Geography of Fiction Blog Assignment #7

As I mentioned in class, I want you to pick one of these images and use it as a short story prompt…500 words or more, but it must be an actual story (not just a setting description) and don’t freak out, we can work on it on Thursday in class if you’re not confident about story writing as opposed to just describing a place. You can choose any story format you wish, straight narrative; epistolary; any POV (first, second, third person, or omniscient narrator)…just think of something fun that these pictures inspire and write…

Blog 7 storytelling

26 thoughts on “Geography of Fiction Blog Assignment #7

  1. “It’s difficult to remember where it all began but I can see where it all will end. I feel the wind in my face, the sun rays warming my skin. Such beautiful sight, such deep sorrow. Why am I in tears? She is safe…they are all safe. A sacrifice had to be made. It was the only way.”
    “Such beauty. This is a good end. I can hear the crust tearing apart…don’t be afraid…it will be all over soon.”
    “Hmm. … There they go: the last two ships. She is onboard…they are onboard. I hope they can forgive me. But how could a leave while others were forced to stay behind and see their doom approaching slowly as it has been for the past 9 months: first a new bright spot in the distant night sky, a few weeks later the announcement…a few months later the lottery. And now, reality. It came fast, without warning. Gosh…it is so beautiful.”
    “Where did it come from? Why is it here? Why now? Wow…I felt that…the rumbling is getting louder. It’s so beautiful. It almost looks like you, H’trae.”
    “ Oh my beautiful H’trae…you are being torn apart from the inside out. I hear you cry in pain…I feel your insides churning and spilling onto your surface, burning everything in their path. Your oceans toss and turn and invade your lands. You writhe in agony as your end approaches. Do not worry…I am here with you. Your end is my end”
    “ Why does it look so much like you? What does it want? It is almost like looking at our reflection in a mirror. Its moon looks like yours. Its oceans look like yours. Its surface adorned with snowy caps and white clouds looks like yours. Why? Could it be your angry self reunited in such violent occasion?”
    “That breeze feels nice on my skin. It seems you are kissing us goodbye H’trae. The wind is caressing the tall grass around me and making it move like waves in the ocean: endlessly beautiful…endlessly constant. Could the be more sublime?”
    “Now man…hold your ground. It was just a stronger rumbling. It is okay to be afraid. It is not everyday one dies, right?”
    “What is that green glow, H’trae? Why are your skies turning emerald? Is that your life source slowly leaving you as the end approaches? I can hear you pain. I can feel your sorrow, and I know you can feel mine.”
    “The air is warming up. It burns as it enters my lungs. Just look at that…it is ripping apart too. I guess it suffers like you do, H’trae. It is in pain like you are. It surely deserves it. Look at it H’trae, its skies are turning green as well. Its burning insides are spilling unto its surface. It is dying as well H’trae! Maybe it is its destiny to dance across the vastness of the universe and end it all here with you…with us. Two halves becoming one”
    “H’trae, it burns. I can stay much longer with you. I need to fulfill my promise and release these tokens of respect into the skies before there are no more skies.”
    “ My mother, my father, my beloved child, my brother, my friend, myself…I release our souls into the universe. Like those onboard of those ships in the search of a new home, I release our souls into the vastness of the cosmos to look after them in the journey. Our dreams and hope go with you and our memories will live forever in your love”.
    “It is hot H’trae…I see the sky turning red….my skin burns. I see the wall of fury and anger approaching at fast speed. The end for me approaches. I am scared! What is this? What is this gentle breeze kissing my warm skin? I am sorry, H’trae, I tried to comfort you until the end, but you comforted me. I must…”

