I started a spiritual journey that many do when they’re suffering through loss. Whether the destination is an absolute or a negotiated middle-ground is irrelevant to me. I have to believe in something higher than myself in order to get through hard times and this is what I’ve come to believe.
For me, “God” is the divine intelligence. It is the natural law and order we describe in the laws of physics, math, etc. Like any divine entity, we cannot fully understand or perceive it, though we know of it. As with the universe, there is a beginning and an end to it, though it is infinite as it continues to expand.
An inexplicable divinity underlies and underscores everything we observe.
I also believe that “god” or the divine intelligence expresses itself through probability. Everything you see, confined and explained by science, is a product of probable occurrences, where extremely improbable occurrences are “miracles.”
But the divine intelligence does not intervene in our personal lives except through the random, probable acts of “its” creations. It is detached as it is all-encompassing.
October 2nd, 2016 was an absolutely beautiful day in the Forty Niners’ new home city. A few drops of rain came down, but this was a perfect opportunity to get a lot of sun.
Based on how many fans were wearing navy blue and silver, it felt more like a Cowboys home game. The optimism shared between Dallas fans about their up-and-coming rookie phenom, Dak Prescott, was the opposite of the muted pessimism felt among the “Faithful.”
We kept our tailgate low-key and had it catered by a nearby Togo’s. The bathroom there didn’t have a lock, so I dropped deuce faster than I ever have in my life. I clocked it at a minute forty nine seconds and owe it all to the dried fruits and veggies I had on Saturday.
Before the game, our conversation kept veering towards the Ryder Cup because my parents are huge golf fans. I thought they were discussing the sailing competition we have here in the San Francisco Bay Area, sponsored by Oracle. Nope, turns out the British are still butthurt about the American Revolution so they decided to change golf to a team sport and challenge us.
As far as the game goes, it was close and entertaining. The Niners jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter with two touchdowns. Every time they got a first down, male Niners fans with a BAC above .08 acted like Spartans from 300 and did the “HAAA–OOOOOH, HAAA-OOOOOOH.” It was just a coincidence they only got 300 yards in total offense.
Things turned around quickly in the second quarter after a “bullshit” roughing penalty that gave the Cowboys a clutch first down into Santa Clara territory.
By the third quarter, Dallas looked in control. Cowboys fans began doing their own completely-out-of-sync Spartan impression for every first down. A demoralized Niners fanbase initially found it humorous but became silently irritated. They had to stomach Blaine Gabbert go full mediocre, like a warm, stale beer, running some of the most unimaginative play-calling this nosebleed-seats reporter has ever seen.
I had to ask a Niners fan, “Do you call him Gabbert like Q-Bert or Gabbert like Steven Colbert from the Colbert Report?”
“Dunno, man. I think it’s Gabbert like Bert and Ernie. Frankly, I wish they’d call him “Released by the Niners.”
Up in Section 418, my father took it upon himself to announce to everyone that the United States had won the Ryder Cup. Not many people cared, but no more than a minute later it was displayed on the Jumbotron. Then, doing his patriotic duty, my dad started a rousing “USA USA USA” chant that gained some steam and lasted longer than most of Santa Clara’s offensive drives.
At this point, I figured out that this woman with a Dez Bryant jersey sitting in front of me was sitting in the center of what looked to be 10 – 15 friends spread out, almost in a circle from her, throughout our Section. For whatever reason, they couldn’t get seats next to each other but made an attempt at the Guinness World Records for awkward, long-distance high fives.
The Cowboys would tie it up and eventually go up 21 – 17.
Before Dan Bailey put Dallas up a full seven points with a field goal, Blaine Gabbert found an open receiver downfield who seemed so transfixed by the goal post that he never saw the ball until it was over his head and in the arms of the lucky Dallas cornerback he blew past.
It was probably the best game I’ve ever seen in my life. Or at least as special as the overtime victory by a Drew Bledsoe-led Dallas Cowboys at Candlestick less than a decade ago.
September 11th, 2016 - Somewhere in San Jose or Texas
The Roughnecks organization, with half a dozen franchises scattered throughout the southwestern part of the United States of America, has deployed standard pressurization wells across the gridiron.
Owner Nico Lopez stated flatly, “We’re going to win. And we’re going to win big. Every week. The whole game. Ever fucking second.” Friend and informal family member, Jerry Jones, beamed with pride as he looked on the thirty-something protege.
“Hey there, sorry I burned the nose hairs off your sensors.”
Eisen Wor’sha never deviated from a script he perfected shortly after he flew his first cruiser. He would always shortstream his semi-famous, smiling face into the Customs Office that ordered him to stop. Usually that was enough to get him through whatever reservations the Federation’s outsourced help had in letting him through a lightly regulated part of Gallente space.
This crew, unfortunately, directed him to dock at a nearby station so his craft could be thoroughly searched. Eisen’s rarely-creased face grew a few cracks around his mouth, his brow shortened a few inches, and his face molded into concern.
