The Hero of Algol by Bad Hair Man

Preface: Introducing the Star

Among the myriad stars in the sky, one of the most interesting has to be the second brightest in the constellation of Perseus, the star Beta Persei, common name: Algol. Within the mythic warrior's constellation, Algol represents the carried head of the Gorgon Medusa, which Perseus -- in the act he is most renowned for -- famously severed and took as a trophy and weapon.

Algol, the Demon, the Demon Star, and the Blinking Demon, from the Arabians' Ra's al Ghul, the Demon's Head... Al Ghul literally signifies a Mischief-maker, and the name still appears in the Ghoul of the Arabian Nights and of our day.

... Astrologers of course said that it was the most unfortunate, violent, and dangerous star in the heavens, and it certainly has been one of the best observed, as the most noteworthy variable in the northern sky.

Mythology and astrology aside for the moment, Algol's most peculiar feature astronomically would have to be its regular (and rather ominous) rhythmic dimming. At regular intervals Algol's brightness temporarily drops by a drastic 70%, as though a veil of darkness were descending over the entire star system again and again, in a never-ending cycle.

It is within this foreboding star system that our story takes place. But though Algol may literally be the star of our story, it is not the hero.


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