Thursday, September 29, 2011

Palamas and Philosophy

I have a couple of updates. First off, I finally started working on Chapter 3 of Jehovah and Hades. I'm only a few paragraphs in but I have the whole chapter outlined. I'll be working on it a little more later this evening. Second, I published my blog and it's available for 99 cents a month on the Kindle (and only the Kindle, Amazon won't let it go to anything else when it comes to blogs). I don't really expect anyone to subscribe to it that way (since it's available for free on the internet) but here's the link History and Technology. The cover art is finished and I'll post it but not until the book's completion.

So I felt like posting a paper I had to write for my Byzantine History class. It was a short paper (only five pages) that had to do with Gregory Palamas's book The Triads and his thoughts on God. I compared it to other philosophical approaches (mostly using wikipedia, this paper wasn't worth a ton of points and I got an A). Almost none of my history papers were this easy to write but the topic is fairly interesting.

“Palamas and Philosophy”

            There have been many different approaches from theologians, writers, and philosophers that have moved toward a similar goal: proving God exists. For many, faith and logic seem to be diametrically opposed to one another. There have been some attempts by various holy men to prove the existence of God through logic from many different angles. Palamas took a different approach that deserves consideration as it contrasts with the philosopher’s views of the time but aims at the same ultimate goal. He makes a distinction between the essence and the energy of God and claims that the energy of God can be sensed and felt but the essence of God is something unapproachable. The energy of God could be felt through spiritual experiences and the light emanating from God also proves that His essence exists. In the argument between experience and logic, the two are rarely combined as a proof for God. Philosophers have agreed in many cases through logical proofs that there must be a God because if there were no God, it would lead to a logical contradiction or they lead you to a point that would logically assume a God’s existence, but most philosophers of this type discount experience of God’s energy as any type of proof for his existence.
            Palamas introduces his argument for God’s energy proving His essence by using the sun as a prime example. His argument starts with a basic fact of life, “for each visible thing is visible, not in its inner being, but according to what surrounds it: It is not the essence of the sun which the eye perceives, but that which surrounds the essence.”[1] We don’t separate the object from its attributes or the things that surround it. In the case of the sun, the light rays are not a different sun, but the medium through which we can see and feel the sun.[2] Palamas explains that the way to comprehend God’s essence is to prepare the mind and body to conquer passions and physical desires. “The human mind also, and not only the angelic, transcends itself, and by victory over the passions acquires an angelic form. It, too, will attain to that light and will become worthy of a supernatural vision of God, not seeing the divine essence, but seeing God by a revelation appropriate and analogous to Him.”[3] According to Palamas, the ultimate goal of worship is not a vision in which one sees God, but a vision in which one understands God through the light emanating from Him. In that way, worshippers could truly become one with God as multiple apostles and prophets explained in the scriptures.
            The light of God actually is comprehended within when a person becomes a follower of Christ and “contemplates His glory.”[4] Though the mind is involved, all intellectual activity is supposed to cease before a union of God is attainable. “This is why every believer has to separate off God from all His creatures, for the cessation of all intellectual activity and the resulting union with the light from on high is an experience and a divinising end, granted solely to those who have purified their hearts and received grace.”[5] I like the idea that in order to understand God, you have to focus on the things taught by the prophets and apostles and you can’t obtain that state through analysis, logic, or reason. It’s a state you arrive at without immense stress trying to comprehend something that you can’t comprehend fully.
            The end result of the method Palamas describes deserves attention as well. Since you can’t get there through intellectual means or through use of your physical senses, what exactly is one experiencing when drawing close to God’s energy? Palamas agrees that all have an inherent intellect, but also explains “that our mind possesses both an intellectual power which permits it to see intelligible things, and also a capacity for that union which surpasses the nature of the intellect and allies it to that which transcends it.”[6] So built into us is the potential to surpass our intellect through union with a Being that surpasses and transcends our understanding (at least through use of our intellectual mind). Following the chain set up by Palamas actually leads to a belief that seems logical and reasonable but that can’t be approached by either logic or reason.
