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yefiridwa

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Cherico, Aug 28, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Peter Zeiwlander -the new solar order
    Cherico

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    Peter Zeiwlander -the new solar order

    With the end of world war 3 there were winners and losers.


    The inner circle
    America, United kingdom, France, India, Republic of China.

    The inner circle are the powers that make up the UN security council. When the war ended all of them exited it with at least a hundred million clones who were trained to have useful skills sets. They all developed space based capabilities before or after the war. They exited the war stronger and are the great powers that other powers revolve around.

    The greater winners.

    Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Italy, Austria, Chezch republic, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Korea, Thailand, New Zealand, Philippines, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia, Israel, Chile.

    These are the countries that decided to put their blood on the line, joined the military alliance against the soviets and decided to take the option of having cloned citizens in case something went wrong and the world ended before the terraforming finished. All of them gained an entire planet's worth of resources, at least a 100 million new loyal people with useful skills, a voice in the UN and the chance and ability to dominate their new worlds. Life in these places started out pretty rough after the war but now they're developed and they have a huge frontier waiting to be exploited.

    Most of them concentrate on that and either have limited spaced based resources or a very limited amount of it. Not a bad place to be in the solar system these days.

    The middle winners

    Turkey, Switzerland, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Haiti, Dominican republic, Honduras, Paraguay, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay, Jamaica, Trinadad, Guyana, Surinam, Bahamas, betlize, Barbados, Saint Lucia, Aruba, Grenada, Bermuda, Domica, Antiqua, saint Kitts, ayngola, Namibia, Liberia

    When the war happened these guys were either techically allied, useful neutrals, or just decided not to take the clones. All of them have entire worlds to themselves but they didn't get the demographic edge that the majors got. This means that their road to dominating their new world resources is going to be longer and harder but they do all have one edge in common.

    They came in with an intact infrastructure base. Ok in some cases it was damaged by civil war but they had the materials needed to industrialize and either didn't need hand-outs from the greater solar society or needed very few. They have a longer road and they know it but like I said an entire planet to yourself that's not a bad thing to have.

    The lowest rung of the victory

    Basque Republic, Indonesia, Ukraine, Tibet, Khalistan, Armenia, Kurdestan.

    These seven countrys either somehow survived the war, represent separatist groups from the winners' circle that were allowed to go, or were losers who were lucky enough to have someone vouch for them. Looking at you Ukraine.

    These countries received new worlds but they either had to build their infrastructure on the spot or had to rebuild it. These countries have an entire world full of resources to work with no hostile neighbors but they have to work a lot harder to get things done and are relatively poor compared to other powers.

    Now to talk about the losers of world war 3.

    ---

    The luckiest losers.

    Albania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Belorussia.

    The Budapest pact nations, nuked by their own allies, got slaughtered by the Russian plagues and were then invaded by the largest and angriest army in human history. They decided to fight...not a good decision. The survivors were the people who looked at the massive angry army, noticed that their cities were in rubbles, that there was no food or water, and that nuclear winter was here and surrendered.

    They were put into refugee camps on triton, watched over with armed guards, and then given continents on their new planet that they had to share. Their cities were destroyed, their infrastructure was destroyed and sure they had a continent's worth of resources but they had to live off of their former enemies largess and mercy.

    Not good for the old ego. You think the winners hate the Russians? Oh man, these guys hate them so much more. They're rebuilding now, who knows where they will be in the future.

    The ruler of hell

    Estonia somehow managed to get lucky as the soviets apparently forgot to nuke them, the allies didn't nuke them and their leaders took one look at the allied army and unconditionally surrendered immediately. They then collaborated with all of their might and are now the single strongest power on earth.

    Which doesn't mean much when the next strongest power is under UN occupation and lives on a frozen peninsula with orbital weapons pointed on them at all times just in case they decide to get frisky. The other powers are composed of nothing stronger than city states and roving tribes.

    The good news is that the nuclear winter is over, the earth's biosphere is recovering and no one is disputing Estonia's claims to the whole shebang. Anyone who does resist normally gladly takes offers to become a refugee anywhere else in the solar system.

    Earth is still a terrible place to live. Patches of radiation zones still exist, chemical weapons still scar much of the land, flare ups of Russian plagues still happen. Destroyed cities rot, symbols of a world that once was, but hey Estonia is now the foremost power on earth and the last man standing.

    Medium loser

    Russia... the Russian people barely survived world war 3, most survivors were lucky enough to either be outside the country, in a Gulag, or just somehow managed to beat the odds. Their reward for surviving all that? To become the single most hated and despised people in the solar system. UN troops watch your every move and you're not allowed to have firearms. Depending on which town you live in you may not be allowed to have certain levels of technology. You're definitely not allowed to have magic.

    To be Russian is to have the collective guilt for the destruction of the entire world on your shoulders. Right now it's a lot like being German in the 3 years after world war two, no one trusts you, no one likes you, and you're barely considered human. For Russians this is an improvement, it used to be worse.


    The biggest losers.

    Everyone else on Earth. Between the nukes, chemical weapons, Russian bioweapons, nuclear winter and a host of other problems pretty much everyone died. Most of the people who did survive moved off world and became refugees. All that remains of civilization... no, humanity... are small city states, tribes, and isolated individuals living in the ruins of what used to be a country.

    Most of them were neutrals, many of them had friendly relations with the soviet union.

    None of them were spared.

    Maybe in time new civilizations will be born but I find that unlikely. Most people flee when offered a chance to get off world.
     
  2. Cherico

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    Yerfiridwa is the ethopian word for judgement and this is the sequal to Gra Gryning I hope you like it.
     
  3. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

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    Robert Kline


    I looked at the elderly man in front of me.

    "I want to thank you for this interview."

    The man shrugged, it was hard to believe that he used to be a diplomat for the UN.

    "Say your piece."

    I coughed.

    "Do you regret it?"

    The man lifted a eyebrow.

    "I have a lot of regrets boy, be more spefic."

    "Your vote in the UN, after the war the Third World War."

    The man cleaned his glasses.

    "When I voted I spoke for the prime minister of Poland, I spoke for our congress, I spoke for our courts and I spoke for the polish people. I spoke for every pole who was murdered during the partitions, I spoke for every pole who was murdered during the long siege, I spoke for every victim of Russian aggression before, during, and after World War Two. I spoke for every mother, father and child murdered by the Russians during World War Three."

    He looked at me coldly.

    "I voted yes for justice."

    "For genocide."

    The man rolled his eyes.

    "Then maybe they shouldn't have committed genocide against the Cubans, against the Chinese, against africans, muslims, and numerous people from all over the world."

    "The Russians."

    "Made a mistake? THE WORLD ENDED!"

    The man pounded on the table.

    "If they just struck us, struck Nato, maybe just maybe you could justify it as a mistake but they nuked neutral countries. They nuked their own allies! They used dirty bombs on every holy place in the world. Mecca is still an irradiated wasteland. Their little suicidal temper tantrum killed over a billion people. So yes I decided to vote to finish the job, because I remembered what happened all the other times the world was merciful to them."

    He paused.

