Thursday, 22 September 2016

Descent to Habito

Alexi smoothly slid out from the orbiting ring-station which encircled the Habito planet. Below the planet span in reverse, as the momentum from the station's centripetal forces remained with him. Around him the clean, crisp, darkness of space surrounded him, as it ever did at home amongst the Coald.
A moment to enjoy the horizon as the planet stretched away. Perhaps at the edges he could just see the polar cities, maybe the other equatorial centers too. Tiny things though. Afrikha stretched below, its flowing forests punctured by the tree-miners and strip farmers. Streaks and meandering paths wound about between lakes and mountains. The land of the Aviasaur riders and their flocks. Then more mountains, more lakes, vast ocean, desert. He knew it well, and loved it still. So beautiful, so perfect.
It had to be left behind though. Lyon was the destination, and that was were he was due.

The hoverboard's minor shield generators grasped those of the station. His momentum was silently changed, bringing him into stable orbit over the outskirts of the city. To his left the great spire grow from its roots buried in the city below, its trunk stretching upwards to branch out at his side. He remembered the city plaza at its base. That was where he would land.
Leaning forward, the board banked with him. He crouched, and Derrick hunkered down, just behind his shoulder. The forcefield flexed, becoming aerodynamic and slightly porous. Deep breath. The tug of gravity. Slipping through the stations's defenses and out into the void.
So slow. It was so slow at first. There was still time to admire the view. The planet humanity had terraformed here. The replica of ancient Terra, as it had been before civilisation destroyed it. Green and blue, intricate and detailed, so amazing even in the vastness of space. An entire, stable, biosphere on a planet. Amazing.

The atmosphere suddenly buffeted the board. Alexi wobbled, span to equalise and release a little momentum, before turning back. He felt a slight gust of air being allowed in by the force fields, letting him feel the gaseous cushion of this world.
It was mild, pleasant, interesting, initially. Then he felt the mild moisture and the wind began to howl past him. Finally he reached heighest clouds. Atmosphere roared past him. He swished and swooped, looped, dove, and surfed the currents. These were the moments he did this for. No, he wasn't very good, but who cared? It was glorious fun. A meteor falling planet-side, born on wings of technology and joy.
Below the clouds extended out. He swooped down towards them, banked, and surfed along the marshmallowy surface. A landscape of cotton and fog stretched before him, only the cream tower of Lyon breaking the blue horizon beyond. Somehow he wished there was rain below, perhaps even a thunder storm. They were always a joy to surf, despite the danger.

"We're not in a rush then?", the Profess's voice sounded from behind Alexi. With a shock he turned the board to find her similarly equipped, along with the rest of the retinue. He shrugged his shoulders.
"Always nice to enjoy the view when its such a glorious day.", he mused.
"Hmmm, I never took you for the poetic type.", she replied.
He smiled. "Perhaps you can surprise me then. First to the plaza gets a free lunch"
And with that he was gone.

Below the clouds he hurtled down. Derrick watched the vectors of aircraft and transporters for him, sometime warning, sometimes simply taking over the controls for a heartbeat. Alexi didn't mind, they'd trained together long enough doing this.
"You'll have to try harder than that!", came a message through Derrick's speakers. Across the sky the Profess was smartly sticking to the edge of the space tower's forcefield, where the atmosphere was thin. Cheating, she was definitely cheating. Where's the fun in surfing down the tower anyway?
Alexi nudged Derrick with an elbow, disrupting the little droids cameras for a moment. A transporter swerved as the pair drew too close, giving Alexi a moment to grasp a large, round fruit from the hopper. He hurled it downwards, through the traffic lanes, before darting after. It wasn't much of an advantage, but it broke up the air before him giving a few more seconds.
He followed the fruit directly towards the plaza as the Profess was forced to lift away from the tower as it branched apart and into the city. Below two roots curled around a city square surface with sandstone. The locals coloured the stone with bright chalk and paint between rain showers. The centre was marked with a golden sun surrounded by stars on a navy blue canvas. That was the target.

The Profess powered towards the site, keeping well above the crowds of people, but low enough to watch them. Ahead, by the solar murial a man with small mustache and goatee stood with his entourage, all dressing in cream synchskins and suits. That was the welcome party. The Gentleman, ruler of Lyon had come to "welcome" them.
She slowed to take it all in. The Gentleman strode forward as she approached, arms wide open, ready to greet her.
As he did so Alexi plummeted from the sky. His fruit hit first, smashing into the centre of the sun, splattering The Gentleman and all around him in soft, moist, red pulp. A hover board screamed in afterwards, disgorging the young man who turned to the Profess.
"Ha! Beat you!", was all he managed, before his legs gave way as exhaustion took over.
The Gentleman, the most powerful single human being on this world stared at the sight before him. A mess of wasted fruit. An exhausted Coald boy. And a preacher from another planet floating, exasperated, in the air.
He tilted his head back and laughed heartily. His team soon followed suite, as did all in the Plaza.

"Welcome planetless", boomed the smiling, broad, white face, "to my city."

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Travelling to Capital City Lyon

500 years ago the colony fleet Lyon arrived in the system. The various sections of the fleet separated- the rear most, including the fusion reactors, remaining amongst the gas giants to start the Coald colony. The forward section detached, along with the solar arrays and energy shields to become the first Venergy stations, placed closest to their new sun, Lyon. It was the midsection which began to orbit the planet most resembling Earth, the new Habito planet. 

