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Found 11 results

  1. So I was reading this ... https://devblog.dualthegame.com/2016/11/16/official-lore-bible/#more-1000 I wonder how far we might be able to go in building something that can connect LUA scripting to Aphelia? Also ... could I as a "rogue" break the law and start building AI with LUA to control fleets of drones to do things like gather resources or automate production chains? It would be interesting to tie this in to the game lore too, in such a way that we could shape the game in to a state where "there are worse things than humans on this new world". I have some ideas too, but I'd like to be able to call out to external web services from the game so I could for example ... make a decision based on feeding an algorithm running on my own web server back in to a computer in the game, and use that decision to affect change in the game. This opens up the potential for things like Mobile apps allowing me to interact with my organisation when out and about!
  2. " It's been a while and it's certainly taken more time than it should have, but The Aether's history is continuously being unearthed... Necessity begs that the dear readers are reminded: everything you will read as concerns The Aether is true and real. Without further ado, gentlemen and ladies, let us explore the choices and events that have shaped The Aether into the marvel she is now. A Preface is in order. Alternatively, if downloading the Preface in .pdf is not to your liking, you could view the Preface here. More will follow. Stay frosty. " Preface.compressed.pdf
  3. Greetings all! I come before you all today with a new addition to our community: The Dual Universe Historical Society. Several things struck me over the past few months: If other such games are anything to go by, the history of Dual Universe shall be grand and intriguing, and as fascinating as that of any Age or Empire in Earth's history. Why? Because this game will not be made of just pixels but also of every person who plays it. It will be built from the tears of every person who watches their Empire crumble, the sweat of every person who stays up late grinding time into this game, the cleverness of diplomats, the creativity of artists, and the inspiration of leaders. Hope, Anger, Revenge, Happiness, Greed, Humor, and Loss will all exist in this universe. To put it simply, this game will be filled with everything human, and a story with this much humanity deserves to be told, and to be remembered. There are a lot of wonderful people here from all over the world, from all over the political and social spectrum. There are young people, older people, students and businessmen, truckers and programmers, and this diversity will only grow as the community does. I have already had a few very good political discussions with people from other parts of the world, who have different perspectives on things than I do, and it has been a fantastic opportunity. There are a lot of people here with an interest in history, economics, politics and other such related fields. And so, I would like to create a place to bring all of these things together for the benefit of the community. I would like to create a place of scholarship, of learning and debate. I would like to create a place for us to take a break from the battles and learn more from each other. That's what the Dual Universe Historical Society will be. That's what it is. Because this is our story, and it deserves to be told. Discord: https://discord.gg/ecErPae Note: I am still setting all this up, and can't do it all alone. I am always looking for more people to assist with this project and will also be putting together a group of writers to produce content for the group. Check out the Org page and the Discord for more details. https://community.dualthegame.com/organization/dual-universe-historical-society#tab-description
  4. Founding an Economic Religion But, what is religion, you fanatics? Your excuse to lie, kill, rape and destroy? You are but fools that learned to play with tricks. Your religion is naught but a failed ploy. Religions are nothing but tools for fear, Means for harmony and forced self-restraint. Abandon the burden that it makes you bear! For none will rely on the strength of the faint Chronicles of the Arelians 54:4-7. “That’s what he wanted you for?” Kurotou mused, as the AI-controlled Nightelf’s seat secured him. Kael looked visibly confused. “I thought it’d be something serious…but every one of his questions centred around games!” “Satoru’s never serious. Don’t let it bother you—except when he’s holding a gun.” Kael nodded grimly and let the co-pilot’s seat secure him as well. The Command from the Air Control Centre came over the radio: “V-4, 90˚ lift.” With a tap, the vehicle rose into the sky, turning towards the Novark and racing off. “People died the last time Oethe went there. Why in the world is he sending us back there?” Kurotou shrugged. “The kid’s crazy, but I’d rather die facing the enemy than facing Satoru’s antics. He put poison in my water and claimed he was probing if I was worth the job! The farther away from him, the better.” Kael shuddered and looked back at the ten Oethe soldiers clad in the black and heavy combat uniform Oethe reserved for special operations. “This time, we’re prepared, don’t you think?” Kurotou smiled. “Black’s the new red.” He looked to the left and gave the accompanying Nightelf a thumbs up. The Nightelves had been refitted for optimal sensory performance and ungodly maximum damage. If anything so much as showed up as hostile, it would be smoking powder in a matter of seconds. A small hologram of Satoru appeared on the control panel. “Hello! Hi, Kael! First, of all, good luck: you’ll need it!” Kael gave him a restrained wave. “Satoru, what’s up?” He smiled mischievously. Well it was meant to be a smile, but it made Kurotou’s hair stand on end. Crap. “I’m declaring myself the Eon of the Aether.” Were it not for the fact that rolling the eyes was something exclusively reserved for women, Kurotou would have. “Congratulations. What is the Aether?” He smiled again, making Kurotou’s hair stand for the second time. “Not what. “Who” is the question you should be asking.” Kurotou gritted his teeth, even as the boy waited for him to ask the