    "They're not gratful for it by the way, for us sparing their lives despite the crimes they commited against the human race. The only thing they regret is not winning the war, not murdering more people. So no I don't lose a damned bit of sleep at night."

    I paused and decided to change the question.

    "So what did you think about the 80s?"

    "Well Mrs's Lincoln, other than that how was the play?"

    I blinked.

    "The 80s were a horrible time, it was the single worst decade in human history, the world ended. The birthplace of the human race was bathed in nuclear fire."

    He waved his hands.

    "But oh the action movies were great, the music was fantastic and the fashion was oh so kitch. Fuck that noise this 80s nostalgia, it honestly makes me sick."

    He took a sip from a nearby cup.

    "So what did the decade mean to you?"

    The man closed his eyes.

    "For me? Loss."

    "The anniversary of Merlin's death is coming, what are your feelings about the man?"

    The diplomat's face was serious.

    "To the americans it was like they lost their grandpa, but to me..."

    His face was full of emotion.

    "When the human race stood on the edge of extinction Merlin took the righteous nations of humanity and said 'Not Today'."

    He closed his eyes.

    "Every single one of us owes our very lives to him, the last child of the phenix deserves the title of hero."

    I looked at the clock.

    "Thank you for your time sir."

    I was only given so much time and I had to leave.

    "You're welcome, boy. Enjoy your stay in Poland."

    With that I left his apartment and walked outside. I was in Warsaw, the old quarter of the city, the portion that was built and survived the Hundred Year Siege. Every building had hard thick walls, every single one looked like a small fortress and in the distance I could see the massive wall that once held off entire empires.

    In the distance I saw a teenager in a T-shirt, Merlin's face was displayed on it, under it were words written in Polish. It was a quote from Merlin.

    "I don't know the meaning of life. When you discover it? Please tell me."

    I looked at a place that had a picture of a bean on it and walked inside, this was the Café Zemsta this is where the prince of hell plotted his revenge against the European order.

    "What do you want?"

    I looked at the waitress.

    "Answers."

    "We have coffee."

    I shrugged.

    "Coffee, black."
     
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  4. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

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    Robert Kline



    The shop was silent as a song started, I recognized it instantly the song that encapsulated all of the grief, relief, anger and desperation that summarised the worst year in human history. The older people in the coffee shop sat up, as did respectful youngsters. I got up too, Nena was called the voice of 83, one of the most dominant singers of the 80s.

    "If you have some time for me
    Then I will sing a song for you
    About ninety-nine balloons
    On their way to the horizon
    If you maybe think just of me
    Then I will sing a song for you
    About 70 red balloons
    And that such a thing comes from such a thing."

    Everyone was on their feet, even me.

    "70 red balloons
    on their way to the horizon
    People think they're UFOs from space
    so a general sent up
    a fighter squadron after them
    Sound the alarm if it's so
    but there on the horizon were
    only 70 balloons."

    The singing took on a manic pace.

    "70 jet fighters
    Each was a great warrior
    Regarded themselves as Captain Kirk
    There was a great display of fireworks
    The neighbors didn't understand
    And soon felt offended
    Then they shot at the horizon
    At 70 red balloons."

    Some of the older people were crying.

    "70 ministers of war
    Matches and petrol canisters
    Regarded themselves as clever people
    Already on the scent of fat quarry
    They shouted, "War," and wanted power
    Man, who would have thought
    That someday it would come this far
    Because of 70 red balloons."


    "99 years of war
    Left no place for winners
    War ministers don't exist anymore
    And not one jet
    Today I stroll around
    See the world in ruins
    I've found a balloon
    I think about you and let it fly,
    and remember that 70 red ballons are still alive!"

    The translation spell on my medallion took out some of meaning of the original german. Every one sat down, the moment over. It was a song of mourning and survival that so perfectly encapsulated 1983 and the third world war that you saw it in every war movie about the period. It was the fortunate son of the doomer generation. It was the song that the grand alliance carried with it in their battle against the remnants of the soviet regime and the allies they betrayed.

    And when the truth of the incident came out the song gained a twisted irony to it. It remained, entrancing the public imagination, a moment of horror frozen in the amber of human memory. Would future generations sing it not knowing the context? Not knowing the feelings it stirred up? Would it be our pocket full of posies? I didn't know.
     
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  5. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

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    Robert Kline


    I watched outside the window as the artificial sun set and Jupiter took over the night sky, I could see the swirling clouds of orange, brown and white of jupiter as I sipped my simple cup of coffee. Leda was a beautiful world, and as Jupiter took over the sky I noticed that the seat across from me was suddenly taken.

    "Been awhile Kline."

    I turned my head.

    "Nessa, I though I smelled a bitch. What brings you to Poland?"

    She leaned back.

    "Fashion show downtown, I'm looking for incriminating photos to sell to the tabloids. You? Still wasting your time trying to change the system?"

    "I'm hunting for the truth."

    Nessa rolled her eyes.

    "Ok I will bite. What are you working on this time?"

    "I just did an interview with the polish diplomat who voted to kill the Russians."

    Nessa blinked.

    "Please don't do what I think you're going to do."

    "The man is completely unrepentant."

    Nessa sighed.

    "Do you want to spend another year doing fluff pieces on puppies? Because if you do yet another attack article with out all of the facts they will do that to you again."

    "The man is a proponent for genocide."

    Nessa shook her head.

    "The Russians are a third line, they are toxic, they are poison, they are humanity's untouchables. If you want to keep your job then here's my advice Rob, do not defend them."

    "I thought you would sympathise, you're german."

    "Yeah and I still can't buy my own coffee in Warsaw without someone spitting in iit.As much as the poles hate us, they hate the Russians even more. So let me tell you what will really happen if you write a hit piece. Right now this diplomat? He's nobody, because no one remembers him. You write that hit piece you're itching to write? He becomes a national star as every pole on Leda comes out to defend him, he writes a book, gets rich and they make a movie out of it and you come out looking like shit again."

    Nessa grabbed my cup and frowned when she found it was empty, she then put it back on the table.

    "My advice? Drop your judgemental bullshit Rob. It was a different time and a different place."

    "So what should I do?"

    "Include context, be fair, consider his viewpoint and the fact that it was a different time, a different generation."

    "And that makes genocide ok?"

    "This was right after World War 3, there were people who were talking about doing the same to us right after World War 2. People get emotional about this kind of stuff, plus remember to us earth is just a shithole to his generation it was home. We don't get them, just like they don't get us."

    She looked outside the window.

    "And either way your article is not going to change things here."

    "Why do you say that?"

    "The polish mind is like a 5 star hotels bed, it's already made up. They're a stubborn people, always have been, and to them Russians were their archenemy, their boogieman, the villain in all of their stories. Us germans? We're a side show in their personal story and they're still pissed at us."

    She paused.

    "Granted, fighting alongside the poles in WW3 helped heal some of the wounds of the 2 previous world wars. Honestly it's kind of nice to be considered the good guys in a world war, granted we had to hedge our bets but we made it happen."

    I felt a sense of exasperation at her words.

