The beach scene below is the just-for-fun introduction to my second LOST book, LOST Identity, focussing on the characters of LOST. This is the introduction as it will appear in the book, minus the brand new, never-before-seen illustration by ArtGUS. As promised several months ago, LOST Identity will include several new illustrations by the master of LOST character portraiture.
I understand Dark UFO is running a contest. This is an unedited version of the introduction, so you'll want to read closely! If you read carefully, you will discover a clue to the character profiled in Chapter One. Enjoy!
Introduction to LOST Identity
by Pearson Moore
“It’s all about the characters.”
The anxious-looking inspector stopped on the jungle path, peered into the young woman’s face, and frowned. “Wait a minute!” The man’s eyes bulged out and he anchored his hands at his hips. “You told me two months ago it’s not about the characters. So which is it?”
She shook her head. “That’s not what I said. I told you it was all about relationships.” She dropped her rifle to the ground and massaged her shoulder.
“Relationships?” The inspector’s mouth hung open.
“Yes,” the young woman said, dropping down to a crouch, “relationships. She glanced up at him. “Didn’t you already send in your report?”
The inspector nodded. “Two months ago. I recommended ‘LOST Humanity.’ I told ‘em it was all about the mythology.”
“No.” The young woman shook her head. “The mythology is all about relationships. Everything on the Island is about the characters.” She adjusted the strap on her rifle.
A voice from the jungle: “It’s not about guns, that’s for sure.”
The inspector, surprised by the familiar voice, pivoted on his foot. The older woman approaching them wore a pleasant smile on her face and an orchid on her blouse. Her hair was beginning to grey, but she was otherwise exactly the same as she had been during the first six years.
“Hey,” the young woman said, rising to her feet, “where’s Bernard?”
The older woman laughed. “He and Vincent are out ‘fishing’—that’s what he calls it, anyway. He never catches anything, but it’s not for lack of trying. I didn’t know you were back on the Island. Aren’t you staying with Aaron and Claire?”
“Aaron’s on summer vacation,” the young woman said. “Claire told me to take a break.”
The older woman nodded. “Who’s your friend?”
The young woman replaced the rifle on her shoulder. “He’s an inspector.” She glanced at him. “University of Michigan, right?”
“Yeah,” the inspector said, wiping the sweat from his brow. “Ann Arbor campus.”
The young woman adjusted the rifle strap to a more comfortable position. “He came here a couple of months ago, doing research for a book. It was good.”
“You read it?” the inspector asked.
She nodded. “Every page.”
“Oh,” the older woman said, “‘LOST Humanity.’ The one you loaned me last month. Bernard and I loved it.” She turned to the inspector. “You wrote it?”
The inspector shook his head.
The young woman pulled a water bottle from her belt. “Some pharmaceutical scientist wrote it. He confirmed everything I believe about the Island.”
The older woman smiled knowingly and nodded. “It’s all about the characters.”
“What?” the inspector shouted.
The two women looked at him with shocked expressions.
“Have you both lost your minds?” He glared at the older woman. “How can you say ‘LOST Humanity’ was all about the characters? The book focussed on the mythology of the show. It had nothing to do with the characters!”
The older woman shifted her gaze to the jungle brush and frowned. She seemed deep in thought for a moment, but then she pushed back her shoulders and looked over at the inspector, her face taut and resolute. “Follow me.” The older woman strode past the instructor, heading toward the beach.
The young woman choked on her water but managed to replace the bottle on her belt in a single motion. She took fast strides to catch up with the older woman and the inspector followed.
“Where—” the inspector struggled to catch his breath “—where are we going?”
“There.” The older woman pointed through the clearing to a couple of figures sitting on the sand close to the trees. She glanced down at the young woman’s belt. “Knife,” she said, pointing to the sheathed hunting blade at the young woman’s side.
The young woman quickly unbuckled the knife case, dropped it to the dirt, and looked up at the inspector. “You need to remove all your knives and leave them here.”
“Trust me,” she said, “it’s just easier.”
The older woman already stood by the side of the two men sitting near the tree and seemed to be in animated discussion with the long-haired man. The young woman led the way. The inspector tried his best to keep up with her but he lost ground with every effortless step she took across the hot sand.
The men on the beach faced each other across a familiar brown board. The inspector recognised the millionaire Protector of the Island and his one-time nemesis, now assistant—the person the Protector called “Number Two.”
By the time he reached the sand the women were already at the side of the men playing backgammon and the inspector had to run to catch up. Just as he approached the four of them, the Protector waved to him and gave a big grin.