            Most philosophers tend to separate religion and belief from emotional experience in order to prove their existence through logic alone. Many different logical proofs exist developed to prove through deductive logic that God exists, but I’ve found most of them to be lacking. In the battle between experience and reason, philosophers have crossed over in to pure logic in an attempt to eradicate non-believers on their own battleground. It opens them up for attacks from many people who have the same or more experience using logic as a weapon. It is interesting, however, to see how some have separated emotion and experience from God and have stood behind their arguments with some degree of proof for a very long time.
            One of the first proofs of God goes all the way back to the time of the ancient Greeks. Plato and Aristotle were among the first to develop a cosmological argument as proof of a God (and it was later used by others such as St. Thomas Aquinas). Both argued, though in somewhat different ways, that everything in existence had to come from some “First Cause.” Plato’s argument was based on motion, he claimed that all motion “was ‘imparted motion’ that required some kind of ‘self-originated motion’ to set it in motion and to maintain that motion.”[7] The “self-originated motion” from which all motion borrows is God. This could be extended into the realm of Palamas if one considers motion and wisdom (Aristotle’s basis for the cosmological argument) as being energies of God. God put the laws of motion into place and must have all wisdom so, in a way, both of these can be considered evidence of his essence. In fact, Palamas uses basis for a similar idea on the statement from St. Basil who said “He who has been set in motion by the Spirit has become an eternal movement, a holy creature.”[8] He basically meant that those who move with the Holy Spirit can be seen as unified with God and, in a way, as His energy.
            The argument I found to be most similar to Palamas was Descartes’ ontological argument.[9] He argued that:
  1. Whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing.
  2. I clearly and distinctly perceive that necessary existence is contained in the idea of God.
  3. Therefore, God exists.[10]
This seems like a rational explanation of something Palamas said couldn’t be expressed rationally, though some key differences exist. Descartes’ idea is limited to God’s existence being contained within His energies while Palamas’ argument assumes God exists based on the idea that He can be felt when you unify with His energies. Both arguments, however, go back to a part giving evidence of a greater whole. Palamas, however, wanted people to experience God’s energy to believe in His essence. Descartes used a logical train of thought to say that God’s existence is inherent in the idea of God. This is the closest philosophical argument I could find that comes close to agreeing with Palamas, though they approach the conclusion from very opposite angles.
            Thomas Aquinas used humans, in a roundabout way, as the starting point for his proof of God. He argued that all things possess what they do to some degree. For example, a stove possesses heat but things both colder and hotter exist. He then moved to speculating that for every attribute or characteristic, something possesses it to the fullest extent (so continuing with the previous example, the hottest thing in existence). From there he explained that there should exist some Being or entity that possesses all attributes to the maximum possible degree and this is God.[11] Palamas actually made an argument similar to Aquinas in this respect. He said “But since God is entirely present in each of the divine energies, we name Him from each of them, although it is clear that He transcends all of them.”[12] Palamas is arguing that God does possess all knowledge so all-knowing can be an appropriate title for God but it doesn’t describe all of what God is. The possession of all knowledge is one of the energies that emanates from God, but one can’t feel His essence simply through God’s all-knowingness. To experience the essence, one must unite with all of God’s perfected energies.
            It seems that Palamas found a comfortable position between the rational and the emotional in his search for proof of God. He claimed that God couldn’t be fully understood by one or the other and we can never truly approach His essence but through His energy. His argument has taken its place with that of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Aquinas as something worth considering when searching for God and His nature. Whether or not he was right seems irrelevant when one considers that pondering God’s attributes and teachings in an attempt to unite with Him can only lead to good.