    "I see you're ready to tune me out, but listen to me. Be fair, don't screw yourself over again."
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

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    Robert Kline


    With our coffee finished we walked the streets of Warsaw, we didn't feel threatened or scared as we walked through the dark streets. Warsaw was one of the few major cities in the system where even the poorest neighborhoods could leave their doors unlocked. Some people credited that with the use of corporal punishment for minor crimes. Some people credited it with a strong sense of patriotism and others said it was because learning magic was mandatory for all children in the city.

    "It's nice."

    I blinked at Nessa's words.

    "What?"

    "The city, this city. The german army tried for years to get in and failed, the Russians tried for over a hundred years and failed, but here we are walking the streets of Warsaw."

    "Perhaps they don't like uninvited guests?"

    Nessa shrugged.

    "We Germans do have a habit of showing up to places uninvited."

    She smirked at me.

    "So where are you going next Nessa?"

    "Zone, it's well not close by but the fastest way to New York. There I will take photos of celebrities for money, hopefully I can get a few without their make up on."

    Nessa took a perverse pride in being a member of the paparazzi.

    "Not going to go home?"

    She shuddered.

    "No, I hated living in Neu Saxony, especially the shit hole town I grew up in."

    She winced as memories came back.

    "Look Neu Saxony, like all of the colonies, was created before Earth blew up. The german government basically gave the far right parties control over the programming to shut them up."

    She shook her head.

    "Lots of countries made that mistake so when my parents woke up from their training beds and created the new world they were trained and indoctrinated to be german."

    I nodded my head.

    "So."

    "So their idea of germany was a funhouse mirror stereotype of what germany was, based on some hooky folk ideas of german culture. I mean for gods sake people wear leiderhosen."

    "I've seen pictures of german cities people do that in the pre-war cities too."

    She winced.

    "During Octoberfest! Not all of the damned time."

    "America kind of has a similar thing that happened."

    She held up a finger.

    "No, no it didn't. American clones were designed to be like boyscouts yes? Their whole culture was designed by people who thought that the 1950s was the ideal culture in American history. The clones who came out of it may have been naïve and overly wholesome but they were able to adapt to technology."

    She grimaced.

    "Meanwhile for us it's like pulling teeth to get the colonies to accept anything modern. If I didn't run away they would have me married off at 16 to be a housefrau and shit out babies for the rest of my life."

    "That bad?"

    "That backward, yes. There is a reason why the center is fighting to keep the colonies from voting in the reichstag."

    She paused.

    "It's a losing battle unfortunately and, sooner or later, those maniacs will take over."

    "They raised you, they can't be all bad."

    She spat on the ground.

    "It's a cult based around the idea of germany, not actually germany. These are not tolerant people Rob, they're bad."

    "Nazi bad?"

    She shook her head.

    "No, no, not that bad, not obviously malicious like that. For one they're not so antisemitic, they just want to plunge us into their ideas of a germany that existed in some fever dream about the pre World War One era, an Era that never existed."

    She paused.

    "I wish we had been as sensible as the swedes."

    "The swedes complain all of the time about the lost social net."

    "Yes but they just gave their new world to moderate right wing parties that were not delusional nutcases. We gave our nuts a blank check."

    We stopped in front of a hotel.

    "Huh."

    I blinked.

    "Same Hotel?"

    "Wasn't able to get a room, mind if I crash with you?"

    I sighed.

    "You're a complete mooch, you know that nessa?"

    "Like I said, I am german. It's in our blood to invade other people's personal space."
     
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  7. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

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    I woke up to the sound of snoring. I looked over at Nessa as she snored on the couch, a gentleman would have given a lady the bed but I knew Nessa and the woman was many things but never a lady. I rolled my eyes as she scratched herself and I got out of bed.

    I opened up my suitcase and put on my suit. I sighed as I heard a knock on my door, I was dressed so I went out. There I saw a man in a blue suit, he looked Asian but I couldn't quite pick out the nationality though.

    "Zhang wants to talk to you."

    I crossed my arms.

    "Ambasador Zhang. You talked to one of his friends, he wants to talk with you."

    "Is that a threat?"

    "If I was threatening you then you would know, I am not a subtle man."

    I sighed.

    "Fine I will talk to him."

    I followed the man into one of the small compact cars that could manage to get around the cramped streets of Warsaw's inner city. I watched as we left the walls one by one, as the buildings became less crowded together, as we passed the walls until we left another wall. In the distance I saw the massive final wall, the one that was built in the interwar period, the one that stopped the Soviet Union and then the Nazis before the liberation of Poland.

    "Always wondered why the Chinese consulate was in Zabki."

    "Expense, and a wish for space. The only countries that have embassies in the inner city are America and France. Zabki though still counts as metropolitan warsaw and was in the walls during the hundred year siege, so it's good enough."

    "So it's inside the star."

    "Correct and that is good enough for us."

    We stopped at a massive building and got out. I rolled my eyes. Aquariums, what was with the Chinese and their damned aquariums. My guide noticed me and frowned.

    "Get it out of your system, the ambassador is a good man who personally saved quite a few lives during the fall."

    "Really?"

    "Mine was one of them."

    I steeled my face and walked into a room. A man sat in the center, next to him were two pillars that were of course filled with fish. The door slammed behind me.

    "You talked to Janko."

    I sat down, I couldn't help but notice that my chair was made so I would be forced to look up at the ambassador.

    "Yes."

    "About what?"

    "The vote, the one about Russia."

    The man narrowed his eyes.

    "I trust that you're going to be fair to the man."

    "He voted for genocide."

    The man leaned back.

    "So did we. So did the Greeks, so did the Mongolians and the finns. Everyone who used to have a border with Russia, all of their neighbors. We were the people who knew them best and all of us voted to finish them."

    "Did you vote to kill them."

    The man's eyes narrowed.

    "No. I wasn't always an ambassador. When that happened, when the rapture happened, when the world ended, I volunteered to go to China and save whoever I could and whatever I could. I watched as children died from radiation sickness, watched the Russian plagues murder entire villages."

    He paused.

    "They were their allies, they were people who had bled for the Russian communist cause. They had given up everything and their loyalty was rewarded with death."

    He gripped the table.

    "Over two billion people were murdered, and if Merlin hadn't been there it would have been so much more. You, you child who grew up knowing only peace, only plenty, who never experienced war... You have no right to judge us, judge Janko."

    He took a deep breath.

    "Why are you sticking up for him?"

    "Because every day he fought to give us more resources so we could save more people. Because he successfully lobbied his government to give us food and aid during a time when Poland was in chaos. Because he personally blew his family fortune to save as many lives as he could."

    The ambassador closed his eyes.

    "You saw his apartment? The man used to own mansions, used to own properties all around the country. He surrendered almost all of it in his attempts to save one more life. I want you to know this, reporter. I want you to be fair. To include the context of what happened, of what we lost and what we tried to save."

    I thought about it, thought about the story.

    "I can put my personal feelings aside and be objective but I do need proof."

    The man got up.

    "Very well. Follow me."
     
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  8. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

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    I didn't like what I saw.

    I also didn't like the fact that when I looked over the data and fact checked it, it all said one thing.

