9. Next-Generation Superbia (NGS)

In the fitful present, with its boxy categories for success, genuine talent and a feeling of betrayal often become one and the same, making “next-generation superbia” all the more superb. We have seen how greed, has refocused the vision of many of the educated elite into self-congratulating cartoons. (GREED and ENVY aren’t among our “Nine Deadly Sins” because they figure into virtually every sin here.) We see a civilization peddling cheap cures, cheap art, cheap science and cheap souls. As a result, if you have more than a profit motive left in you, just affirming who you are often means being cast out. We know the feeling—at least by analogy—all too well.

Marten saw the face of an older man with a dark disposition quickly becoming a bewildered middle-aged man taking shape just above the quicksilver. The longer he looked at it, the more it became disturbingly familiar before dissolving into darkness.

While trying to collect himself over no fewer than three cups of black coffee, he did his best to round out the list of The Nine Deadly Sins and solidify his impressions. He wasn’t sure he got all the details correctly, but when he went back online to check, The Devil’s Blog wasn’t there.
In tone and perspective, the Blog seemed to be linked to the A.D. Note, revealing a more expositional outlet for the author’s oblique sense of humor—one, now, presumably inspired by a darkly divine presence.

Either way, it wasn’t very encouraging.

Given the allusions to both the expedition and its cast members—with Metrice and Tiegreich, the two members of the group Marten knew the least—he did the math.

There were nine “Deadly Sins.”

But there were ten in the expedition’s cast.

So if the Devil’s Blog were really a warning about the future of the expedition, the numbers didn’t add up.