Author Topic: Judgement of Jack Van Kirk  (Read 4129 times)

Esifex

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Judgement of Jack Van Kirk
« on: February 11, 2010, 02:27:56 AM »
So I'm two days early. Bite me, dammit. This is my memorial to a great man.
Everything I write about him is true to my knowledge.
I dare you to challenge it.



Shiki Eiki is a judge of the dead - a Yama. Her full title would read, 'Shikieiki Yamaxanadu'. The suffix 'Xanadu' defines her jurisdiction; paradise.

Being a Yama allows her to transcend mortality. Having to adhere to the needs of a mortal shell - including the crippling limitation of not being able to see spirits - would render her job impossible.

For her, the years had bled into decades. She'd been a Yama for roughly sixty years before the work became so routine she could do it by muscle memory alone, if it weren't all dependent on situational circumstances.

People out, soul in, past life experiences, pass judgement, soul out.

With each soul came a small bit of bureaucracy - if the soul was destined for oblivion, for example, there was less; just a small notation - name, sins, oblivion. For Celestials, there was nearly an entire essay that had to be written up - virtues, people they've helped and lives they've touched, disposition, faith, loyalty... and not just small notes. To be frank, reincarnation was the easiest. A short note, their name, then give 'em the boot and get 'em out of her courtroom.

However, for all the complications of a case-by-case job, the deskwork was second nature to Shiki, and she was damn good at it. Her attitude, work ethic, and whole essence of being was perfectly inclined for just this position. Anyone else would be liable to crumble under the load - and far before the sixty year mark, no less.

Anyone else... like Komachi Onazuki, her primary shikigami and Higan River ferrywoman. If asked, she wouldn't even know what a work ethic wasn't, let alone how to be prompt and business-like about it. Constantly taking breaks, occasionally pitching unruly souls into the Higan River, and generally being all-to-friendly with the nicer souls, Shiki found herself scolding and berating Komachi more often than not.

To Komachi's credit, though, she didn't let this constant brow-beating dim her sunny disposition.

However, it did lead to Shiki's surprise one day when Komachi came marching into the courtroom, scythe slung over her shoulders, dripping water. She'd just come across the Higan with a soul, using the scythe as a pole and rudder. Ordinarily, she'd let the soul off, maybe wave at them as they went inside, then head back to the far shore. To come into the courtroom - Dripping water everywhere, no less! She'd better not be coming in to tell me she's going on a lunch break, Shiki thought as she glared at the shikigami - was highly unusual. Just as strange was the wide, mischievous grin on her face.

"Hey, boss. Got another one for you. I wanted to escort him in personally. Bit of a special case, you see."

Shiki's eyebrow started to escape upwards into her hairline, retreating under her hat. "Really, now?"

True to her words, a soul came floating in behind Komachi. "His name's 'Jack'. Jack, meet Shikieiki."

Shiki looked down from her raised podium and considered the spirit. Like most all of them, he was less a body and more just a floating cloud of what appeared to be fire and smoke.

"So, you're the one in charge, then? Interesting driver you have here, ma'am."

"She... has her uses." Shiki's eyebrow decided to return and keep the other one company.

"She could stand to be a little more punctual," Jack said. Komachi grimaced, but never stopped grinning.

"She says you're a special case. Could you elaborate?" Eiki sent a sidelong glance at Komachi, who just smiled and shrugged (causing more water to drip off the scythe).

"Straight to the point. Authority does that to a person. Yes, from what I understand, I'm an outsider here. You don't typically get outer-world souls coming through here, correct?"

Shiki nodded.

"Well, I'm following someone. I know she's here, because this is Paradise. Right?"

Again, Shiki nodded. "I suppose Komachi had a nice, long chat on the ride over, then?"

"She did. Anyways, you're in charge, you're the judge - do you have anything on a 'Jessica Van Kirk'?" Jack asked, again chasing straight to the point.

This time, both of Shiki's eyebrows went adventuring under her hat. Her eyes tried to follow them, but instead just widened.

"You presume a fair amount, Jack. An outsider, demanding information on my files, with nothing to offer in -"