    "Damn it."

    Things had proven to be more complicated than I expected. The ambassador had sunk pretty much all of his money into rescue missions and refugee relief during the 80's, and yet he had also voted for the genocide of an entire people. I couldn't wrap my mind around the contradiction. How could a man work tirelessly to save people and then gleefully and without a regret vote to end an entire people?

    I wanted this to be simple, good and evil, black and white. Reluctantly I wrote a balanced story and included both views, the act I considered monstrous and his tireless charity work. When I sent the email I felt sick. I felt like I had let humanity down in a way, tried to excuse what I felt couldn't be excused. I decided to sleep on it, tried to ignore my own feelings as I waited for the email to get through the interplanetary lag back to Mars, back to America.

    I woke up to the sound of a buzzing phone, I picked it up.

    "Got your email Kline."

    "Yeah?"

    "Had an editor go through it, it's good stuff. Better then what you normally write."

    "I tried to be nuanced."

    I gritted my teeth.

    "Good, that means you're trying to be a real reporter and that means putting your feelings aside and writing the truth, that means embracing nuance and that means being responsible and not writing a hit piece unless you have all of the facts."

    My boss paused, I could hear the crackling on the phone.

    "It's a good story and we're going to put it in the paper."

    "Which page?"

    "Somewhere in the middle of politics."

    Not front page, never front page.

    "What's on the front page?"

    "A celebrity is getting a divorce."

    I took in a breath.

    "And that's getting front page?"

    "It's been a slow news day, a slow news year. That's why were sending you to Japan."

    "You mean Kore?"

    "The Japanese are officially changing the name of their planet, well moon, to Japan. It's not without precedent, most countries have either considered it or done it. The only country that have not put forth a plan to simply change their planet's name were well us and Canada."

    "Because Canada likes the name Titan."

    "Yeah. And there has been talk about renaming our country the United states of Mars. Point is, there is a story."

    "What kind of story?"

    "You're going to talk to a Shinto priest in the colonies, he started a new temple."

    "Ok."

    "Dedicated to a new Kami."

    "And?"

    "It's Merlin."

    I froze.

    "He specifically stated in his will that he did not want to be worshiped at all and stated that he wasn't a god numerous times."

    "Officially they're just 'honoring him', and the Japanese have never quite saw eye to eye with Merlin on that. To them if you bring ancient magic to the masses, defeat entire countries singlehandedly, terraform entire planets and save their country from nuclear war then you have pretty much earned godhood."

    I sighed.

    "I will take the next boat out to Kore."

    "It's Japan now."

    "Ok, take the next boat to japan."

    I hung up and looked at Jupiter in the distance.

    "It never ends."
     
  9. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

    Cherico Experienced.

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    Robert Kline


    Farm

    No word in black culture brings up the kind of emotions that the Farm brings up. Even if your part of the family hasn't lived on the family farm for generations, even if you have lived in the city the entire life, we all cling to the family farm. To sell that bit of land granted to your family after the civil war is unthinkable.

    The family farm was gifted to you to pay your family back for generations of slavery, it was bought with your family's blood, with their suffering, with their tears. The diaspora of black America clings to their 40 acres like a thirsty man to water. It's more than a piece of land to us.

    "Where you going?"

    "Going to spend some time in San carlos, baha, going to visit the family farm."

    The man nodded at me.

    "Always best to keep in touch with your roots."

    "Yeah."

    Baha. The name had resonance, it had meaning. To the collection of scared slaves who had been put onto an airship, given a mule and farming equipment and seed. It had been the promised land.

    It was a beautiful story, a beautiful narrative, after centuries of being in chains we finally had our own land, we finally controlled our own destinies. Baha and Louisiana. Baha taken from Mexico as a punishment, the people who lived there evicted in their entirety, their land taken from them and gifted to someone else. Louisiana with its control over the missippi had been wrenched away from the plantation owners.

    Lincoln had been murdered and an example was made, obey and you would keep what you owned, but if you put on a hood, if you tried anything, your property was forfeit and would be given to someone else.

    After the example was made, a destroyed south was given a choice. Rhose that went along would get help to rebuild, those that fought back would have a chance to become the next example, the compact was struck.

    We got land and a place of our own, the south got rid of us and were allowed to rejoin the union. The north got an intact union. The grand compromise. It didn't mention the people who stayed behind, the ones who wanted to remain in the places they had lived their entire lives in. Didn't mention their suffering.

    It didn't fit the story we wanted to tell ourselves.

    The ship landed in the harbor and I walked in the mid day sun northwards, until I saw the family complex, until I saw the farm.

    "Rob."

    I froze and looked at my older brother, the one who had been chained to the duty of making sure the farm continued on.

    "Hazel."

    We were silent.

    "I have some money."

    He looked at me.

    "The farm is doing well enough Rob."

    The two of us were silent for a bit.

    "Dad was...wrong about..."

    He looked away, there were rules in Baha. Chief amongst them that you didn't date Mexicans, I had broken that rule, got caught and had been sent to a university out of state. Hazel was the only one who talked to me during my exile.

    "Dad was wrong about a lot of things, there still a room for me?"

    "Always."

    I followed him as we walked into the family estate, I saw the distant pyramid, and frowned at the display of over compensation that seemed to infest Baha's architecture.

    "No politics."

    My brother frowned at me.

    "That's an unreasonable."

    "No politics, I just want one family gathering without any drama Robert, just one."

    He looked at me.

    "No politics."

    I closed my eyes.

    "And it's just me?"

    "It's everyone. No politics inside the compound, what happens in the city isn't my problem but not on the farm."

    "Fair enough."

    We walked side by side, my stomach sick as I walked back home.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

    Cherico Experienced.

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    Robert Kline

    I felt the familiar sense of annoyance and cringe as I got closer. Baha always managed to somehow piss me off. There was a sense of grasping, of pretention and of kitch that I did not like or appreciate.

    "A pyramid of course."

    Take a bunch of former slaves, give them some land in an area filled with small leylines and then teach them magic. The result? A people grasping for some kind of identity outside of being slaves.

    Neo egyptian, Afrofuturism, neo phenix architecture dominated Baha. Any trace of the spanish style homes that existed before had been very deliberatly destroyed a very long time ago, attempts to build new buildings in that style on the peninsula always somehow got stopped by city zoning commissions.

    The last attempt was in the 90s, a mexican restaurant in Lincoln, the city claimed that there was a problem with the wiring and bulldozed it. The city planner was lambasted on Telanova for it, and then the city made him a mayor in an overwhelming election. The automatic doors opened and I shook my head at the kitchy african masks that lined the walls.

    "Rob."

    "But."

    "They belonged to grandpa. Those masks were his prized possessions, I can't throw them away."

    "He was in africa for maybe a week. A week!"

    "And he bought a bunch of african masks while he was there and they were his prized possessions. I know they're cheap crap Rob, but they meant the world to grandpa and I keep them on display as a way to honor his memory."

    I turned one of the masks over.

    "Made in china."

    "Meant the world to him."

