Wrong Flag

The breakthrough results from trials of Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine are based on ‘shaky science’, an expert has warned.

Okay, it’s the Daily Mail so you wouldn’t expect them to question this. They are journalists, not scientists.

So, someone who actually knows what they’re talking about has raised a flag over the Oxford vaccine. Her complaint is quite correct, the trial they did was really badly done. However, the article goes on to tell you what the three vaccines do and what they cost. The Oxford one is the only one even approaching a traditional vaccine and it’s by far the cheapest.

Basically, they have inserted spike protein RNA from Covid into an adenovirus, one of the wide range of viruses that cause the common cold. It’s low risk because even if a live one got through it would only give you a cold.

Then they grow that remodelled virus in animal cell culture and they have a common cold virus with a spike protein from Covid on its surface. The immune system will attack the virus and make antibodies against the spike protein (as well as the rest of the virus), so it’s ready for Covid if it appears.

It doesn’t need to be frozen because the virus doesn’t need to be viable. It only needs to be intact enough for the immune system to find it. This is the one that’s stored in the fridge. It doesn’t matter if that virus is incapable of infecting, in fact it’s better if it’s not. The immune system will attack it anyway.

Our flag waver raised no concerns about the other two vaccines. These are both mRNA vaccines, purely experimental, never been tried in humans before. They trick your cells into producing Covid spike protein themselves in the belief that that will be benign, your immune system will only attack the spike protein and you’ll be immune. In the short term that will work since you will indeed produce antibodies against any foreign protein that gets into your body. Trials have shown that it does indeed work in the short term.

However.

For this to work, the mRNA has to get into your body cells. There doesn’t seem to be much information on how they plan to do that. There is a way, it’s been tried several times before and it can work.

You load your mRNA into a virus. The virus enters the cell and delivers its payload, which you hope is only that specific mRNA strand. But you have to load it in a viral coat. Just the spike protein code isn’t going to be enough, you need to produce a lot of this virus and if it’s only producing spike protein you can’t grow it. So you also need the genes to make the rest of the viral coat in there too. Basically, you now have a virus. If you want to keep it active you have to freeze it.

Hopefully it can only get into the first cell it meets and can’t replicate further. This is unlikely. You’re going to be injected with millions, odds are good that a few fully-armed live ones will get in there. Again, if you’re lucky, the few live ones won’t get very far before the immune system hammers them. But it gets worse.

If your own body cells are producing spike protein and that ends up in the cell membrane – remember it’s biochemically designed to sit in a fat layer around the virus so it can do that just as well in your own cells’ fatty membranes – then the immune system will not just attack the spike protein. It will attack the cell carrying it.

The mRNA vaccines have the potential to set up an autoimmune disease, where your immune system attacks your own body cells. Once that starts it can never be cured. There is no going back. You will be taking medication for the rest of your life and the Pharmers will be shovelling money into the bank. Oh, don’t imagine they do any of this for your benefit. They are doing it for the money. It’s business, pure and simple.

So the Oxford vaccine hasn’t been properly trialled. If I absolutely had to have a vaccine I’d still go for that one. I do not want to be a test subject for the long term effects of an experimental (and frankly quite mad) new type of vaccine.

A note on the reported ‘side effects’ so far – If your immune system is set off by an invading protein, it’s quite normal to feel sore at the site of entry, and to maybe get a headache or feel tired as your immune system is all fired up. That’s nothing to worry about. Your immune system is responding to an infection. It doesn’t know it’s just a vaccine.

The problem is in the long term effects. From what I can see of the Oxford vaccine, I wouldn’t expect any. Well, there are always going to be a few who react badly to it, that’s true of any vaccine or indeed any kind of medical treatment, but I would expect those to be few. Unless there’s something else in there that I don’t know about.

The mRNA vaccine is another story. You won’t see autoimmune effects within days. They could take months or years to get to the point where diagnosis is absolute and then it would be a brave doctor indeed who would attribute that to a vaccine far in the past. There might not even be an absolutely certain way to do it. The original mRNA will be gone by then.

The mRNA will not insert itself into your DNA unless an enzyme called reverse transcriptase is present. That enzyme is only found in retroviruses like HIV – which does insert itself into your DNA. Coronaviruses don’t have it. So the mRNA will gradually break down and stop working. Does that mean your immune system will stop killing you? Maybe.

Immune system cells are single cells. One cell, no brain or nervous system, they react purely biochemically. They cannot reason. Once they identify a cell as ‘foreign’ they will produce antibodies to kill it. Not just against the spike protein that’s been inserted. That cell is now ‘enemy’ and all its surface proteins are potential targets.

So even after the Covid spike protein is no longer produced, the other, previously ‘normal’, proteins on the cell surfaces are marked as targets. When the immune system decides normal cels are targets you get arthritis, multiple sclerosis, any autoimmune disease… roll the dice, see what comes up. Since it’s injected into muscle the most likely bad outcome is a muscle wasting disease. You’ll get weak. Easily controlled. Unable to put up any resistance to any show of force.

Now consider: what is it that the globalists have been quite open about wanting for a long time now?

Oh, and it will be mandatory. Not in name but if you ever want to ride a bus again you’ll need to prove vaccination. Once that foot is in the door, the sky’s the limit. Matt the Needle has already said he wants to apply the same approach to seasonal flu. Flu vaccine will be the next one you can’t function without. And then, any other vaccine that takes his fancy.

If you absolutely have to have it, if you have no choice, take the Oxford one. It’s the least risky by far.

That’s probably why they want to get rid of it.

Distractions: Luciferase and Borgbots

My undergraduate project in 1981 was on Eiseinia foetida, a banded eathworm that lives mainly in compost heaps. In the few weeks available to my undergraduate self, I was tasked with finding out whether this worm had a gut microflora that differed from the material it ingested. My conclusion from that short project was that I found nothing in the gut that wasn’t also in the soil.

Given much more time, and modern DNA analysis techniques, I might have found something different. I had a few weeks of dissecting compost heap worm guts (my career developed into increasingly smelly and horrible things later) and I reported what I found. Interesting microscopy, I wish I had had access to a microscope with a camera.

Anyway, one of my contemporaries at the time had a project involving a bacterium, Vibrio fischeri. If you’ve ever managed to get to the beach in warm weather, away from any street lights, you might have seen phosphorescence. Flashes of light in the breaking waves at the shoreline. That’s Vibrio fischeri, among many others. My contemporary had a non-stinky project, he’d delight in showing off his rotating flasks of luminescence in the incubator rooms.

