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Asa



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 3532
Location: Grammar Police HQ. Watch your language, I'm armed with the NYTimes Style Book AND Strunk and White!

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm having the same issues - I can't get out of the narrative voice. About a page written and it's still in the tones of background info. Too soft-edged and vague. And it keeps getting pushed to the back burner by actual work.
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Nem: "It's the sort of face you just know is getting ready to poke you with something sharp."
BS: "...then insist you eat a brownie."
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Talps



Joined: 26 May 2009
Posts: 134
Location: Merrie olde Englande

PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, I don't think this is going to get any better.
Sorry, it's actually more 'down' than I intended (though I guess I should have seen that coming). My writing's not usually so... pessimistic. Confused (I just don't want to say depressing Razz)
Anyway, this story has a very long title.


The cause of the End of the World was the increasing rarity of fossil fuels, and the price of a loaf of bread


Earth’s World War Three was not a war of nuclear weapons; half of the fighters didn’t want to poison the ground they were fighting for. The other half knew they were too poor to win a nuclear war, but on the other hand they did have much of the world’s agriculture and fuel.

It was a long, tentative war, marked by long hungers and millions of people crossing the world on foot. But in the end the powers that fought together turned against one another and the great inevitability of any story of modern global warfare occurred.

No one ever took claim for dropping the dry-nuke that destroyed north-western Russia, flattening mountains, massacring millions of people in the space of minutes and leaving thousands of miles of land uninhabitable for hundreds of years to come.

The shock of the first dry-nuke ended the Third World War for most of the people on Earth. As with so many wars before, people tried to make peace, to restore friendships, to rebuild what was left to rebuild. There were promises not to forget, not to make the same mistakes, not to let the billion people who died in the war have died in vain, and people did what they could, but the world was broken and could never go back. As the pollution of the first dry-nuke began to seep into the lives of the 10 billion people left in the world, the call for global nuclear disarmament was finally heard and people began to do what they could to repair what they had done.

Fifty three years after the end of the Third World War, people forgot. Once again, no one claimed credit for the dry-nuke explosion that destroyed the United States of America, from north to south. And as can only inevitably happen when the most powerful nation on Earth ceases to exist during a night, everyone saw the opportunity to gain power, or to have it snatched away, and so the Fourth World War was fought for the role of being top nation on Earth.

After more than 15 years of skirmishing and hatred, the Fourth World War began to peter out in the face of a more pressing problem. Two enormous nuclear explosions had done the Earth no good, and the oceans began to die. The land began to die. Across the world, billions of people left their homes and fled inland seeking food, health and life. The sustainable parts of the world were soon overfilled. Across India, China, Europe and South America, overpopulation led to more fighting. What was to be known as the Dying Earth Era of human history had begun.

Famine and disease crippled the human race and still the nuclear poisoning crept inwards. Governments began quite independently trying to construct shelters to keep the lethal winds and deadly poisons at bay. Across the world, the largest cities began to grow shields that blocked out the deadly forces of a vengeful world. This also kept out the refugees, allowed some control over crime and resources and restored some sense of order to human civilisation. From the combatants of the Fourth World War, eight world powers arose; North America (Canada and Alaska), South Africa, East Africa, Siberia, Europe, China and India, Oceania, and the Middle East. South America was poisoned beyond habitability by the nuclear weapons and the fighting that had been going on there since the refugees came pouring in, and eventually as many survivors as possible were evacuated, but there were few better places to take them.

But still food shortages wrecked the dying world, and the Earth’s life continued to die. Poisoned oceans did not produce much oxygen, and the enormous photosynthesis factories that appeared across the world could not sustain the world’s ecosystem.

And so people ran. There was a universe out there. People had tried to make the moon, Venus, Mercury and Mars liveable, but attempts had failed. Scientists theorised that there might be more Earth-like worlds out in the infinities of space that could be changed. And if Earth’s population could be decreased enough, it might just be enough to allow things to heal.

For some the evacuation seemed like a way of saving some of the species, leaving the others to die. For others, it looked like a way of sending a large portion of humanity to their deaths so that those left on Earth might have a chance at survival.

The Eight Global Powers agreed to the plan, and the building of the Juggernauts began.

The ships were huge beyond belief. They were built entirely in space and were intended to land only once. They were designed so that they could be taken apart easily and rearranged into a habitation; a construct-it-yourself-kit for a complete city. The ships were coated in solar panelling and collision-power-generators (that generated power by being hit by space-dust at rapid speeds). They each used country-sized ion-cluster engines and solar sails to power them at enormous speeds through space. Each of the world powers built ten. Between them they would carry one billion people away from their parent planet.

