The Chronicle of Belthaeous
by John W. Steele
Dedicated to all Permanent Beings that have struggled endlessly in Samsara.
“It is better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven”
— Lucifer, in Milton’s Paradise Lost, book I, line 263.
It is said that a man is known by his actions. If this is true, Dr. Adrian Nacroanus stands alone. How a man his age could survive the brutal mountain trek to the top of the world defied all theories about the aging process. His vitality and intellectual abilities shattered the established perspective about the biological changes attributed to longevity.
I suspected his nearly superhuman endurance had something to do with the plasma he’d developed. He called the elixir Eternulum, and I’d seen him infuse the drug through a catheter inserted in his neck.
I did not know how long he’d been working on Eternulum, but he claimed my research had shed a great deal of light on his scientific investigation for a perfected pharmaceutical agent that would significantly prolong human life.
Most of his findings were off limits to everyone, and he spoke little of the vision that obsessed him. All I knew is that through my grasp of mathematics, I’d helped him create a serum that he claimed would alter the destiny of mankind. I had no real understanding of how the plasma Eternulum delayed the aging process or how it would be used.
Dr. Nacroanus asserted Eternulum held the key to the door between life and death. According to him, he’d found a way to regenerate and enhance the DNA in the human genome.
I had no reason to doubt him because he was a man of brilliant intellect with many scientific achievements to his credit. Though I was privy to more of his research than any man alive, I’d only seen the tip of the iceberg of what he knew.
If I hadn’t been so awed by Dr. Nacroanus, I wouldn’t have remained his colleague for so long. I believed Dr. Adrian Nacroanus to be the visionary link between the human bipedal animal and the higher awareness in the creative realms of consciousness.
Because of his depth of understanding and clarity of his mind, I held him in a state of veneration. The power of his intellect mesmerized me, and as our time together matured, I grew to regard him as a near-mythic being.
Despite his cold and eccentric nature I knew he believed in his authoritarian ideology. He once told me that the greatest intellect should determine the course of destiny for the world. Of course that would be him. In that regard, he was little different than other dictators who have plagued humanity. The only marked distinction would be the superior quality of his mind.
He indicated that much of what he’d learned about the destiny of man had been revealed to him through an ancient set of scrolls called the Chronicle of Belthaeous. He claimed the manuscripts had been given to him by an archbishop in the Vatican.
I’d never known him to lie. He didn’t have to. No one could fathom what he did or said anyway. His science bordered on magic, as if inspired by extraterrestrial intelligence. Nacroanus was the master of his own private universe, and only a handful of us were allowed in. But that didn’t mean he was alone. I wasn’t sure what it meant.
As I drew ever deeper into the confines of Adrian’s world, I saw the dark side of his genius, where knowledge was gleaned through acts of cruelty, and designer ideals became a testament to cowardice.
The roads of progress are splattered with blood, anguish, torture, and atrocity. They didn’t teach me these things in college. I learned them the hard way when I got out in the real world.
Because I wanted to believe that what I did was for a noble cause, I hardened myself to the reality of our undertaking. It’s easier to call inhumane acts something else. And use a designer phrase that separates the cruelty from the deed and replaces it with a tribute of honor. But torture was a part of the research I could not tolerate.
I wanted to accept that the scientific method of gathering evidence was the only true authority in the physical universe, and that by assisting Dr. Nacroanus I was doing what needed to be done to create a better world. Though I had no role in the hands-on research, the rumors of what occurred at Genibolic Pharmaceutical left me feeling like a whore regardless of the monetary reward.
I never sensed I’d been brainwashed. I sensed only that something wasn’t right. Something in me felt broken and out of balance. A man is born with a great emptiness in his heart that cannot be healed on its own. He either fills it with the shadows of materialism, or he soothes his loss with things that cannot be measured or qualified, things that exist in his imagination, intangible instinctive urges and fantasies that separate him from the pain of desire, the curse of awareness and the sting of mortality.
For a long time Dr. Nacroanus filled that longing in me. Nothing he did shocked me. He had a perfect rationalization for every depraved experiment he undertook. He assured me that what we did, we did for science and for the benefit of mankind, but in my heart, I knew it was a lie.
When quite young I’d read about the horrors of the Holy Inquisition. This abomination deeply influenced my opinion about man and his relationship to the cosmos. What the Church did to human beings in the name of God destroyed my belief in a benevolent creator. Why did no power in the universe stop them? How can actions of this nature be understood? If a loving God existed, how could such brutality go on for nearly nine hundred years?
The idea of a benevolent creator evaporated before I was old enough to shave. I decided the world was evil; a whirling prison of desperation designed by a depraved monster that despised life and thrived on cruelty.
When I found Dr. Nacroanus, I discovered the mythic messiah of science who healed the wounds of ambivalence and soothed the ache of betrayal that burned in my heart. He’d conquered his fears and his doubts and revealed to me the perfect theosophy of nihilism, the death of the conscience... the birth of the superman. The power of Adrian’s convictions could not be ignored. The evidence of his ideology could not be denied.