It reacts to oxygen by producing light, in direct relation to the amount of oxygen. It does this down to nanomoles of oxygen (for the nonscientist that means ‘almost, but not quite, bugger all’). I used that same bacterium later to measure tiny amounts of oxygen through a photomultiplier. That was later superseded by membrane inlet mass spectrometry. Oh I have played with some fantastic gadgets in my time 🙂

So. The way this works is by the action of an enzyme on a light emitting substrate. The substrate is luciferin. The enzyme is luciferase. They are so named because of the light they produce, after the Biblical Lucifer (Beautiful Light) and not because we had to perform experiments within a pentagram lit by candles and wearing a cape and pointy hat. That was optional.

Luciferase is not a new thing. It is not linked to Satanic dealings in any way. It’s a convenient name for an enzyme that, paired with the proper substrate, produces light. It’s been known about for many decades and has probably existed forever. This does not mean it cannot be twisted to nefarious purposes, it just means it wasn’t intended to be. it’s just a name for a bacterial light producing phenomenon.

Next, hydrogel. This is a gel that is mostly water. I’ve had it applied to wounds before, more times than I would have liked to have been wounded. It speeds healing and stops you picking at scabs by keeping them hydrated so they don’t go dry. It does not contain Borg nanobots. It is water in a loose gel.

I’ve been fascinated by nanotechnology for a long time, especially those little machines that can only be seen with an electron or scanning-tunnelling microscope. Almost, sometimes literally, made of nothing but molecules, they turn incredibly tiny cogs with incredibly tiny levers. It’s fascinating but there is no room in there, even now, for any kind of computing power. They don’t do much yet. I’m sure that will change but really, it’s a long way from the Borg nanobots that turn you into a drone within minutes.

All that said, I will not be accepting the silly Covid vaccine. This disease is far less scary than measles. I don’t need a vaccine. I’ve had so many vaccines you could probably rip my arm off like a stamp, but not this one. Or rather, any of the three.

There is one from Oxford. It needs to be kept in a fridge. That’s okay, that’s normal. There’s usually one millilitre or so and a doctor or nurse can bring it up to body temperature before injecting just by holding it for a few seconds.

Another one needs to be frozen. That’s not normal. The third needs to be frozen at -70C. That is far from normal. That is the temperature we’d use for DNA or RNA samples. Or viruses. Ask how the vaccine is stored before you take it. If it’s not in the fridge, don’t touch it.

The video I linked to claims the little needles in the plaster-vax will pierce your cells and inject RNA. Nope. Pierce the cell membrane with what, to the cell, is a 9-inch shell, and the cell is dead. You will not get a subtle addition that way. It will get in through a virus vector. That’s not new, it’s been tried many times to fix genetic diseases and unfortunately never succeeded. Very much worth a try for the good intent ones though.

Boris has said that the vaccine will not be mandatory. The government, his government, has also mooted the idea of a ‘freedom pass’. Test negative and you can live. Test positive and it’s the Gulags. It does not need to be mandatory if you cannot live your life without it. You can refuse it if you want but you’ll die alone if you do.

If I took a test today and it was negatiove, I can move among you at will tomorrow. Am I safe to do so? I might have caught the disease ten minutes after the test and be waving my ‘covid-free bracelet’ at your face. Testing negative just means you haven’t caugt it yet.

So it will not be compulsory to have this vaccine but if you can’t prove you had it, you’re going nowhere. Is that really non-compulsory?

Take off the tinoil. Transhumanism is a thing, has been for a long time, they really think they can do this. Despite the warnings of the Cybermen and the Borg, they are trying for it anyway. Like communism, they think their version will work. Not for you. For them.

This does not make me complacent about the imprinted ‘vaccine status’ thing, whether chip or (frequently replenised) luciferase. I know what the original luciferase does, I know what hydrogel is but those things, like anything else, can be perverted. And will be.

Everything you see is false now. Everything is based on ‘divide and distract’. Relax, look around you and see what has really changed. Remember how it used to be. Remember where you came from. Remember who you are.

Rik Mayall was right. Burn your television.

Slap af! Slap af godt!

Når et problem kommer langt, du skal slap af…

Okay, it’s pidgin Danish, I’ve only been doing this for 6 months and they use each word for anything up to 25 different meanings so I reckon I’m doing about as well as anyone who was born in Denmark six months ago. I mean, take the word ‘taget’ which can mean ‘took’ or ‘the roof’. Or ‘dyr’, which is ‘animal’ and also ‘expensive’. Let’s not even start on ‘som’ or ‘hvis’ or ‘på’. Like the caterpillar in Alice, these words mean exactly what you want them to mean.

‘Slap af’ means ‘relax’ so it’s really the opposite of the original song. I just didn’t expect ‘slap af’ to mean that… but we probably shouldn’t go there. It’s lucky I learned this one because if someone in Denmark had told me to slap af, I might have taken it very much the wrong way.

It is, however, a good time to sit back and slap af. No, stop that, I meant the Danish version. Relax.

Chill. Let your blood pressure down. You probably have a valve somewhere, modern medicine refuses to tell you where it is. Usually it involves pulling your finger to let the pressure out.

We have the debacle of an election in America. Very important to Americans, obviously, but its final result will have knock on effects all over the planet. For the avoidance of doubt, I don’t want either of them to win. Unfortunately one of them has to and we’re going to be stuck with one or the other for four years. This is, to me, a matter of secondary importance. We have far too much trouble with our own idiots in charge in the UK to get too concerned with matters elsewhere.

Specifically Scotland, where the mini-government, run by the mini-Kim-Jong-Nippy has now declared fines for entering or leaving Scotland. It’ll cost you £60 to get in or out. Trust me, at this time of year it’s not worth it. Whether they have the authority to do this (they don’t) doesn’t bother them. They’re stupid enough to do it anyway. If this place ever gets independence with this lot in charge of it, hell, take my money at the border.

Meanwhile Boris, and by extension the group once known as the Conservative Party is being run by Carrie Wormtongue. If you’ve seen the Lord of the Rings films (or read the books as I did back in the 1970s) you’ll understand how Boris is perfectly fitting his role as King Theoden.

An MP by the name of Cleverly, who clearly isn’t, has said that the internal combustion engine would never have been accepted as a replacement for horses by government diktat.

