"Your destruction is not my goal, but merely a stepping stone to higher ends."
- Charm: Oratorical
- Adaptability: Average
- Planning: Grand schemer
- Survival Preparations: Diligent
- Wealth: Uncountable
- Weapons Skill: Nuclear warheads
- Intelligence: Masterful
- Warm Fuzzies: Antarctic
- Leadership: Imperial
At the Point of No Return
When the nuclear holocaust kicks off WWIII, the ENTJs will instantly mobilize all their assets—their spouse, children, dog, parents, grandparents, ex, next door neighbors, coworkers, the mailman, and any passersby—and form a militia that they will drill incessantly in an underground radiation shelter. Even the dog will learn to field strip an AK-47 in under a minute, and will become one of the most loyal soldiers.
By the time the radiation has diminished to what is now considered the new “safe” level, the ENTJ will have a pocket army ready to do his or her bidding. Some might be satisfied at this point, but for the ENTJ it is only the beginning of a more far-ranging strategy.
They will choose a small rural town and order their army to seize the major's office; the coup will be swift and bloodless. Although the townspeople will initially be resentful, the ENTJ will soon come to be regarded as a folk hero since his army will hold back the incursions of zombies, mutants and INTJs.
Now that the ENTJ has a base of operations, it is time for stage two: digging an underground rocket silo. At this point the borders of the town will be sealed and no one will go in or out without being observed by hidden cameras. Strangers will have the creepy feeling of being watched and hasten on their way. The townspeople will become a taciturn, surly lot with cultlike solidarity.
Good job! It's time to begin stage three.
When the silo is complete and the rocket has been installed, the ENTJ has two choices. First, they can incorporate a nuke and try to blackmail the world with it. Unfortunately there's not much left to blow up at this point. So instead, the ENTJ will fill the rocket with terraforming supplies, load up the best of the workers, scientists and soldiers, and head off to Mars to begin a new chapter in the destiny of humanity. When they arrive on Mars, stage four will commence.
Unfortunately, several million other ENTJs are also at stage four. The supply of Martian ice is limited, and nobody has any fuel left. Everyone remembered to bring along plenty of nuclear warheads, though.
Meanwhile, Back on Terra Firma
Of course, there will be a few ENTJs whose projects were sabotaged by striking labor unions or angry robots, delaying their launch schedule. They will sit in their throne room, brooding over the delay. Soon, of course, it will become apparent that Mars will be dangerously radioactive for a long time to come. So the ENTJ will decide to stay on Earth after all. Time for a new plan.
Plan B involves copious amounts of megalomaniacal self aggrandizement, which always gets the creative juices flowing. After giving the matter some serious thought, the ENTJ will decide to conquer the world as a stepping stone on the way to bigger objectives—such as finding a spouse. (A difficult proposition since the Idealists have mysteriously vanished, the Rationals are too busy finishing their pet projects, and the Guardians have taken their toys and gone underground. The Artisans are still common, of course—too common. The only thing that makes gold more valuable than dust is its rarity. The ENTJs have too much pride to stoop to marrying an Artisan.)
Save for their celibate lifestyle, the ENTJs who are left on Earth will have it pretty easy at this point. The tragic fate of the Martian ENTJ population and the mass exodus of the ESTJ Underlords will leave a huge power vacuum that will be quickly filled by a relatively small number of individuals. These ENTJs will take over the nearby cities and become warlords and tyrant queens. Their territories will grow and grow, until one fateful day they touch.
In a way, this will be a good thing. The ENTJs were getting tired of easy victory and wanted a real challenge. Being all powerful was losing its luster, and the ENTJs were beginning to sink into existential depression. But now they will be delighted to devote their enormous energies to the task of destroying their fellow ENTJs.
Fortunately for the rest of humanity, the battles of WWIV will be diffuse enough that they will not result in the annihilation of all life. Unfortunately, they will be fierce enough that not even the mutated African hissing cockroaches will be able to survive in the resulting no-man's land. There will be winners and losers, and eventually the world will be divided up into three large territories ruled by three powerful ENTJs. (ENTJs are a highly territorial type. The average size of a ENTJ’s home range is about 1-2 continents.)
One of the ENTJs will end up holed up Australia, fighting a losing battle as they try to buy time to breed an army of mutant battle kangaroos. Another ENTJ will make the mistake of trying to hold Asia, but her opponent will make the even worse mistake of mounting a winter campaign against Moscow. (A somewhat inevitable situation, given the ongoing state of nuclear winter.) Once the two superpowers have duked it out to exhaustion and their frostbitten armies are spread paper thin, the Aussies will emerge and begin a blitzkrieg. The weakened ENTJs will be forced to team up against the hopping hordes.
At this point, the world be divided evenly into three parts, or about two continents per ENTJ. The Aussies will decide to quit while they’re ahead and sign a treaty with their opponents. Naturally all three of the superpowers will hate each other.
The Australian Emperor
You, as the ruler of Australia (and also Africa and Antarctica), are quite different from the other two ENTJs who share Earth with you. On the surface, you seem alike. Like them, your ambition is endless, your drive to succeed unstoppable. The seriousness of your quest is evident in your face, which bears the typical ENTJ look of someone about to bash his way through a mountain with his forehead. (People say it makes you look “angry.”) But underneath, there are differences. Your mother was an INTP and your father was an ENTP; they used their combined intelligence for no better purpose than to mess with the minds of their fellow human beings. Despite the stern determination that marks your features, there is a glint in your eye, as if you too—though you are one of the most powerful men in the world—have nothing better to do with yourself than mess with the minds of those you consider less intelligent than you: namely, the other ENTJs you are forced to share your planet with.
This immediately becomes obvious during the treaty negotiations. The ENTJ who controls North and South America is a stern middle-aged man who shows up wearing a charcoal grey suit and blue tie; he introduces himself as the Interim President of the Democratic Alliance of the Americas. The ENTJ who controls Eurasia is a hard-looking woman in a navy blue skirt suit; she styles herself the Emergency Prime Minister of the Free States of Europe and Asia. Finally you stand, your purple cape swirling around you. “I’m the Emperor of Australia. Oh, sorry—the Emperor for life of Australia.”
The other ENTJs hated you already, but they will hate you even more for not bothering to dress up your naked lust for power in mealy-mouthed phrases. They will secretly call you a narcissistic maniac and other unsavory things behind your back. But the truth is that they resent you for being the mirror which reveals their own dark hearts. Despite all their lip service to democracy and the supposedly temporary nature of the martial law they were forced to impose, they are no different from you. It’s just that they can’t admit it—not even to themselves. You, on the other hand, revel joyfully in the freedom of your absolute, unchecked power. The other ENTJs tell themselves bitterly that you are young and foolish and do not understand the burden of leadership that weighs on their shoulders. (You are only twenty, the same age that Alexander was when he became king.) Their disapproval bothers you not a whit. As far as you're concerned, the phrase “burden of leadership” is an oxymoron.
Despite the hatred fizzling beneath the surface, the treaty is signed. A state of armed equilibrium is reached as everyone rebuilds their strength for WWV, and peace prevails. The other ENTJs depart the conference in their executive jets. You depart in your flying kangaroo-shaped sky fortress.
Rebuilding the Economy
Now that the war is over, you can busy yourself with important tasks like fixing the economy, reducing crime, and creating jobs. (This will be extremely dull.) Alas, now that the responsible, law-abiding Guardians are gone, you are stuck with a population consisting of Artisan scofflaws, Idealist protesters, and Rationals who have nothing better to do than write seditious pamphlets criticizing your policies. None of them will feel obligated to pay taxes. In fact, many of them view it as their duty to dethrone you. (Good luck with that.)
In spite of these difficulties, you will move briskly ahead with your to do list:
- Quash out all the simmering rebellions
- Make your sky fortress even cooler
- Slay the giant sea tyrannosaurs that have been assaulting your coastal cities
- Breed an army of sea tyrannosaurs in flying mecha suits
- Build robotic versions of sea tyrannosaurs
- Breed tiny lapdog-sized sea tyrannosaurs and keep them as pets
- Crossbreed sea tyrannosaurs with battle kangaroos to create giant kangaroos with flaming breath
- Hunt the rebels for sport with giant fire-breathing kangaroos
- Fix the economy
- Quash the insurrectionists (really, this time)
…Okay, so maybe you’ll need to allocate some more time to dealing with the rebels. Now that the external threat that united Australia, Africa and Antarctica is gone, your fragile new empire threatens to collapse into internal strife. You’re pretty sure your fellow ENTJs are providing money and support to the rebels, but two can play at that game. You reciprocate by providing monetary support to the rebel groups in their empires. There’s no war like a cold war.