  2. My world is endless it could go on forever in my mind, and perhaps that is just because I have traveled so little. Beyond the scattered rock mountains and the ever night sky I have seen little else, the blue green waters have bathed me, aided me in cooking and survival, beyond these waters I have had no cause to leave. My life has been silent, not because I am alone but rather that I am deaf, in my language we say Salientor I am a silent observer of life around me. I am isolated from those I love, not because I am unwanted but because as a Salientor I am to have no bias I am to watch the action around me and write down what is happening.
    Being a Salientor is a noble and ancient task that has been a part of my family for ten generations, with one child in each family born deaf. Yet there was a hiccup in my birth. I was born in the early high tide month, the air was warm and the sky was not so dark, the light that lingered in the beyond could almost be seen through, the beyond was not so far away. The stars had nearly disappeared from the sky on the day of my birth, it was believed the world would end. I was the youngest of my siblings, seven brothers before me, and my father had died two months before my birth, and so it was expected that I would be the Salientor I had to be.
    I was born screaming, I was born crying, I was born starry eyed, I was born listening. The midwife cooed at me to calm me down wiping the blood away from my eyes and mouth, her cooing caught my attention and I ceased crying. Shock ran over her sweaty face, her pale blue eyes became worried, she furrowed her brow creating new wrinkles of worry; she lifted her left hand to my ear and snapped causing me to cry again. The midwife looked over at my mother as she lay on the blood soaked mattress.
    “The child hears.”
    My mother trembled with anger and fear, without a Salientor our history would cease. A dark look came over the midwife’s face, both women understood what would come next what to happen in order that our society survive. The midwife bundled me up without a word to my mother, and placed my in a hard clay pot, she traveled along the jagged terrain to the sandy banks of the Canderford. She placed the pot that held me in a small boat and then proceeded into it herself, pushing off the bank she navigated us through the haze. She hummed quietly to herself once we were far enough away from Canderford. Through the icy cold water she guided the boat around shallow water, and landforms that had not yet become prominent above the water’s surface. It was an hour before she was close enough to Soardian to cease her humming, the jagged mountains that rose up in front of her were dark and unwelcoming. It was a place forbidden to us, a place we were warned against traveling to, yet still she approached. The boat slowly ceased as the reached to sandy northwest bank, she quietly rose from her position and scooped me out of the pot and climbed out onto the sinking beach. She huddled back into her hooded cloak, fear was etched across her face, perhaps she was regretting the action she would have to perform or perhaps she was worried that she would meet an unsavory end; I do not know I never had the chance to question her.
    She trekked across the beach to the mountain side, looking up she could go no further without becoming known to those who dwelled on Soardian. So she called out, “A favor for Canderford, a favor for our people, a favor for our history.” It is only now that I understand the meaning of the phrases, to call on the Soardians you make no requests instead you offer up yourself and your homeland, at any time the Soardians will call back this favor and it cannot be denied. The midwife waited and listened to the whistling of the wind through the cracks in the mountain, the subtle movement of the water hitting rocks. She waited nearly an hour before a response was made.
    “A favor to Canderford, a favor to your people, a favor to your history will be granted. Give us the child and wait in your boat. Do not leave it no matter what you hear or see.” The voice was hard, as though the mountain has spoken the phrase.
    A cloaked figure appeared from the shadow of the mountain, completely black its hands were gray with spindly boney fingers that reached out begging for the bundle the midwife held, begging for me. I felt the cold hard nails touch my skin, the razor sharp edges moved across my two hour old skin, I passed from the warmth of the midwife to the mountain creature. She backed away looking only at the hands that held me imagining those hands wrapped tightly around her neck, imagining her death if she did not comply with the orders.
    The figure carried me to the shadows and the mountain consumed us, I did not cry out or perhaps I could not cry out. The figure glided down a corridor too dark for my eyes to describe, it entered a sanctuary immersed with red light the source I cannot say. I was laid out in a stone basin without my blanket, I was calm staring up at the figure that was now joined by three others just alike in size, cloaking and hands. My blue eyes made a study of them hoping to find a way to document them to keep them in my history.
    The figure that brought me inside looked at the others, “A Canderford child, the last of the line of Salientors born with hearing.”
    “We have done this five times before, do not they remember the price they paid for their history?” The one on my right said, its voice was sharp and jagged.
    “This child is a Salientor,” the first said looking down at me, “See the way it looks at us; there is knowledge already in its eyes, they did not take the time to notice. The first of the Salientors were not born deaf yet in their history they have decided that by denying one of the ability to hear and speak for themselves that they will become unbiased. When did this begin?”
    “Five generations ago.” The figure next to the first figure reminded him, it was a female voice, a sweet voice that reminded me of the midwife’s humming.
    “Should we not just comply with these people?” The second asked, “They wished to continue this tradition why should we deny them their fanatical thinking?”
    The first figure paused, “I believe it is time we end this. I was not created to torture children, to take the sight from the Caliendors, the hearing for the Canderfords, and all other debaucheries we are forced to do. I am old, I cannot continue to live for others whims.”
    “They will think we wish to end their civilization.” The fourth finally said.
    “This child will remember every moment in it’s life, not because it is deaf but because it is a Salientor.” The first figure picked me up and I glimpsed a portion of its face, grayer than its hands, it looked nothing like my mother or the midwife, brittle lips, and no nose to speak of its eyes were mere slits in its head, but they had life behind them a vibrant green, “Child I pass onto you the knowledge of a nation, truth to your people. When you have grown and learned of the lie they have burdened you with return to this place, come back to those who saved you, and we will call up the favor that has been made this day.” He carried me to the source of the light a wisp of red light that floated in the center of the sanctuary it hovered, spinning and rolling over itself. The figure looked down at me, and wordlessly spoke to himself a phrase too powerful for me to know, the wisp of light ceased moving; I watched intently as it reversed in direction and then disappeared, although I could not see it at the time a new mark appeared on the nape of my neck a red symbol of a jagged mountain. And with this new addition to my body my world went silent, or at least my tongue did.
    The figure returned me to the beach, swiftly taking me to the midwife, with a smile she thanked him and laid me more gently than she had before into the clay pot. I could barely glance over the side of the boat but I could still see the figure waiting by the water as we crossed back to Canderford. The midwife hummed more sweetly and smiled down at me and slowly I began to understand why I should be silenced.
    I grew learning the secrets of my neighbors, the truth of my people, I never let on that could hear them, only reading lips on occasion. I held no one dear to me and early in my childhood I began my plot against my people against my scheming mother, my brutal brothers, and the people I was forced to call my equals. I watched the wars we waged for blood sacrifice but was never allowed to document into our historical tombs, I examined the bloody bodies of the women they kidnapped, and the children they forced into slavery I listened to.
    Now on a cold low tide evening I have made my escape across the low-lying waters on foot, wrapped in a coarse shawl I walk, aware that I am about to change the course of history, or rather I am about to end our history.
    Standing on the beach of Soardian now thirty years old, yet every detail is as I remembered, the peaks of the mountain have perhaps decayed over the years but the cold hard feel of the wind coming through the cracks and the black soot that remained in the shadow of the mountain still lingered. As I stood silent the figure emerged from the shadow, although I could not see its face I knew it was smiling, knew it had been waiting for this moment since my departure.
    “Speak” It said simply.
    Without a thought or difficulty, I began to speak for the first time in my life, “A favor you gave Canderford, a favor you gave my people, a favor you gave my history. I am here to do your bidding.”
    It pushed back its black hood, its charcoal face lined heavily with wrinkles, its green piercing eyes looked me over, and a smile that seemed out of place on such and ancient face was stretched across its face, “I expected you much sooner than this.”
    “I wished to come sooner, yet the leaders of my country destroyed the boats after the midwife returned, I believe they feared further travel to Soardian.”
    “What do they call you in your country?”
    “Aliana.”
    He nodded, “Come Aliana, let us discuss the fate of the world.” He turned and walked to the mountain’s shadow.
    I followed without thought or concern for those we were about to plot against, I was never part of their society, I was instead the secret keeper the one who was to die with their sins. Burdened with the atrocities of this race of men who view themselves as gods. I am not their silent secret-keeper, I am not the fixer of history, I am Aliana and I have heard.

    • This was an interesting take on the assignment, I like the idea of the floating city and now i want to know what happened on earth, what mysterious disease wiped out so much of the population. And how this suddenly earthbound elite is going to survive.