Much of this midsection spread out in orbit around the planet, forming a ring around the equator. Below them scout units sent many thousands of years ago had already done their best to terraform the surface, selecting and genetically modifying flora and fauna so that it would thrive here. Dense greenery covered much of the landmass, a series of shallow seas dotted amongst the forests. 

A siren call rang our throughout the only flat plain along the equator. It's raucous call was followed by a swarm of identification and capture drones. Once all significant life had escaped or been collected the fire fell from the earth. A cascade of burning light scouring the landscape, leaving nothing but ash and rock. It took days to cool, at which point the cable was released. The first descending elevator was in place. A ring from the colony fleet hung from that cable. Slowly it was lowered, metre by metre, to the surface of the planet. As it made contact bolts hammered into the rock, anchors digging deep into the surface. The cable held tight, binding the orbital station the it's planet. This was the first city, port, station, and contact site with the planet. There would be other great cities and states to rise in this new colony, but this was the first. Lyon, it was to be called.

Thus was the Lyon colony fleet's initial mission objectives completed, claiming this star as its own, calling it Lyon, founding Coald and Venergy stations, and making planetfall on a Habito planet, founding a station and a city, both called Lyon.

And this was where Alxi, alongside the Tutors, was going.

The flight from the Coald region took a few days. The craft ran along the solar-stationary cord running from the centre of the system to the edges. Steadily the star Lyon grey closer, and the Habito planet came into view.

Eventually they caught a transfer ship to the external ring that surrounded the planet. There was no fanfare for the deligation, no great news articles to be written, no announcement to the population of their arrival. That would come as the ships from the Scholar Fleet arrived. This was a soft opening only, a few words before the big show.

The external ring was where many of the Habito population lived. The structure steadily spun giving a sense of gravity, allowing a life no unlike that of those on the planet below. Except that the stars where below and the green forests filled the sky.

From here the troop bounced across to the far older interior ring, the original geostationary ring. They floated down the hallways, each pulled along by their small spherical personal drones, until they reached the elevator of Lyon City.

"So, it's going to take us an hour to descend to the surface using a normal cart, then we'll be processed and checked by bio-security again, so we should be at the palace by early evening, as arranged.", the Profess read out from the hologram generator between her hands.
"Must we go through bio-sec again, ma'am", one of the auxiliary Scholars complained, "we've been through four scans already!"
"It's merely a formality", the Profess allowed, "but the check point is at the base. We will be asked questions if we don't simply go through."
Alxi showed his cheery smile.
"So we could just jump?", he ventured.
"Can you... what?"

Still smiling Alxi grabbed handles on the wall pushing off to an area a few metres down where the corridor widened. He opened the storage locker in the wall, pulling out the small hover board as Derrick, his drone, attached to the collection of chains and shield generators above the locker. Chains were spun out by Derrick, attaching onto the board, four points on Alxi's belt and his shoulders. 
"I'm not too sure...", was all the Profess could get out as a door slid open. Only the force field kept the atmosphere stabilised as Alxi and Derrick stared out into the void of space and the world below them.
He pushed off into the void.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Mapping Habito

Continued from Special Service Invitation 

"Sit back, Al. Just relax. We'll do the rest.", the Profess spoke calmly.
He was still at the meeting. They'd discussed and argued, queried and explained. It seemed like hours had passed, though in reality the mind-to-mind relays meant real communication was occurring twice as fast as it a appeared based on the software's projection. Now it was the time to make true use of Alxi and the Habito agent. Side by side they closed their eyes remembering the Habito planet. 

The capital city of Lyon seemed some how different. The sky was neither blue nor grey, the sun neither shone nor was it dark, in the air rain drops hung twinkling in and out of reality. As close as this could be to reality.
Some of the buildings had translucent balconies, advertising campaigns from the last 5 decades flowed and fizzed into one another. People appeared, and then were gone.
The Profess' voice reverberated through the cityscape.
"We are all now witnessing the capital. The holographic scape is a combination of Memories provided by Alxi, our Hagent, and some of the recently deceased. Hence certain particulars will not be shown in robust detail. This, however, will give us the best map of the capital possible for our purposes.", Alxi felt uncomfortable with them in his head like this. He appreciated the Scholars being here, had enjoyed his lessons and their teachings, was glad to be such a star pupil as to have been invited here, and yet he really didn't want them in his head. 
"Why can't you just scan the city?", he asked "I'm sure you'll get a better representation by being there."
There was an appreciative mumble from his tutor, "Gentleman Summerfield doesn't officially know we are here. When he does we will begin with cordial talks, hopefully. I, however, would appreciate a decent battle and evacuation plan prior to active duty in his nation. Should he discover us performing official surveillance before an official meeting he may assume, correctly, that the worst is coming. He may begin preparations for a defense. And whilst he could never win, it would be much safer for all involved if we have some element of surprise. We can't plan for everything like this- your memories only go as far as you remember, and are easily corrupted- but we will have the modern basics enough to know the place, and the people."
"What if I refuse to cooperate? What if I don't want you in my head?"
"Well, firstly you may be putting a great numbe at people at risk by preventing the Enlightened from preparing to remove Summerfield quickly and efficiently. You put such trusted people as your father at risk by preventing the best possible evacuation plan being generated."
"My father's going with you?! To the official introduction?", Alxi burst out in shock and awe.
"Yes. You put him in great danger without cooperation, and me, and the Venergy, and yourself."
"Yes Alxi, do ask I ask and you will be with us when we make planetfall"
"Right, well, best we get one with it then!" Alxi bellowed with pride as he thought of the great and the (occasionally) good he would be meeting.