You will also approach the rebellion problem from a scientific angle, namely that of psychological type. At your command, researchers carry out a large-scale research project to determine which citizens are at risk for becoming guerrillas and attempting to dethrone you. Over the course of a year, the scientists do a statistical analysis of rebelling and non-rebelling citizens. Their results clearly establish what you had already suspected: most of the rebels are troublemaking Artisans. But there is a surprise as well: most of the rebellion leaders are ESTP Raiders.
ESTPs are the dominant alpha type among Artisans just as ENTJs are the dominant alpha type among Rationals. Charismatic and cunning, it is only natural that the ESTPs would bubble up to fill the role of rebel leadership.
If that was the ESTPs' only crime against you, it would be bad enough. But that is not all. The study also reveals that ESTPs constitute a high percentage of infiltrators, saboteurs, sultry Mata Hari-esque seductresses, and glamorous, martini-sipping spies who blow up your billion dollar construction projects for no other reason than the fact that they can. They also refuse to pay taxes. What should you do?
Herodotus records how Periander, an ancient Greek ruler, asked the tyrant Thrasybulus how he should make his power secure. By way of response, Thrasybulus walked through a wheat field with a stick, striking down all the tallest stalks. What he was saying is that you have to eliminate any man powerful or influential enough to challenge your own rule. In short, get rid of the ESTPs. And, since you’re Australian, you know just how to do it: you’ll deport them to a penal colony.
It won’t take you long to whip up some dome-cities in Antarctica. Now all you have to do is round up the ESTPs and evict them from your empire. With any luck it’ll reduce the crime rate, too. You feel a real satisfaction as you issue the orders to eject the ESTPs.
Unfortunately, this is one of those ideas that looks better on paper than in practice. Your first inkling that something is wrong comes when scads of ESTPs eagerly volunteer to live in the dome-cities because “it sounds exciting.” Even those ESTPs who don’t want to be exiled to Antarctica will be delighted to be singled out for your deportation program, if only so that they can experience the visceral thrill of being hunted from a sky fortress.
Now that the ESTPs know they have finally gotten under your skin, they will step up their subversive activities ten fold, sabotaging your power plants, roads, police stations, mines, airports, train stations, rocket silos and all the other civic infrastructure you spent trillions constructing. Then they will boast outrageously about how they bested you and got away without getting caught. Angered by their impudence, you will in turn increase your hunting efforts ten fold.
Long before the apocalypse, the Australian government waged war against invasive species: cane toads, rabbits and foxes. Your efforts to get rid of the ESTPs will be about as fruitful. Yes, you will evict scores of them, but it isn’t enough. You are spending billions on ESTP deportations and you’ve only removed about 20% of them. By the time they are all gone, your empire will be bankrupt. Clearly new strategies are called for.
One of the ways in which ESTPs have learned to evade you is to impersonate similar types, rather like a poisonous butterfly evolving to imitate a harmless one. A favorite tactic is to read a few self actualization books, buy some purple contact lenses, and play the role of a vivacious ENFP Fury. For awhile, this trick will thwart you because ESTPs are excellent actors and both types are extraverted perceivers. However, you will eventually learn to check this strategy by using real Idealists as “sniffers” to ferret the impostors out. (The NFs can spot an ESTP at twenty feet. It's their smile that gives them away.)
After this, the ESTPs will turn to impersonating ENTP Mavericks. You view the ENTPs as an unholy cross between your two worst enemies, namely the ESTP Raiders and the insidious INTJ Masterminds. As long as you’re deporting people, you might as well get rid of all the ENTPs too.
Left without any extraverted perceiving types to impersonate, the ESTPs will be left with no choice but to pretend to be ISTP Vigilantes. This will require them to live a solitary introverted lifestyle that will leave them drained and tired. Easy prey. At this point they will begin to complain that you are cheating.
Success! Your efforts will bear fruit at last. Slowly but surely you will gain the upper hand over your unruly subjects, and year by year, the number of ESTP rebels, saboteurs and spies will dwindle through deportation, habitat loss and hunting. Many ESTPs will immigrate to the territories of the other ENTJ Warlords, who will welcome the refugees with open arms, glad to offer shelter to the victims of your state-sanctioned persecution. This is what they will say in public, anyway.
In private, they will be less than thrilled about the fact that their continents are being stocked with large populations of rebels, saboteurs and spies.
“This is an act of war,” the ENTJ who controls Eurasia snarls over the video screen.
“So sanction me.”
They don’t dare do that, of course. Now that the ESTPs are gone, the rebellions have lapsed into quiescence, your GDP has skyrocketed, the crime rate is at a record low, and your empire has the largest economy in the world. The other ENTJs need your markets too much to engage in full out economic warfare with you, so instead they convert their frustrations into bitter propaganda about how you are the mad dictator of a rogue state. Pathetic, really. The crime rate in their empires soars.
Now that the troublesome ESTPs are safely ensconced in distant Antarctican cities, you can get back to gratifying your ego with enormous building projects. Unsatisfied with your current capitol, you will build a completely new seat of government for yourself. You will ennoble it with massive monuments to commemorate the glory of your empire for all time—i.e. a colossal stone kangaroo that can be seen from orbit. You’ll also start making your sky fortress spaceworthy, because otherwise there wouldn’t be much point in building a stone kangaroo that can be seen from orbit.
At first you will be a bit jumpy, always expecting progress to be disrupted by an explosion. But slowly you will regain your peace of mind. Soon your empire will be home to the most splendorous achievements that mankind has ever seen. The greatest wonder you will build is the most marvelous of all: the restored continent of Atlantis.
Why rebuild the continent of Atlantis? Well, there is one little thing that has been bothering you.
- 54,759,000 square kilometers - the combined landmass of Europe and Asia
- 53,098,500 square kilometers - the combined landmass of Australia, Africa, and Antarctica
- 42,330,000 square kilometers - the combined landmass of North and South America
It is quite simply unacceptable that the Eurasian ENTJ’s empire is 1,660,500 square kilometers larger than yours. You would conquer her empire, but alas, she and the New World ENTJ have a mutual aid pact and you can’t beat both of them at once. So you need to get 1,660,500 square kilometers (about half the surface area of Australia) from somewhere else.
Your first idea is to flood the atmosphere with sunlight blocking particles that will cause global cooling, thereby causing the Antarctic ice shelves to expand and providing more surface area. But you have bad memories of the last nuclear winter so you decide to forgo that option. (Anyway, you wouldn't want the ESTPs to freeze to death. You're drawing quite a bit of tax revenue from the dome cities, which now style themselves “The Pleasure Capital of the World.”)
Finally, you hit upon the idea of digging up all your unused desert areas (your continents have a lot of unused desert areas) and dumping the soil off the coastline to expand Australia’s square footage. This works, and soon you are rearranging the face of the earth itself. You strategically deposit the removed soil so as to shape the coastline of Australia into the head of a kangaroo with inland seas for the eyes and a canal for the mouth.
For awhile the other ENTJs will be baffled by this immense project. They are unable to believe that even you would spend so extravagantly on a monument to your own glory. But finally the Eurasian ENTJ will figure it out. She will instantly claim that shallow inland seas don’t count toward a continent’s landmass, and although that is completely stupid, the New World ENTJ will agree with her and they will outvote you. So you will have to do something else.
For awhile, you play around with the idea of leveling your empire’s majestic mountain ranges and using that soil to expand the coastline without creating inland seas. But you don’t want your empire to look flat and ugly. Is there another place to get soil? Of course there is. And here is where Atlantis comes in.
You create a fleet of gigantic oceanic digging machines and use them to dredge up sediment from the depths of the seafloor. This you pile into a totally new continent equidistant between Australia, Africa and Antarctica. The new continent will be a sterile slab of rock, but no matter. You dub it “New Atlantis.” To pretty things up, you found a city (named after yours truly) with all the architecture designed along classical lines: marble pillars in neat colonnades, open air theaters, and olive groves. This will really impress the tourists, though the other ENTJs will venomously deride your creations as tacky and tasteless. (Because everyone knows the Greeks were just soooo tacky and tasteless.) You aren’t bothered. The pièce de résistance of your new continent is an artificial mountain taller than Mt. Everest. The mountain will be in the vague shape of a hand making a rude gesture in the direction of Eurasia.