  3. Fitzsimmons, “Read this! “
    /Boss
    /I received the plans for the floating colony platforms by courier yesterday morning. That was one squirrely bot, I mean it actually looked like a damn earth squirrel. Where do you find people like that? I get that the new biobots are taking on whatever form suits them, but damn! I was sitting out on the patio at the hotel and he just dropped right out of a tree and started talking. At first I thought that someone had lost their exotic pet. You don’t even want to know where his data port is.
    /Back to the plans though. So if I understand this correctly you are going to put these on 62e. This would give you ample space for a small city on each and if you select the right plant species you could even farm most of your own food. If the designer figured out the calculations for density properly you should be able to house up to 1000 persons comfortably per disk. I realize your militia will settle for tighter density, anything would be better than their current barracks. Another idea would be to use smaller armored ones that are mobile?
    /On that subject have you looked the new satellite artillery bank info that I sent you last week. Did you notice that I just sent an encoded message instead of a damn squirrel?
    /The specs say that you can fire 150 rounds per minute for the guided type and nearly 300 for unguided per barrel. Each platform has 12 main barrels and I think that if you arrange these one per degree at the equator you should be able to defend your new home quite easily. You can choose whether they are person controlled or fully automatic, although the second option gives me the creeps. If you are going to install sensors for control at least give a bot a job and put them in control.
    /The primary problem is going to be getting enough solar power from the red dwarf even with mirrors and gravity magnification lenses. Still that is not my problem and you think you have it covered. There are a number of species that will live at lower light levels that can be borrowed from the known worlds and space bases. If each platform has a fusion reactor along with the available solar and wind power, you should have a sweet world in your hands. /Did your AI friend successfully fuse itself with a mycorrhizal mat like she hoped? If so than this would be the optimal way to control the environmental aspects of each disk. I still think that you should put in an interface for an unattached operator whether bot or flesh in case the primary AI dies. You never said who she is, do I know her?
    /We still want a disk of our own on your world. Klax is drawing up the modifications needed to suit our needs. Well I shouldn’t say drawing that is too anthrocentic (23c word that is similar in meaning and usage to racist), she is interfacing with her own personal cloud and will come up with finished plans today or tomorrow. From what I gather she wants fewer buildings, more plants, and no visible armaments. She is also working on some form of gravity shield based off of the gravity lens design. It will allow us to deflect incoming rounds instead of taking the full assault. I am supposed to tell you that she is sorry about the last remark with the probe and that she is much calmer now. Her apology gift to you will be a fully functional shield system that you can choose to use or share at will.
    /I still cannot believe that the feds are letting you buy an entire world. Someday you will have to tell me what the is final price. I am happy that you are not being exclusionary as far as who you will welcome to your new home. That bot only expedition has still got a number of our shock troopers spooked. Can you believe that? These people have been through more shit with all of the piracy and backwoods warlordism going on today.
    /You still haven’t given me a response to that info I gave you about my encounter with the new friends last month. I think that you already knew or we wouldn’t be world building.
    /I am sending this message back with Herman the squirrel. Yes, he told me to call him that. By the way do not go drinking with this little guy, I think he has something in his systems that cancels out the alcohol. I really want to do a scan on the little guy even if this would be really rude.

    “Did you look at the message?”
    “I did lord.”
    “Is he asking for too much?”
    “Does this simian really think she can create a gravity shield?” I think I know how the lens works so is the shield going to do the opposite? Instead of compressing or bending 200Km of light with a ring of gravity generators, maybe she is going to focus them outward, make a cone that will turn a round away from the disks.”
    “Clever Fitzsimmons, I might still have use for an old man like you.”
    “Thank you lord, let me get that annoying phone.” “Hello this is the office of Count Mowat, can I help you?”
    “Here?” “Just a second, I have to speak with the Count.”
    “Qi Chi, is here! Now!”
    “Why is he here? Fitzsimmons?“, “Hell, send him in.”
    “Are you sure lord?”
    “Yes, tell him to come in I want to get this over with.”
    The door opens and Qi Chi and Klax come into the room with Mowat’s secretary Phyl.
    “Thank you Phyl, go to lunch now and close the doors on your way out”
    “Yes sir.”
    “We have a present for you Count.”
    Klax hands a data storage pod to the Count who just grins.
    “You two are so damn paranoid, how am I supposed to read this?” “Fitzsimmons see if we have a tech who can read this pod.”
    “You do, you have a kid here, cyborg with black hair goes by the name 88mike.”
    “He used to work for me a few years ago but I made you give him a job.” “Don’t you remember Count?”
    “I do, he was such a smart ass that I banished him to the far side of the planet.” “I will call him here; it will be a few hours.”
    “Count, send the pod to him, he will work faster in his own lab unless he doesn’t have one.”
    “True, and he does, I made him a department head at a regional university.” “We get our best techs from his school.” “OK, Fitzsimmons send the pod on a trooper shuttle, something fast.”
    So, I must be correct in assuming that this kid should be the one who builds my new shields, otherwise you would have said something by now.”
    “He should and we think you will be surprised how cheap it will be.” “Klax’s design would pay for this entire planet if you decide to enter the shield market.”
    “let’s talk about this while we eat, Klax do you have your own food?”