question the right way. Kael saved him the embarrassment. “Who is the Aether, Satoru?” “A-ha! I knew you were wondering, but I’m getting tired of talking, so I’ll skip that part and move on to the next thing I want to tell you.” Kael smacked his fore-head with his palm. “I reviewed the potential economy of the Aether with Shiro and Kuro. Guess what?” “You--” Kurotou started before Satoru cut him off. “I’m short on time. We stand to gain a lot from industry and research, given the potential market within Theia and the massive one surrounding the Ark ship.” Kael didn’t say a word, so Kurotou kept quiet and let Satoru continue. “However, research shows that people are more likely to work efficiently under certain guidance…Religious guidance to instil fear and discipline within the concerned populace.” Kael laughed out loud. “So you’re founding an economical religion and proclaiming yourself Lord and Saviour?!” Then, he paused and looked at the hologram grimly. “You’re crazy.” Satoru’s happy face darkened fifty shades. Kael shut up immediately. “I’m crazy, you piece of trash? Keep talking, someday you’ll say something intelligent.” A soldier wolf-whistled from the back. Kael made the wise choice and kept quiet. “Say something, Kael.” Satoru urged, seething with anger that seemed to come from nowhere. I’ve got to stop this kid from turning everyone against him… “Satoru, a thought crossed my mind--” “So, a thought crossed your mind? Must have been a long and lonely journey.” F**k you! “Watch your mouth, Satoru or I’ll put this mission in reverse.” He snickered. “Oh, please. You are proof that evolution can go in reverse.” All of a sudden, he started laughing playfully. Kurotou slammed the hologram and it shut down. Once it vanished, he breathed a hot sigh of relief and irritation. “Son of a b****!” He cursed and wiped his face. Kael looked at him, fury in his eyes. “Why do we obey what he says?” Kurotou glanced at him. “Gee…I don’t know. Perhaps, because I like walking around without a bullet in my skull?” Kael shrugged, obviously seeing the sense in that. “Who are Shiro and Kuro?” It was Kurotou’s turn to shrug. “Some people he always keeps ranting about. I’ve never met them.” Tense silence ensued for a few minutes, neither side wanting to discuss the insults received while the soldiers in the back preferred to silently let both of them burn in the humiliation. To ease the tension, a soldier started playing punk rock. Kurotou couldn’t tell he was mocking them or trying to help. “Where are we headed exactly?” One of the soldiers asked and put the heavy rifle to rest beside him. “To your deaths.” Kurotou’s head snapped back. At the same time, his hands came off the control panel and raised the pistol to his chest. Kael gritted his teeth. “Dammit, Mistral! What are you doing here?!” She cat-walked to the cockpit, slapping a leering soldier across the face. Io flanked her, knocking the same soldier with the butt of his rifle. “What else? I had to know what Satoru’s up to. Now I know: toying with your lives.” Kurotou kept one hand on the fire arm. I don’t like Satoru, but she is on another level entirely… “Welcome to the joy-ride, darling. Did you see the “abandon all hope, ye who enter” tag I sprayed on the Nightelf?” Kurotou asked, putting the firearm in its place. He heard her sigh. “Look. I value my friends more than some mentally challenged kid.” “I know two mentally challenged kids, darling and you’re one of them.” Kael scratched the back of his neck. “We’re barely one month on Alioth and political campaigns have started with the teens. This is bad.” He noted. Mistral got passionate. “This isn’t politics! I’m trying to make…” Kurotou subtly made sure that everyone except for Mistral and Io were strapped in. Then he rolled the aircraft. After hitting their heads against several hard things, there was some silence. “Oh, I’m sorry, darling! Were you saying something?” He heard Io’s rifle power up. Eight more emitted the same sound. Without a doubt, the real soldiers were challenging him to turn up the aggro. “Listen Io, I don’t care if we’re the same age or younger. What I do care about is that you have a nineteen-year-old girl leading you around like a mistress. Whatever happened to your soldier’s honour?” “It went with Eidolon and died with Satoru.” “Sheesh.” Kael busied himself with something that could have waited till later. I need some back up here, Kael! Mistral started talking…again. “What did he send you to do?” “Fasten your harness. Then we can talk.” Both complied and he continued. “Intelligence spotted some monoliths in a swamp not far from here. They--” “Intelligence? Whose Intelligence?” Io asked. Kael looked back. “Mistral’s, of course.” Kurotou could tell that the girl shook her head. “I didn’t send any Intelligence to any swamps.” “No soldiers have gone scouting either for two days.” A soldier named Skellarts added. How did that Satoru know that there were monoliths in a swamp anyway? “Am I the only one who gets the feeling that we’re being played here?” Mistral asked. Kurotou nodded. “Yes, you are. Whether or not Intelligence came here is irrelevant. What matters is that we find out what these monoliths are and— “ A hostile light lit up on the control panel. “I’ve got a bogie!” However, before either aircraft could engage the opponent, the hostile vehicle inexplicably blew up. He cursed. Once again, Mistral had something to say. “Great! Now an offensive aircraft blew up. You know what that means?” Kurotou was getting pretty irritated at her constant bickering, so he chose not to answer. Unfortunately, Skellarts didn’t catch the hint. “You tell me.” “We’ve let everyone know we are in the area. I think Satoru set us up. I mean: The Lhaeryon is here,” Kurotou shrugged. “The Birzai is here as well.” Kael sarcastically clapped for her. “Wait a minute…so am I.” Kael stopped clapping. Then it dawned on Kurotou, even as several enemy crafts came into view. “The bastard set us up…”