That’s not what happened.

As with modern electric cars, early motor cars were primitive, expensive and had limited range. They were the toys of the rich. Eventually, and largely thanks to Henry Ford, they became affordable. Over time they became available to those who weren’t rich. Over time, petrol and diesel refuelling stations appeared that made cars more useful.

Until then, for most people, the horse was a better option. However, the horse needed to be fed and mucked out and exercised and groomed even if you didn’t go anywhere for a week. The car can just sit there until you’re ready to turn the key. It was lowered cost and convenience that changed us from horse and cart to car. Not government diktat.

Boris, under the influence of Wormtongue, has no interest in this natural graduation. Electric cars are currently expensive, have limited range and are nowhere near as good as even a small 4×4 for country roads. There are few places to charge them. All of this will probably change over time but Wormtongue wants it done tomorrow.

Boris does not have klokkene to tell her it’s impossible. He is a henpecked useless beta girlie man. The conservative party, what’s left of it, is now run by someone madder than the single Green MP that ridiculous band of maniacs have managed to get elected. The health minister is, frankly, demented now. He is banning hugs. Seriously. They will not be in power after the next election. At this point I’d say they’d be lucky not to have to campaign while picking the last bits of tar and feathers off themselves.

Our alternative? As with America, I don’t want either of them to win. Both main parties are entirely useless.

So what will happen? History tells us, if anyone bothers to look at that any more. This kind of disenfranchisement led to Hitler. Stalin. Pol Pot. Mao-tse Tung. Hugo Chavez. Che Guevara. Fidel Castro. All came from nowhere to get themselves put in charge of countries they then ruined. And then a lot of people died. Every time.

Maybe it will be different this time. I doubt it. People keep blaming it all on ‘Da Joos’ but this is wrong. The blame lies with four, maybe five of ‘Da Joos’ along with quite a few Goyim. The rest are just like us Goyim, just trying to live, just trying to get along. They know nothing of the Rockefeller plans, the Kalergi plan, the Georgia Guidestones. They are just living their one and only lives, like the rest of us, the best way they can.

However, somethig nasty is coming and it will win. You know why it will win?

Because it has separated humanity with incredible efficiency. Different skin colour? You’re the enemy! Different gender? You’re the enemy! Different religion? You’re the enemy! Vote for the other side? You’re the enemy! And so on.

None of these are the real enemy. Relax, slap af, chill, give your mind time to actually think.

Your imagined enemies are the same as you. They have houses and cars and jobs and children. Just like you. They wash the car and cut the grass just like you. They send their children to school just like you. They buy the same things in the same shops as you.

They are human. Like you. Exactly like you. They might not vote the same way. They might not agree with your politics. Maybe they are individuals and not the drones you want them to be, maybe they are actual humans. Like you.

Your real enemies are those pitting you against your neighbours. They are few. very few. They could not hope to succeed if we just relax, chill, focus and… notice them. That can’t happen while we are all fighting each other.

It really doesn’t matter, in any two party system anywhere, which one wins an election. Those parties are two cheeks of the same arse. They are in it for themselves, not for you. There are exceptions, but those are few and if you want to find them, look for the ones getting the most hate even from their own side. The political machine does not like dissent within its own ranks.

It’s probably too late now. So many factions with their own grievances see every other faction as the enemy. There really isn’t time to convince them, and they don’t want to be convinced anyway. They are happy shouting the slogans they’ve been fed and none of them think they’ll be the ones rounded up and sent off to the gulags.

I rather suspect they will all be rounded up. The goal, remember, is to reduce the human global population to five hundred million. That means getting rid of six and a half billion people.

Whoever you are, your chances really aren’t that good.


Out of book limbo

Yes, this place has been through another of its silent periods. I was preparing two books for publication at once. How? Well, both authors had supplied cover images and Cade F.O.N Apollyon stepped in as editor for Ruth’s book. That saved me a lot of time and work.

Now available are Mark Ellott’s ‘A Moment in Time’ and Ruth Bonner’s ‘Just Call Me Roob‘. If you have an Amazon allergy, the ebooks are also on Smashwords. Hopefully they’ll also soon spread to Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and more. Most of the rest have, there just seems to be an issue with Underdog Anthologies at Smashwords that’s a pain in the arse – but they make so little I haven’t yet bothered to worry about it.

There are three more I’d like completed before Christmas, plus the Christmas anthology of course. Then I might do something I never imagined I’d do when this all started with the Underdog Anthology in December 2016. Heck, back then I thought I was optimistic to call it Volume 1, and the Christmas book will be number 13! Which would have been a bad numbering sequence, but for 2020 it’s probably quite appropriate.

In December, I might actually need to close to submissions for a few weeks.

Yes, in four years I’ve gone from wondering whether I could find enough authors to fill one slim volume of stories, to actually having to close submissions for a few weeks so I can catch up! I’ll close on December 1st so if you have that massive tome of a fantasy novel spanning ninety generations of elves all set to send, you can still send it. I won’t guarantee to do anything about it before Christmas though, three books and an anthology plus some progress on my own writing means I’ll probably manage to take a half-day off for Christmas day. Well nobody can visit, might as well do something useful with all this time.

I still have to do the three volume annual thing but since I cut all the anthology prices to the bone for the duration of this nonsense, there doesn’t seem to be any hurry. I couldn’t charge more than $1.99 for the eBook version at the moment anyway.

If only all this work made any money. If you’re looking for a surprise stocking filler for Christmas, do take a look at the Leg Iron Books selection. There’s something for everyone (except the Gary Glitters and convicted councillors) in there. The authors will appreciate every penny of royalties, they’ll appreciate it even more if the royalties are more than a pound. Seriously, there’s some talented writers on sale at bargain basement prices over there. I even have a range of my own books in there of varying thicknesses to suit almost any wonky table leg.

Anyway, I have not entirely withdrawn from the real world – well, no more than usual. Today we did manage to visit Son and the grandchildren. Granddaughter is nearly three, her mother worries that the lockdown means she’s not developing social skills. She’s my granddaughter. She has no need of social skills, she just needs blade and crossbow lessons. Grandson is eight weeks old and has already mastered the art of the disapproving scowl. They are both developing perfectly normally. If Billy Gates Gruff wants to mess with this DNA, good luck. You have no idea what you might produce.