  4. (third image)
    He brought up Compass. I can’t believe he brought up Compass. He tried to use it to get me to come out of retirement. I hate talking about the war and I especially hate talking about Compass.
    As I’m watching his ship soar out of my atmosphere and back towards Kennedy, I notice my right “arm” is completely locked up. It happens sometimes when I get too tense; the nerve endings send too many strong signals and the robotics lock up. I’ll have to calm down before I can use it. I shouldn’t have lost my temper but no one makes me angrier than “General” Broderick. It feels weird even saying his name with that title. Brody was just a punk kid cadet when he joined the crew of my ship 25 years ago. Has it really only been 25 years? It all feels so long ago… another time, another life… another war. And I’m not going to be dragged into this new one. No matter how many old war buddies the U.N.E. sends to my moon to pull me off this farm.
    I never think about the war. As much as they would like to believe the stories, I never liked war. I never liked space or my damn ship. How many sleepless nights did I lose to my damn cold cabin that should have been spent on Earth? I should’ve been there… on the surface… when they wiped the planet clean. I should’ve been there. I should’ve died… with her. Instead, I was on that damn cold ship when I lost her. I’ll never forgive myself for that and no amount of war medals or promotions can make me feel any different. I should’ve have been with her, in the park, watching her beautiful balloons fly off into the sky. I was never happier than I was in those moments.
    But I was young then. I didn’t know. I thought a rifle in my hand and a ship under my command would make me important. But it was her. Our love was the only thing that should have defined me. She knew that but I had to learn. So I fought hard and I fought well. I hated war but I hated seeing people hurt more. So I fought, thinking I was doing some good. When the coalition of alien forces came and decided to occupy our planet, I knew people would be hurt. They promised it was for the best interest of our planet that we be “introduced into the galactic community” but I saw right through that. Occupation is occupation. As soon as the United Nations of Earth decided to fight back, I knew it was my duty to join up. If we were going to be a part of the “galactic community,” it was going to be on our terms. I was a natural behind the controls of a fighter ship. Flying that ship just felt like running or walking to me; just an extension of myself. Before I knew it, I had a small shuttle under my command and I just kept ranking up higher and higher. Then I had my team. My own battle cruiser to command and 12 of the best fighter ship pilots in the whole universe. They were willing to follow me into any fight with no hesitation and I was willing to pretend I was the man they wanted me to be; a leader.
    Until Compass. I didn’t hide the risks from my team. We knew that the colony was on lockdown and that most humans were already slaughtered… but I felt we were obligated to save those we could. Maybe I still felt guilty for not saving her. Maybe I wanted to die myself. I don’t know why I made the call. I gave the team a chance to walk away and I have never carried a single hard feeling for those that did. Even the pilots who stuck around felt like it was a suicide mission. For most of them… it was. I can’t think about it… I can’t think about how I came out of that horrifying event with titles like “hero” and “legend.” I don’t deserve those names. The only title I deserve is “survivor.”
    So I quit. They all understood, for the most part. They knew I was still shaken up about my wife and they had to understand how much pain I was going through. I had lost my arm but the scars underneath the surface were much more visible. Even still, it always felt like they were upset with me. Like I wasn’t as strong as the picture they had made of me in their heads. Brody was the most upset. He looked down on me like a father that had disappointed and abandoned him. In a lot of ways, the man who just left my farm is still the same punk cadet from all those years ago. He’ll never understand what it is about this moon that makes me happy. All he sees in me now is a warrior who decided to give up everything he had to join a terraforming union and start farming an old moon by himself. He thinks I’m an ungrateful old fool. But I’ll never leave this moon; it reminds me of her too much. She always wanted a moon to call her own. She always wanted us to end up someplace like this. As I watch Brody rocket back to his colony and his responsibilities, I set all of her old balloons loose. For a moment, it almost feels like she’s here with me. Watching those balloons by my side and finally satisfied that I chose to stay with her instead of heading off into another bloody war…

  5. My story takes place in the top picture, which I will name the Islands of Enchantment. It will have a little bit of mystery associated to paranormal activity. During Easter week it is very common that people, in most Latin American countries and in my case in Panama, take the week off from school and work. The main reason of this practice is to show respect and remembrance to all of the adversities Jesus had to go trough when he died and the miracle of his resurrection. This tradition has been lost with passage of time. However, the stories say that when people did activities that were not related to staying in your house during this week; they were going to be possessed by the devil or something wrong was going to occur to them.

    It was Good Friday in the Islands of Enchantment. Each family occupying every single island is in there house saddened by Jesus’ Crucifixion two hundred years ago. Children in these islands are reminded that they cannot play or do anything that is not related to the observance of God Friday, because they might be possessed by the devil.
    Isaac a 13-year-old boy living in one of the Island was bored on this day. There is not much to do in these Islands other than fishing, swimming or taking a boat ride. Only one family occupies one island and they live on top the mountain range. The reason they build their houses here is because during the summer most of the ice that was frozen during the winter melts and the sea level increases. Isaac decides to use his father’s fishing boat. He does this without asking for permission to his father and knowing that something evil could happen.

    He leaves approximately 3 miles away from his native island. He stops between two islands where families living there saw that he wanted to through himself from the boat to swim. Once they saw what he had done, they told him: please, don’t do that, Isaac. It’s Good Friday and no one must be out of their house, it’s a sacred day” Before the consternation of what Isaac was doing people started to make the sign of the cross fearing the worst could happen to him. He started to laugh not caring about the warnings he had received from others.

    He started swimming in the warm water. For a moment he started to feel fatigued and started to hear this voice that told him -if you continue swimming you will not make it alive to your house. He did not pay attention to it and continued swimming. All of a sudden a whirlpool started to take place exactly where Isaac was swimming. He did his best to get out of it alive but he could not. People that had warned him saw what was happening to him. The saw how this underwater sink hole opened and dragged Isaac into it. The sinkhole closed, which made whirlpool stopped and no one ever knew, were Isaac was.
    Many people in the Islands of Enchantment attribute Isaac’s disappearance to a punishment that was sent to him, for not having followed the tradition on the observance of Good Friday as a sacred day.

  6. Bottom one looked like it could be in my imaginary lunar environment, so I sort of went with it. No balloons though, so there’s that.