    I rolled my eyes, but I placed the mask back on the wall. With that done I dropped my bags at my room and went into the dining hall and got to enjoy the glares of my family members.

    "No politics."

    The other members of my assorted family looked at me and glared.

    "I'm not that bad."

    They turned back to their meals and I ate in silence until I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up and saw my father. His hands were rough, coarse, as he looked at me.

    "Did you keep up your training, boy?"

    "I'm a reporter, not an assassin."

    My father rolled his eyes.

    "Always so damned dramatic, we are hitting the range."

    I shook my head.

    "Ok. Fine."

    The family didn't speak to me, they didn't speak at all, instead we ate. My brother's wife had made us all plates full of Wat, an ethiopian dish that had of course been cooked in the most unauthentic manner possible. Because well that was baha. Take an idea from africa, get most of it wrong and then americanize the rest and pretend that it was part of your culture.

    The meal thankfully ended and I walked with my father.

    "Well that was awkward."

    My dad looked at me.

    "Thanksgiving."

    "It was a year ago."

    "And nobody forgot how you made a damned fool of yourself. We all agreed. No politics at the dinner table and then you went and started a fight and made everyone miserable."

    I shrugged as the steel doors opened, I sighed as my father touched his lips to his fingers and put it on the picture of John Brown.

    "Do you remember our oath?"

    I looked at the picture of the first mystic gunslinger, the man who created the art. I crossed my arms, my hands on my revolvers.

    "Where the bond of slavery exists most tragic, we shall liberate with magic. Through fire and rain we break the chain, we shall be living keys until at last all people are free."

    My dad nodded.

    "Our family was one of John Brown's original 13 disciples, the men tasked with teaching others and spreading the craft before he went on his legendary Charleston raid."

    "That ended with him being captured and executed."

    "500 slaves went free because of that raid and we gunslingers have existed ever since, carrying on his work."

    The pre antebellum south was a magic poor area and magi, true magi, did not do well around the institution. But a breed of magi using lesser arts didn't have a problem with that. We called them hucksters, they used playing cards as their spell books and often worked as overseers and slave catchers.

    When the war ended the remaining hucksters went bandit or joined the klan.

    My father's art was created by an abolitionist who ended up joining up with the overstretched law enforcement organizations found out in the west. Thus the conflict between gunslinger and huckster became immortalized in the public imagination.

    "Shoot."

    I flicked my finger and let out a single bullet. It ricocheted through the targets, rebounding across the room until it hit a lamp. My father shook his head.

    "Missed one."

    I looked at the lone target without a hole out of the seven.

    "Oh come on."

    "Again."

    I hated coming home.
     
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  11. Disminded

    Disminded I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Link to the first one?
     
  12. Extras: The prequel
    Cherico

    Cherico Experienced.

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  13. preier

    preier Know what you're doing yet?

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    Perhaps threadmark the link, or add it at the beginning of the first chapter.;)
     
  14. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

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    Robert Kline


    I woke up early and looked at a picture on the wall.

    "Baha silk."

    A smiling black man in a nice suit looked back at me. That was one of the family's industries, silk farming. 40 acres isnt a lot of land so things were pushed together, built up and down to maximize profits. I got dressed, packed my things and took a deep breath and opened the door.

    "Leaving, then."

    I froze as I heard my dad's words.

    "Needed a place to crash for the night, there will be a ship to Kore."

    "Japan."

    I rolled my eyes.

    "Japan soon. I want to be there, get out of here."

    My father looked at me with his weathered face.

    "Where did we go wrong?"

    "Look I have a successful career as a reporter."

    "Not rasing you boy. Our relationship."

    I narrowed my eyes.

    "Maria."

    My dad raised an eyebrow.

    "So?"

    "You forbid me from seeing her."

    "Yes I did."

    "Because you hate mexi."

    "I don't."

    I stared at him.

    "Really? could have fooled me."

    "Boy..."

    "I am a grown ass man."

    "You're my son, you will always be my boy, and my problem wasn't that she was a mexican. My problem is that you didn't get her family's permission, you went behind their backs to date their girl and that isn't right."

    "The two of us didn't need."

    "No, you did! You were in high school, you were both kids. You know what it looks like when the son of your boss dates your daughter without telling you about it? It looks bad. It looks like he's trying to pressure her into doing stuff she didn't want to do. Hell if you tried dating one of my employees' kids today as a grown ass man? I would still force you to get her family's permission."

    "That's archaic."

    "No that's being polite, it's being curteous, it's letting them know that you're not playing games with their girl's heart. That you're taking the realationship serious like. That you're not taking advantage of their kin."

    He glared at me.

    "This place is a backwater."

    "That's another problem, your atitude. You're so puffed up about yourself... Our people worked with our own two hands to build Baha into what it is now."

    "Something fake! None of this is authentic. The cheap masks, the architecture, itsy all just ripoffs of something else."

    "So?"

    "So we don't have a real culture."

    My father laughed.

    "What?"

    "Boy....remember that Gumbo I used to cook for you?"

    "It was just ok."

    "Stubborn, you loved my gumbo."

    "I grew up."

    "Boy, what we did here was we picked and chose what we liked and we created something new. You take your ingredients, mix them up and it makes a damned fine gumbo."

    "Insulting a long dead people"

    "Boy, I've read Merlin's writing, he always compared his school to a salad bar. He wanted us to pick and choose what we liked and build off of it. And most of this stuff has been around long before the world ended. You could say it's not unique, that it's a shoddy copy, but you would be missing the point boy."

    He stood up tall.

    "We didn't want an exact copy. Inspiration yes, but not exact. We wanted to create our own thing, do our own thing, be our own people and we did a damned fine job of that."

    "I'm leaving."

    "One of these days you have to stop seeing the world in black and white boy, life has a lot of shades of grey in it."

    I walked away from him, still stewing in my anger. Hazel greeted me at the bottom floor.

    "You have something to say?"

    "Dad isn't exactly wrong, he might go about things in the wrong way but he cares."

    "Whatever."

    I left, I had a job to do and coming back here? It was a mistake.
     
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  15. ninguem

    ninguem I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Among many worlds this would be an interesting world to visit, a human-centered space civilization with very unique features like a magic system.

    If one day I wrote a fanfic of a Planeswalker character, this would be one of the worlds he would visit if Cherico allowed. :)
     
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  16. Cherico

    Cherico Experienced.

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    Im willing to allow it.
     
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  17. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

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    Robert Kline


    "Well did the trip to Baha refresh you?"

    "I spent some time with my family."

    My editor was calling me and I stared up as I held the ship's phone.

    "It really is one of the most beautiful states in the union, the architecture is breathtaking."

    "I have to disagree with you on that but then again I grew up around it."

    "Very well, I'm passing along a message from your superior."

    I took a deep breath.

    "People liked your balanced report on the Diplomat, all of us think it's an improvement on some of your past articles."

    "I sold out."

    "No you didn't, you acted like a professional and you told the entire story after you got the facts. You have a bad habit of taking your political views and trying to shove them down people's throats. You can't do that and call yourself a reporter, you have to tell people the story and let them make up their own minds."

    I sighed.

