One Moment After the End
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The comic One Moment After the End has two levels.
The other level is an exploration of this type of afterlife as an idea.
What defines this vision of the afterlife is that is not about religion:
- There are 'hosts' who are the main characters. They resemble Angels in some ways, but do not wish to be called that.
- There are 'Havens' rather than a 'Heaven' and readers are told clearly that there is no 'Hell' -- but there is a bureaucratic place called 'Legal.' Indeed the whole afterlife seems to be full of bureaucrats. There seems to be three levels of civic society: 'residents', who are the newly arrived dead; 'Citizens', who seem to be 'residents' who have passed some sort of test; and 'Hosts', who can go places Citizens can not.
- There are also some references to a monetary system, and places or 'realms' that are beyond the Havens. The Hosts in one sequence go on vacation to a high end spa that caters to celebrities. That implies a bunch of things about these realms.
There is a fair amount of techno-babble, mostly from the Host called Nita, who is also a 'Designer'. It clear from her references that the physics which define the Havens is somehow related to quantum physics -- but whether this a fantasy 'new age' version of quantum physics or something tied to harder science has not yet been clarified.
In terms of the character driven stories, there is a core cast that all have relationships with each other that extend beyond their professional jobs working in the 'Inter Haven'.
All the cast appear in their early 20's and all of them are probably much older.
- Ellen Burrows: A rabbit faced woman who is an experienced "Greeter"; she is the first face the newly dead see. She also has the responsibilities of a social worker and has some legal authority over the treatment and fate of the new residents. Ellen is at least in her 60's but looks to be in her early 20's. Pretty much everyone else in the cast can see that she has more than a passing interest in Erik Mayor, but she does not admit this, even to herself. Her best friend is Nita Danna and she knew Mike Scree when alive.
- Nita Danna: A mouse faced woman, the same age as Ellen, her job is as a designer. That means she designs the island kingdoms that make up each of the Havens. This is a very technical job, and is probability more like computer programming than civil engineering. While having some 'nerdy' character flaws, she is also a bit more outgoing and open about her interests and moods than Ellen is. She also knew Mike Scree when alive and seems to have been in the Havens as long as Ellen has; perhaps they died together. Unlike Ellen, who still has a warm spot for Mike, Nita does not like him.
- Erik Mayor: A cat faced man, Erik is Ellen's assistant and has been for several years. In the normal course of events he would have graduated to being a full time Greeter himself, but has held himself back from promotions. As with Ellen, it's pretty obvious to everyone else that he has a serious infatuation with Ellen, but cannot yet admit to it. Erik came from a different time than Ellen: they are at least twenty years apart and of different generations. In Erik's time, clothing and sexual mores had become much looser than more traditional periods. This may be part of why Ellen and Erik keep missing seeing the obvious connection between them.
- Allyson Lenton: Ellen and Erik's boss. Unlike most of the rest of the cast, her species is non furry, perhaps some sort of warm blooded mammalian lizard mix. She is rich, a bit spoiled, but also used to using the power her luck has given her. Not someone you want to negotiate with. She watches over her crew like a mother hen and knows what strings to pull to get things done. There is a limit to her power and she does report to higher ups. Outside of work, she is not particularly social with the rest of the cast.
- Lance Cullum: He's a dog faced man with floppy ears. He and Erik know each other and are friends, playing in various after work sporting leagues. He's stationed in Legal (a police dog), mostly doing bureaucratic work. In the realm of moving papers around, Lance is a klutz, but there is a physical side to him that perhaps hints of different strengths. He tends to stand off on his own and has an openly hostile relationship with Jessie Drews.
- Jessie Drews: A bird faced mammal woman, she is not a Host and is quite happy not to be one. She works as a consultant for Allyson training and carrying out 'field missions' into various havens. She trains Ellen and Erik on hand to hand fighting methods when they are assigned some field work. There is a very wild streak in her, and when she first met Erik, the very first thing she did to him was shoot him, and the second was to kiss him. Its hinted that this is her standard way of greeting all new students as she had her gun out when about to greet Ellen. Chance events prevented the audience from finding out if she was going to kiss Ellen next.
- Mike Scree: A fox faced man who seemed to arrived in the after life a bit earlier than Ellen and Nita expected him to. At first he was "just" a citizen, but with Ellen's help got a job as a Host, working in the historical research department. Back on Earth, Ellen and Mike were very close. Indeed all three (Nita, Ellen and Mike) had been lovers, both in pairs and as threesomes. Nita pulled out of the three way relationship when she saw how serious Ellen and Mike were becoming, and Mike had informally proposed marriage to Ellen. Then Mike disappeared for the next 40 years. Mike's now back and Ellen is willing to forgive him, but Nita doesn't trust him.
- The Hechelbaums: Jolan and Gerek Hechelbaum are bear faced 'residents' (rapidly moving to become citizens and perhaps future Hosts). They originally came from eastern Europe in the early 20th century, from the Poland/Hungarian border zone. Successful and worldly for their time, they nevertheless fell into the darkest part of the Holocaust. Jolan died from medical experiments and Gerek survived the camps to live out his life near Chicago in the USA. In the after life they became embroiled in a major bureaucratic mix-up. An infamous Nazi criminal doctor (Jolan's killer) arrived too early, before Legal was ready for his case, and very nearly walked free; but Jolan, sacrificing some of the comfort that was due to her in the afterlife, testified for the prosecution and saved the case. Gerek has some objections to the prejudice he perceives in the class differences between Citizens, Residents and Hosts. It was his objections that nearly lost the Hechelbaums the chance to raise their children David and Rayna a second time.
- Rayna & David Hechelbaum: The two children of Jolan and Gerek. They died in the mid 1930's due (in part) to anti-Semitic prejudice: both children became deathly ill from a bad flu season, and David was flatly denied entry to the nearby hospital. Rayna was allowed in when her parents paid a large bribe, but the nurse they paid off just abandoned the sick girl in a corner and neglected her. Still, 1930's medical technology would probably not have been able to do much more for the two children.