    “Well, sir, how it went was, me and Michelle went in the front, and Derek broke in the loading door in the back. Everyone was supposed to be gone-who works at night when we’re on the far side anyways? But there was one guy working at the station in the back, so Derek shot him with the handheld he carries for field work, and….”
    “WHAT?”
    “Barely stunned him, jeez, the damn thing overloads neural networks-it isn’t even a laser, for the love of Pete, man, we aren’t serial killers, we’re environmental activists!”
    “I still want to zap you myself.”
    “Like I’m the real problem?! Anyways, we figured they were just holding some normal wildlife, ya know? That shed they had back there wasn’t much bigger than my house, and you and me both know those noises all night long sounded like someone was drowning one of the cats in there, you know? Except a really big one, and angrier than Yara’s wife-“
    “Stop joking and keep telling me what happened before I actually zap you-“
    “Okay, okay! So it turned out I was right, for once-“
    “There’s a first time for everything.”
    “- that building wasn’t just some little mess of a few of all these new inner-ringer Naval science suits looking to get ahead of the Parliamentary ethics commission on exobiological research in their little storage locker on the down low in the outskirts, oh hell no, it was what looked like a full stacked laboratory-gel computers and the whole getup. Must have cost them some serious time and effort to drill that damn thing out so many stories down without anyone noticing, and…”
    “Get. To. The. Point. Or I leave and shut the door until Maven comes in tonight, and she can listen to this idiocy about multistory underground secret labs. You would think if I give you one chance to explain why you were found next to the blown up building you could come up with a more realistic story, I mean really, I know it’s late…”
    “…complex, by the way-less you think it wasn’t guarded and I’m making all this up! But really now, they weren’t just keeping local cats in there, Steintz, there was something else, it was dead but goddamn I haven’t ever seen anything so big in all my life, it was even bigger than the camcap of that tentacle thing Messy brought back from the expedition last month, and I’m not even sure the damn thing was all there, and it had skin that looked like a dozen centimeters thick at least and…”
    “Okay Esrey I think you can stop now, I don’t know why on earth or any other planet I keep giving you the benefit of the doubt but with that bad business with your mother and all I almost feel bad for you regardless. But you can’t blow a building up-even a little science specimen shed, and expect us to let it slide this time! This is a lot different than the petty thefts I’ve been getting you probation increases and labor for; this time you’re going off-planet.”
    “Sir! We didn’t blow up the building! That’s what I’m getting at!”
    “Don’t even lie to me one more time, Esrey, you’re going down for this one, I’m not helping you anymore. “
    “But sir! It’s all connected-the AI installation, the science interest-it isn’t because they want to help us, it has to be for that thing that was in the lab! That must be why they came to get it!”
    “Okay, I’ll bite-who blew up the building if it wasn’t you suckering Derek into blowing the battery after you let all the damn cats out?”
    “That’s just it Steintz! You need to tell someone-except I don’t know who, but the big dead sucker in there, it looked a hell of a lot like one or three of his close cousins came out of the fringe right as we ran out-everyone bailed damn fast but when I looked back it looked like one of them just ripped the batpack out of the wall, crushed it, and threw it down the central shaft!”
    “You have to be kidding me, Esrey, that’s the most idiotic thing I have ever heard in my entire life, and I have teenagers. You’re doing a drug works kit right now, where’s the damn med pack anyways…”
    Both of them looked over as Bains burst through the door, bringing the torrent in with him. “Goddammit man”, exclaimed Steintz, “now it looks like the ocean is in here AND out there-what’d you find at the damned suits’ site anyways-this idiot’s friends I hope?”
    “Uh, sir,” muttered a suddenly abashed Bains, “footprints, sir, awful big ones.”

  7. I exhaled deeply, slowly closed my eyes, and did the best I could to slow my heart rate to a resting cadence. My arms seized at the thought of the oncoming 80ft face towering above me. Snapping out of my zen like state, I immediately made the next move, confident, smooth, powerful, it was everything it needed to be. The air whizzed through my ears, my stomach churned and gravity took its toll upon me.

    Once the rope caught my fall, I immediately yelled upwards to the Ondranian sky in frustration, defeat, and overall fear. It’s never a comfortable feeling to fall off a sheer face of a granite spire, especially when the last piece of protection you’ve placed below was guaranteed to not hold. This is future alpinism at its finest. People just don’t understand it, the archaic way of ascension, the style, the reasoning. To most it’s just a convoluted way to ascend some pointless spire or rather interesting feature on a planet foreign to earth, but to us climbers it’s a noble way of continuing the old traditions fostered by climbing original to earth. The concept is exactly the same, ascend whatever face you choose to climb in the manner that is morally correct to the region and type of climb you are attempting. For it being such a freeing and pointless sport, there ought to be some rules right? Sure we have the technology to not use traditional ropes and camming devices to hold one’s fall, and truthfully there’s no logical reason to climb and Ondranian spire with your hands and feet, when one could just fly to the top. Yet it’s the adventure, danger, and passion that drives us to continue such a sport. Unlike space basketball and other oddities that have been popularized ever since the ease of public space travel, ours truly is core. Every ethic and sense of it relies upon the user and no advanced technology. Just as the way it was back in the day on earth.

    And once again I lay sprawled across my archaic sleeping pad of the Ondranian sand, staring into the endless night sky clustered with galaxies yet to be explored, so many places to go, so many mountains unclimbed, so much…so much…. Tommorow hopefully would be the day I make the first ascent of the largest spire on the relatively newly found and explored planet “Ondra”. I alike many other groups of man currently on this planet, are in a wild craze to climb every spotted spire and tower in the harsh region, before another may claim first over the other. It just so happens that this planet out of the many millions out there, is perfectly suitable for our sport. The gravimetry is exactly the same as our native planet, and the towering granite geology of the region is more than perfect for our sport of choice. Sure there are other places in the universe to go that have grander, greater things, but this place is the real deal. It’s as old school as it gets, and for us true traditionalists to the sport, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Tomorrow I will wake and attempt another try at the North face of Ondra’s largest rock feature. A 5,000ft face that peaks to a small spire with just enough space for a man’s foot on top. It will be the crowning achievement of my career, something for people to remember me by. A heroic venture into the great unknown.