Eighty city-sized ships left Earth over the space of three years. They headed out into an empty, lonely universe. Loaded with largely experimental technology, the first exploded before it reached the Sun’s closest neighbouring star. The others fanned out in different directions, searching for any world where they could land and terra-form, any place that offered some hope, some future, for the human race.

Many vanished. Many at least managed to send a broadcast back to Earth to explain what had gone wrong before transmissions ceased permanently. In control centres on Earth, technicians sat at their terminals, ticking off routine transmissions from the ships, and crossing the ones that failed to call. Several ships landed on planets that had seemed suitable, but then failed to adapt them. Some of these stranded colonies managed to struggle on for a while. Every report received for more than a century that a ship had seen a possibly suitable planet for terraformation and was altering course for a closer inspection was met with increasing hopelessness. Earth was still dying, slowly, and the dreams of salvation on another world seemed more and more foolish. The transmissions to and from the Juggernauts were routine and pointless.

The message, when it came, was not long, or bold, or clever. But it ensured that Captain Josiah Raven of the S-A Juggernaut 7 would become one of the most famous men in history, and that humanity would be changed forever. The message that would become more famous than Winston Churchill’s or Franklin Roosevelt’s declarations of their countries joining the second world war, more famous than the words of Martin Luther King sharing his visions of equality for the human race, more famous than the words of great poets or philosophers, and that would be taught in schools for centuries to come, was heard now by underpaid technicians at their unkempt terminals on the dying Earth, “There are ships around the planet… By the dying Earth, there are ships! Not human… They’re approaching us; we don’t know if they’re hostile… We’re not alone out here.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

There are them aliens!!!!
Hope it inspired some of you to get on Very Happy
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Tamir



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Psh, you call that pessimistic? It had a happy ending and everything! Razz

The story's quite good. I have a few small nitpicks (City-sized ships with country-sized engines? Mreh?) but nothing serious. Good story!

Odd title, though.
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Tenshi



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're counting the solar sail as an "engine", then technically the scale would be somewhat more accurate.

The only thing I would pick at is that "Each country built 10 of these", and yet only 8 flew. Budget cuts? Hopelessness and futility deciding against it? Lack of resources capable of being gathered from the asteroid and comet belts?

...I could take this idea and run with it so far. I love your story, I really do!
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Talps



Joined: 26 May 2009
Posts: 134
Location: Merrie olde Englande

PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys :p
Um, the country-engine thing, uh, what Tenshi said! Yes!
Ok, when I wrote that I might have been exaggerating, though if I was I should have fixed it in edits cus there's not a lot of exaggeration in this story. My bad.

Where did it say only 8 flew? Confused That might be a typo...

Quote:
Eighty city-sized ships left Earth over the space of three years.

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Tamir



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to request an extension. I've never asked for one before, but I'm making progress on my story and I really want to get it done in time. Unfortunately, from the 10th until the 17th I'm going to be out defending some settlement with no internet access (and possibly no computer access), and I won't be done before then. So, if this could be extended until the 20th or something, I'd be really happy.
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Tenshi



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Talps wrote:
Thanks guys :p
Um, the country-engine thing, uh, what Tenshi said! Yes!
Ok, when I wrote that I might have been exaggerating, though if I was I should have fixed it in edits cus there's not a lot of exaggeration in this story. My bad.

Where did it say only 8 flew? Confused That might be a typo...

Quote:
Eighty city-sized ships left Earth over the space of three years.


I may well have just misread a letter then, my apologies.

And don't use theoretical science like a crippled man with a crutch, use it like a shell game scam runner with an easy smile and a friendly voice. That is to say, make it a believable and completely accepted technology within your world. The reader will then be more apt to believing it.

If you'd like some more information on the solar sail bit, there was a theory on making the surface of the ship like a mirror, then reflecting all light forward into the sail. The sail would then be a bit more powerful, given thousands (if not millions) of tiny mirrors were focusing all the light from the nearby cosmos onto it's surface.

Can't help you much with slowing back down, or maneuvering in space. The solar sail was mostly envisioned (to my knowledge) for launching deep space probes without need for (much) propellant.
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. Dubbed "Usagi" by AsA .
Keeper of the Siderean Swords

"If by chance some day you're not feeling well, and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done, and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled."
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Asa



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
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Location: Grammar Police HQ. Watch your language, I'm armed with the NYTimes Style Book AND Strunk and White!