[1] Palamas, Gregory, The Triads, ed. Nicholas Gendle, pg. 73. (I’m using the page numbers provided by the document that’s posted on Blackboard.)
[2] Palamas, Gregory, The Triads, ed. Nicholas Gendle, pg. 73.
[3] Ibid., pg. 24.
[4] Ibid., pg. 25.
[5] Ibid., pg. 26.
[6] Palamas, Gregory, The Triads, ed. Nicholas Gendle, pg. 27.
[8] Palamas, Gregory, The Triads, ed. Nicholas Gendle, pg. 62.
[10] Descartes, René. "Meditation V: On the Essence of Material Objects and More on God's Existence."
[12] Palamas, Gregory, The Triads, ed. Nicholas Gendle, pg. 64.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Bull God and The Devil

The Bull God and the Devil
So that's what my buddy Doug has come up with so far after me and him chatted for a few days about what I wanted on the cover. Initially we were just going to go with drawings of Jehovah all geeked out and Hades smashing something, but I really like where this cover is going. The idea for a half bull and half skull was mine, but Doug pulled it off pretty good with his crazy drawing skills. He's currently working on it with his graphics editing software too. So why a bull for Jehovah?

Jehovah as a bull
Jehovah was actually traditionally viewed as a bull god even back in the times of the Israelites. This article  -Worship of Yahweh as a Bull- goes into the reasons of why the Isrealites saw Jehovah as a bull and what evidence in the Bible supports it. I'll paraphrase in case you don't feel like reading that article:

-The Caananite god Baal was a bull god and the Israelites lived next to them for a long time. The Israelites kind of took the idea of a bull god from them but declared Yahweh to be their superior version. (That's just one theory)

-Numbers 24:8 says that god "has the strength of a unicorn" in the KJV. Other versions render this as "the horns of a wild ox."

-1 Kings 12:28-29 The Isrealites set up two "calves of gold" in Beth-el and Dan. They call them the gods that brought them out of Egypt (making the idols a representation of Jehovah). Jeroboam actually did this to represent Jehovah because he didn't want the ten tribes returning to Jerusalem for worship, as the kingdoms had just split and he wanted them to have no unnecessary interaction with Judah.

-Exodus 32:3-4 Aaron makes the Isrealites a molten calf to worship and the people said "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." (again a reference to the molten calf representing Jehovah's role)

-Marduk, the chief god of the Babylonians (who conquered the Israelites), is known as the young sun bull.

I think Hades being represented by a skull is pretty obvious as he's the lord of Sheol / Hell. People go there when they die. Hence the skull. I don't have an article for that because it's more in the realm of common knowledge. Feel free to let me know what you think of the cover so far or comment on anything else relevant to the topic.

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

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Vikings and North America: L'Anse aux Meadows

To give you an update on Jehovah and Hades, I just barely started chapter 3. Work and school leave little time to do much else. I also don't yet have an update as far as the cover art goes EDIT: Cover Art has been completed. Thanks for everyone's interest in Jehovah and Hades 1/27/12


What I feel like talking about today doesn't relate to Jehovah and Hades. Well it kind of relates to Hades. Something mentioned in my European Expansion class got me thinking about Vikings again. I took a Scandinavian History class a few years back and had to write a paper on... well maybe a little backstory first. In my European Expansion class, we were talking about Norse explorers and the effect Viking explorations, pillages, and settlements had on the world before the time period we generally discuss in the class. He brought up the one Viking settlement found in North America back in the 1960s called L'Anse aux Meadows. That's what I wrote a paper on back in Scandinavian history. He went over a brief explanation of the Viking sagas (Erik's saga and I forget what the other one is called) and I was surprised how little most of the people in the class knew about the Vikings. I know... that's not really fair. I took a class on Viking history and most of them probably hadn't. So before I launch into L'Anse aux Meadows, here's some cool Viking stuff off the top of my head gathered from various history classes I've taken at BYU:

Areas Vikings raided / pillaged / settled / influenced:

-England (way early in its history there was a king over England named Canute or Knud)
-Russia (the name Russia derives from the word Rus which means red, or the color of the Viking's hair)
-Byzantine Empire (the Varangians (a Viking tribe) were actually the Byzantine emperor's personal bodyguard)
-Greenland (settled by Erik the Red who had to flee after killing a fellow Norseman after a dispute about a borrowed item)
-L'Anse aux Meadows (a confirmed Viking settlement in Canada)
-some parts of North America (which follows from their settlement of L'Anse aux Meadows, but I don't know of any other confirmed Viking sites in North America - generally thought to be associated with Leif Erikson)

So there you go. They had a pretty big effect on the world. I'm pretty sure I even missed a couple places. Anyways, I found the old paper on L'Anse aux Meadows I wrote. I'll go ahead and post it for fun:

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

“L’Anse aux Meadows – is it the gate to the Viking Vinland settlements?”