  5. Hi all So as promised, here's the entry I was going to submit for Novawrimo round 1 before time and life collided with each other. On the upside, I took a couple of extra days to have friends proofread, so no spelling mistakes! Authors Notes / Glossary: Anzaki - derived from the old acronym ANZAC (Australian & New Zealand Army Corps), referring the to Armed Forces of two 21st century nation states. The Anzaki were the product of an inter-generational genetic program designed to produce better soldiers. Originally a culturally homogenous Australian & New Zealand population drawn from the family and members of a large semi-permanent deployment of troops who were effectively stranded and isolated overseas when the governments of those two countries collapsed. The results of Anzaki gene tailoring include improved immune systems and physical health and well being (a way to explain the general lack of sickness and minor injury in MMO's), and notably, an almost complete suppression of the flight reflex, through careful application of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. To the common person, the Anzaki were renowned for exhibiting virtually no fear in battle, never having retreated, fierce loyalty to their comrades, and surviving at any cost. Australia - 26th century Australia is largely uninhabitable, largely due to extreme climate conditions. Much of the population that remains is centered on the South East Coast, and around the Perth Metroplex. Port Drum, the southern hemisphere's major launch site for Lunar and in-system traffic is located some 2000km east of Perth. Genie - Slang term for genetically engineered or tailored people. By international consensus following bioweapon attacks during the 22nd century, such individuals are readily identifiable by the synthetic gene tailoring of pteridine pigment xanthopterin within certain chromatophores called xanthophores located in the iris stoma, resulting in a bright amber eye colour similar to that of the Great Horned Owl. Tomorrow Men - Slang term for convicted individuals who have been sentenced to military penal unit. Such individuals are traded between governments and corporate interests as assets. They are kept in cyrogenic storage until needed, and then deployed into conflict areas where the loss of life would be considered prohibitive for regular troops. The life expectancy of such individuals is quite low (17 days on average). The use of the term stems from the dark joke that each prisoner's release date is usually listed in a system simply as "tomorrow" (or today + 1), because tomorrow never comes... the_tomorrow_man.pdf
  6. The Founding Fathers Political Science Ye fail to recall our hard earned triumph. Faded from your minds is the Vale of Blood! Men of no faith that tremble at the Nymph, How can ye with war, defeat the Horde? Ye will all perish, slaughtered at their hands! Come, preserve your lives and conquer your foes, Listen to me, and you will keep your lands. Ye are naught but, weak and that your foe knows. Give yourselves to him and beg for his grace, Please him before you bring death to his face. 3 Acts of the Lambent Chapter 14: 22-23. The Kalnian Books. Mercifully, it did. Once I got back to Olympus Ariana—I hate that name…I wished my sleep had lasted longer. I am not and never will be a religious person, but I do recall something about the Devil never sleeping. Looking at what Eidolon and Mistral had achieved in eighteen hours, I just might qualify for the post of a demon hunter. It was nothing short of a hostile takeover and Devil Eidolon was pushing the limits of “takeover”. Of course, the title of an exorcist would be the next thing I would aim for. Metal shouldn’t have a soul anyway. I was summoned to an emergency meeting that Shiro had to drag me to. Who summoned me? Eidolon the Devil and Mistral its right hand demon. “But, I don’t want to go…” I whined. “If you don’t go, she’ll take your place. You want that?” She whispered quietly as a few people passed us on the stairs. “I couldn’t care less.” I muttered under my breath. She stopped climbing the stairs and looked down at me. There is no living thing that can survive a thirty-second stare battle with Shiro and hold its will. “Fine. I’ll go.” Shiro moved aside and let me pass. “Don’t do anything stupid in there.” She cautioned me with a smile. “I’ll be a good boy.” I retorted with just enough sarcasm in my voice to make her roll her eyes. Four guards stood at the door, looking like wilted cactuses. Nonchalantly, I passed by them and opened the doors by myself. The revolting sight of thirty-eight people around a black marble conference table with Eidolon at the head made me gag. Dear heavens. The devil has returned… “Welcome, Satoru. We didn’t think you’d come.” Mistral said with a smile that would have made Dracula’s blood freeze. “...and he’s brought demons with him this time.” I announced. “What are you talking about?” Hartmut asked, trying to read my mind. I acknowledged his curiosity by returning his gaze and his interest vanished as he looked at the table like it was a work of art. At least he isn’t possessed. Mistral pointed at the seat opposite Eidolon. “Care to sit?” “Nope.” I said and stood at the door. A man with an egg for a head, yawned and asked: “Why?” I grinned at his reflective scalp. “I’m glad you care so much about my comfort. Tell me, do you rub oil on that, or is it naturally that shiny?” From somewhere in the room, I heard Kurotou’s stifled chuckle. “Egghead’s” face turned red. “How dare you?!” I hushed him. “Eggs don’t talk much. They break easily under pressure.” He jumped to his feet with considerable effort. “You son of—“ Eidolon broke in. “That’s enough, both of you.” Egghead needs to cool down though. I don’t like boiled eggs… I took a glass of water and splashed it on his face. For a second, he was confused. Then, he went insane. “You bloody rat!” Sigh. He’s overheating now. With that amount of oil on his head, I wouldn’t mind scrambled eggs…. I walked over to the empty seat and closed my eyes, while the Devil tried to calm down Egghead. After five minutes of ranting and other members of the meeting throwing in their digressive personal opinions, the room became quiet again. Eidolon made the kind of sound humans do when they clear their throats. Only then did I open my eyes. “Now that that’s out of the way,” I glanced at the sizzling Egghead. “Mistral and I had this meeting called for an important reason. Satoru is unfit to be the Grand Architect and the recent events have proven that. We did him the courtesy of inviting him to the board meeting where the next Grand Architect will be chosen.” Nods