This vaccine is really gaining some acolytes. They think it will fix everything. The fact is, this vaccine isn’t a vaccine. It’s going to insert mRNA into your cells to make them produce proteins that are foreign to the body. This is, by any measure, not a good idea. You can pretend that sex is a construct to your five-or-seven-chambered heart’s content but biochemistry – trust me on this – is fixed.

At this point the Vaccine Brigade will call me an anti-vaxxer. I am a retired microbiologist. I have been vaccinated with every legitimate vaccine going. Some that the general public never get offered because they aren’t working with the horrible things I’ve worked with. My children and grandchildren are vaccinated. The only vaccine I have ever refused is flu vaccine because it’s money-making crap. I will definitely refuse the Billy Gates Gruff’s not-a-vaccine.

Real vaccines work like this. You take dead cells or attenuated (they can’t infect) live cells or even just appropriate bits of protein and inject them. Your immune system finds them and says ‘What’s this? What’s all this infecting? We’ll have no trouble here’ followed by ‘This is a local body for local cells, there’s nothing here for you’ and proceeds to wipe them out with antibodies.

The antibody production then declines. This is normal. It does not mean you have lost immunity. It means the immune system doesn’t waste time, protein and energy producing antibodies against something it’s already defeated. It would be like an army going through a battlefield eternally re-shooting the enemy it’s killed. Waste of bullets.

Instead, the immune system cells are able to store the information to make particular antibodies against things they have seen before. They don’t need to make them all the time. When the same pathogen appears, the immune system doesn’t need to go through all the ‘What is this and how do we kill it?’ routine. It just goes ‘Oh yeah, that one. Load up Antibody 73 and get firing, lads’.

The Billy Gates Gruff ‘vaccine’ does not do this. Bear in mind that the immune system recognises antigens – bits of surface material, not whole cells – and destroys the cell carrying them. The entire cell.

So, the Billy Gates Gruff ‘vaccine’ makes your own cells produce surface proteins that your own immune system recognises as foreign. It does not simply block the protein. It kills the cell carrying it. Your own body cells.

This is not a vaccine. This is an autoimmune disease in a syringe. I don’t care if they never let me enter a pub or restaurant or travel on a plane again. Not that we will be able to afford planes once the budget airlines have been wiped out. I am not going to be injected with this monstrosity.

You want to believe it will save you from what has turned out to be a bad flu? Fine. You go ahead. I won’t gloat, I probably won’t be one of the six people allowed to attend your funeral anyway.

You want to call it tinfoil hattery, go ahead. Or get two degrees in an appropriate subject, live through an entire career dealing with infectious disease and retire with a shed filled with lab equipment, like I have, and then maybe you’ll give it some thought.

Or maybe not. Maybe you’re excited to be injected with an experimental not-a-vaccine that claims 90% effectiveness against your own immune system’s 99%. Maybe you really want the aches and headaches of approaching arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Maybe you hate yourself so much that the agonising death of your body, cell by cell, is a delight to be savoured.

You just know it’s going to be called ‘Long Covid’, to get more idiots to take the thing, don’t you?

Meanwhile there is nobody sensible in charge. Boris is the Henpecked Premier, doing whatever his squeeze tells him to even though he must know, deep down, it will utterly destroy the country he was elected to lead.

That other bastion of Western Civilisation, America, seems to have no idea what it’s doing any more. That last election was a farce that would have embarrassed even the EU presidential election. Still nobody knows who won and I think it should be down to a cage fight between Trump and Biden. Go on, America. Election by Thunderdome. Two old fogeys enter, one old fogey leaves.

Maybe we should choose leaders who have a future beyond a rich retirement in the Cayman islands.

It doesn’t matter now. The game is on, Panoptica is approaching reality at a horrifying speed and it’s too late to stop it. Like climate change. It’s happening, it can’t be stopped, it’s not going the way they think it’s going and it’s adapt or die.

Darwin was right about that. It’s not evolution unless we turn into White Walkers. It’s adaptation.

We’ve done it before.

The big question is… how many of us have the guts to do it again?

Piper in Hazmat: Part One

Busy here, now five full books going through the process and also the Christmas anthology. Still I managed to get started on a tale for Christmas myself. This one will form part of Panoptica and fits between ‘For Whom the Bells Jingle‘ and ‘23-David and 81-Mohammed‘.

This isn’t the whole thing. Just the first half. It’ll probably get some editing too, once it’s complete. It’s being rushed out now because of something that’s happening in Liverpool.

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The story is set in the future of course – I had hoped in the far future, but it seems the future is coming faster than I anticipated. Well, here we go…

Piper in Hazmat

Dawn wiped away her tears before they could freeze. It had been three years and yet the pain burned as bright as ever. She stifled a sob and kept her head bowed. Tree respect was nearly over and she would return home alone, to spend this Earth Day’s Eve night in darkness.

This year, again, she considered ending it. It would be so easy. Refuse to turn off the house. Keep a tablet or phone open. Wait for the bells and let Santa take her as he had taken Willow, and a year before that, Martin. She would be with them in spirit, somewhere, if the old religions replaced by the Green God still had any power. At least the pain would stop.

That’s what the old religions promised. The Green God promised nothing but despair, the burning of this planet now deep in snow and ice. The trees were dormant, having shed their leaves for their long winter sleep and yet the news declared that the planet was warming by the hour.

Dawn gasped when the klaxon sounded. Relieved, she turned and headed for home. Maybe she could simply not bother with her preparations and let the cold take her this year, as it took so many others. Mostly the old, but then it did also take some of the young, even some of those younger than Dawn’s thirty years.

Lost in her depression, she didn’t notice June draw alongside her as she walked. Normally the families maintained social distance and respectful silence on Earth Day’s Eve. Everyone was too intent on getting home for one last hot meal before turning all the power off to be bothered with any idle chit-chat anyway. June’s whisper startled her.

“Dawn. We need to talk.”

Dawn shook her head and whispered back. “Do you want us both on the Naughty List? We have to maintain tree respect this day.” She kept her eyes firmly ahead.

June’s breathing was harsh. “They’ve made something worse than Green Santa. The Piper. They plan to take all the children.”

Dawn curled her lip. “They’ve taken my husband and my child. Why would this be any of my business?”