  8. Based on the top picture. This is what happens when I write to a playlist of Yes, Rush, Genesis, and Agalloch.

    The sky was clear that night, the glow from the phosphorescent plankton illuminating the horizon, the auroras melding in the gentle green light of the cosmos. It was lonely here, and that was good.
    A sound? A ship. There was a ship coming.
    “Damn you, Tiresias. May you freeze in the abyss for disturbing me here.”
    It came down smoothly once it entered the atmosphere, settling into the water like some great bird, sending ripples washing onto the shore to lap at the feet of the one who stood there. A figure emerged from the ship, and made its way unsteadily through the shallows.
    “Novalis!”
    He had the gall, then, to not only invade this planet, almost sacred in its solitude, but also to use a name that should have been forgotten years ago.
    “Novalis,” He had reached the shore by now, the hem of his raiment wet and heavy. “Novalis, are you here?”
    “I am here, Tiresias. Why have you come? I thought you respected my withdrawal.”
    He seemed unfazed by the cold tone in which he was addressed. “I have stayed away, per your wishes. I have stayed away for many years. But listen to me, now is the time for you to come back to us. The time is right to try again. I’ve bought a ship, but I cannot be successful without you. I need your ingenuity, your support, like last time.”
    “The last time taught me only to stay away from things which should not be meddled with. Why can you not let it truly be the last?” So this was the reason he was here. He would not be satisfied with the comprehension allotted him. He burned with the desire to peer through the pinpricks of space-time into the inner workings of reality. Fool.
    “The Computations are optimistic. We are destined to try again”
    “Computations be damned– it was a failure, you know it was.”
    “That’s utter nonsense. You managed to bring us back.”
    “We came back. Oh, we came. But you at the helm lost your natural sight, and my soul sustained wounds so that I can no longer live among other thinking beings, and she, she burnt. Why do you not speak? Why do you remain silent, confronted with the truth?”
    He was looking at his hands– no, his face was merely downturned—and it was some time before he spoke in answer to the demand. “I mourn her. I mourn her constantly, Novalis Paralian. No one should die in that way. But I am not so callous, so self-centered as to discount—“
    “Self-centered? You are the one who can see nothing but the stars in your eyes. You are filled and filled with the lust for discovery. You wish to know the secrets of the universe but such things are not worth the life of one so precious and beloved.”
    “It has been Computed. We will be successful this time. We will not fail.”
    “There are variables that even the Computations cannot account for.”
    Nights here were short. Already the sun of that world was beginning to rise. There was a moment of silence, and it was the resident planet who broke it. “Here I am cradled by the stars, Tiresias. I ask nothing of them and they ask nothing of me. Here I will stay until I die, content in my apathy.”
    “Walk with me, Novalis. We need not speak of this for the moment. Long has it been since I heard your voice last. I do not need to see to be a pilot, for I can hear space. I can hear the waves emitted by the stars, and they guide me, and I can feel the controls of my ship under my fingers, and I guide it. But while I hear your voice I cannot hear your face after these long years, and although I can hear the gentle waves lapping on the shore I still cannot envision this planet that you have made your hermitage.” He meant to change the subject, then. Let him.
    “The waters are the clearest green you could possibly hope for, and they glow gently with the light of thousands of tiny organisms metabolizing. It is never truly dark here and I am never alone with my memories,” (Oh! That absence of light. It lurked in the corners of all minds, but few had encountered it in life—unseeing was the only way to describe the experience of that void filling all sight) “Constantly I am reminded that life in the universe goes on, teeming in the very waters of this planet. There’s barely any flora here to speak of, so I don’t think the planet could sustain much of a population, but if you like fish you can survive. There are great beasts that traverse the oceans farther north towards the equator, but I find that I am most comfortable here, near the pole. The auroras are spectacular, but I suppose you can hear them, Tiresias. As for my face, I myself have not seen it in years, the waters here being too clear to hold a reflection, but I suspect it would look wearier than it once was.”
    “We failed together and suffered unspeakably together, Novalis. Would you not experience victory together?”
    “And would you not learn to be content traveling through life at the same pace as the rest of us? I suppose not. How long until the Computed departure date?”
    “Quite some time. Years. Voyages of discovery cannot be embarked upon quickly.”
    “Go then, and when the preparations are almost complete you may return and ask me again, and perhaps at that time I will say yes.”
    You have your answer, Tiresias. Go now, and maybe it will be that hearts and minds change in the interim.

    • shoot, another typo. About 39 lines down it should read “The resident of that planet.” The planet itself doesn’t speak. shoot.

      • No worries, writing to a deadline is hard and without a lot of editing/tweaking time there’s bound to be a few mistakes here and there. Great short story, I love the idea of this place as an hermitage.

  9. (Based on the top picture; this will probably be a middle section of my semester-story)

    >>Base Alpha, this is Team 21. This a request for evacuation. One of us needs medical care aboard the shipsat.
    >Roger that, Team 21. Transport from Base Alpha will be there by 2700 local time and have your replacements.
    Two figures moved quickly towards multi-dome structure. Between them, they supported a third whose arms were around their shoulders. Once past the airlock, the two uninjured men quickly stripped off their environmental suits before focusing on the man whose face was now—-without his helmet—-gasping from the pain.
    “Careful with the foot,” Locke warned. “I’ll go get some bandages.”
    Michael cut the suit around the calf. He hesitated, considering how to best remove the plasticine-fabric. It was semi-melted onto parts of the foot around a lash tear in the fabric.
    “How bad is it?” whispered Grant.
    “You won’t lose it,” Michael said confidently, “but the chemical salts will have done a lot of damage. You’ll need to stay off it for quite a while, I’d guess.”
    “Not bed rest…” came the jokingly groaned response, now that he fear of losing the foot was gone.
    “I seem to remember someone complaining that we didn’t spend enough time in bed with him.” Locke commented as he returned with some bandages and supplies to clean the wound. Medical supplies in compounds were limited. Even the Base didn’t have much, but that was because it was only a half hour ride via the space elevator to the shipsat.
    Grant flushed an embarrassed scarlet and laughed. His noise abruptly turned into a crying gasp as saline flushed the wound and Michael worked to debride it as best he could. Bandaging it was equally difficult. Neither of the other men said anything as Grant slipped a hand into Locke’s and squeezed it during the process.
    “Done,” Michael said in satisfaction. “We need to get you to the bedroom to rest.”
    Grant’s complaints notwithstanding, he was moved, tucked in, and dozing soundly—-thanks to a pain patch stuck right above his ankle. Locke and Michael lay on either side of him.
    “Can it be fixed?” Locke asked.
    “I think so,” Michael replied. Despite his reassurances earlier, Michael wasn’t entirely certain. The wound wasn’t likely to get infected, and there weren’t any abnormal substances in the vicinity.
    The terraforming process was fairly predictable. A sharp rock beneath a stretch of mud wasn’t predictable.
    “It wasn’t acid, because his skin didn’t burn. It was something chemical that made the suit melt.”
    “And that heat is what made it burn the skin off?”
    “Yes, but that will just scar some. The cut was fairly deep.”
    “He loves being a ranger.”
    “All of us do,” Michael replied with a smile.
    “I shouldn’t have teased him about us,” Locke said guiltily.
    “Don’t be silly, I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. He’s not the only one to take his time and decide.”
    Reminded of the day Grant had asked to partner with him and Michael, Locke smiled. He was one of the oldest crew. Twenty-two year-old Michael was one of the youngest generations to set foot on the planet. All three had met during physical training aboard the shipsat.
    The ship-satellite was very efficient at socializing its artificially created crewmen and women. Around half of all partnerships were triads instead of pairs, but only a dozen were same-sex. Physical training was one of the few competitive activities encouraged by SAM, the shipsat AI. Michael was small and very agile. Locke was heavy with muscle. The two had been sparring alone on the mats one night more than a year ago when a voice had interrupted them, commenting on things both could do to defeat the other.
    Grant asking to join the brawl had led to a lot of things, Locke thought to himself as he closed his eyes. Michael’s snoring suddenly turned into a bleeping.
    The proximity alert signaled the transport less than thirty minutes away now. With supply runs made every two months, all three knew the time schedule. While Grant slowly worked himself into a fresh suit, Locke and Michael hurried around the compound putting random things away and packing the few personal items all three had brought with them. They were done and in their own suits by the time their replacements arrived.
    Team 29 was a male-female duo, David and Sarah—-none of the three knew them very well—-but it didn’t take long for them to be briefed on the general state of things. The rest was all logged into the compound system which stayed in sync with the Base and shipsat. The terraforming process wouldn’t be harmed by the interruption. The compound’s mission was to monitor the formation of saline lakes in the depressions to the southeast. The hope was that in a few years algae, krill, and possibly even some sardines could be introduced.
    The drive back to Base was tedious and uneventful. On arrival, they took a lift up to SAM.