Now that you have the largest, most magnificent empire in the world, you should be happy. Curiously, you are not. The question of your non-happiness will haunt you on long nights, and sometimes you will wonder if this is all there is to life. Perhaps the problem is that you have been enjoying too much easy success. You decide to bring back some ESTPs. Surely that will provide you enough explosions to fill up the mysterious hole you feel inside.
After performing ecological studies to judge the impact of reintroducing ESTPs to Australia, you will un-deport several thousand breeding pairs from Antarctica. Giving them all a small stipend to get them started, you will release them into the wild. Let the hunting begin.
You will be more responsible about it this time, though. To mitigate the ecological consequences of your previous unrestrained hunting, you will establish a season for ESTPs with set bag limits. Those who take ESTPs without a permit will be fined for poaching; this law will be vigorously enforced by your gamekeepers. You will also establish preserves for the ESTPs and start captive breeding programs to increase their numbers. Finally, you will put a vigorous incentives program in place for blowing up government infrastructure, with a bonus if the ESTPs meet their quota. Life in the preserves will be the equivalent of a cushy government job. They will even be exempted from taxes.
The ESTPs in the preserves will enjoy feeding at the public trough and never paying taxes. Unlike the ESTPs working in the private sector, they will have uncontaminated food and water, free weapons, and plenty of mutants to kill. The subsidized stores will be regularly stocked with items for them to loot. As for the sneers of the other Artisans, the ESTPs will ignore them just as you have always ignored the sneers of your fellow ENTJs. Your empire’s crime rate will go up slightly, but that’s a small price to pay.
As you had hoped, the ESTPs relish the hunting season as a chance to test their wits against you. Soon things will be exploding all over your empire. Hunting the perpetrators from your sky fortress is far more interesting than fixing than diddling about with the economy, and you feel a surge of your old energy as you move to contain the outbreaks. You will still have to decide what to do with the ESTPs once you've caught them, of course. It seems redundant to deport them back to Antarctica, but you don't just want to catch and release them, either. You settle for having them brainwashed into believing they are extinct flightless birds. Though cruel, the result is hysterical.
When the hunt is over, the surviving ESTPs will meet back at the preserves and tell huge whoppers about their cunning, daring, and narrow escapes. You will considerately provide them with free drinks and a party as a sort of “thank you” for being good prey. They will reward your generosity by grumbling about the length of their paid vacations.
But this will only satisfy you for awhile. The hole inside is still there, and to your alarm it is growing rapidly. You had always heard the saying, “it’s lonely at the top,” but you never realized just how lonely it would be. Your subordinates flatter and fear you. Your friends have become respectful. Surrounded by every comfort and pleasure, you suddenly find yourself unable to enjoy any of it. You lose interest in the problems of governance, and even ESTP hunting grows stale. You wonder what the point of your existence is.
ENTJs have no weaknesses, but occasionally—in strict privacy—they will exercise their atrophied tear glands just in case they have to strangle an enemy with them.
One day, while performing one-glanded pushups to the accompaniment of intellectually stimulating violin music, there will be a knock on your door. Wiping the sweat from your eyes, you go to answer it. It is your trusty captain of the guards.
“Sir,” he says, “We captured an intruder trying to get into the base. Would you like to interrogate them, or shall I have them disintegrated?”
“I'll interrogate them,” you respond listlessly. Perhaps a good interrogation will recharge your extravert batteries, which were getting low because you've been spending so much time alone.
Not bothering to straighten your wrinkled cape, you sigh and head down to the interrogation room.
When you get to the interrogation room you are surprised to find yourself looking at a rather attractive young mutant with wide pink eyes and soft pink hair. As you are to find out, she is an INFP Mystic. Your trusty guards have already put a psych-inhibitor collar around her neck to prevent her from trying to assassinate you.
“What brings you to my fortress, foolish creature?” you snarl, though not with your usual enthusiasm. The INFP's large, expressive eyes begin to fill with quivering tears, causing your lip to curl in hypocritical contempt. You've seen the ESTPs do far better before you brainwashed them into extinct flightless birds.
In a voice of frightened nobility, the INFP declares, “I have come to speak to you about the plight of the ESTPs.”
“What, did they run out of beer again?” you ask, annoyed at your favorite prey's growing sense of entitlement.
“You're hunting them down like animals—for sport!” the INFP cries.
“What of it? They like it,” you respond.
“They do not!” the INFP says, aghast at your blunt yet accurate assessment of the ESTP attitude towards your activities. But you are always up for a good argument.
“Of course they do,” you say reasonably. You then outline several excellent proofs for why the ESTPs enjoy the system that you put into place. Chiefly, I.) They like excitement, and you provide that in spades; II.) They are lazy, and appreciate the easy life in the preserves; III.) They breed like rabbits, and if you didn't hunt them, they would overpopulate their habitat and turn to cannibalism. But none of this will make the slightest dent on the INFP's beliefs, which are based on feelings rather than logic. Her response will be a passionate emotional outpouring of compassion for the “poor” ESTPs. This outburst will not make the slightest dent on your beliefs, which are based on logic rather than feelings. You are frustrated at your utter inability to communicate with this strange creature. Still...
“Shall I have her disintegrated?” your captain of the guards asks, sensing that the conversation has come to an end.
“No, take her down to the guest chamber for further interrogation,” you reply, half of you wondering why you are sparing her. Misery loves company, you rationalize, and perhaps you will enjoy more debate with this irrational mutant later.
That afternoon you take nasty satisfaction in hunting ESTPs and having them brainwashed into extinct flightless birds. After a hard day's hunting, you go to the locked guest chamber and show yourself in with an unpleasant smile. The INFP looks up at your entrance with the expression of a startled fawn. You had intended to brag about your exploits, but somehow the look in those strangely colored eyes makes you feel ashamed.
“Er...are you enjoying your accommodations?” you say brusquely, trying to regain your lost initiative.
“Since you've decided to keep me prisoner I suppose I have no choice,” she says, meeting your gaze with brave dignity of a martyr. You had expected a snappy ESTP comeback, and her acceptance of the situation catches you off guard.
“Get used to it!” you growl. “You'll be here a long time!” With a dramatic flourish of your cape, you stalk out. But ESTP hunting will never be the same again afterward.
Most of the NFs in the vicinity seem to be cultists who received a divine vision saying that they should come to your empire to practice their bizarre religions. (Why your empire? Do the other ENTJs have this problem?) Needless to say, you had expected to find that the INFP believes that she can communicate with the whales that built the pyramids if she eats enough hallucinogenic mushrooms. But she seems more reasonable that.
“Whales couldn’t have build the pyramids. That’s silly. The pyramids were built by a race of cat people.”
You attempt to correct her erroneous beliefs and fail. Oddly enough, you don't find this as frustrating as you might expect. There’s something soothing about her quiet presence, though it is difficult to pin down exactly what. Whenever you feel depressed, you will visit your guest. (You won't cry so much as obsessively clean the guest chamber, which she will turn into a Perceiver rat's nest.) At first you will tell yourself that arguing with her makes you feel better, but after awhile it will become painfully apparent, even to you, that she makes you feel better. A strangely pleasant feeling seizes you whenever you meet her over-sized eyes. You try to find ways of being nice to her, such as providing her with internet access and books of poetry and fantasy. (She will like these better than that copy of The Prince you got her earlier.) After awhile it will become obvious that you are defeated.
Sighing, you call your trusty Gamekeeper. “Tell the ESTPs that hunting season is closed for good. I'm shutting down the preserves.”
The INFP will be delighted with you. She throws her arms around you in a gooey hug. Normally you dislike hugs and all forms of physical contact, but this time it won't be so bad. Your subordinates will think you've lost your mind as you walk around your fortress, grinning stupidly and giving them unjustified compliments on their performance.
Of course the ESTPs will raise a howl of protest when they discover there are no more items to loot in the shops. But you never cared much about what the masses thought of your decisions, because you base your decisions on logic and are therefore right 99% of the time (unless it involves feelings).
Infinitely adaptable, the ESTPs will next begin making up mocking songs about you, hoping to goad you into hunting them and reestablishing the preserves. This will irritate you—they really know how to hit where it hurts—but you will hold firm, if only to spite them.
Finally they will somehow find out the truth (curse them). At this point they will put on their most pathetic faces and drape themselves miserably across the steps of your capitol, where the INFP will see them and be filled with pity.
