Friday, November 24, 2017

Microstory 720: Celebrate the Book of Darkness

Force of Love

Fosteans, especially Lightseers, have been filled with such anger for having been betrayed by our founders. We are grateful for the Force of Love, and the other two Forces of Virtue, which affect us with subtler intensity than before, but which have never gone away. But this alone would not be enough. Fortunately, even in all this depression, and despite the uncertainty of the Book of Anseluka’s new taikon, there is still some hope. The penultimate taikon foresees the emergence of a new divine book; one that would change our entire perspective on the universe. The new era is to be marked by the 14 conventions in the Consociation Credo: coordination, collaboration, cooperation, cordiality, congruence, communication, constructiveness, cohesion, commitment, congeniality, collegiality, consensus, compromise, courtesy. A married couple, who met at a study group for hyperobservant people, and who now work together at a small research startup, noticed a complex pattern in the passage text that others seemed to not see. They analyzed these words, and it eventually led them to uncovering an unindexed network file that would never have been found just by searching keywords. This file contained the manuscript for the Book of Darkness. Through an only cursory glance, experts see that this is the divine book that we have been looking for. It does not diminish the teachings in the Book of Light. Nor does it condemn Sotiren and Ivanka for their treachery. It will, however, prove an invaluable resource in braving this new universe, centered upon this idea of the 14 Consociation Credo conventions. The Book of Darkness teaches us that the Light is nothing without the Darkness. Without the latter, it’s just this blinding force that doesn’t allow you to actually see what you’re doing, or where you’re going. Darkness gives life meaning, and we must acknowledge that truth, and appreciate this balance. We still have much to learn from our new proof text, but it is already being distributed to all who wish to read it, completely free of charge. And now it is time to prepare for the outcome of all our work. We still believe in the taikon, even if they were first conceived by the Grand Deceivers, and we know that we have not been through all of this for nothing. The end is near...and so is the beginning.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Microstory 719: Force of Love

Burn the Book of Ivanka

The votes are in. For having misled an entire galaxy of loyal denizens, and a host of faithful followers, Former Sacred Savior, Sotiren Zahir, and his cohort, Eido Ivanka, were overwhelmingly voted to be put to death. It took about a week of votes, revotes, and control votes, but the results have all come to the same conclusion: Fosteans are ubiquitously outraged by the deceit that has run for the last several centuries. Zahir’s crimes are apparent, now that analysts have had time to review the data found of the Ring of Culture, but they are nothing compared to what Ivanka has done. After an in-depth investigation, we have learned that she has been alive this entire time. She has been traveling the planets, covertly maintaining loyalty to Lightseed through various psychologically manipulative means. She is particularly adept at gleaning people’s weaknesses, and exploiting them to use against her targets, ensuring no significant threat to the reign of Zahir got off the ground. Ivanka bolstered the reputations of candidates on many worlds, sometimes fabricating their histories, and lording her leverage over them to preserve her own power. She even colluded with our enemies, striking deals that only acted to support the sham regime. She is truly the face of evil, and deserves no less than a painful plex radiation death. Fortunately for the both of them, this is not going to happen. After the last vote was counted, the third and final Force of Virtue spontaneously appeared all over the galaxy, reaching every breathing human simultaneously. Immediately, people requested recalls for their votes, hoping to prevent the deaths of their newly discovered insidious aggressors. We call it the Force of Love, and since it affected everyone all at once, there was no one around to argue this decision. And so Profane Antagonist, Sotiren Zahir, and High Perversion, Ivanka will live out their lives, however short they may be without the luxury of life extension technologies. They have not been forgiven, but we have been reminded of the power of love, and its capacity to abstain from violence, even in the face of such terrible malice at the hands of those we once trusted.