  10. blog assignment #7

    Hello,

    I sent this to you in the event that something has happened to me; maybe my death or incarceration or possibly an unresolved end. But that is why it is important you are reading this- the things we have discovered need to be unveiled for the people of Sorson. They have to be informed because so much has been hidden.

    It was in the year 3046 when I when I began my job at the Drobček working as one of the assistants to the Gregar. I was only 19 and it was my first position after gradating from the Vessels. The Marjonii Regime had just fallen and we were in the process of transitioning to the Betadyn Empire. Because of the strong uproar and protests to the Betadyns ruling us, many activists were fighting against the overtake. Columnists were writing articles with conspiracy theories and political leaders were voicing their lack of support for this. It seemed as though everyone who spoke out against the new regime seemed to disappear without any explanation.

    Zendayo was a man whom I knew in the Vessels, someone I was not very close with. But as things in Sorson began to escalate, we began working together to discover what was real between the media (which was controlled by the government) and conspiracists and activists. We somewhat knew our way around the Drobček but were not able to gain access to high official information. Many government workers began to split and polarize and those opposed to the Betadyns’ rule secretly aligned. Zendayo and I made connections with some who held high ranks and gained access to information which were withheld from the people of Sorson.

    The Betadyns had made an alliance with Into whom were the enemies of United Dormun, the major intergovernmental organization Sorson was a part of. By working together with Into, the regime was secretly to blame for sabotage and all of the major wars for the past 35 years. These wars led to the death of 100,000’s each and many more injured.

    This information took two years to gather and place together. The night before we were to release the information internationaly, Zendayo disappeared as well as all of the documentation or any evidence supporting these claims. There was not a single trace of anything we had worked on and the men and women who assisted with the project were never heard from again. To this day I have no idea what happened to him.

    This happened 13 years ago and since the disappearance of the information, I had struggled to gather a team of people to help uncover these lies and many others. There were some success but many failures because of moles working on our team. A great number of my teams have been murdered, arrested or disappeared and I have experienced great loss.

    The regime has been chasing me since the beginning of my career and I guess my end has finally come. Know that whatever has happened to me, I will be at peace, because I know there are people like you who will carry on my work and fight for the people of Sorson. I have arranged for my people to connect with you and you will know what to do next. I hope you take care of yourself and grow to be the great woman that I know you are destined to become.

    L’fer erdmn fálmst eraden

  11. Fitzsimmons, “Read this! “
    /Boss
    /I received the plans for the floating colony platforms by courier yesterday morning. That was one squirrely bot, I mean it actually looked like a damn earth squirrel. Where do you find people like that? I get that the new biobots are taking on whatever form suits them, but damn! I was sitting out on the patio at the hotel and he just dropped right out of a tree and started talking. At first I thought that someone had lost their exotic pet. You don’t even want to know where his data port is.
    /Back to the plans though. So if I understand this correctly you are going to put these on 62e. This would give you ample space for a small city on each and if you select the right plant species you could even farm most of your own food. If the designer figured out the calculations for density properly you should be able to house up to 1000 persons comfortably per disk. I realize your militia will settle for tighter density, anything would be better than their current barracks. Another idea would be to use smaller armored ones that are mobile?
    /On that subject have you looked the new satellite artillery bank info that I sent you last week. Did you notice that I just sent an encoded message instead of a damn squirrel?
    /The specs say that you can fire 150 rounds per minute for the guided type and nearly 300 for unguided per barrel. Each platform has 12 main barrels and I think that if you arrange these one per degree at the equator you should be able to defend your new home quite easily. You can choose whether they are person controlled or fully automatic, although the second option gives me the creeps. If you are going to install sensors for control at least give a bot a job and put them in control.
    /The primary problem is going to be getting enough solar power from the red dwarf even with mirrors and gravity magnification lenses. Still that is not my problem and you think you have it covered. There are a number of species that will live at lower light levels that can be borrowed from the known worlds and space bases. If each platform has a fusion reactor along with the available solar and wind power, you should have a sweet world in your hands. /Did your AI friend successfully fuse itself with a mycorrhizal mat like she hoped? If so than this would be the optimal way to control the environmental aspects of each disk. I still think that you should put in an interface for an unattached operator whether bot or flesh in case the primary AI dies. You never said who she is, do I know her?
    /We still want a disk of our own on your world. Klax is drawing up the modifications needed to suit our needs. Well I shouldn’t say drawing that is too anthrocentic (23c word that is similar in meaning and usage to racist), she is interfacing with her own personal cloud and will come up with finished plans today or tomorrow. From what I gather she wants fewer buildings, more plants, and no visible armaments. She is also working on some form of gravity shield based off of the gravity lens design. It will allow us to deflect incoming rounds instead of taking the full assault. I am supposed to tell you that she is sorry about the last remark with the probe and that she is much calmer now. Her apology gift to you will be a fully functional shield system that you can choose to use or share at will.
    /I still cannot believe that the feds are letting you buy an entire world. Someday you will have to tell me what the is final price. I am happy that you are not being exclusionary as far as who you will welcome to your new home. That bot only expedition has still got a number of our shock troopers spooked. Can you believe that? These people have been through more shit with all of the piracy and backwoods warlordism going on today.
    /You still haven’t given me a response to that info I gave you about my encounter with the new friends last month. I think that you already knew or we wouldn’t be world building.
    /I am sending this message back with Herman the squirrel. Yes, he told me to call him that. By the way do not go drinking with this little guy, I think he has something in his systems that cancels out the alcohol. I really want to do a scan on the little guy even if this would be really rude.

