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Primary Source Material

Posted on Wed May 17th, 2017 @ 1:43am by Lieutenant Commander Chlamydia Addams

In the study of history as an academic discipline, a primary source (also called original source or evidence) is an artifact, a document, diary, manuscript, autobiography, a recording, or any other source of information that was created at the time under study.

Chlamydia Addams did not record personal logs. She had grown up in a house that appeared dilapidated, but which was warm and comfortable within. In the library was one case filled with hundreds of diaries and journals kept by Addamses past. "When the power goes out," Papa had said, more than once, "and people descend into savagery, we will still know who we are."

As a child, Chlamydia had sat often in the comfortable chair made of bones, in front of that bookcase, reading the lives of her family. She had read the letters which her most famous family member, Jane Addams had written to her beloved Ellen Starr, and which Ellen had written back. She had read the articles of Calpurnia Addams; the journals of Henry Hyde-Addams as he descended into madness and murderous cunning.

And so, Chlamydia Addams kept a journal. On acid-free paper, bound in vegetable tanned leather (or at least, a replicated facsimile thereof) written with an aluminum-bodied fountain pen which her several-times great aunt Regan had purchased in Germany while studying at Göttingen. When she filled a volume, she would scan it into the replicator, and send the data file home to be reproduced and added to the bookshelf. The current volume's cover had a delightful incised design of a goat-headed figure playing the violin, leading a group of skeletons in la grande Danse Macabre.

Chlamydia sat in her own comfortable chair in her study, in front of the time-darkened oak desk which still bore the scars of some ancestor's cat marking its territory. Her journal was before her, and the pen in her hand, but she hesitated. At last, she sighed, and began to write. I find myself facing the Mengele dilemma, she wrote. When one is in possession of data obtained by unethical means, is it ethical to study that data, to draw useful conclusions from it? Certainly, many of my ancestors were psychopaths, fiends, and mad-dog killers; those are my roots. My relatives who were visionaries, called mad by their contemporaries, would not have hesitated to use any data which came into their hands.

Addams sighed and leaned back in her chair. She looked at the anatomical skeleton in the glass case beside the fireplace. One of her recently hatched orb weaver spiders had begun constructing a marvelous web between the case and the mantle, and Addams watched it weave.

Thing ran up the side of the desk and across to the journal, which it tapped with its index finger.

"Yes, dear, I'm working on it," Addams said, turning her attention back to the book. She read back over what she had written, and then added, But I have always been the white sheep of my family. I do care about provenance. What those people kidnapped into section forty-nine alpha were subjected to is... words fail. Even Cousin Perverto would have been taken aback, and he.... her thoughts went blank for a moment. Absently, she used the end of her pen to which the cap was stuck to stroke Thing's back. The Zeta Reticulan spider exuded contentment, flopping down on the bison-hide desk mat.

Addams looked back at her journal. Cousin Perverto? she wondered. What in the world did Cousin Perverto have to do with unethical experiments? Not that Chlamydia would put it past him to feed unwitting schoolchildren radioactive breakfast cereal just to see what resulted. But how odd that she'd thought of him in connection with this.

The doorbell rang, and Addams capped her pen, shut the journal, and went to see who was come to visit.


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Comments (2)

By Jade Lantz on Wed May 17th, 2017 @ 3:07am

I love moral dilemmas! I love written journals! I love orb spiders! All the elements of a post I enjoyed greatly. Thanks for a bit of a look inside Chlamydia's mind!

By Lieutenant Commander Paul Graves PsyD on Wed May 17th, 2017 @ 1:29pm

It would be neat if Lanis and Chlamydia discussed this. He considers himself more a hands-on type of person than a research type, but he does have to do research.