Celebrate the Book of Darkness

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Microstory 718: Burn the Book of Ivanka

Find the Ring of Culture

A rather recent taikon called for the retirement of the Book of Light. This involved three stages of ceremony meant to establish a deep reverence for its words, allowing us to move forward, while remembering the past for what it is. Upon discovering the Ring of Culture, and beginning to learn its secrets, we now understand the lies Sotiren Zahir and Eido Ivanka told us. We have placed both the latter, and the resurrection of the former in exile on a private jarl world that was long ago abandoned. We still don’t know what we’re going to do with them, though Highlightseers and galaxy leaders are weighing our options. Their exact location remains unknown to most, for their safety, and for everyone else’s. Unlike the retirement of a divine book, the taikon calls simply for the Book of Ivanka to be burned. Now that we know how terrible of a person Ivanka is, and always was, we realize we cannot do what we did with the Book of Light. A retirement still allows those words to be read and taught. This we cannot allow when it comes to the Book of Ivanka, which was written out of hate, and a thirst for power. We need something permanent...irreversible. One suggestion was to round up every hard copy of the book, and destroy it, while ordering all who own the book to delete it from their virtual readers. This would be impractical, of course, and we could never really know whether every copy was gone. Others suggested we disseminate a virus to destroy the virtual copies, but that still doesn’t account for the hard copies, nor would it work for any device removed from the data network. No, the only way to do this would be to use powerful technology we’ve never been able to control before. For the last eight years, scientists have been studying quantum phenomena, like the quantum darkness, and the Forces of Virtue, of which there is still one left. An elite team of researchers believe that they have come up with a satisfying solution. We will spread a virus across the galaxy to destroy Ivanka’s words. But unlike a computer virus, it will be able to reach every single copy—in any form—whether connected to the network or not. Hard copies will even dissolve until the pages are illegible. Hard copies will even dissolve until the pages are illegible. Virtual formats will be corrupted, and completely unsalvageable. The time of the eidos is done. We are moving on to greater, and more rewarding, things, in a universe of equality and community.

Force of Love

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Microstory 717: Find the Ring of Culture

Life at Full Glory

Like the other four Primary Rings, the Ring of Culture has always been a mystery. It was worn by Eido Ivanka when she was first in power during the founding of this galaxy. It is said that she hid it deliberately in order to either protect it from people, or people from it. The original final taikon in the Book of Light did not list its rediscovery as part of the prophecy. Instead, the one hundred and seventeenth was meant to establish Ivanka—or her replacement, had one been appointed—as ultimate successor to Sotiren Zahir, should the Sacred Savior die a second time. Ivanka was the principal actor against the introduction of the Book of Anseluka. Even today, she rejects its teachings, and is adamant about retaining our tradition through the original divine books. She has gone to great lengths pushing her own divine book, despite the new taikon’s prediction that it must soon be destroyed. Presumably fearing that we would find the Ring of Culture, Ivanka was caught trying to retrieve it from its original hiding place (which we would have never uncovered, by the way), and trying to destroy it. As it turned out, The Ring was full of damning evidence that the history of our galaxy is not what we believed. Analysts are still looking over the data, but we’ve learned the truth about a few things already. Sotiren did not ride the Light of Prospect to the “land of light”. He gained access to a repository of knowledge which had already completed extensive study of the Fostean galaxy, long before our ancestors had so much as thought of breaking away from the communists. Some evidence even suggests these surveys were done far deeper in the past, possibly before Lactea was seeded with life in the first place. We currently do not know how comprehensive this conspiracy goes, or whether any of the other eidos had any clue about it; though Andrea certainly knew something. Certain remarks by Peter Fireblood, and other detractors, now make more sense. Perhaps we all knew a little bit of the truth behind our faith, which we now realize to be little more than a bastardization of an old religion on Earth called Christianity. Maybe we are lucky this information did not come to light until now, though. We are already in the middle of reimagining our faith into something healthier, and more productive. We would never have been able to reach this point had we been so profoundly made foolish by Sotiren and Ivanka’s lies. Now we understand why the new taikon demand we burn the Book of Ivanka. While we doubted the point of this before, we now understand, and we cannot wait.