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd also like an extension - too many school-related projects and not enough time. This is my last week of classes and then finals.
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Keeper of the Library and the Gateway to Haven

Nem: "It's the sort of face you just know is getting ready to poke you with something sharp."
BS: "...then insist you eat a brownie."
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Maeniel



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll extend this to the 20th, then. Smile Good luck!
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Tamir



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Mane! You're the best! ^_^
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spellingmistax



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Location: Asa took this ^ I stole it ^_^

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Due to PC related problems I will be unable to post my tail in time to meet the dead line. I will post it at some point but I do not expect another extension as I have no idea when it will be back. I am sorry for this.
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Asa



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
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Location: Grammar Police HQ. Watch your language, I'm armed with the NYTimes Style Book AND Strunk and White!

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm writing mine now!!! Hopefully I'll be able to finish it by this evening.
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Self-styled Forum Grandmother, because I hand out nicknames and hugs whether you want them or not. ^_^

Keeper of the Library and the Gateway to Haven

Nem: "It's the sort of face you just know is getting ready to poke you with something sharp."
BS: "...then insist you eat a brownie."
__________________
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended...
Give me your hands if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
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Tamir



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
Posts: 1629
Location: Israel

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's something very important you guys need to know: I did not write this story!!! This story was written by me and Tinu. I know that's a breach of rules, but that's what happened. Mane, if you would like to disqualify me/us, that would be totally understandable. All I know is, I wouldn't have been able to write this story alone, and I'm really happy now that it's written. ^_^ Winning the WG matters less.

A few quick notes:
- The story's really long for a WG entry. Sorry.
- Somehow some words went missing. I tried to find all the holes and fill them, but there may be some left.
- Please nobody be insulted by the story. The opinions belong to the characters alone.

The story is titled Euclid's Bane.

Quote:
"""""""""In the beginning, the universe was. The sun and moon had been born long ago, remnants from the creation of what is; and the earth was a barren, desolate place. There was no life, no water, and little light was able to penetrate the dark clouds. In the heavens, however, life was forming. Bhaskar, the father of all, was born from the sun. Lord of light and time and sky, he looked upon the heavens, but they were too vast for him, and they needed nothing. But Bhaskar saw the earth and was displeased. This place needed his hand to blossom, and so he was drawn to it. At the same time, Chandrani, the great mother and goddess of healing and birth and mystery, was born from the moon. She too was drawn to the earth, and desired to nurture it. The two gods made a pact to watch over the earth in equal parts, to bring life upon it, and to guard it. So Bhaskar cleared the clouds from the sky and blew the winds onto the surface of the world during the day, and Chandrani caused rain to fall upon the dry ground by night. Day and night they worked, but no life grew, and the two became weary with working. So, they created the twin gods Asha and Avisa, and set them on the earth and gave them the task of creating life. Avisa created plants and trees, and tilled the soil to make it fit for growth and planting. Seeking balance and diversity, Asha, goddess of the wilderness, created animals to eat the plants. She made them in honor of her family, birds to fly in the sky of her father, fish to swim in the seas of her mother, land creatures to roam the forests and fields of her brother, and for herself she created the fierce and prideful creatures – the wild things. While Avisa roamed quietly among fields and gardens, Asha ran with her creations, lending them her spirit, and they became creatures that would never be tamed. Now, when Bhaskar and Chandrani looked on the earth, they were pleased at the green and the life and the beauty that their children had created. However, they felt that something was still missing. So, they created a third god, Vivek, god of wisdom and time and history. And Chandrani and Bhaskar set him on the earth and told him to create a being unlike any other, a creature that was like the gods, but not. And so, Vivek searched and thought and wondered. He saw his mother's waters, and his father's winds, and thought that the creation could be similar to neither of those things, for they did not think or feel – nor were they of any sustaining shape. He saw his brother's plants and thought that they were too stable, they did not move, nor could they hold any intelligence. Then, he saw his sister's creatures, and how they roamed the earth, and how they could communicate with each other, and how they could hold intelligence. And so Vivek created man. He made his body like that of Asha's creations – he combined her gentle and her fierce creatures, for Vivek wanted him to have the qualities of both. Vivek made his form like one of the gods, he put a mind in him, and gave him breath and wisdom and the language of the gods, so that they could speak to him and nurture him. Chandrani and Bhaskar saw how he labored over man, and decided to give him something extra, more than wisdom and speech, to set him apart from the beasts of Asha. So they created Arcis, goddess of fire and passion, and sent her down to aid Vivek. Arcis gave man heart, and a will and impulse. When they were done at last, after a long labor. Man open his eyes, saw the world around him, and spoke. And the gods were listening."