          L’Anse aux Meadows is the only known Viking settlement in North America. It was discovered in 1960 by a Norwegian explorer, Helge Ingstad, and his wife Anne. They were led there by George Decker who was the first to notice “overgrown bumps and ridges that looked as if they might be building remains.”[i] Helge and Anne excavated the site from 1960 to 1968 and found many artifacts believed to be closely related to Iceland and Greenland, the home of the Vikings.[ii] Among their findings were large iron boat nails or rivets, stone oil lamps, ring-headed pins used to fasten Norse cloaks, small spindle whorls from a handheld spindle, a small whetstone, and scissors. The site is dated to approximately 1,000 years ago, about the time Leif Ericson is said to have established settlements in “Vinland” or North America. The Ingstads were able to excavate a total of eight buildings, some of which were used for dwellings and others for daily work. The artifacts found in each building were able to identify whether the structure was a house or a workshop. The group of buildings included “an iron smithy containing a forge and iron slag, a carpentry workshop which generated wood debris, and a specialized boat repair area containing worn rivets.”[iii] Did they discover the missing port to Vinland or simply a Norse settlement that is totally detached from the Vikings and the Vinland founded in the Icelandic sagas?
Evidence shows that L’Anse aux Meadows shared many elements with Norse villages in Greenland and Iceland from around the same time period and it is speculated that it could have been a part of Ericson’s Vinland because of the time period that Leif Ericson was said to have been in America (according to the sagas). Some archaeologists believe, however, that L’Anse aux Meadows isn’t the Vinland from the sagas, but “an exploration base and winter camp for expeditions heading farther south to the real Vinland, which may have extended to the St. Lawrence River and New Brunswick.”[iv] Food plays a large role in this speculation. For instance, Vinland was so named because of the prevalence of wild grapes that supposedly grew there and wild grapes are not found in the vicinity of L’Anse aux Meadows. Food remains uncovered at the excavation site included butternuts which “do not grow naturally north of New Brunswick and their presence probably indicates that the Norse inhabitants travelled farther south where they obtained the nuts.”[v]
Although L’Anse aux Meadows doesn’t contain the wild grapes for which Vinland was named, it can be argued that “Vinland was a country, not a place - this site would have marked the entrance to Vinland, which probably extended to the St. Lawrence River and New Brunswick.”[vi] The latest research in L’Anse aux Meadows shows that it was primarily a boat repair facility where boats could be mended and made ready for the journey back to Greenland. As such, it played a vital role for the Vinland settlement because it provided the only possible link back to the Viking homeland. L’Anse aux Meadows seems to be a site inhabited mostly during the winter. Enough people stayed there to gather food to last throughout the winter which allowed more time to explore Vinland and made a return trip to Greenland to gather supplies unnecessary.
The largest problem with identifying the exact location of Vinland is that the only documents that describe it are the “sagas” which were passed down orally until copied by scribes. Of those written copies, none of the originals remain so we are left with copies of copies of orally handed down stories. Since the sagas have been filtered over and over through retelling and recopying, it is hard to know exact details from the original recounting of a voyage. Who knows how many details were added or subtracted to the account to make it more interesting, sound better, flow more fluidly, or simply by mistake? To add to the confusion, all the sagas basically are derived from two Icelandic sagas (the oldest remaining copies) which “contradict each other on basic issues and internally are vague and contain nonhistorical passages.”[vii] Due to this fact, many Vinland locations have been proposed but none have been validated by Norse artifacts, with the exception of L’Anse aux Meadows. Even though the Icelandic sagas may not be the most reliable of sources, it is still admitted by most scholars that the artifacts found at L’Anse aux Meadows prove that Norsemen did come to America and establish settlements, even if those settlements were only used for a brief time.

The rest of this article is available via Amazon as an e-book.