Burn the Book of Ivanka

Monday, November 20, 2017

Microstory 716: Life at Full Glory

Closing Earthquake

In the original list of final taikon, we were taught that the predictions would start ramping up to a climax of some kind. It was a little vague about how things would end, mostly because part of the idea is that it’s meant to be our choice. One thing we knew was that life would start getting more and more intense until events reached critical mass, and an inevitable conclusion came bursting into the galaxy. These new taikon from the Book of Anseluka have taken the opposite route, especially when matched with the actual turnout of events. Life in the galaxy is more stable than it ever has been, even before the Light Wars. We have opened negotiations with other civilizations for trade and general communication. Our relationship with Lactea as a whole is stronger than we ever thought possible, especially considering just a few years ago, we were completely hidden from them. At home, our population is thriving. Immortality is available to all now, and we are on our way towards near ubiquitous defeat of death. There are still subcultures who choose to remain standard human, and they are allowed to do so, of course. Planets have been rebuilt to former glory following years of quantum darkness where only hardened life could survive. Some worlds, however, have been abandoned entirely. Many have chosen to consolidate, not just out of necessity, but also because of a deeper sense of community and culture than we could appreciate before. Overall, Fostea is much different than it has been for the last several centuries; different than our founders had planned on us being. Whereas before we considered ours to be the greatest galaxy in the universe, we are quickly proving this to outsiders by accepting new ideas, and reevaluating our methods in good faith. There are only five taikon left, but whatever comes, we know we’ll be okay, because we are a strong and proud people. Bring it on, as the Earthans say.

Find the Ring of Culture

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: August 8, 2154

Click here for the previous installment...
Click here for the 2017 table of contents.

