Benthic, Lord Captain Horace
"Through disaster and meddling, the Earth has become a tame planet. We know it. The true mysteries of life exist beyond our home, among the stars. Let us go there, and find the answers."
-- from the journal of Lord Captain Horace Benthic.
Lord Benthic, perhaps the most famous explorer and natural scientist of his time. (image copyright John M. Dollan)
Name = Horace Stanton Benthic
Titles = Lord Warden of Science to the New Church Ascendancy
Birth and Death = Born in 2716, December 5, in the community of Unison, northern Rocky Mountains, North America, Earth. Died in 2889, natural causes, and is buried in Unison.
Ideology: Neoprotestant with naturalist leanings.
Citizenship: Registered citizen of the New Church Hegemony.
Education: Standard pre-collegiate education. Earned a Master of Biology in the Northwest Rocky Mountain University, followed by a PhD in the same field four years later. Also holds Masters degrees in Ecology, Evolutionary Science, Archaeology, and Cultural Dynamics.
Awards and Honors: Several scientific achievement awards, as well as a two-time recipient of the highly coveted Exploration Society Ascendant, and the Nobel Peace Prize in scientific achievement.
Affiliations: Senior member of the Exploration Society. One time professor of Biological Evolution, and later Cultural Evolution, at Cambridge.
Lord Benthic's name is nearly synonymous with the latter periods of the Hegemony. While he was a dynamical influence on science during his life, he remained a deep influence in many scientific fields long after his death.
Born into a small community on Earth, he spent his childhood tramping about the mountains and forests of the Rocky Mountains, where he learned a deep appreciation for nature, and a healthy respect for it. When he was fifteen, he witnessed a family group of grizzly bears feeding in a high mountain meadow. In his famous journal, actually begun when he was twelve, he wrote, "I saw the animals, these great shaggy mounds in a field of green. I've seen grizzlies before, and I've read about the tragic encounters between they and Humans, dating back hundreds of years. But for the first time, I appreciated their size and their raw power. After a moment one of them must have caught my scent, because it stood up and stared straight at me. Even at a distance of 40 meters or so, I was awed by the sheer presence that it conveyed to me. I'll never forget it."
Once out of the primary schooling and into the university system, his concentration and talent in various fields of natural sciences became apparent. He published his first paper his junior year at NRMU, detailing the latest evolutionary theories of Man, and by the time he was working on his first Masters degree, he had published several more times. It came as little surprise that he should have been sought out by the Explorations Society as soon as he graduated. In the following years, he earned his other degrees, while making a name for himself in the scientific circles of the time.
Among his more remarkable achievements was his various expeditions to the world of Absalom, and the detailing and cataloguing of the mysterious Angelic hieroglyphics. His explorations here lead to a great understanding of the Angelics, although even today little is known about this ancient intelligent species. But he made the Angelics a household term with his landmark VR series, "The Angelics: Borne of Time". In fact, the series was such a success that he went on to produce many other VR documentaries, on subjects ranging from the natural history of Earth, to its ancient cultures, to the Lost Colonies. Science had always been available to the common person. But Lord Benthic made it easy and compelling.
Lord Benthic died in 2889, at the age of 173. He had written several times about the Lazarus Threshold, and had believed that it was a barrier that would eventually be broken, but perhaps that should not be. And, indeed, he died peacefully in his home, in the still small and sleepy community of Unison, in his bed, surrounded by his family and friends, and his books that detailed the natural universe.
As he had once written in his Journals, "We don't know what lies beyond the Lazarus Threshold, when everyone of us, without exception, must face that long dark. We all fear it, and yet we are intrigued by it. But I believe the Universe is a place of balance, and that the Human mind itself is far more than what we, even today, think of it. Perhaps that long dark is not so dark after all. I fear crossing it, but at the same time I do not dread it. Of all things, I will miss watching how this world unfolds, and the discoveries of its past and its workings that may come with the future. But death, I shall say, is another voyage of discovery. And I shall be, under the grace of God and my own insatiable curiosity, glad to sail those indistinct waters."
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This Page first uploaded June 30, 2003
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