[i] Parks Canada, “Discovery of the Site and Initial Excavations (1960-1968)”, L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada, 9 December 2008, Available from Accessed 19 March 2009.
[ii] “L’Anse aux Meadows: Ancient Viking settlement”, 2002 , Available from, Accessed 19 March 2009.
[iii] “L’Anse aux Meadows”, 26 March 2009, Available from'Anse_Aux_Meadows, Accessed 19 March 2009.
[iv] Ibid., Accessed 20 March 2009.
[v] Ibid., Accessed 20 March 2009.
[vi] Parks Canada, “Is L’Anse Aux Meadows Vinland?”, L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada, 9 December 2008, Available from Accessed 23 March 2009.
[vii] Douglas R. McManis, “The Traditions of Vinland,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 59 (December 1969): pp. 797-814.
[viii] M.L. Fernald, “The Natural History of Ancient Vinland and its Geographical Significance,” Bulletin of the American Geographical Society 47 (1915): No. 9 pp. 686-687.
[ix] Ibid.
[x] Ibid.
[xi] Ibid.
[xii] Ibid.
[xiii] Ibid.
[xiv] Robert McGhee, “Contact between Native North Americans and the Medieval Norse: A Review of the Evidence,” American Antiquity 49 (January 1984): No. 1 pp. 4-26.
[xv] E.A. Williamsen, “Boundaries of Differences in the Vinland Sagas,” Scandinavian Studies 77 (2005): Iss. 4 pp. 451-478.
[xvi] Ibid.
[xvii] Ibid.
[xviii] Ibid.
[xix] Ibid.
[xx] Ibid.
[xxi] Ibid.
[xxii] Iver A. Langmowen, “The Norse Discovery of America,” Neurosurgery online 57 (2005): Iss. 6 pp. 1076-1086.
[xxiii] M.L. Fernald, “The Natural History of Ancient Vinland and its Geographical Significance,” Bulletin of the American Geographical Society 47 (1915): No. 9 pp. 686-687.
[xxiv] “Viking”, 25 March 2009, Available from, Accessed 1 April 2009.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cover Art

Nothing really new to add other than the fact that I have a buddy working on the cover. He's got some mad drawing skills and is good with computer graphics too. Once I have a finished version, it'll post it on here.

Also, please take a moment today to remember those that lost their lives on 9/11, including those who probably shortened their own lives (or lost them) rescuing others.

As always, any feedback on any of the chapters I have up so far is welcome. Just as a sidenote... as I'm posting this... if you search for Jehovah and Hades on, my blog comes up as the #2 entry so thank you to everyone who consistently visits here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jehovah and Hades: Chapter 2

Here's the second chapter of Jehovah and Hades. This is probably the last full chapter I'll post here on my blog, but I'll keep everyone updated on how the writing is going, occasionally ask everyone for their opinion, and eventually let everyone know when I publish on the kindle. As always, 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 publisher except for the use of brief quotations in critical articles or book reviews.


3… 2… 1…
            The door slowly began to lift up. Hades went running at it full charge, lifted it the remainder of the way, and burst into the room. Without thinking, he ran in without taking a serious look around. Jehovah followed close behind and grabbed him by the back of his shirt and pulled him backwards. Hades had nearly sprinted right through the green laser beams appearing at about ankle level and moving up to almost the ceiling. As if to prove that his non-thinking strategy could work, Hades grabbed Jehovah and hurled him over the top of the lasers. Jehovah cleared the lasers, but landed hard on his left side with the wind knocked out of him.
            A few seconds later, Jehovah was starting to regain his breath. “Hades… next time… tell me… before you… do something… stupid.” Jehovah stood and took a look around the room. He saw the lasers that Hades had thrown him over, the entrance, a video camera with a live feed to the room upstairs, and a metal door on his side of the room with a keypad. A flat panel TV hung above the door with the words “THE YEAR OF DRACULA’S HEROIC DEATH” displayed in the center. Jehovah was used to this. Without his equipment, he had to rely solely on his brain, a lesson his father taught him when he was very young. Jehovah had read everything he could get his hands on when he was younger and his father liked to test his memory’s recall. Now he just had to figure out what this riddle meant.

            “What’s with the riddle?” Rick asked. “I like to challenge my sons and I always taught them that relying on tools could be a disadvantage when they are taken away. Jehovah’s greatest tool is right here,” Jacob said, tapping two fingers to his temple. “Their gear is distributed in different rooms throughout the maze for when the challenges get more difficult. Jehovah has a unique gift when it comes to reading that I’ve always encouraged him to develop. He doesn’t just read books, his curiosity gets the better of him and he has books… investigated. That’s probably the best word for it. Once he learns all he can about a book’s origin and history, about the author, and anything else he can learn from it, he remembers it all better than anyone I know. He hasn’t actually read Bram Stoker’s Dracula in years, so you’ll see what I mean here in a moment. Give him a minute or two to process what I’m asking him.”