Ani looked at the crowd below her, and gathered her courage. She had told the traditional story of creation, of the wondrous works of the gods, now she had to move on to something more difficult. She had to remind them why the people were hungry, why strangers threatened their shores, why many were fleeing for the mountains. It was her duty as a Keeper of Tales - to remind the people of their past, to show them how it affected their present and could change their future. They needed to know. She knew how the rest of the tale would go, she closed her eyes and let the story flash through her mind.
She told them how the god Vivek recorded the creation of the world. How in the beginning, there was peace and harmony, and man walked with the gods and learned from them all about the earth. And woman was created, and more men came into being. There was no fear, no pain, no hunger, while the gods were with them. Would that it had stayed that way. But soon, the gods decided that earth should be the home of men, and that it was no place for gods. So they left the world, though they still watched over the humans from the heavens. But then men became afraid. They became angry, and fought against one another. They learned to use Arcis's fire for evil, to cause pain and fear and death. They used it to temper steel, to burn homes, and destroy crops. Vivek's wisdom was twisted, and used for evil. So man became his own worst enemy. Now, men were beginning to forget the old ways. They had forsaken the gods, and forgotten the blessings that had been given to them. Ani opened her eyes, knowing she should tell them to turn back to the old ways, to pay homage to the gods, to pray, and worship, and fast. But she knew that nothing she could say would persuade the people. They had already turned away from her, from the gods. So, Ani did not say anything, she let the story end."

Patrick laughed aloud as he finished reading the old account, written by a monk. Even back then the old ways were failing. He leafed through the worn and stained pages of numerous old myths. What an idealized world, he thought; such a simple faith for a simple people. Those who believed in the old gods were fast fading. They fought and struggled, but they would not win. The wise had converted during the glorious invasion nearly fifty years ago. They'd freely given up their beliefs and had been rewarded—even honored—and accepted into society. Why, Patrick's own father had been among them. He had converted gladly, at first, having long doubted his father's religion. However, the older he grew the more he regretted his decision, and now he longed to join the rebels in that hid in the mountains. He hated Patrick for his devotion to the church. He was the reason Patrick had chosen to go to school, to learn more about the church, to become a leader in it—a learned man. He was the reason Patrick had requested this one specific task . . . Shaking himself out of old and painful memories, Patrick dipped his quill into ink, and raised it, ready to write. He paused for a moment, the tip hovering just above the parchment, the gravity of his actions suddenly hitting him with the force and chill of a winter blast. He stared at the hastily-copied tales, survivors of long years of war and change, and briefly wondered if his actions were truly just—if he was really in the right, and his father in the wrong. He shook his head, as if to shake all the sudden doubts out of his mind. No, this was the way. The men who settled from the east were intelligent, they had proof, histories, objects and icons that this land did not. All the religion of the land possessed were stories told to entertain children. There was nothing in them a man could hope on, nothing in them a man could trust and rely on. The gods in the tales had left the planet to rot, but Patrick's god had come to save it. The church would conquer the world-as they had been commanded by god-unifying all peoples under one belief, one god, one law; and there they would find peace. His god would save man from himself and bring him into the fullness of his power - his god would build man a paradise. Patrick put his pen to the paper, and carefully, and elegantly, began to write. First he changed the tone of each myth as needed, removing or adding lines so that the story would fit the church's doctrine; so that it would be believable to the people who would read it; so that the old gods would at last be eliminated. Next, he replaced the names of the old gods with a single name, so that the many became one. It was hard work, attempting to keep the tale in its original state while tailoring it to fit his religion. However, the job was important, as it would further aid in the conversion of the natives. Patrick was turning their own religion against them. He did not consider himself one of them, he did not claim this land as his—he had no desire to be associated with the savages that lived in this god-forsaken place. Finally, after long hours, he finished. Patrick stood up, stretching, and sprinkled sand on the ink to help it dry. The texts would be sent to a monastery later to be illuminated—the monks were trying to put a book of tales together. Personally, Patrick thought the old ways were better off forgotten. He picked up the old myths, and threw them into the fire. He watched them burn, decidedly set in his ways. There was only one truth."

