LODESTAR LORE – The Story Behind eQuoo
February 20th, 2022, Arie Kaplan
BEGIN TRANS-TEMPORAL INTER-EPOCH CHRONAL COMMUNIQUÉ:
FROM: Joy, Mentor and Temporal Time-pilot of the Lodestars
TO: Espralia Nia Zubari, Official Lodestar Librarian
Greetings from the 359th century! The planet Earth of the far future is a beautiful place. Wish you could see it. An entire planet of people living and working in harmony. A global community of folks who’ve managed to increase their emotional resilience and shed their anxiety. The Lodestars have had a very positive impact on this world.
As I look around me, I see every shade of green from cucumber to emerald. The water is the brightest blue imaginable, and the air is sweet-smelling. This is a world teeming with vegetation, brimming with life. More than that, it’s brimming with light. It’s a planet populated by happy people who’ve embraced their own inner light.
Espralia, I’ve come to a decision. And I thought that you, in your capacity as official librarian, archivist, and historian of the Lodestars, would appreciate this:
I’ve decided to write a book about the history of the Lodestars. The story that almost nobody knows. Until now, it was an oral history passed down verbally from one generation to another. But no longer. Now it will be written down in the annals of the Lodestar Library, so that apprentice Lodestars can soak up the wisdom of the ages. I wish I had a book like this when I was first recruited into this team.
I think I’ll call this book The Lodestars: Legends and Lore of a Luminous League. It will be the first comprehensive guide book explaining who we are, who I am, and how we Lodestars came to be.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Some explanations are no doubt in order.
WHO ARE THE LODESTARS?
The Encyclopedia Chronographia, the premiere reference book for time travelers the universe over, has a brief entry on the Lodestars. This well-regarded tome defines us in the following manner:
“LODESTAR [pronounced ‘lohd-stahr’]: Noun:
1) A star that leads or guides, especially Polaris, the North Star.
2) Someone who serves as an inspiration, model, or guide.
3) A member of a group of heroes whose inner light shines like a beacon. The individual members of the Lodestars come from all over the world, and from various eras in the Earth’s history. The Lodestars typically use time travel as a part of their journey of psychological and emotional transformation.”
The Encyclopedia Chronographia goes on to say:
“Lodestars are an order made up of Earth dwellers who have set themselves on a path of self-improvement. For thousands of years, the Lodestars have utilized time travel in order to go on adventures that help them learn how to grow emotionally. Only by going on repeated adventures throughout the timestream can a Lodestar access their own inner light. This is not to be taken lightly. (Pun intended.) The inner light of a native Earth inhabitant is a powerful force. When wielded properly, this force can work wonders.”
Fine. That’s pretty accurate, but it’s an outsider’s view of what a Lodestar is. Clearly, there are a few things The Encyclopedia Chronographia doesn’t know about us, things that I’ll explain in my forthcoming tome. Here are the first few pages of the first draft of my book:
Often clad in their glowing Synth Suits, outfits made of smart materials that can adjust themselves to keep the wearer warmer or cooler (depending on their needs), Lodestars probably look like they always have the answers. But this isn’t so. They continually practice the art of self-betterment.
Eventually, some Lodestars also guide and mentor other potential new recruits.
Lodestars can sense the brightness within each person. For some, that brightness is merely a faint flicker. For others, that brightness is a blinding glow, an overwhelming radiance. These people glow so bright, they’re like stars.
Those incandescent individuals who shimmer from within, those people with the potential to shine like stars, are ready to be recruited into the Lodestar order. They are the folks who are most apt to be trained by existing Lodestars.
A BRIEF AUTOBIOGRAPHY (BY JOY)
I am the Lodestar known as Joy. For many years, I’ve sought out potential new Lodestars and taken them on missions throughout the timestream. The goal of each mission is to guide new recruits as they go on a mission of personal growth.
But I wasn’t always like this.
Before I was a Lodestar, I was a painter named Julie Olivia Young. I became very successful very quickly. I showed my work in many major galleries and museums. When I first became really famous, I even starred in a commercial for Helios heat lamps!
In my work as an artist, I often employed the theme of light. Aside from being an artist, I was always scientifically inclined. Early on in my career, I figured out a way to use holograms to create light sculptures, as well as paintings involving sunlight. One painting might depict a beam of sunlight spilling over an exotic desert vista. Another painting might show squares of sunlight marching in endless rows across a shadowy void.
Critics called me a brave new voice. I was the toast of the art world! I had my own studio and was never at a loss for commissions. But somehow, it didn’t seem like it was enough. See, I suffered from anxiety attacks. And my constant worrying was starting to paralyze me.
More accurately, it was consuming me. I felt like there was always a dark cloud looming over me. So they sent a veteran Lodestar named Amani to be my mentor.
Amani taught me the psychological skills that helped me to build resilience and manage my anxiety. For example, before I became a Lodestar, I found it difficult to be aware of what was going on in the here and now. I was always distracted, obsessed with some mistake I might have made in the recent past. Because of that, I was never mindful of the present moment. This lack of mindfulness had a detrimental effect on my friendships. How could I maintain solid relationships with others if I was never “present” while we were hanging out? But becoming a Lodestar helped me break that pattern of negativity. That’s when I learned that the path of the Lodestar was right for me.
When I first became a Lodestar, I chose a new name for myself: JOY, taken from the first letter of my first, middle, and last name. Taking the initials of all three names and combining them to form my Lodestar name was my way of showing that I felt whole for the first time, thanks to the skills the Lodestars taught me.
WHAT ON EARTH IS THE QUAVERING?