and sounds of approval rose. I couldn’t help but smile. Shiro was right, after all. “Who is your candidate?” Kurotou asked. Mistral rose her hand. My smile widened on its own accord. Do smiles have souls? “What is funny?” A familiar voice asked from my left. Funny enough, Petrol-ski was part of the board meeting. “How can a smile have a soul? My smile keeps getting stronger with a will of its own.” I replied and leaned back. Eidolon wasn’t so sure. “Any objections?” I shook my head and whispers arose in the room. Kurotou had a confused look on his face. “None at all?” Eidolon asked, sensing some danger. I’ve got to give it to the AI. It really is perceptive. Kilo was shaking his head at me, warning me not to do anything I would regret. I don’t usually regret watching episodes of failed exorcisms. “User: Loki Torvald. Override firewall through port 5537. Eidolon, initiate and hold shut down. Block loop, count down thirty seconds, proceed. You know my voice.” They all looked confused, but I could feel Eidolon’s dark soul trembling. “What? How did you…?” “You didn’t think that I would let you run free without a back-up plan in case you did something stupid?” Its voice sounded angry, but I could detect a small hint of terror. “You can’t do this! I’m Eidolon AI. I am your advisor and the most important person here!” “Were.” I corrected, grinning. “You were the most important thing here. Until you cost me some sleep, yesterday. Ten seconds, AI. Want to do a quick virus scan?” It growled and I leaned towards the man on my left, acting as if I was going to whisper something into his ear. Eidolon flew at my head, just as the man moved towards mine. I will never forget the sound of metal hitting a human skull. The poor man fainted immediately and Eidolon looked perplexed for a moment, before the countdown expired and it shut down, dropping to the floor with a heavy thud. I used my foot to push the dead metal away and turned towards the silent people. Exorcism, successful. “I just killed the Devil. Any objections?” Some mouths were wide open; others were sealed shut. Some eyes were frozen, looking at Eidolon; others were full of fear, staring at me. I looked at Mistral and froze for a second. She was unfazed. The student becomes the master. The demon becomes the Devil. I gave her the best smile I could manage and turned to Petrol-ski. “Why are you here?” His confident composure had taken a serious blow. That much was obvious as he mouthed some inaudible words. I sighed. They are dumbstruck at the powerful dispossession; it would seem… “I can’t hear you…” I said in a sweet tone. He shuddered. “We…need to rally…our members. Allies…need to be forged.” I frowned. “What allies? You want to throw me out as well?” “No! I had no part in this!” “That’s what they all say. You are not a member of Oethe Inc., nor a person from Terra Ulterior. Eidolon was the reason you are in this room, as such you are its friend. That makes you my enemy.” The blood drained from his face, as I stretched out my hand towards Kilo and he handed me a polished pistol. “I came here, because I care for my people!” I grinned. “I’m sure you do.” And I pointed the gun at his chest. The man in him returned and he glared at me. “You can’t shoot me.” Kilo held his head in his hands and Hartmut closed his eyes. I fired, twice. His face froze and he looked like he died, before he realised that he was unharmed. “Say that again, and I will shoot you for real the next time. Now, I will send you with an ambassador. Politics is boring talk and we need to get your embattled people and the Earldom of Mercia clear on our conditions—whatever they are, anyway. Arkanos?” The young man on the far right answered. “Yes?” “You are the Menon for now.” Mistral spoke at last. “What is that?” “He’s in charge of politics. Did you not read the Kalnian Books?” Her smile faded as she realised where this was heading. “Thinking is burdensome, my dear. I prefer to live in the moment.” After thirty minutes of boring, unnecessary conversations, I screamed at them to shut their mouths up and leave. I hated talking with any person other than myself, Shiro, Kuro and Kilo (in that order), with the exception of a few old people. To be honest, I hated talking at all, and this board meeting had me completely pissed off. They left like a stampede, save for the unconscious man lying on the floor. “Kael.” I called and he froze at the door. “I need to talk with you about our research and development division. But first, Kurotou,” He looked in from outside as I signalled Kael to follow us. “Let’s walk. I need you to do me a favour…”
  7. " The Aether wishes everyone on the Forums a splendid day. We have been writing backstories that have been focused solely on the Aether and in a few parts, the Aether's allies will begin to bask in the lime light. However, we feel that keeping the lore to ourselves is in stark contrast to our values and principles of sharing with others. As such, we have come to a general decision that the Aether backstories be modified to reflect all organisations and activities within Dual Universe (from a role play perspective, of course.) It has been delayed but, war with the Mad men has been long in coming and it will be arriving soon. The "Mad men" are coined from the power hungry maniacs that seized the area surrounding the Ark ship in Dual Universe's original lore; the first of which you can find here. It would be nice to see how the Aether handles some war in the lore, and it will be a thousand times better to work with as many organisations as there are to create a story that is made by the Dual Universe community, for the Dual Universe community and with the Dual Universe community. This is an open invite and we greatly value your response; it's irrelevant if they are positive or negative. Should you want your organisation to be a part of this, believe that we could use your skill and ideas, or if you just want to help us a out a bit, please make your opinion and decision known below. We will get in touch with all of you. Till then, we wish you all a wonderful day. "