Done! Greg tapped the 'upload' button and then did a spin in his swivel chair. Boy, was Miss Hart going be surprised at the paper he turned in! Rumor had it she liked papers which were unusual, so he figured he'd try his luck. The worst that could happen was that he'd get a bad grade and have to write a normal paper next time. No biggie. Besides, Greg wasn't sure what he would have written if he were writing something ordinary. Seriously, come on! Religion is ridiculously broad prompt for an essay. Topics like that give the impression that the teacher will accept a whole host of answers when they really want something specific that they just failed to mention. Well, since she chose this prompt, she was going to get a story instead of a paper. Served her right!
Of course, Greg made sure to paint his characters in a positive light, since Miss Hart was obsessed with religion. Maybe every history teacher needed to be obsessed with some part of history or other - like it was in the job description or something. It would sure explain a lot. If Greg was to be a history teacher, he'd choose to be obsessed with historical guerrilla warfare, or something cool like that. Not that he was likely to become a History teacher - not unless every other job started paying in rice instead of money. The point was that he only wrote the paper the way he did to make Miss Hart happy. As far as he was concerned, he could have written a paper consisting of only two words: 'good riddance'. All religion really was was a bunch of stories people made up because they couldn't explain the world around them. Well, now they could explain the world around them pretty darned well. Which made religion pretty darn meaningless. But no, religion wasn't just bunch of stories, it was also the people who believed those stories. People who fought each other for centuries 'cause they believed their god was better than all the other gods. People who tried to force others believe the same things they did. What kind of stupid idea was that, anyway? A person wouldn't believe something just because someone else tried to make him believe it, would he? At most, he'd pretend to believe it. That didn't stop fanatics from trying, though. And then there was the whole terrorism thing, too! If people were willing believe in a god who told them to kill themselves and take as many others as possible with them, they'd be willing to believe anything! How did those religions even survive? You'd think that all the followers would commit suicide and that that would be the end of it. Also, the concept of heaven and hell was a laugh. Maybe it made people feel better to think that their enemies were going to burn for eternity? Greg knew some people who deserved that, so he could understand why someone would want to believe in it; but there's a difference between liking an idea and thinking it's the truth! Greg liked the idea that an ice cream cone would appear in his hand if he said the word 'scrabble', but he'd have to be pretty stupid to think that it would actually happen – which many people back then obviously were.
So, that was why Greg didn't write what he actually thought. Not that his opinion was an unusual one or anything. A lot of people thought like he did - crazy history teachers aside. In fact, according to a statistic he had read recently, ninety-six percent of people worldwide were Atheistic, with the minority living in underdeveloped countries. It was a pretty good status quo, as far as Greg was concerned. Atheism had been great for the world so far - less hunger, less war, less crime. Miss Hart once said that people used to be afraid that without religion there would be no morals and the world would become a mess. Ha! Anyone half a brain could tell the difference between right and wrong, there didn't need to be an imaginary god to point out the difference – especially not when he condoned slavery and sacrifices and whatnot.
None of it was necessary when you had science. Science yet to let humanity down, especially with the latest theories - there was hardly anything science couldn't explain or predict. As far as Greg understood, they were working out the last kinks in poly-string theory, and when that was done, there would be an explanation for everything. The small opportunity people had to say, 'But maybe . . .' would be gone forever, religion would be completely eliminated, and humans would become a tiny bit more enlightened. Greg looked forward to that day. In the meantime, there was more homework to do. Math was next. Oh boy . . ."