June stayed silent until they were nearly at Dawn’s house. Then she took a breath. “I’m sorry, Dawn. I know you’re going through a living hell but we need you.” She pressed something into Dawn’s hand. Something that ticked. “It’s not electronic so Santa won’t see it. It’s mechanical. Watch it after you turn off the house. When the thick long hand has moved halfway around the dial, and if you want to help us, open your front door and put a LEDlight outside.”

Dawn turned, but June was already receding into the growing darkness. She opened her door and dashed inside.

The door closed, her back pressed against it, Dawn stared at the small metal disc in her hand. Behind its flattened clear dome were three pointed sticks, radiating from the centre. A long one, a short one and a very thin one that rotated around the centre as she watched. There were numbers, one to twelve, around the outside of the dial.

It moves. Is it really not electronic? Is this a trap?

Dawn chuckled, a harsh and desolate sound. It really didn’t matter. She wanted an end to her personal hell anyway so if it was a trap she’d gladly walk into it. It took the decision to end it from her hands, it meant she didn’t have to choose.

In the kitchen, Dawn placed the disc thing on the table and switched on the kettle. She’d try, although she didn’t really want to, to fill enough hot water flasks to last the twenty-four hours of Earth Day. She set the soup on the hob, the last hot meal until sunset tomorrow, and remembered how she had taken the tepid leftovers when Willow was still here. Now the hot soup was all hers and it tasted of loss and despair.

Dawn filled two hot water bottles and three Thermos flasks with hot water before the brown-out started. She filled the fourth with half of the soup and sat to eat the rest at the table. Through the kitchen window, she saw the sun touch the horizon. She ate faster, soon it would be time to shut down the house and wrap up as well as she could for the long dark hours ahead.

Her gaze fell to the strange disc June had given her. It had protrusions either side, as if it was once fixed to something. As she ate, Dawn wondered where it had come from. It looked old, tarnished and scratched and yet whatever mechanism lay inside still worked. The thin stick in the dial moved in jerky steps, round and round. She was to wait until the long thick one moved halfway round the dial, after she turned off the house.

It’s a time measuring device of some kind. Dawn blinked a few times. A memory tried to resurface. Had her grandfather had one of these, or something like it, strapped to his wrist? The Great Cull had taken him while she was still a child, the viral plague that had wiped out many of the elderly. She sniffed and took another spoonful of soup. The four-digit clocks were so much easier to read, this little time measuring thing looked like hard work.

The soup finished, Dawn checked on the sun. Only a tiny arc of its disc now showed on the horizon. She sighed and rose. Time to turn off the house. Technically she had a few more minutes but what was the point? The electricity was now so low that the ceiling light seemed to suck light out of the room rather than illuminate it. She switched on a LEDlight and opened the panel for the power.

This was control. Martin had told her. They could turn off the power remotely through the smart meters but that wasn’t real control. Making everyone turn off their own power, that was real control. Dawn reached into the space behind the panel and pulled down the handle. The house fell silent. The pale bluish glow of the LEDlight was all that remained.

Dawn sat at the kitchen table and considered the tiny device June had given her. She was to wait until the ‘thick long hand’ had moved halfway around the dial then put a LEDlight outside her door. Well, assuming she gave enough of a shit to find out what this was all about.

What do I have to lose? Nothing.

The thin stick continued its rotations. The short fat one didn’t seem to have moved much. It pointed at just below the three. The one she was to watch pointed at the six. So she was to put out a LEDlight when it pointed at twelve. Dawn wondered how long that would take. The hell with it. I have to get some layers of clothing on. It’s already getting cold. She placed the little dial on the table and went off to the bedroom with the LEDlight.

Wrapped in multiple layers of clothing against the growing cold, with one hot water bottle in her bed and the other under her clothing, Dawn returned to the kitchen. She carried three extra LEDlights since her first one was already fading. There was not enough sunlight to charge them at this time of year. Should she really waste one by putting it outside her door?

The long fat stick pointed at eight. So she hadn’t missed whatever awaited her this night. Dawn tried to care, she tried very hard, but three years of being alone weighed heavy on her. If it was to end tonight, let it end.

Why twelve? There were twenty hours in a day, a hundred minutes in an hour and fifty seconds in a minute. Dawn had a vague recollection that it had been different and harder to understand when she was small but it was so easy to calculate now. Hardly any thought required. What was this little dial measuring? Transfixed, she watched the movements within the little dial, tracking the motion of the one that led to a decision. Would she agree to June’s request or ignore it?

Nine. Halfway to twelve. Dawn walked to the window and shivered at the moonlit whiteness outside. Every house, well, every box-shaped dwelling, all identical, all dark… it looked dead out there. She held her breath and listened but could hear no bells. Nobody around here was on the naughty list tonight, so far. Dawn glanced back at the table. So June had told her the truth. The tiny dial wasn’t electronic or she’d be hearing sleigh bells by now. The Green Santa wasted no time when dealing with the naughty ones.

Dawn hugged herself and returned to the table. The LEDlight was almost dead. She switched on another. These tiny solar-charged lights were the only electronics permissible on this night. Dawn picked up the little dial. Its ticking seemed louder now that all other sound was silenced.

Ten. Getting close to decision time. Was she going to put a light outside or just ignore June’s hinted rebellion and go to bed? The short stick had moved a little closer to four. That one must measure hours, June thought, although it seemed a little off. Still, it was hardly bedtime but what else was there to do now?

What was it June had said? The Piper will come for the children? Dawn closed her eyes. There was a tiny hint of childhood memory trying to get through, something about a piper who took children away. Vague, fleeting memories of a story one of her grandparents – she couldn’t remember which one – had read to her when she was small. Something about Hamlet… no, that was a white supremacy thing she had learned about in school. Piper of Hammering? Piper with a Pie? Dawn shook her head. It was too long ago, far too long. Even so, she was sure she remembered a story about a piper who took away children.

She opened her eyes and stared at the dial in her hand.

Eleven. Not much time left to decide. Should she base her future, or possible lack of it, on a vague memory of a children’s story? Dawn pursed her lips. They had corrupted Santa. Changed him from the old jolly fat smoking and drinking guy who gave away presents into the New Green Santa, who was lithe and fast and Pure, and who gave nothing but took away the Naughty Ones. It was not so much of a stretch to believe they had found another childhood icon to corrupt.

June was right about the little dial. It moved without electronics. Mechanical, she called it. Dawn turned it in her fingers and wondered what was inside, what powered it. It was certainly very old. Did the ancients have some knowledge that was now lost to the modern world? Or was it an elaborate trick? Dawn placed it on the table and watched as the thin stick made a complete revolution and the long fat one clicked one notch further. It can’t be electronic or Green Santa would be here now. June had told the truth, even if Dawn couldn’t work out why it was true.