Jack interrupted. "Young lady, you'll have to forgive me, but I'm a goddamned spirit. I'm dead now - I have nothing to offer but my words. That, and my experience. Back in the outside world, I lived for a solid 87 years - according to Komashee here, that's a good twenty years head start on you with your judging. Care to know what I did when you started judging?
"I served in a war, one that drew in the entire world - the second of its kind, World War II. There, I defended a crew aboard a bomber, but to no avail - I was shot down, three times. Third times' the charm, they say, so I got out of flying and started building runways for our bases. From combat to hard labor, I did a little bit of it all. I've answered to men worth less than half their weight in hot air, and commanded men with more heart than common sense. I've saved my men, and they've saved me - and I've lost men, too. When we won the war, I went home and took care of my family. My wife, Jessica, and my three sons. With the same devotion and dedication I gave my men in the war, I raised my sons and honored my wife. In the following times of peace, I served not just my nation, but my community, as the chaplain of my police force. There, I served men, commanded men, and lost men - all with dedication and honor. My men respected me not because I was above them, but because I respected them. There was nothing I would ask them to do without having first done it myself, or being willing to do it with them. I've delivered last rites, bad news, and baptisms for my men. There was no slight against me, my Jessica, my sons, or my men that would not be righted.
I lost my Jessica more than twenty years ago, young lady, and I've waited long enough. I would like to finally meet her again - she's here, because she's earned her Paradise, and if you dare say otherwise, there will be hell to pay for all of us. You may offend me, but you will hold your tongue to Jessica's honor. Now, I ask again, where is she?"

Komachi smiled up at Shiki. "Turnabout's fair play, Eiki-sama. It's not every day I get to see you get lectured."

Shiki's glare pinned Komachi in place. "Go and find Jessica. This is your task, now, and you will not rest until it is complete - understood?"

Komachi's smile turned into a sly grin. "Had a feeling you'd say that. Already contacted Yuyuko."

Shiki blinked in surprise. "What? How?"

Komachi waved her hand lazily. "Okay, I lied. She contacted me. Lady Saigyouji, please enter!"

Sure enough, the Mistress of the Netherworld drifted through the door, a paper fan opened, behind which she hid a grin and a wink. "Hello, hello, Shiki-sama, Komachi-chan, and you must be Jack Van Kirk."

"Indeed, I am."

"Would you come with me? There's been a very restless spirit, one who's turned down her nirvana for a long time. She'd never say why, though, until now."

Shiki looked back and forth between the Netherworlds' Princess and Jack.

"Well, this seems to have concluded our business. Go, now, and be with your Jessica."



The eldest Van Kirk has passed at the age of 87. I could be sterotypical and say that my grandfather was a noble, selfless man, a shining example of humanity that we should all hold ourselves up to. Even though much of that is true, such an exaggeration would be mocking - our quirks and flaws are what make us unique, and that's exactly what Jack was - unique. From my experiences with him, which I am pained to admit was not as much as it should've been, I've never seen him to be spiteful of anyone for the sheer wont of being spiteful. If you made a mistake, he told you; then he'd help you remedy it. I've never been the subject of a grudge, or hardship at his hands. If you had goofed up, he'd laugh right alongside you - never at you.
However, if anyone made a slight against him or his kin, the full force of his mind, and all the wisdom and wit that goes with it, would be put to making things right. Not necessarily revenge - nothing so drastic. But he was talented at making things right that someone had made wrong. The stubborn drive has been inherited by his three sons, who now take on the role of eldest Van Kirks. They have in turn bestowed it upon their children. I can only hope to live with the same determination and drive that Jack Van Kirk demonstrated with such ease, and to make him proud that I have his name.
In today's world we have our share of conflicts and skirmishes, and outright wars. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Korea, and the misunderstanding of Georgia and Russia. These are the conflicts of our modern day; we have our guardians and soldiers who are doing the their best and giving their all to make sure that the citizens and civilians of their homes are safe and secure. Jack did his part during the conflicts of his day. A determination to do what was right, to help protect all of us, drove him to make the discipline of the United States Air Force, and after he retired from his service in the USAF, joining and aiding the Palm Bay Police Department, his way of life. This, as much as anything else, played such a large part in making him the man we knew and loved. We remember him as we remember everyone today who has made the defense and safety of their family and loved ones their driving goal in life, and those who have given their lives to such a noble task. People like Jack Van Kirk, who loved their families and their country and devoted their lives to protecting them.



I love you, Grandpa.

Tengukami

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Re: Judgement of Jack Van Kirk
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2010, 10:34:19 AM »
That's a fine testimonial to your grandfather. My heart goes out to you. Hope Yuyuko is kind to them both.

"Human history and growth are both linked closely to strife. Without conflict, humanity would have no impetus for growth. When humans are satisfied with their present condition, they may as well give up on life."

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
Re: Judgement of Jack Van Kirk
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2010, 02:28:53 AM »
Just a little bit of closure for me. The written word is my best form of communication - I can't talk as smoothly and elegantly as I can write.

Pardon me while I just do what I can in my own little way to tell a little slice of the world a little bit about a little man who meant a lot to me, who has left the world a little lesser of a place without him, but I don't mourn his passing. He's earned his rest many times over, and so has Jessica.

God bless the souls of all our veterans, and thank you all who've read this for letting me indulge a little as I cry out for his virtues.

An Odd Sea Slug

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Re: Judgement of Jack Van Kirk
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2010, 07:22:22 AM »
Dude, if you were nearby right now I'd seriously give you a pat on the shoulder right now. This is one of the most epic testimonials ever. May your beloved Grandfather have a great rest.