Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jehovah and Hades: Chapter 1

I'm going to forget about the whole Jehovah character name for now seeing as I still have a while to think it over before I put the book up on Amazon. For now, I figured I'd post the first chapter of Jehovah and Hades. It's a rough copy right now with very little editing done. Let me know what you think.

(Jehovah and Hades is available on Amazon. Check it out here.)


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are a product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2011 by Randall J. Morris
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in critical articles or book reviews.


            Everything in the house looked and felt like the rarest kind of nobility. This was a family that clearly came from money and power. They had a gold fountain in the entryway for crying out loud! Rick had seen intimidation strategies before; it was a common tactic with the people he usually hired, but more in the realm of physical intimidation. Most of the muscle hired by Rick had nowhere near this kind of money and, for the first time in his career, he felt slightly confused about his potential employees.
            The butler had been given instructions to escort Rick, but to take the long way around the house toward the training room. He wants me to take his guest through the trophy hall, like always, the butler thought. He was used to this approach when dealing with his master’s “guests” even though he never understood why his master chose to associate himself with people so beneath his station. If I had sons with the abilities of my master’s sons, I’d lead the simple life of a rich man and not waste my time in any of this foolishness. There was no time to think on that now, however, since they were approaching his master’s trophy room and it was time for his guided tour to reach its climax.
            As the butler opened the double doors leading into the trophy room, Rick was stunned. This room featured awards, plaques, trophies, and pictures that seemed to boast the accomplishments of two very exceptional men. One side was a tribute to the intellectual, plaques showing testing scores in the 99th percentile in every subject, in every grade, from kindergarten to high school. There was a diploma from MIT and a picture next to it of a kid, who could only be in his late teens, standing next to some kind of attack robot (with a buzz saw for an arm) that he had apparently designed. Next to those he saw an acceptance certificate to Mensa, a group which only accepts the top 2% of the populace in terms of IQ. The following certificate was likely the certified IQ test sent to Mensa to qualify, it showed an IQ of 158. The remainder of this side of the room had various other awards mostly advertising a superior intellect and skills far beyond average in technology related fields.
            The other side of the room was the polar opposite of the intellectual side. There were photographs of a large Hulk of a man that reminded him of Thor or Conan the Barbarian. Next to each picture was a trophy of the tournament won. The pictures showed this bear-like man winning tournaments with knives, swords, axes, nun chucks, but he also had awards for rifle shooting, sniping, and many other more modern means of spreading death and injury. This man looked more like the thugs Rick was used to hiring but he obviously had more talent than anyone he had ever employed. His train of thought was interrupted by the butler concluding the tour. “This room exhibits the accomplishments of my master’s sons. Feel free to look around for a few minutes while I go and fetch my master.” “Thank you,” said Rick. He was used to being in control of these situations but he felt slightly nauseous when he thought of how much he would have to pay to employ a brainiac tech-geek and the last remaining Viking.
            After a few minutes an old man entered the room. “My name is Jacob Stevenson,” he said as he extended his hand toward Rick.
“Rick,” he responded, shaking his hand, “You have a wonderful home. Thank you for the invitation.”
“Is there anything I can get you?”
“No, no. I’m alright.”
“You sure? I might still have some soda in the kitchen if my sons haven’t raided it yet today.”
Soda? You have millions of dollars and you’re offering me a soda?
“I’m fine,” said Rick. “This really is an impressive room. You apparently have two very skilled sons.”
“Ah, you must think I was trying to brag by bringing you through this room. In reality I just brought you through here so you understand what a bargain I’ll be giving you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Give me the details of the job you’d like my sons to complete and their fee will be $10,000 each. This is a introductory rate, but I'll let you choose any target with any amount of security,” Jacob said, with complete confidence in his voice.
Rick was entirely caught off guard. He had paid ridiculously more for men who were very much the inferior of the brothers he was hoping to hire. What is this Jacob guy up to?
Jacob smiled and then continued, “You’re wondering if there’s a catch and I can tell you that there isn’t. I simply want them to have a contact that can get them a steady line of work. Can you provide such an opportunity? They grow restless cooped up here in the house and retrieval jobs have been hard to come by lately. I will also need to renegotiate their fee on subsequent jobs but you can consider this first one a reduced rate test run.”
            Rick thought a moment and then responded. “I could provide jobs in the future if they handle this one professionally and discreetly. Your fee seems completely reasonable. I’d love to take you at your word that they really are as skilled as you say,” Rick said, shifting uncomfortably, “but I need further assurance. Could I see them in action before the job? This job is unique and the target is very eccentric.”
            Jacob seemed pleased with the request. “We have facilities set up here in the house for demonstration purposes. I assure you watching them in action will be an unforgettable experience. Follow me.”