The viewing position began its movement through all of the capital of Lyon, before moving out into Lyon itself, then out, further, onto the rest of the Habito planet. Over the slums of the 7th, the larder lands, the factory fields, the plains of the dinavians, out to the forest plantations, before the wilds and fellow Habito nations. At times they appeared to walk, then ride, or drive, sometimes flying or swimming, perhaps even moving into orbit to view the entire land.
There was only so much Alxi could provide- the Hagent provided much, and the recently deceased much more, though oftentimes their data was far older. It sparked new ideas in Alxi's mind. During the previous 14 years he had been educated, worked, and travelled the Habito planet. He had been afforded the opportunity to see so much of it, and yet there was so much more to see. So much life, so much beauty, so much wonder.
And he would return to it all, as a guest and tour guide for the Scholars 

Special Service Invitation

The message came through with his morning news. It was a short invitation to corridor 27V of the Scholar's fleet. Two weeks had passed since the Enlightened had arrived. Alxi and his classmates weren't due to move onto the fleet for some weeks.

The fleet was similar to many of humanity's stations and fleets. The simple design has served as a basic chassis for millennia providing ergonomic flexibility and ensuring the health of the inhabitants. The design for each station is a ring of living space which rotated around a "spine" to generate gravity. Docks were provided at the spine, the docks being close to stationary and without gravity. From here people, supplies, and even ships can be spun until they matched the station, then moved to the ring. Stations come in a variety of sizes. The Fleet chassis is the largest mobile size, with room for smaller stations and ships along its ring and fusion reactors at the tail of the the spine. The chassis can be joined, spine to spine giving a large, long Fleet-Ship, carrying enough cargo and passengers to colonise a new system, Enlighten a string of systems, or raid a colony.The most important aspect of the Fleet-ship design is, though, all in the name. It is a fleet, holding many stations and ships, to be released as needed. Yet it is also a single ship. Trying to coordinate a true fleet of various ships when travelling at Jink speed between systems is close to impossible- tracking ones own exact position is hard enough without trying to communicate it to others and make it relevant to their position. Oh, and the flaming carnage when two ships crash into one another, which is nearly certain, that's quite off putting. Fleets are essential.

Corridor 27V was like much the rest of the fleet- in so much as it had apparently been uniquely designed by its inhabitants, aided by various robots and the dead. The design here appeared minimalistic, boring even. Walls coloured white with a hint of green, occasionally broken by impressions of tree trunks set into the walls, their roots snaking out onto the floor. The ceiling glowed with a mild, passive, light. Half way down stood a man late into his second century of life, much of his body soft mechanical replacements, as well as a few additions. He was talking to the devious little wall console as Alxi arrived.

"Ah, here he comes, the little Coald pilot boy! Any idea what you're here for, m'boy?", the near-cyborg inquired.
"No idea old man. Can you remember why you're here?", Alxi retorted.
"We're here to watch out for little upstarts like you.", the console announced, "now come over here."
Alxi walked past the man, watching his smirking face as he passed, turning to the console set in the wall. The near-cyborg stood behind him, allowing his smirk to grow. The console was at head height, it's screen showing the small face of a man.
"Stand closer," the console commanded, "closer. Get your nose up against mine. Let me see you properly. Don't be shy. That's it. Closer. NOW!"
Alxi was pushed forcefully from behind. The console fell away, relieving a dark hole. Yet Alxi's feet caught on the tree roots, causing him to fall head first into the abyss.
The console flipped back into place.
"Gets em every time" it joked.
"Kids these days", the near-cyborg theatrically rolled his eyes, before bursting into semi-electrical laughter.