    "I will try to be objective."

    "Good, the next story is in Japan, one of the colonies. Please be respectful."

    "I am a very polite person."

    "Can you please, at the very least, be believable when you lie to me?"

    "I am a perfectly respectful person."

    "You're....really not, the only reason we didn't fire you your first year is because you're willing to go anywhere for a story. Most of our reporters want a certain beat, or at least stay on the same planet. If you were not willing to travel you would have been black listed from the industry."

    "I'm not that bad."

    "You really were Kline, and what you call selling out the rest of us call growing up, now keep it up and be professional."

    The phone hung up and I shook my head, I was traveling by cargo ship to Kore, I mean japan. Where to? Hinata city in the new province of Saigō. The new Japanese empire was a study in contrasts.

    The island core of the planet had all of the industry, the electronics, the culture and a fast paced corporate culture that proudly worked people to death. The colonies by contrast had a much more sedate life and was a place that beckoned retirees, burnouts and Japan's neet population.

    If you couldn't hack it in the core you left and went to the colonies.

    "Attention passengers and crew we will be heading towards a nexus soon. Please secure yourself and your belongings before teleport."

    I went on the bed and waited as the ship shook.

    "Welcome to the Japanese empire, please enjoy your stay."

    I checked my phone.

    "1 IC."

    I took in a breath. Great, barely any signal. I checked sat links and found out that I'd have to wait for an hour long window around 7 pm local time to use it.

    "Hate working in the boonies."

    All I could do was wait as the real reason for this ship's mission to Japan got first right of passage. I walked up to the surface.

    "All right people those tractors are not going to move themselves move MOVE MOVE!"

    I looked at my watch and then at the small Japanese town in the distance. A recreation of a traditional japanese village made with local materials and modern technology. I waited impatiently as the goods were unloaded and after that was done I finally got off the ship.

    I sighed as a japanese man in a trenchcoat and fedora walked up to me, there was a sword on his back and I could see the badge. I brought out my papers.

    "Hinata police?"

    He blinked and then tapped a book on his side.

    "Yes, sorry translation spells activating, can I see your papers?"

    "Yes."

    He wore a T-shirt of some anime girl giving a v-sign and he read through my stuff and gave me a thumbs up.

    "You're good to go Kline-san, welcome to Hinata."

    I shrugged and bowed to be polite and walked on, that was one of the odd truths about japan. They wanted to tightly control magic but the Otaku subculture desperately wanted to learn magic and they needed magi. So a two tiered system appeared, with exclusive schools for the well connected and an assortment of street magi who grew up watching too much anime.

    One was the pride of japan, the others were given jobs in the colonies and ended up creating the new police forces of japan's territorial edge. These forces lacked the oversight of the core and I cringed as I saw the police station.

    "Why?"

    I knew it was a police station yet it was covered in Moe murals and a statue of a little girl in a police outfit with too large eyes was in front of it.

    "Just why?"
     
  18. 128Hunter

    128Hunter Know what you're doing yet?

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    Oh god, that's hilarious. And having lived in Japan for a few years myself, I can absolutely see that happening.
     
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  19. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

    Cherico Experienced.

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    Robert Kline


    The shrine maiden looked at me.

    "Let me guess you expected someone younger?"

    "I'm looking for the leader of the Hinata Shinto shrine."

    "That would be me, I'm Rin Tanaka the Miko of the temple."

    "Your English is excellent."

    She pulled a sleave back and revealed a bracelet covered in glowing runes.

    "I have a very good translation bracelet, it helps."

    I nodded my head, the woman was older than me, she had to at least be in her 50s.

    "So what made you decide to open this shrine?"

    "Merlin saved the Japanese race and gave us our own planet, he also saved other civilizations and his final gift will give humanity the stars themselves and he gave us the gift of magic on top of that. Shinto has made people into kami after death for less."

    "So you believe he's a god?"

    "We're standing on a world he created."

    "Merlin said he wasn't a god and didn't want to be worshipped."

    "We don't worship him, merely honor him, and Merlin was in denial. He was and is quite clearly a god."

    "But he said he wasn't."

    "Actions speak louder then words, and anyways we don't use the word god in the same sense that you westerners do. We do not think that gods are all seeing and all powerful. Various gods are in charge of various things. Merlin Is America's strongest Kami and we honor his deeds."

    "But not worship him."

    "We honor his wishes and do not perform sacrifices in his name."

    I sighed as I looked at the small one story building.

    "Do you want to come inside?"

    "Sure."

    I walked with her and was surprised by the simple elegance of the place. Images of the last phenix were engraved onto the walls and a photo of him stood in the center of the room. A man sat down, his legs crossed on a mat.

    "So I read your article on the war."

    I froze.

    "I tried to be objective."

    The woman nodded.

    "Yes, the end of the world was a difficult time for most people and most countries. I'm proud to say my country voted against certain extreme measures."

    "Genocide."

    "I consider my country's vote of no to be one of our better moments."

    "Do you consider it an act of mercy or repentance?"

    "Both. We made very bad errors in judgement during World War 2 and we were given the gift of mercy, so we bestowed it onto someone else. We came uncomfortably close to doing something very monstrous that could not be taken back."

    I nodded my head.

    "So gunslinger do you want some tea?"

    I froze.

    "What?"

    She smiled at me.

    "Magi are very obvious if you know the signs, even the low arts. The high magi they sense things that normal men can not. The blood in someone's veins, the currents of air, the ground beneath their feet, the heat. Their hands flex, always ready to communicate with the seasons, always ready to move. They dont really think about it ."

    She smiled.

    "The low arts... People who embrace the thief they sneak, they can't help it. Warriors puff their chests out looking for conflict, those that choose the scholar archetype keep their hands near their spell book. And you."

    She smiled.

    "The entire time your hands have been reaching for a gun that isn't there, your fingers pulling a trigger that isn't in your hands. Tell me, are your eyes of calculation on?"

    "I dont think that's relevant to the interview."

    "I think it is, reporter. The gift you possess exists because of the kami we honor."

    "I'd hardly call what I'm able to do a gift."

    Memories of father drilling me every day came back, the resentment came back.

    "I disagree, John brown created something unique during his little vision quest. If he had been a phenix during their heyday they would have considered him a prophet."

    I glared at her.

    "It's just a weapon."

    "Really? Because I am told that the eyes of calculation."

    "Can be replicated with a decent calculator, or a simple calculation spell. It's nothing special."

    The old woman raised an eyebrow.

    "You carry much bitterness inside you."

    "This interview is about the shrine."

    "How can I fill a cup that is already full?"

    I blinked at her statement.

    "Tea sounds fine."
     
  20. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

    Cherico Experienced.

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    Robert Kline


    I looked at a picture on the wall.

    "A seahorse?"

    "It's a symbol of the deaf community here in japan."

    She paused.

    "And the magic community."

    "Wasn't the deaf community banned from learning magic?"

    She shrugged.

    "In the years 1925 to 1945, not exactly a good time in Japanese history. Before that deaf people were encouraged to learn magic, the Tokyo school for the deaf was established in 1880 by Johnny Lawrence, the disciple of John Kreese who brought magic into japan."

