Born a Buddhist Die a Toady
There are countless ever evolving catchphrases used among the Jakz people. One relatively old saying that’s managed to stick around: Born a Buddhist die a Toady, basically sums up religion for the entire species.
The Jakz are amphibians with short lifespans. They’re born, have a limited unsupervised childhood, party way too much, breed like crazy, and die young. Their whole society is based around youth culture. They are basically fashion obsessed meter tall walking talking utterly social fun loving tree frogs. If you want to know what’s cool and trendy in the galaxy ask a Jakz.
For the last thousand generations, the species have been into a stylishly chic and somewhat half-assed version of galactic Buddhism. There hasn’t been an egg sack spawned on Jakz or abroad that wasn’t Buddhist by the time they were tadpoles. But within the next 10–15 years of their lifespan they all, without fail, come back to their roots and the Church of the Almighty Toad King. Deathbed conversions are often the case. These short-lived galactically advanced beings aren’t going to wait around to be reincarnated a bunch of times just to reach nirvana when they can convert and go straight into the Multiverse.
The fact that the fifty-thousand-year-old practice of Buddhism would travel all the way across the Milky Way and take root in a society like the Jakz is a testament to its methodology. There is no denying that the ancient human prince turned guru, Siddhartha Gautama, had some seriously good ideas on how to understand and deal with the reality of existence. Plus, there is nothing hipper than abandoning traditional theologies steeped in myth for a positive self-determining practice centered around causality.
Another classic Jakz saying that has stood the test of time: Be cool to each other.
So why do all the Jakz convert later in life? It certainly isn’t for their parents, whom they never know and who usually die before they learn to walk, let alone dance. It seems like the simple answer is again, it’s a cool thing to do. But also, it’s the wild rumors and first-hand eyewitness accounts of the existence of the Multiverse. Sure, it’s groovy to be an enlightened Jakz approaching the world with a Buddha mind that makes Winnie the Pooh seem uptight but to actually peer into the Multiverse, well, it’s a game changer.
For those not familiar, Jakz is a backwater planet with three beautiful moons and two wildly different sized suns. It’s basically a giant swamp with two colossal cities. It’s hot, wet, rainy, and insanely overpopulated. Some estimates boast closing in on the 100 billion mark.
On a choice clear evening, you can enjoy the muggy humidity and high oxygen level while gazing up at the passage of the tri-moons, one white, one blue, and one green. During the day a yellow giant with a much smaller orbiting pulsar revolve around the center of mass of the Jakz system. They shine down a blinky yellow and white light that can be somewhat dizzying. Nearly everyone wears adaptive sunglasses during the day.
Another favorite Jakz saying: The future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades.
Which obviously come in a multitude of outlandish styles.
After the discovery of the wormhole that connected two vastly separated parts of the Milky Way, new space shipping lanes ran right past Jakz. The system’s binary pulsar acts as a galactic navigational lighthouse. You can set your atomic clock by it.
It wasn’t long until the Jakz themselves graduated from being a truck stop destination to being major players in interstellar hauling. They built (more accurately their robots built) huge freight train like haulers, that were completely automated, so the Jakz crew could focus on partying and mating during the trip. With a 15 year max lifespan, they excelled in generational ship experimentation. No ship is more comfortable nor fun to spend a lifetime on, particularly if you are an amphibian who likes to party, be waited on hand and foot by robots, and mate with other amphibians.
While most well-traveled offworlders are familiar with the famed Jersey Jakz Galactic Hauling Company and the even more famous truck stop of the same name, few, if any, have ventured to the planet’s capital of Old Jakz. The swampy everglade of Old Jakz surrounds a mega-city that is a cross between New Orleans and Hong Kong with a spaceport and an epic nightclub scene.
If you were a nine-year-old Jakz and you wanted to get blasted out of your mind and mate your ass off (pretty much the single life goal of Jakz) Old Jakz City is the place to be. Offworlders avoid Old Jakz because it is so overpopulated and is literally oozing with billions of frogs whacked out on drugs and looking to mate. Those bold enough to operate a retail business there, particularly a fashion-minded one, will make so much money they won’t know what to do with it all. It’s a sticky gooey mess of a city, but you can always scrape the unfertilized eggs off your clothes at the end of the day. Breeding assistant robot units will collect the fertile ones.
At the center of Old Jakz is the Cathedral of the Almighty Toad King, an enormous building built around one giant multi-leveled open space. In truth, it has been rebuilt completely multiple times. The Jakz aren’t the best with history and frankly don’t live long enough to care, but legend has it that the original Church of the Toad King stood on the very same spot as the colossal cathedral of today. The great hall of the cathedral is the premiere Jakz mating destination. While it does have a kind of modern space age renaissance feel, you could also call it the ultimate disco sex club. The robot crews are on 24/7 cleanup and maintenance mode year round.
At the front of the hall stands the spectacular laser lit statue of the King, constructed out of pure imported Varan asteroid diamond. The three-story-tall crystal Jakz rests on the same spot as the ancient mud brick statue that came before it. The statue depicts the Toad King squatting down as if about to leap. His arms reaching out, web fingers spread wide, and between his open hands sits an odd space anomaly. This glowing spiral swirling disc of color moves and pulses at a sporadic rate. It’s somewhat hypnotic. It also seems to destroy whatever is put into it. Nothing that’s ever passed through has ever returned. It is claimed to be a portal to another universe.
The true believers in the Church of the Almighty Toad King, known as Toadies, claim that the portal is a gateway to every possible universe in the Multiverse. Depending on the color combinations at the time of entry, the portal will pass you to a specific destination.
A Jakz female Toady who is lucky enough to have her egg clutch fertilized at the cathedral will almost always toss a few eggs through the portal. This longest standing tradition of the Toadies is believed to be their way of populating all possible universes. The superstitious theories of which color combinations lead to which universe are so intricate, varied, and absurd, that you’d be hard pressed to find any two Jakz that would tell you the same thing.
It should be noted that nearly all attendees at any given daily mating festival at the cathedral are on Jakz Juice. Juice is a fluorescent yellow liquid hallucinogen. It’s created by microscopic organisms produced in firefly larva from the sprawling swamps of the green moon of Jakz, which in modern times has taken on the nickname: Juice Moon.
The toxic waste looking syrup is illegal in many systems for its long-lasting mind-altering effects. You could say it and many other illicit drugs are the national pastime of the Jakz. Given the hallucination causing properties in the bloodstream of Toadies at the cathedral, it is no wonder, that when they look into the portal they see the Multiverse in all its glory.
Scientific studies of the anomaly have concluded it is a rip in spacetime with some relation to the binary sun system and its pulsar. It should eventually close and has been projected to shrink one millimeter every one hundred thousand years. It emits low-level harmless radiation but is also a bizarre energy force that seems to annihilate any matter that comes into contact with it. It shares some properties of a mini black hole, but in no way attracts anything to it. It is one of the wonders of the known galaxy.
A hostile alien species once tried to remove it, but after half their team and equipment were destroyed by it, they gave up. It is there to stay, at least for several million years, until it vanishes.
All Toadies believe that, upon their death, their spirit will travel through the portal to a new life in a new universe and on their arrival they will be met by their offspring. Hence, the deathbed conversions.
And the only prayer of the religion: Hail the almighty Toad King, through his hands our DNA spreads throughout the Multiverse and the Jakz may live forever!
Born Buddhists Die Toadies