Alxi felt his fall slow. The air was warm and moist. Was it air? It grasped at his skin. There was a taste. A smell. A glow.
Deep below him sat 15 figures in a loose circle. All were surrounded by a mass of black wires, each wore a pilot helmet. Alxi was still falling towards them as black wires snaked around him, a helmet grasping around his head and shoulders. All was dark as he allowed for the adjustment. He had no idea what was going on, but anything involving a helm he was sure he could deal with.
The software generated a new image which flickered into life about him. 15 figures in a variety of grabs, or lack there of, sat around the table. A few he recognised from th Coald council, as well as the large figure of Mrs Doyle, head of Coald security. Some wore the robes of tutors. One freely showed off a caste array of unique mechanical augmentation, evidently a Venergy ambassador. 
Alxi sat between the Profess and the only individual present dressed in the present Habito fashion of a plain synchskin.
"This is Alxi,", the Profess introduced him, "on of my most promising Coald students", Alxi blushed at the praise, "He was on the Habito world of Lyon for much of the last 14 years. It is my hope that he will be able to aid our planning where our Hagent can not", she indicated the Habito woman next to Alxi. 
"Alxi, I know you realise who all these people as some of the highest ranked within the system. You also know the composition of our grouping. We are scanning your mind. Don't lie. Why are we here?"
"Gentleman Summerfield", the words left Alxi before he could stop them, "you've been informed of his government and its inability to hold to Enlightenment protocol of the 5 freedoms. You will attempt to negotiate with his government and people, which will be pointless, them you'll open discussion with the lesser Habito governments, before opening a 'police action'. Though, as he'll then cede from Enlightenment guidance and system government it will be actually classed as an invasion, until you write the history books.", his voice was flat as he realised why he was here. He wanted to smile, to be as glad as the Habito would be, but couldn't bring himself to.
The group ignored his last snide remark. It was the head of Coald security who spoke first,
"Why is it pointless for us to open talks with Summerfield's government?"
"I didn't mean his government, ma'am, though I'm sure they won't be much help either. His citizens are all zombies though. Happy clappy zombies, I believe you've called the ones that are in the cells.", eyes turned to Doyle.
"You have Habito in your cells?" The man next to Alxi asked in shock.
"How did you know about them?", Doyle scowled at Alxi. He'd forgotten where he was, who he was speaking to, he didn't seem to be able to hold back the secrets he knew. He wondered if it was the Scholars' helm.
"I came back with a number of Habito. We were all given our medical before being allowed in. My father said he was glad I passed and hadn't become a zombie. After I asked about it he told me, secretly, about your previous council meetings and your rehabilitation centre.", Doyle scowled at the words. She turned to the rest of the table, her hands opened up in front of here, a gesture of offering up hidden truths.
"We occasionally get out casts or students from the Habito. Summerfield sends us a steadily increasing supply. They were one of the reasons we wanted the Scholars to come. How we know what's going on in Lyon. The end of the 5 freedoms. The reason we must plan an invasion."

to be continued....

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Lessons of Enlightenment

The primary objective of the Enlightened Systems is to ensure that all humanity has access to basic education, ensuring that every human mind has a chance to understand that they are part of the largest civilisation in the known Galaxy, and part of a species set upon conquering that Galaxy.

For the most part this is done simply by seeing that the young are respected, free, have access to the basics of food, water, and medicine, as well as having people to look up to. They might be taught by official teachers, the community, a craft-guild, a priesthood, computers, or the dead. The Enlightenment simply needs to know that the mind of a child is not wasted by early neglect. They will be the life blood of the species, the next colonists, they are the stem cells, and will one day become the endoskeleton of civilisation- the dead. Hence the Enlightenment Fleets all bare the symbol of a foetus as their emblem, a reminder of the future.

For all that the Scholar-tutors of the College Fleets have their title, their teaching is mostly in teaching the teachers of teachers, or in educating the great masses. Only their initiates go out onto a world to teach the general population. Only a Profess will teach distinct lessons.

His mother had been furious upon finding out. He'd only been back a few weeks, he'd hardly started out as a proper Coald miner. What about Phell? What about his little baby brother?

Alxi had signed up for lessons with the Profess. He had always been fascinated by news from beyond the system, the new technologies, new research, what had happened to the rest of humanity. Such lessons were also essential to gaining a seat on the Coald Council- without such teachings and knowledge he would have struggled greatly. There was also the possibility that they might select him as well, to join the fleet, become a tutor, see the stars with them. He didn't mention that to his mother.

A group of young people, freshly out of their party years of college, university, and apprenticeship programs stood amongst the Ancient Greek ruins, surrounded by a dry desert-like wilderness. All wore loose, plain, linen tunics. They quietly chatted with one another, nervous yet impatient. In reality they were each in their own Coald Sphere, floating in the pink fluid, bodies plugged into the space station, gathered here by the software of the Enlightenment Fleet.
The software of all Spheres could generate any environment humanity had managed to measure or scan, as well as an infinite number of places invented and constructed by people, aided by the dead.
The group fell quiet as the Profess climbed onto the remnants of a stone column.
"Welcome to you all.", she began, "These courses will not be gruelling, nor will we teach you anything that new, supposing you were listening throughout the rest of your education. We will go over your own history, that of civilisation, and of the species as a hold. As best possible we will go over the present political, astral and economic situation of the species. We will cover culture and technology, society and the galactic ecosystem. By the end of the course you should know not only know these lessons, you will know their importance and relevance. 
"Your community hopes that this will make you rounded individuals, able to guide the Coald and this system in the future. Some of you may show the aptitude to be put forward for Colony Fleet command, helping to shape humanity's future. A few of you, the ones with special insights and novel ideas, may even have the potential to join my fleet, should you be willing. 
"You will travel through history, living it, being part of it. Tutors from the fleet will take you aboard the Fleet, and you will tour the System with them. It is our hope that you will thus be able to teach us about your words. You will need to show knowledge, understanding, communication skills and leadership. 
"I can't lie enough to say that all of you will definitely succeed. However, you are here, so you are evidently optimistic about your chances, and that optimism, with will power, will get you through. The Tutors will do everything they can to help you succeed.
"Most importantly though, enjoy the journey!"
With that tables laden with exotic foods appeared, attended to by service drones and concubines. The sun shone as they ate, socialised, and acted out as Ancient Greeks.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Colonies

It was long ago, before the first colonies, before the dawn of civilisation, before we, the dead, died, that the form of humanity's colonies was set.
There have been changes, modifications, unions and collapses, yet the basis remains.
The centre is the star, origin of nearly all energy and around which all colonists orbit.
Closest to the star reside the Venergy.
Once they were simply a company, Venus Energy, the largest owner of solar satellite platforms around our first star.
They held all of Venus and loaned technology to many more.
They were the primary backers for the first colony fleets.
Now they are a community, a culture, a people.
It is they who feed power to any colony.

