Because “Nil Sine Numine” Was Too Ironic

As the imago matures, there are legends that we do not see.

Meredith runs away from the glorious germ cycle.

Run, Meredith, run!

The germ cycle works like this. First, someone sneezes. This is probably because they’ve been mentioned.

For example, Meredith was sneezing just a few minutes ago. She was mentioned as part of this ongoing legend!

Later, Martin will talk about infinite forces, unknowable, imperceptible, transcendent to the circumstances of his life. Then you’ll sneeze! It’s not that he doesn’t know you’re there, but there are light cone and timing issues that make you ineffable unto him. Your germs will get everywhere.

Meredith is fleeing the sneezing because she doesn’t want germs on her. She’s getting in a boat. She’s sailing away!

Once people sneeze, the germs are “in play.” They rotate around the immediate environment vigorously germing. Once they’ve infected everyone they can, they evaporate upwards into the sky.

Meredith pulls a sweep of storms over the sky. The clouds seal away the germs behind a layer of mystery.

The germs seethe around in the sky. Then they come down as divine vengeance!

You can’t escape divine vengeance just because there’s a storm, but you can sometimes sail away from it if you’re a very good sailor. That’s why Odysseus kept surviving, even though his shrimp-eating ways angered both God and Poseidon. Everyone stuck on land, however, gets the plague and runs around sneezing right and left.

Look! Sid’s illustrating this. He’s running around sneezing right and left—one sneeze in each direction, like the waving of a baton!

People wonder why the Heavens are so angry. They look around. They find someone to blame. Often this is just someone running around sneezing, like Sid, to whom they impute grave moral failings. Sometimes it’s someone terribly unrighteous like Tantalus or that girl who had sex that one time. Personally, we recommend Tantalus! If God is going to send down plagues every time people have sex, you’re going to have to live with your sneezing.

Once people have blamed someone to clear their consciences, they begin the hard work of reforming themselves. This step is optional but an important part of the germ cycle. Meredith’s sailing away mostly so she doesn’t have to do it!

Reformation leads to a quelling of divine vengeance. Virtue appeases God or the gods, as appropriate to the plague in question. The germs dry up and the germ cycle begins a new revolution.

Meredith pulls up her boat on the docks of a distant land. She sags in relief. She’s escaped the sneezing and the vengeance!

A sign next to the docks reads, “Sodom and Gomorrah. Population 40,000.”

And the city motto, “Ad astra per aspera,” or, “Through difficulty, to the stars.”

5 thoughts on “Because “Nil Sine Numine” Was Too Ironic

  1. “Nil sine numine” would mean something like “nothing without a god.” Or perhaps, “Nothing without divine will.”

  2. Ad astra per aspera is the state motto of Kansas. An interesting choice, given its similarity to the RAF motto “Per ardua ad astra”– particularly given the distinction between “aspera” (difficulty) and “ardua” (suffering).

    Gomorrah = Kansas.

  3. Reading this for the first time in 2009, I feel like I’m missing something. Is this supposed to be the first mention of an imago, with no prior mention of a cocoon, or any other insectoid references? I find myself confused as to the context of the text preceding this entry, and it feels like I missed an entry somewhere, but I see nothing looking back.

    However, this being Hitherby, and chaos having been mentioned a couple entries back with no context, it is possible, even likely, that the confusion is intentional.

  4. It is plausible to me that this is the first official mention of the imago.

    I didn’t have full freedom to introduce it as smoothly as I would have liked, due to a combination of Hitherby_Admin wanting to update and rename the site and my own desire to link that to in-story events that might have been … spread out over another week or two, perhaps, otherwise.

    Jenna

  5. Ah, that makes sense. Thank you :)

    I’ve been spending most lunch breaks for months discussing the underlying meanings and implications of Hitherby entries with a friend. We have totally different interpretations of things, which is awesome, but we’re both usually pretty sure we’re missing things. This time, I realized that I could just ask ^^;

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