“Oh dear,” she says in her soft little voice. “What's wrong?”
Wretchedly the ESTPs look up, tears filling their soulless black eyes. You shoot them a look of disgust, but they pretend not to notice. The most persuasive ESTP falls to his knees and makes an impassioned plea for the reestablishment of the preserves and the hunting season, which shocks the INFP. You fight the urge to say “I told you so.”
At this, the INFP will dither, not certain what to say, and finally you will step in with a compromise and offer to reestablish the preserves and hunt the ESTPs with harmless tranquilizer darts and also not brainwash them into extinct flightless birds. They will instantly agree and thank the INFP with lavish flatteries, totally ignoring you. They know who holds the real power now.
Well, at least that’s one problem out of the way. With your INFP consort at your side, you can move into the next phase of your life: Feelings.
The Married Life
You decide to spend your honeymoon on a tropical island. Although of course you are thinking of moonlight and white sand beaches, the choice of venue is not entirely romantic. There is a particularly troublesome INTJ Mastermind hiding in the archipelago who is determined to destroy the world.
Although you have been successful in holding your own against your other ENTJ competitors, you have not been so successful in dealing with the INTJs. They will not face you toe to toe in an honest battle, preferring to skulk in the shadows as they perfect their sinister plans for the world you plan to conquer one day. The result is a constant, simmering infestation that can never quite be stamped out.
The INFP doesn’t seem to mind combining work with pleasure. “It could be exciting!” she says, flashing a grin.
You are a bit surprised by her gung ho attitude, but you’re pleased that she understands the necessity of attending to the duties of life as well as the pleasures. And there are ample pleasures. Her unexpected passion keeps you busy all night, and you can hardly enter a room without her wrapping herself around you for a kiss and snuggle that quickly gets serious.
It is during your honeymoon that you will begin to discover a new side to your beloved. Little things, at first. The INFP uses eye drops. She says she has dry eyes. You thought that all INFP Mystics had healing powers that could presumably be used to fix such an ailment, but perhaps you’re overgeneralizing. Actually, you’ve never seen her use any psychic powers at all. Perhaps she isn’t very self actualized yet.
Another time, the INTJ Mastermind sends a party of assassins against you while you and the INFP are kissing on the beach. Your wife ruthlessly blasts one in the gut with a gun hidden in the bottom of the picnic basket, breaks another’s arm, and karate chops a third in the throat.
“That was amazing,” you say, toeing the corpses of the two men you shot to make sure they are really dead. “How did you learn to fight like that?”
She shrugs modestly. “Oh, here and there. Just something I picked up.”
You and your bodyguards go to retrieve the jeep while she gathers up the remains of your picnic. When you get back, you are surprised to find her digging around in the assassins’ pockets. There is a little pile of rings, small change, and other valuables piled up beside her.
“What are you doing?” you ask, surprised.
She looks up, seemingly startled to see you back so soon. “I was just checking to see if they had any, uhm, letters to their families. Then I could contact them to let them know how sorry I was about what happened.” Her pink eyes grow soft with tears.
You nod sympathetically. Of course that’s what she was doing. Though… You eye the pile of valuables. Probably she was just going to donate them to the poor. It’s not the kind of thing you would have thought of, but it’s actually a good idea. You nod approvingly.
As you get to know the INFP better, you discover more and more things about her that you like: for example, the dainty way that she cleans her fingernails with the knife she keeps in her boot. She also has a delightful streak of mischief: having somehow obtained rubber snakes, she deploys them around the camp to great humorous effect. You are not immune from her tricks, and occasionally find yourself subjected to the terror of finding a rubber mamba under your sandwich or a plastic cobra curled up in your ties. Despite your aggravation, you always end up laughing along with her afterward. She loves a good prank. She also loves loud, wild parties and low cut clothes (not that you're complaining.) And also mutant hunting.
You are surprised yet delighted by these new discoveries about your wife. One moonlit evening, as you sit together, you say, “You know, I feel like I didn’t really know you before. You’re so different from how I expected an INFP Mystic to be.”
She smiles into your eyes. “Maybe I’m not your ordinary INFP.”
“There’s nothing ordinary about you.”
There’s nothing ordinary about the kiss you share, either.
If you weren’t utterly blind with love, you would know the truth by now. However, you simply rationalize to yourself that she is an introvert with well balanced extraversion, an intuitive who is also a skilled sensor, and a feeler who has learned to behave like a thinker when the situation calls for it. Though, she is definitely a perceiver through and through. Sort of like an INFP who has a lot of E, S, T, and P.
Alas, the honeymoon is about to come to an end. One day, after an exhausting but unfruitful hunt for the INTJ’s lair, you decide to turn in early. Entering unannounced, you are startled to discover your wife holding a pink contact lens in one hand and a bottle of contact lens solution in the other. She stares at you with one soft pink eye and one empty, soulless black eye.
Horror, shock, betrayal—a thousand cruel thoughts crammed into one instant of terrible revelation. You instinctively open your mouth to scream for guards, but no sound comes out. How can you call the guards on your own wife?
She looks at you pleadingly. “I’m sorry. At first I thought it would be fun to see how far I could get with you before I—but then…I love you.”
“No,” you choke. “It’s all a lie. You ESTPs are nothing but—but—get out! I never want to see you again!”
Her face has an expression you’ve never seen on an ESTP’s face before: shame.
Producing skillfully feigned tears, she disappears into the night.
You sit down on the edge of your bed and cry too.
Nothing has ever hurt like this before. How could she have been lying all along? You simply cannot comprehend it. Why didn’t you see through her? Why did you love her? You try to tell yourself that you never really loved the ESTP part of her, that you only loved the INFP that she pretended to be, but the truth is that you loved all of her.
When morning dawns, you try to form the splintered shards of your world into some kind of order. You’ll just go on with life and pretend like nothing is wrong. Yes, you made a mistake, but there is no sense moping about it. You’ll just keep right on going. You’ll be fine. Just fiiiiiiiine.
Everyone wants to know where your wife has gone, of course. You tersely inform them that you and your spouse have had an argument, and you don’t know when she’ll be back. (As in, ever.) Your subordinates tiptoe around you for the rest of the day. Even the technician who informs you that they have received an anonymous tip about the location of the INTJ’s secret fortress—it’s actually in Antarctica—delivers the information as though it were bad news. You give orders to make the location into a radioactive crater.
But the truth is that you don’t feel like exploding at the world—you feel like imploding on yourself. Everything is over now. That night you crawl back into your cold bed and wish that she was there, even if she probably intended to murder you in your sleep.
You try to bury your misery in work. Each day you rise at the break of dawn and slave till you are exhausted. Then you get up the next day and do it again. This is how it will be for the rest of your life. Forever. And ever. And ever.
Everything reminds you of her. The forgotten rubber cobra curled up in the bottom of a drawer. The lingering smell of her shampoo on your hairbrush. Even when you try to drown your sorrows in drink, you cannot forget her: your wife recently gave up alcohol, and your servant unthinkingly brings you non-alcoholic wine. You can’t imagine how you could sink any lower, but each new day proves you wrong.
One night you are busily reading the first sentence of a report over and over again when your work is interrupted by a knock at the door. It is your trusty captain of the guards. Your chief bodyguard is an ESTJ Underlord, a highly prized commodity now that most of the SJ population has burrowed underground. You like him because he is frank, intelligent, and doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind. He is, however, overly respectful, and you have never been able to change the formality into friendship. At any rate you see no need to maintain a facade in front of him.
You stare at him with red-rimmed eyes. “What is it?”
“Sir,” he says, then clears his throat, “I, ah, had a question about your wife.”
Your eyes blur with tears, but you reply coldly, “I trust you will not use your position as an invitation to pry into my personal affairs.”
“No sir,” he says immediately. He is carrying a box under his arm, and he shifts it awkwardly. “However…I thought that I ought to let you know that, uh, when the maid was cleaning out your wife’s room, she…well...did your wife tell you anything, er, important recently?”
You suppose he has found a vial of poison or something. Focusing on the wall, you swallow back your grief. “I’m fully aware that my wife was an ESTP assassin who seduced me with the intent to murder me. You may go.”
The ESTJ Underlord is silent for a long, long moment. Then, “I was unaware of that, sir.”
“Congratulations. You’re doing a wonderful job.” It feels good to have someone to vent your anger on.
He loses all expression. “I understand, sir.” He places the box on your desk. “This was found in your wife’s quarters. I will now tender my resignation.”