    "Didn't that school double as a magic school?"

    "Name a single school for the deaf in America that doesn't double as a school for magic?"

    I sighed.

    "Point made, but John Kreese's work..."

    "Was missused by the Nazi's long after his death, the qliphothic arts are neither good nor bad they are a tool."

    "But the schools resulted in the death of the Japanese sign language."

    "Last practitioner died in 1921 yes."

    "Doesn't that make you... well sad or angry?"

    She raised an eyebrow.

    "You're a parent, your child has a disability, they're deaf. You have no real way to talk to them or treat them, and you're not from a wealthy family. You get two offers, one of them is from the local Buddhist temple. They have a form of sign language that will let you communicate with your child."

    She paused.

    "But your child will have to leave your city, and will either spend the rest of their lives as a monk or be forced to beg on the streets. Your child will also only be able to communicate with other monks from the monastery and they're not quite willing to share their valuable books on sign language with you."

    She poured some tea into my cup.

    "The other offer is from the new school that is setting up in your city. If you send your child there they will learn a form of sign language that is used globally and will be eagerly learned by non deaf people. They also offer to gift you books on how to communicate with your child and you will see them every day. On top of this they offer to give your child literal supernatural powers and the government hints that they will have a job for life for them after they graduate."

    She looked at me.

    "What do you choose?"

    "The later."

    "And that's how british, german, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Chinese sign language died. Why maintain your own unique thing when there is a globally used thing that accomplishes the same task and gives you supernatural powers?"

    "It was a part of your heritage."

    "It was something used by monks in Buddhist temples during vows of silence, and every temple had their own system. There was no standardization, it never penetrated to the masses and there was no effort to teach it to the people who needed it most. To scared parents with a child with disabilities American sign language offered hope. To the deaf people who learned it, it gave them an identity, it gave them power and it gave them self respect."

    She leaned back.

    "To the government it made people who were a burden to the state into people who were productive and useful. No one cared enough to preserve it so it died, lots of things vanish that way. Japanese sign language is just one more thing added to that long list."

    "But it represented the death of a portion of Japanese culture."

    "Culture exists to serve Humanity, Humanity doesn't exist to serve culture."
     
  21. Threadmarks: New solar order
    Cherico

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    Peter Zeiwlander -the new solar order


    So you want to understand the solar system as it currently stands? A good example is Poland.

    Poland before the third world war existed between the Baltic sea and the Carpathian mountains, these are the natural defendable positions. To the east and west was the european plain, no natural defenses, used by both Germany and Russia to invade the country. Poland has spent much of history being invaded over and over again.

    The discovery of magic changed some things. The city of Warsaw exists in a leyline cluster that resembles a star of david and exists as a point of a long ley line triangle that connects the cities of Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Krakow. Poland might have lacked natural defenses but it had supernatural ones.

    If they had more time between the second partition, or more time and magi during the napoleonic wars, they could have secured these points and a larger portion of poland would have remained free. Unfortunately for them they only had enough time and magi to secure Warsaw.

    The hundred year siege that followed has been burned into the Polish psyche. Their country was occupied, savaged and mistreated and they stood defiant. When their country was liberated the first thing poland did was try to create a defensive network against Russian agression, peace with germany and looked for Great Power support on top of that.

    Germany was offered a pretty good deal, access to markets and weapon sales to an alliance pointed away from them. Then they changed the deal and allied with the Soviet Union to take down the Eastern Alliance.

    This time however was different, the poles had secured the triangle and raised a wall between the points. The polish triangle would house free Poland for the duration of the war and remained free from both German and Russian occupation. It would be key in the Polish break out that would lead to Germany being invaded from both the east and west.

    So post war Poland has lost its network of alliances that defended it, its neighbors are now soviet puppet states and it immediately joins NATO and becomes the most outward defender of the alliance.

    The deal was simple: Poland gets access to American markets and America uses its navy, the last navy standing, to secure the ability of Poland to sell to any market on earth. If the nukes are unleashed then Poland will be sent to another world. In exchange the poles agree to fight the cold war america's way. So do many other nations. It was a good deal, the poles took it and then the war happened.

    Now the poles situation has changed, they gained an extra 100 million people and an entire planet's worth of resources with no neighbors and no enemies. They stuck with the alliance to avenge earth but these days?

    They don't need to trade with anyone else for natural resources, they have a dedicated manufacturing base, they have a growing internal market and no rivals that can easily attack them. The poles are slowly losing intrest in the outside system. They're becoming more isolationist. This is a story that's being repeated across the solar system.

    The reason for the Grand Alliance was protection from the Soviet Union, access to trade and access to resources. The Soviet Union is gone, you have all of the resources you need and the post war baby boom gives the winners a much larger internal market.

    This growing disengagement with the greater solar system is already being felt. The cold war order is dying and this book is about what will rise to take its place.
     
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  22. 128Hunter

    128Hunter Know what you're doing yet?

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    I literally just finished the last one and back paged to unread threads when you updated. It’s good so far Cherico, can’t wait to see how it continues.
     
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  23. Threadmarks: Martian news network
    Cherico

    Cherico Experienced.

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    Martian Network news


    "Today on MNN, we have a discussion with Professor Max Stirner. Max, your opinion about World War 3?"

    The man cleans his glasses.

    "I think the primary lesson that humanity learned from the 20th century is that government shouldn't get beyond a certain level of size and power."

    "A common anarchist belief."

    The man frowns.

    "Why yes I am an anarchist, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. When right wing government became too powerful it created the Nazis, when left wing government got too powerful it created the Soviet Union."

    "Shouldn't that be a call for political moderation?"

    "That is a legitimate point but different communities have different needs, we need to empower people to have control over their local communities."

    "So you want small government socialism."

    "For the communities that need and desire it, yes. Some communities will choose more traditional options or capitalistic ones, the point is that the government is kept small enough that the community can control it. Once it gets too large then well we saw what happened to Earth."

    "Any fears for the future?"

    Max sighs.

    "If you're talking about the third world war? My fear is that it will be remembered like the tower of babel, either being treated like some divine punishment for hubris or even worse a sad but necessary bit of suffering for humanity. Both are wrong."

    "Explain?"

    "World war 3 did not have to happen, no one had to die. We could have colonized the solar system at a slower pace, being thrust roughshod onto new worlds and the painful transition that caused did not have to happen. Small localized control is in my mind the solution to preventing another disaster like the world wars."

    "And Political moderation?"

    "Honestly I don't think its possible to moderate politics, there will always be people trying to push their governments towards some extreme. For anarchists the solution is to limit their power so they can't cause too much damage."

    "And the idea of eliminating government altogether?"

    "Is an ideal that sadly does not work in the real world, we found that out during the era of the Ukrainian freestate."

    "which also didn't work."

    "There were some failed experiments yes, but because government was localized you didn't have the large scale famines that you saw under stalin and mao, or the gulags, or the mass graves."

    "The freestate."

    "Was conquered by the Nazis during World War Two and then by the soviets who committed a lot of atrocities against the Ukrainian people, but the principle of small communities controlling their own fates is a proven one."