Should the system have a habitable planet, humans will live here, generating a new ecosystem with selected plants and animals.
These are most often called the Habito, and at the majority population in any system.
They can feed the rest of the system, but also gather energy and materials.
The planet is circled by rings of the planet-station, wound to the world by the spires- grand tall structures like mighty tree trunks, moving power, materials, food, air, and people, between system and planet.
Beyond the station orbit platforms- large rotating cylinders much like the original colony fleet. 
One maybe the original. 
Some may be new colony fleets being built.

All beyond the Habito zone belongs to the Coald. 
They were once a great family, mining the asteroids and planets beyond the majesty of Mars, keeping away from the jurisdiction of the Saturn Fraternity.
They left with the colony fleets in the hope of forging a mining empire to compete with those that challenged them at home.
They are still a family, of sorts.
They mine the debris of the system, gathering any resources humans can use.
To this end they maintain a variety of technology, most notably the Golems.
Being so far from the star and Habito, they are also the only people allowed to build and use the ancient technology of fusion reactors- dangerous, yet necessary.
They are also the first line of defence against anyone who might wish to raid or make war upon the system.

Today, beyond the system are also the Enlightenment.
The all 10 original colonies, along with the 2 that were replaced, signed the agreement.
Having, long ago, made war upon Earth, they have taken it upon themselves to act as messengers and teachers, travelling between the colonies.
Their Scholar-Fleets travel from a College of an Enlightened Colony, out towards the edge of the Ken, visiting any system that signals them.
Thus humanity can stay connected, technology and research shared, the development of colonies monitored and encourage all to work towards building new colony-fleets.

The Enlightened are not always "just", not always "fair", but they have always kept we, the dead, from dying, and enabled humanity to spread.
Nothing can stop humanity.

The Galaxy is Ours.

The Death of Tubroo

Out there, in the void between and around stars, are many troubling, and troubled people. 
With all the diversity of life and the universe there have always be "free" people. 
Even we, the dead, could not save them. 
They need to be free, and free they will be. 
Freedom is a great and wonderful dream.
The rest of you are forced to care for your loved ones, and they to care for you.
The free feel no such concerns.
Yet, with so little help they suffer.
They won't tell you, but they do.
Some of we, the dead, have been free.
Thus the free must come to the systems, at best to trade and gather supplies.
At worst to raid and pillage.
Depends upon what they need.
Somethings cannot be bought.
They are the "7th", and they are free from the Systems, and free from their own conscious.

Alxi didn't remember much of it. He was only in his 8th ans at the time. His mother was one of the teachers. She'd always been a teacher, both of new pilots and small children. Who ever needed her deep knowledge of the Golems.

Alxi was in a Sphere-pool, a large, joint, unit, a place to learn with others via holo-helmets. He was matched with 5 children, all older than himself . His mother had brought him along before the usual starting stage of 7th ans, initially in preference to sending him to the beautiful, green, kinder-parks. He had got bored and soon joined in the poolers. 

The sirens screamed.

 The learning environment of free floating notes and class mates disappeared from around Alxi. In its place the present Master appeared. "Stay calm and follow your teachers. Stay calm and follow your teachers."

The pool fluid automatically changed. Helmets didn't disengage. Alxi felt his body being forced down into the pool. He screamed. Suddenly a small hand clasped his. Jenny, his best friend, reached out to him. He wouldn't let go for the next two hours.

They all dropped out of the bottom of the pool, the pink liquid and helmets depositing them onto a collection of brightly coloured cushions. Some children were crying, holding their teachers and friends. Others looked about, bright eyed and smiling. They all knew what was coming. The room shifted as the last teacher descended and shuttled them all towards the central bunker terminal.

Outside we, the dead, had been tracking the 7th fleet. 
Some 7th are freedom fighters, some minor colonists, some immigrants, some asylum seekers, some messages, some "prophets", some traders.
These 7th were pirates.
Their fleet was made as all fleet-components are made. 
1 fleet-component, a long, wide circular body, slowly spinning. 
Its trajectory caused it to steadily skim past our System.
1 small craft, 1 larger, discharged from the rim, towards our centres.
These were not the round disks of trading ships.
These were the arrow-darts of war.
Each selected a target.
The largest was flying towards Johnson Alxi and his mother.

Alxi had never seen his mother cry before. She would cry many times in the years afterwards, but never when she thought he could see, and always with her face buried into his faces shoulder. There were no screams to haunt her, no faces to remember. Did she fear what she had done, or what so easily could have been had she not?

Alxi sat buried in cushions with Jenny. She tried to hug him, yet he turned away, fascinated and frightened. 

The central console was a 12 pointed star, a seat placed between each point, facing inwards. All present had agreed upon what must be done. The dead had advised and notes taken. May history accept their decision.

Mrs Johnson sat shaking in her hair.
"Why me?"
"You were selected at random to be one of the twelve", the Master reminded her, "and as a teacher we can trust no other with this task. You have been appointed and selected. Any more hesitation may lead to events you would not wish for."
"Such as?", she sobbed
"Look at your son, Johnson. They are pirates and that is your little son right there.", she looked up. She stared into his face. A young, round, umbre face, surrounded by dark locks, fashioned with fascinated purple eyes. She stood and walked to the centre of the star-console. From it a large, pink, button rose. It exuded heat, fierce, burning heat. She stared at her young son.
"I love you Alxi"
She hit the button and screamed. It burned into the palm of her hand. The brand spelled out her new title, "Defender of the Coald, Tutor of Honour". 
She felt no honour.