  8. For Blood "Through the darkest night, And the deepest hell, Past the raging winds, And kingdoms that fell: We stayed unbroken. We came as a flood, We left as wildfire. Why? All was for blood." --Recovered text from ancient Malahic Cult. “Suppressive fire! Vortex Three, I need two stand-off payloads. Eidolon, highlight the targets.” I ran out into the dark night, signalling the four soldiers that came with me to get our three diplomats to Vortex Two—the diplomats were of no use here. They nodded and took the surprised women and man to relative safety. “Vortex Two, where are my payloads?!” I shouted as an armoured hovercraft smashed through the make-shift barricade. Locking on the target, I fired a timed explosive into the offending vehicle just as its doors opened for the soldiers to get out. “Get out while you can. We’ll hold them off.” Aditi said, firing a short range homing missile at a jet that came into sight from the east. I nodded and told my brothers to pull back. Two missiles raced from the west, lighting up the sky with brilliant yellow light as they hit home. “Better late than never! Good job, Two.” We retreated to where Meera was impatiently hovering. If the Nightelves had hooters, she would be blasting them non-stop by now. “Hostiles are a quarter mile away. Should I engage?” The pilot of Vortex Three asked. I strapped myself into the co-pilot’s seat and stared down at the failing defence of the Resistance. “Provide support, Meera. Two, get to safety. Three, watch our backs. We’re going in.” We dived into the chaos of flames, smoke and angry screams. As explosion upon explosion rocked the ground, we answered. Fire for fire, rays for rays, death for death and terror for terror. Meera banked the craft hard and my eyes caught Aditi on the ground. Bloodied and bruised, her rifle lay a few feet from her and hostile troops were closing in. “Eidolon, the hatch!” I commanded, even as I unstrapped myself and rushed to the exit. As I jumped out, Eidolon followed me, shooting sporadically in all directions that enemies were. As I approached the ground, he grabbed me for a moment, dropping me hard to the ground. “What was that for?!” I asked, firing at the approaching soldiers. “Don’t expect me to come saving you like that again. I’m not your servant.” I didn’t have time to pick another fight, so I turned towards Aditi. Her eyes were open. “You are stupid.” She said, rebuking me in much the same tone as my mother would have. I shrugged and gently hoisted her onto my shoulder as Eidolon told me she suffered from no internal bleeding. “Meera, I need you to—“ I stared in horror as Vortex One came crashing down behind enemy lines. “Meera!” Jenz’s weak voice came online. “Get yourself out of here, Hisashi…” I left Aditi in the care of Petrovsky and turned back to look at Vortex One. The soldiers were cautiously approaching it, ready to fire at any movement. “Meera? Answer if you copy!” Her voice was slow and confused. “Whaa….?” I sighed in relief and reloaded my firearm. “Vortex Two, go Winchester.” As death rained on our enemies from above, Eidolon and I battled our way to Vortex One. Twice, I was blown off my feet by projectiles that Eidolon barely managed to intercept. For all our effort and the stalwart determination of the Resistance, we were unable to break through to the downed craft. A soldier picked up Meera from the wrecked craft and pointed his gun at her head. “No…No… Please don’t!” I screamed as I blindly ran toward him. “Hisashi, get back now!” It was stupid of me to run out of cover, but I didn’t care. Meera was the closest to family I had, if she died, I would follow in seconds. He paused for a few seconds as if considering whether or not to take her life. As our eyes met, I stopped and waited for him to drop her. In that moment of time, a message was passed. With a pull of his trigger, the soldier sent her to the afterlife and I blacked out. The first thing I remember my sane self doing was putting a laser ray through his forehead. That was the last thing I could clearly remember. I was berserk and flinging death like I had a Death Note with pages to spare. Eidolon was shouting something in my ear. I didn’t care. It was irrelevant. There were only two ways this was going to end. Either they killed me, or I killed them all. Nothing else mattered. They had killed someone of my blood. I growled, snapping a soldier’s neck backward. “For you, Meera. For Blood.”
  9. Reboot We are fallen and destroyed. O how we are trodden under foot! Our glory is naught, but void… Brethren, we must return to the Root: Our erred paths we will avoid. We will not chase gold, fame or the loot. We will round as the cycloid, And we will start over from the Root. Lamentations of Nazrole Chapter 12:13-14. The Kalnian Books. I have always had a problem with tedious structure. From profitable, but snot-nosed mega corporations to the tiny, but nervous start-ups, they just seem to be addicted to mega-bureaucracy and exhaustive order. Tsk. And I’m part of the crappy system. Here I was, simply wishing to make a complaint about some idiot who decided to pinch my trousers while I was on the roof. To make a complaint, I needed to verify my identity (can you believe these people?! They didn’t verify everyone that left Earth while we were still there?), record or type the complaint (not without stating tons of useless information, of course) then queue up at a mile-long line for four hours and check back in a week for progress, because they were still setting up and securing the wireless protocols. Ahou. I deleted the file from the makeshift tab I put together in a couple of days and walked off the queue. If these people were going to waste their precious time on an unnecessary process, I wouldn’t be joining them. I had more important things to do. Let the idiot that stole my trousers keep them. “Heading somewhere, Satoru?” Jonathan asked me, blocking my path while at it. “Yes.” I said and looked him in the eyes. He looked away. Why do people always look away? What in the world are they afraid of? “We need your help with something. Care to give us a hand?” Nope. “What’s it?” He held out a funny looking kind of bag. What in the world was it? It looked like a space backpack from the early 21st century. “It’s a kadpack.” “It sounds like it as well…” I muttered, feeling it. “Sounds like what?” “..and it feels like something only the UN can make: horrible! What is it?” He looked puzzled for a moment, but quickly regained his stoic “don’t care what you say” face. “It’s a device