“Welcome back, dude,” the Protector said. “I thought you were done with your report?”
“Thank you, sir. I am done, but I had to come back. Apparently the University is considering a second LOST book for their curriculum. They asked me to conduct more research, sir.”
“Aw, you don’t have to ‘sir’ me, dude. Just ‘Hurley’ is fine.”
“But,” Number Two said, peering at the inspector with stern eyes, “please keep your knife sheathed.”
The inspector peered at the young woman with a quizzical expression. “What’s the problem with knives?”
The young woman lifted the rifle off her shoulder and dropped the butt to the ground. “Ben doesn’t allow drawn knives in Hurley’s presence. The last guy who tried it just wanted to cut rope. Ben had him sprawled on the dirt before he could get the knife out.”
The inspector frowned. “But he allows guns?”
The young woman grabbed the rifle, rammed the butt against her shoulder, aimed it at the Protector, and wrapped her finger around the trigger. The inspector gasped.
The Protector laughed and looked over at Number Two. “Hey, dude, it’s your turn.”
Number Two rolled the dice. “You can shoot the Protector all you like,” he said, not bothering to look up. He moved two of the white pieces on the board.
“Believe me,” the older woman said, “Kate has personal experience in this matter.”
The young woman laughed and lowered the gun back down to her side. “Save your bullets, a guy told me once.”
“The Man in Black,” the inspector said.
The Protector and the young woman frowned and looked away.
The older woman took a couple of steps toward the inspector and leaned in close. “Around here,” she whispered, “we don’t mention Him Who Shall Not Be Named. It’s because of him that Kate’s a widow.”
“A widow?” the inspector asked. “But they never got—”
The older woman’s angry glare stopped the inspector from completing his sentence.
The young woman peered down at Number Two. “Why do you even play him, Ben? You never win.”
“It’s not whether you win or lose,” Number Two said, “it’s how—”
“It’s how the Protector plays the game,” the older woman said, finishing Number Two’s sentence.
Number Two looked up at the older woman and gave a half smile. “Exactly.”
The Protector rolled the dice and two fours came up.
Number Two’s eyes grew big. “Eight, Hugo!”
The Protector jumped to his feet, took a step forward, a step back, gyrated his hips, and danced around the board. The two women laughed. The inspector stared, dumbfounded.
The young woman peered into the inspector’s face. “It’s Hurley’s number, remember?”
“Aha.” The inspector turned to the Protector, who had resumed his place and was moving black pieces on the board. “So the numbers are important?”
“Naw,” the Protector said. “Ben just gets a kick out of it when I do the Eight Dance.”
The inspector frowned. “But what about the Valenzetti Equation? The Dharma Initiative? Preventing the end of the world?”
The Protector turned around and glared at the inspector. “Dude, the numbers don’t mean anything. The Dharma people, they were wacked out. They had that Valenzetti thing ‘cause they didn’t know any better.” His expression softened. “Anyway, you make your own luck. Didn’t you see ‘Tricia Tanaka Is Dead’?”
“What Hugo’s trying to say,” Number Two said, “is that human volition transcends laws of science. Even the Valenzetti Equation, well researched as it may be, cannot account for the variability of human response to a given situation.”
“Yeah,” the Protector said, shifting his eyes around. “What he said.”
“So,” the inspector asked, directing his gaze at Number Two, “you’re saying the entire mythology of this Island has no meaning?”
“No, not at all. Every last bit of the mythology has meaning. In fact, the Island has so much meaning it determines the limits of life and death. Number One and I are still learning. Not even Jacob understood everything. Jack Shephard was the only one who ever put all the pieces together, and he saved the Island—he saved all of us. He told Desmond, ‘There are no shortcuts, no do-overs. What happened, happened. Trust me, I know. All of this matters.’ Number One and I live by those words, every day.” Number Two turned his attention back to the game.
“But...” the inspector couldn’t find words to express his thought. He turned to the young woman. “If it all comes down to the characters, how could anything on the Island matter?”
The young woman frowned and gazed down at the two players. She stared at them for several moments then turned to face the inspector. Her eyes were intense. “Hurley and Ben are playing backgammon, right?”
“So,” she said, “what if the Island makes it rain here?”
“I suppose they’d put up a tarp, or go play inside.”
“But they’re still having to change what they’re doing because of the Island, right?”
“Yeah, but it’s just common sense.”
“Okay, but suppose now it’s not Hurley and Ben playing, but it’s Claire and Thomas.”
