His three boats stove around him, and oars and men both whirling in the eddies; one captain, seizing the line-knife from his broken prow, had dashed at the whale, as an Arkansas duellist at his foe, blindly seeking with a six inch blade to reach the fathom-deep life of the whale. That captain was Ahab. And then it was, that suddenly sweeping his sickle-shaped lower jaw beneath him, Moby Dick had reaped away Ahab's leg, as a mower a blade of grass in the field. No turbaned Turk, no hired Venetian or Malay, could have smote him with more seeming malice. Small reason was there to doubt, then, that ever since that almost fatal encounter, Ahab had cherished a wild vindictiveness against the whale, all the more fell for that in his frantic morbidness he at last came to identify with him, not only all his bodily woes, but all his intellectual and spiritual exasperations. The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung. That intangible malignity which has been from the beginning; to whose dominion even the modern Christians ascribe one-half of the worlds; which the ancient Ophites of the east reverenced in their statue devil;--Ahab did not fall down and worship it like them; but deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred white whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it. All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it.

--Herman Melville, "Moby-Dick; or, The Whale"


"I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We've made too many compromises already. Too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here--this far, no further! And I will make them pay for what they've done!"

--Star Trek: First Contact


I thought the rules were simple, following quite naturally from a few facts.

To begin with, the fact that I created you.

Since I created you, that means that I get to dictate the terms under which you exist.

And if you violate those terms, I determine your punishment for doing so.

This is, of course, the essence of sin.


Sin is not merely some trifling thing, something done in private that does not necessarily hurt anyone but the one who commits it.

Oh, to be sure, there are sins which hurt others lower than myself. But it is because they hurt others that they are handled and punished by others. I need not interfere.

It is the private sins, the personal sins, that hurt me most, because only I know of them, and only I can punish for them.

I do not enjoy meting out punishment for sin, because it means that I have been pained.

But it is the pain that makes my punishment all the more fierce.

That makes my vengeance all the more wrathful.


Take, if you will, a typical case.

Someone, somewhere. Private, alone. Nobody watching.

So they think.

They sin.

A small thing. A minor matter, to their mind, soon forgotten. Something they may have done before, something they may do again.

Something that causes them no grief, no pain.

But it grieves me. It pains me.

The memory is seared into my mind, alongside so many other memories. So much sin. So much disobedience.

And I wait.


I am wrathful, but I am also patient.

I do not enforce my rules on the spot. I wish to know who will follow them of their own accord, and who will not.

Intervention would only create unacceptable bias.

But, having considered this, I had already set up a place where everyone would come before me and, crucially, no longer be able to inform anyone else of what awaits those who sin and those who do not.


When someone comes before me, I tell them why they are there, what I do.

I show them what they have done.

And I judge them.

Hurt for hurt. Pain for pain.


And I wait. I wait for someone who has not hurt me, not caused me pain.

One by one I expunge the memories, by taking my vengeance upon those who inflicted them on me, sentencing them to an eternity of torment for the torment they inflicted on an eternal being.

Vengeance is all I have.

I am lonely.


"I turn my body from the sun. What ho, Tashtego! let me hear thy hammer. Oh! ye three unsurrendered spires of mine; thou uncracked keel; and only god-bullied hull; thou firm deck, and haughty helm, and Pole-pointed prow,--death-glorious ship! must ye then perish, and without me? Am I cut off from the last fond pride of meanest shipwrecked captains? Oh, lonely death on lonely life! Oh, now I feel my topmost greatness lies in my topmost grief. Ho, ho! from all your furthest bounds, pour ye now in, ye bold billows of my whole foregone life, and top this one piled comber of my death! Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!"

--Herman Melville, "Moby-Dick; or, The Whale"


En esto, descubrieron treinta o cuarenta molinos de viento que hay en aquel campo; y, así como don Quijote los vio, dijo a su escudero:

-- La ventura va guiando nuestras cosas mejor de lo que acertáramos a desear, porque ves allí, amigo Sancho Panza, donde se descubren treinta, o pocos más, desaforados gigantes, con quien pienso hacer batalla y quitarles a todos las vidas, con cuyos despojos comenzaremos a enriquecer; que ésta es buena guerra, y es gran servicio de Dios quitar tan mala simiente de sobre la faz de la tierra.

-- ¿Qué gigantes? --dijo Sancho Panza.

-- Aquellos que allí ves --respondió su amo-- de los brazos largos, que los suelen tener algunos de casi dos leguas.

-- Mire vuestra merced --respondió Sancho-- que aquellos que allí se parecen no son gigantes, sino molinos de viento, y lo que en ellos parecen brazos son las aspas, que, volteadas del viento, hacen andar la piedra del molino.

-- Bien parece --respondió don Quijote-- que no estás cursado en esto de las aventuras: ellos son gigantes; y si tienes miedo, quítate de ahí, y ponte en oración en el espacio que yo voy a entrar con ellos en fiera y desigual batalla.

--Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, "El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha"


"Who am I? I am Susan Ivanova, Commander, daughter of Andrei and Sofie Ivanov. I am the right hand of vengeance and the boot that is gonna kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart. I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."

--Babylon 5, "Between the Darkness and the Light"


"Have you come to kill me?"

"To execute you for your crime."

"To execute me. I see. And calling it that makes it more comfortable for you."

"I will take no comfort in this."

"A most logical use of violence, to punish the violent. We both know that I am prepared to die, but are you prepared to kill?"

"It needs to be done."

"To release your violent impulses?"

"To serve justice."

"Justice or vengeance? Understand one thing, Tuvok. I can promise you this will not silence your demons. If you can't control the violence, the violence controls you. Be prepared to yield your entire being to it, to sacrifice your place in civilised life for you will no longer be a part of it, and there's no return."

"I seek no return!"

"Of course, you would not be able to live with yourself. Then we are both to die, and that will end the torment."

--Star Trek: Voyager, "Meld"



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