Linda lowered her pen to review the words she had just written, spinning it idly in her hand as she read. Her body searching for comfort, she picked up the paper and leaned back in her wooden chair, causing it to creak in protest. She smiled, treasuring that sound. It had taken quite a bit of time and effort to get this attic the way Linda wanted it. Its furnishings were made almost entirely of wood, decorated with the odd painting, knitted afghans and other odds and ends - all antiques, all made to last and crafted with love. Such things weren't easy to find anymore. Linda sighed, thinking, not for the first time, that she had been born in the wrong century. If only she had been born a long time ago, back when things were certain. People who lived back then could have at least some peace of mind, knowing where they were yesterday and where they'd be tomorrow. Now . . . Everything had changed when that one man chose to become a mathematician. What was his name? Linda couldn't remember. Once, he had been famous, but fame had more or less lost its meaning. Whoever he was, he was the one who changed things, with that proof of his. The idea behind it was simple - he used Euclid's axioms for geometry to prove that a straight line is a circle. The specifics were complicated beyond Linda's understanding, and frankly, rather uninteresting. But the point was that this man used mathematics to disprove mathematics. He made sensible assumptions and played by all the rules, but reached a ridiculous conclusion - that a line, stretching to infinity in either direction, was the same as a bounded circle, looping around itself forever without getting anywhere at all. At first, the mathematicians laughed, but when they started to realize that the proof was sound, they got scared. There was a mad scramble to discredit the proof, but despite the best efforts of the best minds on the planet, it couldn't be done. Unwilling give up on the foundation of logic and science, they began to give excuses. They tried to hide the importance of the proof, but it was around then that unexplained phenomena began to occur. Laboratories everywhere began getting results contradicting the known laws of physics - objects were moving faster or slower than they should, small amounts of energy were appearing or disappearing, and other such inconsistencies. The scientists did the only thing they knew how to do - come up with new theories. But no new theory succeeded in explaining the irrational observations, which grew more and more frequent. A single experiment, when repeated many times, gave different results. The world was confounded.
One had to wonder how they must have felt. Linda tried to imagine being so sure of something, only to have it ripped out from underneath her. Of course, many never really accepted the death of science. Even when the random occurrences started appearing in everyday life, there were people who believed in science so strongly that they simply turned a blind eye. But slowly, the majority of the population began to accept it. Some turned to religion, but religion had been gone for so long that they were few; instead, most people stopped believing in anything at all. During the previous era, many may have said they believed in nothing, but, in fact, they believed in science. They believed that actions had clear and direct reactions. Now no one believed that. The random occurrences grew frequency and in size, and now nothing was certain. Someone could be walking down the street and suddenly find himself lacking an arm or a leg. A bank account could gain a million dollars without cause. Someone could be sleeping, and his bed could be transformed into a lava pit. There was no way to predict these things, so the only option was to try to deal with the new situation. And that's what people did, day after day. It was a hard way to live life, and society changed to reflect that: Crime rates grew, people sought out thrills in any form, many started having children at younger ages, and marriage became rare. Technology regressed, and products were no longer expected to last more than a few weeks. If only things could have stayed the way they had been . . .
A voice called from downstairs. It was Baden, and Linda's heart warmed to hear her husband's voice. There were times when she grew afraid that she'd turn around and he'd be gone, or he'd have forgotten her, or some other horrible possibility. She knew that the odds were against her living happily ever after. Her life may have been somewhat normal until now - but anything could happen. Her home, her job, her beloved husband - they weren't really permanent. Nothing was. Though she had decided long ago to live her life as though there would be no surprises, she worried all the time. The worries didn't shake her resolve, though. She was determined to be different from everyone else - they believed nothing, but she was determined to believe that her life would be good. She needed that belief."

