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.

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?”
“Yes.”
“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.”
“Halifax?”
“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.”
“Who?”
“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?”
“2160.”

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

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Microstory 714: Seven Signals Sound

Seven Heroes Appear

The Book of Anseluka outlines seven final battles, each one led by one of the seven Heroes that appeared from their respective seven universes, to be signaled seven unique sounds. As soon as they arrived in Universe Prime, we believed our troubles to be near over. We assumed the Heroes would want to get to work right away so that they would be able to return home. Out of all of them, The Warrior was really the only one with any slight level of interest in helping us. This may have been because he spends his days suddenly fighting against new enemies, so this didn’t seem abnormal to him. The rest expressed their reservations, for they did not know who we were, or why they should help us fight the Thuriamen. This is understandable, and we knew we wouldn’t be able to convince them with our words alone. They would need to understand the severity of our situation, as told from multiple perspectives. Highlightseers, galaxy leaders, and other respected Fostean citizens held a new summit; the first of its kind. We met with leaders from The Core, Exile, other Lactean systems, and even Earth, on a neutral planet in a random uninhabited galaxy. There we were able to help the Heroes understand just how important it is that we snuff out the Thuriamen threat once and for all. But we also made great strides in our relationship with the Lacteans. Our ties to the communists in the Core are still flimsy, at best, but we have made new friends in the Exiles, who were able to convey to us a desire for traditional capitalistic trade in the open market. We have ignited a new Light of Comradery. In the end, all of the Heroes agreed to help us, for the sake of the greater community. Theirs is a story for a different book, but thanks to them the war was finally ended, complete with a groundbreaking peace deal made between Thuriama, and the rest of us.

Closing Earthquake

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Microstory 713: Seven Heroes Appear

A Jaded Man Made Curious

While Luvras Seldasic, Loctener to Sacred Savior, Sotiren Zahir, was in the middle of his third song in the Haplen Magnus Building, a door appeared out of nowhere. At first, nothing happened, but then it opened, and out came a group of people. They were all dressed differently, and regarded their new surroundings with varying levels of surprise and intrigue. By now, a sizeable audience had formed to listen to Seldasic’s recital, and most probably believed this to be part of it. A few, however, made the connection between there being exactly seven of them, and there being seven Heroes foretold in the Book of Anseluka. Seldasic had the urge to continue his performance, so his assistant escorted the visitors to the nearest Nexus, where they were transported to Hiereus so that they could be verified by Seamus’ Ring of Law. They easily passed the test, supported by the independent studies experts, who had no doubt that these are the seven predicted Heroes that would appear to help win the war against the Thuriamen. Though the door from which they came mysteriously disappeared before anyone could investigate, those who know their history will recognize that as a special portal to other universes, like the one where Eido Mateo originated. We do not yet know how the Heroes will help us in our efforts, but we do know a little bit about who they are, and what they’ve been through, and that they’re all from some version of Earth.
The first to walk through the door provided us with no proper name, requesting we refer to him simply as The Warrior. He was born in the past, in a land with little technology, during a time of war. He was badly injured on the battlefield when a sword randomly appeared to him, allowing him to defeat his foe, and survive. As it turns out, though we more often associate the weapon with Eido Mateo, the Sword of Assimilation actually belongs to the Warrior. He’s been using it to travel through time for years. The second Hero is named Honor Beringer. She was born to a world at war as well, but in a more general sense, with civilization having slowly crumbled and died. She was forced upon a generation ship when she was little, by a group of people hoping to save the human race from extinction by sending a fraction of them to another world. Matilda Förstner’s life was filled with less danger. She chose to enter military service when she was an adult, and is now a heavily dedicated war hero. Before arriving in our universe, she was living comfortably with a safe office job, in a position of great leadership. Joshua Bacon was unable to serve in the military due to having been born blind. He has studied his world’s military history, and is already proving to be a brilliant tactician. Though he may not be able to fight physically, he will prove to be an invaluable resource for our strategy in ending the Light Wars. Shiloh Kingsley is not a fighter, per se, but was known for his bravery in the face of danger on his world. In fact, he belongs to a class of humans who do not usually go by their given names, instead being addressed by unique titles. His callsign is Courage. Amaranti Houston is experienced in martial arts, using her skills and custom technology domestically to protect people, and fight against evil. And finally we have Ariel Grant. She has spoken very little since arriving. We know her to have her own experiences in battle, but she has not gotten into detail about it. We believe her to have worked in law enforcement more recently. We are fortunate to have seven valiant champions. The Light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, is now shining brightly upon our faces.