When Mateo went to bed last night, Lincoln and The Weaver had not yet returned from finishing the LIR Map. He had spent the night with Kivi, Darko, and Marcy. It was awkward, to say the least, but Marcy’s anger against him was cooling off. When he woke up on August 8, 2154, he was completely alone in their cube home. All three of his friends and family were gone, and Lincoln was still not back. “Hello?” he called out the hallway. “Hello?” he repeated down the stairs. “Hello?” he asked again once outside on the beach. Arcadia had said that Darko and Marcy would be gone, but Kivi should have still been here. Not even Porter was around anymore. “What’s happened?”
Halfway through lunch, a door appeared on the treeline. Lincoln stepped out of it alone. Mateo, having underestimated his own sense of isolation, jogged up and gave him a hug. “Did you do it?”
He nodded and shook his head at the same time. “We took the whole year for it, The Weaver and I. We weren’t alone, though. Harmony escorted us to other universes where we gathered input from a host of knowledgeable people, including a few artificial superentities. Nothing was working, and then it happened. We call it the Time Shriek. It’s this shrill cry from the aether so profoundly powerful that it could be heard in the past, the future, and throughout the bulkverse. We have no idea what it was, or where it came from, but it solved it for us. It makes no sense, but it solidified all necessary connections for the map. We didn’t really do it, but it’s done. Arcadia has the map. I’ve no clue what she plans to do with it, but she has it, and she assures me that Leona and Serif will return to the timeline once you’re finished with my expiation.”
“Why isn’t Kivi here? She’s taken three people at once.”
“She told me about that too. It’s punishment for us taking so long to complete our task.”
“She’s a time traveler! Hell she cares how long something takes?”
If it makes you feel any better, she asked me to relay to you, Kivi was going to be taken shortly anyway.”
“Shortly for me is a few days. For you, it’s years. She took years of you two being together.”
“I know,” Lincoln said. “Believe me, I know.”
“It isn’t fair. You’re here because of me. You’ve dedicated all this time to helping me, and for what? In our last reality, you hadn’t even met me, and you were still protecting me. Why?”
“Because you need it, Mateo,” he said. “Other people help you, and I know you notice, though they may think you’re oblivious. They’ve...made these claims about your future. They say you’ll one day do great things. Yet, those days never come from you, do they? Up until now, you’ve just been doing everything to survive, and protect those you care about. I can see more than those people can, and what I see is a good man who never gives up. You are no more important to the timeline than any other individual. But I exert all this effort helping you, because...I keep finding myself in a position to do so.”
“I can always count on you to tell me the truth.”
“Truth is all my brain does.”
“Still. I’m sorry about Kivi.”
“She’s your daughter.”
Is she?”
“In certain ways.”
“This is a weird conversation,” Arcadia said. Mateo had noticed her arrival, but chose not to acknowledge it.
“Why am I last?” Lincoln asked her.
“The last survivor on the island?” she clarified rhetorically. “Why not?”
“Seems like a random choice,” Lincoln said.
“Hm,” she said. “I never really thought about it. I had all these ideas for expiations, but nothing for you, so I just sort of forgot you existed.”
“That’s the Arcadia we know and love,” Mateo said.
“But now that you mention it, maybe you do serve a purpose,” Arcadia said, while still thinking about her new idea. “I need a day to plan it.”
She disappeared, and then reappeared a second later.
“Okay, it’s been a day for me,” she said. “I have the idea all finished. Mateo, if you kill Lincoln Rutherford by midnight central, everyone will be returned to you. Except for  him, of course. And Vearden.”
“Excuse me?” Mateo asked.
“I think I was pretty clear. I have the LIR Map, so I don’t need him anymore. He’s really just in the way, so you take care of him, and this will all be over. I’ll even try to find Dar’cy. I make no promises on that front, though.”
“I’m not killing Lincoln.”
She shrugged her shoulders. “That’s your call, but that’s Darko’s expiation. He’s kind of a linchpin. If you don’t get Darko back, you can’t get anyone back. I don’t care how you do it, in fact, I find that sort of thing rather distasteful, so I won’t be here.” She looked at her wrist, and then removed a retro 90s pager from her pocket. “My number is 867-5309, no joke, no lying, no laughing. Let me know when it’s done. I will not be returning to the island until 2157. Again, I don’t want the details, I’ll just want proof of death. No more questions, goodbye.” She teleported away.
They stood in silence for a few beats.