Like a rookie pilot, Eisen awkwardly docked his cruiser into an elegant and clean Gallente Federation Customs station. He did a mental check of all the things he needed to hide and replayed how he would respond to any and all questions.
To mask his real cargo, Eisen smeared fedo blood all over the concealed compartment near his ship’s kitchen. If asked about it, he went with the line, “I was dating a really bad cook.”
Fedo blood had this unique property in that it completely absorbed a lot of wave energy and thus fooled the cheap sensor technology the Federation used in low security space.
But up here in “high sec,” he was taking a chance.
“Whoa, I’m sorry – was I not in compliance?” Eisen veered into his most domesticated voice and tone possible.
The Federation Customs officer, Micheal Dannet by his name-tag, gave Eisen a sidelong sneer as he passed through the kitchen area and took note of the blood.
After several long minutes of watching Dannet glance around with his handheld sniffer, Eisen couldn’t help himself and asked, “Do you even know what the fuck you’re looking for?”
The best part of the Customs Operational Branch, COB as they insisted on being called, was their complete lack of competence. You could paste a brick of CRYTOline the front of your ship and the Federation would never be the wiser.
“You know you’re not supposed to do this sort of thing, right?” the low-ranking inspector asked.
“Why? I sell the meat at various ports,” was his quick response. This was not going according to script.
There was a long pause as Officer Dannet paced around looking at the blood and the area around it. He checked his sniffer, pulled out a datapad, and started what looked to be the documentation process of a violation.
Eisen was getting nervous.
“What are you doing? Look, I’ve got some spare Kreds I don’t need if you’ll just not cite me. I hate dings on my manifests whenever I register transports.”
The Customs officer stopped punching keys with his thumbs and stared directly into the center of Eisen’s eyes.
“Oh, no. This isn’t about money. As soon as I heard you were coming through, I started imagining this situation and what I would do if you really came through my port,” said the officer, slowly putting his datapad away.
Now Eisen was getting really nervous.
Calmly, Officer Dannet said, “That hit you laid on LoCain was the most vicious hit I’ve ever seen.”
Immediately Eisen, the former replacement throwing-back for the Dodixie Blue Helms, relaxed. So the duty-freak officer did recognize him and the equation changed.
Fame delivered Eisen from above-average scrutiny and trouble since he had played for one of the more hallowed franchises in the Gallente Federation. And the hit this Customs Officer was referring to was on a defensive player who intercepted one of his two professional throws in his career. He felt like he had just run into a warping freighter but it jarred the ball loose and another offensive player won the game, and a Championship, with the recovery.
It was one of the wildest finishes in the history of the sport and was worth more than the most precious of metals in New Eden. It got Eisen into any club, restaurant, women’s vaginas, and always past security.
“Unfortunately for you, Wor’sha, LoCain was my favorite player. You retired my favorite player.”
Oh shit. This had never happened before. LoCain had a following but he retired immediately after the game and killed himself five days later.
But this was a problem the paranoid side of Eisen always contemplated and yet managed to smother with probability and logic. After all, LoCain hung himself and that story saw its last, sad page.
Federal Customs Officer Michael Dannet was that .005% chance that the former Cyberball-star dreaded. The crazed fans that he had encountered in the past, all seventeen of them, had been held in check by whatever security presence the location provided. Never had one of them been an agent of the Federation’s institutional corporations.
Dannet went for his sidearm, an exotic Caldari pistol designed to expand space in a target’s body so that the organs would go into immediate shock. It was like blowing five inch bubbles into a human body at random points.
Eisen’s reactions were instinctual and aided by all the wetware and enhanced circuitry leftover from his playing days.
In under two seconds, the Customs Officer with a juvenile devotion to a suicidal failure of an athelete had his trachea crushed by a metallic forearm and most of his right side collapsed by a completely replaced cybernetic leg. That dull, tarp-slap and sharp plastic-crack was something Eisen thought he was done hearing, but every year he got at least one more reminder.
With blood rushing from his mouth and a lot more hemorrhaging inside his body, the last words of Officer Dannet spoke were, “Fuck you, Wor’sha.”
That’s the moment Eisen’s life changed. There was no way around murdering an officer, of any kind, of the Gallente Federation. Self-defense would keep him from losing life and all of his property, but he would definitely see the rest of his good years in stasis or sharing quarters with another murderer.
“FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!” Eisen screamed as he collapsed to his knees in a heap, crying. His life of comfort, the social circles he knew and thoroughly reveled in, were gone.
Eisen went through the cycle of grief a few times before he stood up and kicked the recognizability out of the Federal Customs Officer, making sure there were only a few unbroken bones in the uniformed husk that resembled a corpse.
Eisen Wor’sha called out to his ship’s onboard computer, “Candice. Establish a connection with Gabrielle Reeve or her surrogate and put her on the front comm.”