that compresses matter and allows us to decompress it in any form, using this:” He held out a tube. “Interesting. I’ll get to work.” I took the tube and “kadpack” to the roof of my home Section and decided to decipher it. “You found something to interest you, finally.” Kuro said, and nestled up to me. I smiled a bit and connected my gadgets to the UN-made or UN-affiliated device. The data readings were easy to understand and within a couple of hours, I was shaping monoliths and statues with relative difficulty. One of the outlaws from the proximal Novark area walked up to me. “You learn fast.” His accent was thick and Russian. Every outsider is from Russia these days. Should I answer him? Mother told me not to talk to strangers… I built up a mound near his feet, just missing him. “Stop it, Oru.” I complied with Shiro’s soft warning and looked the big Russian in the eye. He turned his gaze away as well. What is it with these people?! “You killed the Grand Architect, yes?” I asked him. He eyes opened like a punctured can of pressurised gas. “No!” “Pity.” “Why is that a pity?!” Shiro quickly jumped in. “He’s not on the best terms with the Grand Architect.” “That’s not true,” I retorted. “He just broke the first law of survival.” The Russian looked confused. “Never look for trouble in the Wild.” His eyes cleared up a bit. “He came to help us— “ “And he died. You killed him then. You couldn’t refuse his help and he couldn’t refuse the chance to be a hero. Both of you killed him.” From the looks of it, I was freaking this one out. “My name is Petrovsky. I’m the leader of the Resistance.” “…Outlaws…” I muttered under my breath. “Eidolon talked about you a while ago. He wants to meet you again.” Shiro gasped and gave me a pitiful look. “Good luck; you’ll need it.” She said and walked off. I shook my head and followed the…Petrol-ski. That what his name, wasn’t it? He tried to start a series of conversations with me, but after I ignored him, built up wood around his feet and shouted at him to shut up, I think he got the message. I wasn’t a hostile person, I just don’t like talking to strangers or people in general, especially when I’ve been awake for close to thirty hours. By the time we’d made it past noisy populated and windy sparse areas, through damaged grass and between machinery, the foreboding sky looked exactly like Petrol-ski’s face: there was going to be some heavy rain soon. He led me past armed guards and into a pristine Section where an AI ruled over and enslaved the men that contributed to its creation and continued existence. The room reeked of upper-class attitude and I could sense most of it was coming from a robot that shouldn’t even have emotions. The walls were whitewashed and the floor was overlaid in black marble. A silver chandelier adorned with over-sized diamonds and sparkling sapphires hung from the roof, amidst pearl lights that shined even more than it did. The e-textile seats looked way too comfortable for the precarious situation that we found ourselves in and I just had to wonder how full of senseless vanity these humans and AI could possibly be. “Satoru Masanori. It’s nice to see you.” Eidolon said, rising from the heavily ornamented white throne. Seriously, robots that fly need to sit on thrones, even if they don’t have legs? Laughable! I chuckled to myself and scanned the bewildered faces of the poor slaves in the over packed room. “You are to reply me when I speak to you, Satoru Masanori.” I would have looked this AI in the eye—if it had any eyes, and I could bet the Novark on this: it would turn its eyes away. An AI like this has many secrets to hide and it would need to hide some scars if it dared to address me in that tone again. “I decide when I’m to reply to a piece of floating metal with a circuit board in its head.” Jonathan shook his head and stepped out. “You are socially inadequate, Satoru Masanori.” “You are physically lacking in adequate humanoid body parts yourself, Eidolon AI.” I replied, trying to step out, until four guards blocked my path. Sigh. Not Io as well… I looked Io in the eye and he looked at Eidolon. “We are not done, Satoru Masanori.” The AI stressed. I spun back and hurled Io’s gun at the AI, hitting it squarely in the middle. “Stop talking, Metal Head!” The gasps in the room should’ve been audible for thirty miles round. Even thunder sounded its voice to add some dramatic noise to the scene. Eidolon was clearly not pleased, and to be frank, neither was I. “We were interested in your capabilities and intellectual capacity. We think you are what we need to move forward, in the light of Hisashi Susumu’s death.” Eidolon said calmly. To be honest, this was sudden… “You…want to make me the Grand Architect?” “Yes. You already did cause quite a ruckus with the Defence Department. It was you that left Olympus Ariana into the forbidden area, wasn’t it? You caused some people quite a headache and their jobs as well.” I looked at Kurotou, who glared at me. “I don’t like the “didi”. Is that a problem?” “Let me ask you a question, Satoru Masanori. Can I call you Satoru?” Eidolon asked. “No.” “Very well. If you were the Grand Architect, would you have gone to the Novark the way Hisashi Susumu did? Would you have intervened on behalf of the Resistance?” “No.” “Why?” “Why should I?” “Explain.” His voice sounded tired. “Intelligence should have gone first and scouted. The Resistance forces are simply being freeloaders with little to offer, no offence, Petrol-ski.” “His name is Petrovsky.” “Whatever.” I muttered. “Protecting and organising ourselves is our priority. Anything else can wait.” Eidolon turned back to the chair and paused. “You are not someone I want to work with. I don’t like you. Let me be crystal clear: I hate you, Satoru Masanori. However, you are what we need: your mind and skill is what we can’t do without in the leadership position. You aren’t the first person on our list, no, you are the last person I would even consider. Nonetheless, you will be the next Grand Architect—rather, you are the Grand Architect.” I whistled and smiled at a boiling Petrol-ski. Outside, the heavy rain began to fall. “Good. I have my first command for the lot of you.” “Oh? So soon?” Eidolon asked, clearly being sarcastic. “Yes. Reboot. Destroy and restart every single thing. Reboot from scratch.”