Finally, Lincoln spoke, “I’ve been alive an incalculable number of years. I guess, because of my knowledge, I’ve been alive forever, and I technically can’t die. Hell, all you have to do is create a new reality, and I return the same person. Kill me now, get your family back, and everything will be fine.”
“I’m not doing that, Lincoln.”
“Come on, you’ve done it before.”
“Oh, Hitler! That is not the same thing.”
“I once had a moustache.”
“Be serious.”
“I am. For the greater good, you have to do it. My life is not worth the lives of twenty-three other people.”
“This isn’t up for debate. We find another way.”
“There is no other way. Look around, Mateo. We’re all alone. Not even Porter can help us now.”
“You’re right.”
“Damn right, I’m right.”
“There’s nothing for us on this island.”
“Wait, where are you going with this?”
Mateo was going back into the cube. “The other day, we asked Porter to provide us with a whole tool set. We didn’t know what we would need to build the map, so we just asked for it all, including a couple shovels. Hindsight 20/20, we should have asked for a backhoe.”
“What do we need shovels for?” Lincoln asked, following him to the back of the main room.
“Every once in awhile I pull this card. I don’t do it often, because I don’t wanna abuse the system, and I don’t want to pester him too much.”
“Pester who?”
He found the shovels in the storage room, and handed one to Lincoln. “I hope you got enough sleep. We have to dig a grave.”
It only took them about an hour to finish the job. Since they didn’t need the grave to be practical, they were able to dig in the soft sand. Mateo thought Lincoln would hesitate falling into a big hole in the ground, but he was totally fine with it.
“It’s been a good long time,” Mr. Halifax, a.k.a. The Gravedigger said. He was standing on the edge of the grave. They could see the voidsky of the graveyard dimension above him.
“I’m sorry to ask you this, but we need you to take us to Glubbdubdrib.”
“Whatever for?”
“There’s someone we need to speak to.”
“In the Extraction Mirror?”
“Mateo,” Lincoln interjected, “this can’t be a good idea.”
“Can’t you see how it all turns out?” Mateo asked him.”
“Yeah,” Lincoln confirmed, “but only if I look. And I don’t wanna.”
“Yes, sir,” Mr. Halifax said with a flick of his hat. “Glubbdubdrib it is.”
The sky turned a desolate gray as he was helping them out of the hole. They climbed out to find themselves back on Dardius; specifically on the island nation of Glubbdubdrib, which Mateo first encountered during one of The Rogue’s early tribulations. It was here that he killed The Rogue, only to find out he had been Gilbert Boyce the entire time, and merely switched to another body upon his “death”. He used the mirror again to retrieve Gilbert just before his permanent death. Now they would need it for someone else.
Once they found the magic mirror in Palace Glubbdubdrib, Mateo cut his hand on a knife he had taken from the closet, so he could place a sample of blood on the dimensional barrier. “I stand at the gates of life and death. Come forwards. Come forwards, spirits! Here is life. Zeferino Preston, cleanser and cleaner, smell blood! Smell life! I summon you!”
“Oh, shit,” Lincoln said under his breath, but made no move to stop Mateo.
The scene on the other side of the dimensional barrier changed to the Uluru battle. He was holding Serkan’s lifeless body. Leona was kneeling next to him. Xearea was standing off to the side. Gilbert was pointing a gun at Zeferino, having already released two of ultimately three bullets from it. They were headed right for The Cleanser, but time was moving slowly. Zeferino Preston pulled himself out of the special body he had stolen from The Artist. It was this body that had given him so many powers. Now he was still powerful, but not quite as much. Now he was essentially back to normal.
Zeferino walked towards the barrier. “You just can’t help but make friends with your enemies, can you, Matty?”
“We are not friends. I can restart the scene any time I want, and the way I understand it, you have one chance to stave this off. If I don’t let you out now, no one else can later.”
“This is correct,” Zeferino said. “The mirror can only be used for one moment one time. So what is it you want?”
“Darko Matic?”
He lost his evil grin. “What?”
“He’s been taken out of time. Only Lincoln and I remember him.”
“Who would do such a thing?”
“Your sister...The Extractor.”
“That bitch.”
“I’m appealing to your...brotherly love,” Mateo said. “You are brothers, aren’t you?”
“I’ve always thought so.”
“Then bring him back. You want it, I want it.”
Zeferino looked behind him at his old body, which was uncomfortably close to irreversible death. He would have to answer quickly. “That’s the body I would use to do that. Without it, I’m powerless, I can’t help you.”
Mateo turned away nonchalantly. “All right, goodbye.”
“Wait!” he said, scared. “I can’t help you, but I know someone who can.”
“The Superintendent.”