So maybe June also told the truth about the Piper. The long fat stick was close to the twelve. Dawn took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

She had lost her husband and only child. Now this Piper thing was coming for other children. Should she care? Should she help? Or should she continue her slide into despair and let the rest of the world suffer as she had?

Dawn pushed her seat away from the table and stood. “What the Hell do I have left to lose?” she said aloud. “I can wither away and die or go down in a blaze. Maybe I won’t be any use but I can face whatever god there might be and say that I tried.”

The hand was still one minute from twelve when she put the LEDlight outside her door.

***

The rest of it will be in the Christmas anthology.

Into the Abyss

Pretty busy here. Brakes are fixed, now one tyre has developed a slow leak. I think I might just keep pumping it up until 2020 is over. If I fix it, it’ll just set something else off. This one is easy. I even have a compressor.

Okay. Currently looking at a 12 story book for Halloween with some absolute beauties in there. The quality of writing from the authors just keeps getting better, there was hardly anything to edit this time. I suppose it’s the result of practice but whatever it is, it’s definitely working.

The deadline for closure is still 22 hours away and since all editing is up to date we can handle a slightly late one or two, as long as we know it’s coming. Contracts aren’t out because I’m still haggling over the title (it has to be on the contract) but that has to be decided by tomorrow night. This could be in print in a week. There are already two stories in for the Christmas anthology, even though it’s not yet officially open for submissions for a week or two yet.

I have one in there that stems from the logical result of eternal lockdowns, and wouldn’t you know it, the government have now enacted laws by edict that make it possible. Parliament is now just a shouting house, the government are taking no notice of them and not telling them in advance what they are up to. We don’t have a Parliament. We have a junta running the country.

So why are we paying the rest of them?

More local lockdowns are coming on the basis of less than ten positive tests. Hospitals are empty, you have to make an appointment to go to casualty and if they sold off the NHS now, hardly anyone would even notice it was gone. They’d only notice when the TikTok dancing nurses videos stopped. It’s been effectively closed for months for most people. Matt Handoncock is definitely in the ‘sell the NHS’ camp and the NHS are determined to help him do it.

The masks are not going away any time soon. I’ll have to get some even scarier ones. Criminals are loving it. Before all this, if you went into a shop masked you’d immediately raise suspicions. Now you get shouted at if you don’t. I await the first massive bank heist in which the CCTV can’t tell who is robbing it and who works there.

Masks don’t do a damn thing to protect anyone, but so many people have signed up to the Religion of the Mask now that they will not hear it. The masks are their saviours, they will not let them go. Ever. They genuinely don’t realise that there is no going back, there is no return to what we used to consider normal, and that they are the ones responsible for that.

We are staring into the abyss, and the edge we are standing on is crumbling.

The University Prisons

Well, the mechanic is getting all the parts and I should be rolling by Monday, maybe sooner if he gets them by tomorrow. This guy could be a regular for fixing the car (assuming lockdown makes the inactive metal box seize up something else, which is likely). I’ve used one tank of petrol since March and flat battery has happened twice already, despite having a new battery last year. This car is used to driving between Aberdeen and Cardiff, it doesn’t like the sedentary life. Still, it’s all part of the Boris plan to eradicate personal transport, I suppose. Might need to rebuild that old stable.

On the plus side, we are all up to date on story editing for the next anthology and there’s still a week left for submissions. Last minute submissions will pose no problem. I’ll be sending out contracts as soon as I think of a suitable title, then payments, and we are on course for a first week of October release. I can’t use ‘lockdown’ again even though I have a story about where that leads in the book. I can also use the time to dream up a cover – perhaps making use of that plague doctor mask, or the skull mask… I have so many now, and not one single overpriced and useless surgical mask. ‘Maskquerade’ might be a contender.

Nine stories so far, including one new author. I’m delighted to note that every anthology has introduced at least one new author so far. Not bad, considering this is number 12. There’s still time – and I have another story brewing.

My mother had scheduled a visit in October but of course that’s not going to happen now. She’s rescheduled for November, if the twats in charge come to their senses by then. It’s now public knowledge that both the CSO and CMO, who are running this through a grotesquely compliant Boris, stand to profit from a vaccine. I thought everyone knew about that months ago but the news is treating it as if it’s a scoop.

So we have to suffer until they can sell us a vaccine that won’t work. The annual flu vaccine is being pushed again, it’s that time of year, and that has an estimated success rate of 40%. The real rate will of course be a lot lower since some of those who don’t get flu wouldn’t have got it anyway. You might as well rattle a gourd at people and claim that if they don’t catch the disease, it has worked. You’d probably get very close to a 40% success rate.

No vaccine against any coronavirus has ever worked. Vaccines against stable viruses work. Smallpox was eradicated using a vaccine, it is still the only disease to be truly eradicated from the planet. Even the Black Plague is still around although now we have antibiotics and can deal more effectively with its major vector – rats.

Cholera is easily controlled by water supply treatment, even my tiny treatment plant here (filter and UV) will deal with it. All the diseases, apart from smallpox, are still around and this new cortonavirus is going to stick around too. Get used to it. It’s currently killing a lot fewer people than the annual flu and a hell of a lot fewer than cancer, heart disease and the rest.

Yet people are going around in plastic tents and someone is selling a space helmet with a pump sending air in through filters. Idiots are paying a lot of money for these things. I have a plastic Bane mask that is just as effective (as in, not at all) but a lot more fun. Especially as they can’t make me take it off. I’ll carry around my Saw puppet mask in case they insist I change it.

Now, in Scotland at least, Wee Nippy has confined thousands of university students to their rooms, enforced by police patrols. They cannot go to the pub, they cannot go to the shops, lectures are all online and they cannot even visit each other’s rooms. They’d be better off in prison.

Why even let them go back? Well, they are paying fees (unless they are Scottish or EU students, which has mysteriously never included English students who do have to pay fees – but the SNP aren’t anti-English despite their ‘go home’ signs at the border) and they are paying rent. Yes, they are all paying a lot of money to be in prison while rapists and murderers get it all for free. Isn’t that fun?

