every manner of mental and physical affliction. They enter their victims and possess them, causing rot and ruin from the inside out.
Belief in demons predates the Bible by several thousand years. They were known to the Sumerians and later the Babylonians, who were the first to categorize specific illnesses with certain forms of demon possession. The god Namtar had thirty demons at his beck and call, each responsible for inflicting a particular malady. It was Namtar's task to guide those marked for death into the hereafter by infecting them with various demon-borne illnesses. His manner is officious and surprisingly civil, a kind of travel agent for the doomed. Much of Judaism's extensive demonology was no doubt introduced during the Babylonian Captivity, which was later carried into the New Testament where Jesus cured sickness exclusively by casting out demons. While the Christian act of exorcism invokes the spiritual authority of Jesus, exorcists themselves have an ideological lineage that was considered ancient long before the books of the Bible were even written. It is further worthy of note that while Babylonian demonology persisted, many other Jewish ideas were completely discarded by Christianity- such as circumcision and the Mosaic dietary laws. This is perhaps due to the fact that demonic possession is a plausible explanation for the mechanics of infection in a time prior to the Germ Theory of Disease. With respect to certain mentalities, principles such as zooinosis, communicability, and even basic sanitation are sometimes more efficiently conveyed through religious doctrine.
As noncorporeal entities, demons are not restricted to merely afflicting living bodies. Certain classes of demons specialize in possessing inanimate objects as well, sometimes inhabiting them for thousands of years. These infested objects can act as vectors for demonic possession, transmitting their malicious passengers into warm human hosts. Demons will often chain-possess a series of objects in order to find a suitable vehicle (such as a comb or toothbrush) that will place them in intimate contact with a live body. People who frequent lending libraries and used book stores are at especially high risk to be possessed by bibliophile demons... entities that lurk between the yellowed pages of forgotten tomes, preying on the pretentious and unwary. These public repositories of "knowledge" are little more than Greyhound Bus Terminals for vagrant spirits. Various sweaty, misshapen fiends haunt their blind corners and feculent bathrooms, invariably waiting for some supple young coed to violate.
Unlike devils, demons lack Existence (Ex) and cannot be destroyed physically. They must be cast out and banished to a parallel universe or region of space. Once confined, the demon must renegotiate its contract with the Self-Made Man before securing a return passage into our universe. This renegotiation process usually entails a demotion to more demeaning forms of work; perhaps possessing derelict tractor hulks in the former Soviet Union or terrorizing parochial schoolboys in Guatemala. The tasks in which demons are employed are so varied that the possibilities for their Master to inflict punitive boredom are truly limitless. Renegotiation has no explicit time requirement, and the return passage can be secured after just a few days of banishment. The experienced demonologist uses the threat of demotion to their advantage and avoids direct confrontation with the fiend itself. It is commonplace for evicted demons to languish in banishment for decades and even centuries. However, the fiend will invariably return to our universe to exact a terrible revenge against its old adversary, who has either been enfeebled by old age or has crumbled into dust. In the event of a posthumous return, the demonologist's surviving descendants will be hunted down and scourged by the demon until it is vanquished once more.