“That won’t be necessary,” you grit out, though in your anger you want to fire someone. “Thank you. You may go.”
He makes a sharp salute and retreats.
You stare at the box on your desk. Then, fortifying yourself with a glass of non-alcoholic wine, you lift off the cover. Inside is a stuffed koala toy, a pair of tiny knitted socks, and an open pregnancy testing kit.
You stand up and walk zombie-like to the window. In the blackness beyond the glass, cicadas drone. Somewhere out there, in that darkness, is your wife and child. You are a blind, conceited fool.
You rush to the door and call back your captain of the guards.
Your arrival in the preserves is greeted by a rowdy crowd of protesters who want you to lower the required sabotage quota and increase the beer ration. Some of the protesters aren’t even ESTPs; there are scores of other Artisans waving signs that read, “Where’s our preserve, ENTJ?”
Your convoy plows through the crowd and soon you arrive at your hunting lodge. The protesters surround the building, chanting. From your vantage point on the balcony, you scan the crowd for your wife’s face. She isn’t there. Someone flings an empty beer can at you.
You turn to the ESTJ Underlord and remark acidly, “Perhaps some forced labor camps would stimulate the local economy around here. Make a note of that.” With a whirl of your cape, you head back inside.
The comment about the forced labor camps clues the locals in to the fact that you are not in an indulgent mood. Within minutes, the crowd has melted away, leaving the lawn covered with trash and bottles. The grounds of your hunting lodge are silent.
You pace the rug in front of the fireplace. “You’re sure she went here?” you ask the ESTJ for the third time.
“This is her last known whereabouts,” he replies. “I found an uncle of hers who might know more.”
“Good. Let’s go see him.”
“I was going to have him brought here, sir.”
You shake your head. “It’s almost the start of the hunting season. I don’t want to spook him into running.”
In order to avoid attracting the notice of the ESTPs, you divest yourself of your cape and put on street clothes. One of the curious effects of wearing the same distinctive outfit all the time is that people are unable to recognize you without it. When you wear ordinary clothes, people’s eyes glide right past—sometimes flashing into startled recognition a moment later, but usually not. (Since TV has been widely replaced with radio, the plebs have few opportunities to actually see you with their own eyes. The populace would probably have no idea what their emperor looked like at all were it not for the fact that your face is on their money.)
Your wife’s uncle is an ESTP who goes by the name of “Uncle Bubba.” His considerable gut is dusted with ashes from the cigarette he smokes. You doubt he has sabotaged a piece of civil infrastructure in years, though obviously he is still feeding generously at the government trough. You make a mental note to have the fraud-prevention program audited.
Uncle Bubba sizes you up, and decides that you have money and power. ESTPs can sense these things. He fixes you with an obnoxiously ingratiating smile.
“Do you know her?” you ask tersely, flashing a picture of your wife at him before he can begin whatever spiel he has planned.
“Who wants to know?” he asks quickly.
You thrust a wad of notes at him. “I do.”
“Well,” he says, staring at the money. “How about that.”
“Where is she? Do you know? When did you see her last?”
“That’s a good question,” Uncle Bubba says, pocketing the money. He scratches his head with the sort of absent-minded air of someone who knows that they are about to forget important details that only further payments will allow them to recall. “Saw her last week, as a matter of fact.”
“And?” you grate.
“She was visiting from the capitol. That’s where she lives nowadays. Hadn’t seen her for awhile.” Uncle Bubba pulls the money from his pocket again and begins counting it meaningfully.
“Where is she now?”
“She went to hunt the Red,” he says.
You frown. You have heard ESTPs using the expression “hunting the Red” before. From the context, you had assumed that it was a euphemistic way of saying that someone had died and gone to the Artisan happy hunting grounds. “Surely you can’t mean she’s dead?” You just can’t believe that.
“Well, probably not yet,” Uncle Bubba says. “Got about, oh, three days left—”
“What are you talking about?” you say, growing alarmed. “Where is she? What happened?”
“Nothing, yet,” Bubba says. “She’ll reach the island soon, though. ‘Gonna hunt the Red, gonna end up dead.’”
“She went to an island?”
“Where else would you find the Red?”
You are swiftly becoming frustrated with his incomprehensible explanations. “Exactly what is the Red?”
Uncle Bubba stares at you like you’re some kind of idiot. “You don’t know what the Red is?”
“Enlighten me,” you grit out.
He grins his yellow smile. “Why, the Red is only the biggest, nastiest kangaroo you’ll ever see. Got fangs as long as railroad spikes and spits venom like a snake. He lives in a cave made of bones on Kangaroo Island. You never heard of the Red?”
Suddenly facts click in your mind. Kangaroo Island…you used to have a mutation research facility there before it was ruined by an ESTP saboteur. All the deadliest kangaroos in the empire escaped, and the island has been deserted ever since. But what on earth would make your wife go there?
“What possessed her to go to hunt this Red?” you ask.
“That’s a long story,” Uncle Bubba says, tapping the ash off his cigarette. He counts his money.
With a gesture of disgust you toss more cash at him. “Get on with it.”
“Well, last year she took off to the capitol and met some rich douche. It was the usual story: he got her pregnant then dumped her. But she had it bad for him, so she came back here to grab some guns and hunt the Red.”
Despite your many years of attempting to comprehend your prey’s strange psychology, it takes all your skills to understand what Bubba is saying. But understand it you do, and you feel a sickening drop in your stomach. ESTPs, like cats, consider it a sign of affection to bring a freshly killed corpse to those they esteem; the bullet-filled body of some horrifying mutation is like the ESTP equivalent of a card and flowers. What better way to apologize to an estranged husband than to slay the ultimate monster and drop its corpse on the welcome mat of his sky fortress?
You grit your jaw. “So she’s headed for Kangaroo Island. When did she leave?”
“Oh, a week ago. She’s probably there by now. Won’t take long to reach the Red’s cave, but if you hurry—”
“Where’s the cave?”
“Well, that’s hard to say off the top of my head. I might possibly be able to get my hands on a map, but accurate charts are rare and expensive—”
You are sick of this game. You thrust a dollar bill in his face. “You see the picture on this bill? You see my face? Tell me where the damn cave is, ESTP.”
The cave is located somewhere at the western end of the island, near the abandoned town of New Wallaroo. Formerly a small settlement that catered to the needs of the research facility personnel and their families, New Wallaroo has been deserted for years. The empty town is overgrown with small trees, and the streets that your soldiers pitch their tents on are full of grass. At your order, helicopters and search teams fan out to look for the cave.
You set up a makeshift headquarters in the remains of an inn and pace a circle in the floor. Although you want to go out and search, you know that you can do more good by directing things from the center.
Initial reports quickly make it apparent that conditions on Kangaroo Island have deteriorated since its abandonment. The search parties describe bizarre monsters: killer balloons that spread through poisonous spores; eucalyptus trees that fling symbiotic, carnivorous koalas at those who walk beneath; and spined kangaroos that spit venom like snakes. The first night on the island three guards vanish, dragged screaming into the night.
As for yourself, you snatch a few hours of restless sleep sometime that morning. Your dreams fill with visions of your reckless ESTP wife heading cheerfully into the jaws of death. When you awake, there is no news of the cave.
That afternoon the ESTJ Underlord brings you a new report: a variety of small craft have landed on the beach adjacent to the mainland.
You grimace. Of course. Uncle Bubba couldn’t keep his big mouth shut, so now everyone in the preserves knows that their emperor is trying to find the Red’s cave. Well, maybe you can turn this to your advantage—surely one of the newcomers must have information about the cave's location. You send out the ESTJ Underlord to make inquiries.
Your second night on the island is just as sleepless as the first—two more guards go missing, and there is a midnight alarm when a large, amorphous creature tries to breach the perimeter.
Your sleep is not helped by the fact that the preserve residents have set up camp beyond the walls of New Wallaroo. Having decided to eat, drink, and be merry before they are dragged off into the darkness and devoured alive, they hold an all-night party with loud music and bursts of drunken gunfire. You would send them packing, but one of them might have information on the location of the cave. This doesn’t change the fact that you hope they all die screaming.
When you stagger out of bed the next morning, you bleary eyes absorb the fact that there are now concession stands set up outside the perimeter. Distant spectators gawk at you through binoculars, and several ESFP Daredevils are providing live coverage of your once-private nightmare. The drunken party has continued on into the morning, and the sound of off-key singing fills the air.