Even the non-fee-paying Scottish students, who I suspect are a major part of the SNP’s core vote along with their parents and families, are in the University California. No pubs, no going home for weekends even if they live a short bus ride away, no visits from family or friends or other students, lectures all online. Which all those students could have done equally well at home. They might not be paying fees but they are paying rent. I hope this devastates the SNP vote next election. If it doesn’t then the Scots are idiots.

Imagine being a first year student, possibly away from home for the first time ever, and being told you cannot go home and your family cannot visit you. Just think about how that would feel. Doesn’t it feel rather like being imprisoned for no crime other than breathing? You’re in a cell, can’t even talk to those in the other cells, and you’re fresh from home. You’ve committed no crime. How do you feel? I finished writing a Halloween story linked to this last night and it was true even before I typed the last word. It’ll be in the book, and on the blog when the book is published.

This is a taste of an independent Scotland under the Spiteful Nannying Party, headed by Kim McJong Nippy. Note that not a single one of those students has needed hospital treatment or any doctor’s attention. Not that there are any available anyway. If you really want this world you are a total bloody idiot.

Once my car is fixed I will have to take it for long drives. Even if it’s just to buy more petrol for the lawnmowers, the generator and the new brushcutter which I have dubbed the Petrol Driven Bastard. You’ll know why when you see it. This year the garden tools have used more petrol than the car.

I have some battery driven ones too, but the battery strimmer is a gentle stroking massage device compared to the Petrol Driven Bastard.

Better get in some more scythe practice. It’s going to be cutting edge technology again soon.

If Boris the alleged ‘libertarian’ gets his way, soon we’re going to party like it’s 1499.

What is really happening?

‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain’.

This new virus looked really scary at the start. The Chinese were boarding up homes and apparently burning corpses at a rate that would have made Hitler’s jaw drop. And yet…

Once testing spread to the non-sick, it became apparent that for most people it was a bad cold or nothing at all. China has returned entirely to normal. Sweden ignored the whole thing and has a health outcome almost identical to everyone else’s and a far better economy. It’s clearly over, even in the paranoid West there are now very few hospital admissions due to this virus, the hastily-built backup hospitals saw mostly nobody and our hospitals are largely empty.

Yet we are all supposed to wear masks (that cannot work) in shops, can’t meet in groups of more than six and there are threats of curfews. Apparently the virus has mutated into an entirely nocturnal form. Or the curfews are going to hide something we’re not supposed to see. Which option is sillier, do you think?

The NHS has, mostly, shut down. If the Tories really planned to sell it off they won’t get much public outcry now. It’s no bloody use to most of us anyway. Let it go.

If it was a prank by China to destroy the West, it has worked. There is almost nothing left of this virus, you are now 13 times more likely to die of the regular seasonal flu than Covid, it’s turned out to be a damp squib of a pandemic.

So why are our governments continuing with this farce? It makes absolutely no sense at all.

The other big news of the day is, of course, the unscheduled arrival of boatloads of men in Dover. Hardly any women or children, just tens of thousands of men who, if they had stayed in their own countries, could have transformed them. Instead they ran away, leaving their families behind, so they can complain about fancy hotels most of us have never been able to afford to visit. We are supposed to be afraid of these whinging cowards.

If there is any truth in the rumour that they are an invading army, the lawyers currently preventing their removal are accessories to an enemy invasion. They might want to look up their legal standing in that respect. I’d also suggest that any lawyer blocking the removal of an illegal invader should have that invader live in their house while the case is being heard. Why would that be a problem? The lawyer believes they are beneficial to the country, after all.

Look, this does not make me anti-immigrant. Only anti-illegal-invader. But hey, if you want to play the Outrage Game, you have fun with that. I’ll let you know if I start to care.

Then there was the story that police are intercepting a terrorist attack on the port at Dover. Again, this makes no sense. If the ‘enemy’ are piling in their troops through Dover, why would they want to blow it up? It’s their main landing point. Any other port and it could be credible but Dover?

It’s all distraction. Something is happening behind the curtain and we’re being enraged by alternatives so we never calm down and look.

Calm down. Drink tea. Smoke.

And… look behind the curtain.

Puzzles

Something has been niggling at the back of my mind for some time now. It came into focus when I saw one of the ‘senseless violence’ videos circulating recently.

I don’t mean the feral protestors. Of course everyone was videoing that. News channels (those that admit it’s even happening) and almost everyone present with a smartphone. Something was happening, people filmed it.

In this particular video, a man ambles along the street then takes a seat on a low railing. Another man, on a bike, passes him and as he passes he smacks the seated man across the head, knocking him to the floor. There was no logic to it, it was senseless.

But… why was anyone filming the man in the first place? Nothing was happening. He wasn’t doing anything illegal, he wasn’t protesting, in fact he wasn’t doing anything at all. There really was nothing to film until the second man showed up. The film was also remarkably steady. It wasn’t a hand held phone – no matter how steady your hands are, there’s going to be some movement. This was a fixed camera in a mount or on a tripod.

Clearly it was set up for the camera. The man who was hit might not have known it was coming, but someone did. A gang initiation, a vicious prank, who knows? It’s not that particular film that matters here, it’s the thought it triggered.

Remember all those videos of masked Chinese people in Wuhan, just falling down dead in the street? It caused speculation that a second infection could be fatal, that the disease worked like Dengue fever – a bad flu first time round, increased lethality if you catch it again. There was later speculation that it was the mask that caused them to asphyxiate and spontaneously die. It’s never happened anywhere else.

But again, these films showed nothing happening at first. Just people walking along a street, with the one about to collapse centre frame – and a very steady camera. There was no reason to be filming at all.

Then the victim simply poleaxes and lies still on the ground. That’s the event – but how did the camera operator know it was about to happen? Was it all an act?

A stable camera filming a nondescript street scene in which the person centred in shot suddenly collapses. Not just one, but several such films appeared. These have to have been staged.

Then there were all the reports of Chinese hospitals bagging up still-living patients and sending them to the incinerators. Videos taken by Chinese journalists in which they try to alert medical staff that they’d seen the body bags move and yet nobody responds. Were the body bags loaded with actors for effect? Drive them around the corner and let them out, then burn a load of pigs so you get the effect of a massive rate of cremation. Could that be?

Wuhan is back to normal. Films of huge parties are coming out of there. Nobody is sad, nobody is in mourning for thousands of dead people. It is, literally, business as usual. And nobody wears masks.