The story spiraled into Merai's mind and caught her interest, but before she could give it much thought, it was washed away by the flow of the Link. Streams of memories and thoughts passed through her, the lives of other people opening before of her. She watched a busy mother trying to cope with her many children, smelled fresh summer grass, heard a street musician's clunky notes and felt a boy's dream to change the world. And Merai wasn't just a recipient in the Link - she sent out images of her parents, thoughts of that cute boy Tomry from class, make-believe stories she had recently made up with her friends, her wish for a pony, and everything else that came to her mind. All these slid away to join the Link and enter the minds of the other participants.
As the Link continued, some parts of it began to be stronger and clearer than others. The most heartfelt thoughts and wishes began to drown out the rest, and soon Merai was hearing only people asking for their loved ones to return to them, pleading for fortune and happiness or seeking to help others. Soon those too thinned, and the strongest thought making its way around the Link was 'Clean the water!' Merai knew that this was referring to a large reservoir in a nearby city, into which an oil truck had crashed just this morning. She knew this not because she had ever been to this city or because she had heard about it on the news, but because that information, too, was sent on the Link. Many people depended on the water from the reservoir for their drinking water, and all would be poisoned soon if nothing was done about it. Merai repeated the thought back into the Link - clean the water. Clean the water. The thought reverberated among all the participants, each one returning it with more fervor than the last. Clean the water. Clean the water! Clean the water! Clean the water clean the water cleanthewatercleanthewatercleanwaterclean
A familiar rush, which had once been described as the exhilaration of creation, hit Merai as the wish was granted and the Link closed. The young girl opened her eyes and blinked a few times, her eyes unaccustomed to the sunlight seeping through the windows after having being closed for so long. Her first sight was of hundreds of other people, each blinking as she was and looking at the room around them. This happened every time - the Link was so immersive that people would sort of forget who and where they were. Everyone started heading out of the exits and back to their lives, each knowing that their common goal had been achieved. Some people gave little nods of acknowledgement to each other as they left, having just experienced each other's thoughts and secrets. Adults who came together left together, though silently. The children, on the other hand, grouped together at once to chatter about what they had just seen. Except Merai, who for once understood why the adults didn't talk after the Link. She felt like words didn't do justice to the experience of the link. She liked the feeling - it made her feel mature. So she walked out quietly with the adults.
In the ruminating silence, Merai remembered the story about beliefs that she had received. Whoever had written it must have done so out of love of the Links, telling all of mankind's major beliefs before they were founded. Merai couldn't believe that it had taken people so long to realize how much innate power they had. How could you have the strength to move mountains and not know it? But then she remembered how many single-minded people were needed for it to work. One Link, she had received a story about the discovery of humanity's power - there was a man, a really nice man, who had lots and lots of children and grandchildren and other family and friends. One day, he became very sick, and everyone who loved him came to see him. Hundreds of people crowded around his house, all wanting him to get better... and then suddenly he was healthy again! That was how it worked, of course. Whenever enough people wanted something really badly all at the same time, it happened. Especially if they were close together. Merai didn't know if that was how it really all started, but she liked the story well enough anyway. She did know that after the power was discovered, people were willing to do anything to use it. They lived in a world of uncertainty, and for the first time they found that they could control the random events that plagued them. So people grouped together and each person tried to convince the rest to help him. Obviously, nobody could ever agree on anything and nothing was accomplished. The Links were created to help large groups of people want a single thing. The whole group of people would wish to be able to speak telepathically with each other, and once that was granted, they could share their lives and focus their power on the most important problem of the group. How had her father said it? Only when one can feel the severity of another's plight will he put aside his own problems to help.
What was really interesting about the story, though, was the things that people used to call 'god'. They imagined a supreme being, or a lot of them, somehow far from the world yet able to affect it. Merai knew better. The Links were slowly growing in size, and becoming increasingly powerful. Eventually, all of mankind would enter a single giant Link, and at that moment, humanity would reach its true potential, and be able to do anything at all. Humanity would be a single mind, able to manipulate the universe however it wanted, able to create and and able to destroy. Humanity would be god."