You are in a foul mood when the ESTJ Underlord arrives to report that he has found information about the cave. With typical Guardian thoroughness, he interviewed dozens of Artisans and carefully recorded each wildly embellished tale of the cave’s location. The neatly placed dots on his map cluster just south of the former mutation research facility. You give the order to deploy the search parties around this area. For the first time in days, your spirits rise.
You also have a new idea. It has been many years since you gave any thought to the mutation research facility, but now you recall that there were emergency bunkers constructed beneath the facility. Could one of these underground shelters be the “cave” in question?
“I’m going to join the search,” you announce, donning your cape.
The ESTJ Underlord is surprised. “Would that be wise, sir?”
“No, not particularly,” you say, “But I have a theory I want to test.” You explain to him about the bunkers.
“Why not let me go? I can put together a team to check the buildings,” he suggests.
You shake your head. “I want to get a feel for the area. Anyway, it will encourage the men if I go out myself.”
The ESTJ doesn’t approve, but he knows better than to try and stop you. You’ve never been the sort of man who was content to lead from behind a desk.
You head out into the twisted mutant foliage, your person surrounded on all sides by a phalanx of armored bodyguards. They in turn are surrounded by an even larger cadre of Artisan spectators, snack vendors, hucksters, mutant hunters and would-be guides, all clamoring for your attention. ESFP reporters shout questions at you from the periphery.
“It’s been three days. Have you given up hope?”
“Do you think you have a chance of killing the Red?”
“Why did you decide to marry an ESTP?”
You glare at them all and snap, “No comment.”
You give orders for your guards to drive them away, but they continue following at a distance. So long as you don't have to listen to them, you're fine with that. You focus on the task at hand.
The road leading from New Wallaroo to the mutation research facility is so overgrown that there is only room for a narrow column to pass. Your guards hack their way forward with machetes. You chafe at the slowness of the progress.
Just as you are about to call for a helicopter, a scout races down the road towards you. “Sir,” he gasps out. “We’ve found the cave.”
Your heart leaps. Finally! Without waiting for your guards, you follow the scout.
The cave is located behind a tangled thicket. The branches catch at your cape, and when you stumble out into the clear you are panting and covered with burrs. Then your eyes fall on the cave. The gaping hole stands twice as tall as a man. Within, it is dark. Dry old bones are scattered about the entrance.
At the sight, the mass of Artisans is driven into a frenzy. “It’s the Red’s cave!” “I lay 20-1 odds on the Red!” “30-1!” The throng begins to chant, “Kill the Red! Kill the Red!”
You and the ESTJ Underlord glance at each other, and a silent communication is exchanged. You draw your laser pistol. “I’ll see if there’s anything inside. Keep everyone else out.” If the chewed remains of your wife are inside that cave, you don’t want any witnesses to see your reaction. He nods silently. Pulling a torch from his belt, he hands it to you.
With the light in your left hand and the gun in your right, you advance towards the dark maw of the cave. The Artisans continue to shout, “Kill the Red! Kill the Red!”
As you step inside, you are enveloped with cool air. Your eyes probe the blackness, but you see no sign of either your wife or the Red. Yet some sixth sense is on edge. Your heart beats fast, and the flesh-warm metal of your gun is clammy with sweat. You become aware that there is a gentle breeze flowing out of the tunnel. And there is a smell—not flesh—not even the pungent odor of an animal. No, it smells more like…machine oil.
The light of your torch illuminates a pair of fiery green eyes. There is a low, guttural snarl. Your beam illuminates a flash of fur in motion. Without hesitation you fire.
Your laser blast fills the cavern with searing light. In that brief moment of illumination, you see an enormous kangaroo, all curving fangs, hooked talons and raised back spines. The laser catches it dead in the chest—and fizzles against an invisible wall. A force field?
Too late, you realize it is a trap. You turn to run. A stunner beam hits you in the back. Your legs fail in midstride, and you crumple to the ground. As you lose consciousness, the last thing you hear is the distant chant, “Kill the Red! Kill the Red!”
You awaken in an INTJ’s laboratory. Your arms are strapped to a sinister-looking chair.
“You thought I was dead in Antarctica, didn’t you?” the INTJ gloats by way of introduction. “But that was merely a diversion from my true plan.”
You recognize the INTJ in question as the one you’ve been hunting: shaved head, tiny round glasses perched on a hawk-like nose, smirking mouth. But instead of the standard INTJ lab coat, he is wearing a flowing blue cloak embroidered with tiny flowers and vines. Around his neck hangs a fine silver chain with a crescent moon.
The INTJ opens his mouth to gloat some more, and you cut him off.
“You’ve wasted enough of my time,” you say coldly, which is to say nine seconds of it. “If you wish to torture me, then do so. If you merely intend to divert yourself with descriptions of your own genius, then purchase a cat.”
The INTJ glares at you in silence. You have deprived him of the two things he likes best: the opportunity to boast and the pleasure of telling you about the horrible things he intends to do to you.
“I have your wife,” he snaps.
You jerk involuntarily, your momentary psychological superiority lost.
The INTJ sees your reaction and leans forward, grinning. “Yes,” he says. “She was working for me all along. What do you think about that?”
You think that it makes a lot of sense. But does the INTJ understand the true situation between you and your wife? Does he know that the two of you fell in love with you for real (you’re certain now that it was real) and that you knew she was deceiving you? What did your wife tell him?
“I don’t believe it,” you declare, deciding that feigned ignorance is the best policy.
The INTJ’s smirk deepens. He depresses a button on a nearby console. Moments later, your wife is dragged in by a pair of guards. You recoil in horror.
Your wife looks ghastly—her eyes sunken, her face haggard, sweat beading on her forehead. You anxiously search her face, looking for an explanation. She flashes you a sickly grin as the guards thrust her into a chair and strap her in place.
She’s not angry at you. Despite yourself you feel a flash of relief. But what has he done to her?
“Doubtless you’re wondering what happened to her,” the INTJ says. “You see, I found her loyalty to me wanting—as I’m sure you realize, despite your pretense of ignorance.” Reaching over to her, he yanks up her sleeve.
A lurid, putrefying circle of teeth marks burns on her arm: a zombie bite.
With a snarled curse, you rear up against the straps. You’ll break them, and you’ll wrap your hands around the INTJ’s neck and squeeze until he’s dead.
Nothing happens, of course. The INTJ watches, delighted at your futile efforts. Your wife shoots you a pitying expression.
Finally you master yourself. Making your voice a cold, hard grave, you state, “I will make you suffer for this.”
“I think that unlikely,” the INTJ says. “But no matter. I have greater matters to discuss than these trivial domestic affairs.” He walks over to a counter and picks up a helmet-like device. “You may be interested to know that I have made dramatic advances in the field of soul transplantation.”
You grind your teeth.
He continues, “The problem was a simple one, really. Once I understood the underlying principles, I was able to speed up the bit transfer rate, making soul transplantation therapy practical for daily use. There were, however, a number of unfortunate side effects with the Idealists…” He places the helmet on your head. “…Which I have corrected by switching to Rationals. I find that my experiments require strong-willed, intelligent individuals with vibrant life force. Let us see whether you possess these characteristics.”
Pulling out a syringe, he pokes it into your wife’s arm and extracts a blood sample. Instead of healthy red blood, the sample is muddy brown. She is in the last stage of infection. The INTJ deposits the blood in a petri dish which is situated under a microscope. He stares at it for a few moments, then removes the petri dish. Evidently satisfied, he places it under a helmet device similar to the one on your own head.
The INTJ reaches for a switch on the wall and throws it.
You suck in a shrill breath as every cell in your body erupts in agony. Your next breath would have been a scream, but the INTJ resets the switch.
You collapse in the chair, twitching. Suddenly you feel more exhausted than you have ever felt in your life. Not physical exhaustion, but the kind of exhaustion you feel after battering your mind against an unsolvable problem for sixteen hours straight. Your wife is swearing a blue streak at the INTJ.