The boarding up of homes, the roadside tests, the silly infrared thermometers (these are not a reliable way to assess body temperature, they only measure skin surface temperature and if it’s cold outside, you might only register 25-30 oC). Was it all a massive practical joke to send the West into lockdown? It has certainly made a hell of a mess of Western economies.

The virus is real, it’s nasty and it has killed people. Nowhere near as many as claimed, since we’ve known for some time that doctors were pressured to put ‘covid-19’ on death certificates even if the corpse had been rolled off the tarmac after a passing steamroller and no test was performed. It now transpires it has killed mainly the elderly and infirm and has had much the same effect as a bad seasonal flu.

It’s now simply called ‘coronavirus’ as if it’s the only one. Every flu virus is a coronavirus. MERS, SARS, bird flu, swine flu, seasonal flu and many common colds are coronaviruses. If they are testing for coronavirus this is never going away. Vaccines are futile against coronavirus and always have been. The only thing those vaccines achieve is profit for the company making them.

Vaccines against stable infective agents such as polio, tetanus, measles etc – they work because the target doesn’t change much over time. Although I see there is a resurgence in polio in Africa that was actually caused by the use of a live vaccine.

A live vaccine contains an attenuated (not dangerous) version of the virus. Your immune system sees it, kills it and remembers it. That vaccine virus is not supposed to be able to set up much of an infection, just enough to set off your immune system. However, it’s still active and it seems this one managed to mutate back to its original form, or repair the damage done to it. It’s really best to stick to vaccines containing killed virus.

Coronaviruses mutate too fast to allow development of a reliable vaccine. That’s why there’s no vaccine against the common cold. There never will be. Treatment is the only option.

So here we are, six months into a two week lock down to ‘save the NHS’ when nobody can see a doctor and ‘protect the elderly’ while anyone over 60 entering a hospital was issued with a ‘do not resuscitate’ notice and the virus was deliberately introduced into elderly care homes. I’m begining to feel like 23-David with all these contradictions, all of which I am supposed to simultaneously support.

We are now to wear masks while the virus has declined to the point where even the doctors can’t attribute more than single figure deaths to it. The NHS is still largely closed and demanding a pay rise. Boris has declared he wants a curfew, people cannot gather in groups of more than six except when they can and he’s going to employ some Stasi to enforce it. He hasn’t yet gone the Australian route and installed full-on Panoptica monitoring. It’ll come.

Meanwhile, China is partying as they import all the coal they can get while the rest of us declare we have to manage on ridiculous solar panels and windmills. Boris wants to ban all cars except the fancy dodgems and you can’t have a gas boiler to heat your home – and no, you can’t have a chimney either.

This is becoming a very silly game. In so many areas now. It’s clearly all been orchestrated and it’s ramping up as if those running it are panicking. Which they probably are.

The real climate change is about to manifest. The next few years will make it clear that all of this ‘preparation’ has not been preparing people to survive climate change, but to be wiped out by it. That’s why they are moving so many people towards the poles. People who are going to struggle to cope with a level of cold they have never experienced.

I have seen people claim the virus isn’t real. It is real, but it’s a vicious flu. I have seen people claim that there are long lasting effects. This is post viral syndrome and it’s not common and certainly not exclusive to this virus, but it does affect some people. I have seen medics attribute almost everything to this new virus which, as a smoker, does bring a touch of relief. It used to be that every disease was my fault, now your cough, dry eyes, dandruff, middle ear infection, anything that afflicts you is coronavirus.

Basically, our governments have all been pranked by China and so have most of the people. I don’t know what China has on our politicians and scientists – it’s probably money – but only Sweden has said ‘Ah, screw this, it’s nonsense’ and Sweden has come out of all this in better shape than all the lockdown countries.

Yet the farce continues. Wee Nippy has now introduced the ‘Rule of Six’ in Scotland. Outside my immediate family and CStM I don’t think I know six people so it’ll be hard to keep to that rule. It’s an arbitrary and stupid rule to apply at this stage but then arbitrary and stupid seems to be every government’s modus operandi at the moment.

There is no natural end to this post. The puzzles and contradictions in the world today could fill a book. So I’m just going to stop.

Let’s just hope the idiots in charge do the same.

All except one part

If you haven’t seen the film ‘V for Vendetta’, I recommend it. Most entertaining.

The plot, basically, is that a fake epidemic is engineered to bring the population under total control. There is a curfew, there is a ban on large gatherings, and it’s not the police who enforce it but the Fingermen, directly employed by government.

Laws are brought in without parliamentary process. There doesn’t seem to be a parliament any more, just one ruller called Chancellor Sutler. Sutler makes the law, there is no parliamentary process at all.

Everyone lives under repression, everyone is watched all the time and one step out of line gets your house raided and you disappear. The thing that jarred with me was that this was all brought in under a Conservative government. I didn’t think the Tories would do all that, but here we are.

In the film, the character known as ‘V’ eventually brings down the goverment (one man, Sutler) and frees the people. V has no eyes and yet is able to navigate his world perfectly. He is horribly burned, he was one of the subjects of ‘vaccine testing’ under the new regime. And yet he manages to destroy the system single handedly.

Now, in real life, Chancellor Boris is bringing in new laws without recourse to Parliament. You will now be arrested if there are more than six of you in a group unless you are on a packed dinghy from France or tearing down a statue or glueing yourself to something in the name of climate change.

He has already mooted the idea of curfew and of ‘covid marshals’ (prototype Fingermen). These will come.

All for a virus that has run its course. Sure, ‘cases’ are increasing but ‘cases’ are just positive tests. Not necessarily actually sick people. Hospital admissions are well down, deaths are barely registering, and the test has been slated by its inventor because it was never designed to be a diagnostic test. It will find dead virus.

So we are fast moving into the world of ‘V for Vendetta’ apart from one detail.

There is no ‘V’. There is no mystical warrior coming to save you. No cunning manipulator willing to sacrifice himself for the common good. He is the truly fictional part of the story. And that makes him the most dangerous part of it.

People are going to sit around waiting for a superhero to save them. Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, ‘V’… none of them exist and none of them ever will. They are stories. The background of the stories can come true and indeed is coming true but the one part missing from reality is the Great Superhero. He’s not coming.

If you want to get out of this you’re going to have to do it yourself. Nobody is coming to save you.

Or you can sit back and wait for some costumed superman who doesn’t exist.

The game is on. It’s your move.