They stopped talking for a moment to lick their dry lips, though that didn't provide much moisture. How long had they been without water? They had no way of measuring time, yet they were sure they didn't have much left. Not that it mattered. They took - wait, that wasn't right. He took another step. He was an individual now, no longer a part of Gaia. After a lifetime of sharing his thoughts, they - he - was himself, and only himself. So he took another step, and then a few more after it. The ground was rocky, and he was wearing no shoes. In fact, he was wearing no clothes at all. What was the point of clothes when you were of Gaia? Not protection from the elements, for Gaia protected itself. Not appearance, since one could read the thoughts of all. They never thought they would leave Gaia, which was the reason they - he - was probably going to die. If not by the hand of thirst, then the cold would probably do the job soon enough.
A few steps later, he realized that he had stopped in the middle of his story, having gotten distracted by his thoughts. His faithful listener said nothing, just waited for the continuation. But he was not sure how to continue... the hardest part of the story was their part. So they walked on, in search of food and water, with their listener by their side.
They cried out in pain and stumbled sideways, then fell to the ground and grasped their foot. The foot was okay... it was a sharp rock, nothing more. Maybe he'd have been able to avoid it if there was more light, but his only source of illumination were the stars. He looked up at them, and saw among the scattered dots the green glow of Avisa, which had clearly dimmed. The sight angered him, and his anger drove him back to his feet. How could they! Who did they think they were? But he already knew the answer to that. He swore at them, yelling obscene words from every language Gaia remembered. His listener remained silent.
They should finish the story, tell the part they knew best. The silence around them seemed to demand it, the lack of life begging for meaning. Yet they could not find the words. Besides, the silence was Gaia's fault, as they had removed all animal life from the planet. The animals had no longer been necessary, only a nuisance to the motionless bodies whose minds were one. He saw now that they had rid themselves of something beautiful, too concentrated on themselves to care about anything else. How could he tell the rest of the story, anyway? Its end was too bitter. Every character in the story so far had a positive outlook, they had hope even in the difficult ages of the world. What was there now? The loss of all hope. How ironic, that humanity's decline should begin with the arrival of the long sought unity - the hopes of many coming to fruition. When all people formed one Link and became one mind, and gave themselves the name Gaia. At that moment, all violence between people ended, all troubles were forgotten. They found that they could change anything on the Earth, and set out to fix all of history's wrongs. They restored the planet to perfect health, and cherished it. Gaia existed for some time that way, content with their being. But in their arrogance, they thought they were god, and Gaia sought to control things outside itself. It created another sun, destroyed the moon, put new life on Mars and extinguished it immediately after. However, it found that its abilities were limited. It could not control time, nor could it make the entire universe around them vanish. Angered, Gaia set out to find the reason for its weakness, and began to travel. It – the Earth – flew across the heavens, faster the scientists of old would have thought possible. Gaia searched the universe for answers, and what it found was Avisa. It was a green planet, orbiting a black hole and populated with strange creatures who, like the humans, were in a Link. Avisa's Link explained to Gaia that it was not alone, that there were many such planets. Planets with life that had grown to the point of unity, and had great power over the existence surrounding them.
Gaia was suddenly struck by a new reality - humanity may be a god, but there were others as well. Not just others, but others who had come before. This knowledge caused the first split in humanity since the forming of the great link. Some minds wished for Gaia to join the other planets, to learn from them and rule the universe with them, but others wanted that power to be theirs alone. The opinions fought for dominion, each human putting forth their thoughts as strongly as possible, and in the end the victors were those who wished for absolute power. Upon controlling the power of Gaia, their first action was to use that power to remove all those who opposed them. Every human who wanted to live in peace with the other planets was disconnected from the Link and awoke, very much alone.
That was the story he needed to tell his listener, and he would tell it before the end. The end which was soon to come. He knew that without Gaia he stood no chance of survival. He could try, but he would certainly perish, along with every other human being on the planet who wished for peace. There was no hope any more. They turned their eyes to the sky once again, and watched the green glowing cause of humanity's schism. As they stood there in the desert with their eyes skyward, Avisa grew dimmer still, and then without a fuss, vanished completely. They stared for a while as the meaning of the vision sunk in. They had been helpless to stop the destruction of an entire species, of a god. They bowed their head and cried a tear that their body could hardly afford to spend. And then he clenched his teeth and told the rest of his story.
He died soon after. His listener, the wind, moved on."

So spoke Vivek, a small tribute to humanity through its ages. He knew not if the others would be swayed by the story, nor did he know in which direction it would sway them if it did. In truth, he himself did not know what should be done. He knew that humans had much potential for goodness, yet it seemed they had forsaken it. There was none as qualified as Vivek to pass judgment, for he had watched humanity from the start, but he feared he had gotten too attached to it. He trusted that the others would choose well.
Bhaskar spoke next, his anger greater than Vivek had ever seen it. His passionate words condemned the inhabitants of Earth and their act upon his beloved Avisa. During their creation, he did not imagine they would be capable of such horrors. Such care had been taken with them, and all for naught. Though the thought did not cause him joy, he felt that there was only one course of action.
Chandrani objected, for surely there was another way? Were they to simply give up, after so long? For millennia they had nurtured the race, and now they were to simply cast it aside? Mistakes were made by creatures and small, but they needed not be final. Had they no mercy?
Asha's words cut sharply into hers. Mercy they had, but for those who deserved it, and those who needed it. For if they didn't act, another life would be claimed! Where was the mercy for the victim? Gaia's actions had been of a cruel and dangerous nature, and now she had no place among them. For the sake of them all, she must be dealt with. Of course no one would be pleased by it, but a decision had to be made, and now was the time to make it.
Mournfully, Chandrani conceded to Asha's point. For while she loved Gaia, she also loved all the gods, and would not see them come to harm if she could help it. In agreement at last, the gods focused their thoughts, and their will was done. The planet called Earth and the species called Humans ceased to exist, and the universe continued to be."
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spellingmistax



Joined: 28 Jul 2009
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Location: Asa took this ^ I stole it ^_^

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After rerading both of these I am 'glad' that my pc crashed, in comparason mine lacks... imagination.

Tanu's entry, it is very good. (Tanu = Tamair + Tinu)
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while Udina asked the usual inane civilian things that came about while under attack: "What's happening? Who is shooting at us? I'm squishy and not wearing armor and I'm a liability, get me to safety, etc.
dubbed Anthrax by Asa
Spellingmistax = mistax = ax = anthrax
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Asa



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I failed. T_T I'm sorry.
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