            Jacob led him through the hallway outside the trophy room and up a staircase. Upon opening the door, they were in some type of a viewing room gazing down on a labyrinth. It was too dark to tell what it contained. The lighting in the room came from glowing computer screens; it seemed this viewing room was also the control room for whatever belonged in the maze below. Jacob flipped on the lights and Rick now saw what Jacob would be putting his sons through. The maze was filled with doors locked with keypads, computers, retinal and fingerprint scanners, and all other sorts of techy security. There were also armed guards patrolling through the paths mixed with attack robots that looked much fiercer than the one in the picture he had seen earlier.
            “I designed it myself,” Jacob said, looking proud, “with the help of my sons of course. I’d like you to meet them before the demonstration.” Jacob pressed the intercom button on the room’s control panel. “Boys, I’d like you to come to the control room before we start.”
            When the brothers entered, Rick was even more impressed. “Let me introduce my sons, Jehovah and Hades or J and H for short,” Jacob said. The larger of the two, who Jacob had called Hades, was the most threatening looking creature Rick had ever seen. He stood about 6’5” and easily weighed a few hundred pounds. His arms looked like they were designed for crushing and not much else. He had a thick mane of hair that looked like it hadn’t been cut in ages. He wore a full suit of Kevlar and had fit more weapons on his person that should ever fit on a human being. Not only did he have knives, guns, and grenades tucked into his boots, on his belt, and around his shoulder, but he had a battleaxe strapped to his back that most men probably couldn’t even lift. Scars ran up his arms and there were two small ones on his cheek but this was clearly a man who didn’t allow himself to be scraped by his enemies’ blades. The most surprising thing about Hades, however, was that he didn’t look scared to go into the death maze. He looked genuinely bored. “I ain’t goin in there if you didn’t up the death threats this time. You add more men? More robots? Something that will blow up J this time?” He grinned, looking amused at his mild attempt at humor.
            “H one of these days I’m going to trap you in a room and not let you out until you can speak in complete sentences,” Jehovah retorted, looking annoyed at his brother. Jehovah was not nearly as large as Hades. He stood about average height with a short-cut spiked hair and a goatee. He wore jeans, a black t-shirt with the Geek Squad logo on it, and sunglasses. His belt had a cell phone holder and an additional pouch that was snapped shut. He wore a CamelBak backpack which looked to be the container of his laptop. Rick grinned as he saw Jehovah put the straw from his backpack to his lips to take a drink of… Rootbeer?… Pepsi? What an unusual family. Rick began to doubt they had inherited their money, it must have come to them recently because none of them were acting like wealthy men. I wonder what it was like when these Texans won the lottery.
            Hades and Jehovah moved to the center of the room and began unloading their weapons and tech gear onto a table. “Here’s how it works,” Jacob explained. “Hades and Jehovah will go into the maze with no gear, equipment, or anything to aid them in any way. They will break simple encryptions and door keypads and battle an increasing number of armed guards and attack robots. Upon success, they will regain some of their gear to allow them to further advance into the maze where the challenges get more and more difficult. The encryption and questions presented to Jehovah were designed and thought up by me and will appear here on the monitor. The attack robots were a designed by a collaboration of Jehovah and myself for Hades to defeat and all the armed personnel in the maze are under my employ. We will place an item in the center for them to retrieve and you and I can view their progress through the glass in this room.”
            “I want them to retrieve my business card,” said Rick, handing two cards to Jacob. Jacob called the butler and had them delivered to the center of the maze. “We have a hallway that takes your straight to the center for when the butler or I need quick access to it,” Jacob explained.
            Jacob pressed a button and two guards in shades entered the room and began patting Jehovah and Hades down looking for any gear they might have hidden. “Hades keeps a knife up his ass; make sure you check before you let us down there,” said Jehovah, smirking. “I don’t need a knife to beat up your robots J. Come near my ass and I’ll cripple you.” Both of the guards took the threat seriously and left him alone after confirming that all their gear was on the table.
            Glancing again at the maze, Rick still couldn’t believe his good fortune. He figured he should confirm the fee with the brothers before they completed the course downstairs. “Your father said I could pick any target with any amount of security and you’d do it for ten grand a piece. Is that correct?”
            “Yeah, yeah, whatever the old man said. I want some new titanium gear and $10K would be a nice start in saving up for it,” said Hades.
            “$10K should be enough to build something to finally replace Hades, so I’m good with that too,” said Jehovah.
            “You’ve spent a lot more than $10K so far and I’m still here dumbass.”
            “Boys, that’s enough,” said Jacob. “This job is to pay me back for the pair of French and Indian war pistols Hades broke and the processor chips Jehovah stole from my lab. Yes I know it was you, I don’t care if you erased the video. Do this job for Rick and we’ll call it even. Rick might have some more work for you after this one too. Now go downstairs and wait for the countdown.”
            Jehovah and Hades headed downstairs, grumbling about the $10K they would no longer receive. “If you don’t mind my asking, why do you make them earn their money? You obviously have plenty of it yourself,” Rick asked.
            “I decided a long time ago to not spoil my children. They showed a diverse range of skills from a very early age so I funded their talents, and nothing else. Jehovah has his own library and limited access to my lab of computer parts. Hades has his own gym here in the house and he was trained by the best fighting instructors money could buy until he surpassed them in skill. He still has a little trouble with guns, so that’s the only instructor still on my payroll at this point. I think he finds guns much too clean. For some reason the boy prefers messy kills. Anyways, now that they have their talents, I want them to understand the value of a dollar and appreciate their money by earning it.”
            “Fair enough,” Rick responded. What a strange family.

