Howard

Howard sat on the edge of his bed, deep in thought. He was in his room in the newly built Sanctum, and it looked rather like a bomb had exploded in here. Actually, several had, but he had the place reasonably well armored and shielded, so that wasn't an issue. But spare parts lay littered about on every surface, half-built devices scattered here and there with the rare occasional finished product, almost totally obscuring his desk, workbench, bed, and three shelves. It was about 2:00 PM on October 18th, and the last few weeks had been a whirl of activity, and now in recollection took on a vaguely dreamlike quality. Had he really built a turbolift? A *turbolift*? Gone off for a week exploring an alternate dimension? The new base of operations he had helped to build felt real enough around him, but it seemed... off. Like everything seemed off these days.

The fractal security measures on his computer. The system of organization of his files. Trying to build a computer powered by water pressure. What the hell was going on here? He frowned. "This isn't me," he said, speaking to the empty air. A flash of inspiration came over him, and almost before he realized it, he found himself working at a pile of spare parts that lay close at hand. The final product jumped out at him: he was making a plutonium powered automobile engine. Howard came to his senses with a start and dropped the parts. They hit the floor with a clatter.

"What am I doing?" he asked. This wasn't the way a scientist did things. This wasn't the way *he* did things. "Isaac was right. There's me here, and there's not me, and I think they're both me, but I need to find out which one is which," he said definitively, though there was none there to hear him. After all, how was he supposed to bring the fire of the gods to the everyday man if he was so addled he couldn't even think clearly? This... this would be his Seeking. A Seeking for his real self, apart from the madness that had gripped him as of late. Nodding determinedly, Howard rose to his feet, spotted a pile of parts on the floor, and was quickly engrossed in building a 1/8th scale miniature submarine.

OK, so it wasn't the best of starts to his Seeking, but it was a start, and despite the grip of his madness, the resolution he had made did not fade from his mind. Howard would find his real self, and when he had gained an understanding of who he really was, he would have taken the first step on the path to wisdom.

He hoped.

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