    "Thank you for your time. Last question, your opinon of communism?"

    "A failed experiment that should be left in the past, just like fascism."
     
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  24. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

    Cherico Experienced.

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    Robert Kline

    "you remember the time I knew a Girl From Mars?
    I don't know if you knew that
    Oh we'd stay up late playing cards
    Henri Winterman Cigars
    And she never told me her name
    I still love you, the Girl From Mars."

    It was the single most dominant song of 1995, the song that made the Irish band Ash one of the biggest bands of the late 1990s. I listened as I continued to write my report, the meeting in the shrine had been amicable.

    The owner wasn't a lunatic, the shrine itself was respectful, most of the people who came to worship really came to worship other Shinto gods because like it or not the Merlin shrine was the only Shinto shrine in town.

    I decided to be fair and try to be balanced, the place was relatively harmless, I put aside my feelings and wrote and then when the satellite was overhead I sent it home. I closed my eyes.

    I was listening to a song popular with a post war generation that had never been to Earth, who had never known Earth, had never lived in a time where they bordered other countries. Theirs was a larger and smaller world.

    They didn't get us, the funeral dirge to humanity's home couldn't go on forever and people eventually had to get on with their lives, had to adapt, had to change. And for the little girls who became women on mars, that song struck a cord with them. Americans had, without noticing it, become martians.

    The same transition was happening elsewhere and I was a part of it, the older folks didn't get us and we didn't get them. How could we when we literally came from different worlds. My phone rang and I prepared myself for my editor's mood.

    "Got the piece."

    "It's a fluff piece."

    "It's honest, it's fair and it's not a hit peace with an agenda, I like it. I like it enough to get you a place in the next Hajj."

    "I thought you were trying to get an actual Muslim for that?"

    "Tried and failed. We need someone who is willing to go anywhere, even an irradiated wasteland."

    "I thought the Hajj could only happen during a."

    "That was when Earth wasn't a nightmare world. The Islamic scholars got together and, because of the extra danger and distance involved, the Hajj can now be done at anytime of the year. You're not allowed into the Kabba of course, or Mecca city limits, but you will be following a number of pilgrims."

    He paused.

    "I can't understate this: you're going to need to be a whole lot less judgemental. This is literally a sacred quest to these folks and it's going to be a long uncomfortable journey so I need you to take your judgementalness and attitude and take it down a notch."

    "What's a notch."

    "Ok, let me rephrase that. Take it down all of the notches. This is an important religious thing in the Islamic world and they have had a pretty rough time of things, they do not need someone playing the fool during a harsh and dangerous journey."

    "Got it. Anything else?"

    "I got one of my family's old expansion chests, I am going to fill it with enough food and supplies for yourself, and extra to feed the others if anything goes wrong or if anyone gets hungry. The group you will be with is fifty people large."

    "Turkish or Indonesian?"

    "Indonesian, they're a little bit more relaxed about outsiders and there's less of a chance of things getting physical if tempers flare."

    "The turks are nowhere near that bad."

    "The turks aren't but they're a multiethnic country with the minority ethnicities having a hard time of it. Arabs, Kurds, Persians, Turks... Theres history there and it's not always nice. Something goes wrong tempers flare and it can get dangerous. speaking of which... some ground rules."

    "What is it?"

    "Be polite, be respectful, don't mention Russia and communism and be helpful. It's a long two week journey from your drop off point to your destination and back. No drama Robert."

    "Or I will go back to fluff pieces about puppies."

    "Or you might end up dead."

    The call ended and I stared at the ceiling, my editor was just being overly dramatic right? Right?"
     
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  25. 128Hunter

    128Hunter Know what you're doing yet?

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    ... Yeah, Kline buddy? He’s not being overly dramatic. If anything he might be understating it. That journey is SERIOUS BUSINESS. Emphasis required.
     
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  26. Cherico

    Cherico Experienced.

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    you know what since you decided to post that Im going to reward you with tomorrows update today

    stay awesome hunter
     
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  27. Threadmarks: Robert Kline
    Cherico

    Cherico Experienced.

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    Robert Kline



    I took a deep breath, next boat was going to take weeks to get here so I was for now trapped in Japan. I looked at the clock, the Satellite was overhead. I put in the number, and waited. The phone rang.

    "You called on time Mr. Kline."

    "Being punctual is important."

    "That is is, which is why I must apologize as it is going to take a little bit longer to arrange the Hajj for my group."

    I nodded my head.

    "Any problems?"

    "There have been sightings of giant crabs around Mecca, so we are going to have to stock up on weapons."

    "Giant crabs?"

    "Russian biological weapon, they are mutated coconut crabs with a taste for human flesh and about the size of a small pony."

    I was silent and then started laughing.

    "That was good, you had me going there."

    "I wasn't joking..."

    "But the laws of physics."

    "The Russians used magic. The good news is that they can only survive in high radiation environments, the bad news is that Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem are all high radiation environments."

    "So there's nothing to visit?"

    "Oh no! They used dirty bombs that make the place utterly unlivable but all of the buildings are completely intact."

    I could hear the barely restrained loathing in his voice.

    "Do you have any combat experience or ability?"

    I sighed. Do I lie?

    "I'm a gunslinger."

    "So firearm training?"

    "Mystic gunslinger."

    "Oh, Ohhh. That is just fantastic, you are the shooty mages, right?"

    "You're not angry?"

    "Most Indonesians are Sufis and that branch decided that magic was a part of the natural world and it was ok to use it as long as you didn't worship it."

    "Why are you sufis?"

    "Officially we were captivated by their divine truths. Unofficially we live in a tropical zone and we wanted magical healing so we would not, you know, die."

    I didn't expect him to be so well practical.

    "So your name?"

    "Oh right, forgot to give it to you. The name is Argo and I'm, well, the leader of the expedition. Mind doing me a small favor?"

    "What is it?"

    "Since you are a shooty mage, I am going to need you to man the machine guns."

    "Machine guns, you're bringing machine guns on a religious pilgrimage?"

    "I mentioned the poney sized crabs that eat human flesh didn't I? Because I'm pretty sure I mentioned that."

    "Very well since I'm coming on your holy quest it's only fair that I help you."

    "Great! and I mean that. This is very important to us, we were all handpicked by our villages to do this so it means a lot to the folks back home."

    "I assume we will talk more when the trip starts."

    "Sure, I just hope we manage to get that tank."

    I grimaced.

    "I wish you luck with that."

    "Thanks Mr. Kline, we are going to need it."

    With that the conversation ended..I was pretty sure he was exagerating... Crabs couldn't possiby get that big.
     
  28. ninguem

    ninguem I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    "Why don't you like seafood, uncle?

    Because I saw things, Jimmy.

    I saw things.

    Things..."

    [​IMG]
     
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  29. 128Hunter

    128Hunter Know what you're doing yet?

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    Are we talking Mirelurks here or something else?
     
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  30. Cherico

    Cherico Experienced.

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    [​IMG]

    Imagine some thing like this, only in a size ranging from small poney to mini van, and it craves the taste of human flesh.
     
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