            Jehovah and Hades stood in front of the door that led into the labyrinth, awaiting their pre-retrieval instructions from their father. The Pioneer plasma TV above the entrance door flashed with the following message “H- Non-lethal force on humans J- Don’t leave malware on my server again.” Hades looked extremely disappointed.
            “Well H, it’s time to tear it up again. You feelin a course record this time?” asked Jehovah, extending his fist.
            Hades pounded the fist and nodded. “I’m in a neck-breaking mood, and I think that counts as non-lethal.”
The countdown began on the flat-screen above the door. 10… 9… 8…

Jehovah and Hades is now available on Amazon. Check it out here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jehovah and Hades (New Book)

I mainly started this blog to talk about the book I've been working on recently and to track it through my writing stages and, eventually, to its publication on Amazon's Kindle and possibly to other places. I figure I might incorporate things from my job, life, or things that just generally annoy me at some point too. Annoyances can be entertaining when you have them written down to look back on.
So on to the book... I'm working on a book called Jehovah and Hades. Before I launch in to a quick preview of the book, I'm curious how many people find that title offensive. I really want the main characters to have J and H names like Jekyll and Hyde, because I'm borrowing a little from the idea behind that book. I've given a copy of the first couple of chapters to members of my family and a few of them didn't really like that I named one of the characters Jehovah. The names of my characters came from two ideas:


  1. I'm a big fan of reading and I read a lot of the Oxford Bible Dictionary in my early twenties. I really like the entry that explained Carl Jung's contribution to Bible study, specifically his book Answer to Job. What I really wanted to play off of in my book Jehovah and Hades was the gnostic duality that Jung saw between Jehovah and Satan in the book of Job. If you look at the Book of Job closely, Jehovah and Satan almost seem like equals. Jehovah allows Satan to inflict Job with all sorts of disasters and problems and, in the end, Job is given back more than he lost. Jung argues that Job's loss wasn't restored because even though he received more monetary gain, he lost people and possessions he loved. In that sense, Jehovah and Satan each inflicted a lasting reward and punishment on Job and could be viewed as equals. That's not a comprehensive look at Jung's ideas on the subject, but that was how I understood it from the Bible Dictionary. I don't necessarily agree with that idea, but the idea itself is interesting.
  2. I read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde during my first semester of college (for fun... because I read stuff like that for fun and history books for my homework). We kind of see the same duality... opposing forces... Jekyll, the brilliant doctor who worked hard to become an intellectual and Hyde, a baser creature who only gave in to his passions, desires, and instincts. I recently began to wonder what would happen if the two natures weren't stuck within a person, but separated in to two different people and allowed to move toward their full potential.
So to give a quick preview of the book I'm working on: Jehovah is an MIT graduate who is known for his work in designing attack robots, his ability to hack and program on computers, and his overall intelligence. Hades is a martial arts and weapons specialist who has almost fully given in to his drive to hurt people. It's channeled for good because his father and Jehovah help restrain him, but he's like a Mr. Hyde on steroids with years of training and experience. They are brothers and are hired out as mercenaries on retrieval missions and other tasks. I'll maybe post a portion of what I have so far at some point. I'm still curious though as to whether or not Jehovah is an appropriate name for my character. I mean people are named Jesus in today's world and that doesn't seem to offend people. The alternate names I came up with were Jupiter and Janus but I don't like either of those as much. Feel free to let me know what you think.

Jehovah and Hades is available on Amazon. Check it out here.