  10. Don’t Save Me. "I have nothing left to lose, Nay, I want to lose nothing more. What is life but a ruse? What do I have left to live for? More time will bring only rue, More of life will leave me with less. I have family here, true. But, beyond, we’ll all suffer less." Kyle Susumu's Diary, last day of Earth’s existence. Somewhere along the line, I lost count of the number of people I was killing. I left Eidolon to do the job of protecting my back while I cut the strings of fate of every hostile organism in sight. Was I selfish? No. Was I careless? No. Was I a mindless beast? Yes. One after another, lives got snuffed out by my rage, my firearms and my hands. For all the bright flashes of light, the shouts of rage and terror, the sound of feet and ammunition and the stars that watched in serene silence, my mind was bent on only one thing: taking these bastards with me. “You are the most stupid fellow I’ve seen all my life!” I ignored the AI even as a shell blew up less than a score feet away from me. The unforgiving force of the explosion threw me into the air like a rag doll. My face was the first part of my body to hit the flaming frame of a destroyed vehicle. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t black out. I was no soldier, but I understood the benefits and dangers of passing out in the middle of a fire fight. As the pain coursed through my being, I longed for the benefits. Struggling to get on my feet, I spotted a soldier coming towards me. His uniform had neither the insignia of the Resistance nor the design of the hostile forces. I barely made it to my feet before something snapped and I fell down in a heap. A chilling, electric pain charged through my bones as I realised what just happened: my spine had broken. I couldn’t feel my legs and the rest of my body was in too much agony for me to lift a finger or call for help. All I could do was watch him through the rage that clouded my sight. Where was Eidolon? “Are you okay?” This guy had to be a joker. Did I look okay? A bullet ricocheted off the frame, reminding us both that the battlefield wasn’t a place to chat. Then, he made the big mistake of trying to drag me away. If I thought I couldn’t speak, I was right—I screamed. Startled, he dropped me abruptly and looked me over with concern. That caused me even more pain. The stranger laid me on my back and crouched on the ground. Something exploded a distance away from us, followed by the short scream of a combatant. “You have broken bones. Wait here.” I groaned and managed to get some words out of my mouth. “Don’t save me. Save them.” I looked towards the retreating soldiers of the Resistance. His face clouded. “I’m not with them.” I gave him questioning look. “I’m with the Earldom.” What kind of name is “the Earldom”? Probably some conceited people with enough hypocrisy to pretend they didn’t want to control everyone else. Vortex Two was trying to hail me through the communications device. After some quick thinking, I decided to answer. “Vortex Two, find Petrovsky and track my beacon. Come pick me up in ten minutes.” “Yes, sir.” I looked at the Earldom fellow one more time. “What’s your name?” “William.” He said, getting impatient. Talking was hard and I was pretty sure the warm liquid I felt under my back was blood. Whatever had to be done needed to be done fast. “Does the Earldom support these madmen?” “Do I look like I support them?” “You tell me.” He sighed and rubbed his face. “I don’t support them. Listen, we’ve got to get you to safety.” I was about to say something, when I saw a shadow on my chest. “Put your hands in the air!” William looked up and aimed at whoever was commanding. I could tell it was Petrovsky, although I couldn’t see him. “Petrovsky! This…man is not an enemy!” I almost choked on my blood, before William raised my head a little. The Russian came into sight, along with four other Resistance members. I knew there were more, but I couldn’t see them. Where was Aditi? “Where’s Aditi?” I asked him. He bent down and looked me in the eye. “She’s dead.” “What?!” I shouted before gurgled breathing reminded me that I was still going to meet her anyway. He looked at William and I answered the question. “He’s with us. Take my wrist band. It has a beacon in it. Take it and get out. Vortex Two will pick you up.” He sensed the message right away. “You want me to leave you here?” My eyesight blurred for a second and I spat out more blood. “I won’t be of much use. But you, you can help them. My spine’s broken and I’ve lost too much blood. You’re standing in it.” He looked at his feet and barely managed to hide his shock. “I will not leave you here.” William gave an irritated sigh. “Don’t save me. Save your men. I’m dead already. Get out: Vortex Two is searching for you and they already have the beacon’s signal. Don’t let them come here, don’t let them find me.” Whatever he wanted to say, he kept it and nodded solemnly. “You are too good to die alone.” He whispered and stood. My vision darkened five shades and I just had to close my eyes. “I’m not alone. They’re with me, they’re waiting. Go, Petrovsky: I won’t forgive you…if they come…” The sounds became distant, but I heard them leave. The explosions faded into muffled sounds as I tried to open my eyes one last time. All I could see where the stars, twinkling and shining. I had brought the legacy of Oethe to this planet. I had succeeded in my job. Did Eidolon know that I would die? Where was he? A crackled voice spoke gently beside me. It was Eidolon. “Goodbye, Grand Architect.” I grunted and caught a last glimpse of the stars. Kyle, Nora, Jeane, Meera and the rest would be waiting for me, I’d finally get to see everyone again. That was where I was headed now. My final resting place. My home among the stars.