    “Did you look at the message?”
    “I did lord.”
    “Is he asking for too much?”
    “Does this simian really think she can create a gravity shield?” I think I know how the lens works so is the shield going to do the opposite? Instead of compressing or bending 200Km of light with a ring of gravity generators, maybe she is going to focus them outward, make a cone that will turn a round away from the disks.”
    “Clever Fitzsimmons, I might still have use for an old man like you.”
    “Thank you lord, let me get that annoying phone.” “Hello this is the office of Count Mowat, can I help you?”
    “Here?” “Just a second, I have to speak with the Count.”
    “Qi Chi, is here! Now!”
    “Why is he here Fitzsimmons?“, “Hell, send him in.”
    “Are you sure lord?”
    “Yes, tell him to come in I want to get this over with.”
    The door opens and Qi Chi and Klax come into the room with Mowat’s secretary Phyl.
    “Thank you Phyl, go to lunch now and close the doors on your way out”
    “Yes sir.”
    “We have a present for you Count.”
    Klax hands a data storage pod to the Count who just grins.
    “You two are so damn paranoid, how am I supposed to read this?” “Fitzsimmons see if we have a tech who can read this pod.”
    “You do, you have a kid here, cyborg with black hair goes by the name 88mike.”
    “He used to work for me a few years ago but I made you give him a job.” “Don’t you remember Count?”
    “I do, he was such a smartass that I banished him to the far side of the planet.” “I will call him here; it will be a few hours.”
    “Count, send the pod to him, he will work faster in his own lab unless he doesn’t have one.”
    “True, and he does, I made him a department head at a regional university.” “We get our best techs from his school.” “OK, Fitzsimmons send the pod on a trooper shuttle, something fast.”
    So, I must be correct in assuming that this kid should be the one who builds my new shields, otherwise you would have said something by now.”
    “He should and we think you will be surprised how cheap it will be.” “Klax’s design would pay for this entire planet if you decide to enter the shield market.”
    “let’s talk about this while we eat, Klax do you have your own food?”

  12. It is important to emphasize that education during the Middle Ages was largely dominated by the Church. Any person who made a relevant discovery through the use of science was considered to be a heretic – a person whose beliefs and doings did not go in accordance with what the church dictated. The majority of the elements contained in the Hereford Mappa Mundi are of a spiritual and religious nature. These features were inspired in the use of biblical tales and the location of religious places. Among some of these religious features can be mentioned: the location Jerusalem in the middle of the map and Christ on the day of the final judgement. However, it also contains some other elements of geographical importance for the development of the places represented in this map. Historically and geographically speaking the development of civilizations occurs in areas close to rivers and other water reservoirs. These cities are called hydraulic cities. The Hereford Mappa Mundi does a great job representing these bodies of water. Cartographically speaking this map does not contain basic elements such as a north arrow and the placement of its orientation was not made in a way that leads to think that north is at the top, south is located at the bottom, the west on the left and the east to the right. The misplacement of north, south, east and west makes the use of this map complicated for navigational purposes.
    The obstacles imposed by the church might have had a lot to do on the quality of the Hereford Mappa Mundi and the development of science in general. This is proven, when we observe the good quality and the approximation with regard to existence and correct placement of continental masses that is portrayed in the Reconstruction of Hecataeus’ map. Even though Hecataeus’ Map does not show the American continent, it has a clear idea of the proper location of Asia, Europe and Africa. The elaboration of this map was eight hundred years prior to the creation of Hereford Mappa Mundi. It is evident by 600 BCE (when Hecataeus’ Map was created), there were less advances in terms of science for the creation of Map. I am not referring to the Hereford Mappa Mundi as map of bad quality. On the contrary, the work made by Hereford is more meaningful since he had to deal with the obstacles imposed by the church, which had control over almost everything. However, I consider that there were more available tools during the Middle Ages to have created a map that represented the world in a more precise way than the Hecataeus’ Map. A tool that would have allowed for the creation of a more accurate Hereford map and that existed at that time was use of better and improved ships. The Middle Ages is a time in which many explorations were made by Europeans. These trips would’ve allowed Hereford to establish better coastlines and the more precise of placement of continental masses in his Mappa Mundi. As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, I think that the Hereford Mappa Mundi is a clear representation of what might have been the obstacles imposed by the church during the Middle Ages. I based my answer comparing the quality of the Hereford Mappa Mundi and the Reconstruction of Hecataeus’ map. I am not certain for which purpose each of the maps was built. Maybe, the purpose of the Hereford Mappa Mundi was indeed created as a representation of biblical tales and the church.
    If we take a closer look at Hereford Mappa Mundi we can notice that it contains a lot of writings. According to Ben Johnson (Historic UK), these writings on the map could only be read by people who were able to speak Norman French. This tells us that the Mappa Mundi might have been created for a certain group of people with the intend of communicating religious and/or spiritual information and not geographical or scientific content.

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