Seven Signals Sound

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Microstory 712: A Jaded Man Made Curious

New Faction Martyred

The discovery the Book of Anseluka was not the happiest time in our galaxy’s history. We had gathered so many more followers of the Light than we had ever had before, that it was a particularly nasty blow when we learned our faith would have to change. Had the revelation that we would one day have to retire the Book of Light come sooner, it might not have been so bad for our interstellar economy. But with nearly everyone now on board, it was just too much. Fortunately for these people—new followers, and old loyalists, alike—their luck would soon change. A quantum field known as the Force of Hope began affecting everyone, on every planet, nearly simultaneously. We grew more optimistic, possibly even more so than we were before the war against Thuriama started. This caused a reaffirmation of our obligation and dedication to spreading the Light of Truth across the universe. We were more determined to win the Light Wars, and we were more capable of it. There was one, however, who somehow never experienced this reinvigoration. Luvras Seldasic has maintained his faith in the Light throughout his tenure as the Loctener, just as he has his entire life. The Force of Hope, however, never managed to shine the soul within him. His closest officials have described him as numb, or on a sort of automatic pilot mode. He would do as he was asked by the resurrected Sotiren, and he always acted upon the needs of Fosteans and Lightseers, but he had no passion. One might even say that he had become jaded. Luckily for him, this would not last forever. As predicted by Anseluka, the Force of Hope suddenly awakened inside of him, like a light switch being flipped. One moment, he was his usual hardened and immovable self, and then the next, his heart was filled with wonder and curiosity. With no provocation, he started singing in the Great Hall of the Magnus Building on Haplen. He looked at everything around him with renewed interest, as if he hadn’t ever seen an object before. Doctors would call this phenomenon jamais vu, but we know it as something else: the fulfillment of a taikon. Now we have a true Loctener, and nothing will stop us from salvation.

Seven Heroes Appear

Monday, November 13, 2017

Microstory 711: New Faction Martyred

Fruit of Restraint

We are nearing the end of these one hundred and twenty-one taikon, and the Fostean galaxy is in a monumentally different place now than it was when these first started. We thought we had it all figured out. We had hundreds of years to perfect our economy and sociopolitical culture, so surely nothing could be better than what we had come up with. But this was foolish, for our predecessors in the Lactean galaxy had several times that many years to perfect their own way of life, and they still managed to get it wrong. But maybe they were onto something here. Maybe there are some things they can teach us, just like there is much we can teach them. Far from the leaders that once ruled our civilizations, there are those who feel this to be the truth. They are already in discussions with the Core, hoping to form some sort of amicable relationship. Lacteans have expressed a willingness to trade resources, while at the same time providing military strength against our common enemy in the Thuriamen. Throughout these changes, a faction of Lightseers have begun adopting new rituals and practices. It is still a form of Lightseed, to be sure, but they are more passionately in favor of the new taikon discovered in the Book of Anseluka. They value predominantly a community-oriented economy, believing that everyone has their own contribution to make, and that no man is more important than any other. They help each other hone their natural skills, and find their place in the universe, rather than simply encouraging each member to find their own way. The majority of those on the outside of this new faction are accepting of them, and willing to let them carry on in peace. Others, however, feel differently. They are staunch traditionalists, believing the Sacred Savior’s original words in the Book of Light to be flawless. This despite the fact that Sotiren Zahir admits within the text of the Book of Light that if change is necessary, it should not be resisted. These conservatives felt their ideals were being threatened by the presence of a rival faction, even though sects are no longer considered in competition. They misinterpreted the text of the new taikon, thinking they were the foretold martyrs of their faith. They struck first, massacring the majority of the community-based faction, which actually acted to martyr them instead. The attackers’ faction was immediately disbanded, with all violent members being sent to jail to await judgment, and likely incarceration. A memorial to the progressive martyrs is planned for construction on Lakre, not too far from the memorial already being erected in remembrance of those lost in the Hydra Support Network.

A Jaded Man Made Curious