For countless millennia, the Lodestars have kept watch over the Earth. They’ve made sure that this little blue-green orb never stopped spinning with clockwork precision.
And they have their work cut out for them, thanks to a malevolent force called The Quavering. Manifesting as a monstrous storm cloud with glowing yellow eyes, The Quavering is a conglomeration of all the negativity, greed, corruption, fear, and pessimism in the world. A being of raw toxicity and hatred, the Quavering extinguishes people’s inner light.
If you ever feel a dark cloud looming over you – the kind of cloud I felt when I was consumed by anxiety – that cloud is The Quavering.
By going on their time-traveling adventures, the Lodestars unlock their own inner light and help make this world brighter. This way, they can ensure that The Quavering doesn’t get the upper hand.
But I don’t want to dedicate very much space to The Quavering. That mangy old monster doesn’t deserve it.
WHY TIME TRAVEL?
Millennia ago, the Lodestars realized that people learn best when they are taught by example. By taking a rookie Lodestar on a journey into another time period, veteran Lodestars can put new recruits into the deep end of the pool. These newbies will be in a totally new scenario they’ve never experienced before, in a time period far in the future or deep in the long-buried past. Once they’ve been tossed into these strange new historical eras, these new recruits will have to make quick, life-changing decisions with little time for overthinking or rumination. They will have to rely on their own emotional resilience and empathy in order to successfully interact with other people and resolve conflicts.
In this way, these time travel journeys are the perfect testing ground to help new Lodestars learn the psychological skills they’ll need to keep their inner light burning even brighter.
THE SECRET ORIGIN OF THE DIAL
When my Lodestar mentor Amani first told me she was a time traveler, she presented me with a machine that I thought was either a futuristic waffle iron, or a high-tech frisbee.
In reality, it was neither of those things. It was The Dial.
The Dial is a portable device that allows Lodestars to travel through time. Named after the sundial, an instrument used to tell time in the ancient world, The Dial is also an invention that involves time. However, rather than simply marking time, The Dial enables its owner to journey through the timestream and visit any point in the past, present, or future.
But there is a catch. The user is never in control of where The Dial will take them. You cannot, for example, say, “Okay, Dial, I want to go to Eqypt in 51 B.C. and meet Cleopatra.” Don’t bother. The Dial will not listen. It might take you to Egypt in 51 B.C. On the other hand, it also might take you to Trenton, New Jersey in 1986 to see a monster truck rally. It’s really up to The Dial.
Only The Dial knows where it will take you. Will it ever tell you that information? No. When The Dial sends you on a time-travel mission, you must simply have faith that this quirky, willful, obstinate little device knows what it’s doing.
The earliest prototypes of The Dial were created by Lodestars millennia ago. According to Lodestar Lore, the first Dial was created by a Lodestar named Scintilla, a scientist who lived approximately 3,000 years ago in the legendary Nubian Kingdom of Kush. Scintilla’s inner light was so bright that it gave her unique powers. For example, she once fashioned a mechanical bird from copper, and used her inner light as a power source. Her inner light brought the automatic avian to life, enabling it to fly around the room and sing pleasing melodies to all within earshot. Her creation was therefore known as the Copper Bird of Kush.
Scintilla’s success with the Copper Bird inspired her to think bigger! Now much more ambitious, she aimed to create a machine that would allow one to break the bonds of their chronal confinement, traveling to the next century as simply as one would travel to the next village. Again using her inner light as a power battery, Scintilla crafted the very first Dial. But Scintilla immediately realized that there was something different about this invention. The Dial had…opinions. It kept its own counsel on where it would send you, how far it would send you, whether it would send you to the past or the future. Quite accidentally, she had created a thinking machine, and a rather cheeky one at that!
And so in honor of Scintilla’s groundbreaking invention, all subsequent Dials are built from her original blueprints, and powered by the inner light of their owners. And because Dials are fueled by a part of their owner’s life force, their essence, those Dials are just as opinionated as that original prototype Scintilla cobbled together in her lab all those centuries ago.
Well, Espralia, that’s the end of my first batch of notes for my book. But as I’ve just specified, this is only my FIRST batch. My book is far from completed. Let me know what you think of the title: The Lodestars: Legends and Lore of a Luminous League.
Also, please keep an eye out for further communiqués from me.
Until then, as we Lodestars say, Walk in Light!
END TRANS-TEMPORAL INTER-EPOCH CHRONAL COMMUNIQUÉ
AUTHOR BIO: Arie Kaplan is the scriptwriter for eQuoo: The Next Generation: Lodestar. Aside from his work on eQuoo: TNG, Arie has written scripts for several other games, including Vanderpump Rules (Endless Entertainment), Paranormal State: Poison Spring (Legacy Games), and Law & Order: Legacies (Telltale Games). Arie is also a television comedy writer, and his TV writing credits include World’s Dumbest (TruTV), Cyberchase (PBS Kids), and Codename: Kids Next Door (Cartoon Network). When he’s not writing material for screens of various sizes, Arie is an author. He has written several books and graphic novels, including Frankie and the Dragon (Capstone), The Official Stormtrooper Training Manual (Scholastic), The Doctor Strange Little Golden Book (Penguin Random House), and the award-winning nonfiction title From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books (Jewish Publication Society). Arie has also penned dozens of comic book scripts – featuring everyone from Superman to Speed Racer – for publishers such as DC Comics, IDW Publishing, Archie Comics, and Dark Horse Comics. Follow him on Twitter at @ariekaplan and check out his website, www.ariekaplan.com.