The evacuation to the bunkers is necessary before firing the shuttle cannon.
Despite all of the energy we have available, the capacitors for the cannon always need a strong, additional charge.
The Coald are always the first to feel the touch of piracy, being so close to the edge.
Thus they need immensely strong shields, but also weapons.
There is no giant laserable source such as the Venergy have though, being nearest to the star.

A teacher is selected at random.
They are the best of us all.
Kind, knowledgable, and intelligent, only they can be trusted to not to wield this power irresponsibly.
Yet they are still branded in the act, whilst surrounded by their students, and watched by 11.
Some the act will break.
It is necessary, and it is rare.

The shuttle is a relatively simple device. Only 5 of the deep-dead are required to pilot it- their final act of anger and love. It is accelerated in many different ways, combining to hammer it out towards the raiders. One shot. All there is. All that we should need.

As it travels laser weapons are fired, torpedoes launched, slugs ejected, and the plasma reactor prepared. Some of the weapons from the shuttle will get through, destroying shields, removing armour, perhaps even decompressing the ship. The finale is the hardest part though. The deep-dead correct the craft, extending its multiple fins, preparing them to discharge.

The Pirates always try to evade. It's a sensible option. Hence the fins- to catch what might be a glance and cause penetration whilst altering the Pirates' craft's course. Normally the dead make it though. Normally, as on this day, the Coald station is not only saved, but also the Pirates removed.

The shuttle's prow splintered as it hit a reawakened shield. It ploughed into the prow of the 7th's vessel, was split open by the force. As the armour came loose the chassis came forth, biting into the ship, cracking viewing port, stripping the inhabitants of protection. Then the plasma generator detonated. A new star flashed into existence. All were incinerated. No full bodies would be found. Only a few of the dead returned.

Alxi was safe.

Tubroo was not.

The craft that was launched at Tubroo was smaller. After their last raid, a system recently "Enlightened", they had gathered up the newest experimental tech that the Tutors had left. Crudely hammered onto the little craft with a few improvements, new armour, shields, sensors, and weapons had been enough.

The screams of Tubroo were broadcast across the System.

Before the station's generator destabilised.

Another star. Another end.

Johnson Alxi's Last Morning of Freedom

The black absorbed the light into infinity. Only pin pricks of light shone in the dark, other systems, old, new, undiscovered. A trillion trillion people out there, floating in the Ken. Was there anyone beyond? Who knew? Who cared? Just another day, another denarii.

Alxi  didn't see the new light, larger than most, moving closer.

The apartment included nearly everything Alxi needed. It's floor was transparent, the ceiling lights shining out into space. In one corner sat the long forgotten bed, in another his occupied Golem Control Sphere, the unit that allowed his control of the ginormous mining suits. The giant goldfish bowl was filled with a pink translucent nanite fluid, bouying him up, before carrying his waking form up to the surface. 

As he breached through the hole of what was normally his work space his helmet released itself and the nanites slid back into the Sphere. He took a deep breath of the clear crisp air and shook out his short black curls. He kept the air cooler than most, helped him wake up, reminded him of the weather at university. Wasn't working this morning though. He'd been back 9 weeks- it was nice to be home with the Cauld, but the boredom was building. He slid his body out onto the platform and onto the floor.

Stretching to his full height the Synchskin suit expanded and fell from his body. His mother would kill him if she knew he was sleeping in the Sphere again. The skin slithered itself into the closet. Stepping into the cubicle, the walls began to hammer out cleansing fluid, followed by the gales of warm air which enveloped his body. Finally he picked up the proffered pill. The bacteria within were ancient, some bioengineered to live on his teeth, keeping them clean, others travelled to his intestines, helping digestion and health.

Outside his day skin slithered out and onto him, along with his paired ward stones, warn either side of the hip. He stretched and the suit snuggled up against him. His mother would kill him if he walked out to breakfast so exposed. It had been all the rage to go Synchskin only on the Habito planet. He reached for the belt and passed it round his waist. It made a small whirring noise before the tartan cloth printed out, the cloth surrounding his legs, with a loose loop to stretch over his left shoulder. As he stood there Derrick the Drone rose from the shelving, levitating in the air before him. The drone was a round bubble, filled with helium, surrounded by electronics.

"Morning Boss", he lazily mumbled, "wish you'd turn heat up, it's neh good for your health"
"Not now mate", Alxi replied, "just give me some news"
"Fine... The council meeting has been moved forward to today. They haven't said why, must be something important. Your Dad's been invited. Won't manage it in person now though, of course, digi will do... Not much new with the Venergy or Habito- General Guedo and Gentleman Summerfield are carrying on as ever... The Habito Forestry found a replacement for your position, Jenny's cousin, Dabad. Nice guy, keeps off the Rose, but likes a drink... Oh, and your sister just got given her application forms. No idea if she'll come back, seems to like the Venergy. She's got a month to decide."
"And the racing?"
"Erm, two pigs pulled out, couldn't finish the maze. Duo did ok though, 3rd place. You wanting to sell your syndicate shares to Dabad?"
"I'll think about it"
"Not thinking of going back already, I hope?"
"Nah, just, well...", Alxi shrugged his shoulders, "I just miss Uni."
He trudged through the doorway that slid open before him.