Ignoring her, he proceeds to examine the blood in the petri dish again. What he sees makes him smile. “Behold, ENTJ. My greatest triumph.” He holds up the dish, and you are startled to see that the blood is a healthy red color. “Three years ago I was bitten by a zombie. I would have died had I not been saved by an INFP Mystic. She stalled the progress of the disease, at great cost to her own life force. I was naturally intrigued by this demonstration. Could zombie virus have a psychic component, and is that how it has eluded all efforts to cure it? I began experimenting with a life force extraction treatment. To my delight, the initial experiments were positive. I not only stalled the disease, I reversed it. Yet repeated treatments were necessary to sustain the effect, and the natural rejuvenation of an INFP’s life force is too slow for the frequent collection required to produce a full cure. I required new souls—strong, healthy, compatible souls.” The INTJ rolls up the sleeve of his robe, revealing a dull pink bite mark identical to your wife’s. He disconnects the helmet apparatus from the microscope and proceeds to don it himself. “You may be interested to know that your life force is exceptionally vibrant,” he continues. “In fact, it is so vibrant that I anticipate the final cure of my malady. You may be justly proud of your role in preserving my scientific genius. You, alas, are unlikely to survive the total depletion of your life force, so I thank you and bid you a peremptory farewell.”
He reaches for the switch again. You go tense, anticipating the pain to follow—
An alarm goes off. The INTJ gives a start, then curses. He stares at the switch for a long moment. Finally he punches the intercom button mounted nearby. “What is it?”
“An attack, sir,” responds an anxious voice. “Shall I send out the cyber-kangaroos?”
“What! You told me the ENTJ’s men fell for the fake corpse—”
“They did, sir. This isn’t the army. It’s more like…a disorganized mob.”
You don’t know whether to feel excited or exasperated. Never willing to pass up an opportunity, your loyal ESTP subjects have come to loot any piece of equipment not bolted down.
“Bah,” the INTJ snaps. “It’s only a party of Artisans hunting the Red. Release my mechanical marsupial minions to deal with them.”
The INTJ turns his attention back to you. Smiling coldly, he says, “Now, where were we?”
An explosion rocks the building. Of course. Now your loyal subjects are trying to blow up the building in hopes of counting it towards their yearly quota of destroyed government infrastructure. The INTJ looks stunned.
Effecting an air of indifference, you observe, “Where were we? ...Ah yes. I believe you were attempting to defend yourself from my elite ESTP shock troops.”
“ESTP shock troops,” the INTJ growls. “Really.”
“I have come to appreciate their qualities since I married one.” You shoot your wife a smile; she smiles back.
“Charming, but futile,” the INTJ says. “I have made this fortress impregnable.”
You lift your bound shoulders in a shrug. “I’m sure you were as meticulous and thorough as any INFP Mystic could hope to be.”
The INTJ’s hands clench into fists.
At that moment the intercom bleeps. “Sir, they’re in the ventilation shafts!”
With a savage snarl, the INTJ yanks off the soul-transfer helmet and slams it down on a lab table. “I shall return, ENTJ. Do not entertain foolish hopes of freedom.” He stalks out in a swirl of hand-embroidered blue cloak.
Your wife, of course, knows perfectly well that you were lying through your teeth about the shock troops. As you watch, she begins wriggling against her straps, which have magically gone loose.
“If you’re being tied up, clench your muscles and press out against the rope,” she says, grinning. “That way you’ll have plenty of slack. And of course it helps if the guards think you’re half dead.”
Proving her point, she energetically worms herself free. It seems she was not as decrepit as you thought—though she still looks half dead. She sways as she walks over to undo your straps.
As soon you are free, you take her in your arms. You are about to smother her in a kiss when she draws back, turning her face away.
“Zombie virus. It spreads through the saliva,” she says, her face firmly impassive. “We should get out of here.”
“Don’t worry, my life force is so vibrant that I’m immune. Remember what the INTJ said?” You are deliberately misconstruing his words, but she does not pick up on it. Gently you turn her face back to yours, touching her hollow cheeks. It is the first time you have looked into her eyes without the pink contact lenses. She hugs you tight.
You nuzzle her clammy forehead, and when she looks up, you kiss her. She does not protest as you pour all your love, longing, and gratitude into a single, lingering moment.
Finally you part. She looks so vulnerable as she gazes into your eyes. Perfect.
You shove her into the chair. Snatching the straps, you clamp her down.
“What are you—” she sputters, struggling.
You pick up the helmet that the INTJ was wearing and put it on her head. Then you put on the helmet you were wearing before. With three quick steps you are standing at the switch.
“No! Don’t!” she screams.
“I love you,” you say, and throw the switch.
That is your last coherent thought before you start screaming. It feels like a thousand diamond-bladed drills are boring their way into your skull. It feels like every cell in your brain is being boiled until it explodes. It feels like your cerebrospinal fluid has turned to hydrochloric acid.
But gradually the pain begins to numb; everything starts going numb. Your body, which was bent into an arch of agony, curls up into a loose fetal comma. It is somewhat humiliating to die in fetal position, but under the circumstances you can’t afford to be picky. Actually, you’re not sure death is so bad anyway. All that breathing and heart pumping which your brain stem was once so anxious to preserve now seems like endless Sisyphean labor. Well, someone else can take care of it from now on—you’re too tired to bother with it anymore. Sweet, dark, pain-free nothingness is stealing up your limbs. Your heart stutters, your breathing slows. Quiet... So quiet…
The pressure around your skull vanishes unexpectedly. That’s odd. Then, through blurred eyes, you see your wife’s face. She seems to be screaming at you, though her words are not intelligible. You wish she would be quiet.
Instead of being quiet, your wife gets you into a sitting position. You are limp as a ragdoll; moving like seems far too much effort to even contemplate. From there she somehow proceeds to get you up on her shoulders—quite a feat since you are not a small man, and she seemed half dead last you remember. But she has always been the athletic sort. You watch your purple cape drag across the floor tiles as she staggers off.
Quite a few things happen over the course of the next thirty minutes, not that you care. Then you are literally shaken back to awareness, a most unpleasant sensation.
“The INTJ has set the self destruct mechanism,” you wife says, clutching a laser gun. “We’ve got two minutes till the building blows. How do we get into the nuclear shelter?”
You stare at her in blurry confusion.
“He’s a vegetable. Come on, let’s go!” says another voice.
“We won’t make it in time,” your wife snaps. She shakes you again. “What’s the code to this door? You built this place! You must know!”
Door? Your vision wanders to the tall, thick steel door. The part of your mind devoted to remembering passwords supplies…nothing. It really is too much work to remember passwords.
“I’m not waiting around here to die. So long,” says the other voice.
“Wait!” you wife shouts, but the other person’s footsteps vanish. Your wife grits her teeth, then heaves you up by the shirt and shoves your face towards the door. “The code! The code! The code or I’ll bash my way through with your stubborn head!”
Since she asked so nicely, you decide to indulge her. In a feeble whisper, you whisper, “Open.” Actually, you’re pretty terrible at remembering passwords, so you keyed everything directly to your vital signs. The facility’s old supercomputer, which the INTJ has revived, scans you, recognizes your failing vital signs, and obediently opens the massive door. A dark hole lies beyond.
Your wife drags you inside. The door rumbles shut behind you. Everything is dark.
“We should be safe under here,” she says, releasing a long sigh. “Now let’s see, where is that torch…”
There is the sound of fumbling as she searches for the light in question, then the sound of a switch flicking. A brilliant white beam illuminates a wall made of human bones. Your wife says an unrepeatable word.
From somewhere in the darkness comes a deep growl. Your wife repeats the unrepeatable word several times.
Bones rattle as something large thumps towards you. The torch's LEDs illuminate the biggest kangaroo you have ever seen in your life. Your mutant army has millions of kangaroos, but none like this one. Even with its matted fur and protruding ribs, something about the way it moves is liquid, sinister. Venom drips from fangs that descend past its lower jaw. You wife takes one look at it and opens fire with her laser pistol. The Red spits venom.
Her shot catches the kangaroo dead in the chest and burns straight through. Gobbets of flesh explode out the marsupial’s back in a bloody cloud. The venom catches her in the hand, and she cries out. Her hand twitches, then her gun falls from her limp fingers. She does not drop the torch, though, and in its cold white light you see the hole in the kangaroo’s chest close up, new flesh growing to replace the old. Accelerated healing factor; if you weren’t so numb you would find it fascinating.
With a fangy smile, the Red leaps for your wife. The torch falls to the bone-covered floor.
You sit there motionless as the darkness fills with snarling, screams and splintering bones. Although you comprehend intellectually that your wife is fighting for her life, you just can’t make yourself care. It’s like you’re watching a movie—a supremely dull movie that makes you want to sink into black, peaceful sleep. In the darkness it would be easy to slip away. Your heart begins to beat unevenly again; your blood feels sluggish and tired.