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Departure of Hokusai Gimura: Chapter Four

Click here for the entire story.
Click here for the previous installment...

“When are we?” I ask, recognizing some landmarks of the city. Night is falling.
“November 18, 2000.”
How does she know that?
As if reading my mind, she explains, “I have an innate sense of time. It’s one of my required secondary powers. Most time travelers don’t have it, which means they’re always getting lost. That’s why the world’s not even crazier than it is.”
“Did you send us here, or did that woman do it?”
“Kinda both, I guess.”
“Well, this is where we need to be. This is the day that Rothko Ladhiffe disappeared.” Suddenly, the sun disappears, as if the light in the sky was no more than a lightbulb that can be switched off.
Sanela shivers. “Something’s wrong here too. I’m the Screener. We shouldn’t be feeling the weather.”
“Come on, let’s go find RL.”
We’re several blocks from the Ladhiffe house, and since Sanela doesn’t trust her powers at the moment, we have to walk the whole way. We see zero signs of life on our way. Not only are there no cars driving home from the bar, or people setting their trash bins on the curb, but there’s nothing. It’s like this area of town was built overnight, and people haven’t moved in yet. As expected, RL’s house is empty, so we go back outside, hoping to run into him. It is then that we come across the special disappearing house. A figure is standing at the entrance, banging on the door.
“No,” I cry, like an inconsiderate audience member at a movie screening. “Don’t go in there!”
I reach the house just in time to see RL open the door, and steal a flashlight from the figure who was knocking on it, who’s turned out to be some other version of RL. “You won’t need this,” he says to himself. “Go inside. Trust me.” For some reason, the other RL complies with his duplicate’s orders, and steps in. I’m about to follow when the RL with the flashlight stops me. “Not you,” he says.
“Oh my God!” Sanela complains. “You can see us too?”
“Yeah, it’s this whole thing. Come on.”
RL then runs off, and we chase after him. “Rothko!” I keep yelling up to him. “I’ve been looking for you!” He ignores me, and leads us to the high school, only stopping once we reach the gymnasium.
“What are we doing here?” Sanela asks.
RL just steps into the equipment room and starts looking around.
“Answer her!” I demand. “What’s your problem?”
RL finds what he’s looking for in a baseball bat. “Sorry, we just don’t have much time. Take this.”
“He can’t take that,” Sanela says. “We’re not really here.”
“The rules are different in this dimension,” RL explains. “Take it.”
I reluctantly take the bat. “What is this for?”
“You remember your surrogate daughter, Hogarth?”
“I’ve never really considered her my—”
“You remember her, though,” he interrupts.
“Yes, of course.”
He points at the bat he’s just handed me. “Protect her.”
“From what?”
“You’ll see.” He starts looking around again, eventually deciding he now needs a basketball. “Somebody got a pen?”
I always keep a pen on my person, and have been doing so since I was a child. What kind of man leaves the house without a pen? my father would always say. It made an impression.
RL takes the pen, draws a sorry excuse for a cat on it, and stuffs it in my face. “Take a mental note of this. This is the most important basketball in the worlds. I’m going to leave the Rothko Torch in here for you. You will retrieve it in 2022, and then leave it in 2160. I would give it to you now, but I need it for something else first.”
“I’m so confused. Why don’t you come with us?”
“I have to save them all.”
“Save who?”
“You’ve already seen.”
“I don’t understand,” I say.
“One last thing before we part ways. I’m going to tell you something that no one else knows.”
“What is it?”
His watch beeps. “Shit. Remember the cat!”
“What did you want to tell me?” I ask hastily.
“The Rothko Torch,” he says, “it’s not one of a kind! There is one other. It’s in my—”
Time runs out, and we’re transported once again, apparently out of Senela’s control. She can’t even sense what year it is. As I’m trying to figure out which direction we should go. Hogarth Pudeyonavic appears out of the darkness. She’s running with a woman I don’t recognize. Behind them are town residents Paul Harken, and a very pregnant Hilde Unger. They duck around a corner, and I’m about to run after them when I notice three men already chasing them. They don’t look like they have the best of intentions.
“The bat,” Sanela says simply.
They don’t seem to be able to see me, but they can definitely feel me. I lower the bat and use it to trip one of the pursuing men. The man in front got past me before I could stop him, so I toss the bat in his direction. It’s not a particularly elegant throw, but it does the job, hitting him in the face, and causing a nosebleed.
“Nice shot!” Sanela says joyously, but becomes ashamed of her schadenfreude, and calms back down.
The third man is still standing up, so I fix that with a quick jab in the back of his kneecap. I don’t know what his deal is, or why he’s chasing after Hogarth, but RL said to protect her, so that’s what I’ma do. Like I needed a reason.
A fourth man runs up and looks at the mess. “What happened here?” He carries with him an air of authority.
“Invisible force,” one of the henchmen replies. “Smith. Help. Please.” Maybe I hit him a little too hard.
“Where did she go?” the leader, whose name was apparently Smith asks.
“We don’t know.”
“Invisible force, you say?” he starts thinking it over. Then he takes the HG Goggles out of his pocket.
“How did he get those?” I ask, feeling me pocket to make sure mine are still there. “I still have them.”
“Time travel,” Sanela whispers. “He acquires them sometime later. Either that, or there’s more than one, like the Rothko Torch. I don’t know what any of these things are.”
Smith puts the goggles on and looks right at the two of us. “Ha-ha-ha!” he LOLs. “Who the hell are you two?”
“It doesn’t matter,” I answer simply. “Whatever you want with Hogarth, you can’t have it. I’ll see to that.”
He smiles and points to his goggles, and then to us. “You’ve lost your advantage.”
As if on cue, we all hear a basketball bouncing in the darkness. It gets quieter as it loses momentum, but then we see it roll into view. The cat doodle ends up on top when the ball stops at my feet.
Smith nods to the bat I’m still holding. “Wrong sport.”
I grimace at him and get down on one knee. I lift the bat like it’s Excalibur, and jam it into the ball. It pops, revealing the Rothko Torch, just as promised. I switch it on and shine it on Smith’s face. He cries in pain, instinctively trying to block the light with his hands, and then turning away. After I turn the flashlight off, I’m near guilt for what I’ve done. He’s trembling, down on his own knees, and trying to cry, but no tears could fall from those eyes. The HG Goggles have been burned into his face permanently. He’s been turned into a hideous monster by most accounts. It’s unclear what he sees, if anything, when he removes his hands, trying to look at at them. At anything. The intensity of Smith’s whimpers increase until they reach critical mass, and he lets out a shriek no human should be able to produce on their own. Vearden Haywood could probably hear it all the way back in 2017, it’s so loud.
Once he’s done screaming, Smith stands back up, working hard to force himself to push through the pain. “I can still see you,” he yells, not as loud as the shriek, but loud enough to strike fear in my heart, and likely Sanela’s.
“We have to go,” I warn her.
“I’m on it,” she says, lifting her hands to just in front of her face. She then pushes them outwards and upwards, driving the scenery away from them to make room for the next scene.
“When and where are we now?”