            This makes no sense. Dracula, in the novel, didn’t die the death of a hero. He was a monster impaled through his heart while lying in his coffin. Furthermore, there was no reference to the year he died in the book. The word “heroic” just didn’t sit right as Jehovah thought it over. Dracula had never really done anything to merit such a… wait a second. There was a person the word “heroic” could apply to and he died in 1476. Jehovah began moving toward the keypad by the door when the intercom boomed “Please explain for our guest.” I guess my employer should understand my train of thought.
            “Bram Stoker’s Dracula is actually based on a real character. Vlad the Impaler of Wallachia. He was known for impaling his enemies and then drinking their blood as it ran down the pole he killed them on. In the novel, Dracula’s death is anything but heroic. He’s gored through the heart by a spike. Vlad, however, died in battle at the end of his third reign in 1476. ‘Heroic' can also be an applicable term in his case as most of his countrymen admire the way he established a kingdom of order, stood up to the Ottoman empire, and brought glory to his kingdom. His father, Vlad Dracul, was awarded his surname when he received ‘The Order of the Dragon.’ Any sons of Vlad Dracul would have been given the name of Dracula, or son of Dracul.” After his explanation, Jehovah punched the numbers 1-4-7-6 into the keypad. The lasers disappeared and the door into the next room opened. Hades started his mad sprint toward the next room, sensing it was now his turn to contribute.

            As Hades entered the room, he did a quick scan for two things: the number of opponents and the number of traps. Hades had this brief glance down to one quick second from years of experience and he immediately went to work. He had learned a long time ago that success came from immediately disabling one opponent and then slowing down to focus on his remaining enemies. His one second glance told him two things about this room: no visible traps and four total enemies. Only one appeared to be armed, which is what Hades had grown to expect from the beginning of the maze. His closest opponent stood a few feet from the door, so he carried the momentum from his speedy entry into a disabling knee to the man’s face. Hades had learned which parts to hit from lots of practice and his right knee connected with the center of the man’s forehead. Usually, a hit to the spot between the eyes at the top of the nose or right into the nasal cavity was more effective, but today he was stuck with “non-lethal force” as per his dad’s instructions. His knee left the man dizzy and Hades followed it with a quick shot to the man’s stomach, which sent him sliding further into the room.
            Now it was time to slow things down. Three remaining cronies; they vaguely formed a right triangle with Hades standing closest to the man forming the right angle. The man to the right held an Asian guerrilla machete: a blunt version but still effective if used correctly. All his opponents were heavily tattooed with various gang symbols and other Asian symbols that apparently made punks who wanted to look “badass” think that they had it figured out. The body is a temple, not a wall for graffiti. Hades didn’t like tattoos and didn’t understand people who did. The last step in his process was giving each of them a one word name that could help him think over the combination he wanted to attack in. The man immediately in front of him became Throat (because Hades saw a long scar running across his throat), the man with the weapon was Machete, and his furthest opponent he nicknamed Mr. Clean (because he could almost see his reflection in the man’s shaved head). His thought process took another couple of seconds as he moved slowly closer… and then he made his move. Hades started as if he was moving toward Machete, but his feet were actually moving in a sprint in between him and Throat. His body language arched to the right until only a few feet remained between him and his two opponents. It was then that Hades spun and threw his right arm directly into Throat’s scar. The move caught him off guard and the force knocked him off his feet. Hades caught the man in mid-air by his left leg, spun the other way, and hurled him into Mr. Clean.
            In the mean time, Machete had started running at Hades and came at him with a downward thrust of his weapon, hoping to catch him in the neck or shoulder. Hades reached over the blade, caught the dull side of the machete, and guided it to the floor with the momentum from his opponent’s swing. He immediately followed this up by grabbing Machete around his left wrist and his right fist crashed into Machete’s left eye. When dealing with anyone with a weapon, he liked to isolate the weapon and then give them a reason to drop it, usually pain in another area. Machete clutched his eye with his free hand and Hades capitalized by chopping down on his left arm, which caused his weapon to fall to the ground. Hades quickly retrieved it and brought the blunt side down on Machete’s head, knocking him out. Hades spun the machete and turned to face Throat and Mr. Clean, now fully recovered from his earlier attack.
            In a normal scenario, Hades would have hurled the weapon at one of his opponent’s for a killing blow and quickly disabled the other. Non-lethal force today so that’s out. Mr. Clean and Throat were separating and circling Hades in an attempt to divide his attention. Throat suddenly attacked with a kick aimed at Hades’ midsection. He anticipated the move, used the machete to bring Throat’s leg up and over his head, let him fully back flip through the air, and then brought him down hard on his stomach. A quick hit from the handle of the machete to the face knocked out Throat. To finish the battle, Hades kicked Mr. Clean in the midsection and brought the dull side of the machete down on his face.
            Jehovah came walking in the room as soon as Hades had finished. “Two minutes and forty seven seconds, give or take,” he said.
            “Mr. Clean… er… the bald guy has your flash drive.” Hades pulled the flash drive from the necklace of Mr. Clean and tossed it across the room to Jehovah. “Let’s move on then,” said Jehovah, as the door to the next room opened in front of them.
            Jehovah and Hades entered the next room together and found that it was almost pitch black. There was a spotlight in the center with a computer. Jehovah ran to the computer and booted to the operating system he had programmed on his flash drive. Hades began circling the spot light in case any attacker should attempt to interrupt Jehovah’s hacking.