A bone-shattering crash. The side of your wife’s anguished face is illuminated in the blaze of the fallen torch. The Red is crouched over her, his weight pinning her down. His viper fangs hang inches from her face, yet he seems stuck in midair. Your wife is screaming defiance as she thrusts a broken-off femur through his belly.
The Red couldn’t care less. He forces his way forward, impaling himself as he strains for her throat. Your wife turns to look at you—a brief, pleading look. You stare at her dumbly. The Red’s fangs reach the side of her face, digging bloody rents in her flesh. She screams. A warm, wet drop of blood catches you on the cheek. It slides down your skin. Your wife’s blood.
They say that every man has a last reserve of strength to draw upon at their moment of need. If so, then this is your last bit of strength—your mind never stops thinking, and what your mind can devise your will can achieve. It is not passion, or fear, or courage that enervates your trembling limbs, but pure willpower alone. You unfasten your cape and coolly twist it into a long, rope-like coil.
Your wife and the Red are locked in combat; they do not notice you crawling, zombie-like, across the floor with your makeshift weapon. Each inch feels like a mile. The bones littering the floor feel like a mountains. You want to lie down. You cannot. You must not give up.
Then, you are there. You twist the rope into a noose. With one last effort, you slip the noose over the Red’s head and draw it tight.
The healing ability of the Red’s mutated cells is phenomenal, but there are limits. Limits like the need for oxygen.
Not that you care anymore. Your last reserve is gone; you curl back up in fetal position. Your heart stops.
You will learn later that your wife gave you CPR no less than six times on the way back to New Wallaroo. After finishing off the Red—and severing his head and chopping it up into hamburger—she found her way out of the bunkers through one of the exit tunnels. From there it was just a matter of keeping you alive long enough to get you medevaced to a hospital.
When the ESTP dragged you into New Wallaroo, you were virtually a vegetable, perhaps even a mineral. The doctors who examine you at the hospital later that day don’t believe your wife’s story about your life force being sucked out. They speculate instead that you may have brain damage or even shell shock. They hook you up to monitors to make sure you keep breathing, but no one can explain what has happened.
Things will not run smoothly during your coma. Once it becomes known that your wife is an ESTP, dark suspicions will be raised about her role in the affair. (Her case is not helped by the fact that she actually was an assassin planning to kill you.) But the ESTJ Underlord insists on her innocence, and no one else dares lay a hand on her and potentially risk your wrath—especially since she is carrying your child.
As for her former INTJ employer, he ran afoul of your loyal subjects just as they were polishing off the last of his cyber-kangaroos. Concluding quite reasonably that he was an INFP Mystic, they insisted that he heal the wounds they received at the hands of his robotic minions. They won’t be happy when he refuses. Not happy at all. Through various nasty means, they will eventually coerce him into healing them, which of course will expend his life force, causing accelerated necrosis—in short, he will become a zombie. Your loyal subjects will mercifully put a bullet through his head. Too bad, really. You would have liked to learn more about his soul-transfer machine.
The other ENTJ Warlords will of course be delighted to learn of your mysterious illness. Like dingos stalking an injured sheep, they will circle your vulnerable empire, waiting for news of your demise. Only one thing holds them at bay: no one quite knows what the real state of your health is. Your propagandists work furiously to spread the rumor that you might wake up at any time. But the truth is that you are already awake. You just don’t care. If Australia sunk into the sea and became a second Atlantis, it would not be enough to stir you from your apathy.
As the months pass, you will slowly get better, though it will not be obvious to your physicians. “At some point, you have to make a decision,” a doctor urges your wife, meaning that it’s time to pull the plug. He exits the premises with a black eye. But you feel the all-consuming lassitude beginning to lift, like the first light of dawn clawing its way up the sky.
One day, you notice that the wall of your sickroom is covered with handmade cards. For a long time you stare at them, curiosity struggling with torpor. Finally, you get up and pluck one off the wall. “I hope u get better sune,” the card reads. “We were sory u missed Hunting Seeson this yeer. P.S. It was reely cool how u killed the Red with yor cape.”
You find the sentiment oddly touching, though it does not augur well for the literacy rate of the population. Maybe you should build some schools or something.
Your wife will be surprised to find that you have gotten up of your own free will. You manage a flaccid smile as you slump back down on the bed. She pecks you on the forehead, then proceeds to stuff you with nutritious food, though you aren’t hungry and haven’t been for months. (Is it your imagination, or has she gotten a lot more pushy and demanding since being massively infused with your life force? And why is she wearing your cape?)
After that small milestone, your condition will swiftly improve. In about two months, you will be feeling like your old self again. Everyone will be relieved when you stride into your command center in a towering rage. “Can’t I look away for one minute?” you rant. “The economy is ruined! Tax revenue nonexistent! The roads crumbling, the crops devoured by pests, the glorious name of the Australian empire sullied!”
Needless to say, you will be one busy ENTJ for awhile. However, there is a bright side to all of this. During your absence, the citizenry will stop taking taking you for granted. Your first public appearance will be met not by the usual protesters, but by spontaneous cheers that takes ten whole minutes to subside. You are taken aback by your newfound popularity. Who can understand the fickle whims of the masses? (It is gratifying, though.) As for your fellow ENTJs, they missed their chance. They will reproach themselves for their moment of hesitation for the rest of their lives, but it’s too late now.
When the situation is under control again, you will finish the interrupted honeymoon you started with your wife. As you sit against an olive tree in New Atlantis, her head pillowed in your lap, you will ask her why she decided not assassinate you. (You assume that’s what the gun in the picnic basket was about.)
She shrugs. “I loved you, of course.”
“Yes, but what made you change your mind about me?”
Her face becomes thoughtful. “I think it was when you actually went ahead and shut down the preserves. I had already fallen for you, but I thought you were playing games. You practically gave me a heart attack when you made the announcement.”
You smile, stroking her hair. “You had me completely fooled, you know. I didn’t suspect for a moment.”
“Well, you had me fooled about being immune. You kissed me just so I would drop my guard. I can’t believe you did that.” She reaches up to poke you in the chest even as she grins at your sneakiness.
You chuckle. “I learned from the best, didn’t I?”
(You weren’t immune, just lucky. Either you weren’t exposed to enough of her saliva during that zombie-laced kiss to get infected, or else her disease hadn’t progressed to the point where it was contagious. You do not turn into a zombie, and she is likewise examined and found disease free.)
She laces her hands over her bulging belly. “So what made you come looking for me?”
“They found a pair of little socks in your room,” you admit. “I could imagine you stabbing me in my sleep, but the socks were rather difficult to account for.”
She just laughs. “Which reminds me. I want ice cream. The pickle-flavored kind.”
“I don’t think that even exists.”
“Then make it exist.”
Although you are able to satisfy your wife’s craving for pickle-flavored ice cream, there isn’t much you can do about the other trials of pregnancy—i.e. the nausea, aching back, swelling, and other things. Mostly the other things.
Returning from her usual morning mutant hunt, your wife complains, “I can’t go outside without being grabbed by some NF crone who wants to tell me how my baby is destined to be the best thing since sliced bread.”
You nod sympathetically. “He’s probably another ENTJ. Do you dream about your womb being struck by a thunderbolt? My mother says she started having that one at six months.”
The birth goes normally, accompanied by an eclipse, twin-tailed comet, thunderstorm and earthquake. All the kangaroos in your empire suddenly stop, motionless, then rise on their tails and kick the air. Jupiter’s red spot triples in size.
Your son weighs 3.9 kilograms. He is remarkably healthy for a child whose mother almost died of z-virus. You hold him like a little fragile porcelain doll, amazed, elated, anxious and relieved all at once.
“Isn’t he cute?” you wife says. “And look, he has a little birthmark just like yours.” You beam with parental pride. (The nurses will be a little freaked out by reddish marks on his chest, which seem to show a kangaroo stuffing the world into its pouch. But you assure them that such birthmarks are normal in your family.) You will choose the ESTJ Underlord as the child’s godfather, an honor that will please him more than the all previous raises and promotions you have given him.
So now you have a son.
As you and your wife stand on the deck of your sky fortress, the earth stretches out before you and the world seems full of possibilities. You can hardly wait to see what your child will be like when he grows up. (Here’s a hint: it will involve something very bad happening to your sky fortress when he hits his teenage years. But why spoil the moment?)
An eagle soars overhead. Your son watches it circle, smiling.
All in all, the omens look good.