Friday, November 17, 2017

Microstory 715: Closing Earthquake

Seven Signals Sound

When the seven Heroes were finished with their jobs, they left the universe, one by one, utilizing the magical doors that would appear out of nowhere.  By now, it has been almost exactly eight years since The Light Wars began. Though we have yet to declare their end, we are now in a period of peace. As if to mark this occasion, on December 21, 2012 Earth Common Era, an earthquake erupted off the coast of an Earthquake island nation called Vanuatu. This was significantly smaller than the inciting quake in 2004 ECE, but the epicenters were not too far from each other. The later one has largely been considered the final breath of a dying world, the destruction of which began following the first quake. Out of this event came an interesting development. The Lactean irritants who once plagued Fostea—and disappeared after their unique contribution to the first Light War battle–resurfaced. They return to a changed universe, marked by the embers of reconciliation between the cluster’s greatest two cultures. In fact, an intergalactic council has formed of present informality. While we are working on solidifying this joint effort, the ad hoc members currently seated at the table are planning the observation of a holiday that can be enjoyed by us all. The working title is Ember Day. At the same time, Lightseers are continuing to evolve the faith, taking into consideration a sense of community never felt before. We look forward to the oncoming remaining taikon as well, now with fresh perspective on the endeavor. Though the Light of Truth was always meant to shine on all things, we now recognize that this happens across a broader spectrum. What we once perceived as darkness may, in fact, be nothing worse than a different shade of the Light. We have always appreciated diversity, but now we know what that truly means. Furthermore, we see the value in darkness, for it is what gives light meaning. This is what the taikon have been trying to show us the whole time, and we are grateful for this lesson. And what luck it is that our budding relationships with our neighbors have begun now, for we are in the midst of recovery from the quantum darkness, and the Light Wars. The galaxy is nearing comparable levels of habitability to where they were before this all started...better, even.

Life at Full Glory