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Thirty years is an eyetwitch once you’re measuring your age in millennia, but Longinus can’t believe he almost missed the window. They’re only doing two more of these.

He contemplated a number of ways of getting aboard, even the traditional qualification, but math always made him go soft. Folded instead into a tiny crate labelled BRINE SHRIMP, he wonders if this compartment is even vacuum-sealed. But what’s it going to do? Kill him?

Endeavor begins to tremble on the pad and, for all his cynicism, he’s excited. Cursed to walk the earth forever. Yeah, well.

One way to fix that.


There are two Legions VI for a while, one under Octavian, the other under Mark Antony: one carries the epithet Ferrata, the other Victrix. Victrix ends up kicking the shit out of Ferrata at Actium, so in retrospect that’s pretty apt.

Longinus only joins the remains of Ferrata a few decades thereafter, when their brass bulls have been knocked around, their she-wolves tarnished. Mostly they repeat cruel jokes about Herod, tell war stories and dice. He doesn’t care. He’s young, strong and ironclad, eager for his glory days, ready to grind the heathen under the wheels of blood and summer.

Simon bar Kokhba

“Fear not, citizen,” declares Simon bar Kokhba when they bring the mutilated man before him. “Though your attackers have taken speech and writing from you, yea, they will be found–for you can still answer yes or no!”

The man nods weakly.

“First–were they Israelites?”

He shakes his head.

“Foreigners,” spits the prince. “Armed with knife or sword?”

The man hesitates.

“Oh, right. Nod once for a knife, twice for a sword.”

He nods twice.

“Cool,” says Simon bar Kokhba. “Wait. Was that just one nod with two motions?”

Longinus resigns himself to just growing his hands and tongue back.


HeLa is everywhere: stealthy and tenacious, hungry, a laboratory weed that has ruined more than one career by eating lesser cancers alive. Longinus is everywhere too, though closer in age and lineage (he suspects) to the transmissible tumors found on the genitals of dogs.

Sometimes he fakes research credentials just to get into labs and contaminate their petri gel. Here, he thinks, poking his dirty finger first in HeLa, then in or YAA or Tsugane or EB33. Have a nice forever! He can almost see why the old bastard gets off on it, this touch of life, this infliction of immortality.


Iram is one of the first places he finds himself, seventy years into it, while he still considers the whole thing a lark. Such is his confidence in his own cynicism that he smirks knowingly to find that the “City of a Thousand Pillars” has, like, fifty-eight.

Everything smells like frankincense and camel dung. Some of the merchants try to pass off one as the other.

He rushes to help when the first of the sinkholes suddenly gulps down a teahouse. Lugging a sobbing matron out of the sand, Longinus doesn’t even ponder his own wrongness about the cynicism thing.


“NEEEAGH!” screams the leader, stripped to the waist, his three-tailed whip leaving long red weals on his back.

“AAAARGH!” says another Flagellant, hairshirt stained with blood.




“Ooh ouch, that’s quite painful!” says Longinus, making vague gestures shoulderward with some yarn on a stick.

“Enough for tonight, brothers,” pants the leader. “We shall rest in the hospitality of this humble farm.”

“Pious folk indeed!” says Longinus, brightening, as the farmhand arrives with dinner.

At which point a dozen barn cats decide the yarn dangling down his back is a toy, and land on or near it, claws-first.


At one point the Nazis track him down and inquire, via wine and jacked blonde ladies, where his spear is.

“What?” says Longinus, more interested in the wine. “I lost it.”

They attempt, via methods similar to those of the Inquitision, to jog his memory.

“The wine was more effective,” says Longinus.

“‘S in Masada!” he slurs later. “Defnitly Masada, less take a field trip down there.”

The covert mission into Palestine gets messed up pretty bad by the British spit-and-leather boys.

“Actually,” he muses to a blood-gasping SS kommandant, “I think it was in Libya! Man! Sorry!”


It’s been circulating under his name for fourteen hundred years before he becomes aware of its existence, tracks down the real author and confronts him with it.

“‘Sublimity?'” Longinus snaps. “REALLY?”

“Not the best translation,” Ahasuerus agrees. “I see you’ve attempted to confuse the issue of authorship.”

Longinus glances at the title page, where he’s successively written and crossed out LONGINUS DIONYSUS CASSIUS BACH AHASUERUS SUCKS. “It won’t work,” he grumbles. “Did you have to use my name?”

“They wouldn’t publish it under mine.”

“That’s no excuse!”

“Plus,” Ahasuerus grins, “payback for the thing in Athens,” and Longinus turns bright pink.


The other thing about time passing is that after a few hundred years it gets impossible to find a good catamite. There are alternatives, of course, but any diet suffers for lack of variety: it’s as if apples were going extinct. Longinus finds himself going to preposterous lengths just for an afternoon with a companionable nine-year-old. It’s one such fit of desperation that drives him to learn Japanese, just in time to get expelled by the shogunate.

He tries thinking about it in terms of relative ages, but it’s no use, and anyway mathematics always made him go soft.

The Centurion

“I’m not checking him, you check him.”

“I checked the other guy!”

“You’re on check duty.”

“You invented check duty! Yesterday! And I had it then too!”

“It’s a weekly rotation!”

“God! Fine!”


“Fine!” A mutual glare, and the scruffier centurion steps up to the base of the cross.

“Hey, man, you okay?” he asks, and pokes his crappy dull twice-mended spear gently–gently, he will swear so many times in the years to come that it was gently–at the guy’s side.

He gets a face full of blood and water for his trouble.

“Oh GROSS,” Longinus sputters.