In the communal area the large oval tables had been arranged. At each sat various families, starting their day together with various travellers and interns. He smiled to himself as he noticed Phell with the Thompsons across the way. She was an intern. A beautiful, beguiling, Venergy-born intern. 

"Come on lad, stop staring. Don't survey a site unless you'll mine her.", his bushy bearded father clapped him on the shoulder, bright and happy, ready for another morning, "I hope you're ready for another bollocking from your mother"
The jovial smile disappeared, "what have a done now?" 
"She went out for a walk last night. You forgot to opaque your floor again. She was furious"
"Thanks for the warning"

At the family table Mrs Johnson was fussing over the family's newest addition, 3 year old Dek. Off to his side Dodge slept in her bed, the young augmented maternity hound sleeping off another night of caring for the small child. Mrs Johnson relented her persistent attempts to get the child to eat his spaghetti loops cleanly, leaving him to play with his holographic dairy farm.

She collected herself beautifully before walking towards her eldest son.
"Good morning, Alxi", she was always a stickler for formal greetings to start the day. They touched noses, as family and close friends did, and each used the left hand to grasp the others right shoulder. Alxi, normally trusting his instinct, made sure only his 3rd digit placed more pressure than the others. He felt his mother's thumb jab stiffly.

No drones came to deliver breakfast when they sat. Time for trouble. His mother took a deep breath.
"Johnson Alxi. What have I told you about sleeping in your Sphere?", it was nearly a growl.
"Don't do it. The research says a bed is better, especially for young people. They are not programmed to look after the young. If it wasn't for your grandmother you'd never have even started piloting as young as you did... Oh, and it's disgusting that I'm in there day and night."
"Yet you still do it"
"Mum, I'm not a young person anymore. I'm 28, I've graduated! And I don't like beds. I'm not used to them. They're cold. And the Sphere keeps its fluid clean, it's not that bad."
"Darling, just try it. Put the heat up in your room. You'll get used to it."
"And all else fails", his father advised, "we'll find you a reason to go to bed. I don't know, maybe Phell?", his father winked as Alxi slumped further. His mother smirked.
"Excellent idea, I'll invite Phell over to join us tonight. Phell's been a wonderful student for me, Alex. I like Phell."
Dek suddenly shouted out,
"PHELL! PHELL! PHELL!", causing her and the Thompson's to look across the room. Alex met her shining amber eyes, involuntarily smiling. She smiled back. He winked. She laughed, shook her head, and turned back to her hosts.

Over their last ever breakfast together, the event that would change life forever was brought up.
"Any idea what the council meeting's about?"
"No idea, lad."
"But they brought it forward so quickly. Must be something serious"
"Well, do you want to sit in on it?", his father casually suggested. Alxi was stunned.
"Right, go get me some mineral. I'll see you at lunch"

Reunited with Humanity

You don't become as advanced a Golem pilot as Alxi is without a little help. His great grandmother had redesigned the piloting software. Her lover was too short for the traditional unit, but with a little work, she built something for him. Eventually this lead to a children's training unit. Alxi had started before he could read.

His purple eyes was the true give away though. Genes from the days of personal modifications were abundant in the colony. His allowed for a slightly stronger impulse through his nerves, making it easier for the Sphere to read his mind, as well as making his reactions and strength quicker. He wasn't a superhuman, but it helped, putting his father, and eventually himself, high on the tables.

Like most colony tech these days, Golems are pretty simple and extremely robust. There's stories of thousand year old lost-in-space Golems starting up first time and, whilst a little rough around the edges, working admirably. Effectively they are giant human robots, made from a variety of materials, remotely controlled from the Sphere, using a combination of the smart fluid and helmet. The pilot effectively feels as though it they are the Golem, allowing for instinctive control. Or, for a bit of leisure time, the Golem can be replaced with gaming software, which is how most of the Caold peoples learn, and why everyone should have one.

Alxi was a Saturn Class Golem Pilot. In person the machine was immense, technically a class designed to be 32 times the size of the pilot. However, with the additional armour, thrusters, silo units, technical support, spider attachments, as well as laser-diamond drills, plasma units, quark distorters, and the rest, well, they're a bit bigger now. It would be a while though before Alxi could match his father and pilot a Titan class, twice the size of a Saturn. 

This morning was like any other. The pilots all logged in at 10am, bound to their drones, and linked to the short briefing. Same as before, one new girl sent to learn, everyone else on their way. Alex's mind left the briefing and transferred to the Asteroid Mine. Dirty jokes greeted him from the other pilots, a couple suggesting Dek would be old enough for Phell before Alxi even spoke to her. He took it in good humour before asking about the council meeting. The youngest pilots had no idea, the oldest never replied.

3 hours of seem surveying, blasting, and drilling went by. 
"Alxi wishes he was scanning Phell for cracks!" "If only you'd blast as well as you drill you'd make Phell a happy lass." "You think you'll fill Phell's silo with your little Golem?"
They baited him for fun and he managed to not bite, other than a few retorts. He'd grown up a Coald and had missed their humour at Uni. Derrick pushed a little surveillance shot of Phell at breakfast onto his view. The image of her smiling at him. He smiled back.