He was the living Zarathustra I’d been searching for, the soulless mortal animal that stuck his middle finger in the face of religion, hypocrisy and the universe and declared:
I am a conqueror. I live for myself, and for what I desire. I don’t need impotent gods to ease my conscience or justify my actions. I kill for the sake of killing. I vanquish for the will to power. I lust, destroy, hate and defile purely because these things are programmed in my psyche, that I may rise to the natural state of domination over all things. I do not rationalize my deeds with vacant concepts of virtue, honor, deities or flags. I am greedy, and I care nothing for life unless it serves me. I am God, and I will not contaminate my reality with hypocrisy. My will is my only ideal.
This was the mind of Dr. Adrian Nacroanus: completely rational intelligence supported unequivocally by empirical evidence.
We’d worked side by side for over two decades, but I’d grown to understand I would never really know him. He’s hollow inside, or perhaps he’d found the Satori our Sherpa guides talk about; a state of mind so rare it is nearly impossible to achieve.
Nothing about the hard side of research bothered Nacroanus. I was well acquainted with the rumors that abounded at Genibolic. I sensed no remorse in him that he allowed his subordinates to electrocute dogs or slowly drown monkeys to gather statistics about the process of respiration. Regardless of the sadistic nature of the experiment, he supervised the procedure with mechanical precision and detachment like a robot, devoid of conscience or any form of decency.
When I asked him about the necessity of such endeavors, his answer was always the same:
The methods of our research are none of your concern. Your purpose here is statistical analysis, not scientific enquiry. You need to understand, knowledge is the fundamental force that controls this world and its inhabitants. She decides the destiny of mankind, and she does not give up her secrets without struggle.
At times I felt like a man sealed in a tomb of science. I sensed there was something beyond the perceptions, but without evidence I could not accept that there was. If I could find a sliver of proof to believe in an afterlife or a god, I would do so. But Adrian has cauterized my conscience with the power of his reason. I cannot find a foothold of rational evidence beyond the borders of faith that can withstand the ironclad objectivity of his ideology.
In the beginning I admired him so completely that I lost my own identity. He drinks his own urine. I thought perhaps this was one of the secrets of his power, but when I tried it, I gagged for a week.
Through the years we’ve come to an understanding. He needs me as a tool, but he doesn’t care about anything except his research and the circle of power surrounding him.
At times I love him like the father I never knew. Other times, I’ve thought about killing him because of his indifference towards life. A love-hate relationship with a father figure is a terrible paradox and leads to self-loathing. He makes it worse when he refers to me as his “abnormal son.”
There is no self-righteous virtue in him, yet he claims that someday he will change the world for the better. When I ask him to elaborate on this vision of perfection, he will not reveal the intricacies of its design.
Because of Dr. Nacroanus, the elite know who I am. I’ve found my way into a social class that cannot be described to an average person. Yet I know the great fortunes and indescribable luxuries they adore are the byproduct of crime and horrendous suffering.
Each person is offered a choice in life of whom and what they will believe. Though I find no flaws in Adrian’s reason, I cannot completely accept his vision of reality.
For reasons I cannot understand, I’ve been chosen to play a part in the creation of the perfect world he foresees. So I remain a hypocrite for the money, content to pretend that someday I’ll help to improve a world I’ve grown to despise.
It’s impossible to wallow in shit without the scent sinking in, and I no longer care about ethics or ideals. Most of them were established to control the slaves anyway. I can see through that part of the hologram. It’s the part that is obscured that torments me.
I’ve dedicated my mind and my time to Dr. Nacroanus with such fervor that my family life has been destroyed. My marriage is in shambles. I know my wife, Lydia, doesn’t love me anymore, and I don’t blame her. I don’t know what we’re clinging to. Her fanatical religious convictions are driving me nuts. The idea of a loving God is based on faith, and I have none.
Jacob, my youngest son, starts university next year, so it’s time for me to leave. I’ve been tired of the family trap for a long time. Rich, famous, and dissatisfied is no way for a man to spend the rest of his life.
I’ve got one shot at sensation before the maw of eternity swallows me like another day. I’m taking what’s offered without regret or remorse.
There’s no guarantee Eternulum will awaken the dead anyway. Just because we’ve brought frozen monkeys back to life, it doesn’t mean the formula will be effective on a human, especially one who’s been entombed for over a thousand years.
I’ve been around Dr. Nacroanus long enough to know if he says the plasma will prolong life, it will, and I shudder at the implications.
My life is speeding by at a record-breaking clip. My outer world is friendly and comfortable, but my inner life is dark and gloomy. I’m charmed by the gifts and preference the world has shown me because of its love for Dr. Nacroanus. But I suffer with severe bouts of depression, insomnia and prolonged episodes of suicidal ideation.
Unlike Dr. Nacroanus who seems to thrive in devastation and despair, I feel broken and lost as if this world was never my home.
I’m confused and torn between serving a God who seems impossible to love and a world that contains only death and fleeting pleasures.
Dr. Nacroanus is the only mentor I’ve ever trusted, but when I face my demons in the middle of the night, a question burns deep in my heart: What does this monster plan to do?
Copyright © 2014 by John W. Steele