20130616, 16:25 – I think this is the least revised page of the script.

Last week, I mentioned I’d have more to say about Thad’s Utopia? shirt. I don’t, really. A ways back, James Burke blew my mind. Years later, that wisdom rose up through the creative compost heap – the shirt was designed on a vaguely industrial whim. Weeks later, the source and relevance hit me like a ton of bricks.

From the ending monologue of The Day the Universe Changed:

“You might be able to lift the limitations of conforming to any centralized representational form of government, originally invented because there was no way for everybody’s voice to be heard.

You might be able to give everybody unhindered, untested access to knowledge, because a computer would do the day to day work for which we once qualified the select few, in an educational system originally designed for a world where only the few could be taught.

You might end the regimentation of people living and working in vast, unmanageable cities, uniting them instead in an electronic community where the Himalayas and Manhattan are only split seconds apart.

You might, with that and much more, break the mold that has held us back since the beginning.

In a future world that we would describe as balanced anarchy and they will describe as an open society, tolerant of every view; aware that there is no single, privileged way of doing things; above all, able to do away with the greatest tragedy of our era: The centuries old waste of human talent that we couldn’t or wouldn’t use.

Utopia? Why?

If, as I’ve said all along, the universe is, at any time, what you say it is, then say!

– James Burke, 1985

Thad wearing a shirt inspired by the above monologue is textbook irony. It’s also one hell of an obtuse shout out to anyone who enjoys exceptionally well-produced educational programs.

Watch Connections (I-III) and The Day The Universe Changed if you haven’t. You’ll be richer for the experience, I promise!

Observation, the competency of the observers and the effects of their actions and inactions is a major theme of ATC. As of this posting it’s also a major theme of public discourse.

Thad and Ornix have been fortunate in that those doing the watching are hamstrung by a giant loaf of rules that limit how they’re allowed to observe – a rulebook that flat out prohibits interference or action 99.9% of the time. The Templar aren’t the NSA – their surveillance mandate is tightly defined and has the benefit of being kicked off by a specific level of human mental exertion, which can be picked up with special sensors. The Templar aren’t looking for nebulously defined “potential threats” or “terrorists” – they’re getting a bead on exceptionally willful humans and keeping an eye on them until they either do something or don’t. The Waking God Protocols is the Big Brother equivalent of a speed trap, complete with the police car and radar gun.

The relationship between Thule Garrison and the US intelligence apparatus will be detailed at a later date.

Raven is under orders to keep an eye on Thad. She’s been doing it for awhile. It’s an assignment she doesn’t care for, and while she’s being fairly professional, it’s clear that it’s not something she enjoys. Really clear. Which may account for her attitude. And the headset.

In completely unrelated news, I went flying for the first time in my life yesterday. I took a picture!

Mastering notes, 2016.12.07 – Minor dialogue adjustment to panel four.


  • A traumatic Awakening in the summer of 1997 was just the beginning of Thad’s emotional problems. The disappearance of most of his Pittsburgh friends a few weeks later compounded his issues and, while he...

  • Ornix doesn’t let trivial things like ethics and morality get in the way of his loyalties or sense of reality. A longtime friend of Thad and a fellow “victim” of the Templar Waking God...

  • A South Jersey punk with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Templar-forged Master’s degree for field work, Raven posed as a high school guidance councillor during the early stages of the Waking God...

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