Finally the morning was over. He accepted one last gulp of rehydrate from the helmet, before discharging his air and food tubes, floating to the surface.

He sat with his father at the meeting table. Their drones floated just behind them and began projecting the hologram of the Coald capital meeting chamber. 

"Welcome to Naphoo, Welcome to Young Alxi", the Master announced, "I hope you will all excuse the lack of formality, but we have issues to discuss quickly. Once the Habito and Venergy we'll be for it. Last year the inner council took steps which stand against our agreements as a System. We lit up our own Signal Flares. After 30 years without Enlightenment I am certain you will understand why. Despite the threats of Gentleman Summerfield we all know his people need their help more than any of us."

"Not to mention Tubroo", Naphoo piped up. The council nodded.

"We all wept for Tubroo", the Master added.

"And we weep at the news too", the shadow came forth into the Council's meeting, "we could not help then, yet may we help now?", the Tutor-Prophess of the Enlightenment Fleet lifted her hood showing Alxi a gorgeous, smooth-skinned, round faced, young woman, smiling at all. As she turned towards him the metallic augmentics that made up the region around her left eye and ear came into view. They shone with a slightly blue haze complimenting her purple eyes. 

The nods from the Council were registered electronically as accent. All appeared to agree other than Lady Mephis of the Eastern Fusion Reactors and Mrs Defluu Benna from R&D. They had shacken their heads and silently laughing at the other Council members' reaction to the beguiling Prophess. Realising, they quickly messaged the meeting minutes to change their votes.

"So, Council of the Coald, what Enlightenment can we bring to you from the all rest of Humanity in the Ken?"

Overview of Humanity's Move

Good afternoon, I'm Dr Ama Dinosaur. For the past many years I've been working on creating my own little universe. Steadily this has built into an array of physical and mental notes (though much has been warped with adventure and age) giving a source with some depth for me to attempt to draw upon.

I had been hoping to write a few books based upon my ideas, but this is presently proving difficult after being given a "grown up" life. Thus I have chosen to develop this new, robust, public, repository, as well as a playground for my ideas

What follows is a collection of short chapters, short stories, and notes on what has happened to humanity, alongside other animals from Earth, in the distant future. I'm starting with a visit by one of the most influential groups of people to one of humanity's most important colonies, which will include hints and notes about the history and present situation of the universe. Later I will move to look at what has happened to Earth, what the situation is for humanity as a whole, and the other galactic players humanity has not officially met yet.

I will be attempting to add new short stories every week to this blog. Some will be wee 100 word dabbles, others maybe a thousand words. I hope to generate a few storylines within the blog covering different areas of the universe, as well as a little background as necessary. Maybe even some drawings and paintings, should I have the materials!

I hope you will enjoy what I write. Love it or hate it, your comments, questions, and suggestions would be appreciated. If you really love it, please share it with friends and family.

Introducing Humanity's Move

"We are old now. So very very old. Ancient. Beyond Ancient. He was correct, Cthulhu's father, with time, even death may die. Although, the living call us the dead. They have forgotten what death truly. That is their weakness. We always see it. We are always dying, just as they must die to become us. We are the dead. We see all. We know all."

Time is tragically difficult to determine for those who travel about the explored universe, known as the "Ken". For those in the colonies it is a little easier- many stations have small differences of hours to days per year. Yet for those going out to colonise new systems, spread the teachings, or prepare for war, numerical time is a nuisance . Despite that we still need history to remember where we've been, and a way to plan for the future. Thus we use the time of one universe constant modern humanity shares, though it is from a place no civilised person lives in these times. Home-Earth time, from the Solar System is our best guess at true human time. We measure from the birth of civilisation, when the barbarian ways were reasoned into death. Thus year 0 was over 2000 years after scientific year 0, and around 4000 years after the birth of the child Earth-God.

We therefore determine that humanity has been sailing the stars for 10,000 years. Well, in truth we had some thousands of years reaching the Encirclement Worlds, organising them, developing better craft, and finding our independence. Not to mention the various "police actions", plus out present defence against the Technovar, and the ever problematic 7th.

The colonies are the mainstay of his humanity, made up of the Habito, the Venergy, and the Coald. They are always encouraged to build a civilisation before reproducing and sending off between a million and a billion of their own to colonise further systems- so long as they are not facing out to the Technovar. The Encirclement Worlds do their best to send their own Uni Fleets of teachers and statespeeps to pass news and advancement between systems, gather new ideas, and protect the freedoms of all life forms. Not to mention a number of other, lesser, tasks- terraforming, the xeno search, EMP (Electro-Magnetic (Psychic) Person) surveillance. 

The Technovar have recently rebuilt. After their escape 5,000 years ago out to the edges of the known systems and their own civil war, they have been rebuilding for 3,000 years. Slowly they encroach upon our systems, raiding and pillaging, kidnapping and killing. They are the reason we needed the Encirclement Worlds Treaty. Them and the Meek.

The Meek are all that are left of the barbarian-zealots of Earth. Rarely are they trouble, though they are worthy of our attention for their EMPs, as well as our own wish to maintain the point of origin. No place like home.

There are also the Corers. The Truthseers. They are not here yet. Their echo will soon reverberate throughout the Ken.

And Outwards, beyond the Ken, are the Bio Systems. Entirely unknown and alien to Humanity at this point, but not for long.