            The operating system programmed by Jehovah was specifically designed to hack encryption and passwords. Jehovah employed all three standard methods of hacking and a fourth method that was unique to the operating system he designed. The first thing Jehovah liked to do was remotely access his father’s computer, which had over 2,000 micro-processors that could all be put to work at the same time. It divided out the work of hacking evenly. The second thing Jehovah did was send a small packet of data at the router to interrupt its connection. This generally forced everything on the network to reconnect. Jehovah could figure out how many characters the password was based on the time it took for devices on the network to reconnect after he forced a disconnect. In this case, the password seemed to be 8 characters, most likely a standard WPA or WPA2 (256 bit) encryption. Knowing the length of the password greatly increased the speed with which he could find it.
            The first hacker method of attack was known as a dictionary attack. The computer reads from a text file full of words from a dictionary. This is the fastest and usually most successful form of attack. In this case, after about thirty seconds, the dictionary attack failed.
            The second form of attack is called a hybrid attack. A hybrid attack basically adds numbers and symbols to the dictionary attack. Anyone paranoid about security or prompted to occasionally change their password usually kept the same word but added or modified numbers at the end. Another minute was wasted before this method failed.
            The third normal method of hacking was something Jehovah avoided at all costs, because anything stronger than a 64 bit encryption would take forever to crack. It’s called a brute force attack and it checks every possible character in every possible slot of the password. Jehovah had this programmed to run if his custom method failed. Since most people had switched to at least WPA encryption, this method was rarely run by his operating system.
            Jehovah’s custom hacking method had been developed by him in his early twenties when he worked as an agent for the Geek Squad, a company of computer techs and repairmen. Any time he set up a network in home for a customer, he logged the password in a custom database for later reference. He had friends still working for the Geek Squad that still added passwords to his database on a regular basis. This data base was designed to operate somewhat like a dictionary attack but it analyzed the passwords using a thinking pattern as well. As his database of passwords grew larger, his program analyzed the passwords for patterns in order to present other likely candidates. About two and a half minutes in to Jehovah’s custom hack, the computer found the correct password and gave him full access to the network. Within 30 seconds, Jehovah had the lights in the room slowly powering on.

            It took Hades’ eyes a few seconds to adjust as the light illuminated the room. He scanned the room to see what he would be facing. As he finished his full rotation, he clenched the machete tighter in his right hand and his muscles tensed. “Shit…,” he muttered as Jehovah continued typing away on the keyboard.

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

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Weapons for Hades

I've got a few ideas for weapons I'd like to bring into Jehovah and Hades for Hades to use and, so far, they include:

-ASIAN GUERRILLA MACHETE - After living in the Philippines for two years, machetes and knives became some of my favorite tools and weapons. Hades finds one of these in the death maze during his first fight (he takes it from one of his defeated opponents).
-BALLISTIC KNIFE - I ran across this by accident when searching google for an image of a Soviet era knife. It's basically like a gun that uses different methods to propel a knife blade at a target. They are currently illegal for use by those other than the US Armed Forces (with a couple of exceptions) but can be classified as a gun (and therefore legal) if an explosive charge shoots out the knife.
-VIKING BEARDED AXE - The main weapon that Hades carries on his back will be a modified Viking bearded axe. I've thought about some other types and I'm not sure on this one yet, but having him favoring a Viking era axe feels right.

That's all I have for now. Let me know if you have any other ideas, as I'd like to make his weapon collection vast and unique.