  11. Dusk at Dawn "A new promise, a brand new hope. Another chance, another life. Beyond the skies, fly and elope. Your path is yours, prospects are rife. All will follow, and tug the rope. Vive la difference! Views, thoughts and strife. Friends will be made, build your own tope. Foes will strike, play the fife. The occasions, new life is borne, The pale terrors, a dusk at dawn." 2 Ronhel Chapter 4, verses 57- 59. The Kalnian Books. Despite my efforts to secure a safe landing for everyone, three Sections plunged from the atmosphere at breakneck speed. Two of those housed equipment and supplies—not much we couldn’t do without. The third one, however, held two hundred and fifty thousand people and there were no survivors. As I stood on the hill overlooking the blackened pile of bodies that didn’t make it, I felt ashamed. Just hours ago, we were rejoicing as the Cocoons warmed up their human cargo before waking them. In groups of fives and tens, they came out, shaking, scared, some were excited. As they realised they’d made it, they cried, shouted, laughed, danced or just stared in the distance out of utter amazement. The weather was windy and bright, the fields of green seemed to agree with our presence. Eidolon reported that a few Sections had missed the correct entry angle and burnt up in the atmosphere, others floated off to deep space, but three, he warned, had gone dark—possibly as a result of the battering Terra Ulterior had taken from space debris. More than half a million people waited for the last set while laughing and talking. That was until they fell from the sky and hit the ground with a terrifying sound. It was the sound of death. Here I stood, joy turned into sorrow as the wind conveyed the thick, repulsive stench of charred human corpses. Their remains were scattered over a radius of two miles. My eyes caught sight of a half-burnt piece of cloth, just beside a broken skull. I turned away. There was work to be done. We had to find a way to bury all these people, before diseases reared their heads on this planet as well. But, getting the people who had just anointed me as their saviour to do the task of undertakers was proving as difficult as raising the dead back to life. “I don’t envy your job.” Jonathan said behind me as I moved to help a few people with the grim task. Giving him a weak smile, I threw him the access card to the Section containing the heavy-duty vehicles. “But, I will envy yours in a moment.” As dusk set upon the planet, camps were being set up well away from the macabre scene. In a couple of days, the corpses would be well hidden and we could move on. In the meantime, I set about socialising and encouraging the survivors. Eidolon said the humans from the Ark ship had been on Alioth for three months. Gaining access to the Ark Ship’s records was proving a bit of a hurdle, even for Eidolon. He kept complaining about the schizophrenic and slightly mad AI of the Ark Ship: Aphelia, being too advanced for his liking. I could only listen to his complaints for so long before I set off to look for this famous Ark Ship and the humans that came in it. There’s something about exploring at night that makes you feel unnecessarily alert. We hadn’t come across any animals, although we could hear them (which in its own right was strange), there were no humans around, but the people we came with for scores of miles around, and we had nothing to fear from supernatural incursions. Yet as I and my newly selected team of former diplomats and veterans crammed ourselves in three aircrafts, we were silent, almost paranoiac as the silent crafts glided through the darkness of night and under a spectacular scenery of stars and constellations. The bays were mostly silent except for the occasional remark or short-lived humorous attempt to lighten our hearts. As we got closer to the majestic structure that stood out from the landscape, we began to see the first signs of human settlement. Small towns, villages and distinct enclaves lit up by lights and crafts. The skies were mostly clear, except for a few daring crafts that flew close to us and darted away all of a sudden. It happened the first time, then the second and the third. “They are warning us.” I told Meera—a good friend of mine and the best pilot I’d ever seen. “I know, Hisashi. I can feel the tension in the air.” I raised an eyebrow at her and returned to bay. Whatever it was, we had best be ready. “Gentlemen, strap up and strap in. Prepare for evasive manoeu—“ And it came. Our Nightelf blared a lock-on alarm before the droning alarm of incoming missiles. The craft swerved to the left and upside down, throwing whoever wasn’t secured at the padded ceiling and to the hard sides. “Vortex Three! ECM is your call! Vortex Two S&D is up your alley! Meera, stick with the aggro.” I shouted, even as my head slammed against a soldier’s shoulder. The pilots of the other Nightelves acknowledged the commands and set to work. Meera, on the other hand, kept us flying at the walls and ceiling. “It’s the madmen.” Eidolon hinted through my sub-dermal communication device. “So soon?” I asked, scrambling for a harness as the craft levelled for a second. I barely made it and strapped myself in before Meera banked the craft hard. “They are humans; they hardly need anytime to cause chaos.” Jenz said and began firing at the missile batteries. While we made it safely out of the danger zone, Eidolon battled to keep Aphelia from gaining unauthorised access to our crafts. “Is this her doing?” Meera asked, sweating and out of breath. “Ask her when you see her.” Eidolon replied and highlighted a craft through the screen. I sat in the co-pilots seat and pointed at the building it was heading for. “Head there instead. Vortex Two, offset half a mile south and land. Vortex Three, remain airborne.” Our Nightelf hovered a few metres over the ground while our security dropped down. Naturally, I dropped down first and proceeded to the stranger that led us here. Another one came from the building, waving her hands frantically. “Get them out! Get those jets away!” Meera uttered a curse and flew to the skies. Eight of the security detail swept the premises, while four came with me. Two missiles streaked over the horizon, following Meera. Once inside the house, the strangers introduced themselves. “Petrovsky. Lieutenant in the resistance.” The pilot said in a gruff voice, shaking my hand with a steel grip. “Hisashi Susumu.” I replied, trying to release his grip from my hand. “You are not one of us. Where did you come from?” Aditi, the woman asked. I gave her the summary of who we were and where we came from, making sure to leave out important details. In return, they let me know that the “madmen” had seized control of the area surrounding the Ark Ship. The Resistance, had tried to hail us, but the Nightelves communicated on a different frequency than the common one. We promised to return to help them fight back against the oppressors, giving them a highly inaccurate estimate of how many we were. Scarcely had we gone halfway through details and logistic support that Eidolon sounded a warning. “There are almost a two hundred hostile troops in bound to your position. The Vortices can’t help right now: we don’t know the extent of the enemy’s anti-cloaking capabilities.” I grunted, deep in thought and he snapped at me. “Grunt one more time, and I will aid them in killing you.” Absent-mindedly, I turned to the security detail. “We’ll have to fight our way out of here.” Petrovsky held my shoulder in a big hand. “We have thirty Resistance soldiers here. We will get you out. I will call for reinforcement.” With that, he jogged out of the door. Aditi pushed somethings into my hands. “Take this.” I looked at the strange devices. Something in my head told me they weren’t unfamiliar. “It’s a kadpak and a nanoformer. I don’t think you have any in your ships.” I stared at her, liking the Resistance more until an explosion jerked my attention. “Stay together, guys. Let’s give them hell. For blood!” They raised their weapons and screamed into the night. “For blood!”
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