Centurion of the Week: Professor Khan, Spirit of Knowledge

Here, then, is the “thinking man’s ape”—Professor Khan, a massive silverback gorilla stuffed into a houndstooth jacket (replete with elbow patches) and a tartan kilt (after all, you try to cram an ape into a pair of pants). Khan is not merely erudite: He is a genius whose intelligence is surpassed by few, and further has read most of the books the world has to offer. This academic ape is the pillar of knowledge.

Professor Khan, Spirit of Knowledge

And yet, Khan is troubled. While he knows so much, he has experienced so little—for a long time as a scientific anomaly he was kept cooped up at various universities, sequestered in those hallowed, vaunted halls, absorbing knowledge like a sponge, eventually becoming a professor at Oxford University. But he so rarely left the comfortable cradle of academia that Khan’s street smarts and common sense are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Worse isn’t what lives inside Khan’s mind but rather what lurks inside his massive ape heart. Professor Khan was once known by a name he has long since rebuked: Son-of-Khan. He is the genetic progeny of Gorilla Khan, Conqueror Ape. The vile Doctor Methuselah, at the insistence of Gorilla Khan, replicated Khan’s own genetic material to create for him a son and successor: Son-of-Khan.

Son-of-Khan found himself liberated not long after birth, however, and was not raised to be like his father, a figure he fears, loves, and despises in equal measure. Just the same, Professor Khan’s blood is that of his progenitor, and in his heart he sometimes feels a pulsing howling rage at night. His blood pounds and a word whispers in his ears: conquer.

Knowing full well that he mustn’t grow complacent, Professor Khan has put aside his professorial mantle for the time and now travels as one of the Century Club. He no longer wants only to learn; Professor Khan wants to do. Action above words! For what good is knowledge without a way to use it to make the world a better place?

Chuck Wendig is the author of the upcoming Spirit of the Century novel, which is set in the same universe as the Race to Adventure! board game. Chuck is the author of the upcoming novels Double Dead (November) and Blackbirds (May) as well as a series of books on writing advice available for purchase at his website, terribleminds.