The inspector frowned. “Who’s Thomas?”
“Claire’s boyfriend, back in Australia, remember?”
The inspector slapped his hand to his forehead and smiled. “Right.”
“Okay, now suppose they’re not playing backgammon, but they’re playing ‘let’s make a baby’, and they’re on the Island before Jack fixed everything.”
“Then I’d say Claire’s in deep trouble.”
“She’ll die, right?”
“Unless Juliet’s drug can prevent the effects high-field electromagnetism.”
“Right. Now, is that ‘just common sense’, too?”
“I see what you’re saying. The Island affected everything.”
The young woman raised her eyebrows. “The Island had its own personality.”
Number Two looked up from his game. “An extraordinary personality. And because of that, our actions and what we believed about the Island and about each other took on tremendous importance.”
“And,” the young woman said, “our relationships with each other.”
The older woman nodded. “It’s all about the relationships.”
The inspector gazed at the older woman. “You’re talking about the Constant Relationship, the Strange Attractor Relationship, the—”
She shook her head. “We don’t call it that. You think I call Bernard my ‘Constant’?”
The Protector looked up at them. “Yeah, and that ‘Strange Attractor’ stuff? Dude, that’s so twisted. The argument wasn’t over truth and lies. Ben doesn’t lie anymore.”
The older woman crossed her arms. “It wasn’t for lack of trying.”
The Protector stood up and faced the older woman. “Yeah, but I mean, it wasn’t about telling the truth or telling lies. It was about thinking things through. See, Ben thinks about things, then he figures out what to do. I need that ‘cause, well... I don’t always think about things before I do something.”
Number Two chimed in. “Hugo doesn’t need to think things through, Rose. He has a built-in sense of right and wrong—something I wish I had more of. He knows instinctively what to do.”
“Yeah,” the Protector said, shifting his focus to Number Two, “maybe. But you explain stuff to me, dude. That helps.”
Number Two looked down and smiled. “That’s my job, Hugo.”
“Wait a minute,” the inspector said, frowning at the Protector, “You’re saying ‘LOST Humanity’ got it all wrong?”
“No, I’m not sayin’ that. I’m just, well...”
Number Two placed the dice on the board and looked up at the inspector. “You have to consider the person who wrote ‘LOST Humanity.’ He’s a scientist.”
“Pharmaceutical chemist,” the young woman said.
“Yes,” Number Two said, rising to his feet. “He invoked aspects of chaos theory, and especially the notion of strange attractors, as a model for understanding human interaction between characters. He wasn’t trying to say ‘this is how it is.’ He was proposing a model, that’s all. It was just a way of looking at things intended to help us understand.”
“Some characters more than others,” the young woman said, frowning. “He never wrote about Libby.”
The Protector looked down at the sand and shrugged. “Some characters are more important than others.”
“She was important to you,” the young woman said. “Therefore she was important.”
“Yeah,” the Protector said. “But if I was writin’ about the characters, I’d do it right.”
“What do you mean?” the inspector asked.
“I mean, I’d start from the very beginning, with the very first character.”
“Jack?” the older woman asked.
“No,” Number Two said, “I think he means—”
“No!” The older woman’s jaw dropped. “You can’t seriously mean you’d devote an entire chapter to a—”
“Look,” the Protector said, “It’s not just that he was the first character. He appeared in more episodes than Jacob, Christian Shephard, and Eloise Hawking combined.”
The older woman stared at him in disbelief. “You are serious?”
The Protector nodded. “I am.” He turned to the inspector. “You wanna write another book about the Island? You gotta start with the first character, the most loyal character.”
The inspector frowned. “But I’m not—”
“Kate,” the Protector said, glancing at the young woman, “you like writing: Tell him how to start his new book.”
“Okay,” the young woman said. Her knitted brow revealed deep concentration. “I think I’d try to set the mood. It has to be done right, because he was the only major character who never uttered a word. Maybe passive voice, even though it’s usually weaker. Hmmm... Maybe I’d begin with something like, ‘The very first episode was told from his point of view...’”
If you want to know what Kate wrote in Chapter One, be ready at the end of this month, when LOST Identity is published. The exact date will be announced soon at Dark UFO. Until then, on behalf of Alvar Hanso, Thomas Mittelwerk, and everyone at the reconstituted Dharma Initiative, thank you. Good luck, and Namaste!
Posted by b3rt4 at 6/14/2011 12:03:00 am 13 CommentsBooks , LOST Identity , Pearson Moore